Resembling an eight-petalled lotus in shape, this abode is immaculately pure. It is so cooling that it defeats the illumination of millions of moons. It is so brilliant that it defeats that effulgence of millions of suns. Sometimes that dhama will appear before my eyes.
gauro bhraman yatra harih sva-bhaktaih
tam sri-navadvipam aham smarami
"I meditate on Navadvipa-dhama, where Gauranga would wander along with His devotees. Filled with prema generated from their kirtana, they would drown everyone in the ocean of love of Krsna."
The glories of Navadvipa-dhama are hidden, even from the demigods. We know that Brahma is the creator of this universe, yet he is not the original creator. Initially every element was created by Visnu. Thus Visnu is the Primar: creator, but even Visnu cannot create without the desire and sanction of Lore Sri Krsna.
tumi sarvesvaresvara, brajendra-kumara
tomara icchaya visve srjana samhara
tava iccha-mato brahma korena srjana
tava iccha-mato visnu korena palana
"You, son of Nanda Maharaja, are the controller of all controllers. By Your desire only this cosmic manifestation comes to existence and also gets annihilated. By Your desire only this cosmic manifestation comes to existence and also gets annihilated. By Your desire only Brahma creates and Visnu maintains.”
Thus Lord Sri Krsna is behind the creation of everything, with only one exception. That is Navadvipa-dhama. Navadvipa-dhama was not created by the desire of Lord Sri Krsna. This dhama was created by the desire of Srimati Radharani, the story of which is described in "The Appearance of Navadvipa-dhama" in this book.
By the mercy of Lord Jagannatha, a book on Sri Ksetra-parikrama has been published. Devotees around the world inform me how much they have been enjoying reading the description of Sri Ksetra and thus how much they have benefited. By hearing this I felt very encouraged to share with the devotees the glories of Navadvipa-dhama as well. Included in the book are descriptions of the pastimes of Lord Gauranga in Navadvipa before His actual appearance. During these pre-appearance pastimes the Lord appeared to various demigods like Brahma and Indra and to different rsis and devotees. The descriptions of these pastimes are mentioned in Sri Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhakti-ratnakara by Narahari Cakravarti I have tried my best to translate these descriptions into English in this book. There are also many pastimes Lord Gauranga performed in Navadvipa-dhama during His manifested period on this earth planet around 500 years ago. These pastimes are recorded in many books, among which Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and Sri Caitanya-mangala are the most prominent and widely read by devotees. I have not mentioned these pastimes very much in this book fearing the size of the book would be too big. Moreover these pastimes are available in the respective books. If Lord Gauranga desires, we may publish a compilation of the descriptions of the pastimes of the Lord in Navadvipa from the various scriptures in the future.
In this particular book, the main subject matter has been taken from SrI Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Bhakti-ratnakara and NavadvIpa-bhava-taranga. The information on most of the temples and holy places as well as the directions on how to get there have come from "Gauradesa, A Devotional Guide to Navadvipa-Dhama" written by Manjari Devi Dast.
Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura has stated in Sri Caitanya-bhagavata:
adyapiha se lila kare gaura raya
kona kona bhagyavan dekhibare paya
prabhura sri dhama, bhakti, nitya-parikara
ithe anya mata yara, seita pamara
"Even now Sri Gaura Rava is performing His pastimes, which only the most fortunate can see. There is no difference between the Lord's sri-dhama, bhakti and His eternal associates. One who has a different opinion about this is most fallen."
Mahaprabhu's pastimes are taking place in Navadvipa eternally. Before His appearance, during His appearance and after His disappearance. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has stated,
Sri-gauda mandala, yeba jane cintamani, tara haya vraja-bhuma vasa
"One who knows that Gauda-mandala-bhumi, the abode of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu, is transcendental, is qualified to live in Vraja-bhumi" Sri Narahari Dasa has stated:
navadvipa vrndavana dui eke haya
gaura-syama-rupe prabhu sada vilasaye
"Navadvipa and Vrndavana are one and the same. The Lord is eternally enjoying in both forms at both places as Gaura (golden) and Syama (black) respectively."
Some of the exact locations of the Lord's pastime places are not known to us. There are different opinions about which island they are situated on. Just as in the case of Samudragarh and Campahatti. Some say these two places are located in Koladvipa and others say they are located in Rtudvipa. In a similar way the exact location of Sridhara Angana and few other places is also not clear.
The locations of some place described in this book are not known at all. Due to the movement of the Ganga they have disappeared. Some places which were located on the western side of the Ganga have moved to the eastern side and vice versa.
This book is not a practical guide book with detailed information about how to find different places and which deities are in which temples etc. I have mainly described the various pre-appearance pastimes of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu. If a small book containing detailed guide information about Navadvipa-dhama can be published it will be very helpful to the visiting devotees. I have earnestly requested my god-brother, His Grace Vrajanatha Prabhu, to do this job. He is now serving in the Dhama Sevak Department in Mayapur, taking care of all the visiting devotees. He regularly takes devotees around Navadvipa-dhama to the many pilgrimage places and thus has much experience. I hope this book will manifest some day by the mercy of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
Finally I beg forgiveness from all the devotees, so they may excuse me for any mistakes I have made in this book. I am very apprehensive in publishing this offering. My fear is that I must have made some errors in presenting the words and views of the previous great acaryas from whose writings I have collected the subject matter of this book. I sincerely pray at the lotus feet of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Narahari Cakravarti Thakura to forgive me for any mistakes I might have made due to the deficit of my understanding or my inadequacy in expressing the subject matter.
Please bless me and forgive me for all my offenses.
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