Sri Jahnava Mata appearance day on 19th of May

Glory to Navadvipa-natha, Sri Gaurasundara. Glory to Nityananda, the Lord of Ekachakra. Glory to Advaita, the jewel of Santipura. 

“Jahnava Mata is the embodiment of love of God. She is non different from Nityananda prabhu.” 

Prema Vilasa, Fifteenth Vilasa

Srimati Jahnava devi was Sri Nityananda prabhu’s wife, along with your sister Sri Vasuddha devi. She didn’t have any children but Sri Vasudha had a daughter called Ganga and a son, one of the greatest Mahantas in our Gaudiya Vaishnava society, Sri Virabhadra Goswami, who accept Sri Jahnava devi as a diksha guru. Sri Jahnava devi birthplace is Ambika Kalna (railway station nearby Navadvipa dhama station). 

Wedding place of Lord Nityananda in Kalna

Wedding place of Lord Nityananda in Kalna

Sri Jahnava devi performed wonderful pastimes as described in Bhakti Ratnakara (Narahari Cakravarti) and Prema Vilasa (Sri Nityananda das). Jahnava mata was living in Kandadaha (near Katwa) and amongst her many activities she was in Kheturi, in the first Gaura Purnima organized by Srila Narottama das Thakura and she was traveling to Ekachakra, to Sri Navadvipa Dhama and Sri Vrindavan Dham. On the way Sri Jahnava mata met many devotees and atheists also, to whom she bestowed her mercy and compassion.

“..All of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s personal associates from Bengal were very happy to see Narottama Das. Jahnava Devi, the daughter of Surya Pandit and wife of Nityananda Prabhu, worshiped by the entire universe, expert in the distribution of the pearl of prema, was delighted to hear his name. Her joy increased when she observed his uncommon love for Krishna and his renunciation. Out of her mercy, she came to Kheturi, satisfying everyone by being present there and giving her darshan to all. How can a fallen person like myself fully describe the compassionate nature of Srimati Jahnava Devi…”

(Bhakti-ratnakara 1.429-34)

“Jahnava was present when Narottama Das Thakur put on a great festival at Kheturi village to install the deities on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance day. Indeed, the installation of the deities took place under her direction. She also supervised and personally participated in the cooking of the first offering and made the first offering to the deities. She served the prasad to the assembled mahantas.

Jahnava Isvari rose early that morning in great delight and took her bath and did her mantra meditation. Then she began to cook innumerable vegetable preparations with great enthusiasm.”

(Bhakti-ratnakara 10.686-7)

Sri Jahnava’s journey to Vrindavana is describing in Bhakti-Ratnakara (Chapter eleven). In Vrindavana she met Sri Narottam das Thakur, Lokanatha Goswami and others Goswami as Rupa, Gopala Bhatta and Raghunatha das, their love exchange and what and how they speak with each other is describing in Prema Vilas’s book.

Sri Jahnava travels to Vrindavana:

“…While traveling to Vrindavana, Sri Jahnava passed through a large village and wanted to stop there for some time, but she heard that the village was the residence of many heretics who continually harassed the Vaishnavas. That evening the bhagavatas of the village came forward to meet Sri Isvari and bowed at her feet while the heretics gathered around criticizing that the Vaisnavas had no knowledge and therefore they bowed to a human being instead of worshipping demigods.

One villager thought that perhaps the Vaisnavas bowed to her because they thought she was the personification of Goddess Candi. “What do these Vaisnavas know of the grace of Sri Candi!” said another villager by comparing her to Sri Isvari, so they went immediately to the temple of Sri Candi and prayed that she might kill the foolish Vaisnavas. Then they all returned to their houses and went to sleep.

Goddess Candi, however, became angry not with the Vaisnavas but with the foolish heretics. Her eyes grew red, and her lips quivered in anger. Carrying a sharp falchion, she appeared in the dream of each of those villagers and addressed them angrily, “You are wicked, heretical, and proud, and you have deliberately insulted the parama bhagavatas,” said the Goddess. She raised her falchion to kill each heretic, simultaneously chastising him for considering Sri Isvari an ordinary brahmana woman. Sri Isvari was the wife of Nityananda, who was himself the incarnation of Balarama, and was to be worshipped by the whole universe and even by Sri Candi herself. Jahnava Isvari was competent to carry the living entities beyond their miseries and fears of this world. She was the personification of love and kindness and had no interest but showing mercy on the living entities. Candi warned them that if they did not try to get the mercy of Sri Jahnava Isvari, then her mighty falchion would send them to eternal damnation. In roaring fury Goddess Candi spoke to the village people and then disappeared.

