Suvarna-vihara is located in Godrumadvipa on the southern side of the River Sarasvati. This river is at present known as the Jalangi. Lord Nityananda described this place to Sri Jiva as follows: During Satya-yuga King Suvarna Sena was ruling here. He had ruled his kingdom for a long time and even though he had become very old he was still very attached to his kingly duties. He was always engrossed in material life and once due to his good fortune Narada Muni visited his palace. The king was very happy to see Narada Muni and welcomed the sage by worshiping him nicely. He offered prostrated obeisance to Narada Muni, who then took the king to a solitary place and mercifully explained to him tattva-upadesa (instructions about tattva). Narada Muni said, “You are spending your days uselessly only meditating on how to increase your wealth. You should know very well that this material wealth is useless and the cause of all suffering. The real supreme wealth is transcendental knowledge. Please try to think about this for once seriously within your heart. None of your family members, like your wife and children and all your relatives, are yours eternally. At the time of your death no one will be yours. When you die, all your relatives will put your body into river water to float away and go back to their respective houses. If no one is a real relative of anyone then why you do run after these false hopes, hankering for so much material achievement? If you say that at least you are achieving pleasure in your life and are free from suffering and that is your justification for trying to accumulate so much wealth, dear king, that is also false, because this body will be destroyed one day. It will not exist for more than a hundred years. Therefore you should understand that the essence of everything is beyond this illusory material world in the spiritual world, where there is no trace of suffering in the enjoyment. In this material world some enjoyment is there but it always comes along with suffering. One should know how to cross over material nescience. What kind of sadhana should one follow to achieve that wonderful result of going back to Godhead, where there is no sorrow or suffering? Not only by renunciation nor just by knowledge can one achieve that. By knowledge and renunciation one may become free from material bondage and get liberation. But by achieving that kind of liberation one does not get real pleasure. In fact to get that kind of liberation is the greatest loss, because material pleasure is lost and at the same time not much worthwhile is achieved. Therefore the actually intelligent person will not accept bhukti or mukti, material sense gratification or liberation. Rather they practice devotional service to Lord Sri Krishna. To be detached from material things and attached to the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna is everything in one’s life – sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana.
The jiva is the eternal servant of Sri Krishna. Without bhakti everything is destroyed. The tree of bhakti, bhakti-vriksha, gives the fruit of prema. That fruit is prayojana or the final goal of life. That krishna-prema is our eternal wealth, in comparison to which bhukti and mukti are insignificant. Sri Krishna is sat, cit and ananda. He is like the sun, the jivas are like rays of the sun and maya is the shadow. The jiva is the tatastha energy of the Lord and due to his marginal nature, when he comes in contact with maya she puts him in bondage. When the jiva becomes krishnabahirmukha or turns his face away from Krishna, he touches maya
By coming in contact with maya the jiva falls into the bondage of karma. Being caught by the net of maya the jiva moves around in the material universes and undergoes lots of suffering. Due to his attachment to karma he does not get liberation even if he tries his best to be free from suffering. Sometimes the jiva engages in karma, sometimes he engages in the ashtanga-yoga process, sometimes he discusses brahma-jnana. Sometimes he engages in logic. In spite of all these he ultimately remains in bondage, due to his non-acceptance of the real wealth of knowledge about the science of the self. If the jiva, while traversing this material world, gets the association of a sadhu then he will achieve sraddha or faith. In due course of time by practicing devotional service to Sri Krishna in the association of devotees, his heart will become free from anarthas, unwanted desires, and then he will achieve nishtha,steadiness.
After continuing his bhajana, at some time due to that nishtha, he will develop ruci or taste and then later he will develop attachment or asakti to the Lord. From asakti he will attain bhava, which will later bring him to the platform of prema. This is the gradual process of achieving pure devotion. By practicing the nine kinds of devotional service in the association of devotees, one will achieve the wealth of krishnaprema.” Narada Muni continued, “Oh, King! You are very fortunate to have taken birth in Navadvipa. By residing in this Navadvipa-dhama you have achieved great fortune. Now you should try to develop sraddha by the association of sadhus. Strive to achieve prema by engaging in the chanting of the holy name of Krishna. When Kali-yuga comes, Sri Krishna along with His associates will manifest here for His gauranga-lila. One who chants the holy name of Lord Gauranga will get the mercy of Lord Sri Krishna and will become eligible to reside in Vraja-dhama. One who worships Lord Sri Krishna without chanting the holy name of Lord Gauranga will get Sri Krishna after a long time, but one who chants the holy name of Gauranga will attain Sri Krishna immediately, because by chanting the holy name of Gauranga he will become free from all offenses.” While speaking to King Suvarna Sena in this way, Narada Muni became very impatient. Due to great ecstasy he could not control himself any more and started dancing, chanting the holy name of Gauranga. He was playing on his vina, chanting the name of Gaurahari and asking, “When will that most blessed Kali-yuga come?” While speaking these words Narada Muni left. Just at that moment King Suvarna Sena developed krishna-prema and started to dance, chanting the name of Gauranga.
