Published on May 1st, 2023 | by Harmonist staff0
Śrī Navadvīpāṣṭakam 4
By Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī, with commentary by Swāmi B.V. Tripurāri. Verse 1, Verse 2, Verse 3, Verse 4, Verse 5, Verse 6, Verse 7, Verse 8, Verse 9.
śrī-svarṇadī yatra vihāra bhūmiḥ
vyāptormibhir gaura vagāha-rūpais
taṁ śrī-navadvīpam ahaṁ smarāmi
In meditation I recall Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, wherein the playful waves of the beautiful celestial Gaṅgā rise and fall, splashing gold-studded stairs that line her shore—ghāṭas at which Gaura bathes in pleasure pastimes.
Śrī Rūpa depicts the Gaṅgā rising and falling almost musically, washing the golden stairs of her ghāṭas where Gaura bathes, as if preparing them for his morning bath.
Notable in such descriptions is an element of majesty that is not visible to the naked eye. Houses are envisioned to be constructed of valuable minerals, gates and pillars of precious and semiprecious stones, and so on. Here we find bathing ghāṭas consisting of golden stairs leading from the Gaṅgā’s upper banks to her waters below. But such poetic and spiritually envisioned descriptions do not represent the actual wealth of this sacred domain, and thus they arguably have a secondary purpose in mind. On the one hand, they involve employing overwhelming material value in an effort to try to do justice in word to the actual wealth that lies beyond the counterfeit value of anything from within our space-time continuum, and perhaps on the other hand they serve the purpose of attracting the attention of those who covet such material opulence. But the actual wealth of Navadvīpa-dhāma is its prema—the intimacy of dāsya-rasa tinged with fraternity that it affords Gaura’s devotees—siddhas in a līlā in which they play the role of sādhakas. As such, Navadvīpa and its līlā are sometimes referred to as sādhaka-siddha bhūmi.
The fact that this prema is sometimes depicted as taking place in houses constructed of gold, rubies, emeralds, and the like suggests that therein precious stones are used as mere construction materials. And despite such opulence, the temperament of the residents remains simple and humble with no air of the pride common among the privileged. Here our prince is a prince of the cowherds—Kṛṣṇa in the form of a brāhmaṇa boy—Gaura Kṛṣṇa.