All glories to Lord Caitanya, the moon of Nabadwīpa and son of mother Śacī! All glories to Nityānanda Rāya, the avadhūta! All glories to the topmost dhāma, Nabadwīpa, where Śrī Caitanya advented. Whatever benefits are attained by residing in all other tīrthas can be achieved by staying in Nabadwīpa for only one day.
Listen, O saintly people, as I sing this description of Nabadwīpa parikramā referring to scripture. The statements of śāstra, the words of the Vaiṣṇavas, and the teachings of the Lord-these three are my life. Taking shelter of these three, I will describe the rules for circumambulating Nabadwīpa. Listen everyone! When Śrī Jīva Goswāmī as a young man left his home in Candradvīpa, in great eagerness he cried out “Nadia, Nadia!” As he travelled along the paths, he lamented with tears flowing from his eyes like streams, “O Gaurāńga! Nityānanda! You are the life of the living entities. When will You show mercy on me and give me Your darśan?” Again and again he exclaimed, “O Nabadwīpa, topmost of all dhāmas, when will I see you?”
It was a startling sight to see the young, attractive form of Jīva, who was practicing extreme renunciation. His heart was always full of ecstatic love as he traveled along. Then, after some days, he arrived at Nabadwīpa. Seeing the city from a distance, he offered his daṇḍavats and nearly lost consciousness. After some time he regained his composure and, trembling in ecstasy, he entered the town of Nabadwīpa. When he came to Bārakoṇā-ghāṭa he asked, “Where is Nityānanda Prabhu? Please let me see Him.”
One devotee saw the elevated emotional state of Jīva Goswāmī and offered to take him to where Nityānanda was staying. At that time, Nityānanda in great ecstasy, began roaring with laughter on perceiving that Śrī Jīva was coming to Him. As Nityānanda ordered His servants to bring Jīva there, many Vaiṣṇavas went to call him.
Upon seeing Jīva, whose body was filled with ecstatic symptoms, they could understood his identity. Filled with love, someone came forward to reveal the order of Nityānanda Prabhu. Just on hearing the name Nityānanda, Jīva fell to the ground unconscious.
After a few moments he got up and exclaimed, “Oh, I am greatly fortunate. Though the lowest of men, I have received the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu.”
Offering his daṇḍavats to those devotees with a glad heart, he said, “If you all show mercy to me, then I can get the mercy of Nityānanda. This is the verdict of scriptures.”
Seeing the good fortune of Jīva Goswāmī, some of the Vaiṣṇavas took the dust from his feet on their heads with great celebration. Then they all took him to Nityānanda’s place.
Nityānanda was surrounded by devotees as He spoke about Kṛṣṇa. Seeing that transcendental form of Nityānanda, Jīva’s body was transformed with extraordinary emotions. “What a wonderful form I am seeing today!” he exclaimed and fell unconscious.
Swayed by great compassion, Nityānanda lifted Jīva up and accepted him as His own. Jīva was overcome with emotion. He stood with his hands folded and began to speak to his Lord, “You are the form of the universe, the abode of the universe, Balarāma. Being an insignificant living entity, what can I know of Your qualities? You are my eternal master, I am Your servant. My only aspiration is the shade of Your lotus feet. That person who receives Your mercy easily attains the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya and drowns in the water of prema. Without Your mercy no one will get Gaura, even if he worships Gaura for a hundred lifetimes. Sometimes Gaurāńga may punish someone, but You will protect him; but if You punish someone, Gaura will never accept him. Therefore, Lord, only on the strength of my past devotional activities, I take shelter of Your lotus feet. Be merciful and give permission that I may receive the darśan of Gaurāńga and gain attachment for Him.”
“When Gaurāńga came to Rāmakeli and accepted my uncles, I was a young child. At that time my eyes filled with tears as I saw Gaurāńga’s form, which since then always appears in my mind. I fell and offered obeisances at Gaurāńga’s feet, and I became filled with happiness as I touched His body. At that time, the Lord told me to study the scriptures and, after finishing studies, go to Nabadwīpa, where I would attain everything at the lotus feet of Nityānanda Prabhu. Although I am insignificant, I took that order on my head and acquired as much knowledge as I could. But though I studied all the books in Candradvīpa, I could not get a suitable Vedānta teacher. The Lord ordered me to study Vedānta and reveal kṛṣṇa-bhakti conforming with the Vedānta-sūtras. So I have come to Nabadwīpa to Your lotus feet. Whatever You order, I will obey. By Your order, I will go to Jagannātha Purī and study Vedānta under Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya.”
Upon hearing the sweet words of Jīva, Nityānanda Prabhu embraced him and, unable to contain Himself, began weeping.
“Listen, Jīva, to these confidential words. Rūpa and Sanātana know all the philosophy. The Lord ordered Me to tell you not to go stay in Purī. Everyone knows that you and your two uncles are pure servants of the Lord. The Lord ordered that you go to Vārāṇasī and thoroughly study Vedānta under Madhusūdana Vācaspati. From there, go to Vṛndāvana, where you will get the mercy of Rūpa and Sanātana. Under Rūpa Goswāmī’s direction, worship Their Lordships Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, and thoroughly discuss scriptures such as Vedānta. You should preach that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the topmost scripture and the natural commentary on the Vedānta-sūtras.’
“Previously, Lord Caitanya bestowed His mercy on Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and explained Vedānta to him according to the Bhāgavata tradition. Sārvabhauma then taught this carefully to Madhusūdana in Purī. On the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Madhusūdana Vācaspati now resides in Vārāṇasī. Go there and meet him.
“Externally he acts like a traditional Vedāntist, and many followers of Śańkarācārya study under him. Gradually, however, he gives them mercy by teaching them the precepts of Gaurāńga through the Vedānta-sūtras.
“At this time there is no necessity for a separate commentary on the Vedānta-sūtras, for the Bhāgavatam explains all the sūtras. When there will be need of another commentary, Śrī Govinda-bhāsya will be revealed. Along with Sārvabhauma, Gopīnatha Achāryā heard the Lord’s commentary. Later, by the wish of Śrī Caitanya, Gopīnatha Achāryā will take birth as Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, and he will conquer Jaipur with his philosophical commentary. In Jaipur, he will serve Gaurāńga by writing the Govinda-bhāsya, and thus free all living entities from material bondage. Your two uncles, Rūpa and Sanātana, will tell you all these confidential topics.”
Upon hearing Nityānanda Prabhu speak, Jīva Goswāmī began weeping and fell to the ground unconscious. Nityānanda then bestowed His mercy on Jīva by putting His two lotus feet upon his head, thereby giving him spiritual strength. Jīva then began dancing in that assembly of Vaiṣṇavas while chanting, “Jaya Śrī Gaurāńga! Jaya Nityānanda Rāya!”
Witnessing this display of Nityānanda’s mercy, Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura and the other devotees present all began dancing and chanting, “Śrī Gaurāńga! Nityānanda!” The place resounded with great spiritual vibration. After some time Jīva controlled his dancing, and Nityānanda had him sit down nearby. Jīva stayed at Śrīvāsa’s place, but in the evening he again came to see Nityānanda Prabhu.
As Nityānanda was sitting alone, singing the glories of Lord Gaurāńga, Jīva came forward and fell at His lotus feet. Nityānanda was very particular to make Jīva sit very close to Him. Jīva, however, became very aware of his own miserable condition. He folded his hands and said, “Lord, be merciful to me and describe the essential truths about Nabadwīpa-dhāma.”
Lord Nityānanda said, “O Jīva, I will tell you, but you should keep these deep topics within your heart. Do not broadcast them here and there just yet. They will be propagated after our Lord completes His manifest pastimes.
“This Nabadwīpa is the best of dhāmas. Crossing over the Virajā River and the Brahman effulgence, beyond the Vaikuṇṭha planets one comes to Śvetadvīpa, Śrī Goloka. Penetrating further, one comes to Gokula Vṛndāvana, or Kṛṣṇaloka.
“That Kṛṣṇaloka exists in two states of emotion. Rasa expands there in the form of mādhurya and audārya, sweetness and munificence. Audārya exists within mādhurya in fullness, and mādhurya exists within audārya in fullness. But, that place where mādhurya is the chief state is known by fortunate persons as Vṛndāvana. And that place where audārya is eternally predominant is called Nabadwīpa in all the Vedas. There is no difference between Vṛndāvana and Nabadwīpa, only the different manifestations of rasa makes them distinct.
“The dhāma is eternally perfect, fully spiritual, and unlimited. Those whose intelligence is tinged with dull matter cannot approach there. But, under the influence of the hlādinī-śakti, the energy governing bliss, the living entities give up material paths and by the strength of perfect knowledge attain their eternal spiritual activity of devotional service. The whole of Nabadwīpa is a spiritual manifestation, for at this holy place Śrī Gaurāńga performed His transcendental activities.
“People with material vision see Nabadwīpa as made of material elements; for them māyā covers the eternal dhāma. Actually māyā does not exist in Nabadwīpa, for it is not a material place influenced by time, nor are the living entities there subject to material troubles. But, as the living entity becomes bound by his fruitive activities, under illusion he perceives the dhāma to be a material place. “Thus I have related the truth of Nabadwīpa-dhāma. O Jīva, please consider all this with a pure heart.” Aspiring for the shade of the lotus feet of Nitāi and Jāhnavā, Bhaktivinoda reveals these confidential topics.
This is the complete Chapter Four of Navadvīpa-dhāma-māhātmya by Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur