Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: All scriptures state that sādhu-saṅga – only sādhu-saṅga, only sādhu-saṅga – will save us from the endless pain of birth and death, and give kṛṣṇa-prema. Without sādhu-saṅga, pure nāma will not come. By continual hearing, our heart will be cleared, and then pure bhakti will manifest in our hearts. Whether one is a doctor, engineer, advocate, the president or prime minister of a country, or anyone else – he will suffer. On the other hand, anyone who is somehow maintaining his life and at the same time chanting and remembering and weeping, that person will very soon realize kṛṣṇa-prema.
Navadvīpa parikramā is coming again. About 10,000 devotees will be gathered there, and hari-kathā, kīrtana, and dancing, will take place. Even if an ignorant person goes to Vṛndāvana-dhāma, Navadvīpa-dhāma, or Purī-dhāma – and especially to Vṛndāvana and Navadvīpa – the dhāma, being very powerful, will shower its profuse mercy upon him.
In our past births we committed many offenses, such as nāma-aparādha, sevā-aparādha, and vaiṣṇava-aparādha, and that is why we don’t experience prema while chanting. When we go to Navadvīpa-dhāma, chanting and weeping, “O Gaura, O Nityānanda Prabhu, O Dhāma Prabhu, I surrender to you. Please be merciful to me,” the dhāma will shower its compassion. In fact, although they are the same tattva (truth), Navadvīpa-dhāma is even more merciful than Vṛndāvana-dhāma. Perhaps you have been there many times?
Govinda dāsī (of Hawaii): Yes, many years ago. I’ve been there several times, and I was there when Śrīla Prabhupāda was there. The last time I saw Prabhupāda in this world was in Māyāpura.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: In a village of Bengal, there was a lady* who was a very, very good devotee. She used to go to Navadvīpa-dhāma every year. Her husband and sons told her, “Each year you go to Navadvīpa-dhāma, so this year you need not go. Why are you going? One time is enough.” She told her husband, “We take prasādam, food, every day. Why do we need to take it every day? One day will suffice.” Saying this, she at once left for Navadvīpa.
If you cannot physically go to the dhāma, then be there by mind. If you are here, send your mind to Navadvīpa with us, and your mind will do parikramā.
Govinda dāsī: I have no use for this mind. It gives me trouble day and night, so please take it to Navadvīpa.
Vṛndā-devī dāsī: Will that give the same benefit?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Not the same, but some benefit will be there.
Walking with a Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations 2007
*Somebody came to Gurudeva and told him about a lady and her sons who attend Navadvīpa parikramā every year in spite of the conditions. She and her family live in a comfortable house equipped with all facilities. Someone had asked her “Why do you go there every year when there is so much difficulty for you?” She replied, “You take your meals every day. Why don’t you stop doing this? This parikramā is the food for my soul. I have to go.” After Gurudeva heard this story, he repeated it in his class. ―Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja
The main purpose of festivals such as Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma parikramā is to give an opportunity for the inhabitants of the world to obtain śuddha sat-saṅga, the pure association of saintly persons. Through this sat-saṅga, one has a golden opportunity to nourish various aspects of bhakti. These include hearing śuddha hari-kathā (pure topics pertaining to the Lord); abstaining from alcohol, meat and other prohibited food; having darśana of the deity of Śrī Bhagavān and of His pastime places; and hearing and chanting the glories of those places in good association. In addition, one is afforded an unparalleled opportunity to serve Śrī Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. In Navadvīpa-dhāma-māhātmya, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura writes that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu fulfil all the cherished desires and give permanent engagement in prema-mayī sevā, the loving service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Yugala, to those who complete the sixteen kosa Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma parikramā and take darśana of Śrī Dhāma Māyāpura under the guidance of Vaiṣṇavas. (Ācārya Kesarī – His Life and Teachings)
gauro bhraman yatra hariḥ sva-bhaktaiḥ
taṁ śrī-navadvīpam ahaṁ smarāmi
I perpetually meditate upon Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, where Śrī Gaurahari loudly and lovingly performs saṅkīrtana with the devotees, thus submerging everyone in an ocean of the elevated ujjvala-bhāva. (Śrī Navadvīpāṣṭakam, verse 8)
Śrī Gaura and Śrī Kṛṣṇa comprise an identical spiritual principle (tattva); there is no difference whatsoever between Them. Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the personification of sweetness (mādhurya-vigraha), is none other than Śrī Gaurasundara Himself, who is the personification of munificence (audārya-vigraha), and vice versa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s abode, Śrī Vṛndāvana, is similarly identical in all respects to Śrī Gaura’s abode, Śrī Navadvīpa, which is actually called Gupta Vṛndāvana, the hidden Vṛndāvana. In this way, both the divine principles (tattvas) and holy abodes (dhāmas) are eternal and not affected by mundane considerations such as time, place and circumstance.
Kṛṣṇa-nāma kare aparādhera vicāra [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 8.24]. Even if he is chanting the name of Kṛṣṇa, a person who is committing offences will not be able to attain love for Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-prema) in millions and millions of lifetimes. However, gaura-nityānandera nāhi e saba vicāra, nāma laile prema dena, bahe aśrudhāra, Śrī Gaura and Śrī Nityānanda do not consider any offences. When one chants Their names, prema will awaken in the heart and torrents of tears will begin to flow from the eyes. Like Śrī Gaurahari Himself, His abode is supremely liberal and the most magnanimous. Without worshipping and attaining the mercy of Śrī Gaurahari and His abode, Śrī Navadvīpa, it is impossible to obtain darśana (a vision) and the mercy of Śrī Vṛndāvana.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s dhāma, Vṛndāvana, and Śrī Gaura’s dhāma, Navadvīpa, are non-different. Therefore, the perimeter of Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma extends to sixteen kosas (approximately thirty-two miles), just like the perimeter of Śrī Vṛndāvana. All the places of Śrī Vṛndāvana, such as Śrī Yamunā, Śrī Govardhana, Śrī Rāsasthalī, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Śrī Śyāma-kuṇḍa and various sub-forests, also exist eternally in a concealed form in Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma. Śrī Gaurasundara sports eternally in this abode.
Fortunate living beings can experience Śrīmān Mahāprabhu’s eternal pastimes by performing nāma-saṅkīrtana under the guidance of His pure devotees. (Foreword to Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma-māhātmya)
In conclusion, Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma is as supremely magnanimous as Śrī Gaurasundara Himself.
Navadvīpa-dhāma consists of nine islands [nava means “nine” and dvīpa means “island”], namely, Antardvīpa, Sīmantadvīpa, Godrumadvīpa, Madhyadvīpa, Koladvīpa, Ṛtudvīpa, Jahnudvīpa, Modadruma dvīpa and Rudradvīpa. Furthermore, Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma is the abode of the nine types of devotional service as follows: Antardvīpa – self-surrender; Sīmantadvīpa – hearing; Godrumadvīpa – chanting; Madhyadvīpa – remembering; Koladvīpa – serving the Lord’s lotus feet; Ṛtudvīpa – worshipping; Jahnudvīpa – offering prayers; Modadrumadvīpa – engaging as a servant; and Rudradvīpa – serving as a friend. (Introduction to Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma)
The result of staying only one day in Navadvīpa,
sarva-tīrthe vāsa kari’ jei phala pāi
navadvīpe labhi tāhā ekadine bhāi
O brother, the result one obtains by residing at any of the other holy places for many days will be received by residing for only one day in Śrī Navadvīpa.
Śrīla Gurudeva’s Invitation to All
While in Govardhana, Śrīla Gurudeva’s health very slowly improved, much to the joy of the devotees. On the full-moon day at the end of Kārtika, he came out of his bhajana-kutīra in a wheel-chair and spoke to all the devotees assembled there: “Just as you have come to participate in this year’s Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā, you should all come every year. Within a few months, Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma parikramā will also take place, and all of you must also participate in that parikramā. I will meet all of you there.” These encouraging words caused the devotees to resoundingly chant “Jaya Gurudeva, Jaya Gurudeva!” their throats choked with happiness.
Śrīla Gurudeva personally invited all of us to attend each parikramā, for the rest of our lives. On his behalf, we therefore humbly invite you to attend each parikramā.