The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Rudradvipa

BY: SUN STAFF - 4.2 2020

Rudra's Tandava Dance
Kalyana Kalpataru illustration

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 124.

Rudradvipa's transcendental qualities and associations are nicely summarized in the Audarya Dhama, which mentions the many tirthas found with the island's borders.

"In this Rudradvipa live the eleven Rudra's who always chant the glories of Lord Caitanya. Here, Siva and his followers dance in bliss. Seeing this, the Devas shower flowers from the sky." (Navadvipa-mahatmya)

Rudra Para

Rudra, who is an expansion of Siva and who appears in unlimited universes, is also a guna-avatara and is the ornament of all the demigods in the endless universes. He also desires to be the servant of Lord Krsna. Sri Sada Siva always says, "I am the servant of Lord Krsna." "Intoxicated by ecstatic love for Lord Krsna, he becomes overwhelmed and incessantly dances without clothing and sings about Lord Krsna's qualities and pastimes." (Caitanya-caritamrita Adi 6)

There are eleven expansions of Lord Siva, known as the Rudras: Ajekapat, Ahivradna, Virupaksa, Revata, Hara, Vahurupa, Tramvak, Savitra, Jayant, Pinaki and Aparajita.

The following story is narrated in the Navadvipa Mahatmaya. Once while touring, Vishnu Swami came here. Along with his followers he stayed the night here in Rudradvipa. His disciples started dancing and singing , and Vishnu Svami recited verses from Sruti and Smriti. Pleased by the discussion on bhakti, Lord Shiva showed himself. Upon his arrival in the assembly, Vishnu Swami became startled. He folded his hands in prayer and recited appropriate verses. Lord Shiva spoke, "All of you Vaisnavas are dear to me, your discussion on devotion has pleased me. Ask a boon and I shall grant it."

Offering his dandavats, Vishnu Swami, filled with ecstatic love said, "Please give us this one gift, that henceforth we shall be a perfect sampradaya teaching devotional service."

Hearing this, Rudra consented and named the sampradaya after Himself. Thus Vishnu Swami's sampradaya is called the Rudra sampradaya.

By the mercy of Rudra, Vishnu Swami stayed here and desiring of love of God, took to the worship of Lord Gauranga. Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in a dream to Vishnu Swami, "By Rudra's mercy you have become my bhakta. Being very fortunate you came to Navadvipa and attained the treasure of bhakti. Now go out and preach the philosophy of Suddhadvaita. The time for my appearance will soon come and at that time you will appear as Sri Vallabha Acarya (founder of the Pusti-Marg sampradaya). You will meet Me in Jagannatha Puri and thereafter you will go to Vrindavan and perfect your sampradaya."



Just next to Rudrapara is this place which the Vaishavas do not relish seeing. This merciless (Nirdaya) place is where Lord Caitanya left from to take sannyasa and thus, plunged His mother and other devotees into an ocean of distress.

There is now a temple established by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, within which is the original deity of Lord Caitanya that was worshipped by him when he was staying here in Mayapura in a straw hut.


Pardanga (Ganga Prashad)

This place is non-different from the forest called Vrindavan. It spreads on both sides of the Ganges river. All of the places of the Vrindavan forest are manifest here, such as Dhirasemir, Vamsivat, Sevakunj and Ramanreti. Lord Gauranga and His devotees performed kirtan describing the Rasa Lila at this place.

Rasasthali of Vrindavan is situated here in Navadvipa on the bank of the Ganga. The fortunate can see that our Lord Krsna resides here eternally with the gopis. In Vrindavan, Dhirasamir is on the bank of the Yamuna, but here it is on the bank of the Ganga. Actually what you see is not the bank of the Ganga but that of the Yamuna, since in the western part of the Ganga flows the Yamuna. All of the pastime places of Vrindavan are situated here. Make no distinction between Vrindavan and Navadvip, or between Krsna and Gauranga."

The Ganga is always changing her course thus, sometimes Rudradvipa falls on her western bank and sometimes on her eastern bank. At other times, such as now, she flows right through the middle.