na yatra vaikuṇṭha-kathā-sudhāpagā
na sādhavo bhāgavatās tadāśrayāḥ
na yatra yajñeśa-makhā mahotsavāḥ
sureśa-loko ’pi na vai sa sevyatām
na—not; yatra—where; vaikuṇṭha-kathā-sudhā-āpagāḥ—the nectarean rivers of discussions about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is called Vaikuṇṭha, or one who drives away all anxiety; na—nor; sādhavaḥ—devotees; bhāgavatāḥ—always engaged in the service of the Lord; tat-āśrayāḥ—who are sheltered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; na—nor; yatra—where; yajña-īśa-makhāḥ—the performance of devotional service to the Lord of sacrifices; mahā-utsavāḥ—which are actual festivals; sureśa-lokaḥ—a place inhabited by the denizens of heaven; api—although; na—not; vai—certainly; saḥ—that; sevyatām—be frequented.
An intelligent person does not take interest in a place, even in the topmost planetary system, if the pure Ganges of topics concerning the Supreme Lord’s activities does not flow there, if there are not devotees engaged in service on the banks of such a river of piety, or if there are no festivals of saṅkīrtana-yajña to satisfy the Lord [especially since saṅkīrtana-yajña is recommended in this age].
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in the land of Bhārata-varṣa, specifically in Bengal, in the district of Nadia, where Navadvīpa is situated. It is therefore to be concluded, as stated by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, that within this universe, this earth is the best planet, and on this planet the land of Bhārata-varṣa is the best; in the land of Bhāratavarṣa, Bengal is still better, in Bengal the district of Nadia is still better, and in Nadia the best place is Navadvīpa because Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared there to inaugurate the performance of the sacrifice of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. The śāstras recommend:
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always accompanied by His very confidential associates such as Śrī Nityānanda, Śrī Gadādhara and Śrī Advaita and by many devotees like Śrīvāsa. They are always engaged in chanting the name of the Lord and are always describing Lord Kṛṣṇa. Therefore this is the best among all the places in the universe. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has established its center in Māyāpur, the birthsite of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, to give men the great opportunity to go there and perform a constant festival of saṅkīrtana-yajña, as recommended herein (yajñeśa-makhā mahotsavāḥ) and to distribute prasāda to millions of hungry people hankering for spiritual emancipation. This is the mission of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Caitanya-bhāgavata 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 Vaiṣṇavas, pure devotees of the Lord, and no festivals for spreading Kṛṣṇa 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.” Similarly, in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī says that since Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the inaugurator of the saṅkīrtana movement, anyone who performs saṅkīrtana to please the Lord is very, very glorious. Such a person has perfect intelligence, whereas others are in the ignorance of material existence. Of all the sacrifices mentioned in the Vedic literatures, the performance of saṅkīrtana-yajña is the best. Even the performance of one hundred aśvamedha sacrifices cannot compare to the sacrifice of saṅkīrtana. According to the author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, if one compares saṅkīrtana-yajña to other yajñas, he is a pāṣaṇḍī, an infidel, and is liable to be punished by Yamarāja. There are many Māyāvādīs who think that the performance of saṅkīrtana-yajña is a pious activity similar to the performance of the aśvamedha-yajña and other such pious functions, but this is a nāma-aparādha. Chanting of the holy name of Nārāyaṇa and chanting of other names are never equal, despite what Māyāvādīs think.
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