Kumbhakarṇa is the name of the brother of Rāvaṇa. At the present moment the city of Kumbhakarṇa-kapāla is known as Kumbhakonṇam; it is situated twenty miles northeast of the city of Tanjoreāñ. There are twelve temples of Lord Śiva located at Kumbhakonṇam, as well as four Viṣṇu temples and one temple to Lord Brahmā. Śiva-kṣetra, within the city of Tanjoreāñ, is situated near a big lake known as Śiva-gaṅgā. At this place is a large temple of Lord Śiva known as Bṛhatīśvara-śiva-mandira. According to some, the place known as Pāpanāśana was located eight miles southwest of Kumbhakonṇam. Others say that in the district of Tinebheli there is a city known as Pālamakoṭā and that Twenty miles west of there is the holy place known as Pāpanāśana, near the river Tāmraparṇī. Śrī Raṅga-kṣetra is a very famous place. Near Tiruchchirāpalli is a river named Kāverī, or Kolirana. A city known as Śrī Raṅgam is located on this river in the district of Tanjoreāñ, about ten miles west of Kumbhakonṇam. The Śrī Raṅga temple is the largest in India, and there are seven walls surrounding it. There are also seven roads leading to Śrī Raṅga. The ancient names of these roads are the road of Dharma, the road of Rājamahendra, the road of Kulaśekhara, the road of Ālināḍana, the road of Tiruvikrama, the Tirubiḍi road of Māḍamāḍi-gāisa, and the road of Aḍa-iyāvala-indāna. The temple was founded before the reign of Dharmavarma, who reigned before Rājamahendra. Many celebrated kings like Kulaśekhara, and others such as Ālabandāru, resided in the temple of Śrī Raṅgam. Yāmunācārya, Śrī Rāmānuja, Sudarśanācārya and others also supervised this temple. The incarnation of the goddess of fortune known as Godādevī, who was one of the twelve liberated persons known as divya-sūris, was married to the Deity, Lord Śrī Raṅganātha. Later she entered into the body of the Lord. An incarnation of Kārmuka, Tirumaṅga (one of the Alwars), acquired some money by stealing and built the fourth boundary wall of Śrī Raṅgam. It is said that in the year 289 of the Age of Kali, the Alwar of the name Toṇḍaraḍippaḍi was born. While engaged in devotional service, he fell victim to a prostitute, and Śrī Raṅganātha, seeing His devotee so degraded, sent one of His servants with a golden plate to that prostitute. When the golden plate was discovered missing from the temple, there was a search, and it was found in the prostitute’s house. When the devotee saw Raṅganātha’s mercy upon this prostitute, his mistake was rectified. He then prepared the third boundary wall of the Raṅganātha temple and cultivated a tulasī garden there. There was also a celebrated disciple of Rāmānujācārya’s known as Kūreśa. Śrī Rāmapillā was the son of Kūreśa, and his son was Vāgvijaya Bhaṭṭa, whose son was Vedavyāsa Bhaṭṭa, or Śrī Sudarśanācārya. When Sudarśanācārya was an old man, the Mohammedans attacked the temple of Raṅganātha and killed about twelve hundred Śrī Vaiṣṇavas. At that time the Deity of Raṅganātha was transferred to the temple of Tirupati in the kingdom of Vijaya-nagara. The governor of Gingeeṅ, Goppaṇārya, brought Śrī Raṅganātha from the temple of Tirupati to a place known as Siṁha-brahma, where the Lord was situated for three years. In the year 1293 Śaka (A.D. 1372) the Deity was reinstalled in the Raṅganātha temple. On the eastern wall of the Raṅganātha temple is an inscription written by Vedānta-deśika relating how Raṅganātha was returned to the temple.
Śiyālī-bhairavī is located in the Tanjoreāñ district, about forty-eight miles northeast of Tanjoreāñ City. There is a very much celebrated temple of Lord Śiva there and also a very large lake. It is said that once a small boy who was a devotee of Lord Śiva came to that temple and the goddess Durgā, known as Bhairavī, gave him her breast to suck. After visiting this temple, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to the bank of the river Kāverī via the district of Tiruchchirāpalli.
