The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Gadigacha

BY: SUN STAFF - 31.8 2019

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 48.

In his Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Srila Bhaktivinoda mentions Gadigacha a few places. A narration in chapter eight describes Gadigacha village on the island of Godrumadvipa, where Surabhi resides eternally. In chapter ten, which provides instructions for taking parikrama around the holy dhama, Gadigacha is mentioned in the sequence of how one should proceed on parikrama. Here Nityananda Prabhu is explaining the Lord's pastimes to Sri Jiva:

"From His house, He went first to Barakona-ghata, then around Ballal-dighi, and then to Sridhara's house. From there, He would go to the edge of Antardvipa and thus easily complete a five krosa tour. From Simuliya, He would go to the Kazi's house. After talking to Sridhara, He would go to Gadigacha (Godruma), then Majida (Madhyadvipa). Crossing the Ganges at that point, on the other bank He would go up to Paradanga and Chinadanga, on the bank of the Ganges. Then crossing the Ganges again, He would return home, completing eight krosas."

(Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Parikrama-khanda, Chapter Ten)

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes in Navadvipa are also described by Srila Narahari Cakravarti Thakur in Sri Bhakti Ratnakara, chapter twelve:

Godruma or Gadigacha

"While discussing the devotees of Sri Caitanya, they entered the village of Gadigacha. Ishana began his narration of the history of Gadigacha by explaining that it had formerly been known as Godruma dvipa. One day Indra told Surabigavi, "because of the illusory potency of the Lord I am unable to control myself, and because of my pride I have created many offenses. Although the Lord has forgiven me I still feel guilty. I want to be trhoughly punished so that I may once again serve my Lord properly."

Surabigavi sweetly replied, "I can understand your mind and I assure you that your desires will be fulfilled by this incarnation of the Lord. He will reveal himself in the near future simply to benefit the Kaliyuga. Vrajendranandana Krsna will take the form of Sri Gauranga and reveal his transcendental pastimes in Navadvipa. Only those who get his mercy will be able to understand his true nature. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord will save mankind from all types of miseries.238-249

Surabi and Indra were delighted simply to observe the beauty of Navadvipa. In order to worship the feet of the Lord Surabi was able to see Sanatana who was the Lord himself. Her ecstasy was boundless as she observed the magnificant beauty of Sri Gauracandra with his sweet smile. The moon of Navadvipa said to Surabi, "I can understand your mind and therefore I am empowering you to observe my pastimes in Navadvipa and thus all your desires will be fulfilled." 250-254

The Lord had just spoken his bendiction to Surabi when Indra came running forward and humbly fell on the ground at his feet. Seeing Indra's miserable state of mind Prabhu Visvambhara assured him, "do not worry. You will get your desires fulfilled."255-257

Indra then spoke to the Lord, "is there anyone who is not overwhelmed by your illusory potency? I long to see your Navadvipa pastimes which will be non different than your pastimes in Vraja. The Lord smiled softly and blessed Indra who in turn joined with Surabi in eulogising the Lord in various ways. They were very disappointed when Sri Caitanya disappeared from their vision. They turned their attention once again to the beauty of Navadvipa where devotional love had already revealed itself. Previously there was a large pepula tree under which Surabi would rest and because of that the place had been known as Godruma dvipa. Its popular name was Gadigacha and whoever visited the holy place would gain devotion at the feet of Krsna and get his desires fulfilled. 258-261"

(Bhakti Ratnakara, Chapter Twelve)

Elsewhere in chapter twelve of Bhakti Ratnakara is this passage:

"One day Prabhu and His companions paid a visit to the old dilapidated house of Sridhara. Entering into the compound of the house the Lord picked up an old broken iron pot which was filled with rain water and happily drank the water. Overwhelmed with love for His devotee, Sridhara, the Lord burst into ecstatic tears. The Lord began kirtana there in the compound and Nityananda, Advaita and others joined in, weeping along with Prabhu. Gaurahari then led His joyful sankirtana party throughout the villages of Gadigacha, Pardanga etc. This is described in Sri Caitanya Bhagavata Madhya Khanda (23/513), "Even today the fortunate people of Navadvipa can observe the wonderful pastimes Lord Caitanya." As Mahaprabhu engaged in His pastimes of nagara-sankirtana, distributing divine love unlimitedly to His devotees, there was no end to the happiness everyone experienced."

Likewise, in his Prema Vivarta, Srila Jagadananda Pandita describes the Lord's visit to the village of Gadigacha:

Visit to the village of Gadigacha

"Fully satisfied with the Lord's remnants, I joined Lord Caitanya, Lord Nityananda Prabhu and all their associates, who were moving gracefully like swans along the banks of the Ganga. We finally came to the village Gadigacha singing the holy name of Lord Krsna all the way.

Sri Govinda played the mrdanga, Sri Vasu Ghosa sang, and Srila Gadadhara Pandita and Srila Vakresvara Pandita danced ecstatically. Sounds of Lord Hari's name filled the air, the ladies' shrill voices rent the sky, and everyone was submerged in the ecstatic ocean of love of Lord Gauranga.

I am very awkward at singing and dancing, yet I am also dancing with the others, waving high my upraised hands. This is happening because my Lord Gauranga has entered my body and heart and is forcing me to do it. I have no concept of either tune or rhythm, yet I am dancing and singing. I do not know how this is possible. I only know that my Lord — the effulgent, moon like Gauranga — knows everything about me.

The cowherd boys of the village serve the Lord

Upon entering the village of Gadigacha, we went to the locality of the cowherders and milkmen, where Lord Gauranga addressed us, "My dear devotees! Now we will rest for a while on the bank of this pond and sleep under a tree. The cows are happily grazing and the cowherd men are resting under this banyan tree. Let us join them." Seeing us approach, many of the cowherd men came forward with yoghurt, curd, butter and other palatable delicacies made out of milk. Their warm welcome and fine food relieved our travel fatigue.

Sri Nrsimhananda, Sri Pradyumna and Sri Purusottama Acarya all came to join us in the congregational chanting of the holy name of Krsna. The throbbing sound of the mrdanga rose above all of the music and drew everyone out of their homes. The loud, jubilant sound of Lord Hari's name rose up and filled the azure sky."

(Prema Vivarta, Chapter 15)

Finally, we have this nectar description of Gadigacha offered by Srila Bhaktivinoda in chapter eight of Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya:

Sri Harihara-kshetra, Maha-Varanasi, and Godruma

"The independent Lord Nityananda then walked with the devotees to Gadigacha village. When they arrived there, He smiled and said, "This island is named Godrumadvipa. Surabhi stays here eternally. When Indra was overcome by Krishna's illusory energy, he proudly flooded Gokula with rain. The Lord, however, carefully protected Gokula by lifting Govardhana mountain. Thus Indra's pride was crushed, and he understood Krishna's identity. He therefore fell down at Krishna's lotus feet to mitigate his offense. The son of Nanda mercifully forgave Indra and pacified him.

"Still, Indra remained fearful, so he approached Surabhi and said, `I cannot understand Krishna's pastimes, and for that reason I committed a great offense. I have heard that in Kali-yuga Vrajendra-suta will perform wonderful pastimes in Nadia. But I fear that I will again fall into illusion and commit offense. As you are Surabhi, a desire cow, you know everything. Kindly tell me what I should do now.'

"Surabhi answered, `Let us go to Navadvipa-dhama and worship Nimai.'

"They came here and worshiped Lord Gauranga. Since the worship of Gauranga is easy, the results are easy to attain. By chanting Gauranga's name, tears of love filled their eyes and they quickly attained Gauranga's darsana.

"How extraordinary was His charming form! Gauranga was gently smiling and His voice was choked with love, for He was a reservoir of nectar. The Lord said, `I know your wish. I will soon appear in Nadia town. At that time you will serve Me, and the net of maya will no longer catch you.'

