Monday, January 04, 2010

Regarding Disappearing Dhams

A devotee wrote us today:

> In Navadvip Dhama Mahatmya, Bhaktivinoda Thakura makes a rather strong
> statement to the effect that the potency of all the holy dhamas gradually
> diminish as Kali Yuga progresses. You are aware of that statement, right?
> Just after that he states that only Mayapur Dhama remains (increasingly
> so) the only fully spiritually potent dhama.
> I read the book several times over the years. But the implication just
> dawned on me recently; does it mean that it's less spiritually
> potent/purifying/beneficial to visit Jagannatha Puri and Vrindavana, and
> all the less so as time progresses?
> Prabhupada does mention, as Kavicandra Swami quotes in his recent article
> on, something to the effect that as the sinful activity
> increases in Puri, it will no longer be a dhama...
> Are we really to accept that as time goes on the potency of Jagannatha
> Puri and Vrindavana will diminish?
> On the other hand we hear that the Dhamas are eternally potent. And
> Prabhupada decided to leave his body in Vrindavana, not Mayapur. Is it
> that Vrindavana was still potent when Prabhupada was around but that it no
> longer will be as time progresses? That seems to be what Bhaktivinoda
> Thakura is saying. What to make of his statement?
> I'm considering to buy some property in Puri. Thus this issue is
> especially pertinent to me at this time: I don't want to go to Puri and
> get less and less spiritual benefit each time I visit as time moves
> forward. I just can't believe that's the case (and the same goes for
> Vrindavan.)...
> What's your take on it?

Our reply:

Bhaktivinode writes this in in Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya, Parikrama Khanda 2.43-45:

kali-kāle tīrtha-saba atyanta durbala
navadvípa tīrtha mātra parama prabala

In Kali-yuga, all holy places are extremely weak; only Nabadwip is supremely strong.

prabhura icchāya sei tīrtha bahu dina
aprakaṭa mahimā āchila sphūrti-hīna

By the Lord's desire, however, this tīrtha was invisible for a long time and its glories lay unrevealed.

kalira prabhāva yabe atyanta bāḍila
anya tīrtha svabhāvataḥ nisteja haila

When the influence of Kali-yuga increased, naturally the holy places lost their power.

A few verses later, Bhaktivinode cites Mahaprabhu’s comments on how he will solve this problem. He says:

navadvīpa-dhāma āmi kariba prakāśa
sei dhāme kalira bhaṅgiya viṣadāta
kīrtana kariyā jīve kari ātmasātha

“I will manifest Nabadwip Dham and break the poison teeth of Kali by performing congregational chanting of the holy names.

yatadūra mama nāma haibe kīrtana
tatadūra haibe ta’ kalira māyāya

“As long as my name is sung, Kali will be controlled.”

I suggest that the words “kirtana kariyā” are significant. Mahaprabhu states that he will manifest Nabadwip through kīrtana. Like Vrindavan, Nabadwip is to be found in the presence of any genuine bhakta. The Bhagavatam (1.13.10) recounts the words of Yudhisthir to his uncle Vidura:

bhavad-vidhā bhāgavatās tīrtha-bhūtāḥ svayaṁ vibho
tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni svāntaḥ-sthena gadābhṛtā

“My Lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage.”

Srila Prabhupada makes a similar statement in his purport to Cc. madhya 7.129:

“It does not matter whether one lives in a holy place like Vrindavan, Nabadwip or Jagannath Puri or in the midst of European cities, where the materialistic way of life is very prominent. If a devotee follows the instructions of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he lives in the company of the Lord. Wherever he lives, he converts that place into Vrindavan and Nabadwip. This means that materialism cannot touch him.”

Based on the above it is clear that the dhama will be manifest wherever the holy names are present. A little caveat on that: Of course this means “present” where the names are properly chanted. Kali has ten arrows which he uses to attack the movement of Mahaprabhu. These are the ten offenses to the holy name. If those offenses are not present then the name will drive Kali out. On the other hand if they are present then Kali will enter even into the Dham and even into what appears to be Mahaprabhu’s movement.

Puri and Vrindavan are both nitya-dhamas, eternal abodes. There is no question of them losing potency. However, they may be covered over and lost to mundane vision. This certainly seems to be happening with all the dhamas, save and except those places where the devotees are chanting the holy names.

I’m pasting below a couple of statements regarding the non-different nature of Puri, Vrindavan, and Nabadwip:

“One who understands the transcendental nature of Nabadwip and its surrounding area, where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu enacted His pastimes, resides always in Vrindavan.” Similarly, living in Jagannath Puri is as good as living in Vrindavan. The conclusion is that Nabadwip Dham, Jagannath Puri Dham and Vrindavan Dham are identical.” (Cc. madhya 22.132)

Similarly Jagan-mata Sachi Devi, the mother of universe has stated: nīlācale navadvīpe yena dui ghara — Nilachal, Jagannath Puri and Nabadwip are two rooms in the same house.” (Cc. madhya 3.183)

I hope that this is some help for you and that all is well for your bhajan.

Hari Hari

Das anudas,
Madhavananda Das

No comments: