nama om Visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
Srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter of His lotus feet.
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
nirvisesa-sunyavadi pascatya -desa-tarine
Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.
name bhaktivinodaya sac-cid-ananda-namine
gaura-sakti-svarupaya rupanuga-varaya te
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who is transcendental energy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is a strict follower of the Gosvamis, headed by Srila Rupa.
vancha-kalpa tarubhyas ca
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
vaianavebhyo namo namah
I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees who can fulfill the desires of everyone, and they are full of compassion for the fallen conditioned souls.
vande Sri-krsna-caitanya-nityanandau sahoditau
gaudodaye puspavantau citrau sandau tamo-nudau
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauda to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all.
Sri-krsna-caitanya-daya karaha vicara
vicara karile citte pabe camatkara
If you are indeed interested in logic and argument, kindly apply it to the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If you do so, you will find it to be strikingly wonderful. (Cc. 1.8.15)
The fact that Lord Caitanya's mercy is wonderful is becoming more and more apparent by the mercy of the Vaisnava acaryas. Every year as the holy appearance day of Lord Caitanya approaches, Vaisnavas come from all corners of the world to visit Sri Navadvipa-dhama. As recent as twenty-five years before, who would have thought such a phenomenon would take place? Only Vaisnava acaryas such as Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
Otherwise, devotional service is very rare. One may find many statements in the scriptures in support of this, such as: bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. "After many births one who is in knowledge surrenders unto Me." (Bg. 7.3) manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye. "Out of many thousands of men, one may endeavor for perfection." (Bg. 7.19) And:
muktanam api siddhanam
narayana-parayanah sudurlabhah prasantatma
kotisv api maha-mune
O great sage, among many millions who are liberated and perfect in knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayana, or Krsna. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare. (Bhag. 6.14.5)
Five hundred years ago Nityananda Prabhu delivered Jagai and Madhai, and He took Jiva Gosvami on parikrama of Navadvipa-dhama. Now, however, we see hundreds or thousands of persons who were previously less than Jagai and Madhai are performing the same parikrama of Navadvipa-dhama. This is, of course, by the mercy of Lord Nityananda, who is distributing the wonderful mercy of Lord Caitanya through the disciplic succession. As Srila Prabhupada writes in the Caitanya-caritamrta: "Nityananda Prabhu delivered Jagai and Madhai, but a servant of Nityananda Prabhu, by His grace, can deliver many thousands of Jagais and Madhais. That is the special benediction of the disciplic succession." (Cc. 2.16.65)
It was Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura who inaugurated the program for preaching Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's message throughout the world. He desired that Krishna consciousness should be accepted by East and West equally. He desired to see the Indians, Europeans, and Americans dance together in the ecstasy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura attempted to fulfill that desire and under his instructions His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada introduced Krsna consciousness throughout the whole world.
In this way, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy is being distributed through the disciplic succession. Even though devotional service is rarely attained even for the demigods like Lord Brahma, by the kindness of Lord Caitanya it is being freely and profusely distributed. Therefore, Srila Rupa Gosvami describes Lord Caitanya as the most merciful of all incarnations.
Just as Lord Caitanya is the most merciful of all incarnations, His holy abode, Navadvipa-dhama, is the best of all holy places in the universe. Srila Prabhupada writes in this connection: 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 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.
Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes are no longer manifest, He has left us with these two great reservoirs of His mercy - the holy names and Navadvipa-dhama. Srila Prabhupada recommended that devotees should regularly visit the holy dhama and take part in chanting the holy names in the association with the devotees there. This will please the acaryas, and as one is purified, the desire to visit the places of Lord Caitanya's pastimes will awaken within one's heart. As Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings:
gaura amara ye saba sthane / karala bhramana ralige
se-saba stana heriba ami /pranayi-bhakata-sange
May I visit all the holy places associated with the lilas of Lord Caitanya and His devotees.
Srila Prabhupada comments in this connection: "A devotee should make a point of visiting all the places where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed His pastimes. Indeed, pure devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu even want to see the places He simply visited for only hours or minutes."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given us this book as a guide to help us see Navadvipa-dhama with eyes smeared with devotion. I hope this presentation will fulfill that purpose. Following in his footsteps, I also pray that although this presentation may have many faults, because it is filled with the holy names of Gauranga, Nityananda, and Navadvipa, may the devotees accept it. And may the benediction given to the reader by Srila Bhaktivinoda apply to this English edition as well.Aspiring to serve the feet of the servant of the servant,