Bhishmadeva, the son of King Santanu, was born from his mother Ganga-devi at this place. He then studied with Brihaspati in the heavenly planets. When his studies were completed, Ganga-devi brought him back to earth and left him in the care of his father. At this time Bhishma came to see his maternal grandfather Jahnu Muni and he was told that Lord Caitanya would appear in Navadvipa-dhama. Jahnu Muni also instructed him on religious principles, political science, the Supreme Lord and devotional service. While Bhishma was lying on his deathbed of arrows at Kurukshetra, he spoke about the appearance of Lord Gauranga.
“In His early pastimes He appears as a householder with a golden complexion. His limbs are beautiful, and His body, smeared with the pulp of sandalwood, seems like molten gold. In His later pastimes He accepts the sannyasa order, and He is equipoised and peaceful. He is the highest abode of peace and devotion, for He silences the impersonalist nondevotees.” (Vishnu – sahasra-nama-stotra)
Bhishmadeva performed austerities and received darsana of Lord Caitanya. The Lord informed Bhishma that he would attain Navadvipa in the future and that he would teach King Yudhishthira the highest knowledge at the time of death.
(from Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Parikrama-khanda)
Bhishmadeva is the son of Gangadevi. Since Ganga-devi appeared from Jahnu Muni, she became his daughter and thus Jahnu Muni became the grandfather of Bhishmadeva. After some time Bhishmadeva came here to meet his grandfather and grandmother. Jahnu Muni very affectionately kept Bhishmadeva at his asrama for a long period, during which he taught him about dharma. Bhishma passed this knowledge on to Yudhishthira while lying on the battlefield of Kurukshetra on a bed of arrows. While staying in Navadvipa, Bhishmadeva received bhakti and therefore became famous as a great Vaishnava. The island of Jahnudvipa is therefore very purifying. Only the most fortunate people eternally reside here.” That day Lord Nityananda, along with His associates, stayed in Jahnudvipa in the house of the devotees. The next morning He took all the devotees to Modadrumadvipa.
Srinivasa, “Previously this place was known as Jannadvipa. Jahnu Muni used to reside here in Navadvipa very happily. Once he thought, ‘This Kali-yuga is more blessed than other Kali-yugas, because Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will appear. He, along with the dear devotees of all His incarnations, will descend in this Navadvipa-dhama during the first part of Kali-yuga. He will accept an incomparable golden bodily lustre and His bodily movements will be very pleasing. He will perform many wonderful pastimes in Navadvipa. Will my desire be fulfilled to see these nectarian pastimes of the Lord?’ His mind fixed in meditation with great bliss, the muni worshiped Sri Gauracandra who attracts the entire universe by His beauty. When the sage closed his eyes, the merciful Lord appeared within his heart. The Lord revealed Himself in His beautiful form of Syamasundara, attracting everyone in the three worlds. His body was gracefully bent in three places and a peacock feather decorated His head. He was playing His flute which He held gently in His hand and His most beautiful face was dazzling. While the sage was beholding this form, he saw the Lord transform into a young sannyasi. The Lord in His sannyasi form was holding a danda and a kamandalu (waterpot) in His hands and His head was shaved without any sikha. He was wearing saffron-colored cloth and a kaupina. The radiance of His body defeated the glare of millions of suns. When the muni saw this, he could not control himself anymore and he opened his eyes. Upon doing so he saw the Lord standing in front of him face to face. The Lord’s beautiful curling hair was making everyone mad. Many dazzling ornaments decorated His body, the effulgence of which lit the universe. Even gold appeared without luster in comparison to this glow. His bodily movements destroyed the pride of millions of Kandarpas. By seeing this form, Jahnu Muni experienced great bliss and ecstasy. Seeing the sage in this condition, SriGaurahari pacified him by His mercy. Jahnu Muni fell at the lotus feet of the Lord in great bliss and washed His lotus feet with the tears pouring from his eyes. He offered many prayers standing in front of the Lord and fixed his eyes on His lotus face. The Lord embraced him again and again, saying, ‘All of your desires will be fulfilled.’ The Lord then disappeared and by His desire Jahnu Muni regained his composure. He began to praise his good fortune, ‘After all these days finally my austerity has been successful.’ The muni then looked in all directions with a great desire to behold the glories of Nadia. He began constantly chanting the glories of Nadia-candra, SriGauranga, day and night. His body was smeared with dust and soaked with his tears. Jahnu Muni lived at this place with great pleasure and therefore this place is known as Jahnudvipa.” IsanaThakura continued, “My heart breaks to remember the sweet pastimes Lord Gauracandra performed in Jahnudvipa. There was a nice flower garden here, which people would say was the place of austerity of Jahnu Muni. By seeing this place one will become free from all suffering and develop pure bhakti unto the lotus feet of Sri Prabhu.”
Directions: This is on the main Navadvipa -Katwa road shortly before the turn off to go to Mamgachi. There is no asrama there now, but the place can be identified by the big banyan tree there. It is said that Jahnu Muni’s asrama was situated under this tree.
Lord Nityananda along with other devotees entered Jannagara and they witnessed the beauty of the tapovana (hermitage) where Jahnu Muni resided. Lord Nityananda said, “This island, known as Jahnudvipa, is non-different from Bhadravana of Vraja-mandala. At this place Jahnu Muni performed tapasya causing Lord Gauranga to appear in front of him in His golden form. Here Jahnu Muni used to chant his Gayatrimantra as the Bhagirathi River was flowing near his asrama. Once, the muni’s acamana cup and spoon fell into the powerful river and were carried away by the strong current of the Bhagirathi. Jahnu Muni was furious and drank the entire Ganga. Naturally King Bhagiratha was disturbed by this and thought, ‘Where did Ganga disappear to?’ He became very worried when he came to know that Jahnu Muni had drunk all the water of the Ganga. King Bhagiratha then worshiped Jahnu Muni for some time to please him. Being pleased with the King, Jahnu Muni cut his thigh and let Ganga flow out from his body. Since then her name has been Jahnavi and she became famous as the daughter of Jahnu Muni.” Somewhere else it has been mentioned that the Ganga flowed from sage Jahnu’s ear.