"The Lord vanished, and Surabhi remained here beside a banyan tree, constantly serving Gauranga's lotus feet. Therefore this place is called Godruma [go-cow; druma-tree]. At this place the devotees' desires are fulfilled. One who builds a cottage and worships here will easily become absorbed in Sri Caitanya's lotus feet.

"Markandeya, the son of Mrikanda, once lived on this island during the flood of devastation. The muni was awarded a lifetime of seven kalpas. Seeing the great danger during the devastation as everything became inundated with water, he began looking for a place to stay. Tossed in the waves, he went here and there. `Oh why did I take such a benediction?' he lamented.

"The dhama of Navadvipa remained however, giving shelter to the devotees. Submerged in a wave, the muni became unconscious and sank. But merciful Surabhi happened to see him and carefully lifted him out. When the son of Mrikanda regained consciousness, he saw the island of Godruma-an astounding place extending for a billion krosas. He saw beautiful streams and rivers, beautiful trees and vines, and birds that sang the glories of Gauranga. He saw a banyan tree extending over an area of eight miles, and under the tree he saw Surabhi.

"The muni was extremely distressed due to hunger, so he begged Surabhi, `O goddess, please protect my life! Kindly rescue me by giving me your milk.' Surabhi then mercifully gave her milk to the muni.

"The muni thus regained his strength and said to Surabhi, `O goddess, my mother, you pervade the universe by your mystic potency. Without understanding the consequences I took a boon to live for seven kalpas. But at the time of devastation, I suffered greatly from various miseries. There was no happiness at all. What am I to do, mother? Please tell me how to get free from this misery.'

"Surabhi then instructed the muni: 'Worship the two lotus feet of Gauranga. This Navadvipa is beyond material nature and therefore never destroyed. By material vision this place is sixteen krosas, but it is the supreme Vaikuntha and therefore without fault or illusion. Place and time here have nothing to do with material existence, nor is anyone here affected by material illusion. Just see the unprecedented wonders of Navadvipa, which is surrounded on all sides by the chaste Viraja River. Each part measures a billion krosas, and in the center is Mayapur, a vast city. The eight islands are like petals of a lotus with Antardvipa as the central stamen. All the tirthas, devas, and rishis reside here, worshiping Gauranga. For your own good, dear Markandeya, take shelter of Gauranga's feet. Take shelter of unmotivated dharma, by keeping far away from the desire for bhukti and mukti.'

"By taking shelter in the worship of Gauranga, you will attain the sweet fruit of love of God. When that prema sits in your heart, it will drown you in the nectar of the artful pastimes of the Lord. You will get the shelter of Radha's lotus feet in Vraja, and your mind will be fixed in the service of the divine couple. The happiness of this service is unmatched, while in the nondifferentiated Brahman there is only illusory knowledge.' "The muni, hearing the words of Surabhi, folded his hands and said, `If I worship Gauranga, what will be my destiny?'

"Surabhi answered with the essence of siddhanta, `In worshiping Gauranga, there is no consideration. When you call out the name of Gaura, your sinful reactions are destroyed and you are freed from all distress as your material life is vanquished. Besides sinful reactions, even the fruits of mental speculation, which are only trouble, will be cut out at the root. Therefore, you should stay on this island and submerge yourself in Gauranga-rasa while worshiping the Lord.'

"Hearing this, Markandeya became filled with bliss. As he chanted the name of Gaura, he sometimes laughed and sometimes cried. Look at this remarkable place where Markandeya received life."

Jiva felt supreme happiness after hearing the glories of Gauranga from the mouth of Nityananda. After spending the day at this place, they then went to Madhyadvipa while chanting the name of Hari.

Holding the order of Lord Nityananda on his head and knowing that the lotus feet of Nitai and Jahnava are the essence of life, this worthless Bhaktivinoda describes the glories of Nadia."