Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Antardvipa MayapuraMay 15, 2008 Sri Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s eternal intimate associate, is revered as the Seventh Gosvami who again inaugurated the flow of the Bhagirathi bhakti. He appeared in this world to manifest Mahaprabhu’s holy name (gaura-nama), His innermost desire (gaura-kama) and His holy abode (gaura-dhama). Like Sri Rüpa and Sri Sanatana, he wanted to reside in Vraja and perform bhajana there.
On his way to Vraja-mandala he came to a deity of Lord Siva, Mahadeva Sri Tadakesvara, a short distance from Kolkata. That night Sri Mahadeva appeared to him in a dream and requested him to reveal Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s appearance-place. He also told him to remain in Gauda-mandala and perform bhajana. Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura placed Sri Tadakesvara’s instruction upon his head and returned to Sridhama Navadvipa. There, in Godrumadvipa, he constructed a small hut and began performing bhajana, eager to find Sriman Mahaprabhu’s appearance-place. He wrote in his autobiography:
“I was very anxious to find Sriman Mahaprabhu’s appearance place. I went to Navadvipa (the present Navadvipa Town) and with much endeavour made some investigation, but was unable to find any trace of it. Thus I became very unhappy. Nowadays the people of Navadvipa are only busy filling their bellies. They know nothing about Sriman Mahaprabhu’s pastime-places, nor do they endeavour to learn about them. One day after twilight, at ten o’clock, Kamala and I, together with one clerk, were standing on the roof of the Rani Dharmasala looking about. It was very dark and the sky was filled with clouds. Then, across the Ganga towards the north I saw an effulgent mansion. I asked Kamala, ‘Did you see something?’ He answered, ‘I became awestruck to see an effulgent mansion on the other side of the Ganga towards the north.’ In the morning I again went to the roof of the Rani Dharmasala and attentively looked towards that place. I was unable to see the effulgent mansion, but I could see a palm tree there. When I inquired from others about that place, they said it was called Ballala-dighi and that one can still see many traces of King Laksmana Sena’s old fort there. The coming Monday I went to Krsna-nagara and the following Saturday I went straight from there to Ballala-dighi. That night I beheld a wondrous sight. Sriman Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Advaita Äcarya, Sri Gadadhara and the other devotees were completely absorbed in chanting and dancing ecstatically. Everyone’s eyes were filled with tears. The mrdangas tumultuous sound of “Hari Bol!” and the sound of and kartalas maddened the devotees. After sometime that sight disappeared from my eyes.
“The next day I walked to those places to take darsana of them and asked the elderly locals about them. They told me that this was Sriman Mahaprabhu’s birthplace. I visited all the small villages mentioned in Bhakti-ratnakara as well as those mentioned in Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura’s Sri Caitanya-bhagavata. Thereafter I sat in Krsna-nagara and compiled the book “Sri Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya” and sent it to be printed in Kolkata. I told Sri Dvarika Babu, an engineer from Krsna-nagara, about my findings. He could understand everything I said and on the strength of his intelligence he produced a map of Sri Navadvipa-mandala. I wandered throughout Navadvipa-dhama and wrote the Dhama-mahatmya, because at that time I could do nothing else.”
In Godruma, 1893, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura performed a great harinama-sankirtana festival under the auspices of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. At that time Sri Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja went with many Vaisnavas to take darsana of Sri Mayapura. Overwhelmed by ecstatic sentiments, he himself pointed out Mahaprabhu’s birthplace, the lost Yogapitha-Mayapura. The 144-year-old Babaji Maharaja became overwhelmed with ecstasy and jumped into the air, crying out, “This is the birthplace of Gauracandra, our very life and soul!” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, many famous writers of Bengal, many high-posted government officers, editors of famous magazines and others witnessed the event. Amongst them was Sri Syamalala Gosvami, the great and erudite Vaisnava. Also present were Sri Sasibhüsana Gosvami, Sri Radhikanatha Gosvami, Sri Vipina Bihari Gosvami, Sri Raya Vanamali, Sri Raya Bahadura, Sri Sisira Kumara Ghosa, Sri Dvarikanatha Sarakara and Sri Naphara Kumara. Some huts were eventually made here and the temple construction began. Gradually, faithful devotees from the various states of India came here to take darsana and now, crowds of people come from all over the world to this holy place.
In picture:Tadakesvara Mahadeva