Published on May 22nd, 2023 | by Harmonist staff0
Śrī Navadvīpāṣṭakam 7
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.
taṁ śrī-navadvīpam ahaṁ smarāmi
In meditation I recall Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, central to which is the blissful abode of Miśra Purandara, enriched by the janma-līlā of Śrī Gaura Hari.
Central to the nine islands of Navadvīpa is Antardvīpa, around which the other islands are situated like petals of a lotus. This central island on the eastern bank of the Gaṅgā corresponds with Mahāvana Gokula, the birthplace of Kṛṣṇa in his Vraja līlā. Here in Antardvīpa during the prakaṭa-līlā and in the house of Miśra Purandara, Gaura Hari was born as the younger of Jagannātha Miśra’s two boys. His father named him Viśvambhara.
The title purandara was given to Jagannātha Miśra, designating him as the most qualified/chief—of the seven sons of Upendra Miśra, just as the middle son, Nanda, among the cowherd Parjanya Mahārāja’s five sons was the most qualified. This status of Nanda and Jagannātha was a consensus within their families and as such celebrated. And as Nanda and Yaśoda gave birth to Kṛṣṇa, Jagannātha and Śacī gave birth to Gaura Kṛṣṇa.
However, in the prakaṭa-līlā Jagannātha Miśra passed away before his son left home as a renunciate, becoming the celebrated Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. Gaura Hari’s embrace of renounced life that took him out of Navadvīpa and resulted in the widespread dissemination of prema-dharma corresponds with Kṛṣṇa leaving Vṛndāvana to establish the same, albeit more covertly on Kṛṣṇa’s part. Kṛṣṇa leaves Vṛndāvana to establish dharma, but if one pays close attention to his Mathurā and Dvārakā līlās, one understands that woven within these līlās is the showcasing of the Vraja līlā’s excellence, the fullest measure of prema-dharma expressed in separation. It is love in separation that characterizes Kṛṣṇa’s prakaṭa-līlā and reveals that in his physical absence from Vraja he is more present there than he is present in Mathurā and Dvārakā, despite his physical presence in these locations. Wherever there is love of Kṛṣṇa, and to that extent, Kṛsṇa is present. The two are inextricably entwined.
The early passing of Jagannātha Miśra is related to the fact that it was Nanda Mahārāja who accompanied Kṛṣṇa to Mathurā and promised to bring him back in short order, a promise he could not fulfill. He returned without his son, bearing the pain of Yaśoda and everyone else’s separation along with his own. In Gaura līlā, Nanda, appearing as Jagannātha Miśra, could not go through this again and left the task of mitigating the separation felt by the devotees of Navadvīpa, resulting from his son’s vows of renunciation, to Śacī, who wisely suggested her son reside in Jagannātha Purī, a second room along with Navadvīpa in the same house. From there his devotees could hear of his exploits and they could also visit him there on the pretext of observing Jagannātha Swāmī’s Ratha-yātrā without casting suspicion on his renunciation. Jaya Śacī-nandana! Who can fathom the depths of his parents vatsālya-prema!
Of course, no one in Vraja faulted Nanda for being unable to return with Kṛṣṇa; they knew that Nanda’s pain of separation included their own and understood the extenuating circumstances surrounding Kṛṣṇa’s perceived need to remain in Mathurā. And neither can we fault Jagannātha Miśra for departing prior to his son’s acceptance of sannyāsa. Here Śrī Rūpa praises the household over which he presides and in which Śrī Śacī-nandana appeared. Miśra Purandara resides there eternally in Gaura’s nitya-līlā, the Nanda of Gaura Kṛṣṇa’s ācārya-līlā.