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Discovery of Mayapura confirmed

Yesterday we celebrated the divine disappearance of Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji, the spiritual master of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Here is a short article on how this great soul confirmed the discovery of the birthplace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the land of Bharata-varsa, specifically in Bengal, in the district of Nadia, where Navadvipa is situated. It is therefore to be concluded, as stated by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, that within this universe this earth is the best planet and that on this planet the land of Bharata-varsa is the best; in the land of Bharata-varsa, Bengal is still better, in Bengal the district of Nadia is still better, and in Nadia the best place is Navadvipa because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared there to inaugurate the performance of the sacrifice of chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Bhaktivinoda Thakura states that if by Krsna's grace, one has an opportunity to live in Mayapura, he should take full advantage of this as he is spiritually fortunate. The sastras state:

krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam


yajnaih sankirtana-prayair

yajanti hi sumedhasah

[SB 11.5.32]

Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is always accompanied by His very confidential associates such as Sri Nityananda, Sri Gadadhara and Sri Advaita and by many devotees like Srivasa. They are always engaged in chanting the name of the Lord and are always describing Lord Krsna. Therefore Mayapura is the best among all the places in the universe. The Krsna consciousness movement has established its center in Mayapur, the birthsite of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to give men the great opportunity to go there and perform a constant festival of sankirtana-yajna and to distribute prasada to millions of hungry people hankering for spiritual emancipation. This is the mission of the Krsna consciousness movement. Caitanya-bhagavata confirms this as follows: "One should not desire to be elevated even to a place in the heavenly planetary systems if it has no propaganda to expand the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, no trace of Vaisnavas, pure devotees of the Lord, and no festivals for spreading Krsna consciousness. It would be better to live perpetually cramped within the airtight bag of a mother's womb, where one can at least remember the lotus feet of the Lord, than to live in a place where there is no opportunity to remember His lotus feet. I pray not to be allowed to take birth in such a condemned place."

Bhaktivinoda Thakura was so anxious to see the land of Lord Caitanya that he applied many times for a transfer to any town nearby. Upon not receiving the desired transfer, he formally submitted a resignation from public service, but it was refused. Then, to his great rejoicing, he obtained a transfer to Krishnanagar, twenty-five miles from Navadvipa, Mayapur. Once stationed at a place near Navadvipa, he did not let a single free moment pass without visiting the land of Navadvipa. He at once made inquiries about the exact whereabouts of the different places of Lord Caitanya's pastimes. He soon discovered that the then city of Navadvipa was a town of only a hundred years' standing, so he was curious to locate the actual birthplace of Lord Caitanya. He was convinced that the town of Navadvipa was not the authentic location, and he at once commenced a vigorous inquiry to find the truth of the matter. But he could not easily escape from the people who tried to make him believe that the birthplace of Caitanya was at that town. Then, after careful inquiry, he was told that the site was lost under the shifting course of the Ganges. Not satisfied with this explanation, he himself set out to discover the yoga-pitha (birthplace). After great difficulties, he came to know of a place which was being adored by many realized souls as the true birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and which was then in the possession of the Muhammadans. This place was at that time known as Miyapura, local inquiry and corroborative evidence from ancient maps of the latter part of the eighteenth century which showed the name "Sri Mayapur" at last helped him to discover the real site of the birthplace. Later on, the great spiritual master Jagannatha dasa Babaji confirmed the location. The discovery led to the publishing of a valuable work called Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya.

The year 1895 was the most eventful year in the history of the Vaisnava world, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the prime mover of the events. It was in this year that he officially memorialized the birthsite of Sri Caitanya and brought its true identity and importance before the public eye. Thousands of visitors were present at a function held at the spot.

Just after retiring from government service, Thakura Bhaktivinoda himself, in a spirit of perfect humility and with a view to giving a firm standing to the discovery, went from door to door to raise funds for a temple. In the Amrita Bazar Patrika newspaper, on December 6, 1894, the following article appeared: "Babu Kedaranatha Datta, the distinguished Deputy Magistrate who has just retired from the service, is one of the most active members. Indeed, Babu Kedaranatha Datta has been deputed by his committee to raise subscriptions in Calcutta and elsewhere and is determined to go from house to house if necessary and beg a rupee from each Hindu gentleman for the noble purpose. If Babu Kedaranatha Datta sticks to his resolution of going around with a bag in hand, we hope that no Hindu gentleman whose house may be honored by the presence of such a devout bhakta as Babu Kedaranatha will send him away without contributing his mite, however humble it may be, to the Gaura-Visnupriya Temple fund." Truly, Thakura Bhaktivinoda honored the houses of many persons for the fulfillment of the noble object he had undertaken. He went to persons to whom he would not have gone for any purpose but for this mission of Lord Caitanya, and his efforts were not fruitless, since the sum collected contributed to the construction of a building on the holy site of Lord Caitanya's appearance. He purchased the land of Mayapura at eight annas a bigha. In this way Thakura Bhaktivinoda excavated the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, and organized its development. He wanted to develop it very gloriously, befitting the holy name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and since he could not finish the task, it was handed down to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

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