They awoke at once from their sleep and shivered in fear as they realized their dangerous situation. When  morning arrived, they went straight to meet the mahantas carrying deep remorse within their hearts. Soaked by their own tears of self-condemnation, the villagers fell at the feet of the mahantas and prayed of forgiveness.They wanted the mercy of the mahantas, knowing that  if the mahantas forgave them, surely Sri Isvari would also forgive them. They admitted their guilt and prayed for an opportunity to take shelter of her feet. Observing their humble and repentant mood, the mahanta Prabhus forgave them, and Sri Isvari also accepted them. 

She remained two to four days in that village after blessing the heretics and then resumed her journey. The heretics had been transformed into devotees.” 

Excerpt from Bhakti Ratnakara (page 305-306).

Sri Jahnava mata instructs her disciple Sri Nityananda das:

“…Some days into our journey, I asked Jahnava Mata, “Mother, kindly tell me how to obtain the remnants of food and water that has washed a Vaisnava’s lotus feet.” Jahnava Mata replied, “My dear son, the water that has washed a Vaisnava’s lotus feet and the remnants of a Vaisnava’s food are rarely attained in this world. One needs immense piety to drink such water and eat such remnants. Have firm faith in what I have just told you, because serving the Vaisnavas and honour their remnants is the best form of worship. Serve exalted Vaisnavas who naturally possesses all good qualities. But don’t serve simply to get something in return. This attitude ruins the purpose of service…”

“Unless one renders devotional service to the Lord, his activities are useless- no matter how important they seem by material estimation. To achieve Krsna’s mercy, one should become detached from material life. One should take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and cultivate devotional service so that he can attain Krsna is this lifetime.”

“Pure devotees are members of Krsna’s family, so no one should ever be envious of them. Just as Krsna is great, so the spiritual master and other Vaisnavas are great. One must realize this truth. One who thinks that he is superior to the Vaisnavas and dares to take service from them has  not even reached the kanistha-adhikari platform. Such a person can never achieve the spiritual master’s mercy.” 

Prema Vilasa- Sri Jahnava mata meets the Goswamis of Vrindavana (page 162-163)

Jahnava devi sitting place in Sri Radha Kunda

Jahnava devi sitting place at Sri Radha Kunda

 

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in his Kalyana Kalpataru has prayed as follows at the lotus feet of Sri Jahnava Mata:

    “Having fallen into this ocean of misery, my life is a bewilderment, and I do not know how to reach its shore, nor even where to search for it.  All my efforts (karma) are useless, all my knowledge (jnana) is useless, as are mysticism (yoga), austerity, religious penance, and mundane piety. None of these processes have any power to rescue me. I am weak, helpless.  I don’t know how to swim across this ocean of ignorance.  Who will deliver me from this dangerous predicament? Within this dangerous ocean of material existence I see the crocodiles of sense gratification—what a terrible sight! Within this ocean, I am tossed about by the turbulent waves which constantly boil and churn like a ship without a rudder.  The impulses and urges that I have acquired from my previous births are like a wind that blows the ship in all directions.  My mind is unsteady.  This ship has no captain, no direction.  I weep in despair, seeing that I cannot cross this ocean of misery.  O Jahnava Devi! Today, by the power of your divine qualities, be merciful to this servant of yours. Dispel this illusion which torments me, and relieve me of the anguish of material existence. Let me take shelter at your lotus feet, for in this way I shall certainly cross over the ocean of birth and death. You are Nityananda-shakti—the divine energy of Nityananda Himself. You are the guru of Krishna-bhakti. Be merciful to me and grant me the shade of your holy lotus feet, which are like a wish-fulfilling tree. You have delivered countless abominable sinners. Please deliver me in the same way. Today, this lowly sinner falls at your holy feet, praying for your mercy.”

 

Source: Bhakti Ratnakara book , Prema Vilasa book , http://www.stephen-knapp.com/jahnava_mata.htm

 

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