tatah sankirtananande
sri-vidyanagaram harih
dadarsa parshadaih sardham
veda-sthanam anuttamam 

“Then, absorbed in the bliss of sankirtana, Lord Gaurahari and His associates saw Vidyanagara, the home of the Vedas and the best place to learn them.” (Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Pramana-khanda 4.45) 

The glories of Vidyanagara

 (from Navadvipa-bhava-taranga) : “This Vidyanagara is the abode of the four Vedas and the sixty-four arts and sciences. Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, undoubtedly resides here. At this place, Brahma, Siva, and the rishis revealed all the various types of knowledge to the material world. Knowing that the Lord would perform His educational pastimes here, Brihaspati left his residence in Svarga (heaven), and in his appearance as Vasudeva Sarvabhauma, he taught many types of knowledge according to the various prescribed processes at Vidyanagara. Whoever lives at Vidyanagara and sings the glories of Gauranga becomes a fortunate teacher and will never know grief. Whoever takes to the worship of Gauranga and receives the darsana of His transcendental form will be freed from all ignorance.”

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura meditates: “Will I ever see Gaurasundara as He goes to Vidyanagara, being attracted to acquiring knowledge? The Lord defended His devotee here and chastised Devananda Pandita with strong words for committing an offense to Srivasa Thakura. Even Ananta Sesha does not fully understand the pastimes of my Lord. When He becomes absorbed in these activities, what is His real intention? Why does He give up chanting to chastise the students who criticized Him? What type of happiness does He derive from defeating His teachers? But whatever the Lord does is a cause of bliss. The Lord is independent, and I am simply His servant. My very limited intelligence has no power to judge Him. All the inhabitants of Navadvipa who act as the Lord’s teachers, nourish His eternal pastimes and are worthy of my respect. All of you please be merciful to this miserable pauper; give me the qualification for nama-sankirtana. I make this petition to the tirtha of Vidyanagara: May the ignorance which hides Gauranga’s identity never cover my mind. May my mind transcend this maya.” (Navadvipa-bhava-taranga)

Why is this place named Vidyanagara?

From Ritudvipa, Isana Thakura proceeded towards Vidyanagara. With great ecstasy in his heart, Isana Thakura spoke very sweet words to Srinivasa, Narottama and Ramacandra, “Just behold this Vidyanagara. How beautiful it looks! I will now tell you why this place is known as Vidyanagara. One day in the assembly of the demigods, Brihaspati became very concerned. Seeing Brihaspati in this condition, the demigods inquired about the reason for it. Brihaspati replied in great ecstasy, ‘In this Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear in the city of Nadia in the house of Jagannatha Misra. Lord Gauracandra, the son of Jagannatha Misra, manifests different pastimes in different incarnations. He was very expert in the art of weaponry during His incarnation as Lord Ramacandra. He was the chief in grazing cows when He appeared as Sri Krishnacandra. In this incarnation as Sri Gauracandra He will be the most learned. Others cannot understand what great joy His pastimes will manifest. The Lord will fulfill all His desires. He will enjoy like never before. I cannot control myself any longer. I must go to Navadvipa immediately and worship the Lord there upon His appearance.’ Saying these words, Brihaspati started his journey, meditating upon the srividya pastimes of the Lord every day. Brihaspati came here to Nadia because the Lord would manifest His educational pastimes here. In this regard Vrindavana Dasa Thakura has mentioned in Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, ‘For this pastime the most worship able Brihaspati, along with his disciples, appeared in Navadvipa.’ Isana Thakura continued, “O, Srinivasa! Brihaspati worships Sri Gaurasundara in this Vidyanagara. The Lord revealed to Brihaspati that He would soon descend to Navadvipa along with His associates and He ordered Brihaspati to appear there as well, to preach various branches of knowledge. Brihaspati was very pleased to hear this and began to study with such dedication that it cannot be described. Brihaspati started to preach about education (vidya) for the pleasure of the Lord. Therefore this place is known as Vidyanagara. One will achieve all kinds of perfection by visiting Vidyanagara. In this Vidyanagara Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu along with His associates would visit the devotees from house to house with great pleasure.” In Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya Lord Nityananda has explained to Sri Jiva: “Navadvipa-dhama exists eternally. Even at the time of pralaya(annihilation), this dhama remains untouched and pure in the form of an eight-petaled lotus. At that time, all the incarnations and hundreds of fortunate living entities stay in one portion of this lotus. Vidyanagara is located in Ritudvipa, where the Lord in His transcendental form of Matsya resides at the time of annihilation, holding all the Vedas. This place is named Vidyanagara because all knowledge (vidya) stays here, taking shelter of the Vedas.”Just by hearing the word Vidyanagara one becomes free from all ignorance!

(a passage from the Bhakti-ratnakara)

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