He was asking for krishna-prema from all the Vaishnavas and thus became free from all material desires. Once when the king was sleeping, he dreamt that Gaura-Gadadhara along with all Their associates were dancing in his courtyard. All of them were chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and embracing the golden form of Lord Gaurahari. When the king woke up, he became very worried and started to cry for Gauranga. Suddenly he heard a voice, “O, King! You will appear here again during the manifested pastimes of Lord Gauranga. You will be one of the great associates of the Lord. Your name will be Buddhimanta Khan. During that time you will serve the lotus feet of the Lord.” After hearing this daiva-vani (heavenly voice) the king became pacified and started to worship Lord Gauranga. While Lord Nityananda was describing this subject to Srivasa Thakura, who is an incarnation of Narada Muni, Srivasa in the mood of Narada Muni fainted. Everyone very ecstatically started to chant the nectarine holy name of Gauranga and Sri Jiva was rolling around on the ground. All of them were anticipating and praying for the darsana of the golden form of Gauranga. Immediately, to their surprise, the most beautiful form of Gauranga appeared there right in front of them and He started to dance. Nityananda along with Sri Advaita Acarya began chanting the glories of Gauranga Mahaprabhu and there was a big sankirtana with many mridangas. Thus the previous sankirtana pastimes were manifested and all of them remained there in great jubilation until the second prahara (midnight). (Navadvipa – dhama – mahatmya , Parikrama – khanda )
Srila Narahari Cakravarti Thakura in his book Sri Bhakti-ratnakara has explained the pastimes at Suvarnavihara as follows:
Once Isana Thakura took Sri Srinivasa on parikrama and described how this place became known as Suvarnavihara. In this country there was a most fortunate king who was a great devotee of Lord Sri Krishna. Narada Muni has many disciples and grand-disciples, one of whom came to the king’s palace one day. The king received him with great respect and offered him prostrated obeisances. The king then asked him about the advent of the Lord. With very pleasing and sweet words he (the disciple of Narada Muni) explained to the king, “The Lord will descend in Kali-yuga accepting a golden color and exhibit wonderful pastimes. He will be engaged in sankirtana which is rarely witnessed by the demigods including Brahma. The Lord will be mad with nama-sankirtana and will make the whole world mad. Just as the Lord danced in maha-rasa in Vrindavana, in the same way He will dance and give pleasure to all His devotees. All Navadvipa will be filled with happiness. No one can understand the glories of Navadvipa-dhama unless the associates of the Lord explain them to him.” After speaking in this way to the king, that great Vaishnava blessed him and left.
Hearing his words the king thought to himself, “Shame on my life, shame on my birth as a human being. I always engaged in kingly activities. It is my bad fortune that I never had the association of devotees. Without the association of devotees no one achieves perfection in anything.After such a long period this most merciful sadhu has now blessed me. Now I know this Nadia is the abode of my Lord.” Considering this he felt ecstasy in his heart and started to shed tears looking towards Navadvipa while offering prostrated obeisances to the holy dhama. He prayed to Navadvipadhama to bless him so that he could take birth at the time when the Lord would manifest His pastimes there. Just then a voice said, “You will take birth here in Nadia when the Lord descends and manifests His pastimes.” Although the king was happy to hear this he was still impatient. Bhaktavatsala Bhagavan Visvambhara, under the pretext of a dream, revealed to the king His wonderful pastimes. The king saw thousands of devotees playing different varieties of musical instruments and singing in a very sweet way which attracted the whole world. Among those devotees, he saw the moon of Nadia, Sri Gauracandra, in His most beautiful blue form of Sri Krishna appearing like a stream of nectar. The king saw the form of Sri Krishnacandra and immediately that blue form transformed to gold. The king started to think, “Who is this golden form (suvarna-vigraha) moving (vihara) in the crowd of sankirtana?” While the king was thinking like this his dream ended. He became pacified and glorified his own good fortune. Because he meditated on the Lord in His golden form (suvarna-vigraha). The king started to think , “Who is this golden form ( suvarna – vigraha ) moving ( vihara ) in the crowd of sankirtana ? ” who was moving (vihara) there, this place is named “Suvarna-vihara”.
At this very place Lord Gauranga was present in His manifested pastime. He performed sankirtana here and many people relished seeing His dancing. With great ecstasy people would speak to each other, “We have never seen such a beautiful complexion. There is no comparison to it. His moving and dancing is so wonderful that it attracts the people of the three worlds.” The mind of one who takes darsana of Suvarna-vihara will drown in the pastimes of Gauranga.
Darsana times: 6-10 a.m. and 3-8 p.m.
Directions: Leaving the Harihara temple return to the Amghata Railway Station and turn right. Continue down the main road for a short distance. Take the road on the left at Syampur Bazar and turn right at the end onto a smaller dirt road. After you go past some houses the road will become smaller and you will come to a number of small paths leading in different directions. Take the second path on the left. You will pass a large campaka tree on the right side of the path. The temple is at the end of this short path.
Presiding deities: Life-sized Lord Caitanya plus Srimati Radharani and Krishna.
Point of interest: Palace ruins: Although the ruins of King Suvarna Sena’s palace used to be visible in the nearby mango orchard, they had to be moved near the temple as they were being gradually stolen. If you ask the helpful devotees here, they will show you what is left of the original ruins of the palace.