Navadvipa Harinam pastimes!
By Ila devi dasi
The present-day town of Navadvipa on the banks of the Ganges, which was formerly known as Kuliya, was basically what we would call today, a “University Town” 500 years ago. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu defeated many scholars in logic and debates here when a young boy, and later introduced the Nagar Sankirtana Movement here. From the privacy of Srivas Thakur’s house this was the first public place where Harinama was ever performed in the streets! No wonder that those who go there on Harinama can all testify to the special magical and spiritual atmosphere.
The streets are still the same narrow little lanes that were there 500 years ago, and many ancient little temples are there. Thursday afternoon, 18 September, 45 devotees crossed Mother Ganga by boat to take part in this wonderful World Holy Name event, walking in the very footsteps of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda.
“kabe navadwipe, suradhuni-tate,
gaura-nityananda boli’ niskapate
naciya gaiya, beraibo chute,
batulera praya chariya bicar
When in Navadvipa along the Ganges bank, shouting ‘Gaura-Nityananda’ as a surrendered soul, dancing, chanting, running everywhere, when will I become half mad of mind? When, oh when will that day be mine?
kabe nityananda, more kori ‘doya,
charaibe mora visayera maya
diya more nija-caranera chaya,
namera hatete dibe adhikar
When will Lord Nityananda show mercy upon me, when will I reject the world of mäyä? Bestow unto me the shade of Your lotus feet, let the right to preach the name be mine. When, oh when will that day be mine?
kinibo, lutibo, hari-nama-rasa,
nama-rase mati’ hoibo bibasa
rasera rasika-carana parasa,
koriya mojibo rase anibar
I will beg, borrow, or steal the nectar of the name. By the name’s effect I will feel paralyzed. Oh! Enjoyer of the nectar of the name, When will I touch your lotus feet till the end of time? When, oh when will that day be mine?”
– Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura
A significant event which occurred is that a sudden storm of rain fell down for just five minutes as soon as the devotees reached the Banyan tree under which the Praudha-Maya temple is located. Praudha Maya is Yogamaya. Yogamaya covers the holy dhama and does not allow non-devotees to enter. Even though certain person’s bodies are allowed to arrive in the dhama, they still can not understand the glories of the dhama. When Lord Krishna appeared in Braja, Yogamaya also appeared with him. In Braja she is Paurnamasi and in Navadvipa she is Praudha Maya.
The rainstorm suddenly subsided, as if demigods had just showered their blessings from heavens for a few minutes, and the Harinama party continued to visit the Vishnupriya-devi Temple. Here they begged for the mercy of Lord Caitanya’s very austere and devoted wife, who lived here in great separation from her Lord after He took sannyasa. It was quite dark by the time the ecstatic devotees returned to Mayapur.
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