It is a known fact among devotees that becoming proud of oneself is perhaps the easiest thing to do. Hopefully, I wouldn’t be accused of being cynical if I say that not knowing this warrants introspection. In any case, for me it is certainly difficult not to be proud of myself although I try hard not to. The only method that works to humble myself is a simple question- what makes you proud of yourself? I am not talking of self esteem. I am talking about false pride. In fact, there is absolutely nothing that one can be proud of oneself if he realizes that he is an infinitesimal part and parcel of the supreme personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, and that without His sanction even a blade of grass cannot move.
Practicing humility is easy in the land of Sri Mayapur dham as all that we see around is an abundance of humbling magnanimity. So much so that the liberation attained by Brahman realization at other holy places is obtained simply by bathing in the Ganges at this holy dham. One can appreciate this only if he knows the value of liberation and how exceedingly difficult it is to achieve it. Just like a son of a rich father doesn’t easily understand the value of money, people who reside in Sri Mayapur often do not realize the hard work that one needs to go through in order to achieve liberation. Great sages perform terrific austerities for thousands of years, life after life, and still carry a risk of becoming a yoga-bhrasta, falling from their spiritual position, while trying to get liberated from this material world. This liberation, or moksha, is offered to a person who simply takes a bath in the waters of mother Ganga here!
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur continues to marvel at the inconceivable generosity of Navadvipa.
“Thus, all types of liberation- salokya, sarupya, sarsti, samipya, and nirvana-can be obtained in Navadvépa without speculative practice. Falling at the feet of the pure devotees in Navadvipa, bhukti and mukti (personified material enjoyment and liberation) remain there as obedient servants. Not caring for their blessings, the devotees kick them away, but still they do not leave the devotee’s feet. The fruits obtained by staying one hundred years at the seven holy cities can be attained by staying one night in Navadvipa-dhama.”
Let us remember that Sri Mayapur is the center of Navadvipa, the nine islands, and is known as Antardvipa, or the innermost island. Although our mundane eyes cannot appreciate the dimension of Navadvipa, the following description from Sri Navadvipa dham mahatmaya book helps us get a glimpse of it. Just like Antardvipa is a part of Navadvipa-mandala, Navadvipa-mandala is a part of Gauda-mandala or Gaura-mandala.
“Navadvipa-dhama within Gaura Mandala;measurement of is served by the Ganges and situated in eternal splendor. This Gauda-mandala is one hundred sixty-eight miles in circumference, with the Ganges running through the center. Gauda-mandala takes the form of a hundred-petaled lotus with the most beautiful Navadvipa in the center. The circumference of the central stamen of the flower, or Antardvipa, is ten miles, and the circumference of the eight-petaled flower, or Navadvipa, is thirty-two miles. Outside this are the hundred petals of Gauda-mandala, whose circumference measures one hundred sixty-eight miles. According to the scriptures, the diameter of Gauda-mandala is fifty-six miles and the radius is twenty-eight miles. The center point, situated within Navadvipa, is the Yogapitha, the sacred spiritual abode where the Lord appeared.
The whole of Gauda-mandala is chintamani, or touchstone, yielding all desires. The dham is full of knowledge and bliss and is completely spiritual. The water, the land, the trees-everything in the dham is spiritual, unlike the dull matter of this material world. Always present in the dham are Krishna’s three spiritual energies-sandhini potency, samvit potency, and hladini potency. Krishna’s original energy, svarupa potency- sakti, manifests in these three divisions. Of these, the sandhini sakti, which supports all existence, finds its perfect function in manifesting the eternal dham. In that position, the dham acts eternally as the base or support for the Lord’s appearance and activities. All this is the action of the inconceivable energy of the Lord, which is anti-material and completely transcendental.
One who sees only the activities of material nature in the dham is a conditioned soul under the influence of ignorance and illusion. When a person’s vision is covered by a cloud, he may think that the sun is covered, but actually the sun can never be covered by a cloud. In the same way, only persons whose vision is covered by the cloud of illusion see the transcendental form of Gauda-mandala as a transformation of the material energy.
Whoever gets the mercy of Lord Nityananda, the master of the sandhinii potency, can see that blissful dhama as fully spiritual. The holy rivers such as the Ganges and Yamuna as well as the seven holy cities headed by Prayaga are all situated in various places within Navadvépa-dhama. One who is fortunate can see that this pure realm, Gauda-mandala, is directly the spiritual world.
Following the order of the Lord, Maya, the shadow of the Lord’s svarupa-sakti, spreads her influence of illusion. She covers the eyes of those living entities who have turned away from the Lord so they are unable to see the glories of the spiritual dhama.
Those people who always reside in Gauda-mandala are the most fortunate in the world. The demigods in the heavenly planets see them as having beautiful four-handed forms of blackish complexion. Within the sixteen krosas (One krosa is approximately two miles.) of Navadvipa-dhama, the numerous residents, who are golden in complexion, constantly engage in congregational chanting of the Lord’s holy names. Brahma and other demigods come from outer space and worship them in various ways.
Lord Brahma prays, “When will I become so fortunate to take birth as a blade of grass in Navadvipa-dhama. Then I will receive the dust from the feet of the devotees who are engaged in serving the lotus feet of Sri Gauranga. Alas, Lord Chaitanya has cheated me, for He has placed me in charge of the management of the universe. When will the knots of my karma be cut? When will my mind be purified as I give up false pride? And when will the illusion that I am the supreme authority cease as I become a pure servant under the shelter of Gauranga’s lotus feet?””
Interestingly, Lord Brahma laments for being the top manager of the universe. Is there anything left for us to be proud of if we manage a temple, house, company, or even country? No, if we wake up to reality.
Sri Mayapur dham ki Jay!