Evidence From the Book 'Citre Navadvipa'

by Rao Saheb Saradindu Narayana Raya

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Navadvipa Mandala

Sriyukta Nagendranath Basu, the famous scholar and compiler of the Visva-kosa encyclopedia states that in the village of Mayurbhanj in North Orissa on the border of Midnapura, there is a neem-wood Mahaprabhu Deity that has been worshipped since His time. This Deity was originally worshipped by Maharaja Prataparudra. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Vrndavana, the king asked Him how he could serve the Lord during His absence. Mahaprabhu then had a Deity made and gave it to Prataparudra. The temple where this Deity was worshipped had hundreds of manuscripts but at some stage in time, these works became damaged or were burnt. The Deity however was rescued and some of the books were retrieved and brought to the village of Peragoli. One of these books penned by an anonymous author, 'Bhavisya brahma-kanda' was seen by Nagendranath Basu. The famous Indologist H.H. Wilson also described the same book in 1891 in an article called "Indian Antiquity." This book gives a description of holy places in North India, a description of the kings that are yet to come, a detailed description of the Burdwan District and the seven districts of Pundra-desa (Bengal) -- Gauda, Vadendra, Nivrtti, Narikanda, Varahabhumi, Varadavana and Vindyaparsva. Burdwan is described as being 20 yojanas in diameter and the residence of the four varnas. There are 12, 000 villages and amongst these villages the author mentions the village of Mayapura (many protagonists claim that there are no references to Mayapura in any ancient work). It goes on to explain that on the banks of the Bhagiratha in the forest of Khasaranya, the village of Mayapura was founded and that many doctors lived there. However, this village later became a jungle again. It flourished again later when the town of Navadvipa came up and when the Kali-yuga avatara Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. Therefore Basu deduces that this was the center of Navadvipa and that approximately 350 years ago, Navadvipa and Mayapura were part of the Burdwan District.

It is said that in 1063 a king from the Sena Dynasty built a palace near to the Ganga. Some scholars opine that this raja was Ballal Sena. But in 1063, Ballal Sena had not been born, so we can safely say that it was probably his father Vijaya Sena. This is also corroborated by the evidence of a copper-plate inscription where it is mentioned that Vijaya Sena was born in 1029. When Vijaya Sena defeated Vikrama Raja of Devagram, his victory was inscribed on copper plates where it mentions that before the war, the Sena monarch made his residence in Mayapura. Since that time Mayapura was founded and developed. Vikramapura, the capital of the defeated kings was about 7 krosas from Navadvipa and the battle between these two dynasties continued for a long period. After winning the war, Vijaya Sena moved his capital to Vikramapura (known today as Soulta). Even today, the people of Soulta can show you the place known as Ballal-digi. Ballal Sena planted a great forest in this area, some of which has survived to this day. He also dug many wells and ponds that also have survived. These forests and ponds are situated near roadways for the use of travelers. Two of the forests go in two different directions from Soulta -- one to the east, and one to the west and both end in Bilvagrama (Simantadvipa). South of Bilvagrama is Navadvipa.

At that time the Ganga was near to Soulta, but it has moved since. It is possible that Laksmana Sena moved his residence to Mayapura to be near to the Ganga. At that time he was attacked by Mahmud Eid Baktiar. Baktiar plundered Nadia and promptly left again. Then up to the mid 15th Century, Nadia was ruled by the Hindus.

Forty years after the raids of Baktiar, a Muslim historian Minhaj, described Nadia as Nau-diya ('new place'). It is possible that this name had been there since the time of Laksmana Sena when he moved his residence to this place. It is Narahari Sarkara's opinion that Nadia comprises of nine islands -- 4 on the east bank of the Ganga and 5 on the western bank

It should be noted that Narahari's "Navadvipa Parikrama" was published in 1910 by the Bangiya Sahitya Parisad and not by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, therefore one cannot claim that the manuscript was altered by him.

In Hunter's geographical account, old Navadvipa was on the east of the Bhagirathi and west of the Jalangi. Most of the places of Mahaprabhu's pastimes were lost due to the shifting of the river Ganga. Modern day Navadvipa is called Kuliyagrama (and during Mahaprahbu's time it was known as Paharpura). During the 1800s Navadvipa city was situated in Kuliya-daha. In the 17th Century Nadia city was where Rudradvipa was situated. Thus, Nadia's city changed according to the movement of the Ganga which can be proven by various maps made by Renell and Blockman.

Upto the 16th Century Navadvipa meant Barudanga, Srimapura, Bamanpukura, Ballaldigi, Senatpura, Ganganagara, Simuliya, Rudrapara, Taranbas, Koriyate, Ramjumanpura etc.

At that time Bamanpukura was known as Bilvapukura (this is stated by Zamindar records of that time).

According to Bhakti Ratnakara, there were so many villages in Navadvipa at that time that Narottama had to ask where Mayapura was. When Srinivasa did parikrama, many villages names had changed, became distorted or were altogether forgotten. So it is no wonder that the name of Mayapura was forgotten or distorted by the illiterate public.