In the book known as Adhyātma-rāmāyaṇa, there are statements in Chapters Twelve to Fifteen about the worship of the Deities Śrī Rāmacandra and Sītā. There it is stated that during Lord Rāmacandra’s time there was a brāhmaṇa who took a vow to fast until he saw Lord Rāmacandra. Sometimes, due to business, Lord Rāmacandra was absent from His capital for a full week and could not be seen by citizens during that time. Because of his vow, the brāhmaṇa could not take even a drop of water during that week. Later, after eight or nine days, when the brāhmaṇa could see Lord Rāmacandra personally, he would break his fast. Upon observing the brāhmaṇa’s rigid vow, Lord Śrī Rāmacandra ordered His younger brother Lakṣmaṇa to deliver a pair of Sītā-Rāma Deities to the brāhmaṇa. The brāhmaṇa received the Deities from Śrī Lakṣmaṇajī and worshiped Them faithfully as long as he lived. At the time of his death, he delivered the Deities to Śrī Hanumānjī, who, for many years, hung Them around his neck and served Them with all devotion. After many years, when Hanumānjī departed on the hill known as Gandha-mādana, he delivered the Deities to Bhīmasena, one of the Pāṇḍavas, and Bhīmasena brought Them to his palace, where he kept Them very carefully. The last king of the Pāṇḍavas, Kṣemakānta, worshiped the Deities in that palace. Later, the same Deities were kept in the custody of the kings of Orissa known as Gajapatis. One of the ācāryas, known as Narahari Tīrtha, who was in the disciplic succession of Madhvācārya, received these Deities from the King of Orissa.
The word pāṣaṇḍī refers to those who are opposed to pure devotional service. In particular, these are the Māyāvādīs, the impersonalists. A definition of pāṣaṇḍī is given in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (1.73), wherein it is stated:
yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ brahma-rudrādi-daivataiḥ samatvenaiva vīkṣeta sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam
A pāṣaṇḍī is one who thinks that the Supreme Lord Nārāyaṇa, the Personality of Godhead, is on the same level with the demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. The devotee never considers Lord Nārāyaṇa to be on the same platform with Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. The Madhvācārya-sampradāya and Rāmānuja-sampradāya are mainly worshipers of Lord Rāmacandra, although the Śrī Vaiṣṇavas are supposed to be worshipers of Lord Nārāyaṇa and Lakṣmī and the Tattvavādīs are supposed to be worshipers of Lord Kṛṣṇa. At present, in most of the monasteries belonging to the Madhva-sampradāya, Lord Rāmacandra is worshiped.
The word “Tattvavādī” refers to the followers of Śrīla Madhvācārya. To distinguish his disciplic succession from the Māyāvādī followers of Śaṅkarācārya, Śrīla Madhvācārya named his party the Tattvavādīs. Impersonal monists are always attacked by these Tattvavādīs, who attempt to defeat their philosophy of impersonalism. Generally, they establish the supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Actually the disciplic succession of Madhvācārya is known as the Brahmā Vaiṣṇava sect; that is the sect coming down from Lord Brahmā. Consequently the Tattvavādīs, or followers of Madhvācārya, do not accept the incident of Lord Brahmā’s illusion, which is recorded in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīla Madhvācārya has purposefully avoided commenting on that portion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in which brahma-mohana, the illusion of Lord Brahmā, is mentioned. Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī was one of the ācāryas in the Tattvavāda disciplic succession, and he established the ultimate goal of transcendentalism to be attainment of pure devotional service, love of Godhead. Those Vaiṣṇavas belonging to the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, the disciplic succession following Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, are distinct from the Tattvavādīs, although they belong to the same Tattvavāda-sampradāya. The followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are therefore known as the Madhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya.
It is said: tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni. A tīrtha, or holy place, is a place where great saintly personalities visit or reside. Although the holy places were already places of pilgrimage, they were all purified by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s visit. Many people go to these holy places and leave their sinful activities there, thus becoming free from contamination. When these contaminations pile up, they are counteracted by the visit of great personalities like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His strict followers. Many kinds of patients come to a hospital, which may be infected by many types of disease. Actually the hospital is always infected, but the expert physician keeps the hospital sterilized by his expert presence and management. Similarly, places of pilgrimage are always infected by the sins left by the sinners who go there, but when a personality like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visits such a place, all contaminations vanish.
This is the way of writing transcendental
books, which are never meant for so-called scholars and research workers. The
process is mahā-jano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ: one has to strictly follow great
personalities and ācāryas. Ācārya-vān puruṣo veda: one who has the favor of the
ācārya knows everything. This statement made by Kavirāja Gosvāmī is very
valuable for all pure devotees. Sometimes the prākṛtā sahajiyās claim that they
have heard the truth from their guru. But one cannot have transcendental
knowledge simply by hearing from a guru who is not bona fide. The guru must be
bona fide, and he must have heard from his bona fide guru. Only then will his
message be accepted as bona fide. Lord Kṛṣṇa confirms this in the Bhagavad-gītā
“The Supreme Lord said, ‘I instructed
this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān
instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to
In this way the message is transmitted in
the bona fide spiritual disciplic succession from bona fide spiritual master to
bona fide student. Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī therefore as usual concludes this
chapter by reasserting his faith in the lotus feet of the six Gosvāmīs. Thus he
is able to set forth this transcendental scripture, Caitanya-caritāmṛta.