Once a gentleman challenged me, “Why do you confine Śrī Chaitanyadev to Bengal? Why do you say Śrī Chaitanyadev’s followers are ‘Gauḍīya’ Vaiṣṇavas? You chant the Lord’s Names: ‘Chaitanya’, ‘Gaura’, ‘Nimāi’, and so on. But ‘Gauḍa’ means Bengal. To say ‘Gauḍīya’ Vaiṣṇava, is to confine Śrī Chaitanyadev to a province. Why do you promote ‘Gauḍīya’ Maṭh and ‘Gauḍīya’ Vaiṣṇava-dharma? I cannot adjust to this.”
Devotee: What should be the answer to that, Mahārāj?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: It is generally given that ‘Vṛndāvan’ does not mean a particular province, town, or forest. It has its broad meaning. So, ‘Nabadwīp’ and ‘Gauḍa’ may be taken in that sense. If we can understand Nabadwīp Dhām proper, then we will understand that Nabadwīp Dhām is not situated in a particular province. It has the dignity that Vṛndāvan has.
Devotee: So Gauḍa Maṇḍal is the same as Vraja Maṇḍal?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Gauḍa Maṇḍal is Vraja Maṇḍal. The word ‘Gauḍa’ comes from the word ‘guḍ’. ‘Guḍ’ means miṣṭi, sweet. When something is sweet, it may be described by the synonym ‘guḍ’. Guḍ represents sweetness. So Gauḍa Maṇḍal: “the sweet land”. There is no sweetness anywhere like that found in Vṛndāvan and Nabadwīp. In Vṛndāvan, it is confined in a particular group, but in Nabadwīp, it is being distributed. Here people come to know, “Yes. It is sweet.” They get the chance to taste, appreciate, and declare, “Yes! It is sweet!” But in Vṛndāvan, even Lakṣmī Devī cannot purchase a ticket. Lakṣmī Devī, the goddess of wealth, cannot purchase a ticket to enter the Rāsa-līlā.
Devotee: So Nabadwīp is the actual land of nectar?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: At least the public may come to understand that nectar does exist. Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa tasted nectar in Their harem in Vṛndāvan, and then They combined to distribute it to the public in Nabadwīp. That is the unique thing about Nabadwīp: the two highest interested parties have combined to give nectar to others.