Published on May 29th, 2023 | by Harmonist staff0
Śrī Navadvīpāṣṭakam 8
gauro yatra bhraman hariḥ sva-bhaktaiḥ
taṁ śrī-navadvīpam ahaṁ smarāmi
In meditation I recall Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, where Gaura Hari wandered widely with his bhaktas performing his celebrated prema-saṅkīrtana, drowning his devotees in the ocean of ujjvala-bhāva.
When Rāja Pratāparudra first experienced the prema-saṅkīrtana of Śrī Caitanya, he was on the rooftop of the Jagannātha mandira. From there, in the company of others, he saw Mahāprabhu’s effulgent devotees, led by Advaita Ācārya, dancing and chanting in prema-saṅkīrtana as they arrived in Śrī Kṣetra ostensibly to celebrate Ratha-yātrā. Although the rāja had seen all kinds of worship, as pilgrims of many religious persuasions arrived in Purī-dhāma to worship the Lord of the universe, he had never witnessed anything like the saṅkīrtana of Gaura’s bhaktas and expressed this to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya.
Kīrtana itself was not new to him, but the king was particularly stunned by the way in which Gaura’s bhaktas conducted their kīrtana, the sun-like brilliance of the devotees’ effulgence, their melodious voices, their dancing, and their ecstatic love that issued forth in waves. Again, he had never seen or heard anything quite like it. Then, with solemn conviction the learned Bhaṭṭācarya replied to the rāja, “caitanyera sṛṣṭi—ei prema-saṅkīrtana,” “This is the creation—sṛṣṭi—of Śri Caitanya. It is prema-saṅkīrtana.”
This saṅkīrtana was exported from Goloka to Navadvīpa, and from there it was taken to Jagannātha Purī, where Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya was based. And in Bengal at his request, Nityānanda Rāma also distributed it widely with no consideration of age, gender, caste, or creed.
In Jagannātha Purī, Śrī Gaura Hari’s prema-saṅkīrtana of his madhya-līlā illustrates the way, the method to his madness. He focused his public life on prema-saṅkīrtana, which led forcibly yet naturally to his private internal life—the madness of Śrī Rādhā’s mahābhāva that is also found in Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura’s courtyard a short distance from Gaura’s janmasthāna in Navadvīpa-dhāma.
Here Śrī Rūpa invokes the word ujjvala (brilliance), which is also the word he has prominently used to refer to mādhurya-bhāva, following the lead of Svarūpa Damodāra—unnatojjvala-rasāmsva-bhakti-śrīyam. Gaura appeared in Navadvīpa to taste and distribute this love, the brilliant blue/śyāma sapphire of mādhurya-rasa—ujjvala-nīlamaṇi.1
- In Indian aesthetics, the deep blue/back sapphire is thought to be the color śyāma, which is the color of romantic love. Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi is also the name of Śrī Rūpa’s sequel to Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. [↩]