According to Bhakti Ratnakara, Rudradvipa was west of the Ganga, but it also says that when Srinivasa came to Navadvipa, Rudradvipa had disappeared except some of it that was in the eastern part.

Why is Mayapura not mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta or Caitanya-bhagavata? This doesn't mean that it did not exist. The authors have used the term Navadvipa as a general term. The name 'Mayapura' is found in Bhakti ratnakara, Urdhvamnaya-tantra, Brahma-yamala and Kapila-tantra.

athavaham dhara-dhamni bhutva mad-bhakta-rupa-dhrik
mayayam ca bhavisyami kalau sankirtanagam

"I will appear on the earth in the garb of My devotee. In the Kali-yuga I will appear in Mayapura to start the sankirtana movement." (Urdhvamnaya-tantra)

In the Krsna-yamala it is stated:
aham purno bhavisyami yuga-sandhau visesatah
mayapure navadvipe varam ekam saci-suta

"During the first sandhya of Kali-yuga I will descend, with all My powers and glories, to Mayapura in Navadvipa and become the son of Saci-devi."

If one claims that Mayapura is not the birth site of Mahaprabhu then one must then also accept that this falsity arose from Narahari and his Bhakti-ratnakara.

Caitanya-caritamrta and Caitanya-bhagavata explain Mahaprabhu's lila and philosophy are explained -- geographical details have no place. But Bhakti-ratnakara explains these in detail. The descriptions of the 12 forests of Vrndavana and Navadvipa are not described in the Caritamrta and the Bhagavata (even when Mahaprabhu travels to Vrndavana), Bhakti-ratnakara gives plenty of details.

Ramacandrapura is a part of Babladi Divan Ganja (named after Divan Ganga Govinda Simha). After Ganga Govinda Simha built a Rama temple this place became known as Ramacandrapura.

If Ramacandrapura was the birthplace of Mahaprabhu, why did Ganga Govinda Simha install the Deity of Rama rather than Mahaprabhu? If he had done so, the place would have been known as Antardvipa-cada or Mayapura-cada. It is also a well-known fact that in Ramacandrapura, there were many big festivals for Sita-Rama. Ramacandrapura is also situated in Modrumadvipa a pastime place for Sita-Rama.

Ramacandrapura and the house of Cand Kazi were not on the same bank of the Ganga. If this were so then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would have to come across the Ganga to get to the Kazi's house. There is no account of this in the Caitanya-bhagavata. Also, it is accepted by all parties that the Kazi's house is situated in Bamanpukura.

Ramacandrapura (or Kyekada Matha) is four and a half miles from the Kazi's home. To get there from the matha you have to cross Rudrapara. However, Mahaprabhu and his sankirtana party went to the Kazi's house via the ghats to Bamanpukura. Rudrapara is between Ramacandrapura and Ganganagara. Mahaprabhu did not pass through Rudrapara/Rudradvipa according to Caitanya-bhagavata. On top of this, if He had started kirtana at Kyekada Matha, He would have had to go 25-26 miles to get to the Kazi's house, This is very unlikely.

When Srinivasa went on parikrama, from Antardvipa he went to Simuliya. Even now, the house of the Kazi and his Samadhi are located on the path from Simuliya to Mayapura. If we accept that Mahaprabhu's birthplace is in Kyekada Matha, if you go from there to Simuliya you must pass through Rudrapara/Rudradvipa. But Srinivasa went first from the birthplace of Mahaprabhu, then to Simuliya, then Rudradvipa. If he had started his parikrama from Kyekada Matha, he would have to have gone first to Simuliya, Godrumadvipa, Madhyadvipa, Rtudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Modrumadvipa and then Rudradvipa! He would have had to pass through Rudradvipa once in order to get to Suvarnabihar and go again through Madhyadvipa for 12 miles to return to Kyekada Matha. This is not possible.

In the description of the kirtana at the Kazi's house, we see that after converting the Kazi, Mahaprabhu and His party went to Tantovayapalli, then to Sankhavanikpalli, then to Gadigaca. On the map we see Bamanpukura and Gadigaca, therefore Tantovayapalli and Sankhavanikpalli must be situated between the two. These places are 5 miles away from Ramacandrapura. In the Caitanya-bhagavata we find descriptions of Mahaprabhu's midday meal and how he wandered here and there. If Ramacandrapura is the birthsite, why would Mahaprabhu go to Tantovayapalli and Sankhavanikpalli which was five miles away and then return and walk 5 miles back?

If Ramacandrapura and Kyekada Matha are Antardvipa / Mayapura, then the Ganga would flow past them from the west, and to the west would be Kuliya. Caitanya-bhagavata states this

sabe ganga madhye nadiyaya kuliyaya

"Only the Ganges lay between Nadiya and Kuliya." (Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-khanda, 3.380)

However, all the maps clearly show that Jahnudvipa and Modrumadvipa are on the west side of the Ganga.

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