The Story of Markandeya Rishi

Markandeya Rishi

The Puranas also describe a very nice pastime of Markandeya Rishi on this island. The son of Mrikanda Rishi is known as Markandeya Rishi. He was blessed by Lord Siva to live for seven kalpas. At the time of annihilation the whole earth was filled with the waters of devastation and therefore Markandeya Rishi could not find any shelter.

He was floating around and lamenting, “Why did I get such a boon of long life? Because of this I now have to go through all this trouble.”

While he was floating around he saw this land of Navadvipa. These sixteen krosas of Navadvipa were not flooded even during that time and were giving shelter to all devotees. Due to being tossed around by the waves Markandeya Rishi became senseless. Seeing him in this condition Surabhi lifted him with great care. When Markandeya Muni regained his external senses he saw the wonderful form of Godrumadvipa. He saw this island extending for hundreds of millions of krosas and its surface was decorated with many rivers and reservoirs. He saw a banyan tree that extended for one yojana (eight miles), which was where the Surabhi cow was residing. By that time the rishi was feeling very hungry. He told Surabhi, “O, Bhagavati, kindly give me some milk and thus save my life.” At that time the Surabhi cow, being very kind, fed Markandeya Rishi with her milk. The muni began to regain some strength and said to Surabhi, “O, Bhagavati! You are my mother, the whole universe is bewildered by your maya. Without proper understanding, I accepted this boon of a long life of seven kalpas. But now at the time of annihilation I am suffering terribly. My dear mother! Please tell me what I should do now. How can I become free from this suffering?” The Surabhi cow replied, “Please worship the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga. This Navadvipa is beyond the material nature. This abode is never destroyed. To our naked eye in worldly vision the size of this place is sixteen krosas. But in reality this abode is beyond the restriction of time and place. This land is Vaikuntha and always free from any faults. Material illusory energy has no influence here. Just behold this most beautiful Navadvipa-dhama which is surrounded by the river Viraja. The size of each island is sata-koti krosas, one thousand million krosas. There are eight islands forming the shape of an eight-petalled lotus. Antardvipa is situated in the center as the whorl of the lotus.

All holy places, all demigods and rishis are staying here and are engaged in worshiping Gauranga. You, Markandeya, should take shelter of the wealth of the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga here. You should follow dharma without any duplicity, giving up desires for bhukti and mukti. By taking shelter of the worship of Lord Gauranga you will very soon achieve madhuryaprema (conjugal love). When that love arises within the heart it will make you float in the mellows of vilasa-kala. You will receive shelter at the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani in Vraja-dhama and your mind will always be fixed in the service of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. You should know that the pleasure of that service is incomparable.” Hearing all this from Surabhi, Markandeya Muni spoke with folded hands, “When I see the lotus feet of Sri Gauranga what will happen to my destiny (karmaphala)?” Surabhi replied, “As soon as you utter the holy name of Gauranga, all your karma will be destroyed. You will experience no more distress. You will be free from the cycle of birth and death. Not only will you be free from the result of your karma, you will also be free from the result of jnana. You will be engaged in relishing gaura-rasa and worshiping Him sitting here on this island.” (Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya,Parikrama-khanda)