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The Revelation in a Dream to Bhaktivinoda Thakura For the Discovery of Sri Caitanya’s Birth Site
In the year 1887 Thakura Bhaktivinoda thought within himself, “Quickly taking leave from government service I will go to some forest in Vraja on the sandy banks of the Yamuna and perform bhajans with Bhaktibhringa Mahashaya till the end of life.” In this way the Thakura continuously reflected within himself this desire.
One time on some government service he went to the town of Tarakeshvara. There in Tarakeshvara one night Bhaktivinoda had a dream in which the Supreme Lord in his form as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to him and spoke. The Lord said to Bhaktivinoda, “You will certainly go to Vrindavana, but first there is some service you must perform in Navadvipa, so what will you do about that?” Upon saying this, the Lord disappeared and the Thakura awoke. Bhaktibhringa Mahasaya, upon being told of the dream by Bhaktivinoda, advised the Thakura to apply for a government transfer to the district heardquarters at Krishnanagara, which was right near Navadvipa.
The Thakura made great endeavors to get a transfer to the land of Lord Caitanya and to gain this end he even declined to accept the offers of the personal assistant to the Chief Commissioner of Assam and the office of the Minister of Tiperrah State. He even applied to the government for pension with a view to retire from government service, but the application was not accepted. Thus failing in his efforts to be relieved of his official duties, he at last arranged in December of 1887 a mutual exchange with the Deputy Magistrate of Krishnanagara, Babu Radha Madhava Vasu and thus went to Krishnanagara to execute his mission given to him by the Lord.
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The Discovery of Sridhama Mayapura
While stationed at Krishnanagara Thakura Bhaktivinoda would go again and again to the present day city of Navadvipa and search in various places for the birth site of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
One time, in the dead of night, Bhaktivinoda sat on the roof of the Rani Dharmashala in Navadvipa chanting the Holy Name on his beads and as he looked out toward the north he spotted a very tall Tala tree with some very strange substance attached to it. Near the tree was a small building which gave off a remarkable effulgence. Seeing this vision, the Thakura became extremely eager to find the true place of Mahaprabhu’s appearance.
With this in mind he went to the Krishnanagara Collectory where he began to study some very old manuscripts of Caitanya-bhagavata and Narahari Sarakara Thakura’s Navadvipa Dhama Parikrama as well as some old maps of the district of Nadia.
Going to the nearby village and inquiring from many of the elderly people there, Bhaktivinoda came to know of many facts about the modern-day town of Navadvipa and the old Navadvipa on the eastern banks of the Bhagirathi (Ganges) River. After this, through much research and endeavor, Thakura Bhaktivinoda was able to understand that the place he had seen that night on the roof of the dharmashala was the actual site of Sri Caitanya’s birth.
The year was 1887 and this discovery was a shining landmark in the history of Vaisnavism in India. Thakura Bhaktivinoda had brought to light the divine place of Caitanya’s birth and his discovery was confirmed by Jagannatha dasa Babaji, the then religious head of the Gaudiya Vaishnava community in Nadia. On that eventful day thousands of visitors were present at the spot where a grand Vaishnava festival was held. Jagannatha dasa Babaji was so old at the time that he had to be brought there carried in a basket. He could not walk but once he came in contact with the spiritual atmosphere at Sri Caitanya’s birthplace, he literally jumped in the air in ecstasy, confirming the significance of the location. The result of this discovery was the production of a book by Bhaktivinoda entitled Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya.