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r r guru-gaurgau jayata

r V r aja- m a a l a Pa r i k r a m

vndvana sakhi bhuvo vitanoti krti yad devak-suta-padmbuja-labdha-lakmi govinda-veum anu matta-mayra-ntya prekydri-snv-avaratnya-samasta-sattvam
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.21.10)

O sakh, the fame of the Earth is enhanced, having been splendidly decorated with the marks of r Kas lotus feet. Upon hearing Kas flute song, the peacocks take it to be the thunder of the clouds and, becoming intoxicated, begin to dance. When the other animals in the meadows of Govardhana see this, they also feel pleasure and become stunned. Thus, the presence of r Vndvana on the Earth makes this planet even more glorious than Vaikuha.

Other English Titles by r rmad Bhaktivednta Nryaa Gosvm Mahrja

Arcana-dpik Bhakti-rasmta-sindhu-bindu Bhajana-rahasya Bhakti-rasyana Bhakti-tattva-viveka Brahma-sahit Controlled By Love Dmodara-ll-mdhur Essence of the Bhagavad-gt Five Essential Essays Going Beyond Vaikuha Happiness in a Fools Paradise Jaiva-dharma Mana-ik Pinnacle of Devotion Prabandhval Secret Truths of the Bhgavatam Secrets of the Undiscovered Self iva-tattva r Gt-govinda r Harinma Mah-mantra r Navadvpa-dhma Parikram r ikaka r Upademta rla Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm His Life and Teachings rmad Bhagavad-gt The Butter Thief The Essence of All Advice The Nectar of Govinda-ll The Origin of Ratha-ytr The Way of Love Veu-gta r Gauya Gti-guccha Camatkra-candrik A Moonbeam of Complete Astonishment Dmodarakam Prema-sampua The Treasure Chest of Divine Love Rays of the Harmonist (periodical)

For further information, free download of all titles and world tour lectures, please visit: First Edition: Krtika 2001 (2000 copies) Second Edition: Krtika 2007 (5000 copies) ISBN 81-86737-34-0 Gaudiya Vedanta Publications 2007
Photo of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. (
Printed at: Samrat Offset Pvt. Ltd., + 91 11 40503223-28 e-mail:

by r rmad Bhaktivednta Nryaa Gosvm Mahrja

Introduction (to the first Hindi edition) / xv Preface (to the first English edition) / xix Acknowledgments / xxii

Part One The Nature of Vraja / 5

Goloka and Vraja (Gokula) / 7 Vraja: the eternal abode of paraky-bhva, the mood of unwedded amorous love / 8 Vraja: the land of enchanting beauty and sweetness / 9

The Borders of Vraja / 15 How to Observe Vraja-maala Parikram / 19

Vow at Virma-gha / 19 The rules for Vraja-maala parikram / 19 The timing of the parikram / 20

Places Visited on Vraja-maala Parikam / 23

Vraja-maalas sixteen banyan trees / 25 Mountains in Vraja-maala / 25


r v raja-maala parikram

o viupda r rmad Bhaktivednta Nryaa Gosvm Mahrja

nitya-ll-pravia o viupda r rmad Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja

Part Two

Mathur / 28
The Glories of r Mathur / 33 r Kas Birthplace (r Ka Janma-sthna) / 38 Virma-gha / 45 The Yamuns Twenty-four Ghas / 49 Places to Visit on the Mathur Parikram Path / 59

Madhuvana / 94

Tlavana / 104


nitya-ll-pravia o viupda r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja

nitya-ll-pravia o viupda r rmad Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat Prabhupda

Kumudavana / 112

Bahulvana / 122

Rdh-kua & yma-kua / 134 The appearance of Rdh-kua & yma-kua / 142 The history of the kuas after Ka left for Dvrak / 144 r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm at Rdh-kua / 147 The kuas as described in Ka-bhvanmta and Govinda-lilmta / 149 Some of the surrounding temples / 155


r v raja-maala parikram

Jihv-il and other nearby places / 162 Famous ghas of r Rdh-kua & r yma-kua / 168 The rsa-maalas of r Rdh-kua / 179 The seven Mahdevas acting as area-protectors (ketra-plas) of r Rdh-kua / 179

Govardhana / 182 The Appearance of r Govardhana in Vraja / 190 Pastime Places on the Govardhana Parikram / 193 Pastime Places Visited After Parikram of Govardhana / 245

Kmyavana (Kmavana) / 260

Pastime Places in Kmyavana / 264 The Gates of Kmyavana / 294 Pastime Places Visited After Parikram of Kmyavana / 295


Varsn (Vabhnupura) / 308 Pastime Places in the Area of Varsn / 315 Pastime Places Visited After Parikram of Varsn / 335

Nandagaon / 352 Pastime Places Within the Compound of Nanda-bhavana / 364 Other Pastime Places in Nandagaon / 368

Jvaa (Yva Grma) / 400

Kokilvana and Other Pastime Places / 416


r v raja-maala parikram

Bhadravana & Bhravana / 474

Mavana / 486

Baelvana & Lohavana / 496

Mahvana-Gokula & Rval / 510

The Pastime Places of Mahvana / 517 r Caitanya Mahprabhu in Mahvana / 532 Gokula / 533 Rval / 535

Akrra-gha/ 540
Yaja-sthala / 547 Bhojana-sthala (Bhtrola-gaon) / 547

Vndvana/ 552
The Magnificence of r Vndvana / 563 r Caitanya Mahprabhu and r Vndvana / 565



The Pastime Places of r Vndvana / 567 The Temples of r Vndvana / 619 The Twelve Forests of r Vndvana / 655 The Famous Ghas of r Vndvana / 659 Other Features of r Vndvana / 663
vCity quarters (mohalls) / 663 vFamous samja and samdhis / 664 vFamous kuas / 665 vFamous wells (kpas) / 665 vDevs (goddesses) / 665 vMahdevas / 665 vBanyan trees (vaas) / 666 vKadamba trees / 666

Glossary / 669 Index over Places / 681

Maps & Diagrams

Mathur / 3637 Kujas around Rdh-kua & yma-kua / 150151 Rdh-kua & yma-kua / 176 Detailed Map of Rdh-kua / 178 Govardhana / 194195 Govardhana Town / 196 Family Tree of r Kas Maternal Relatives / 286287 Varsn / 316 Family Tree of r Kas Paternal Relatives / 358359 Nandagaon / 363 Vndvana / 570571


(to the first Hindi edition)


n 1946, I took shelter of the lotus feet of my most worshipful spiritual master, o viupda r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja. From that time, by his causeless mercy, I received the good fortune to travel with him. On many occasions, I was highly blessed to perform parikram and have darana of sacred places (trthas) throughout all of India. We visited places such as r Gaurga Mahprabhus birthplace (Mypura Yogapha); the islands of r Dhma Navadvpa; pastimes places and other sacred places of Gaua-maala; Vaidyantha Devaghara; Mandra Madhusdana; Gay; K; Prayga; Ayodhy; Naimraya; the places rman Mahprabhu visited in South India; Dvrak and other places of pilgrimage of West India; Ajant-Elor of Central India; the sacred places of Rjasthna, such as Jaipur and Ajmer; and all the pastime places of Vraja-maala. Furthermore, after rla Gurudeva left this world to enter his unmanifest pastimes, I was fortunate enough to again visit and


r v raja-maala parikram

perform parikram of these sacred pastime places several times under the guidance of the r Gauya Vednta Samiti. Above all, however, I received the great opportunity of performing Vraja-maala parikram on foot each year with my most worshipful holy master and some five hundred faithful devotees. r Gurudeva entrusted the responsibility of serving r Keavaj Gauya Maha to me in 1954. Since then, I have annually been performing Vraja-maala parikram with the brahmacrs of r Keavaj Gauya Maha and some of the many devout and respectable residents of Mathur. Thus, I have been fortunate to have performed Vraja-maala parikram more than fifty times in over fifty years. After the disappearance of rla Gurudeva, I gave lectures during r Vraja-maala parikram on the pastime places and their glories. A short compilation of these lectures was published in English a few years ago in a book entitled r Vraja-maala Parikram. This book was highly regarded by faithful persons in India and abroad, and all copies quickly sold. Time and again, devotees from all parts of the world asked for it to be reprinted, with yet more pastime places to cover the entire Vraja-maala. I could not ignore their requests, and attempted to fulfil their desire. But then I left India and began travelling round the world to countries big and small, to preach pure bhakti as taught and practised by r Caitanya Mahprabhu. I was writing other books on bhakti at the time, and was suffering recurrent poor health, so I could not complete the task. After returning from preaching abroad in July 1999, I wanted to finally finish the book, but, once again, was obstructed by sudden ill health. Under these circumstances, I decided to present myself at the lotus feet of rman Mahprabhu acnandana Gaurahari in the Gambhra, at the lotus feet of r Haridsa hkura at Siddhabakula, and at the lotus feet of r Gaddhara Paita, the potency of rman Mahprabhu, at oa Gopntha in r Jaganntha Pur. I resolved to complete this book there, only by their mercy. I stayed



in Pur-dhma for some time and on Vivarpa-mahotsava, 25th September, 1999, completed Vraja-maala Parikram. I have based this book on r Caitanya-bhgavata, r Caitanyacaritmta, Bhakti-ratnkara by r Narahari Cakravart, Vrajabhakti-vilsa by r Nryaa Bhaa, and especially Vraja-maala Darana (Parikram) compiled by r Kadsa Bbj Mahrja of Kusuma-sarovara. I have also collected various references to different pastimes from Govinda-llmta by r Kadsa Kavirja Gosvm, Ka-bhvanmta composed by vraja-rasa rasika r Vivantha Cakravart hkura, and the various works of the Gosvms. In this regard, I remember my spiritual master, paramrdhya aotara-ata r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja, by whose mercy I received everything on the subject of Vraja-maala parikram and the many pastime places in Vraja. I have strung these recollections together with references to the pastime places from the various literary works. Before meeting my holy master and receiving his causeless mercy, my life was void. Begging for a particle of the mercy of r Guru, r Bhaktivednta Nryaa r arada-prim r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrjas disappearance day 13th October, 2000 (26 vina, 2057 Savat)


(to the first English edition)


or those sincere devotees who deeply desire to enter into the sweetness of r Vraja-dhma, this book is cause for great joy. It takes the faithful reader on an extraordinary journey through Vraja, following the same general route taken annually on r Vraja-maala parikram. r Vraja-maala parikram was inaugurated by r Caitanya Mahprabhu Himself. r rmad Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat hkura Prabhupda re-established it in October 1932, and his dear most disciple, r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja, sustained it in the decades that followed. Our beloved spiritual master, o viupda r rmad Bhaktivednta Nryaa Gosvm Mahrja, has been guiding pilgrims on this parikram since 1954, thus fulfilling the inner hearts desire of all the cryas in our line. The Western world was first introduced to r Vraja-maala parikram by the causeless mercy of r rmad Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja, who founded the International Society for Ka


r v raja-maala parikram

Consciousness (ISKCON) in July 1966 and spread the teachings of rman Mahprabhu to every corner of the globe. For more than twenty years, Western devotees have been helped to gain a further appreciation of r Vraja-dhma by rla Bhaktivednta Nryaa Gosvm Mahrja who emphasises the value of trying to deeply enter rla Rpa Gosvms teachings on bhakti. This English translation of r Vraja-maala Parikram is another of the priceless gems that he is giving to the English-speaking world. This volume is basically a direct translation of the Hindi edition with some slight changes to the order of the material, mostly to provide greater continuity. We were guided in our efforts by our dear Gurudeva, as well as by rmad Bhaktivednta Mdhava Mahrja, rman Pundarika dsa Brahmacr and rman Mdhava-priya dsa Brahmacr. This rendition of r Vraja-maala Parikram is not meant as a catalogue of information or data. Rather, it is meant to stir the heart of the faithful and inquisitive readers, inspiring them to understand more deeply the sweet Vraja pastimes of the Divine Couple, r Rdh-Ka, having directly heard them spoken from the lips of a pure Vaiava. I am grateful to Janak ds for translating r Vraja-maala Parikram into English. She was assisted by Manjull ds and Gaura-hari dsa. Vaijayant-ml ds and Sundara-gopla dsa edited the text and helped in various ways to bring this book to print. The manuscript was proofread by Vicitr ds, Majar ds and many others. Ka-karuya dsa Brahmacr did the layout. Photographs for the book are courtesy of Hemant Kumr, Kaliyadamana dsa, Sarad ds, Rpa-Raghuntha dsa Brahmacr, Bhakta Charles and others. I would also like to extend my thanks to Nanda-kiora dsa, Purandara dsa Brahmacr, rmat Um dd, Vndvana-vilsin ds, Sudarana dsa, Kiora-ka dsa, Atula-ka dsa and rnivsa dsa for their valuable help. I also want to express my heart-felt gratitude to the devotees in the Mathur Maha, under



the guidance of rman Premnanda dsa Brahmacr, who are always supporting the Western devotees by providing hari-kath, prasda, lodging and their hospitality in general. Finally, I want to thank Rdh-knta dsa, Rati-kal ds and Rma-knta dsa, whose generous financial contributions made this production possible. I humbly beg our readers to overlook any imperfections they might find within this book. Anything that is pleasing and that touches the heart is the result of the mercy of our spiritual master, and any errors are due to my own inadequacies. Aspiring to serve r Guru and the Vaiavas, nti ds


to the second English edition:

Translation Check: nti ds

A cknowledgments
rpad Bhaktivednta Mdhava Mahrja, rman Mdhava-priya

Translation Consultation: rpad Bhaktivednta Trtha Mahrja, dsa Brahmacr, rmat Um Dd, Prima ds

Editing: Vaijayanti-ml ds, Viu-priy ds

Editing Input: Sundara-gopla dsa, ymarn ds Arturo Martinez

Layout, Design & Cover Design: Ka-karuya dsa, Vasanta dsa, Layout, Design & Cover Design Input: Gaura-gopla dsa, Jaya-gopla Artwork: Vasanta dsa, Arturo Martinez Maps: Ka-karuya dsa, nti ds English Proofreading: Sulata ds dsa, Prema-pradpa dsa, Vraja-mohana dsa

English Proofreading Input: rpad Bhaktivednta Tridai Mahrja, Photos: Kliya-damana dsa & arad ds, Kior-mohana dsa & Sudev ds, Ka-karuya dsa, ankaraa dsa, nti ds, Additional Photos: Anit ds, Banwari Lal Singhania, Candramukh ds, Selected Paintings: Indubhuaa dsa, Vasudeva dsa, ymarn ds and In various way the following devotees gave their generous assistance to the Vndvana-vilsini ds many others Dmodara dsa, Ka-may ds, Mahmantra dsa, Nryaa dsa Sukhnanda dsa Subala Sakh dsa, Vasant ds

production of this book: Brajantha dsa, Rati Majar ds, a-kla ds,

Pronunciation Guide
We have used standard diacritical markings to indicate the specific pronunciation of Sanskrit and Hindi words. Pronounce like a in father, like ea in neat, like oo in root, like ri in rip, and like ng in hung, and like sh in shy, and c like ch in chap.


Part One

The Nature of Vraja

rajati ga cchati iti vraja that which moves around is Vraja. This is the original understanding of the word vraja. The places where Nanda Bb dwelt and moved around with his cows, calves, family and associates are called Vraja. Vrajanti gva yasminnati vraja the land where the cows, cowherd men, cowherd boys and cowherd girls wander is known as Vraja. Vraja particularly denotes the land of the Supreme Person Vrajendra-nandana r Kas pastimes. The flirtatious hero of Vraja, r Ka, is akhila-rasmtamrti, the embodiment of the nectar of all primary and secondary spiritual tastes, or rasas. In this Vraja, He performs His eternal pastimes with rmat Rdhik, who is the embodiment of mahbhva (the essence of r Kas pleasure potency), and His other associates. The most exalted of all nectar-filled pastimes, namely, r Kas rsa-ll, and His numerous other pastimes, take place here eternally. In this Vraja, every glance

r v raja-maala parikram

and gesture is filled with rasa. Here, the original enjoyer, r Govinda eternally enjoys nectar-filled sports and pastimes with those gops who have manifested from His own intrinsic form (svarpabht gops). These pastimes have no beginning and no end. That place where there is nothing but an endless ocean of prema, whose waves of the most elevated, radiant mellow of intimate paramour love (unnatojjvala-praaya-rasa) are constantly rising up and swelling over, is Vraja. That place consisting purely of rasa, that is continuously savoured by those expert in relishing loving mellows (rasikas), and those who can taste transcendental mellows (bhavukas), is the land of Vraja. rmad-Bhgavatam (10.44.13) gives a deeply moving description of Vraja: puy bata vraja-bhuvo yad aya n-liga gha pura-puruo vana-citra-mlya g playan saha-bala kvaaya ca veu vikraycati giritra-ramrcitghri
O sakh, the actual truth is that the land of Vraja is supremely pure and blessed, because here the Supreme Person is living, disguised as a human being. That same Lord, whose lotus feet are worshipped by the lord of all lords, Mahdeva akara, and by r Ram-dev, wanders about here with His brother Balarma and His cowherd boy friends. Adorned with a garland of multicoloured flowers, He grazes the cows and plays the flute sweetly. Absorbed in many kinds of pastimes, He wanders here and there with delight. By the touch of His lotus feet, this land of Vraja has become virtuous and successful.

The Skanda Pura also presents a beautiful definition of the word vraja: gutta para brahma vypaka vraja ucyate sadnanda para jyoti muktn padavyayam

The Nature of V raja

Parabrahman, the Supreme Absolute Truth, is beyond the three modes goodness, passion and ignorance and because He pervades every single particle of the universe, He is called vraja. His place, the embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss, is supremely brilliant and indestructible. Residing here are the supreme connoisseurs of ecstatic transcendental mellows, who are liberated from material existence.

Goloka and Vraja (Gokula) r Caitanya-caritmta (di-ll 5.17) states:

sarvopari r-gokula vrajaloka-dhma r-goloka, vetadvpa, vndvana nma
r Gokula, the topmost abode, has many names Vraja, Goloka, vetadvpa and Vndvana.

Thus, these names are all considered synonymous. rla Rpa Gosvm, an intimate associate of rman Mahprabhu, resolves any confusion about Gokula and Goloka in his book r Laghubhgavatmta: yat tu goloka-nma syt tac ca gokula-vaibhavam; td tmya-vaibhavatva ca tasya tan-mahimonnate. He states here that the glory of Gokula is identical with the glory of Goloka. In fact, Goloka is merely the glory of Gokula. Similarly, Vndvana and Gokula are simply different names for Vraja. The second verse of Brahma-sahit describes this Gokuladhma: sahasra-patra-kamala gokulkhya mahat-padam tat karikra-tad-dhma tad-ananta-sambhavam rla Bhaktivinoda hkura has explained the meaning of this verse as follows: Mah-Vaikuha, or Paravyoma-dhma, is eternally situated beyond the Viraj River. This holy abode is the embodiment of three divine opulences: being imperishable, free from sorrow and free from all types of fear. The extremely sweet

r v raja-maala parikram

Gokula, otherwise known as Goloka, which is full of unlimited transcendental opulence, is situated beyond that Paravyomadhma. Sometimes Goloka is also called Gokula, but Goloka is actually the opulence or manifestation of Gokula, the abode of all sweet pastimes. This holy abode, radiant as Goloka or Gokula, appears in the form of Gokula below Vaikuha on the Earth planet. In r Bhad-bhgavatmta (2.5.168), the quintessence of all scriptures, rla Santana Gosvm writes: yath krati tadbhmau goloke pi tathaiva sa adha rdhvatay bhedo nayo kalpyeta kevalam
Kas pastimes in Gokula, which is situated on the material plane, are the same as those in Goloka. The only difference between Goloka and Gokula is that Goloka is situated in the highest region and Gokula manifests on the Earth planet.

In Ka-sandarbha, rla Jva Gosvm has accepted Goloka as the manifestation of Vndvana.1

Vraja: the eternal abode of paraky-bhva, the mood of unwedded amorous love In r Caitanya-caritmta (di-ll 4.47) rla Kavirja Gosvm states:
paraky-bhve ati rasera ullsa vraja bin ihra anyatra nhi vsa r Bhaktivinoda hkura comments in his Amta-pravha-bhya on this verse: Many people think that r Ka is performing His pastimes eternally in Goloka and appears in Vraja for a short time just to perform His pastimes in paraky-bhva, the mood of unwedded amorous love. This, however, is not the opinion of our Gauya gosvms, who accept also the pastimes in Vraja as eternal. Vraja is the name of the absolute inner chamber of the

The Nature of V raja

transcendental and eternal Goloka-dhma. The same pastimes r Ka performs in Vndvana on Earth, including those of paraky-rasa, transpire eternally in the supremely situated, eternal Vraja-dhma. rla Kavirja Gosvm states in r Caitanya-caritmta (dill 3.10): avia catur-yuge dvparera ee vrajera sahita haya kera prake Here the words vrajera sahita, along with Vraja, clarify that also existing in transcendental Goloka-dhma is one inconceivably sweet abode named Vraja. r Ka appeared on Earth along with this very abode, with the help of His inconceivable potency. Paraky-rasa is permanently present only in this eternal Vraja, which lies within the inner chambers of Goloka. This is because the supreme mellow, paraky-rasa, is present there with qualities unlimitedly superior to those found anywhere else in Goloka. Even in the Vraja manifest on this Earth planet, living entities have been able to directly witness the variegated nature of the unmanifest Vraja in the transcendental realm. Besides prakaapraka (the manifest appearance) and aprakaa-praka (the unmanifest appearance) the only remaining mystery is that on Earth there is also a dyamna-praka, which is the vision ordinary people have of Vndvana and other holy abodes when the pastimes are no longer manifest there.

Vraja: the land of enchanting beauty and sweetness Brahma-sahit (5.56) describes Vndvana-dhma, or Goloka, in this way:
riya knt knta parama-purua kalpa-taravo drum bhmi cintmai-gaa-may toyam amtam kath gna nya gamanam api va priya-sakh cid-nanda jyoti param api tad svdyam api ca

r v raja-maala parikram

sa yatra krbdhi sravati surabhbhya ca su-mahn nimerdhkhyo v vrajati na hi yatrpi samaya bhaje vetadvpa tam aham iha golokam iti ya vidantas te santa kiti-virala-cr katipaye
I worship that supreme abode of vetadvpa, where the Supreme Personality Vrajendra-nandana r Ka is the only lover; where His svarpabht vraja-gops, the embodiment of all Lakms, are the beloveds; where every tree and creeper is a transcendental desire-tree; where the earth is made of spiritual touchstone and the water is nectar; where speech is like melodious song and movements are like dance; where the flute is the dear female companion; where light is full of knowledge and bliss; where each and every supreme, transcendental object is all tasty and delectable; where great divine oceans of milk continually flow from the udders of uncountable surabh cows; and where transcendental time is eternal, and without past and future, so that even half a moment never slips away. In this material world, only rare, saintly personalities behold this abode as Goloka, and only those who are the objects of Gokulapati r Kas mercy can understand the nature of this abode.

The g-veda (1st maala, skta 154) also describes Vrajadhma: t v vstnyumasi gamadhyai yatra gvo bhrig aysa atrha tadurgyasya v parama padamavabhti bhri
Vraja-Vndvana is the Lords topmost dhma, or sacred abode. There, the Supreme Personality r Ka, the object of the Vedas, sweetly plays His flute and protects the roaming cows, who have many good qualities and beautiful horns.

In rmad-Bhgavatam (10.21.10), the gops themselves sing the glories of Vndvana:


The Nature of V raja

vndvana sakhi bhuvo vitanoti krti yad devak-suta-padmbuja-labdha-lakmi govinda-veum anu matta-mayra-ntya prekydri-snv-avaratnya-samasta-sattvam
O sakh, the fame of the Earth is enhanced, having been splendidly decorated with the marks of r Kas lotus feet. Upon hearing Kas flute song, the peacocks take it to be the thunder of the clouds and, becoming intoxicated, begin to dance. When the other animals in the meadows of Govardhana see this, they also feel pleasure and become stunned. Thus, the presence of r Vndvana on the Earth makes this planet even more glorious than Vaikuha.

The gops also say, O sakh, all of the six seasons many flowers, such as bel, jh, camel, campaka and kadamba, bloom all over Vndvana. Their fragrance reaches far and wide, inviting bees to partake of their honey. They come in swarms to drink this honey and, becoming intoxicated, start humming. This sound seems to come from Vana-dev, the goddess of the forest, who, having anticipated the arrival of Madhupati Ka, now welcomes Him. When birds with sweet and melodious voices like the uka, pika and papha, hear the humming of the bees, how can they remain silent? They are also immersed in bliss, and fly from one tree to another and from one branch to the next. Vndvana resonates with their harmonious singing, that echoes all over the hills and across rivers and ponds. Aha, Vndvana is such an extraordinary and astonishing sacred abode. In this Vndvana, the sweet splendour of spring, the king of all seasons, is ever present, and a green velvety carpet covers the surface of the earth. Lotuses of many colours bloom in the ponds and rivers, and the branches of the trees are well adorned with fully-bloomed camp, camel, bel, jh and other delightfully fragrant flowers, whose nectar is relished by intoxicated bees. The entire atmosphere is pervaded with both transcendental bliss and


r v raja-maala parikram

the intoxication of youth. These combine to create a kingdom of ever-increasing joy that captivates the body and mind. Playing sweetly on His flute, Vrajendra-nandana r Ka roams throughout this land of Vraja along with His elder brother, Balarma, and Their innumerable cowherd boy friends and cows. This land of Vraja is blessed; where the creator of the universe, Lord Brahm, dwells in the form of a mountain range in Varsn, to have the dust of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Kas lotus feet on his head; where the maintainer, Lord Viu, has assumed the forms of Govardhana and Viu-parvata; where the moon-crested Mahdeva (Lord iva) has taken up residence as Nandvara Hill in Nandagrma; and where Uddhava, the best of r Haris servants, lives as a blade of grass, a small shrub and a creeper on the bank of Kusuma-sarovara. Here in Vraja, the Supreme Lord r Ka becomes the calves and relishes the tender and delicious grass.2 Here the young girls of Vraja go daily to wells and other sources of water (pana-ghaas) on the pretext of filling their water-pots, but in fact they go only to fill the pots of their hearts with the rasa of ka-prema. Panaghaa jna dai r, panaghaa jta hai My friend, please let me go to the pana-ghaa, otherwise the resolve (pana) to meet my beloved will diminish (ghaa jeg). To protect this resolve, the young girls of Vraja would crowd the pana-ghaa, carrying their clay pots. At this place, which is filled with rasa (rasl), the Vraja girls begin to dip their pots in the water on the pretext of filling them. Then, the rasl flute of the crown jewel of all rasikas fills the air with rasa. Who even notices whether these girls of Vraja fill their pots or bring them back empty? O my friend, this is all the wonder of that pana-ghaa. The topmost relisher of transcendental mellows, Vrajendranandana, repeatedly drowns in rasa in the sweet groves that echo with the rippling sounds of the Klind River, and in the twisted and narrow rasl lanes. He drowns in the rasl teasing of the rasl girls of Vraja in the heated disputes He has with them;


The Nature of V raja

in their crooked, sweet glances; in the sweet conversations and water-sports He enjoys with them. Who can describe the glories of such a place as Vraja? r Santana Gosvm has explained the meaning of Vndvana in the following way, vndasya samhasya, avana rakaa plana yasmt tat vndvana that place which maintains, nourishes and protects everyone is called Vndvana. This land of Vndvana conceals its godly nature (bhagavad-bhva) and lovingly maintains the herds of cows and calves, and the society of gopas and gops. The Supreme Lord r Ka, being controlled by their love, does not leave Vndvana even for a moment: vndvana parityajya sa kvacin naiva gacchati (r Caitanya-caritmta, Antya-ll 1.67; quoted in Laghu-bhgavatmta 1.5.461). r Nryaa Bhaa describes the land of Vraja as enchanting, and expresses this with exquisite feelings: brajbhmi mohin mai jn mohin kuj, mohan r-bndvan mohan jamun pn mohin nri sakal gokul k bolti mohin bn r-bha ke prabhu mohan ngar mohin rdh rn
Vraja-bhmi is enchanting the groves are enchanting, r Vndvana is enchanting and the waters of the Yamun are enchanting. All the women in every part of Gokula are enchantresses who speak in an enchanting way. r Bhaas master and mistress are Mohana Ngara and Mohin Rdhrn.


r-vndvanasya praka-vieo golokatva; tatra prpacika-loka-prakaa-llvakatvenvabhsamna prako goloka iti samarthanyam During Brahm-vimohana-ll (the bewilderment of Lord Brahm) r Ka assumed the form of all the calves and cowherd boys for one full year, thereby bewildering the four-headed Lord Brahm.


The Borders of V raja

raja-maala extends for about 168 miles (eightyfour kosas). Garga-sahita (khaa 2) states: prgudcy bahirado dakiasy yado purt pacimy oitapurn mthura maala vidu
That land between Bahirad (Barhada) in the north-east, Yadupura (the village Baevara of rasena) in the south and oitpura (Sonhada) in the west, and which measures eightyfour kosas, has been called Mathur-maala, or Vraja, by learned persons.

F.S. Growse in his Mathur A District Memoir quotes the following verse: it barhad it sonahad ut srsen k gon braj caurs kos mei mathur maal mh


r v raja-maala parikram
On one side is Bara, on another side, Sona and on the third side is the town of Srsena; these are the limits of the Braj Chaursi, the Mathur circle.

It is clear from this couplet, that Bara marks the boundary of one side of Vraja, Sonhada marks another side, and Baevara, or the village of rasena, marks the boundary on the third side. Bara is situated in the present district of Aligarh in the north-east corner of Vraja-maala. Sonhada lies in the present district of Guragaon in the state of Haray, which is in the north-west corner of Vrajamaala. Its ancient name is Soitpura. The village of rasena is the village of Baevara in the revenue district of Bha. The area between these places is called Vraja-maala. The borders of Vraja-maala are also mentioned in the Brahma Pura.1 According to this Pura, Hsyavana lies in the east of Vraja-maala, Janhuvana in the south, Parvatavana in the west and Sryapattanavana in the north. Corresponding to this description, Hasanagaha of the Agra district, which lies in the east, is known as Hsyavana; in the west, Bah-grma near Kmyavana in Rjasthna is known as Parvatavana; in the south, Jja-grma of the Dhaulapura revenue district is famous as Janhu; and in the north, near Jevara-grma of the Aligarh district, lies Sryapattanavana. In the eighty-four kosas of Vraja-maala, there are forty-eight different forests (vanas), which includes upavanas (sub-forests), prativanas and adhivanas. According to the Padma Pura, there are twelve principal forests situated east and west of the Yamun. They are (1) Mahvana, (2) Kmyavana, (3) Madhuvana, (4) Tlavana, (5) Kumudavana, (6) Bhravana, (7) Vndvana, (8) Khadravana, (9) Lohavana, (10) Bhadravana, (11) Bahulvana and (12) Baelvana. Of these twelve forests, seven lie on the western side of the Yamun Madhuvana, Tlavana, Kumudavana, Bahulvana, Kmyavana, Khadravana and Vndvana. The


The Borders of V raja

remaining five Bhadravana, Bhrvana, Baelvana, Lohavana and Mahvana are situated on the Yamuns eastern side. The Varha Pura mentions twelve upavanas: (1) Brahmavana, (2) Apsarvana, (3) Vihvalavana, (4) Kadambavana, (5) Svaravana, (6) Surabhivana, (7) Premavana, (8) Mayravana, (9) Mnegitavana, (10) eayvana, (11) Nradavana and (12) Paramnandavana. The Bhaviya Pura mentions the following twelve prativanas: (1) Rakavana, (2) Vrttvana, (3) Karahvana, (4) Kmavana, (5) Ajanavana, (6) Karavana, (7) Kkipanavana, (8) Nandaprekaa Kavana, (9) Indravana, (10) ikvana, (11) Candrvalvana and (12) Lohavana. Finally, the Viu Pura describes the following twelve adhivanas: (1) Mathur, (2) Rdh-kua, (3) Nandagaon, (4) Gaha, (5) Lalit-grma, (6) Vabhnupura, (7) Gokula, (8) Balabhadravana, (9) Govardhana, (10) Jvaa, (11) Vndvana and (12) Saketvana. This adds up to forty-eight forests in all.


caturdika pramena prvdikramatogaat prvabhge sthita koa vana hsybhidhnaka bhge ca dakie koa ubha janhuvana sthita bhge ca pacime koe parvatkhyavana sthita bhge hyuttarakoasya srya patana sajaka ityet vraja maryd catukobhidhyin


How to Observe V raja-maala Parikram

Vow at Virma-gha
efore starting Vraja-maala parikram, one should take a vow (sakalpa) at Virma-gha in Mathur. This vow should be made through the medium of a Vaiava devoted to bhajana, any devotee, trtha-guru or Vrajavs priest who is simple-hearted, learned in the scriptures and philosophical principles, virtuous, merciful, nonenvious and non-avaricious. When the vow is taken, parikram may begin.

The rules for Vraja-maala parikram While performing parikram, one should as far as possible observe certain positive and negative injunctions. The positive injunctions are as follows: to speak the truth, to observe celibacy, to sleep on the ground, to forgive the offences of others, to take bath in the holy rivers or ponds, to do camana, to accept only prasda offered to the Supreme Lord, and to perform harinmakrtana on tulas beads or perform harinma-sakrtana in the 19

r v raja-maala parikram

Taking vow at V irma-gha

assembly of Vaiavas. One should perform the parikram by properly respecting and worshipping the brhmaas, deities, sacred places and the Supreme Lords pastime places encountered during the course of the parikram. Coming now to the negative injunctions it is prohibited to become angry; to commit any violence towards trees, creepers, small shrubs, cows and so forth along the parikram path; to dishonour brhmaas, Vaiavas and so on; to disrespect the deities; to use soap and oil; to shave; to kill ants and other living entities; to involve oneself in disputes; and to criticize others.

The timing of the parikram Gauya Vaiavas follow r Caitanya Mahprabhus own journey through Vraja. Hence, some people start their parikram after Vijay-daam in the month of vina (OctoberNovember) in autumn. This is because, according to r Caitanya-caritmta,


How to Observe V raja-maal Parikram

rman Mahprabhu arrived from r Nlcala-dhma (Jaganntha Pur) at this time to have darana of Vraja-maala. Other Gauya Vaiavas start their parikram and krtika-vrata niyama-sev on the Ekda of the bright fortnight in the month of vina and complete their vow on Devotthna-ekda of the bright fortnight in the month of Krtika. Most Gauya Vaiavas, however, make their vow for both Krtika niyama-sev (or rj-vrata) and Vrajamaala parikram on rady-prim. They then complete the krtika-vrata and Vraja-maala parikram after Devotthnaekda on Krtika-prim. The Vaiavas of the Nimbrka sampradya start Vrajamaala parikram on the Daam after r Ka-janmam. They complete their parikram in one-and-a-half months. The Vaiavas of Pumrga (the Vallabha sampradya) start their parikram on the Daam or Ekda after r Rdham and complete it in approximately two months.


Places V isited on V raj a-maala Parikam

ilgrims on Vraja-maala parikram have darana of the pastime places of Vraja-maala in the order given below. Some places appear more than once in this list, because there are often alternative routes to get from one place to another. Vraja-maala parikram begins in r Mathur. After having darana of this city, pilgrims visit the forests of Madhuvana, Tlavana and Kumudavana. Then they proceed to ntanu-kua, Gandhevara, Bahulvana, Rl, Magher, Jaita, akakar (Chakar) and Garua-Govinda. From Garua-Govinda, one can go to Bahulvana if one has not already done so. Pilgrims then visit Maro, Datih (Daty), Aiga, Mdhur-kua, Jakhna-gaon, Toa, Janat, Vasati, Mukhar, r Rdh-kua and r ymakua. After this, pilgrims make their way to Kusuma-sarovara, Nrada-kua, Gvl-pukarii, Yugala-kua, Killola-kua,


r v raja-maala parikram

Mnas-gag, the town of Govardhana, Indradhvaja-ved and Jamunvati. From there, one proceeds to Prsaul, Paih-gaon and Bacha-gaon (Vatsavana), and then to nyora-gaon, Gaur-kua, Sakaraa-kua, Govinda-kua, Navala-kua, Apsar-kua, akra-kua, Pchar, yma-hka, Rghava Paitas cave, Surabhi-kua, Airvata-kua, Haraji-kua, Jatpur, Bilachukua and Cakrevara Mahdeva. Thereafter, one comes to Sakh-sthal, Nma-gaon, Para, Kujer, Pli, ervali, Mna, Shra, Srya-kua, Peraku, Bhdra, Kon and Vasati. One can now take darana of r Rdhkua and Govardhana if one has not already done so. Pilgrims then make their way to Jvaka-kua, Gulla-kua, Ghol, Beheja, Devara, Munira, Paramdan, Badr-nryaa, Guhn, Kho, lpura, di-badr, Paop, Kedrantha, Bilonda, Caraa-pah, Bhojana-thl and Kmyavana. After Kmyavana, one goes to Vajer, Sunahar Kadambakha, cgaon, Sakhgir-parvata, Varsn, Gahvaravana, abhor, Rasol, Prema-sarovara, Saket, Rihaura, Meherna, Satvsa, Nander, Bhojana-thl, Nuner, gravaa, Bichoravana, Vanacar, Hoal, Dahgaon, Llpura, Kmera, Harval-gaon, Scul, Geo, Nandagaon, Kadamba-er and Jvaa. Thereafter, pilgrims visit Dhanaig, Kos, Payagaon, Chattravana, Nar-Semar, Skh, rab, Raav, Bhdval, Khpura, mrva, Rahey, Km, Karehl, Pes, Ludhaul, janauka, Khadravana and Bijavr. One can now also visit Nandagaon if one has not already done so. Pilgrims now make their way to Kokilvana, Cho-baihana, Ba-baihana, Caraa-pah, Rasaul, Kovana, Khm, ea, Rpanagara, Majha, Rmapura, jn, Khelanavana, Obe, Rmagha, Kraa, Akayavaa, Gop-gha (Tapovana), Cra-gha, Nanda-gha and Bhaya-gaon. After this come Jaitapura, Hjar, Balhr, Bjan, Jeol, akaroy, sa, Devsa, Parkhama, Caum, Aja, Sihn, Rehn, Pasaul, Baraul, Taraul, E, Se, M and Bas.


Places v isited on V raja-maala Parikram

Thereafter, one crosses the Yamun to have darana of Bhadravana, Bhravana, Ma, Baelvana, Mna-sarovara, r, Pngaon, Lohavana, Rval, Gahu, yaro, Kapura, Bd, Dj, Htaur, Brahma-gha, Cintharaa-gha, Mahvana, Gokula, Kailo and Bd-grma. Crossing the Yamun again, one comes to Nauragbd, Mathur, Akrra-gha and Vndvana with its twelve forests Bhtrol (Aalavana), Kyrvana, Vihravana, Gocraavana, Klya-damanavana, Goplavana, Nikujavana (Sev-kuja), Nidhuvana, Rdhvana (Rdh-bga), Jhlanavana, Gahvaravana and Papaavana.

Vraja-maalas sixteen banyan trees On their journey through Vraja-maala, pilgrims may be fortunate enough to have darana of the following prominent banyan trees (vaas): (1) Vavaa Vndvana (9) Manoramavaa (2) Vavaa Bhravana (10) vaa (3) Saketvaa (11) Aokavaa (4) Bhravaa (12) Kelivaa (5) Jvaa (13) Brahmavaa (6) rvaa (14) Rudravaa (7) Jajuavaa (15) rdharavaa (8) Kmavaa (16) Svitrivaa Mountains in Vraja-maala Pilgrims on Vraja-maala parikram will visit or pass close by the following hills or mountains (parvatas): (1) Girirja-Govardhana (2) Setu-kandar-parvata di-badr-nryaa (3) Sgrikara-parvata Jhlana-sthna (4) Nla-parvata near ar-ikhara (5) nanddr-parvata near ar-ikhara (6) Udyna-parvata (7) akhaka-parvata 25

r v raja-maala parikram

(8) di Kedrantha-parvata near Kmyavana (9) Caraa-pah Kmyavana (10) Indrasena-parvata (a stone slide) Kmyavana (11) Vyomsura-guf (a cave) Kmyavana (12) Bhojana-thl Kmyavana (13) Viu-cihna-pda-parvata Kmyavana (14) Lukluk-kandar Kmyavana (15) Bajan-il (a musical stone) Kmyavana (16) Suvarcala Sunahar-gaon (17) Caraa-pah Nandagaon (18) Aor-parvata cgaon (19) Sakhgiri-parvata cgaon (20) Viu-parvata Varsn (21) Brahma-parvata Varsn (22) Nandvara, or Rudra-parvata Nandagaon (23) Cho (small) Caraa-pah near Baihana


Part Two

Mathur-dhma is blessed, Vaikuha, the holy abode of in Mathur for only one day Lord Hari, and by residing that most rare love of God, which is difficult to obtain a person attains devotion to being superior even to

r Nryaa. By residing

here three nights, one attains

even for great liberated souls.


The Glories of r Mathur

here are seven holy cities on the Earth that award liberation Ayodhy, Mathur, Mypur (Haridvra), K, Kc, Avantk (Ujjain) and Dvrvat (Dvrak). Of these, Mathur, the birthplace of the Supreme Lord r Ka candra, is the topmost. This abode not only awards liberation, but also bestows love of God (bhagavat-prema). Mathur is the Supreme Lords abode consisting of eternity, knowledge and bliss and it is completely beyond the illusory energy. It is protected by the Sudarana cakra1, and is therefore not affected by the universal dissolution or other disruptions. What to speak of Vaikuha, it is even more praiseworthy than Dvrak, which is ornamented by r Kas queens.2 This city of Mathur is never annihilated. In the beginning of Satyayuga, the child Dhruva met Devari Nrada here. Dhruva took bath in the Yamun at Dhruvagha (in Mathur) and accepted the nma-mantra of the Lord from Nrada


r v raja-maala parikram

Muni. Nearby at MadhuvanaMahol, he attained perfection by worshipping Bhagavn. Also in Satyayuga, Durvs i arrived here while the devotee Mahrja Ambara was in the course of breaking his vow of observing Ekda and Dvda, and it was here that Durvs realised Ambara Mahrjas glory. Even today, Cakratrtha and Ambaral stand as witnesses to how Ambara Mahrja was protected by the Sudarana cakra. In Tretyuga, on the order of r Rmacandra, r atrughna killed the son of the demon Madhu, Lavasura, here. This pastime is wellknown. In Dvparayuga, Mathur became famous as the place of r Kas appearance and the site of His many pastimes. It is also well known that r Kadvaipyana Vedavysa took birth here on an island in the Yamun. In Kaliyuga the Supreme Lord acnandana r Gaurahari, resplendent with the lustre and inner sentiments of r Rdh, came to take darana of Vrajadhma. First He reached Mathur, where He took bath at Virmagha, and then visited the pastime places within the eightyfour kosas of Vrajamaala. Gauya literature describes that r Advaita crya, r Nitynanda Prabhu, r Lokantha Gosvm and r Bhgarbha Gosvm arrived in Mathur before r Caitanya Mahprabhu. r Caitanya Mahprabhus intimate associates, such as r Rpa, r Santana and other gosvms, came to Mathur and Vraja after Him and roamed throughout the land. r Caitanya-caritmta and Bhaktiratnkara further describe that later all our Gauya cryas came to Mathur Vrajamaala. The abundant glories of Mathur are described in the Puras. Bhagavn r Keavadeva is present in the heart of this abode, which is likened to the whorl of a lotus. On the northern petal, in Vndvana, is r Govindadeva by whose darana a person is forever liberated from the cycle of birth and death. On the eastern petal, at Virmagha, is the form of the Lord named Virnti, and on the southern petal is divarhadeva, who bestows allperfection.3



Bathing in any of Mathurs sacred waters destroys all the sins of any living entity, and each and every step taken in Mathur gives the same result as performing a horse sacrifice (avamedha-yaja). The Supreme Lord Himself says in the di-varha Pura: O Vasundhar, certainly, in all the three worlds the hellish planets, the world of humans and the celestial realm nowhere is as dear to Me as Mathur. 4 He further states in the same Pura: O Vasundhar, during Cturmsya, My time of sleep, all the oceans, lakes and places of pilgrimage dwell in Mathur. 5 Skanda Pura mentions that the result attained by residing in any other part of Bhratavara (India) for hundreds and thousands of years is attained simply by remembering the city of Mathur.6 Whoever chants and fasts in Mathur becomes free from sin by taking darana of r Kas birthplace.7 A sinful person who has killed a brhmaa, who is a drunkard, who kills cows, or who has violated celibacy, becomes free of these sins merely by circumambulating Mathur. All those who come from other faroff places to perform Mathur parikram and to have darana of the pastime places here become free from all kinds of sins. Not only that, if one simply takes a vow to reside in Mathur, he becomes free from all kinds of material entanglements. It is written in the Padma Pura that one who desires to have darana of Mathur, but leaves his body before getting this opportunity, will surely take birth in Mathur in a future life.8 There is not the slightest doubt about this. Only those with firm, unshakeable devotion for r Ka, and who are the objects of His abundant mercy, can have attachment to this Mathurpur, which is beyond the material world.9 In Vyu Pura it is written that Mathurmaala is within the eightyfour kosas of Vrajamaala, and that the Supreme Lord r Hari Himself eternally resides here.10 The Vyu Pura further states that Mathurdhma is blessed, being superior even to Vaikuha, the holy abode of r Nryaa. By residing in Mathur for only one day a person attains devotion to Lord Hari, and by


r v raja-maala parikram

To Govardhana

To Delhi


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. r Ka Janmasthna Potrkua Virmagha Praygatrtha Beglgha Dhruvatrtha itrtha Asikua Somatrtha Sarasvatpatanatrtha Cakratrtha Gokaratrtha, Gokara Mahdeva Ppalevara Mahdeva Ragabhmi, Ragevara Mahdeva, Kasala r Keavaj Gauya Maha Bhtevara Mahdeva, Ptladev


17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

Jnavp Mahvidydev DrghaViu Mathurdev, r Padmanbhaj divarha Temple Dvrkada Temple



ndvana To V

12 11


10 9

Bharatpur Holi Gate Gate

19 20


Durvsa rma



4 5 6 7
To Gokula

Dampier Nagar New Bus Stand

14 15
Old Bus Stand


Mathur Canttoment Railway Station


r v raja-maala parikram

residing here three nights, one attains that most rare love of God, which is difficult to obtain even for great liberated souls. 11 rla Rpa Gosvm has written in r Mathur-mhtmya: O Avanti, become ready with a spittoon in your hands. O Mypur (Haridvra), become ready to fan with a cmara. O Kci, take an umbrella in your hand. O Ki, hold wooden sandals in your hands and be ready. O Ayodhy, do not be afraid any more. O Dvrak, do not chant any prayers today. This Mathurdev, who today has become the chief queen of r Ka, the great King of kings, is pleased with all of you maidservants. 12

r K as Birthplace
(r Ka Janmasthna) Around 5,200 years ago, at the end of the last Dvparayuga, the Supreme Lord r Kacandra appeared as the son of r Vasudeva and Devak in the prison house of the brutal King Kasa. Seeing the childs divine and wondrous fourarmed form, the colour of a dark rain cloud, Vasudeva and Devak began glorifying Him. In His four hands He held a conch shell, a disc, a club and a lotus flower; on His chest was the mark of rvatsa; and the Kaustubha jewel hung round His neck. In response to Vasudeva and Devaks prayers, the Supreme Lord assumed the form of a newborn baby boy, and somehow urged Vasudeva to take Him in his arms and carry Him to Nandabhavana, the home of Nanda Mahrja, in GokulaMahvana. So that Vasudeva could escape with the divine baby, his hand cuffs and footshackles fell open, the guards fell into a deep sleep, and the great iron doors of the prison swung open of their own accord. Although the night was stormy and the Yamun was filled with roaring waves, the way cleared before Vasudeva and he safely reached Gokula. That night, in Nandabhavana, Yaod had given birth to twoarmed ymasundara, and a few moments later to a baby



r K a Janma-sthna
girl, Yogamy. Because of her heavy labour, Yaod had fallen unconscious. When Vasudeva entered the house with his baby, that twoarmed ymasundara assimilated Vasudevas son within Himself, but Vasudeva could not understand what had happened. He picked up the baby girl in his arms and silently returned to Kasas prison. The prison doors closed automatically behind him, and his and Devaks shackles slipped back in place. When Kasa received word that a child had been born to Vasudeva and Devak, he stormed into the prison, sword in hand, and snatched the baby girl from the arms of his sister, Devak. Swinging the baby by the legs he tried to dash her against the surface of a stone, but she rose into the sky and turned into the eightarmed goddess Durg. After rebuking Kasa she disappeared. r Vajranbha, r Kas greatgrandson13, established an extensive temple at r Kas birthplace. Over the centuries, religious kings of India successively built temples at the same


r v raja-maala parikram

Deities of V sudeva Ka (middle) with Vasudeva (left) and Devak (right)



location. When r Caitanya Mahprabhu arrived in Vraja there was a grand temple here. Seeing Mahprabhus sweet dancing born from transcendental ecstatic love, and hearing His sweet krtana, hundreds of thousands of people assembled here, and became overwhelmed with ecstasy. When r Caitanya Mahprabhu came to this place, He saved Subuddhi Rya, a king of Bengal, by stopping him from committing suicide. He then made him into a great devotee of the Lord. Subuddhi Rya had been ostracised from his caste by an extremist Muslim ruler in Bengal. Though Subuddhi Rya wanted to become a Hindu again, the dogma of the priestly castes decreed that there was no path by which he could reenter Hinduism before his death. When r Caitanya Mahprabhu, the ocean of mercy, met Subuddhi Rya, He asked him to utter the holy name of r Ka just once in order to become completely purified. Subuddhi Rya followed Mahprabhus instruction, and performed harinmasakrtana and served the Vaiavas at this place for the rest of his days. rman Mahprabhu arrived in Vraja during the rule of the Mughal emperor Humy. The Muslims later destroyed the temple that was here at that time. In AD 1610, the king of Orch, Mahrja Vrasinghdeva, constructed a grand temple for dikeava at the cost of thirtythree hundred thousand rupees, but in AD 1669 the intolerant and fanatic ruler Aurangzeb destroyed it, and built a mosque in its place. The priests of r dikeava hid the ancient deity in Rjadhna, a village seventeen miles from the present city of v, in the district of Knpura. Today, this same deity resides in a small temple in Rjadhna, and a pratibh-vigraha14 continues to be worshipped in the dikeava Temple in Mallapur, behind the present Janmasthna. This dikeava deity is unique in that His body is decorated with the symbols of the twentyfour incarnations of Bhagavn. Vaiavas visit this temple because they consider this the deity of r dikeava.


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Pratibh- vigraha of r dikeava (in the dikeava Temple in Mallapur)



A magnificent temple has now been constructed at the birth place of r Ka at Keavakaara, with funds raised by r Madanamohana Mlavya. He did this on the direction of the late r Hanumn Prasda Poddra of Gt Press in Gorakhapur, and with the contribution of r lmiy and other wealthy persons. The birthplace of r Ka is within the Mallapur area of Mathur. Cura and the other wrestlers (mallas) of Mahrja Kasa lived here. There is a wide pond near here named Potr kua, which was originally within the walls of Kasas gigantic prison. r Vasudeva and Devak would bathe here, and it is said that Devaks clothes were washed here after the delivery of her sons. The pond was formerly called Pavitrkua (pavitr meaning pure), but in the course of time, it became known as Potrkua.


r v raja-maala parikram

V irma-gha

as seen from the Yamun



The famous Virmagha is the principal gha of Mathur. According to the Saura Pura, this sacred place is named Virnti trtha for the following reason: tato virnti trthkhya trthamaho vinanam sasra maru sacra klea virntida nm

V irma-gha


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Wandering throughout the desert of material existence, living entities suffer the threefold miseries of life. They are without shelter in all respects, and become thoroughly exhausted by many kinds of afflictions. When they bathe in the waters of this eminent place of pilgrimage, which have bathed r Kas lotus feet, they experience tranquillity (virma). For this reason, the name of this sacred place is Virnti or Virmagha.

It is said that after the Supreme Lord r Ka killed the mighty Kasa, He had Kasas funeral rites performed at Dhruvagha. r Ka, as well as His relatives and friends, then bathed at this holy gha, and rested here. In His humanlike pastimes, r Ka may need to rest, but that r Ka who is the Supreme Lord, who has an eternal form, full of knowledge and bliss, who is full of all the six opulences and who is endowed with all potencies that can make the impossible possible, never needs any rest. This Virma gha serves as a place of rest for the distressed living entities who have strayed from the Lord and are immersed in the endless and bottomless ocean of birth and death. Every year, before starting Vrajamaala parikram, hundreds of thousands of devout pilgrims bathe, perform camana and then take vows at this eminent place of pilgrimage. They also complete their parikram here. On the day of Yamadvity (or Bhaiydja), the second day after the night of the new moon (Amvasy) in Krtika, many faithful and pious people from faroff places come to bathe at this place. According to the Puras, Yama (Dharmarja) and Yam (Yamun) are twins. Softhearted Yamun could not endure seeing the various suffering of the living beings, and wished for a way to alleviate them. On her birthday she invited her brother to a meal of many delicious preparations and sweetmeats. Pleased and fully satisfied, Yama told her to ask for a boon. Yamun said, Brother, please grant those who bathe in my waters with faith



Deities of r ymasundara and Yamun-dev at Virma-gha

on this day, relief from the clutches of birth and death and from the variegated threefold miseries. Hearing this, Yama Mahrja replied, So be it! Although it is very glorious to bathe anywhere in r Yamun, it is especially glorious to do so in Vraja, and even more so at Virma gha on the day of Yamadvity. Therefore, every year on this day, thousands of brothers and sisters come here to bathe.


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In Mathur, r Yamun flows in a crescent shape, and Virma gha is in the centre. On her southern side lie the following twelve ghas: (1) Avimuktatrtha, (2) Guhyatrtha, (3) Praygatrtha, (4) Kankhalatrtha, (5) Tindukatrtha, (6) Sryatrtha, (7) Baa svmtrtha, (8) Dhruvatrtha, (9) itrtha, (10) Mokatrtha, (11) Koitrtha and (12) Bodhitrtha. The following twelve ghas lie on her northern side: (13) Navatrtha, (14) Sayamanatrtha, (15) Dhrpattanatrtha, (16) Ngatrtha, (17) Ghabharaaka trtha, (18) Brahmatrtha, (19) Somatrtha, (20) Sarasvatpatana trtha, (21) Cakratrtha, (22) Dasvamedhatrtha, (23) Vighna rjatrtha and (24) Kotrtha. All the principal sacred places of India, even Prayga, the king of all sacred places (trtharja), worship the Supreme Lord r Ka at the ghas of r Yamun Mahrn under her shelter. During Cturmsya especially, all the trthas come here to perform their worship.

The Yamuns Twenty-fouGhas


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(1) Avimukta-trtha At Avimuktatrtha K Vivantha Mahdeva worships the Lord. Those who bathe at this sacred place, or who leave their body here, very easily become free from material existence and reach the abode of Bhagavn.15 (2) Guhya-trtha By bathing at Guhyatrtha one is liberated from the cycle of birth and death and attains the planet of the Lord.16 (3) Prayga-trtha Trtharja Prayga worships the Supreme Lord at Prayga trtha. VeMdhava of Prayga is eternally present at this place. Those who bathe here receive the result of performing all the sacrifices headed by the agnioma-yaja17 and attain Vaikuha dhma.18 (4) Kankhala-trtha Mahdeva and Prvat are always devotedly worshipping r Hari at Kankhalatrtha. Just as Mahdeva akara bestowed

Prayga-trtha (left), Bengl-gha (middle), Srya-trtha (right)



mercy upon Prajpati Daka and liberated him from material existence, one who bathes here will attain Brahmaloka.19

(5) Tinduka-trtha Tindukatrtha is also named Guhyatrtha. By taking bath here one attains the abode of the Supreme Lord.20 Nearby is Da gha, where r Caitanya Mahprabhu bathed and captivated everyone with His dancing and sakrtana. This gha is now also called Benglgha. (6) Srya-trtha At Sryatrtha, Sryadeva, the Sungod, with his twelve different aspects (dvdaa-kal), is always absorbed in serving his worshipful deity, r Ka. Because of this, Mahrja Bali, the son of Virocana, worshipped Sryadeva here, and was granted his desired result. By taking bath at Sryatrtha on a Sunday, during sakrnti 21, or at the time of a solar or lunar eclipse, one achieves the result of performing a rjasya-yaja22, and after liberation attains the abode of the Supreme Lord.23 A deity of Bali Mahrja, along with his worshipful deity, r Vmanadeva, resides in a temple nearby.


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(7) Vaa-svm-trtha Another name for Sryadeva is Vaasvm. At Vaasvm trtha, he worships Lord Nryaa. Anyone who bathes here with faith on a Sunday, becomes healthy and wealthy, and at the end of life attains the supreme destination.24 (8) Dhruva-trtha After being pierced by the arrowlike words of Suruci, his step mother, fiveyearold Dhruva came to the forest at Dhruvatrtha on the advice of his mother, Sunti. At this gha Dhruva met Devari Nrada, who instructed him to bathe here and gave him a twelvesyllable mantra. Dhruva then journeyed to the isolated highlands of Madhuvana, where he worshipped the Supreme Lord by performing severe austerities, and finally received His darana.



Those who bathe here are recognised on Dhruvaloka. When anyones forefathers are offered rddha25 at this place, they are granted results equivalent of offering pia26 in Gay.27 Many esteemed personalities in the disciplic succession of the Nimbditya sampradya have lived here, the only remaining place of that ancient sampradya in Vrajamaala.

(9) i-trtha At itrtha, NaraNryaa i of Badrdhma is always absorbed in the worship of the Supreme Lord r Ka. This holy place is situated south of Dhruvatrtha. A person who bathes here attains the planet of the Supreme Lord.28 (10) Moka-trtha All the trthas of South India, such as Madur and Kany kumr, worship r Ka at Mokatrtha in Mathurpur. One who bathes at Mokatrtha easily attains liberation in the form of service to Lord Vius lotus feet.29 (11) Koi-trtha Millions upon millions of demigods (koi-koi devas) desire to worship the Supreme Lord at Koitrtha. It is rare even for these demigods to be able to enter this place. One attains the planet of the Supreme Lord by bathing at Koitrtha.30 (12) Bodhi-trtha At Bodhitrtha, Lord Buddha gives the right understanding (bodha) of the living entities inherent nature, namely devotion to the Supreme Lord. Therefore, this place is called Bodhitrtha.31 It is said that in Tretyuga Rvaa secretly performed austerities at Bodhitrtha as a nirviea brahma-jn, a sage with impersonal monistic knowledge of God. In his Lakvatrastra, he introduced this impersonal knowledge, also known as bauddhavda, or Buddhism. Being a brahmavd and niaktika32, 53

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he wanted to kidnap the wife of Lord Rmacandra, Stdev. In other words, he wanted to possess the potency (akti ) of the possessor of all powers (sarva-aktimn). But r Rmacandra killed this nirveea brahmavd along with his dynasty. Simply by bathing at Bodhitrtha, a man can easily deliver his forefathers and proceed to Pitloka, the planet of the forefathers. Fortunate souls reach the abode of the Supreme Lord by bathing here in the Yamun.

(13) Nava-trtha The twelve following ghas (numbered 13 to 24) lie south of Virmagha. Navatrtha is situated north of the famous Asi kua, or Askuagha, which lies near Virmagha. All the sins of those who bathe in Asikua are destroyed, whether they are sins of body, mind or words. By taking bath at Navatrtha, ones bhakti develops to newer and higher stages. There is no sacred place greater than this, nor will there ever be.33



(14) Sayamana-trtha The present name of this place is Svmgha. Some say that Mahrja Vasudeva crossed the Yamun from here, carrying the newborn baby Ka in his arms. One who bathes here attains the abode of the Supreme Lord.34 (15) Dhrpatana-trtha A person who bathes at Dhrpatanatrtha enjoys all kinds of pleasures and is easily elevated to Svarga, the heavenly planets. One who leaves his body here goes to the abode of Bhagavn.35 (16) Nga-trtha Ngatrtha is best among the best of sacred places. By bathing here, one does not return to the material world.36 Bhagavn ea (Anantadeva) is always present here to protect the dhma. When r Vasudeva Mahrja carried newborn baby Ka across the Yamun, Anantadeva shielded both of them from the pouring rain by spreading His unlimited hoods like an umbrella. (17) Gha-bharaaka-trtha One who bathes at Ghabharaakatrtha is relieved from all kinds of sins and proceeds to Sryaloka.37 (18) Brahma-trtha Lord Brahm, the Grandfather of the universe, is present at Brahmatrtha and worships the Supreme Lord here. By taking bath, performing camana, drinking the Yamun water or residing here, a person advances to Viuloka under the auspices of Brahm. This place is called Brahmatrtha because of its connection with Lord Brahm.38 (19) Soma-trtha (Gau-gha) Those who sprinkle themselves with the pure water of the Yamun at Somatrtha will have all their cherished desires fulfilled.39 55

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(20) Sarasvat-patana-trtha (Ka-gag-gha) Sarasvatpatanatrtha lies near Gaugha, or Somatrtha. The river Sarasvat used to meet the Yamun here. Another name of the river Sarasvat is r Kagag. This trtha is therefore also known as Kagaggha. This gha is related to r Kadvaipyana Vedavysa. He took birth from Matsyagandh Satyavat and Mahari Prara on an island in the Yamun near here. Some say that r Vysadeva composed rmad-Bhgavatam here, and this is correct. rmad-Bhgavatam is the treatise for the topmost transcendentalist, and is known as the Paramahasasahit. Vedavysa took instruction from Devari Nrada. Through his practice of bhakti-yoga, he saw the Absolute Truth, r Ka, and all His pastimes in Vraja, Mathur and Dvrak. How else could he have had darana of r Ka and describe the sweetest of His sweetest pastimes without having performed worship in Vrajadhma, the sweetest of all sacred abodes? This is 56



Island near Ka-gag-gha

the opinion of learned devotees who are able to extract the essence of scripture. One who bathes here is relieved from all types of sin and attains love of God. Even people of low caste become paramahasas, or the best of devotees, by bathing here.40


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(21) Cakra-trtha Cakratrtha is famous throughout all Mathurmaala. It is near Ambaral, the place of Mahrja Ambara, where he worshipped the Supreme Lord with all the limbs of pure devotion. Once, this devoted king was about to break his Ekda fast at the auspicious moment on Dvda when the sage Durvs arrived at his palace. The sages behaviour towards King Ambara displeased Lord Vius cakra, who chased Durvs around the universe for an entire year. Durvs fled even up to Brahmaloka and ivaloka, but the cakra pursued him relentlessly. Finally, he reached Vaikuhaloka where Lord Viu advised him to go back to Ambara, fall at his feet and beg forgiveness. Durvs did so, and Ambara prayed to the cakra to spare Durvs. It was by these prayers that the cakra stopped, and the sages life was spared. One who bathes here is liberated from sin, even the sin of killing a brhmaa. By the mercy of Sudarana cakra, he will obtain darana of the Supreme Lord and his life will become successful.41



(22) Davamedha-trtha Lord Brahm performed ten (daa) horse sacrifices (avamedhayajas) at Davamedhatrtha on the Yamun. Devari Nrada, the four Kumras, and other sages always worship this place. Anyone who bathes here attains the abode of the Supreme Lord.42 (23) Vighna-rja-trtha By bathing at Vighnarjatrtha, a person is liberated from all kinds of obstacles (vighna). r Gaea, who removes any kind of obstacle, always resides here worshipping Bhagavn. For one who bathes at this place, all impediments to bhakti are removed by the mercy of Lord Nsihadeva in particular, and he attains the Supreme Lords holy abode.43 (24) Koi-trtha By bathing at Koitrtha, a person gets the result of donating koi-koi, or millions upon millions, of cows.44 Nearby lies Gokara trtha. The wellknown Gokara released his brother Dhudhukr from the life of a ghost by reciting rmad-Bhgavatam to him. Gokaratrtha is the place of worship of this same Gokara.45

Places to Visit on the Mathur Parikram Path

Apart from the twentyfour ghas just described, there are numerous other places of darana on the tenmile parikram of Mathur. Having started the parikram at Virmagha, the first place one comes to is Ppalevara Mahdeva.

Ppalevara Mahdeva Situated near Virmagha, in the eastern part of Mathurpur, Ppalevara Mahdeva, one of the four areaprotectors (ketra-plas) of Mathur, always protects the area of Mathur. Thereafter, one 59

r v raja-maala parikram

Ppalevara Mahdeva


can take darana of VeMdhava, Rmevara, Dj, Madana mohana, Tindukatrtha, Sryagha and Dhruvatl. Then, on Saptaitl one can have the sacred darana of the seven sages: Atri, Marci, Kratu, Agr, Gautama, Vaiha and Pulastya. These seven sages (sapta is) reside in Mathurdhma at this place, performing their worship of the Supreme Lord r Ka.

Bali Mahrja-l Here one can have darana of Bali Mahrja and Vmanadeva. King Bali worshipped Lord Vmanadeva at this place. Akrra-bhavana A little further on lies the residence of Akrraj. He wanted to bring Ka and Balarma to his residence, but They stayed with Their father, r Nanda Bb, on the outskirts of Mathur and promised to come to Akrra after killing Kasa. Kubj-kpa (the well of Kubj) While wandering throughout Mathur, Ka and Balarma met Kubj, a maidservant of Kasa, at this place. With great love Kubj offered garga, an application of ointments, to the limbs of Ka and Balarma. Just by touching her waist and chin with His hands, r Ka transformed her into a teenage girl beautiful as a heavenly damsel. Looking at Him with shy, lustfilled eyes, Kubj tried to take Him to her home. r Ka promised to visit her upon completing His work and then He left. After killing Kasa, Ka went to Kubjs house with Uddhava and stayed there for some time, thus fulfilling her hearts desire. Raga-bhmi and Ragevara Mahdeva In the southern part of Mathur, r Rgevara is the protector of the dhma. Conspiring to kill Ka and Balarma, Mahrja Kasa, the destroyer of his own Bhoja dynasty, had a wrestling arena (ragal) built here. Through cunning means, Kasa 61

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Ragevara Mahdeva


arranged for Akrra to bring Ka and Baladeva from Nanda Gokula. On the pretext of sightseeing, Ka and Baladeva reached this wrestling arena with the cowherd boys after asking various people for directions. The wrestling arena was beautifully decorated. Flowers bedecked splendid, arched gateways and the enormous bow of akara was placed at the front of the arena. The mad elephant, Kuvalypa, who had been trained to kill the two brothers, blocked the main entrance, waiting to receive a signal to kill Them. The deity of Ragevara Mahdeva had been beautifully decorated in various ways, and his splendour was astonishing. When He entered the arena, r Ka effortlessly picked up the bow with His left hand. In front of everyone, He strung the bow within a moment and pulled the string in such a way that the bow broke into pieces, making a thunderous sound. Both brothers easily killed all the soldiers who were protecting the bow. They then continued Their tour of the city and at sunset returned to Their camp. At dawn the next day the wrestling festival began. Many gigantic and fierce wrestlers, such as Cra, Muika, ala and Toala, were ready for the wrestling match inside the arena. Mahrja Kasa, together with his friends and prominent citizens, were seated on an elevated platform. Ka and Balarma returned to the arena, and after slaying Kuvalypa, r Ka pulled out the elephants two tusks and used them to kill the elephantkeeper and other wicked people. Some soldiers ran to Mahrja Kasa to tell him about the incident. Grinding his teeth in anger, Kasa signalled to Cra and Muika to quickly kill the two boys. Just then, Ka and Baladeva, smiling like two lioncubs, reached the wrestling arena carrying the huge elephanttusks on Their shoulders, Their bodies sprinkled with blood. Cra and Muika challenged the two brothers to wrestle by making gestures, like flexing their muscles, to display their power and strength. r Ka, the propagator of decent conduct, suggested that He and Balarma fight with wrestlers Their own age; but to entertain


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Mahrja Kasa, Cra arrogantly challenged r Ka, and Muika challenged Balarma. This is what r Ka and Balarma in fact wanted. And so the fight began. Considering this wrestling match to be immoral and improper, the women of the city stood up and prepared to leave. Beholding the sweetness of r Kas form, they said, Aah, in truth, only the land of Vraja is supremely sacred and blessed. The most exalted Supreme Person resides there, disguised as an ordinary human being. That Lord, whose lotus feet are worshipped by the god of gods, Mahdeva akara, and by Lakm, wanders about there in



Deities of Ka-Balarma with Kasa in the middle (left photo), at Kasa-l (below)

great bliss, wearing a garland of manycoloured flowers. He plays His flute and performs various pastimes with Balarma and His sakhs while tending the cows. This sweetness of r Kas form is easily available only to the residents of Vndvana, especially the gops. The peacocks, male and female parrots, cows, calves and rivers of Vraja are all blessed. They are satisfied by freely relishing Kas variegated sweetness. As the women of Mathur were discussing this, r Ka defeated and killed Cra and Balarma defeated and killed Muika. Then the two brothers also killed Ka, ala, Toala and


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the other wrestlers. Kasa became furious and ordered that Ka, Baladeva, Nanda and Vasudeva be taken prisoners. However, in a moment and with great speed, r Ka leapt onto the platform where Kasa was sitting. Grabbing him by the hair, Ka threw him to the ground. Ka then straddled Kasas chest, and striking him with His fists, He caused Kasas lifeair to leave him like a bird in flight. r Ka effortlessly and wonderfully slew Kasa and his associates in the wrestling arena. Seeing this spectacle (raga), akara, whom Kasa had worshipped, became overjoyed. Hence, his name became r Ragevara. To this day, Ragabhmi glorifies this colourful pastime of r Ka. According to rmad-Bhgavatam and rla Vivantha Cakravart hkura, Kasa was killed on the day of ivartri (Caturda). Since Kasa had called Akrra to his home for advice on the night of Ekda, Akrra had reached Nandabhavana on Dvda, and on Trayoda, r Ka and Balarma had travelled from Nandagaon to Mathur in Akrras chariot. That evening, They wandered around the city of Mathur and the bow sacrifice was performed. The next day, on ivacaturda, the two brothers killed Kuvalaypa, Cura, Muika and Kasa. Every year in the month of Krtika on ukldaam, one day before Devotthnaekda, the Caube community organises a festival to celebrate the killing of Kasa. During this festival a twentyfive to thirty foot tall statue of Kasa is built to be killed by r Ka.

r Keavaj Gauya Maha r Keavaj Gauya Maha is adjacent to r Ragevara Mahdeva and Kasal, on the right side of the parikram path and on the left side of the Mathurgr road. It is currently a wellknown place of darana. crya kear o viupda r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja named this maha after the presiding deity of Mathur, the Supreme Lord of lords, r Keavaj. From its inauguration, the author of this 66


r Gaurga Mahprabhu & r Rdh-Vinoda-bihr (top) at the r Keavaj Gauya Maha (below)


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book was appointed superintendent in order to propagate pure bhakti as practised and preached by r Caitanya Mahprabhu to people in the Hindi speaking areas of India. In a very short time, many books were published from here in Hindi, Indias national language, like Jaiva-dharma, r kaka, rman Mahprabhu k ik, Upademta, r Mana-ik, rmad Bhagavad-gt and the monthly magazine r Bhgavata-patrik. New books about bhakti continue to be published to this day. r Abhayacaraa Bhaktivednta, who widely spread r-harinma-sakrtana in the Western world as preached by r Caitanya Mahprabhu and who extensively published and distributed rmad Bhagavadgt, rmad-Bhgavatam and many other devotional scriptures in many languages of the world, accepted the renounced order of life (tridaa-sannysa) at this place from o viupda r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja. He accepted the sannysa name and title of tridai-svm r rmad Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja. The author of this book was the priest at this ceremony.

r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja (middle) with his sannysa disciples: rmad Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja (right) and rmad Bhaktivednta Muni Mahrja (left)



After taking darana of this maha, we proceed to ivatla and Kakldev.

Kakl-dev The temple of Kakldev is found on Kakll. She is called Kasakl or Kakldev, because Kasa worshipped her. This is the same eightarmed Durgdev who rides a lion, that Kasa wanted to kill thinking her to be the daughter of Devak. But the goddess escaped from his hands and ascended into the sky.

The temple of Kakl-dev


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Proceeding on from here we come to Balabhadrakua. On the banks of this pond lie the temples of Dj and Lord Jaganntha. We then arrive at the temple of Bhtevara Mahdeva.

Bhtevara Mahdeva The eternal areaprotector (ketra-pla) on Mathurs western side is Bhtevara Mahdeva. In the same temple compound is the cave of Ptladev, whom Kasa worshipped, and a little further on are Potrkua, dikeava and r Ka Janmasthna, which have already been described. We then reach Jnavp, or Jnabva.



Bhtevara Mahdeva

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Jna-vp (Jna-bva) Jnavp is an important ancient trtha, which is hidden within the earth on the tenmile parikram path around Mathur, between Bhtevara Mahdeva and Kaar Keavadeva (the birthplace of r Ka). Referring to this sacred place, the Varha Pura (Mathur-mahtmya) states:
yo vpy dharmarjasya, mathurystu pacimai sthna karoti tasy tu, grahadorarna lipyate
All the evil planetary influences of those persons who bathe in avpbva of Dharmarja, situated in western Mathur, are removed and they attain bhakti to the Supreme Lord.

In his Mathur Parikram, the best of poets, Harill Kakora, says:



satyug kau ik trath kahau vp jn-bhakti ko laho ymai jo snn karaij dho pp bahu puny bharaij
There is a holy place from Satyayuga in the form of a well that is filled with knowledge ( jna) and devotion (bhakti). Those who bathe in this well wash away all their sins and receive thousands and thousands of pious credits.

According to the Vyu Pura, Dharmarja Yudhihira built this bva (deep tank with steps). This place is also important as the place where the Supreme Lord r Ka used to consult with Mahrja Yudhihira.


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r Caitanya-caritmta specifically describes the arrival in r Dhma Mathur of acnandana r Gaurahari, who is non different from r Ka and who preached pure bhakti and the chanting of Kas holy names throughout the entire world. r Gaurahari took bath in the Yamun at Virmagha and then went to the temple of r Keavadeva. Seeing Him performing krtana and dancing in ecstasy, a crowd of thousands assembled there. r Caitanya Mahprabhu performed camana and bathed in Jnabva. r Caitanya-caritmta mentions that He later stayed at the house of a Vaiava brhmaa from the Snohiy community who lived near Jnabva, and also accepted prasda here.

Mahvidy-dev (Ambik-dev) Once, Mahrja Nanda, Yaoddev, Ka, Baladeva and other gopas came to Ambikvana on pilgrimage. They bathed in the sacred water of the Sarasvat River, worshipped Paupati (Gokara Mahdeva) and stayed overnight. That night, a huge python caught Nanda Bb and slowly began to swallow him. Everyone tried to save him, but to no avail. Nanda Bb cried out to Ka in great distress, and something wonderful took place Ka touched the python with His foot, and he at once gave up his huge snake body and assumed the form of a beautiful Vidhydhara46. The Vidydhara stood up and paid his respect to r Ka. On Kas inquiry, he revealed his identity. I was a Vidydhara named Sudarana, he said. Once, while flying in an airplane, I saw some deformed sages in the lineage of Agr Muni and made fun of them. They cursed me to become a snake. Today that curse has proved to be a benediction, because the touch of Your lotus feet has not only freed me from the curse, but has also made my life successful. This place is famous as Mahvidydev. Along the parikram path after this holy place comes Sarasvat kua, Cmudev and Rajakabadhatl.



Mahvidy-dev (top) The temple of Mahvidy (left)


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Rajaka-badha-l (the place of killing of the washerman) While roaming around Mathur city, Ka and Baladeva spotted a washerman (rajaka) whose job it was to wash and dye Kasas clothes. Seeing the fine garments in his care, Ka and Balarma asked him to give Them something suitable, but the washerman made fun of Them and refused to hand over any clothes. When Ka heard the washermans sarcastic remarks, He beheaded him with a blow of His bare hand before everyone present. Thus Ka gave the washerman a liberation that was fitting for him. Proceeding further, we reach Gokara Mahdeva. Gokara Mahdeva Gokara Mahdeva is the areaprotector of the dhma on Mathurs northern side. ivaj here is called Gokara Mahdeva because Gokara, the famous speaker of rmad-Bhgavatam, worshipped him.

Gokara Mahdeva


Continuing from here, near the Yamun is Nlakahevara Mahdeva and further on is Ambaratl.



r v raja-maala parikram

Ambara-l On the right hand side, near the confluence of the Sarasvat and Yamun, is Ambaral. In Satyayuga, Mahrja Ambara was the sole emperor of this world, which consists of seven islands. He was an unalloyed devotee of the Supreme Lord and engaged all his senses in following the various limbs of bhakti. With his mind, he would meditate upon r Kas pastimes. With his voice, he would chant the names of the Lord and glorify His various pastimes. With his hands, he would clean the temple of Bhagavn. He would engage his ears in hearing about the pastimes of the Lord. He would engage his eyes in taking darana of r Mukundas temples. He would engage his nose in smelling the garlands, sandalwood paste and other articles that had been offered at the lotus feet of Bhagavn. He would honour the prasda offered to the Supreme Lord by tasting it with his tongue, and with his legs he would circumambulate the Supreme Lords dhma, the tulas plant, His temples and so on. He would also observe Ekda and other fasts on days related to Hari. Once, while residing at this place in Mathur, Mahrja Ambara observed the vow of Ekda for one year by fasting without water (nirjala). On Dvda, there was only a short time after sunrise in which it was auspicious to break his fast. Mahrja Ambara worshipped Bhagavn and was just about to take grains that had been offered to the Supreme Lord, when Mahari Durvs arrived. With great respect, the king invited the sage to join him. The mahari said, I accept your invitation, but I first need to finish my daily duties. I will go to the bank of the Yamun; please wait until I return. Saying this, the sage went to the Yamun. However, Mahari Durvss return was slightly delayed, and the auspicious time was about to pass. After consulting with the brhmaas and his ministers, Mahrja Ambara took a drop of the water that washed the Supreme Lords feet in order to protect his fast. When Mahari Durvs returned, he was furious, knowing well that Mahrja Ambara had broken the fast without him. 78


He pulled a matted lock of hair from his head and transformed it into a fiery demoness called Kty, who was ready to burn Ambara to ashes. However, Mahrja Ambara simply stood there fearlessly with folded hands. The Sudarana cakra, the protector of the devotees, immediately appeared and burnt Kty to ashes. Sudarana cakra then leapt towards Mahari Durvs, who swiftly ran everywhere to save his life. He fled to Bhu, Bhuva, Sva and other planetary systems. He even went to Brahmaloka and ivaloka, but no one in those places could save him. Wherever he went, he saw the frightening Sudarana cakra pursuing him. Finally, Mahari Durvs came to Nryaa in Vaikuhaloka and desperately cried out: Help, save me, protect me! Bhagavn r Nryaa said, I am under the control of My devotees. I am their heart and they are My heart. How can I forsake those who have taken My shelter, having left everything their home, wife, sons, family and wealth? You should at once return to Ambara and plead for forgiveness. Sudarana cakra can be pacified by his prayer only, and not by any other means. For one full year, the great devotee Ambara Mahrja remained standing there, waiting for Durvs and praying for the sages welfare. Upon returning from Vaikuha, the perturbed Durvs begged Mahrja Ambara for his life. Ambara Mahrja pacified Sudarana cakra by offering prayers to him and then satisfied the sage by respectfully presenting him an array of delicious preparations. Durvs became astonished to witness the glories of Mahrja Ambara and said, Aah, today I have realised the unprecedented glories of Bhagavn Anantadevas devotees. I greatly offended Ambara Mahrja, but still he always desires nothing but my welfare. This is only possible for the devotees of the Supreme Lord. This pastime took place here. To this day, Ambaral stands as witness to the glories of the devotee Ambara. Nearby, towards the Yamun, is Cakratrtha, where Mahrja Ambara pacified the cakra by offering various prayers.


r v raja-maala parikram

Kasa-kil and other nearby places of darana After Sarasvatpatanatrtha (Kagaggha) and Soma trtha (Gagha), one comes to Kasakil (the fort of Kasa), Ghatkara and Muktitrtha. Kasakil was the residence or palace of Kasa. The ruins that lie here today bear testimony to this. Between Kasakil and Vasudevagha (near Svmgha) are Brahmagha, Vaikuhagha and Dhrpatana. Then, after Asikua (Askugha) and Maikarikgha is Virma gha, which completes the tenmile parikram of Mathur.



From Kasas fort (above) one can have a good view of the Yamun and parts of Mathur

The fort of Kasa (left)


r v raja-maala parikram

Gatrama-Nryaa Temple and other places of pilgrimage nearby On Mathurs inner parikram path, south of Virmagha, is the temple of GatramaNryaa. Close to the present day Satburja, in a lane to the right, stands the temple of Carcikdev. Near the temple of Ragevara Mahdeva, on the eastern side, lies Saptasmudrkpa, the well of seven oceans. Then, under the railway line leading to the main railway station in Mathur is ivatla. The road to Madhuvana also begins from here. 82


Drgha-Viu Drgha-Viu The temple of DrghaViu lies close to Bharatapura Gate. When Ka, Baladeva and Their cowherd friends were proceeding to Kasas wrestling arena, rdma and other sakhs asked Ka, Friend, are You going to the wrestling arena? Your body is small and tender. How will You kill the mighty Kasa? r Ka then displayed His huge (drgha) form, carrying a conch shell, disk, club and lotus flower. Thus, the sakhs were convinced that their Kanhaiy could do anything by the mercy of Nryaa, and that Nryaa sometimes manifested through Him. Happily, they danced towards the wrestling arena with r Ka.

r v raja-maala parikram

Mathur-dev Close to DrghaViu, towards the east and inside a lane, is the temple of Mathurdev, the presiding deity of Mathur. As a sakh, Mathurdev has a very loving relationship with r Yamun, and together they serve their Lord, r Ka.



r Padmanbha Heading east down the same lane, one comes to the temple of Bhagavn r Padmanbha in Caubeyp. The grandfather of mankind, Brahm, took birth on the lotus flower that manifests from the lotus stem growing out of Garbhoday Bhagavn Padmanbhas navel. Only by r Padmanbhas mercy does vairja47 Brahm create the material universe.

r Padmanbha

r v raja-maala parikram

Two temples of Varhadeva Behind the present Dvrakdha Temple in Mikachoka are two temples of Lord Varha. One of them has a black deity of Varha (Kavarha, or divarha); the other has a white deity of Varha (vetavarha). During the period of Svyambhuva Manu in Brhmakalpa, Kavarha manifested from the nostril of Brahm in a fourlegged, boar form. He kept the Earth on His tusk and brought her up from Rastala, the nether region. During the reign of Ckusa Manu, vetavarha manifested from the ocean. His face was like that of a boar and the lower portion of His body was humanlike. He is also called Nvarha (n meaning human). He killed Hirayka and delivered the Earth. 86


At the beginning of Satyayuga, there was a brhmaa sage named Kapila, who was a worshipper of Bhagavn divarha. Indra, the king of the demigods, pleased that brhmaa and then brought the deity of Varha to the heavenly planets, where he installed Him for worship. Having defeated Indra, the mighty Rvaa seized that Varha deity from Svarga and established Him in Lak. After killing the impersonalist Rvaa, r Rmacandra brought that same deity to Ayodhy and installed Varhadeva in the palace. When Mahrja atrughna was leaving Ayodhy to kill Lavasura, he asked his elder brother r Rmacandra for the deity. Mahrja atrughna carried the deity with him and, after killing Lavasura, established Him in the city of Mathur, where one can take darana of Him even today.


r v raja-maala parikram

The temple of Dvrakda Among the new temples of Mathur, the Dvrakda Temple is prominent. It was established about 150 years ago by a devotee in the line of r Vallabhcrya. This temple is close to Virmagha and Gatramal. The temples of Kavarha and vetavarha are also nearby. Dvrakda is the king of Dvrak, and thus Ka is here with His queens Rukmi and Satyabhm, and without His peacock feather and flute. Generally, at the beginning of the rainy season, during the month of rvaa, a very elaborate swing festival takes place here. Hundreds and thousands of devotees, both inhabitants of Mathur and devotees from very far away, assemble here to attend the festival. The wealthy Dvrakda swings on a golden swing bedecked with jewels. Once, the author went with a thousand devotees to the Dvrakda Temple. When he arrived, the temple door was closed. He sent a messenger to ask Dvrakda, Why are You hiding? Where is Your flute, peacock feather and dress of Vndvana? Have You changed Your father and mother? Do You have any new, beautiful beloveds from Dvrak or Mathur? Why are You not coming forward? Hearing this, Dvrakda began to cry bitterly, remembering the pastimes of Vndvana. The author and his party told Him that rmatj had sent them to see how He was. She is lamenting for You, they said. Dvrakda then promised that He would return to Vndvana in a day or two. The devotees then returned to their maha.

The Puras and other sacred texts mention many more places of darana other than the ones listed above; however, most of these places have now disappeared.



1 2

The Supreme Lords disc weapon. bhgola cakre saptapuryo bhavanti ts madhye skt
r Gopla-tpan Upaniad

japopavsa nirato mathury anana janmahna sams sarva ppai pramucyate

Skanda Pura

ida padma mahbhge sarve muktidyakam kariky sthito deva keava kleanana
di-varha Pura

na dtvo mathur yena didkv yasya jyate yatra tatra gatasysya mthure janma jyate
Padma Pura

na vidyate ca ptle nntarke na mnue samasta mathury hi priya mama vasundhare pthivy yni trthni samudrasarsi ca mathury gamiyanti mayi supte vasundhare triad vara sahasri triad vara atni ca yatphala bhratevare tatphala mathur-smaran
Skanda Pura

harau yes sthir bhaktir bhyas yeu tatkp temevahi dhanyn mathury bhavedrati
Padma Pura

catvrianda yojann tatastu mathursthit tatra devo hari skt svaya tihati sarvad
Vyu Pura


aho madhupur dhany vaikuhcca garyas dinameka nivsena harau bhakti prajyate


r v raja-maala parikram

trirtramapi ye tatra vasanti manujmune harir dyati sukha te muktnpi durlabham



adyvanti patad graha kuru kare mye anairvjaya chatra kci gha ki purata pdyuga dhraya nyodhye bhaja sambhra stutikath nodagraya dvrake deviya bhavatu hanta mathur diprasda dadhe The son of Aniruddha, who is the son of r Kas son Pradyumna. Pratibh means to be equal to. A pratibh-vigraha is a deity that is considered nondifferent from the original deity it replaces. avimukte nara snto mukti prpnotyasaayam tatrtha mucate prn mam loka sa gacchati
di-varha Pura

A type of fire sacrifice which lasts five days and requires a minimum of sixteen priests, performed by someone who wants to go to heaven. prayga nma trtha tu devnmapi durllabha tasmin snto naro devi! agnioma-phala labhet
di-varha Pura




tath kanakhala trtha guhya trtha para mama snna-mtrea tatrpi nkaphe sa modate
di-varha Pura




asti ketra para guhya tinduka nma kramata tasmin snto naro devi! mama loke mahyate
di-varha Pura


The period during which the sun or a planet enters into a new zodiac sign. An elaborate fire sacrifice that establishes one as the emperor of the world. tata para sryatrtha sarva-ppa-vimocanam


catvrianda yojann tatastu mathursthit tatra devo hari skt svaya tihati sarvad
Vyu Pura





virocanena balin sryyastvrdhita pur ditye hani sakrntau grahae candra-sryyayo tasmin snto naro devi! rjasyaphala labhet
di-varha Pura

dhruva-trthe ca vasudhe! ya srddha kurute nara pitna santrayet sarvn pitpake vieata
di-varha Pura

tata para vaasvm trthn trtham-uttamam vaasvmti vikhyto yatra devo divkara tattrtha caiva yo bhakty ravivre nievate prpnotyrogyam-aivaryya mante ca gatim-uttamm
Saura Pura

dakie dhruva-trthasya i-trtha prakrtitam yatra snto naro devi! mama loka mahyate
di-varha Pura


dakie i-trthasya moka-trtha vasundhare snna-mtrea vasudhe! moka prpnoti mnava

di-varha Pura



A ceremony in honour and for the benefit of deceased relatives, in which the forefathers are offered pia, an oblation of rice or flour. A riceball or flour cake offered to deceased ancestors; oblation at the rddha ceremony. yatra dhruvena santapm icchay parama tapa tatraiva snna-mtrea dhruvaloke mahyate

tatraiva koi-trtha tu devnmapi durllabham tatra snnena dnena mama loke mahyate
di-varha Pura



tatraiva bodhi-trthantu pitmapi durllabham pia datv tu vasudhe! pitloka sa gacchati

di-varha Pura



One believing that the Supreme Lord has no potencies.


r v raja-maala parikram


uttare tvasikuca trthantu navasajakam navatrtht para trtha na bhta na bhaviyati

(di-varha Pura)



tata sayamana nma trtha trailokya-virutam tatra snto naro devi! mama loka sa gacchati
(di-varha Pura)

trthnm-uttama trtha brahmaloketivirutam tatra sntv ca ptv ca niyato niyatsana brahma samanujto viuloka sa gacchati
(di-varha Pura)



dhrsamptane sntv nkaphe sa modate athtra mucate prn mama loka sa gacchati
(di-varha Pura)

somatrtha tu vasudhe! pavitre yamunmbhasi tatrbhieka kurvta sarvva-karma-pratihita modate somaloke tu idameva na saaya
(di-varha Pura)



ata para ngatrtha trthnm uttamottamam yatra sntv diva ynti ye mtste punarbhav
(di-varha Pura)

sarasvatyca patana sarva-ppa-hara ubham tatra sntv naro devi! avaropi yatir bhavet
(di-varha Pura)



ghabharaaka trtha sarvva-ppa-pramocanam yasmin snto naro devi! sryyaloke mahyate

(di-varha Pura)

cakra-trtha tu vikhyta mthure mama maale yastatra kurute snna trirtropoito nara snna-mtrea manujo mucyate brahma-hatyay
(di-varha Pura)




dasvamedham ibhi pjita sarvad pur tatra ye snnti manujs te svargo na durllabha
(di-varha Pura)


trtha tu vighnarjasya puya ppa-hara ubham tatra snta tu manuja vighnarjo na payet
(di-varha Pura)


tata para koi-trth trthn parama ubham tatraiva snna-mtrea gav koi-phala labhet
(di-varha Pura)


tato gokara trthkhya trtha bhuvanavirutam vidyate vivanthasya vioratyanta-vallabham

(di-varha Pura)

46 47

A celestial being. Vairja means that this particular Brahm is of jvatattva.


As the boys herded the would break out amongst cows, delightful uproars

Madhuvana was showered (madhu) of prema, which Balarma relished while grazing the cows. r K a and r with the sweet nectar

them. In this way, all of


adhuvana lies south-west of r Mathur, about two-and-a-half miles from Bhtevara Mahdeva. It is one of Vrajas twelve famous forests. In Satya-yuga, Bhagavn killed a demon named Madhu here, for which He became known as Madhusdana. Likewise, this forest became known as Madhuvana, because it is as endearing and sweet as the Supreme Lord r Madhusdana Himself. 1 Another name of Madhusdana is Mdhava, because He is the beloved (dhava) of rmat Rdhik, who is the foremost among all Lakms. This r Mdhava is the presiding deity of this forest. While taking bath here or performing camana one should chant the following mantra o hr hr madhuvanaadhipataye mdhavya nama svh. Chanting this mantra renders ones parikram of this forest successful. The present name of Madhuvana is Mahol-grma. On the eastern side of the village of Mahol is Dhruva-l, where the deities of the child


r v raja-maala parikram

Dhruva and his worshipful four-armed r Nryaa splendidly reside. Dhruva performed severe austerities here to attract the Supreme Lord, using the mantra Devari Nrada had given him. Being pleased with his worship, the Lord appeared before Dhruva and awarded him absolute monarchy over the entire Earth for 36,000 years, followed by rulership of Dhruvaloka, an imperishable abode of r Hari within this material universe. In Tret-yuga, the sages and other residents of Madhuvana were terrified by the atrocities committed by the Madhu demon, who, after performing severe austerities, had obtained a trident from akaraj. As long as that trident remained in Madhus hands, no demigod, demon or human being could defeat him. Although Madhu was a prince in the dynasty of the Sungod (srya-vaa), he became cruel and devoid of good conduct due to bad association. His father rejected him and banished him from the kingdom. Madhu lived in Madhuvana, where he established a new kingdom in which he harassed the citizens. Mndht, the highly illustrious king of the sun dynasty, wanted to punish Madhu and therefore he attacked him, but he was slain by Madhus trident. Before his death, Madhudaitya gave that trident to his son, Lavasura. He told him that as long as this infallible trident remained in his hands no one would be able to kill him; rather, it would kill all his enemies. Trident in hand, Lavasuras tyranny was even more cruel than his fathers. The great sages of Madhuvana and surrounding areas, distressed by his atrocities, went to r Rma in Ayodhy and humbly prayed for protection. They informed r Rma of Lavasuras might and of his infallible trident that rendered him invincible. They explained that killing him would not be possible as long as he had his trident at hand. In Ayodhy, the Supreme Lord r Rmacandra coronated His younger brother atrughna as the king of Madhuvana. atrughna asked Lord Rmacandra for the powerful deity of r Varha, that Rmacandra had brought from Lak, and his elder brother



Dhruva (left) and his worshipful r Nryaa


r v raja-maala parikram

happily agreed. atrughna then went with the sages to the rama of Vlmki i and, after receiving his blessings, proceeded to Madhuvana. Bow and arrows in hand, atrughna arrived at the entrance of Lavasuras cave at a time when Lavasura had gone hunting in the woods, and had left his trident behind in the cave. When the demon returned, carrying dead elephants, deer and other animals, atrughna challenged him to battle and a fierce fight ensued. In desperation, Lavasura tried to get hold of his trident, but r atrughna, the highly valorous warrior and subduer of his enemies, was able to obstruct him, and with his sharp arrows he succeeded in cutting off his head. atrughna then re-established the deserted Madhupur and installed Lord Varhadeva there. This di-varhadeva is still present at the very same location in present day Mathur, which lies within Madhuvana.

The deity of r atrughna



Lord Mdhavas dear Madhu-kua also lies in Madhuvana, and is now also called Ka-kua. Nearby is the cave of Lavasura. A deity of r atrughna resides in a temple near Ka-kua. Towards the end of Dvpara-yuga, r Ka would take hundreds of thousands of cows out to graze, walking behind them and calling out their names: Dhaul! Dhmr! Klind! He would make sounds to instruct them, such as Hiyo-hiyo! Come, come!, Dhr-dhr! Slowly, slowly! and Tr-tr! Come to the river-bank to drink! As He walked with D Bhaiy (Baladeva), Ka played His sweet flute, and laughed and joked, placing His hands on the shoulders of the sakhs. As the boys herded the cows, delightful uproars would break out amongst them. In this way, all of Madhuvana was showered with the sweet nectar (madhu) of prema, which r Ka and r Balarma relished while grazing the cows. While walking along like this, sometimes Kas thirsty eyes would look with sidelong glances at the gops who were hiding within the kujas or on the balconies or windows of their palaces. The beautiful young ladies of Vraja worshipped Ka with their loving sidelong glances as He returned from the forest. Ka would show that He accepted their worship by the movement of His eyes. To the young ladies of Vraja, even a second in separation from Ka would feel like millions of millenniums, and a millennium in His company would seem like a fraction of a second. Kas cow herding pastimes in Madhuvana are as sweet as honey (madhu) and beyond description. In Kali-yuga, about five hundred fifty years ago, r Caitanya Mahprabhu visited Vraja and came to Madhuvana, where a momentary vision (sphrti ) of r Kas pastimes overwhelmed Him with ecstasy. Each year, many groups of pilgrims stop here to rest. In Madhuvana, Dj and the sakhs would dance as they relished the sweet nectar of this forest. This is well known. Today, one can also take darana of the black deity of Dj here. There is a deep secret behind the black colour of this deity. After leaving Vndvana and Mathur, r Ka and Baladeva resided in Dvrak


r v raja-maala parikram


with Their relatives. When Baladeva heard about the restlessness and lamentation of all of Vraja in separation from r Ka, He wanted to take Ka back there, yet because this was somehow delayed, Baladeva went there alone. He did His best to console everyone, but when He saw the extent of their state of separation from Ka, He also felt intense separation from Him. Meditating upon yma and His pastimes in Vraja, Baladeva began to relish yma-rasa (or mdhura-rasa), and Himself took on a yma



(blackish-blue) complexion. This yma-rasa is the only honey that is truly sweet and it is eternally relished by Baladeva, who thus remains perpetually immersed in the ecstasy of ka-prema.


madhorvana prathamato yatra vai mathurpur madhudaityo hato yatra hari vivamrtin
di-varha Pura


words of Their friends, Ka and Balarma laughed and, desiring to give them pleasure, entered Tlavana in their company.

Upon hearing the


aho tlavana puya yatra tlairhato sura hitya ydavnca tmakranakya ca (Skanda Pura)
Aah, this is the same T lavana where r Ka and r Balarma killed the ass-demon, Dhenuksura, for the benefit of the Ydavas and the pleasure of the sakhs.

his forest is situated about six miles south of Mathur and two-and-a-half miles south-west of Madhuvana. It was once an enchanting forest full of palm (tla) trees. Cruel Kasa had appointed one of his followers, Dhenuksura, to guard this forest, a duty he carefully performed along with his many wives and sons. Only Mahrja Kasa and his followers enjoyed the forests sweet tla fruits, which were otherwise inaccessible to ordinary people. One day, while herding the cows, Ka and Baladeva together with the cowherd boys wandered near Tlavana. The boys were so ravenous that they implored Ka and Baladeva to protect them from the demon of hunger and said that they could smell sweet, ripe tla fruits coming from nearby. Hearing this, Ka and Baladeva led them into Tlavana. 1 In the forest, Baladeva shook one of the palm trees. The fruit thudded to the ground and the cowherd boys jumped for


r v raja-maala parikram

joy. Hearing the sound of the falling fruits, Dhenuksura and his followers attacked Ka and Baladeva with great force, kicking Them with their hind legs. Without strain or effort, Baladeva Prabhu caught the hind legs of the valorous Dhenuksura, whirled him around in the sky and threw him on to the top of a huge palm tree. The demon passed stool and urine and then died. Ka started killing Dhenuksuras donkey followers, and soon their urine, stool and blood contaminated the entire forest. All the palm trees fell on each other and were destroyed. Later, when Tlavana was again clean, the sakhs and everyone else could easily go there. This pastime carries some deep and important teachings. r Baladeva Prabhu is akhaa guru-tattva, the complete and undivided principle of guru. In other words, He is that personality from whom all bona fide spiritual masters manifest. It is only by the mercy of the spiritual master that a sdhaka can protect his heart from ignorance. A genuine guru alone can remove all types of ignorance from the heart of a sincere disciple and infuse it with devotion to r Ka (ka-bhakti ). Dhenuksura is the personification of ignorance. Realisation of the truth about r Ka (ka-tattva), the science of devotional service to Him (bhakti-tattva) and the nature of the illusory energy (my-tattva) is only possible by the mercy of r Baladeva Prabhu. Only then will bhakti for Ka become strong and fixed. Due to foolishness, donkeys carry all kinds of loads in this material world. They are very lusty, and tolerate the kicks of shedonkeys and the beatings of washermen. Those who, out of gross foolishness, neglect to worship the Supreme Lord, carry all the bad qualities of a donkey. During the rainy season, when there is plenty of grass, the foolish donkey assumes he has not eaten anything and thus becomes lean and thin. And during the summer, when there is a scarcity of grass, the donkey assumes he has eaten it all and thus becomes fat. Here, at Tlavana, lies Balabhadra-kua and a temple of Baladeva.



The deity of Baladeva


r v raja-maala parikram

Balabhadra-kua and the temple of Baladeva




This is described as follows in rmad-Bhgavatam (10.15.27): eva suhd-vaca rutv suht-priya-cikray prahasya jagmatur gopair vtau tlavana prabh Upon hearing the words of Their friends, Ka and Balarma laughed and, desiring to give them pleasure, entered Tlavana in their company.


throughout this delightful place. this kua with the cowherd boys and with sweet words He would summon the cows to the bank of the pond by exclaiming, r K a Himself sported in

and the cowherd boys wandered

r K a, r Balarma

While herding the cows,

C-c! He would tell them to drink water. The boys decorated each other with garlands made of kumudin flowers.

Tr-tr! And then with


wo miles west of Tlavana is Kumudavana, which presently goes by the name Kudaravana. The kua here is called both Kumudin-kua and Vihra-kua. While herding the cows, r Ka, r Balarma and the cowherd boys wandered throughout this delightful place. r Ka Himself sported in this kua with the cowherd boys and with sweet words He would summon the cows to the bank of the pond by exclaiming, Trtr! And then with C-c! He would tell them to drink water. The boys decorated each other with garlands made of kumudin flowers. Sometimes Ka hid from His sakhs and, unseen by them, He sported in the water here with rmat Rdhik, Lalit, Vikh and other priya-narma-sakhs. There is currently a deity of r Kapiladeva on the bank of this kua. Lord Kapila worshipped Svayam Bhagavn r Ka at this place.


r v raja-maala parikram

From here, the pilgrimage of Vraja proceeds to Bahulvana via ntanu-kua. In the neighbourhood are picturesque pastime places, such as Ompr, Mnako-nagara, Lagyo, Ambikvana, Gaear (Gandhevarvana), Datih (Datya), Chakar and Garua-Govinda.

Datih (Datya) Datih lies about six miles west of Mathur and two miles from ntanu-kua. According to the Padma Pura, Nanda Mahrja and all the Vrajavss, including r Kas beloved gops, went to Kuruketra at the time of a solar eclipse to meet Ka. Ka repeatedly assured them, saying, I shall soon return to Vraja, and then sent them back to Vraja. Although the gopas and gops did return to Vraja with Nanda Bb, instead of going back to Gokula-Mahvana, they waited for Ka near Datih on the other side of the Yamun (from Gokula). The village in which they stayed while waiting for Ka is called Mager or Magher. After r Ka killed iupla He went to the vicinity of Mathur, where Dantavakra had gone to fight with Him. Ka killed Dantavakra at Datih, and then met with His parents and the other Vrajavss. Because Dantavakra was killed here, this place is called Datih [a name derived from the Sanskrit dantavakra-ha, killer of Dantavakra]. akakar The current name of akakar is Chakar. It is on the DelhiMathur highway, about four miles from Mathur and two miles from Vndvana. Concerned by the violence of the demons in Gokula-Mahvana, Nanda Bb came to akakar with all the Vrajavss. They established a place to live here by arranging their hundreds of thousands of bullock-carts in the shape of a crescent moon. This place became known as akakar because the Vrajavss used bullock-carts (akaa) to set up their residence. r Ka and r Balarma would go from here to sweet Vndvana 116


and other nearby places to graze the calves and cows. Ka performed rsa-ll and other Vraja pastimes while living here. At that time, Vndvana, the place of r Kas playful pastimes, was not a prosperous city but a rural area ornamented with many varieties of groves, creepers and attractive forests.

Garua-Govinda Ka performed various pastimes at this place, which lies near akakar. One day while grazing the cows, r Ka was absorbed in playing here with the sakhs. In their play, Ka made rdma Sakh assume the role of Garua and then He climbed on his back, acting as if the husband of Lakm, Nryaa Himself, had mounted Garuas back. Even today, one can take darana of Govindaj with rdma in the role of Garua.


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This location is also connected with Lord Rmas pastimes. When the serpents released by Meghantha bound r Rmacandra in their coils, He became helpless. Hearing of this from Devai Nrada, Garua came to the rescue. As soon as the serpents saw Garua, they released r Rmacandra and fled. This incident left Garua doubtful as to whether r Rma was in fact Bhagavn, the Supreme Lord, but by associating with Mahtm Kakabhuu and by receiving darana of r Ka at the time of Kas pastimes, this delusion was removed. At that time, r Ka climbed upon his back and assured him that He was indeed the Supreme Lord. Garua-Govinda is the place where Garua had darana of r Govinda, the maintainer of the cows and cowherd boys.

Gandhevar The present name of this village is Gaear-gaon. r Ka and the cowherd boys would smear aromatic ( gandha) substances on their bodies while grazing the cows. It is said that r Ka became intoxicated by the fragrance emanating from the body of rmat Rdhik, who was hiding nearby with Her girlfriends.1 Seeing rmatj, the flute slipped from His hands, His peacockfeather crown fell at Her lotus feet, and He fainted.2 This place is therefore called Gandhevar-trtha. rmat Rdhik is also called Gndharv. To this day, Gndharv-kua (so named after rmat Rdhik) continues to celebrate the triumphant, amorous pastimes of r Rdh-Ka. In modern times, the name Gandhevar has changed to Gaear. Khecar-gaon Khecar-gaon is two miles west of Mathur, and one mile northeast of ntanu-kua. Khecar refers to the rkas Ptan, a demoness who roamed the sky. Kasa knew about her power and adopted her as his sister. On his request, the impure Ptan, who could transform herself into many forms and who used to drink the blood and eat the flesh of small children, came in the guise 118


of a beautiful mother to the house of Nanda Mahrja to kill r Ka. Although her breasts were smeared with a deadly poison, r Ka, the ocean of causeless mercy, sucked out her life along with the poison, and bestowed upon her a position equal to a nursemaid in the transcendental world. Khecar-gaon is the place of residence of the rkas Ptan.

ntanu-kua ntanu-kua is the place where Mahrja ntanu performed austerities. Its present name is Satoh, and it is on the Govardhana road about three miles from Mathur. Mahrja ntanu worshipped Bhagavn here with the desire to beget a son. This

The temple of r ntanu-Bihrj


r v raja-maala parikram

r ntanu-Bihrj
son became famous as Grandsire Bhma. Bhmas mother was Gag, however, for a particular reason she left ntanu Mahrja. The king then became attracted to Satyavat, who was called Matsyagandh or Matsyodar, and who possessed great beauty. She was living in the house of a fisherman across the Yamun opposite Mathur. Mahrja ntanu desired to marry her, but the fisherman, Darja, was unwilling to give the king his adopted daughter in marriage. He said, If you accept the condition that the son born from my daughter will be the successor to your kingdom, then you can marry her. Mahrja ntanu refused this proposal for the sake of the crown prince Devavrata (Bhma), yet his heart



felt great sadness. When Prince Devavrata came to know of this, he went to the house of the fisherman and vowed to remain a lifelong brahmacr. He promised that the child born from Matsyodar would ascend the throne. Thus, he was able to arrange for the fishermans daughter to marry his father Mahrja ntanu. It is believed that while Hastinpura was Mahrja ntanus capital, he also had a place of residence here at ntanu-kua. Women who desire a child bathe in this kua. Behind the temple there, they make a svastika out of cow dung and perform pj. In the middle of ntanu-kua, on a raised hill, is the temple of ntanus worshipful deity, r ntanu-Bihrj.


r Rdh-rasa-sudh-nidhi (verse 2) describes this as follows: yasy kadpi vasancalakhekanottha dhanytidhanya-pavanena ktrthamn yogndra-durgamagatirmadhusdano pi tasy namo stu vabhnubhdo die pi Madhusdana (Ka) is difficult to attain even by the best of yogs. However, even He feels Himself greatly blessed when He is touched by even the slightest playful breeze coming from the tip of rmat Rdhiks garment. I offer my obeisances to any direction in which I may find this daughter of Mahrja Vabhnu.

r Rdh-rasa-sudh-nidhi (verse 39) also states: va karnnipatita skhalita ikhaa bhraaca ptavasana vrajarjasno yasy kaakaaraghta-vimrcchitasya t rdhik paricarmi kad rasena When can I worship with rasa that Rdhik whose arrow-like glances cause the prince of Vraja to faint, His yellow cloth to fall off, His crown to loosen, and His flute to fall from His hand?


Once, when rmat Rdhik She hid Herself in a kuja here. Ka became completely distressed. He was able to find rmat He pacified Her mna. With the help of the sakhs In separation from Her, was in Her sulky mood (mna),

Rdhik, and with great dif ficulty

Bahu lvana

he charming forest of Bahulvana is full of beauty. According to the Skanda Pura (Mathur-khaa), r Haris sakh Bahul resides here bahul rhare patn tatra tihati sarvad. This place is now called B. It lies seven miles west of Mathur, between Rdhkua and Vndvana. Sakaraa-kua and Mna-sarovara are two kuas in Bahulvana. Once, when rmat Rdhik was in Her sulky mood (mna), She hid Herself in a kuja here. In separation from Her, Ka became completely distressed. With the help of the sakhs He was able to find rmat Rdhik, and with great difficulty He pacified Her mna. It is popularly believed that any desire of a person who takes bath here will be fulfilled. In the temple on the bank of Sakaraa-kua are deities of r Ka, a tiger, a cow, its calf and a brhmaa. According to local lore, a cow named Bahul was once drinking water from this pond when a fierce tiger


r v raja-maala parikram

attacked and caught her. She assured the tiger that she would return to be eaten after she had first gone to the house of her master, a brhmaa, and fed milk to her hungry calf. When she got home, she told her calf to drink milk to his full satisfaction, and told him about her promise to the tiger. However, the calf insisted on going with her without drinking any milk. The brhmaa also prepared himself to go alone. He planned to leave the cow and calf at home and give himself to the tiger as food. In the end, all three approached the tiger, each willing to sacrifice himself. At that moment, r Ka Himself appeared there, and the tiger underwent a change



Sakaraa-ku a
of heart. By the mercy of r Ka, the brhmaa returned home safely with his cow and calf. r Rdh-kua lies within Bahulvana. On Bahulam it is customary to take bath in r Rdh-kua. Large numbers of people assemble to bathe here on that day. When r Caitanya Mahprabhu wandered through the different forests, He became overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this place. A charming and heart-rending description of this is given in r Caitanya-caritmta (Madhya-ll, Chapter 17) as follows: When r Caitanya Mahprabhu entered Bahulvana,


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the beautiful cows grazing there surrounded Him. They stopped eating the grass and, overflowing with prema, began to bellow and lick His body. Seeing the affectionate motherly mood of the cows, Mahprabhu became completely absorbed in ecstatic waves of prema. When He regained some external consciousness, He began caressing the cows and they did not want to leave Him. It was with great difficulty that the cowherd folk forced them onwards. Again r Mahprabhu became absorbed in transcendental emotions. Weeping He called out, Kothya ka, kothya ka? Where is Ka? Where is Ka? Herds of deer and does gathered and fearlessly licked Mahprabhus limbs with affection. Parrots, cuckoos and bees began singing in the fifth note, and peacocks danced before Him. Completely jubilant, the trees and creepers covered themselves in buds, new leaves and flowers. With their arm-like branches and twigs, they lovingly offered their flowers and fruits at the lotus feet of rman Mahprabhu. Seeing the ecstatic emotions of the moving and non-moving entities of Vndvana, rman Mahprabhus absorption in transcendental ecstasy intensified. He loudly cried, Chant Ka, chant Ka! and all of those moving and non-moving entities echoed His words. Sometimes Mahprabhu, crying piteously, clasped hold of the necks of the deer and does who gazed at His lotus face with love-filled glances and tear-filled eyes. A little further on, rman Mahprabhu saw a female and male parrot (sr and uka) sitting opposite each other on two branches of a tree, lovingly quarrelling about the glories of the Divine Couple, r Rdh-Ka.
uka: My Ka is Madana-mohana, the enchanter of Cupids mind. Sr: Yes, He is as long as my Rdh is at His left side. Otherwise, He is only Madana (Cupid). uka: My Ka lifted Girirja on His finger. Sr: Because my Rdh transmitted power into Him; otherwise, how could He have done so?



uka: My Ka is the life of the whole universe. Sr: My Rdh is the life of that life. uka: My Kas head is beautifully decorated with a peacockfeather. Sr: Only because my Rdhs name is marked on that feather. uka: The peacock-feather on my Kas head leans to the left. Sr: Because it wants to bow down to my Rdhs feet. uka: My Ka is the moon. Sr: My Rdh is the trap that captures that moon. uka: There is no need to quarrel uselessly. Let us glorify the Youthful Couple together. Sr: I happily agree to this.


r v raja-maala parikram

This loving quarrel between the uka and sr is also described in Govinda-llmta. Here, the male parrot says (13.29):
May our Lord Jagamohana, whose unparalleled beauty plunders the wealth of patience of an innumerable multitude of women, whose world-famous glory astounds even Lakmdev, whose strength turns the majestic Govardhana mountain into a childs toy, who has unlimited qualities, whose simple disposition entertains everyone, and whose glory substantiates the welfare of the entire universe, protect the entire world. 1

Hearing this, the female parrot replies (Govinda-llmta 13.30):

uka, r Rdhiks divine love, beauty, dancing, excellent calmness, expertise in music, wealth of good qualities, and poetic compositions, or in other words, Her erudition, are all so attractive that She steals away the heart of r Ka, who enchants the mind of the entire universe. 2

The male parrot then says (r Caitanya-caritmta, Madhyall 17.214):

Dear sr, all glories to r Madana-mohana, the enchanter of Cupid, who carries a flute. He steals the heart of all the women in the entire universe, and enjoys with the gops. 3

After hearing the parrots loving quarrel, rman Mahprabhu watched the dance of the peacocks. Seeing their bluish necks He remembered Ka and became so overwhelmed in ecstatic love that He fell down on the earth in a faint. His companions somehow brought Him back to consciousness, and He continued His parikram of Vraja.

akn-gaon This village is situated one mile from the village of B. Here, one can take darana of Balabhadra-kua and Dj Temple. 130


Toa-gaon The gopa Toa, an expert dancer, lived in this village. He taught r Ka how to dance expertly too, by which Ka became extremely satisfied (santoa). Tarasa-kua lies here. Ka, Balarma, the cows and cowherd boys would feel most satisfied when they drank the water of this kua. This village is therefore called Toa-gaon. Jakhina-grma This village lies two miles from Toa-gaon. Its previous name was Dakia-grma. While rmat Rdhiks leftist mood, vmyabhva, is renowned and is most pleasing to r Ka, each and every transcendental sentiment of every heroine exists in rmat Rdhik. Therefore, under certain special circumstances, Kiorj pleases r Ka by manifesting the bhvas of a right-wing heroine (dakia nyik). This village is thus also called Dakia-grma. It is also known as Jakia or Jakhina-grma, because Dj once killed a yaki 4 here who was obstructing Kas playful pastimes. Balabhadra-kua lies here, and one can take darana of the deities Baladeva and Revat. Vihravana This is a place of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Kas playful pastimes (vihra). Here rmat Rdhik tested Kas dancing skills.
priya ko nacvan sikhavat rdh pyr! mn-gumn laku lie hh manthargati jab hi, arpat kuj-bihr
Rdh-pyr is holding a stick of pride and anger (mn-gumn) and is teaching Her beloved Kuja-bihr to dance. But if, while Rdh-pyr is instructing Him, He makes a mistake in a swift movement of the dance, the sharp glances shooting from Pyrjs eyes punish Him.


r v raja-maala parikram

Vihra-kua lies here. This is where Ka and His cowherd boy friends performed water-sports and had the cows drink its pure and sweet water. Nearby is a very attractive grove of kadamba trees, in which one can see the imprints of the Lords lotus feet under a small canopy.

Basaunt and Rla-grma Basaunt currently goes by the name of Basat, and Rla by the name of Rra-grma. When Nanda Bb left Gokula-Mahvana with his family and moved to Chakar, his friend Vabhnu Mahrja resided in Basaunt-grma. This place received the name Basaunt because he resided (bsa karn) here. Nearby is Rla-grma, where rmatj performed Her childhood pastimes (blya-ll). In Her youth She performed some pastimes (paugaalls) in Basaunt. Varsn, Jvaa and Rdh-kua are places of Her teenage pastimes (kiora-lls). However, the place of Her highest and most perfect playful pastimes (ll-vilsa) is r Rdh-kua. Nearby are Balabhadra-kua, a temple of Balabhadra and a grove of kadamba trees. Aga This village is situated nine miles west of Mathur and four miles east of Govardhana on the main road between these places. r Ka and His sakhs obstructed the sakhs way demanding tax from them. Therefore the name of the village is Aga. The Hindi word an means to obstruct. Here, in Killola-kua, r Ka and Balarma relished joyful water-sports (jal-killola). Mdhur-kua Two miles south-east of Aga is Mdhur-kua, the charming place of Rdhs dear sakh Mdhur. It is also the place where the poet Mdhur dsaj performed his bhajana. 132


Mayra-grma This place is situated two miles south-west of Bahulvana. After seeing the dancing of the peacocks (mayra) here, r Ka started dancing with great pleasure in the midst of His beloved gops. The peacocks very happily gave one of their beautiful multi-coloured feathers as an offering to Ka, which He placed on His head. Mayra-kua is a place of darana here. Chakn-grma This village is situated near Mayra-grma. When r Ka, Balarma and the sakhs were out tending the cows, the gops here fed them buttermilk (chch) to the boys full satisfaction.


saundaryam lalanli-dhairyadalana ll ram-stambhin trym kandukitdri-varyam amal pre-parrddha gu la sarva-jannurajanam aho yasyyam asmat-prabhur viva viva-janna-krtir avatt ke jagan-mohana r-rdhiky priyat svarpat sulat nartana-gna-ctur guli-sampata kavit ca rjate jagan-mohana-citta-mohin

va-dhr jagan-nr citta-hr sa srike vihr gopa-nrbhir jyn madana-mohana A yaki is a female yaka, a ghostly follower of the demigod Kuvera, the treasurer of the demigods.


r v raja-maala parikram


Rdh-kua & yma-kua


Among all the gops, rmat Rdh is r K as pra-vallabh,

of His life. Similarly, Rdhs dear kua is also extremely dear to Him.

the dear most beloved

Rdh-ku a & yma-ku a

he Padma Pura states: yath rdh priy vio tasy kua priya tath sarva-gopu sevaik vioratyanta-vallabh
Among all the gops, rmat Rdh is r Kas pra-vallabh, the dear most beloved of His life. Similarly, Rdhs dear kua is also extremely dear to Him.

The Varha Pura1 declares: O r Rdh-kua, O r Ka-kua, You destroy all sins and award liberation in the form of prema. I bow down to you again and again. The different Puras are filled with innumerable descriptions of the glories of these two kuas. In Vraja-vilsa-stava (text 53)2 , rla Raghuntha dsa Gosvm prays: r Govardhana, is the arena of the nectarean


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rsa, where the most confidential amorous pastimes of the Divine Couple take place. Because it and other places are situated in r Vndvana, Vndvana has become exceedingly charming. Yet the glories of Vndvana, what to speak of Vraja-maalas other pastime places, are not equal to a mere shadow of a particle of the glories of r Rdh-kua. I take shelter of this r Rdh-kua, which is more dear to r Mukunda than His own life. r Rdh-kua lies in a village named ria, about three


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

r Rdh-kua
miles north-east of Govardhana and fourteen miles from Mathur and Vndvana. Arisura was a servant of Kasa who assumed the form of a bull and attacked Ka with the aim of killing Him, but Ka killed him instead at this place. At r Rdh-kua, the Divine Couple, r Rdh-Ka, perform Their midday pastimes, and freely enjoy a variety of amorous pastimes without obstruction. This is not possible anywhere else. Therefore, Rdh-kua is considered to be the topmost place


r v raja-maala parikram

r Rdh-ku a
of bhajana, superior even to Nandagaon, Varsn, Vndvana and Govardhana. This confidential place, surcharged with the highest and most sublime loving transcendental sentiments, was therefore revealed by r Caitanya Mahprabhu Himself, who is endowed with the sentiment and lustre of r Rdh. Previously, r Mdhavendra Pur, r Lokantha Gosvm and r Bhgarbha Gosvm also came to Vraja, where they revealed various pastime places of Ka; but even they did not reveal this most confidential of places. Only r Gaurasundara, who is r Rdh and r Ka combined, was able to do so.

The appearance of Rdh-kua & yma-kua r Ka killed Arisura during the day. That same night, He met with r Rdhik and His other beloveds here. He was very eager to embrace rmat Rdhik, but as soon as He reached out to do so, She jokingly stepped back and said, Today, You have killed a bull, which belongs to the cow family. You have therefore 142

Rdh-kua & yma-kua

r yma-kua
committed the sin of killing a cow. Please do not touch My pure body. Smiling, Ka answered, O dear most one, I killed a demon who had deceitfully assumed the form of a bull, so how can sin touch Me? rmatj insisted, Whatever he was, he was in the form of a bull when You killed him, so You are definitely guilty of the sin of killing a cow. The sakhs fully supported Her words. r Ka asked how He could atone for this sin. rmatj smiled and answered, The only atonement is to bathe in every holy place in the world. Hearing this, r Ka created a wide kua simply by striking His heel on the ground. He then summoned all the holy places from all over the planet to come there. Uncountable holy places promptly came before Ka in their personified forms, and Ka asked them to enter the kua as water. Within a moment, the kua was filled with pure, sacred water. When r Ka had bathed in that kua He again tried to embrace rmatj, but in


r v raja-maala parikram

response to the bragging of Her dear most beloved, rmat Rdhik now wanted to manifest a kua full of water that was larger and more exquisite than Kas. She and Her sakhs stubbornly dug out a very attractive kua nearby with their bracelets, but not so much as a drop of water appeared in it. Ka joked that they could take water from His kua, but rmatj along with Her innumerable sakhs indignantly prepared themselves to bring water from Mnas-gag in clay pots. r Ka signalled to the holy places that they should insist that rmatj and Her sakhs fill up their kua with water from His. The holy places personified prayed to rmat Rdhik and Her sakhs and glorified them in many ways. Thus they pleased Her. She gave them permission to enter Her kua and immediately, a current of water flowed from Ka-kua into Rdh-kua. With great pleasure, r Ka bathed and sported with rmat Rdhik and the sakhs in the water of this dear kua. These two kuas manifested at midnight on Kam (the eighth day of the dark moon) in the month of Krtika; therefore, thousands of people bathe here at midnight on this day, which is known as Bahulam. The Padma Pura states: Radiantly beautiful r Rdh-kua is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill. Faithful people who bathe here on Kam in the month of Krtika receive prema-bhakti and thus serve r Rdh-Kujabihr r Hari. 3 This same Pura also states: Unalloyed devotees of r Rdh-Ka who go to r Rdh-kua on the day of Dpval in the month of Krtika are granted a vision of the complete Vrajamaala as well the entire universe. 4

The history of the kuas after r Ka left for Dvrak Some time after r Ka had left for Dvrak, both kuas disappeared. While uncovering the pastime places of Vraja, r Kas great-grandson, Mahrja Vajranbha 5, restored these two kuas under the guidance of ilya and other sages. Five thousand years later, however, they had again disappeared. When 144

Rdh-kua & yma-kua

r Caitanya Mahprabhu came to this place, He inquired from the local people about Rdh-kua and yma-kua, but they could provide Him with no information. They could only tell Him about Kl-kheta and Gaur-kheta that lay before them, two fields which contained a little water. rman Mahprabhu reverentially addressed Kl-kheta as yma-kua and Gaur-kheta as Rdhkua and offered His respects to them. Then, as He bathed in them, He became overwhelmed in ecstasy, and losing all composure cried out, O Rdh, O Ka! and fainted. The place where He sat down is now called Tamla-tal; it is also known as Mahprabhus sitting-place (baihaka).


r v raja-maala parikram

r Caitanya Mahprabhus sitting-place at Tamla-tal


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm at Rdh-kua After the disappearance of r Caitanya Mahprabhu, r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm came from Jaganntha Pur and performed bhajana at Rdh-kua. Once, the Mughal emperor Akbar was making his way along this path with his vast army. The emperors divisions of men, elephants, horses and camels were very thirsty. Seeing Dsa Gosvm, Akbar asked, Is there any big pond nearby? Dsa Gosvm motioned to him to take water from Kl-kheta and Gaur-kheta. The emperor thought, This water is not sufficient even for a single elephant. How will it quench the thirst of my entire army? However, on the repeated requests of Dsa Gosvm, Emperor Akbar encouraged his men to drink. To his amazement, the whole army and its horses, elephants and camels drank to their full satisfaction, yet the water in the ponds did not reduce even slightly.

r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm


r v raja-maala parikram

After performing bhajana here for some time, the thought of restoring the two kuas entered the mind of r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm. But when he remembered the transcendental glories of r Rdh-kua, he began to reproach himself for thinking this, because he knew that the kua is eternally manifest. At that moment, a wealthy person arrived from Badrikrama, looking for a topmost renunciant named r Dsa Gosvm. He offered his prostrated obeisances at the feet of Gosvmj and said, I am returning from a pilgrimage to Badarikrama. Bhagavn r Badr-nryaa has sent me to you. On His order I am offering to cover all the expenses required to restore these two ponds to their original, charming forms. Kindly accept my offer. r Dsa Gosvm became speechless. Earlier he had rejected this idea, but now, knowing it to be the desire of r Rdh-Ka, he began the work of reconstructing the two kuas. While r Rdh-kua was being restored, the banks easily formed a rectanglar shape of perfect symmetry. yma-kua was also to be rectangular, but, to do this some trees had to be cut down. That night, while r Dsa Gosvm was performing bhajana, he dozed off, and as if in a dream, he saw five men standing before him. We are the five Pavas, they said. As trees, we are worshipping the Youthful Couple here, so please do not cut us down. Rather, let the shape of the pond be crooked. For this reason, r Dsa Gosvm did not have the trees cut down, and allowed the outline of the kua to remain crooked, just as r Ka is crooked. He simply had the pond deepened, and its ghas properly restored. Both kuas are still the same shape today, and over the years a few repairs have been carried out.

Girirja-Govardhana stretches from north to south, taking the shape of a peacock. Pchar is his tail, which is in the south, and Rdh-kua and yma-kua, which are his two eyes, are in the north.


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

The kuas as described in Ka-bhvanmta and Govinda-lilmta In Ka-bhvanmta and Govinda-lilmta, rla Vivantha Cakravart hkura and rla Ka dsa Kavirja respectively describe r Rdh-kua and r yma-kua in delightful, nectarean ways: Vrajendra-nandana r Ka is the source of all incarnations; He is the origin of everything, yet He is without origin; He is the personification of all nectarean mellows (akhila rasmta-mrti) and the source of all power (sarva-aktimn). Even so, He is subservient to the prema of rmat Rdhik, the embodiment of mahbhva and the topmost of all of His beloveds. r Ka always establishes the glories of His beloved Kiorj, and considers Her superior to Himself. Rdh-kua and ymakua are non-different from r Rdh and r ymasundara Themselves, and thus Ka also attributes more importance to Rdh-kua than to yma-kua. North of r Rdh-kua is the kuja of r Lalit-dev, Lalitnandada, which is shaped like a golden, eight-petalled lotus. In the north-east is Vikhnandada, the bejewelled kuja of Vikh Sakh, which is shaped like a sixteen-petalled lotus. In the east is Citrnandada, the kuja of Citr Sakh, which displays an amazing variety of forms and colours. In the south-east is the kuja of Indulekh Sakh, Indulekhnandada. It is shaped like an eight-petalled lotus and is made of diamonds. In the south is the kuja of Campakalat Sakh, Campakalatnandada-kuja, shaped like a golden lotus. And in the south-west is the lotus-like kuja of Ragadev, Ragadev-sukhada, which is inlaid with blue sapphires. Tugavidynandada is the kuja of Tugavidy Sakh. This kuja, in the west, resembles a lotus made of red rubies. In the northwest lies nandada, or Sudev-sukhada-kuja, the lotus-shaped kuja of Sudev, which is inlaid with emeralds. In the centre of r Rdh-kua is Anagamajar-nandada-kuja, shaped like a sixteen-petalled lotus inlaid with moonstones. This kuja, also known as Svnanda-sukhada-kuja, belongs to Anaga Majar. 149

r v raja-maala parikram


Lalitnandada-kuja Vikhnandada-kuja Svnanda-sukhada-kuja



Citrnandadakuja Yogapha Yogap

Ragadevsukhada-kuja Campakalatnandadakuja


It is connected with the bank of the kua by a bridge made of moonstones. In the north-western area of r yma-kua is a delightful place made of diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones where rmat


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

Kuj as around Rdh-kua & yma-kua

Madhumagalnandada-kuja Uj jvalnandada-kuja




Dakasanandnandakuja Kokilnandadakuja Gandharvnandadakuja



Rdhik daily takes bath. North of this place is Subalnandadakuja, which Subala Sakh has given to rmat Rdhik. Rdh and Ka take rest here. In the northern part of yma-kua is the kuja of Madhumagala, Madhumagalnandada, which


r v raja-maala parikram

is inlaid with white jewels. He has given this kuja to Lalitj. The Youthful Couple enjoy merriment and laughter here. Ujjvala Sakhs Ujjvalnandada-kuja in the north-east, made of red jewels, has been given to Vikh Sakh. In the east is Arjuna Sakhs Arjunnandada-kuja, made of blue sapphires, which has been given to Citr Sakh. Gandharvnandada-kuja in the south-east displays a variety of colours and forms, and belongs to Gandharva Sakh, who has given it to Indulekh Sakh. In the south is the green emerald Vidagdhnandada-kuja, belonging to Vidagdha Sakh, who has given this kuja to Campakalat. Here the Youthful Couple play the game of chaupaa6. Bhga Sakhs Bhgnandada-kuja lies in the south-west, and he has given this kuja to Ragadev. In the west is Dakasanandnanda-kuja made of a variety of jewels. Kokila Sakhs Kokilnandada-kuja, also in the west, has been presented to Sudev. At the juncture of the

Sagama or Yogapha

Rdh-kua & yma-kua

two kuas is a platform made of many kinds of jewels. It is also called the Yogapha of Kas pastimes. To the south of r Rdh-kua are jewelled swings hanging from the branches of campaka trees. Swings inlaid with precious stones hang from the branches of kadamba trees to the east. To the west, swings made of jewels hang from the branches of mango trees, and to the north jewelled swings hang from the branches of the bakula trees. Rasika r Ka plays on these swings with rmat Rdhik and the other sakhs. Surrounding both r Rdh-kua and r yma-kua are wish-fulfilling trees of mango, jackfruit, kadamba, bakula and so on, which are abundantly laden with flowers and fruits. Around the bases of these trees are platforms made of various precious stones. All seasons are eternally serving the Divine Couple under the guidance of the spring season. Vnd-dev makes all kinds of arrangements for the service of the Divine Couple. Cuckoos coo and the peacocks dance and make a sweet ke-k sound. Blue and red lotuses and various kinds of ketak flowers frolic on the waves of the divine ponds, while intoxicated, buzzing bees hover above. Royal swans, cakravkas and cranes play in the water with their consorts, making sweet sounds. Different kinds of birds recite love poetry on the branches of the trees, giving pleasure to Rdh and Ka. Deer and does roam about in attractive bowers nearby. Except for rmat Rdhiks most intimate girlfriends, no one can enter this forest.

Jhlana-tal On the western side of r Rdh-kua is Jhlana-tal. Once, r Santana Gosvm and r Rpa Gosvm were sitting near r Raghuntha dsa Gosvms bhajana-ku on the north-eastern side of Rdh-kua, immersed in narrations about r Ka. r Santana Gosvm asked r Rpa Gosvm, Rpa, what are you writing these days? r Rpa showed Santana Cu-pupjali, a stotra7 that he had composed. The first verse reads: 153

r v raja-maala parikram

nava-gorocan-gaur praverendvarm barm mai-stavaka-vidyoti ve-vylaga-pha

O Vdvanevar, I offer prayers to You again and again. You are golden-complexioned, like ever-fresh gorocan 8. Your cloth is the colour of a beautiful blue lotus flower and the upper part of Your long braid, which is decorated with jewels, appears like the hood of a black female serpent.

When r Santana Gosvm read this, he said, Rpa, with the phrase ve-vylaga-pha you compare the wavy, black braided hair of rmat Rdhik to a poisonous black female serpent. She who possesses all qualities, rmat Rdhik, is extremely charming, tender and sweet and is the beloved of r Ka. I do not like this comparison. r Rpa Gosvm smiled and humbly requested r Santana Gosvm to suggest a better description, but Santana Gosvm could not think of one at that moment. I will correct it later, he said and went on his way, contemplating the matter. When he reached this place to the west of the kua, he saw a young cowherd girl swinging on a beautiful swing that was hanging from the branches of a kadamba tree. Her friends were pushing Her to and fro, singing a mallra-rga. Suddenly, r Santana Gosvm saw a black female serpent with an expanded hood slithering on the swaying black tresses of that young girl. Thinking to save Her from the serpent, he ran towards Her, shouting, Ll, ll, beware! There is a black serpent in Your hair! When he came nearer, however, everything disappeared. There was no kior, no sakhs and no swing. He wept with happiness and returned to Rpa Gosvm saying, Rpa, your simile is perfect. rmat Kior kindly granted me darana of Her waving braid. There is no need for you to make any correction. It is at this Jhlana-tal that r Santana Gosvm had darana of r Rdh.


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

Some of the surrounding temples Near a kadamba tree in the south-western part of r Rdhkua is an ancient temple of r Rdh-Ka. According to hearsay, the mendicant r Dsa Gosvm found these deities of r Rdh-Ka while he was renovating the kua and gave Them to the Vrajavss to worship and serve. Nearby, in the north-western part of r Ka-kua is the temple of r ymasundara, the worshipful deity of r ymananda Prabhu. North of this temple is r Jva Gosvms worshipful deity r Rdh-Dmodara, and north of that temple is rnivsa crya Prabhus place of bhajana. There is a deity of r Caitanya Mahprabhu here. East of r ymasundaras temple, in the northern part of r Rdh-kua, is the gha and sittingplace of r Jhnav hkurn. Near her gha is the temple of

r Jhnav hkurns sitting-place


r v raja-maala parikram

r Raghuntha dsa Gosvms pupa-samdhi

r Gopntha. Adjacent to that temple is r Raghuntha dsa Gosvms place of residence and his pupa-samdhi. Proceeding from here, one comes to the temple of r Govindadeva. Near this temple is the il of r Girirjas tongue. On the eastern bank of Rdh-kua is the bhajana-ku of r Gopla Bhaa Gosvm, and near this to the east, on the bank of yma-kua, is the bhajana-ku of r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm.


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

r Gopla Bhaa Gosvms bhajana-ku

r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm s bhajana-ku After coming from Jaganntha Pur, r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm used to live near r Rdh-kua at Lagmohana-kua. Once, during r Kas manifest pastimes, on the day of the Hol festival, rmat Rdhik was sitting here with Her girlfriends when akhaca unexpectedly seized Her and ran away. Ka pursued and killed him and, removing the jewel from the demons forehead, gave it to r Baladeva. He in turn gave the jewel into the hands of Dhanih to give to rmat Rdhik. Although r 157

r v raja-maala parikram

Dsa Gosvm first used to live at this Lagmohana-kua, he later began performing bhajana on the banks of r Rdh-kua. One day, r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm was performing his bhajana under the open sky at Rdh-kua. He was so absorbed that he was not conscious of his body and mind, and streams of tears flowed from his eyes. Occasionally, the words O Rdh, O Rdh came from his mouth. At this time, r Santana Gosvm regularly came to see him. Once, from a distance, r Santana Gosvm saw a ferocious tiger and tigress walk past Raghuntha dsa, drink water from the nearby kua and then return by the same path, as if they had not seen him. r Santana Gosvm approached r Dsa Gosvm and very affectionately, like an elder brother, advised him to perform his bhajana in a hut. r Santana had a leaf-hut built for r Dsa Gosvm, and instructed him to perform his bhajana there. That hut no longer exists, but a solid one made of cement has been constructed in its place. Near this bhajana-ku, the five Pavas Yudhihira, Bhma, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva performed bhajana as trees. Some time ago, these trees became unmanifest and disappeared from our vision. Between this bhajana-ku and the bhajana-ku of r Gopl Bhaa Gosvm are the samdhis of rla Raghuntha Bhaa Gosvm, rla Raghuntha dsa Gosvm and rla Kadsa Kavirja Gosvm. North of r Raghuntha dsa Gosvms and r Vivantha Cakravart hkuras bhajana-kus is the bhajana-ku of r Kadsa Kavirja Gosvm. It is said that he wrote some portions of r Caitanya-caritmta here, but most of it was actually written in his bhajana-ku at the RdhDmodara Temple in Vndvana. Nearby, in the north-eastern area, is a temple of r GaddharaCaitanya, and north-west of it is the r Rdh-Govinda Temple. One may take darana of the Jihv-il of r Govardhana near the entrance of this temple.


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

r Raghuntha dsa Gosvms bhajana-ku


r v raja-maala parikram

Inside the bhajana-ku of r Gopl Bhaa Gosvm (right) and of r K adsa Kavirja Gosvm (below)


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

The samdhis of rla Raghuntha Bhaa Gosvm (left), rla K adsa Kavirja Gosvm (middle) and rla Raghuntha dsa Gosvm (right)


r v raja-maala parikram

Jihv-il and other nearby places After finishing his daily morning ablutions, r Dsa Gosvm used to bathe with the water of Gop-kpa, situated to the east of r yma-kua. He would then bathe in Rdh-kua. Once, while drawing water from Gop-kpa, he also drew a govardhanail out of the well. After taking his bath that day, r Dsa Gosvm went on his way; but while doing bhajana at night, he took some rest. In a dream he saw that the il was actually the tongue ( jihv) of r Girirja. He also received an order from r Girirja to worship the il according to the proper method. He had a temple constructed near the entrance of the Govindadeva Temple and arranged for the il to be properly worshipped there. This same il can be seen there today. After this event, r Dsa Gosvm stopped taking bath with the water of Gop-kpa, and had a new well constructed on the eastern bank of Lalit-kua for bathing. This new well remains there today. Proceeding from here, one arrives at the kuja of Narahari Sarkra. Lalit-kua is situated on the location of Lalitnandada-


Rdh-kua & yma-kua



r v raja-maala parikram

kuja. Vikh-kua and many other kuas are included within Lalit-kua but many of them have disappeared. Then come the temples of r Rdh-Vinoda-bihrj and r Stntha. Near Lagmohana-kua, on the parikram path, lies the samdhi of r Rjendra Gosvm. He gave up his life at this place, in separation from Ka.

r Rdh-Kujabihr Gauya Maha On the western side of r Rdh-kua is r Rdh-Kujabihr Gauya Maha. The deities here, r Rdh-Kujabihr, were installed by jagadguru paramahasa parivrjakcrya-varya o viupda r rmad Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat Gosvm Prabhupda, who propagated pure vaiava-dharma and rharinma-sakrtana as practised and preached by rman Mahprabhu throughout the world. A little further away from r Raghuntha dsa Gosvms samdhi is the bhajana-ku of rla Saccidnanda Bhaktivinoda hkura, renowned as the Seventh Gosvm; and the bhajana-ku of rla Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat Gosvm. ivakhora When coming to the village of r Rdh-kua from Uddhavakua, ivakhora is situated on the right-hand side of the parikram path at the entrance to the village. It is said that in ancient times a lost she-jackal wandered to this place during the day, but the dogs here killed her. Seeing this, the villagers performed her last rites at this place and were struck with wonder when a youthful gop manifested from the she-jackals body and ascended into the sky. It is said that a living entity who dies at r Rdh-kua attains Goloka-Vndvana. Mlyahri-kua Mlyahri-kua is situated on the western side of Rdhkua. rmat Rdhik sat in a bower of mdhav flowers here 164

Rdh-kua & yma-kua

r Rdh-Kujabihrj

r v raja-maala parikram

and strung necklaces of pearls. r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm has described this pastime very beautifully in his book Mukt-carita. The confidential realizations attained by mah-bhgavatas in deep meditation are completely true and transcendental. Once, during the month of Krtika on the occasion of the Dpval festival at Girirja-Govardhana, the Vrajavss were busily absorbed in decorating their cows and other animals with various kinds of ornaments. The gops also brought various ornaments from their homes to decorate the cows. r Rdhik and Her girlfriends sat on the mdhav terrace near the Mlyahri-kua making several kinds of beautiful pearl ornaments. Meanwhile, r Ka arrived there, having heard of rmat Rdhiks activities from the mouth of the parrot Vicakaa, and asked for some pearls. However, Rdhik and Her gop friends refused, proudly giving several reasons why they could not give Him any. Nonetheless, r Ka insisted, Sakhs, if you cannot give Me a large quantity of pearls,


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

then at least give Me a few with which to decorate My beloved cows Hasin and Hari. But the headstrong gops rejected this request also. Lalit collected a palmful of pearls of the very finest quality. She held them out to Ka, and taunted, Ka, these pearls that You want to decorate Your cows with are most precious. They are not ordinary. Do You understand? Disappointed, r Ka returned home where He sulkily took some pearls from Mother Yaod. He dug holes in the soil near the bank of the Yamun, put manure in them and planted the pearls. He then fenced the area to protect the growing plants from animals and birds and irrigated the field daily, with a large quantity of cows milk. He asked the gops to donate some milk for this, but they refused that request as well. All were amazed when, within a few days, each and every pearl began to sprout. The plants grew right before everyones eyes, and began to bear pearl fruit, from which extremely beautiful pearls grew in abundance. When the gops went to the bank of the Yamun to fetch water, they saw this astonishing field of pearls and started


r v raja-maala parikram

to whisper among themselves. r Ka happily harvested a huge quantity of pearls, brought them home and placed them in the lap of His mother. Kanhaiy, where did You get such excellent pearls? she asked in amazement. r Ka told her the whole story. r Ka and the sakhs now began stringing uncountable pearl necklaces for all their cows, and, decorated with these pearl necklaces, these cows began to wander everywhere. Unable to tolerate His success, the gops secretly brought pearls from their homes and began to sow them as r Ka had done. They irrigated the field with an abundance of cows milk as He did. Their pearls sprouted, but to their surprise, only into thorny creepers. The gops became worried. They told r Ka what had happened, and asked Him for some of His pearls. But Ka, the crown jewel of rasikas, scornfully rejected their request. Finally He accepted kisses and embraces, and enjoyed the touch of their transcendental limbs in exchange for His pearls. Mlyahri-kua received its name by virtue of this confidential pastime.

Famous ghas of r Rdh-kua & r yma-kua (1) Govinda-gha This gha is on the eastern bank of r Rdhkua between the bhajana-ku of r Gopla Bhaa Gosvm and the temple of Bihrj. It was here that r Santana Gosvm saw rmat Rdhik playing on a swing and realised in his heart the secret of the phrase ve-vylaga-pha in r Rpa Gosvms Cu-pupjali.
(2) Mnasa-pvana-gha This gha is situated on the northwestern side of yma-kua and is very dear to rmat Rdhik. (3) Paca Pava-gha This gha is joined to Mnasa-gha in the northern part of r yma-kua. The five Pavas in the form of trees disclosed themselves to r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm above this gha. Here, at the entrance door of the r Gaddhara-Caitanya Temple, is also an old chohar tree,


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

which disclosed to r Vivantha Cakravart hkura that it was actually a brhmaa from K. (4) Madhumagala-gha Above this gha is Madhumagalas kuja, named Madhumagalnandada, which Madhumagala offered to r Lalit Sakh. The sitting-place (baihaka) of Hitahari-vaa Gosvm is here. (5) Jva Gosvm-gha Nearby this gha is r Jva Gosvms bhajana-ku. During his stay here, r Jva Gosvm daily bathed at this gha.


r v raja-maala parikram

r Jva Gosvms bhajana-ku

(6) Gay-gha Another name for this gha is Dhana-mdhavagher-gha. Near this gha is r Mdhavendra Purs baihaka and r Harirma Vysas place of bhajana. (7) Aa-sakh-gha This gha lies between Gay-gha and Tamla-tal. (8) Tamla-tal-gha This gha lies on the southern bank of yma-kua. r Caitanya Mahprabhu sat under a tamla


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

r Mdhavendra Purs sitting-place


r v raja-maala parikram

tree here and inquired about the kuas from the villagers, who could offer Him no information. Instead, they pointed out Kl-kheta and Gaur-kheta nearby. Mahprabhu declared them to be Rdh-kua and yma-kua and bathed here. This is how He caused r Rdh-kua and r yma-kua, which had been established by Mahrja Vajranbha, to become manifest for the benefit of the world. Later, r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm reconstructed them as we see them today.


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

(9) Vallabha-gha This gha is situated west of Tamla-tal on the southern bank of yma-kua. r Vallabhcrya sat in the shade of a chohar tree here with his associates and glorified both kuas. He remained here for some time and bathed at this gha daily. He would also speak on rmad-Bhgavatam here.

r Vallabhcrya

r v raja-maala parikram

r Vallabhcryas sitting-place
(10) Madana-mohana-gha South of this gha is the temple of r Madana-mohana. (11) Sagama-gha This gha is situated between Rdh-kua and yma-kua. The two kuas meet under this platform. Sagama means meeting. This is the Yogapha of the eternal pastimes of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka. Vaiavas first bathe in Rdh-kua and then in yma-kua. It is said that there was an old tamla tree here that disclosed to one devotee that it was Agastya i. (12) Rsav-gha This gha is situated in the southern part of r Rdh-kua. It is the location of a rsa-maala. (13) Jhlana-gha r Rdh and Ka used to swing (jhl jhlan) at this gha, which lies on the western bank of r


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

Rdh-kua). Even today, the young girls of Rdh-kua swing here with great festivity. Another name for this gha is Rdh-Ka-gha. (14) Jhnav-gha This gha lies on Rdh-kuas northern bank and is the bathing-place of r Jhnav hkur, the wife of r Nitynanda Prabhu. r Jhnav hkur also used to perform bhajana here. Her sitting-place remains here to this day. (15) Vajranbha-kua This kua is situated in the middle of r Ka-kua. (16) Kakaa-kua This kua was built by r Rdh with the help of Her sakhs using their bracelets (kakaa). It is situated in the very middle of r Rdh-kua.


r v raja-maala parikram

25 26
To Uddhava-kua

3 7 6


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Jhlana-tal r Rdh-Ka Temple r ymasundara Temple r Rdh-Dmodara Temple rnivsa cryas bhajana-ku r Jhnav-devs baihaka r Gopntha Temple r Raghuntha dsa Gosvms pupa-samdhi 9. rla Bhaktivinoda hkuras bhajana-ku 10. Lalit-kua 11. rla Jva Gosvms bhajana-ku 12. Jva Gosvm-gha 13. Gay-gha 14. r Mdhavendra Purs baihaka 15. Gop-kpa 16. Aa-sakh-gha 17. Tamla-tal 18. Bankha Mahdeva


19. Vallabha-gha 20. Madana-mohana-gha 21. r Madana-mohana Temple 22. Sagama-gha 23. Kuevara Mahdeva 24. ivakhora 25. Mlyahri-kua 26. r Rdh-Kujabihr Gauya Maha


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

see Detailed Map

To Sr ya-kua

8 11 10



13 16






17 18


r v raja-maala parikram

Detailed Map
Parikra m path


6 5
ymaku a

4 7 8

1. r Govindadeva Temple 2. Jihv-il (the tongue of Govardhana) 3. r Kadsa Kavirja Gosvms bhajana-ku 4. r Raghuntha dsa Gosvms bhajana-ku 5. The samdhis of: r Bhgarbha Gosvm, r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm & r Kadsa Kavirja Gosvm 6. r Gopla Bhaa Gosvms bhajana-ku 7. Mnasa-pvana-gha 8. Paava tree 9. r Gaddhara-Caitanya Temple


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

The rsa-maalas of r Rdh-kua (1) South of r Rdh-kua is the place of an old rsa-maala. A rsa-maala pavilion has been constructed here.
(2) North-east of r Rdh-kua, behind the temple of r Govindadeva (3) In the northern part of the village, south of Bhnukhora (4) In the northern part of r yma-kua, north of RdhVallabha-gha (5) In Nandin-gher (6) In the temple of Lalita-bihrj

The seven Mahdevas acting as area-protectors (ketra-plas) of r Rdh-kua (1) Kuevara Mahdeva on the south-western side of r Rdhkua
(2) Mahdeva in the west of the village, north of ivakhora (3) Mahdeva in the temple of r Rdh-Ramaaj (4) Mahdeva on the northern side of r yma-kua (5) Bankha Mahdeva on the south-eastern side of r ymakua (6) Mahmevara Mahdeva near Mlyahri-kua (7) Mahdeva in the western part of Vallabhcryas baihaka


r v raja-maala parikram

Kuevara Mahdeva


sarva-ppa-haras trtha namaste hari-muktida nama kaivalya-nthya rdh-ka-bhidhyine r-vndvipina suramyam api tac chrmn sa govardhana s rsa-sthalikpy ala rasamay ki tvad anyat sthalam yasypy aa-lavena nrhati mank samya va mukundasya tat prebhyo py adhika-priyeva dayita tat kuam evraye

krtika bahulamy tatra sntv hare priya naro bhakto bhaved vitat sthitasya tasya pratoam dpotsave krtike ca rdh-kue yudhihira dyate sakala viva bhtyair viu-paryaai Vrajanbha Mahrja is the son of Aniruddha, who is the son of r Kas son Pradyumna. Vrajanbha Mahrja was present at the time of Mahrja Parkit.

govardhana girau ramye rdh-kua priya hare


Rdh-kua & yma-kua

Mahmevara Mahdeva

Bankha Mahdeva

Chaupaa is a game similar to backgammon, played by two players on a cloth or board of cross-shaped layout. The players have three dice, and sixteen counters each. A stotra is a hymn of praise in which the verses are sung, in contradistinction to the scriptures which are recited. A bright golden pigment that emerges when rainwater falls upon the hoof of a cow at the time of the lunar constellation called Svai.


r v raja-maala parikram


Gov ardhana


O my friend, this Girirja is the topmost among r Haris servants and is absorbed in supreme bliss, being always touched by r Balarma and r Kas lotus feet. Girirja serves and satisfies r Ka, Balarma, the cowherd boys and the cows by providing them with water from his pure lakes and ponds, with lush grass, fruits, roots and various minerals like gairika.


irirja-Govardhana is situated some fourteen miles west of Mathur. r Ka protected Vraja by holding the enormous Govardhana Hill on the little finger of His left hand for seven days, thus shattering the pride of Indra. Girirja has descended from r Kas transcendental abode Goloka-Vndvana to Vraja on this Earth planet. He came with secluded bowers, caves, pure lakes and ponds, and various minerals, like red ochre ( gairika), that are useful in the service of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka. Girirja-Govardhana is non-different from Ka in tattva, yet he is considered to be hari-dsa-varya, the best among all the servants of Hari. The gops spoke of him as follows: O my friend, this Girirja is the topmost among r Haris servants and is absorbed in supreme bliss, being always touched by r Balarmas and r Kas lotus feet. Girirja serves and satisfies r Ka, Balarma, the cowherd boys and the cows by providing them with water from his pure lakes and ponds, with lush grass, fruits, roots and various minerals like gairika. 1


r v raja-maala parikram


Gov ardhana

r Girirja-Govardhana

r v raja-maala parikram

The A ppearance of r Govardhana in Vraj a

According to the di-varha Pura, during the advent of r Rmacandra, monkeys and bears all brought large rocks and stones from many places to construct a bridge across the ocean. Hanumn also received the order from r Rmacandra to help build the bridge. Hanumn uprooted Govardhana from Uttarcala, but while carrying him to the ocean he heard a divine sound that announced, The ocean bridge is now complete. No more rocks are required. Hearing this, Hanumn became some sad and put down r Girirja here, where he stands today. Girirja also became unhappy and said to Hanumn, You have deprived me of the touch of r Rmas lotus feet. I will curse you. Please forgive me, Hanumn replied. In the next Dvparayuga, your desire will be fulfilled. At that time, the Supreme Lord r Ka will stop the worship of Indra and worship you instead. Angered, Indra will try to destroy Vraja by unleashing his thunderbolt and by sending torrential rains. At this time, r Ka will hold you on His hand to protect Vraja. In this way He will fulfil your desire. Upon saying this, Hanumn leapt into the air and arrived at r Rmacandras side by the aerial pathways. After narrating the whole incident to Him, r Rmacandra said, All the rocks that have been assembled to build the bridge have been delivered by the touch of My feet. But I shall fulfil the desires of Govardhana by holding him on My hand and touching him with My whole body. At the close of Dvpara-yuga, I shall take birth in the dynasty of the Yadus and make Govardhana famous as the best servant of Hari by herding the cows with My sakhs on his slopes and by enjoying with My beloved gops in his kujas.


Gov ardhana

Hanumn carrying Govardhana to Vraja

The Garga-sahita relates the following history of the appearance of Govardhana in Vraja in another age: Once, in the course of his wanderings, Pulastya i reached Drocala Hill. The son of Drocala, Govardhana, was very beautiful, fragrant, smooth, and full of luxuriant, green trees and creepers. Pulastya i desired to bring this Govardhana to his place of residence, K, because there was no such hill there on which he could peacefully perform his sdhana-bhajana. He asked Drocala to give his son Govardhana to him for this purpose. Drocala could not refuse, as he feared being cursed. Govardhana agreed to go, on the condition that if Pulastya put him down somewhere along the way, he would remain there and not move again. The sage accepted his condition, and by mystic power kept Govardhana on his palm as he proceeded to K. As they reached Vraja, thoughts of r Kas future pastimes entered Govardhanas mind. Govardhana became so heavy that


r v raja-maala parikram

Pulastya i bringing Govardhana to Vraja

the sage could no longer carry him and was forced to put him down right there. After the sage bathed, chanted his regular mantras, sung his prayers, ate and rested, he tried to lift Govardhana again, but remaining true to his word, Girirja refused to move. With all his strength the sage tried to lift Govardhana, but could not do so. Finally, he angrily cursed Govardhana, saying, You will diminish in size by one sesame seed daily. Govardhana happily accepted this curse, because he knew about the coming descent of the Supreme Lord r Ka. ymasundara will perform various pastimes on me, and I shall be blessed, he thought. Girirja does, in fact, diminish in size every day, but who can say whether this is due to the sages curse or due to Girirjas feelings of separation from r Ka?


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Pastime Places on the Govardhana Parikram

r Rdh-kua and r yma-kua are the two eyes of Girirja r Govardhana, and therefore the best part of his body. The prominent places of Kas pastimes mentioned below are in sequence as they appear on the parikram of Girirja, starting from r Rdh-kua and r yma-kua.

(1) Mukhar The village of Mukhar lies one mile south of Rdh-kua, along the road to Vndvana. It is the home of old Mukhar, the maternal grandmother of rmat Rdhik. When Yaod was a baby, Mukhar breast-fed her. With great pleasure, Grandmother Mukhar secretly arranged meetings between Rdh and Ka, the Youthful Couple. She is the mother-in-law of Mahrja Vabhnu and the mother of Kirtid. The Vrajavss used to

The deities of Mukhar-dev (left), rmat Rdhik (center) and Kirtid-dev (right)

canal Rdhku a ymaku a ndvana To V

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1. 2. 3. 46.


Parikram Path To V arsn


7. 8. 9. 21.


40 4-6 38 2

1 3
see map of Govardhana Town

22. 24. 27. 28. 29.


31. 32.

Mukhar Kusuma-sarovara Nrada-kua Ratna-sihsana yma-ku & Gvla-pokhara Killola-kua Plei Mnas-gag Prsaul, Candra-sarovara Paih-grma nyora-gaon Govinda-kua Pchar Apsar-kua & Navala-kua Rghava Paitas Cave yma-hka Surabhi-kua

To Mathur

37 21 22

33. 35. 37. 38. 40.

Airvata-kua Jatpur Bilach-kua Sakh-sthal Uddhava-kua






33 32 27

30 31

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The numbers on the map refer to the numbers in the book.



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Govardhana Town
10. 11. 12. 14. Harideva Temple Brahma-kua Manas-dev Temple Cakra Trtha & Cakrevara Mahdeva 15. rla Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku 16. Mukhravinda 18a. a-mocana-kua 18b. Ppa-mocana-kua 19. Dna-gh 20. Dna-nivartana-kua


To Uddhavaku a

To Rdhku a

Mnas- 14 gag


Killolaku a

11 12 10
Bilachku a Govardhana Hill 20


Gau yaMath

19 18b


To Mathur

To Prsaul


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address her with the name Ba. With great eagerness, she would visit rmat Rdhik and Ka every morning. There is a temple of Mukhar-dev here.

(2) Kusuma-sarovara Kusuma-sarovara is on the right of the parikram path, about one-and-a-half miles south-west of r Rdh-kua. A forest of flowers (kusuma) was here full of varieties of trees, creepers and flowers like bel, camel, jh, yth, mallik and campaka. rmat Rdhik used to come here on the pretext of picking flowers with Her girlfriends, but Her real intent was to meet rasika r Ka, with whom She would have love-quarrels and sarcastic exchanges full of rasa. Ka-bhvanmta describes how one day rmat Rdhik was picking flowers here with Her girlfriends when Ka arrived, and the following exchange took place:
Ka: Who is there? Rdh: Nobody. Ka: Tell Me honestly, who are You? Rdh: Nobody. Ka: You are speaking in a very crooked way. Rdh: And You speak in a very straight way, dont You? Ka: I am asking You who You are. Rdh: Dont You know? Ka: What are You doing? Rdh: Picking flowers to worship the Sungod. Ka: Have You received permission from anyone to do so? Rdh: There is no need of anyones permission. Ka: Aha, I have caught a thief today. I wondered who was stealing flowers every day and ruining this garden. Now I have caught You, and will punish You straight away. Rdh: Since when have You become the master of this flower garden? Have You ever planted a single flower here?


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Have You ever even watered one? On the contrary, You ruin this flower garden with Your hundreds and thousands of cows and Your boisterous, brazen friends. Indeed, since when have You become the protector of this garden? Ka: Do not defame a pious, righteous person like Me. Now I shall teach You a good lesson. Rdh (smiling): Aha-ha, You are a highly pious and righteous person, are You? You killed a woman right after Your birth; You lied to Your mother even in childhood; You stole butter from the houses of the neighbouring gops; and when You became a little older, You stole the clothes of the young gops. Only a few days ago You killed a calf. This is the extent of Your pious, saintly conduct.

Hearing the retort, Ka scratched His head and looked towards clever Madhumagala, who advised Him, Ones wellbeing lies in remaining quiet. At this point, all the sakhs surrounded ymasundara and began to clap.

The following pastime also took place here. One morning, rmat Rdhik and Her sakhs came to the bank of Kusumasarovara to pick bel, camel, jh, kanera, campaka and other flowers that bloomed here. rmat Rdhik saw a tree with a branch full of flowers. Knowing that She was coming to Kusumasarovara to pick flowers, playful Ka had climbed that very tree. Using all His weight, He pushed the branch down and remained hidden in the foliage so that rmatj could not see Him. Rdhik pulled down that branch with one hand, and was absorbed in picking its flowers with the other when suddenly Ka shifted to another branch. The branch sprung up, lifting up Rdhik with it and She cried out for help. r Ka leapt out from the tree and


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caught hanging rmatj in His arms. The sakhs began clapping and laughing loudly, but rmat Rdhik, released Herself from r Kas embrace and scolded Him harshly. Now the flower garden at Kusuma-sarovara has completely disappeared.


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In 1767 AD, Mahrja Javhara Singh of Bharatapura looted the royal treasury of Delhi, and with that money built ornate stone ghas with steps down to the waters edge. To the west of the sarovara is the cenotaph of Rj Srajamala flanked by the cenotaphs of his two queens. There is a temple of Uddhavaj here.


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(3) Nrada-kua About four hundred metres south-east of Kusuma-sarovara is Nrada-kua, where r Nrada performed austerities. After Nrada heard the glories of gop-bhva (the exalted moods of the gops) from the mouth of Vnd-dev, the presiding deity of Vndvana, an intense desire to lovingly serve the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka as a gop in Their most elevated amorous pastimes arose in his heart. He received the gopla-mantra from Brahm, the Grandsire of the world, and began to perform meditation and worship here in rga-mrga, the path of spontaneous attachment, in the wake of the gops. After doing this for a long time, Yogamy Paurams dipped Nrada in Kusuma-sarovara, by which he received the form of a gop. Thereafter, he received the ekada-bhva (eleven features that constitute ones true identity) in the path of spontaneous attachment and became qualified to serve the Divine Couple. It is highly beneficial to visit Nrada-kua.


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r Nrada at Nrada-kua

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(4) Ratna-sihsana Ratna-sihsana lies one mile south of Kusuma-sarovara on the Govardhana parikram path coming from r Rdh-kua. The following pastime took place here. One full moon day after iva-caturda (iva-rtri), r Ka, r Balarma and the gops were playing Hol, squirting each other with bright dye from long water syringes. The sweet music of drums, cymbals, vs and other instruments filled the air with melodious rgas, like the springtime rga. Nearby, rmat Rdhik sat upon a jewelled throne (ratna-sihsana). At that time, a follower of Kuvera named akhacua, who considered Bhagavn r Ka to be an ordinary human being, tried to abduct these beautiful gops. With voices full of distress, the gops cried, Rma, Ka! Ka ran to their call and killed akhacua. He took the jewel from the demons forehead and gave it to r Balarma, who sent it to rmat Rdhik through Dhanih. This is the place where Rdhik sat on the jewelled throne.

K as footprint at Ratna-sihsana

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(5) yma-ku yma-ku is situated amidst a thick cluster of trees near Ratna-sihsana. Here, r ymasundara smeared His body with yma-coloured musk, dressed Himself in yma-coloured clothes and ornaments, and entered a yma-coloured bower. Even the gops were unable to recognise Him. When they finally did, He performed many attractive pastimes with them. Nearby is a bajanla, a stone that makes sweet sounds when tapped. (6) Gvla-pokhar Beautiful, thick trees and creepers surround this charming pastime place near yma-ku. When r Ka herded the cows, He used to rest here at noon. The young cowherd boys (gvla-blas) lovingly served Him in the mellow of friendship (sakhya-rasa), and they all playfully snatched things from each other. These and other sweet pastimes have made this Bla-pokhar (Gvlapokhar) famous.


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In the guise of a young priest, r Ka, along with young Madhumagala, performed rmat Rdhik s worship of the Sungod at Srya-kua. After completing the worship, they returned here and sat down with the cowherd boys. Madhumagala was carrying manohara-las and a golden ring that had been donated for their priestly services. He had carefully tied the las in his cloth. Mischievous Balarma asked Madhumagala, Friend Madhumagala, what is in this bundle of yours? Madhumagala hesitated. Nothing, he answered. Baladeva gave a signal to the sakhs. Some of them caught Madhumagalas hands, one covered Madhumagalas eyes with his palms, and others forcibly snatched away his bundle. Laughing loudly, they shared the laus amongst themselves and ate them right in front of Madhumagala. In the course of the tumult, Madhumagalas cloth had loosened, which made him furious. He held out his sacred thread and was just about to curse Balarma, rdma and the other sakhs, but Ka was somehow able to pacify him. Madhumagala began to laugh and asked the sakhs for some left over la crumbs. This Gvla-pokhar still carries reminders of these pastimes. While performing parikram of Girirja-Govardhana, r Caitanya Mahprabhu took rest here for a short time and remembered these pastimes.

(7) Killola-kua Killola-kua lies south of Gvla-pokhar towards r Giridhr Gauya Maha. Killola means sport or frolic. As its name suggests, this kua is where the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka played in the water (jal-keli). Ka and His sakhs also frolicked and played here. (8) Ple The village of Ple lies one-and-a-half miles east of Nradakua, near the Mathur Road. The Yamun used to flow here, 206

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and even today Yamun sand can be found by digging under the soil. At this place, Ka herded the cows with the sakhs, and had many kinds of amorous exchanges with the sakhs. The poet Kumbhana dsa also lived here. His style of poetry was called aachpa. There is a well-known pond and gol here that are named after him.


(9) Mnas-gag Driven by the gops insistence that He atone for the sin of killing a bull (Vabhsura), r Ka created Mnas-gag from His mind and became pure by bathing in its waters. According to a second story, once r Nanda Mahrja, r Yaod and the other gopas and gops took Ka and Balarma with them on a journey to the Gag to take bath. That night, they 207

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rested near Govardhana. Ka questioned the need for them to travel so far when all holy places reside in Vraja. He remembered Gag-dev, and at once Bhagavat Bhgrath-Gags strong current brought her to this spot, making a sweet sound. At the head of this current was r Gag-dev, mounted on an alligator. This daraa astonished Nanda, Yaod, and the gopas, gops and other Vrajavss. Ka said, All holy places exist in Vraja. You wanted to bathe in the Gag, so Gag-dev has personally appeared before you today. Please bathe in her waters without delay. Gag-dev appeared here on the dark night (Amvasy) of Krtika on the day of Dpval. Large numbers of faithful people bathe here on Dpval and take darana of r Harideva. On all of Mnas-gags banks and near r Girirja-Govardhana people offer ghee lamps.


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According to a third story, Ka used to sport in the Yamun, sometimes with His sakhs and sometimes with His beloved gops. When Bhagavat Gag beheld the great fortune of Yamun, her younger sister, she also became overwhelmed by a strong desire to serve the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka. She expressed this yearning to Yamun and requested her help. Kas dear r Yamun entreated her beloved Ka to bestow His mercy upon her elder sister, so when the time was right, r Ka summoned Gagj to Vraja and blessed her by frolicking in her waters with the gops. The stone ghas at Mnas-gag were built by King Bhagavn dsa, the father of Mna Singh, a king of Jaipura.


r v raja-maala parikram

(10) r Harideva r Harideva, the presiding deity of Girirja-Govardhana, is present on the southern bank of Mnas-gag. r Ka took one form as Giridhr (the lifter of Govardhana hill) and held His second form, Girirjaj, on His palm. The pastime of lifting Govardhana ( govardhana-dhraa) will be described later, when we come to nyora-gaon.

r Harideva Temple

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r Harideva

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(11) Brahma-kua Seeing that Ka was in a good mood, Brahm came here seeking forgiveness for his offence of stealing the calves and cowherd boys. He performed abhieka of r Ka and glorified Him with mantras from the Sma Veda. The holy water from that abhieka became Brahma-kua, and Brahmj bathed in it along with the other demigods.

(12) Manas-dev The temple of Manas-dev is situated on the southern bank of Mnas-gag, above Brahma-kua. Manas-dev is none other than Yogamy-dev herself. One receives qualification to serve the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka only by the mercy of YogamyPaurams. Some Vaiavas also address Mnas-gag-dev simply as Manas-dev. 212

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(13) Go-gha r Ka used to bring the cows ( go) and calves to this gha to drink water. (14) Cakra-trtha Cakra-trtha is on Mnas-gag s north side. Cakrevara Mahdeva, currently known as Cakalevara, resides here. When Indra inundated Vraja with torrential rains, Mahdeva (who is Sadaiva, and therefore viu-tattva) served Girirja and the Vrajavss by raising his trident like a cakra and protecting them. (Some devotees declare that it was on Mahdevas request that the Sudarana cakra protected Girirja-Govardhana and Vraja, and for this reason, Mahdeva became known as Cakrevara Mahdeva.) 213

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Cakalevara Mahdeva


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Cakrevara presides on Praga-gha, and it is from here that the gops used to cross Mnas-gag. r Ka would act as a boatman and, while ferrying the gops across Bhagavat Mnasgag, He would enjoy boating pastimes (nauka-vilsa) and other pastimes with them. rla Vivantha Cakravart hkura has given a touching description of this boat-pastime in his prayer r Govardhana-aakam (text 7):
yatraiva gagm anu nvi rdhm rohya madhye tu nimagna-nauka ko hi rdhnugalo babhau sa govardhano me diatm abham
rmat Rdhik sat in Kas boat in the middle of Mnasgag, while Ka, who was disguised as a boatman, tried to sink that boat. In Her fear, Rdhik bound r Ka in an embrace. May that r Govardhana fulfil all my desires.

(15) r Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku At Cakra-trtha, in front of the Cakalevara Mahdeva temple, is r Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku. Santana Gosvm occasionally resided here to perform bhajana, but because the mosquitoes here were a constant disturbance, he considered moving elsewhere. At that time, Cakalevara Mahdeva arrived there in the guise of a brhmaa. Bbj, please do not move away. Stay here and freely perform your bhajana. From this day forth, mosquitoes will no longer trouble you. Mosquitoes have not caused a disturbance here since. Santana Gosvm remained here for some time, and was able to perform his bhajana untroubled. r Santana Gosvm performed parikram of Govardhana every day, even in his old age. Once, in the blazing heat of summer, the soil under his feet was burning hot. Weary and drenched with perspiration, Gosvmj sat down. No shady place was to be found. Suddenly, a cowherd boy came by and held a corner of His 215

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yellow shawl over Santana to give him shade. With the other corner, He fanned Gosvmjs face. Santana Gosvms whole body became cool and calm by the touch of that boy, who spoke in a very sweet voice, Bb, in this old age there is no need for you to perform parikram of Govardhana and undergo so much hardship. I am giving you a il of Girirjaj that is marked with the staff and lotus feet of r Ka. Circumambulate this il every day and you will receive the same benefit as doing Govardhana parikram. Saying this, the boy gave the il to Santana Gosvm and disappeared. This boy was none other than Giridhr, the lifter of Girirja. This il used to reside in the temple of r Rdh-Dmodara in Vndvana, but nowadays it is in the temple of r Rdh-Dmodara in Jaipura. The pratibh-vigraha 2 of this il is present in the r Rdh-Dmodara Temple in Vndvana. The result of performing parikram of Girirja-Govardhana can easily be achieved by circumambulating the temple of r RdhDmodara four times.

r Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku


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There is a temple of r Gaura-Nitynanda Prabhu opposite Cakalevara. While performing parikram of Govardhana, r Nitynanda Prabhu and later r Caitanya Mahprabhu had darana of r Cakalevara Mahdeva and Praga-gha at Mnas-gag, and also took rest here.

(16) Mukhravinda On the northern bank of Mnas-gag is the lotus face (mukhravinda) of r Govardhana. Govardhanas form is that of a sitting cow. His hind part is Pchar, or Pchar. He has turned his neck to place his lotus face near his stomach, which is the town of Govardhana. His two eyes are Rdh-kua and yma-kua. There is a beautiful temple here with a il of Girirjas lotus face. Every day he is given abhieka and receives worship and offerings of bhoga. Festivals are also organised here on Annaka and Dpval.

Mukhravinda Temple

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(17) Indradhvaja-ved Indradhvaja-ved is east of Govardhana. Previously, Indra was worshipped here, but r Ka changed this custom and Govardhana was worshipped here instead. (18) a Mochana and Ppa Mochana-kua a Mochana and Ppa Mochana-kua were two kuas which used to lie south-east of Govardhana near Indradhvajaved, nearby the present bus station. Today these kuas have disappeared. One kua has been filled with dirt, and an electricity office has been built over it. Houses and shops have been built over the other kua. (19) Dna-gh Dna-gh is situated in the middle of Govardhana on the present-day road between Mathur and Kmyavana. Even today, a toll must be paid to pass through here. At the time of Kas pastimes, Ka became a toll collector and performed dna-ll, or a toll pastime, with the gops through loving quarrels and sarcasm. This pastime has been beautifully described in Dna-kel-kaumud, Dna-kel-cintmai and other books of the Gauya gosvms. Once, on the bank of Govinda-kua, r Bhgur i was performing a sacrifice for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord. The cowherd boys and girls were bringing ingredients for the sacrifice from distant places. From the other side of Dna-gh, rmat Rdhik and Her sakhs were also bringing yoghurt, milk, butter and various kinds of milk-sweets, such as raba. r Ka, along with Subala, Madhumagala and other sakhs, obstructed their path and forcibly demanded toll-tax, and the sakhs and gops began to taunt each other. Standing in His enchanting threefold-bending form, r Ka mischievously asked the gops, What are you carrying? Milk, yoghurt and butter for Bhgur is sacrifice, they replied. 219

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Madhumagalas mouth started to water upon the mere mention of butter. Quickly pay the toll-tax and move on, he said. What toll-tax? Lalit angrily asked. We have never paid any toll-tax before. You can pass only after paying toll-tax, Ka insisted. Since when have You become the toll collector here? rmatj asked. Did You inherit this place from Your father? Dont be so insolent, He replied. I am Vndvanevara, the ruler of the kingdom of Vndvana. How is that? Vnd is My wedded wife, Ka asserted. The property of the wife is also the property of the husband. Vndvana is the kingdom of Vnd-dev, and therefore it is My kingdom. Really? Lalit answered haughtily. We have never heard anything about this. Let us ask Vnd right now. She turned to Vnd. Vnd, is this black one your husband? Never! Vnd flared in disgust. I have no relation with this lying debauchee. Previously this was my kingdom, but I have given it to Vndvanevar rmat Rdhik. All the sakhs burst into laughter, which slightly embarrassed r Ka. Nonetheless, He was determined to collect the toll-tax. After this love-quarrel the gops


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exchanged the toll-tax of prema at Dna-nivartana-kua, some distance from Dna-gh. To find out more about this pastime, you can read Dna-kel-kaumud and Dna-kel-cintmai.


(20) Dna-nivartana-kua The gops reclaimed their toll-tax from Ka at this place.


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(21) Prsaul Prsaul village lies about one-and-a-quarter miles south-east of Govardhana Town in the lowlands of Govardhana. During the Mughal reign, the Muslims changed the name of the village to Mahammadpura. This is the place of the spring rsa-ll of Ka and His beloved gops. This rsa continued for an entire night of Brahm, but it seemed to be over in a few short moments. The moon in the sky had become stunned upon seeing this rsa-ll, and remained in the one place for the duration of the entire night. Because this rsa-ll took place in the light of a brilliant full moon, this place is also called Candra-sarovara, the lake of the moon. In the south-western corner of the sarovara is the gra Temple, where Ka personally decorated rmatj. Near the sarovara under a chokara tree is the sitting-place of r Vallabhcrya. The ku and samdhi of Sradsa, known simply as Sra-ku and Sra-samdhi, are also in this area.


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Sradsa was a natural poet. His collection of poems is famous as Sra-sgara or Sra-padval. Although he was blind, he would compose poems that beautifully described the different outfits and decorations of r Nthaj. One day, the priest did not dress r Nthaj, and left Him completely naked. He opened the doors of the altar and asked Sradsa to describe r Nthajs decorations. Sradsa remained silent for a few moments, but the priest insisted. Sradsa laughed loudly and proceeded to sing, j bhaye hari nagam nag today, Hari is undressed and naked. All present were stunned to hear this. Sradsa spent his last days in Prsaul. One day, r Vihalcrya, the son of r Vallabhcrya, asked him, Sra, what are you thinking about? Sradsa then composed his last song: Khajan nain rp ras mte, atiay cr capal aniyre pal pijar na samte Kas beautiful eyes are like khajana birds. They are full of rasa, very restless, and slightly reddened due to intoxication. My life can no longer remain encaged in this body. Saying this, he left his body. With tear-filled eyes, r Vihalcrya said, The boat of pui-mrga3 has departed today. In the south-eastern part of Prsaul is Sakaraa-kua, on whose bank is a temple of r Baladeva.

(22) Paih-grma The village of Paih is situated two miles south of Prsaul. This place has special significance for the Gauya Vaiavas. When r Ka disappeared from the springtime rsa, the grief-stricken gops began searching for Him everywhere. Ka assumed a fourarmed form at this place, but when the gops saw this form, they simply offered obeisances and continued on their way. rmatj, restless in separation from Ka, finally arrived there. When r Ka saw rmatj He was unable to maintain His four-armed form, and two arms entered His body (paiha gaye). He then met with rmatj in His form as an ever-fresh, youthful cowherd boy


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and expert dancer holding a flute in His hand. r Ka begged forgiveness from Her and said, Beloved, when I suddenly did not see You in the rsa, I became aggrieved in separation from You and began searching for You. I am only performing this rsa for You. You should never go into jealous anger (mna) and leave Me ever again. Thus, the springtime rsa is unique, in that it establishes rmat Rdhiks superiority over the other gops. The poet r Jayadeva Gosvm has described this springtime rsa in his Gta-govinda. r Caitanya Mahprabhu cites this spring rsa alone as proof of rmat Rdhiks pre-eminence. This subject has been described very sweetly in r Caitanya-caritmta in the conversation between r Rya Rmnanda and rman Mahprabhu. Ka has many beloveds, but rmat Rdhik is the crown jewel of them all, because She is the embodiment of mahbhva and the possessor of


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all good qualities. This is why r Ka was able to maintain His four-armed form before the other sakhs, but could not maintain His mood upon seeing rmatj and His two extra arms entered into His body. This is the special glory of rmat Rdhik. Among the places of darana in Paiha are Nryaa-sarovara, Aih-kadamba, Khra-sgara and Balabhadra-kua.

(23) Bacha-gaon Bacha-gaon is three miles south of Paiha, and is also called Vatsavana. r Ka and the sakhs sometimes herded the calves here. Kanaka-sgara, Sahasra-kua, Rma-kua, Avrokua, Rvari-kua, and the temples of Mkkhana-chora hkura and Vatsa-bihr hkura are also here. Lord Brahm stole the cowherd boys and calves in order to further behold r Kas sweet pastimes. r Ka Himself took the forms of all the cowherd boys, as well as the forms of their sticks, flutes, horns, calves and so forth; and for one year He went cow grazing and performed the pastimes they had all previously enjoyed. One or two days before a full year had elapsed, r Ka, Balarma and the cowherd boys were grazing the calves here. The adult gopas were grazing the cows nearby on Govardhana Hill, and their newborn calves were with them. When the cows saw their older offspring with Ka and Balarma, they ran towards them, bellowing loudly, without caring for the thorns, sharp grass and ditches on the way. The adult gopas tried their level best to obstruct them by using their sticks, but to no avail. The cows did not even care for their newborn calves. When they met their older calves at this place, they began to lick them lovingly. The older gopas became angry that they could not restrain the cows, and thought that their children had sounded their flutes and horns to attract them. Intent on punishing their children, they went there quickly; but as soon as they arrived, their anger completely vanished and they embraced their children instead. 225

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r Baladeva was amazed to see this and wondered, Why did the cows leave their younger calves today and show more affection to their older ones? They used to love their younger calves the most, and had even more love for My brother Ka. And the mothers of the cowherd boys used to love Ka more than their own sons, but now they love them both equally. Baladeva sought the answer to this riddle through His transcendental vision. Smiling, He then turned to Ka and said, Brother, was the milk of one mother not enough to fill Your belly? Did You have to become the children of hundreds and thousands of mothers so that You could drink their milk too? But even this did not satisfy You, so You assumed the form of all these calves and drank the milk of millions of cows. What is the secret behind this pastime of Yours? Ka revealed the entire mystery to Baladeva. Thus, because this forest is where Ka revealed Himself to be all the calves (the Hindi word for calf is bacha), it is called Bachavana.

(24) nyora-gaon nyora village lies on the parikram path two miles south of the town of Govardhana. The village of Jatpur, or Goplapur, lies to the west of nyora, on the other side of Govardhana Hill. rmad-Bhgavatam 4 describes how on the advice of Ka, Nanda Bb and the other Vrajavss began worshipping Girirja instead of Indra. It also describes how they performed the Annaka festival for Girirja here. They cooked many delicacies in their homes, filled hundreds of carts with milk, yoghurt, raba and other kinds of preparations, and presented them before Girirja. r Ka Himself offered everything to Girirja and at the same time assumed a huge four-armed form, with which He devoured all the offerings by extending His long arms. Begging for more to eat, He called out in great happiness, no re, no re! Bring more, bring more! Ka folded His hands and said, We are poor Vrajavss. Whatever we have, we have presented before You. Please be satisfied with this. In His four-armed form, Girirja drank the water of 226

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Mnas-gag, Kusuma-sarovara and other ponds, and exclaimed, Tpto smi, tpto smi! I am satisfied, I am satisfied! and wiped His hands and mouth with His cloth. He told the Vrajavss to ask for a boon, and they simply requested this: May this ll of ours, this darling Ka, always remain happy and live long. When that four-armed form disappeared, Ka asked the Vrajavss, Did you ever receive darana of Indradeva? Girirja is very kind. He fulfils everyones desires. After worshipping Govardhana, the Vrajavss considered their lives fully blessed. This place has been named nyora-grma because it is here that Girirja called out no re, no re! The natural impressions of the Vrajavss bowls in the rocks of Girirja can be found where the Annaka was performed. Nearby is a bajan-il, a stone which emits a sweet sound when tapped with a piece of rock, or with a stick or a finger.


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(25) The place of r Nthaj s appearance This place is situated near the bajan-il. Once, in his wanderings, r Mdhavendra Pur came to Vraja. He is r Caitanya Mahprabhus grand spiritual master and r vara Purs spiritual master. Vraja-prema is difficult to obtain even for Brahm and other demigods, but it has been distributed freely in the world by r Caitanya Mahprabhu. Mdhavendra Purpda is the seed or sprout of that prema-kalpataru, or desire-tree that bestows divine transcendental love. He was a renunciant who followed aycakavtti, which means he never begged food from anyone. One day, he was performing bhajana near Govinda-kua in a secluded place surrounded by lush, green trees and creepers. For two or three days, he was so absorbed in his bhajana that he was even unconscious of his own body. On the third day, at midday, a cowherd boy whose complexion was darkish blue (yma) arrived there, carrying a pot of milk in his hand. The boy said, Bb, nobody remains hungry in Vraja. My mother saw you as she passed by, carrying water from the well. She understood that you are hungry and thirsty, so she has sent this milk for you. I am going now to herd the cows. When I return, I will collect the pot. Saying this, the boy quickly left. Purj pondered the sweet talk, pleasant behaviour and beauty of that boy. In my whole life, I have never seen such a beautiful boy, he thought. He completed his bhajana, offered the milk to his worshipful deity and then drank it. The unequalled taste and fragrance of the milk made Purj ecstatic. He became overwhelmed with love of God, but could apply no concentration to his bhajana. With tear-filled eyes, he began waiting for that yma-complexioned boy to return. Night fell but the boy did not come. During early hours of the morning he dozed off a little and saw that boy return. I am Gopla, the son of Vrajarja Nanda, He said. My other name is r Nthaj. Mahrja Vajranbha installed Me near here on the top of Girirja. Long ago, in fear of the barbarians, the priests taking care of Me hid Me under the earth in a nearby valley of Govardhana. I have been thirsty and 229

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r Nthaj at Govinda-kua

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The appearance place of r Nthaj

hungry for many days and am feeling so hot. I have been waiting for you for a long time, thinking, When will Mdhavendra take Me from here and serve Me? Saying this, the boy indicated His hiding place and disappeared. In the morning, when Purj narrated this incident to the villagers, they dug at the place specified in the dream and found Goplaj. This made Pur Gosvm and the Vrajavss jubilant. An altar was built on top of the hill by erecting three vertical stones in three directions and placing a horizontal slab across them. Goplaj was seated on that throne and for many days He received a splendid bathing ceremony with abundant milk, yoghurt, clarified butter, sugar and honey. The Vrajavss offered annaka, which means an offering of mounds of grains like dl and rice, and kah, pr, kacau and many other delicious


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preparations. The neighbouring people, especially the wealthy merchants of Mathur, participated in the festival by body, mind and wealth. After serving Goplaj like this for some time, Mdhavendra Pur, on the order of r Nthaj, turned over the responsibility of the worship to his disciples and went to Jaganntha Pur to procure malayana-candana, or sandalwood from the Malaya Hills, for Him. This village is currently named Jatpur after him, as the word jat (or yat) means renunciant. This incident has been described vividly in r Caitanya-caritmta. 5 Nowadays, r Nthaj presides in r Nthadvra in Rjasthna. Due to the atrocities of the fanatic Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, the king of Jaipura brought the deities of Vndvana, such as r Govinda, r Gopntha and r Madana-mohana, to his kingdom in Rjasthna.

(26) Gaur-trtha A little further east of nyora-grma is Gaur-kua. This attractive place is full of kadamba trees amidst luxuriant, green bowers. It is where the secret pastimes of Candrval and Ka took place. The play, Vidagdha-mdhava, gives a very sweet and beautiful description of this. Candrval is the daughter of Candrabhnu Gopa, the elder brother of Vabhnu Mahrja. In regard to her beauty, qualities, charm, cleverness and so forth, she is the topmost gop of the party that is opposed to rmat Rdhik. Padm and aiby are her principal sakhs. On the pretext of worshipping goddess Gaur with her sakhs, Candrval used to meet Ka at this appointed place, and r Ka would perform some pastimes with her for a while. Sometimes, Rpa and Rati Majars of rmat Rdhiks party would use clever tricks to take r Ka from here to meet with rmat Rdhik at r Rdh-kua. Once, while performing pastimes with Candrval, Ka became confused and inadvertently asked her, Rdh, are you all 232

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right? Hearing Rdhs name, Candrval became irritated and replied, Mahrja Kasa, are You all right? Puzzled, Ka asked, Sakh, where is Kasa here? Where is Your Rdh here? was Candrval s reply. Ka understood His mistake and, feeling very ashamed, begged Candrval s forgiveness.

(27) Govinda-kua When Indra saw that the Vrajavss had stopped worshipping him and were worshipping Govardhana instead, he became angry. Consequently, with the intention of destroying them, he poured forth torrential rains and hurled thunderbolts upon them for seven days, but he was not successful. Finally, Lord Brahm advised him to ask for forgiveness for his offence, and so Indra performed abhieka of r Ka with the milk of Surabhdev at this place. r Ka was named Govinda because He nourishes and gives pleasure to all the cows, gopas, gops and to the land of Vraja. This place is known as Govinda-kua because 233

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the name-giving ceremony and abhieka of r Govinda were performed here. r Vajranbha established this kua in memory of this pastime.


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(28) Pchar Pchar marks the southern border of Govardhana. We have previously said that Govardhanas form resembles a cow, but it can also be likened to a peacock. This part, Pchar, is raised high like the peacocks tail (pcha). Parikram of Govardhanas eastern side is completed here, and from here parikram of the western side begins. Apsar-kua and Navala-kua are situated here. (29) Apsar-kua and Navala-kua Apsar-kua and Navala-kua lie near each other. rmat Rdhik is likened to the most beautiful apsar, a damsel from the heavenly planets. Apsar-kua received its name after Her, and the eternally youthful (navala) Nanda-nandana r Ka is present here as Navala-kua. Nearby is a place of rsa. Previously this was a delightful and enchanting grove of thousands of kadamba and tamla trees. Today hardly any of these trees remain. The Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka melted in prema while performing the rsa dance here. Apsar-kua and Navala-kua are Their melted forms. Fortunate sdhakas obtain darana of these ponds.


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(30) Rghava Paitas cave Adjacent to this place of rsa is a cave in a secluded place where an associate of rman Mahprabhu, the Gauya Vaiava rla Rghava Paita, used to perform his bhajana. He was a highly realised soul and rasika Vaiava. It is mentioned in Bhakti-ratnkara that rla Jva Gosvm arranged for rnivsa crya and rla Narottama hkura to perform parikram of Vraja-maala with Rghava Paita. Near this cave, on top of Govardhana Hill, is an imprint of r Kas crown. (31) yma-hka This pastime place of r Ka is situated one mile west of Pchar and is filled with lush, green pala trees. Next to it is a very large grove of kadamba trees, with leaves like cups. r Ka used to drink buttermilk from these leaf-cups along with His friends. This is also a place of rsa.


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(32) Surabhi-kua Surabhi-kua is filled with clean, sweet water. It lies on the right-hand side of the parikram path, somewhat further along than Rghava Paitas cave. On Indras request, Surabh bathed r Govinda at Govinda-kua with the milk from her udder. Later, out of a strong desire to have darana of r Kas cow herding pastimes, and especially of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Kas confidential pastimes in the nikujas, Surabh dwelt here for the duration of r Kas manifest pastimes in Vraja. Mahrja Vajranbha established this Surabhi-kua in her memory. By bathing and performing camana here, all ones sins, offences and unwanted desires (anarthas) are dispelled and one obtains vraja-prema.


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(33) Airvata-kua On the order of Indra, his elephant carrier Airvata used his trunk to bathe r Ka with the water of the heavenly Gag. Near the kua on top of the hill are the impressions of Airvatas feet. (34) Rudra-kua Rudra-kua is situated north-west of Airvata-kua, and is also called Rudana-kua. Here Mahdeva (ivaj) became so absorbed in meditation on r Kas pastimes that he began to weep (rudana karn). Nearby is the place where Ka used to play ball. In this area, one can also take darana of rmat Rdhik s sitting-place, jna-ajna trees and a pjan-il. A third name of the kua is Haraji-kua.


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(35) Jatpur Jatpur is where r Mdhavendra Pur lived and performed bhajana. When the deity of r Nthaj manifested Himself, He was placed on top of Govardhana Hill. Mdhavendra Pur performed the abhieka and annaka festival of r Nthaj here. After entrusting the worship and service of r Nthaj to his disciples, Mdhavendra Pur then went to Pur-dhma on the order of r Nthaj, to bring sandalwood and camphor. When he arrived at Remun, the deity of Gopnthaj stole a pot of sweet-rice for him to taste. For this reason Gopntha is called Khra-cor Gopntha, thief (cora) of the sweet-rice (khra). When Mdhavendra Pur was returning from Jaganntha Pur with sandalwood and camphor, he received an order from r Nthaj of Govardhana in a dream. r Nthaj told him that by grinding the sandalwood and camphor, and smearing it on the body of Khra-cor Gopntha every day for one month, His own body would become cool. It is not known whether Mdhavendra Pur returned to Govardhana or not. His samdhi lies in Remun near the temple of Khra-cor Gopntha. 241

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The six Gosvms, especially r Rpa, Santana and Raghuntha dsa Gosvms, had very good relations with r Vihalcrya, the son of r Vallabhcrya. r Vihalcrya had an affectionate and friendly relationship with r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm, who r Rpa and Santana Gosvms regarded as a younger brother. They therefore regarded r Vihalcrya as a younger brother and loved him dearly. The six Gosvms, who are the topmost nikicanas6, remained absorbed in bhva-sev, meditation on the daily eight-fold pastimes (aa-klya-ll) of r Rdh-Ka Yugala, by means of harinma-sakrtana. Therefore, they entrusted the responsibility of r Nthajs worship to the sons of r Vallabhcrya. Our Gosvms considered r Girirja-Govardhana to be r Ka Himself, and never used to climb on him to take darana of r Nthaj. Whenever the Gosvms had a fervent desire to see Him, r Nthaj would Himself descend on some pretext or other to bestow His darana, sometimes coming to Ghol-grma and sometimes to Sata-gha in Mathur. This is mentioned in r Caitanya-caritmta and Bhakti-ratnkara. rman Mahprabhu did not climb upon Govardhana either, and had darana of r Nthaj in Ghol-grma.7

(36) Annaka-sthal The place adjacent to Govardhana in Jatpur is called Annakasthal. Mdhavendra Pur held the grand Annaka festival at this place for one month. Even now, Annaka festivals are held here on special occasions, and each day of the year thousands of pilgrims bathe Girirja with many litres of milk. (37) Bilach-kua Bilach-kua is also called Vilsa-vadana, and is a place of r Rdh-Kas pastimes (vilsa).


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(38) Sakh-sthal (Kadamba-kha) Further on from Bilach-kua, after crossing Dna-gh, the pilgrim enters the town of Govardhana, and again performs parikram of Mnas-gag and Cakrevara. North-west of Mnasgag is Sakh-sthal, the place of Candrval Sakh. This village is now known as Sakhthar, and lies within Sakhvana. r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm used to perform bhajana on the bank of Rdh-kua. He would remain absorbed in bhajana day and night, and for his daily sustenance, he would only drink a little buttermilk in a tiny cup made of kadamba leaves. One day, a Vrajavs brought some buttermilk in a larger kadamba-leaf cup. r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm asked him where he had procured it from, and the Vrajavs joyfully responded, I brought it from Sakh-sthal. At that time, Dsa Gosvm was not in external consciousness, and was irritated by the very mention of Sakhsthal. He angrily ordered the Vrajavs to leave. The Vrajavs could not understand Dsa Gosvm s mood and fled. r Dsa Gosvm is an intimate maidservant in rmat Rdhik s own group (svapaka). An ordinary person cannot comprehend his deep mood and actions. (39) Saukar The present name of this village is akrav, and is situated two miles west of Govardhana and one-and-a-half miles north-west of Sakhthar. At this place, Rdhiks own gops made Ka repeatedly swear that He knew no one other than r Rdhik. Hence, this place is called Saukar, from apatha len, meaning to take an oath. This is also where Indra donated a Surabh cow to Ka. akra-kua and Gvla-kua lie here. (40) Uddhava-kua Uddhava-kua is situated exactly west of Kusuma-sarovara on the right side of the parikram path. Vajranbha Mahrja manifested Uddhava-kua under the guidance of ilya and 243

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other sages. Uddhavaj always resides nearby here as grass and shrubs in order to be sprinkled by the foot-dust of the gops. The rmad-Bhgavatam Mhtmya of the Skanda Pura gives an interesting description of this place. After the disappearance of r Ka, His queens in Dvrak were greatly afflicted by sorrow. Once, Vajranbha came here with them and they loudly performed sakrtana. In that great sakrtana, all the associates of Ka started to appear one by one. The associates of Dvraka all sang and danced, and Arjuna began to dance and play mdaga. Suddenly, that exalted soul, r Uddhava emerged from the grass and shrubs, and he also became immersed in dancing in that mah-sakrtana. How could Ka not come there? Finally, He also appeared in that mah-sakrtana-rsa, along with rmat Rdhik and the other sakhs and, after some time, disappeared again. In this way, Uddhava pacified the queens at this place. Pilgrims performing parikram of r Govardhana proceed along the parikram path till they arrive at r Rdh-kua. The parikram and pastime places in the vicinity of r Rdh-kua have already been described in the chapter on Rdh-kua and yma-kua.


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Pastime Places V isited After Parikram of Gov ardhana

After completing parikram of Girirja-Govardhana, pilgrims performing parikram of r Vraja-maala proceed from the town of Govardhana or from Jatpur towards Nma-gaon.

Nma-gaon Nma-gaon was originally called Nirmachana-gaon. Here, r Kas mother and grandmother and the local gops worshipped (nirmachana) Ka and kissed His face. Ka is more dear to these gops than their own sons and even their own life. This village is situated on the GovardhanaVarsn highway, two miles west of Govardhana, and is where r Nimbrkcrya performed bhajana. A temple of the Nimbarka sampradya lies here, as well as a kua. This is also a place of bhajana for the Gauya Vaiavas. Pala-grma Pala-grma is two miles north of Nma-gaon. rmat Rdhik and the sakhs used to pick pala flowers, or roses, here; hence, this village became known as Pala-grma. Its present name is Para. erval While moving to Nandagaon, r Nanda Mahrja camped (er l) here upon arriving from Chakar. This village is therefore known as erval. Nav-grma The pastime place of Nav-grma lies south-west of Rdhkua. Its present name is Kujer. This is the boundary of the kujas of Rdh-kua. Nav-grma is called Kujer because of the kujas within it. Here, the gops arranged themselves in 245

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the form of an elephant (kujara), and Ka climbed upon them. This place is also known as Kujer on account of this playful event.

Srya-kua (Cho Bharan) Srya-kua is about four miles north of Rdh-kua. rmat Rdhik used to come here with Her sakhs, especially on Sundays, on the pretext of performing worship of Mitradeva, or Sryadeva (the Sungod). r Ka also came here disguised as a priest, along with Madhumagala, to perform the worship of Mitradeva with great merriment. Mitra, or friend, has two meanings: it refers to the Sungod and also to the best of friends, pra-sakh r Ka Himself. ( Jail understood mitra to mean the Sungod only. She could not comprehend the loving emotions of Rdh-Ka Yugala.)


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This pastime is performed at midday, or in the third prahara of the day, after which rmatj returns to Jvaa along with Her friends and mother-in-law Jail. Ka and Madhumagala also return from here to the company of the sakhs in the valley of Govardhana. Kas friends would run to meet Him, as if He had been gone for only a moment and was just returning from some nearby place. The kuja where the pastime of Srya-pj took place is next to Srya-kua. Since it is a place of loving enjoyment for r Rdh-Ka Yugala, it is also called Madana-raa-vik. There is also a beautiful temple of Sryadeva here. Today, Srya-kua is also called Cho Bharan. r Madhusdana Bbj, who was a self-realised soul and a rasika Gauya Vaiava, used to perform bhajana on the west bank of this pond. Vaiavas used to come to him from distant places to receive instruction on bhajana. The famous vaiava sarvabhauma rla Jaganntha dsa Bbj Mahrja was a disciple of this great soul. He also performed bhajana here for a long time, before moving to r Navadvpa-dhma. His bhajana-ku and samdhi are in r Koladvpa. r Saccidnanda Bhaktivinoda hkura met the selfrealised soul, r Jaganntha dsa Bbj, who was to become his spiritual master in bhgavata-parampar, at Srya-kua.

Kyo N (Kon) Kyo N was an appointed meeting place of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka. Once, r Ka was waiting for rmat Rdhik here. Some of rmat Rdhiks friends had wanted to test Kas eagerness to meet with Her, so they had arrived early, and hidden rmatj in a nearby kuja. When He saw the sakhs Ka asked eagerly, Kyo n ? Why has Kiorj not come? To increase His longing they answered: Abhimanyu is home today and Jail and Kuil are vigilantly keeping watch. She cannot leave the house, so there is a no possibility of Her coming to see You.


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This news distressed Ka and it showed on His face. Pleased to see Him afflicted by separation from rmatj, the sakhs brought Her out from the kuja. In this way they arranged Her meeting with Ka. Since Ka asked the question Kyo n ? here, this place was named Kyo N. In the course of time it has become known as Kon. The village is four miles north of r Rdh-kua. Gvlakua and Go-kua are places of darana here.

Bhadvara The present name of Bhadvara is Bhadhara. It is the residence of Bhadr, who is one of the eight group-leaders (ythevars). Bhadr is taastha, or neutral, towards rmat Rdhik, and suhda, or friendly, with rmat Candrval. Ghol Once, at Ghol, r Rdh-Ka Yugala were seated on a throne, intoxicated in rsa-vilsa and playing Hol. r Lalit quietly tied the corners of Their cloths in a knot ( gha) so when They stood up, They were tied together. All the sakhs laughed to see this. On account of this confidential pastime, this place is called Ghol. It is situated on the Govardhanag highway. Sometimes, to bestow His darana to His devotees, r Nthaj used to come to this village on the pretext of escaping the hands of the barbarians. When r Caitanya Mahprabhu came to Govardhana, He had a strong desire to have darana of r Ntha Goplaj. At the same time, the priests feared an attack by the invaders so they brought r Nthaj to Ghol for three days. r Caitanya Mahprabhu never climbed on Govardhana Hill because He considered him to be the form of r Ka. This is why His followers, the Gauya Vaiavas, do not climb on Govardhana Hill to have darana of r Nthaj. r Rpa and Santana never set foot on Govardhana. When r Caitanya Mahprabhu came to know that Goplaj was present in the village of Ghol, He stayed here for three days, circumabulated Him, 249

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chanted prayers, and danced and performed ecstatic sakrtana before Goplaj.

Gulla-kua Gulla-kua is situated near Ghol on the left side of the road. In springtime the gulla colour (the pink colour of Hol) mixes with the water of this kua. It is said that after playing Hol, Rdh, Ka and the gops bathed in this kua and washed the pink colour from their bodies and clothes. This is how the pond received the name Gulla-kua. Beheja This place is situated on the Govardhanag road, about six miles from Govardhana. Indra, was an offender of r Ka, yet he kept Surabh in front of him and shamelessly approached r Ka here to apologise for his offence. The Hindi word for


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shameless is behay, and therefore this place became known as Beheja. One can have darana of Srya-kua, Revat-kua, and the temples of Bihrj and r Rdh-Kntaj here. From Beheja, the parikram proceeds on via Devara and Munira. Two miles west of Beheja is g.

Devara-sthna Devara-sthna is a place of Kas cow herding pastimes. The demigods (devas) of the topmost (ra) place offered hymns and prayers to r Ka here. Thus, this place became known as Devara. It lies five miles north of Lahvana. Munira-sthna Munira-sthna is west of Devara. Many prominent sages (is and munis) performed austerities here and received the darana of r Ka. ra also means prominent. Hence, this place has been called Munira-sthna. Today its name is Muaerasa. An ancient and famous temple of Candrval-dev stands here. Sryapatanavana Sryapatanavana lies three miles from Beheja, and is currently called Svarkher. Sryadeva worshipped the Supreme Lord r Ka here. In this area, pilgrims can have darana of Sryakua, Gopla-kua, Gvla-kua, and the temples of Gopla and of Bihrj. Drghapura (g) Coming from Chakar, Nanda Bb camped at erval, and from there he came and camped here at g. He stayed here for some time before going to Kmyavana, and from Kmyavana he went to Nandagaon. At Drghapura r Ka shook, or loosened (dig), the patience, virtue and bashfulness of rmat Rdhik by the charm of His beauty and the sweetness of His flute. Hence, this place has been named g. 251

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g was also famous during Tret-yuga. Just as atrughna and Bharata inhabited Mathur and Bharatapura respectively, Lakmaa resided in Drghapura. There is a famous temple of Lakmaa here. Ka-kua, the temple of Sk-Gopla and Rpa-sgara are some of the places to visit here. The Vraja-ytr camps here while performing parikram.

Paramdan This place is currently called Paramadr, but its true name is Pramodavana. Here the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka, became very delighted upon meeting each other. Pramoda means delight or happiness. In the north of the village is Ka-kua, and in the east is Caraa-kua. Setu-kandar The present name of Setu-kandar is Se. Situated between two hills, this is a delightful place where r Ka herded the cows. It is also known as Se-kandar because it lies between two hills. di-badr is one and half miles north of here. di-badr This is the place of di-badr-nryaa. Once, Nanda and the other gopas and gops wanted to go to Badr-nryaa in the Himlayas. Understanding this to be their heartfelt desire, r Ka brought them here for darana of di-badr. di-badr is the source of even Badr-vila in the Himlayas. The pilgrim can have darana of Badr-nryaa, Nara-Nryaa i, Kuvera, Nrada i, Uddhavaj and others here. (Indra sent apsars to break the austerities of Nara-Nryaa i, but Nara-Nryaa i manifested the beautiful celestial damsel Urva from his left thigh, and shattered the pride of Indra.) Just as Alaknand and Tapta-kua are situated in Badr in the Himlayas, they are also present here. In Badr the water of Tapta-kua is hot, but here the water of Tapta-kua is cool. 252

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The gate to di-badr

The deities at di-badr


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A little further on from di-badr, on top of the hill, is the divine darana of Bhe-badr, Gandhamdana Hill, Tapovana and so on. This very attractive place is surrounded by lush, green mountain-ranges. This is the place of worship of many sages and also of Gauya Vaiavas. The natural scenery of this place resembles that of Badr-nryaa. Below the hills of di-badr is the village of lpura, inhabited by people of the meva caste.


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lpura The hills of di-badr ascend from lpura. Previously, this village was also named di-badr, but the Muslims changed it to lpura, just as they converted the names of Ayodhy to Faizbd, Vndvana to Fakrbd, Mathur to Mamnbd and Prayga to Allhbd.


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ar-ikhara ar-ikhara is also called Dhavala-parvata. Dhavala means white. It is also known as Navanta-parvata, because it has the whitish colour of fresh butter (navanta). A grove of kadamba trees lies nearby. r Rdh-Ka used to swing here and also performed many other pastimes. Adjacent to the kadamba grove are Nla-parvata and nanddri (a mountain pass). These places are all situated next to Khoha. Information regarding the location of the various places on the hill and the distance between them is marked on a stone here, which is testimony to the untiring efforts of the Gauya gosvms to manifest the glories of these places. One can easily understand what hard labour this task took. Indraul Indraul is Indulekh Sakh s village. Indra, the king of the demigods, worshipped r Ka here to free himself from his offence. For these reasons the village is named Indraul or Indrol. Pilgrims can have darana of Indra-kua, Indra-kpa and Indulekhs kuja here. Godivana Godivana is presently called Guhn. It lies one mile from Paramodar. Godivana is a place of r Kas cow herding pastimes. Ka used to stand on top of a high hillock to look out for His cows. From there, He would call them with His flute ymal, Dhaval, Klind and so on and they would come running to Him. r Ka counted the cows on His jewelled necklace, and only when He was satisfied with a full count would He return with them to the cowshed. Gopla-kua and yma-kua lie here. This is also the birthplace of r Kas sakh Sudma.


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Kanovro Kanovro is another of r Kas cow herding places. It is also Kava Munis famous place of worship, which is why it has been named Kanovro. Nearby, one can have darana of Sunahar Kadamba-kha, Pnihr-kua, Ka-kua and other places.

After taking darana of Badr-nryaa (di-badr), some pilgrims go straight to Kmyavana via Se-gh and Indraul. Kmyavana lies two miles north-west of Indraul. Some pilgrims make their way from Badr-nryaa to Kmyavana via Guhn, Khoha-gaon, Dhavala-parvata and so forth. Other pilgrims go to Kmyavana five miles north via di-badr, lpura and Paapagaon. Some proceed to Kmyavana after having darana of dikedrantha, which lies five miles west of Paapa-gaon. Kmyavana is situated six miles north-east from Kedrntha. The village Bilonda lies two miles north-east of Kedrantha, Caraa-pah lies two miles north-east from Bilonda, and Kmyavana lies two miles north-east of Caraa-pah.

Kedrantha Mahdeva

Gov ardhana


hantyam adrir abal hari-dsa-varyo yad rma-ka-caraa-spara-pramoda mna tanoti saha-go-gaayos tayor yat pnya-syavasa-kandara-kandamlai rmad-Bhgavatam (10.21.18) Pratibh means to be equal to. A pratibhvigraha is a deity that is considered nondifferent from the original deity it replaces. The Vallabha sampradya. rmad-Bhgavatam, Tenth Canto, Chapter 24. r Caitanya-caritmta, Madhya-ll, Chapter 4. One who is nikicana has no desire to enjoy this material world, and thus nothing to do with this temporary world. r Caitanya-caritmta (Madhya-ll 18.3554).

3 4


O Mahrja, thereafter where Vrajendra-nandana many childhood pastimes. other ponds in this forest Bathing in Kma and r K a performed lies Kmyavana,

fulfils all kinds of desires, to K a that is imbued with prema. even the desire for service

(Kmav ana)

myavana is the fourth among the twelve forests of Vraja-maala and it is one of the topmost forests. The fortunate person who circumambulates this forest is revered within Vraja-dhma. 1 O Mahrja, thereafter lies Kmyavana, where Vrajendra-nandana r Ka performed many childhood pastimes. Bathing in Kma and other ponds in this forest fulfils all kinds of desires, even the desire for service to Ka that is imbued with prema.2 The word kma can only really be used to denote the gops prema for r Ka. Premaiva gopa-rmn kma ity gamata prathm (Bhakti-rasmta-sindhu 1.2.285). In other words, the pure prema of the gops exists solely to give Ka happiness, and does not carry even the slightest scent of worldly lust. In the scriptures it is only this prema that is referred to as kma. The pure prema of the gops is wholly opposite to the lusty desires in this world. The only aim of the gops kma, which is devoid of


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all varieties of such lust, is to give happiness to Ka, the abode of prema. Therefore, rmad-Bhgavatam and other scriptures refer to the pure and unadulterated prema of the gops as kma. Kmyavana is the pastime place where the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka express such transcendental prema. In this forest, one can even attain, quite easily, the gops genuine prema in the form of pure kma, what to speak of being able to fulfil all kinds of worldly desires. The word kmya means extremely beautiful, well adorned or highly attractive. This forest within Vraja-maala is a most charming pastime place of r Ka. Many pleasant lakes, wells, ponds, trees, creepers, flowers, fruits and species of birds contribute to its extraordinary beauty. Hence, it is called Kmyavana.

According to the Viu Pura, there are eighty-four sacred ponds, eighty-four temples and eighty-four pillars in Kmyavana. It is said that a famous king named r Kmasena established them all. It is also accepted that the demigods and demons jointly constructed one hundred sixty-eight pillars here. Kmyavana has countless small and large kuas, as well as a parikram of fourteen miles. Vimala-kua is the famous sacred place of this forest. After bathing here, one performs parikram of Kmyavana or proceeds to take darana of the other holy places in Kmyavana. Those places include Gopik-kua, Suvarapura, Gay-kua and Dharma-kua. The throne of Dharmarja is situated at Dharma-kua and is a place of darana. Next come Yaja-kua, the Paca Trtha-sarovara of the Pavas, Paramamoka-kua and Maikarik-kua. Just nearby are Nivsakua and Yaod-kua. Somewhat further on are Manokmankua, Gopikramaa-kua, Setubandha Rmevara-kua, Dhyna-kua, Tapta-kua, Jal-vihra-kua, Jal-kr-kua, Ragl-kua, Chabl-kua, Jakl-kua, Matl-kua,

Pastime Places in Kmyavana


Kmyav ana

Datl-kua, Paca-kua, Ghoarn-kua, Vihvala-kua, yma-kua, Gomat-kua, Dvrak-kua, Mna-kua, Lalit-kua, Vikh-kua, Dohan-kua, Mohin-kua, Balabhadra-kua, Caturbhuja-kua, Surabhi-kua, Vatsakua, Luk-luk-kua, Govinda-kua, Netramcana-kua, Phisalan-il, Vyomsuras cave, Bhojana-thl, the marriage-place of Suman Sakh, and Lalit Granthi-datta-sthna. Thereafter come Viu-cinha-pda-parvata, Garua-trtha, Kapila-trtha, the place of Lohajagha i and Hoa-sthna. North of these holy places is the place of Indulekh-dev, and nearby on top of the hill is the place of Balarma and the mark of Balarmas plough. Further north is Ka-kpa, and nearby is Sakaraakua. Beyond are the hidden Lokevara-trtha, Varha-kua, Sat-kua and Candrasakh-pukari; and next to these places are the deity of Candraekhara iva and gra-trtha. South of the hill situated in that place is a bva, or a deep tank with steps, named Prabhlall. West of this tank is Bhradvja i-kpa. To its north is another Sakaraa-kua and to its east is Ka-kpa. These three wells (kpas) all lie near the hill mentioned earlier. At the top of the hill is the deity of Bhadrevara iva. After this, one comes to the deity of Alaka Garua and the rama of Pippalda i. After having darana of these places, one proceeds to Dihuhal and Rdh-pukari. In the eastern, northern, western and southern parts of this pukari (large lake or pond) lie Lalit-pukari, Vikh-pukari, Candrval-pukari and Candrabhga-pukari respectively. In the south-eastern part is Llvat-pukari and in the north-western part is Prabhvatpukari. The pukaris of sixty-four sakhs lie here. Further on is Kua-sthal. One can have darana here of Kamevara Mahdeva and the place where akhaca was killed. To the north are the deity of Candraekhara, of Vimalevara and a deity of Varha. Here, one can also visit the five Pavas with Draupad, and further on are Vnd-dev with Govindaj, r Rdh-Vallabha,


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Navanta-rya, Gokulevara and r Rmacandra. Other places of darana include Caraa-pah, r Rdh-Gopntha, r RdhMohana (Goplaj) and Caurs-khamb. The most well-known of these pastime places are described below.

Vimala-kua This famous pond is situated about four-hundred metres south-west of the village of Kma. The following deities preside around Vimala-kua in this order: (1) Dj, (2) Sryadeva, (3) r Nlakahevara Mahdeva, (4) r Govardhana-ntha, (5) r Madana-mohana and Kmyavana-bihr, (6) r Vimalabihr, (7) Vimal-dev, (8) r Mural-manohara, (9) Bhagavat Gag and (10) r Goplaj. According to the Garga-sahit, in ancient times a glorious king named Vimala lived in Campaka Nagar in the country of


Kmyav ana

Sindhu. At first, none of his six thousand queens bore him any children, but, by the mercy of r Yjavalkya i, many beautiful girls took birth from the wombs of those queens. In their previous births, all these girls had been the women of Janakapur who had desired to obtain r Rmacandra as their husband. The girls who took birth in King Vimalas home eventually reached a marriageable age. On the advice of Mahari Yjavalkya, the king sent his emissary to Mathurpur to search for r Ka, whom he deemed to be the suitable husband for his daughters. While on his way, the emissary was fortunate to meet Grandfather Bhma, who sent him to r Vndvana, since r Ka was there at that time. Upon arriving in Vndvana, the royal emissary gave r Ka King Vimalas letter of invitation, which requested Ka to come to Campaka Nagar to marry the princesses. After receiving Mahrja Vimalas invitation, r Ka went to Campaka Nagar and brought the princesses back with Him to this pleasing Kmyavana, situated within Vraja-maala. He assumed as many forms as there were princesses and accepted them all. He performed rsa and other playful pastimes with these teenage girls, thus fulfilling their long-cherished desire. The tears of happiness that flowed from their eyes filled a pond, which became known as Vimala-kua. By bathing in this kua, all kinds of desires both worldly and transcendental are fulfilled and ones heart becomes pure and instilled with vraja-bhakti. It is generally said that all the holy places of the universe come to Vraja during Cturmsya. Once, Trtharja Pukara did not to come. r Ka remembered Yogamy, and merely by His recollection, a very strong current of water shot out of the earth. Astonishingly, a supremely beautiful and completely pure kior appeared from that sacred current, and r Ka sported with that beautiful kior in those waters. The kior completely satisfied the supremely rasika r Ka with her beauty and pure, loving service and He gave her a boon: From today you will be known as Vimala-dev, and this kua will be named after you. By bathing in


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this kua, one will receive seven times the pious merit of bathing in Trtharja Pukara. Since then, this pond has become known as Vimala-kua. Many great sages have resided on the bank of this kua to obtain ka-bhakti. It is well known that Mahari Durvs and the Pavas resided here. Every pilgrim or group of pilgrims performing Vraja-maala parikram stays at Vimala-kua and begins parikram of Kmyavana from here only.

r Vnd-dev and r Govindadeva This is Kmyavanas most famous temple. Darana of Vnddev is rare in Vraja-maala, but here one can have her special darana. r Rdh-Govindadeva are also residing here. Nearby is r Viu-sihsana, or the throne (sihsana) of r Ka. Close by is Caraa-kua, where the lotus feet of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Govinda were bathed. After r Rpa, r Santana and the other Gosvms left this world, the narrow-minded Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the famous temples of Vndvana, Mathur and other locations in Vraja. At that time, the Mahrja of Jaipura, who was a great

r Rdh-Govindadeva

Kmyav ana


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devotee, brought the famous deities of Vraja to Jaipura. These included r Govinda, r Gopntha, r Rdh-Dmodara and r Rdh-Mdhava. On his way, he rested for some days in Kmyavana. The deities were taken from the chariots and kept at various locations where regular services to Them were performed, such as bathing, offering bhoga and putting Them to rest. They were later carried to Jaipura and other places. Eventually, large temples were constructed at the places where the deities of r Rdh-Govinda, r Rdh-Gopntha and r Rdh-Madanamohana had stayed in Kmyavana, and pratibh-vigrahas 3 of the original deities were installed there. r Vnd-dev came as far as Kmyavana, but she did not leave Vraja to go further. There is thus a special darana of r Vnd-dev here. r Caitanya Mahprabhu and His associates, like r Rpa and r Santana Gosvms, re-established the lost pastime places of Vraja-maala. Before their arrival in Vraja, Kmyavana was considered to be Vndvana. However, r Caitanya Mahprabhu established the place situated near Mathur as r Dhma Vndvana. It is impossible for Yamunj, Cra-gha, Nidhuvana, Klya-daha, Ke-gha, Sev-kuja, Rsa-sthal Va vaa and r Gopvara Mahdeva to be situated in Kmyavana. Therefore, that place where the pastime places like Vimala-kua, Kmevara Mahdeva, Caraa-pah, Setubandha Rmevara and others are present is Kmyavana, and it is without doubt separate from Vndvana. Vnd-dev resides in Vndvana only. She is the presiding deity of the groves of Vndvana and of the pastimes of the Divine Couple in those groves. Therefore, she now resides in r Rpa-Santana Gauya Maha in r Dhma Vndvana, where she grants her divine darana. In the vicinity of the r Govindadeva Temple, one can have darana of places like Garuaj, Candrabh-kua, Candrevara Mahdeva, Varha-kua, Varha-kpa, Yaja-kua and Dharma-kua.


Kmyav ana

Dharma-kua This kua lies in the eastern part of Kmyavana. r Nryaa is present here as dharma. Nearby is a platform (ved) named Vikh-ved. There is a special rule that one should bathe in this pond on Kam (the eighth day of the dark moon) on a Wednesday in the month of Bhadra during the constellation named rava. Within the area of Dharma-kua, there are many places one may visit for darana, such as Nara-Nryaa-kua, Nla-varha, Paca Pava, Hanumnj, Paca Pava-kua (Paca-trtha), Maikarik and Vivevara Mahdeva. The five Pavas resided in this attractive Kmyavana for a long time during their exile to the forest. Once, Mahrn Draupad and the Pavas felt very thirsty. It was summer and the nearby ponds and other sources of water had dried up. Water was not available anywhere, not even from distant places. Mahrja Yudhihira gave one empty pot to his valiant brother Bhmasena


r v raja-maala parikram

and told him to fill it with clean water. The intelligent Bhma saw that birds were flying to and from a particular place, so he headed in that direction. After some time, he came to a beautiful lake full of clean, fragrant water. Being very thirsty, he thought to quench his own thirst first before carrying water back to his brothers. However, as soon as he stepped in the lake, a Yaka appeared before him and said, Answer my questions before daring to drink water, otherwise you will die. Ignoring the order of the Yaka, the great and valiant Bhmasena filled his palms with some water, but upon doing so he immediately fainted to the ground. Noting Bhmasenas delay in returning, Mahrja Yudhihira sent his brothers one by one to go and fetch water first Arjuna, then Nakula and then Sahadeva. Upon reaching the lake, however, they all met the same fate as Bhma, having attempted to drink water without following the Yakas command. Finally, Mahrja Yudhihira went himself and found his brothers all lying on the ground unconscious. He became very worried. He decided to quench his thirst before trying to revive them, but as soon as he went to do so, the Yaka appeared and told Mahrja Yudhihira that he had to correctly answer his questions before he could drink any water. Mahrja Yudhihira patiently requested the Yaka to ask his questions.
Yaka: Who causes the sun to rise? Yudhihira: The Supreme Lord causes the sun to rise. Yaka: What is weightier than the earth itself? What is higher than even the sky? What travels faster than the wind? And what is greater in number than blades of grass? Yudhihira: Ones mother is heavier than the earth. Ones father is higher than the sky. The mind is swifter than air, and the thoughts that spring from the mind are more numerous than blades of grass. Yaka: Which is the best dharma in the world? What is the best kind of forbearance?


Kmyav ana
Yudhihira: The best dharma in the world is mercy. To tolerate the dualities of this world like pleasure and sorrow, profit and loss, and birth and death is the best kind of forbearance. Yaka: Who is the invincible enemy of human beings? What is their endless disease? Who is a saintly person, and who is not a saintly person? Yudhihira: Anger is the invincible enemy of human beings. Greed is their endless disease. One who does good to all living entities is a saintly person, and a cruel person who has no control over his senses is not a saintly person. Yaka: Who is happy? What is the greatest wonder? What is lifes real path? What is newsworthy? Yudhihira: He who has no debt, he who is not in a foreign land, and he who is able to eat simply is happy. Every day, living beings make their way to the abode of Yamrja, the god of death, but those who are left behind think they will live forever. There is no greater wonder than this. Argument has no place in determining the correct path. The rutis are diverse, and the opinions of the sages divided. The truth of dharma is thus very deep. Therefore, the path that is followed by great personalities is the real path. Time is cooking all living beings in the frying pan of illusion and allurement, which represents this material world. It shuffles them with the ladle of months and seasons, and cooks them in the fire of the sun, which burns up the fuel of day and night. This is the only news in this world. Yaka: O King, you have answered all my questions correctly. You may therefore select any one of your brothers and he will return to life. Yudhihira: Among all my brothers, let dark-complexioned and very powerful Nakula return to life.


r v raja-maala parikram
Yaka: King, why do you want Nakula to be brought back to life? Why not Bhma, who has the strength of ten thousand elephants, or the invincible archer Arjuna? Yudhihira: I cannot give up virtue. I am of the opinion that the supreme virtue is to have equal feelings for everyone. My father had two wives, Kunt and Mdr. In my opinion, both of them should have sons. Kunt and Mdr mean the same to me. I want to preserve this equality; therefore, Nakula should return to life. Yaka: O topmost devotee, you have more respect for virtue than for time and wealth. Therefore, all your brothers should live again.

That Yaka was none other than Dharmarja (r Nryaa) Himself, who had desired to test the dharma of his son Yudhihira. Mahrja Yudhihira passed the examination.

One day, when the Pavas and Draupad were living here during their exile, Mahrn Draupad went alone to take bath in Vimala-kua. Meanwhile, the Pavas were at their residence, free of anxieties and deeply absorbed in narrations about the Supreme Lord. Jayadratha, the brother-in-law of both Duryodhana and the Pavas, was attracted to Draupad. He was waiting for an opportunity to find Draupad alone so he could kidnap her easily. In this way, he would dishonour the Pavas. On this day, fate had it that he found Draupad alone bathing in Vimala-kua away from her residence. Jayadratha tried to take Draupad with him to his kingdom by threat and guile, but Draupad, the crest jewel of chaste ladies, firmly refused. This made Jayadratha furious, and he forcefully pulled her up on to his chariot and drove the horses very fast. Draupad started loudly calling out to Arjuna, Bhma and Ka for protection. Somehow, her loud cries reached the ears of


Kmyav ana

Arjuna and Bhma, and the two mighty warriors immediately ran after the chariot with great speed. The great warrior Arjuna, who single-handedly could face up to ten thousand opponents at one time, stopped Jayadrathas chariot by shooting arrows of fire at it. Jayadratha jumped from the chariot and fled for his life, but Bhma outran him and caught him. Both brothers submitted Jayadratha before Draupad and then the three of them went before Mahrja Yudhihira. Bhma was furious, This criminal should be killed immediately. Arjuna supported Bhma. However, Dharmarja Yudhihira pacified them both. This degraded person has committed an offence at the feet of Draupad, he said. Therefore, she should choose a suitable punishment for him. Draupad then gravely spoke, Needless to say, he has committed a horrible crime, yet he is your sisters husband. I do not want to see my sister-in-law cry for the rest of her life as a widow. It is therefore best to release him. Bhma, however, was intent on having him killed. They finally concluded that for a respectable person dishonour is equal to death, and therefore Jayadratha should have his head shaven clean, but in such a way as to give him five tufts of hair. Similarly, before releasing him, they would shave his face leaving only a beard. Bhma shaved Jayadrathas head and face as planned, thereby dishonouring him. He then released him. Jayadratha went away greatly insulted and performed severe austerities with the aim of being able to kill the Pavas. However, Arjuna killed him in the Mahbhrata War, by following the instructions of r Ka.

The wicked Duryodhana was always anxious to destroy the Pavas completely. Once, while the Pavas and Draupad were living here during their exile, he invited Mahari Durvs and fed him a sumptuous, delicious meal with great honour. Durvs was satisfied and requested Duryodhana to ask for a boon. With folded hands, Duryodhana said, Mahrja Yudhihira is my


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elder brother. Please accept his hospitality and go to his residence with your sixty thousand disciples, but go in the afternoon. The Pavas are currently living in Kmyavana. Duryodhana knew well that the Pavas served their guests with extreme care. Draupad had a pot that had been given to her by Sryadeva. The cooking done in that one pot could feed innumerable persons to their satisfaction, but as soon as Draupad had eaten and cleaned the pot, it could provide no more food until she cooked again. Draupad would feed any guests as well as the Pavas, and then clean the pot without fail before the afternoon. Durvs and his sixty thousand disciples were to arrive there in the afternoon, so the Pavas would not be able to feed them. Duryodhana hoped that the very hot-tempered Durvs i would curse the Pavas and thus burn them to ashes. Mahari Durvs was fully aware of the glories of the Pavas, who were devotees of r Ka. However, it is difficult for even the demigods to understand his contrary activities. Only he knows what, when and why he does what he does. Thus, he and sixty thousand sages reached the residence of the Pavas in Kmyavana in the afternoon. Upon seeing him, the Pavas became very happy. Mahrja Yudhihira worshipped him and requested him to accept his hospitality. Mahari said, We are now going to bathe in Vimala-kua and will come back very soon. You should arrange for our meals. We will eat here. Saying this, Durvs left to bathe together with his whole entourage. The Pavas now became very concerned. What arrangement could be made to feed these sages? They called Draupad and asked her if she could arrange to feed a gathering of sixty thousand, but her pot had already been cleaned and turned upside down. She considered hard what to do to save the Pavas but could not think of a plan. At last, she began calling out to her dear friend r Ka in a voice filled with distress. How could Dvrakntha not come upon hearing her call? He immediately appeared in front of Draupad and said, Sakh, I am very hungry. Give Me


Kmyav ana

something to eat. Draupad answered, You are hungry and I have nothing at home. My pot has been cleaned and is lying upside down. The extremely hot-tempered Mahari Durvs together with his sixty thousand disciples are about to come to take their meal. When he finds that there is nothing to eat, he will definitely annihilate the Pavas. Therefore, first please arrange for them to be fed. r Ka said, I cannot do anything without eating and drinking, so please bring your pot. In a sad voice Draupad said, There is nothing in the pot. I have cleaned it very thoroughly. Still, you please bring it. I want to see. Draupad brought the pot and put it in Kas hands. Ka looked into it and became joyful. A very tiny piece of leafy vegetable was stuck to the side of the pot. r Ka scraped it off with His nail and put in His mouth. He then filled His stomach with water poured by Draupad s hands. Tpto smi, tpto smi! I am satisfied, I am satisfied! he exclaimed, and he began to pat His stomach with His hand. He even belched in satisfaction. r Ka then sent Bhmasena to quickly go and call the sages. The great warrior Bhma, club in hand, started towards Vimala-kua. Mahari Durvs and his disciples had been bathing in Vimalakua when suddenly their stomachs felt completely full. They all started belching as if they had eaten a meal. When Durvs saw Bhma coming towards them, the memory of the incident with Ambara Mahrja entered his mind and he became frightened. He and his sixty thousand disciples quickly fled to Mahari-loka through the celestial pathways. Upon arriving at Vimala-kua, Bhma could not find the sages anywhere. He returned and told Mahrja Yudhihira and r Ka, I searched everywhere but could not find them. After learning what had happened from r Ka, Draupad and the Pavas became free from anxiety. If r Ka is satisfied, then the whole universe is satisfied. This is indeed this episodes


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message to the world. This pastime of r Ka took place here at Kmyavana.

Another time, while the Pavas were residing here, the wicked Duryodhana discovered their whereabouts and descended upon Kmyavana with all his brothers, associates like Kara and akuni, relatives, friends, and an army of four divisions. For some days, he set up a very festive camp on the bank of Vimala-kua just to humiliate the Pavas. When Indra came to know of this, he ordered his general Citrasena to arrest Duryodhana. Citrasena defeated Duryodhanas entire army, arrested him and took him to Indra by the aerial pathways, Duryodhana loudly shouting and screaming all the while. Yudhihira Mahrja heard his crying and ordered Bhmasena to rescue him. But Bhmasena objected, Mahrja, Duryodhana wanted to harm us, which is why our best well-wisher Citrasena has caught him and is taking him away. It is best if we remain quiet. Mahrja Yudhihira could not tolerate this. He looked at Arjuna and said, Brother Arjuna, our brother Suyodhana [a name of Duryodhana used by Mahrja Yudhihira] is in danger, and it is our duty to rescue him. We can quarrel and fight among ourselves over some issue, but when it comes to others we one hundred five brothers are one. Quickly rescue Suyodhana. The mighty warrior Arjuna easily released Duryodhana from the hands of Citrasena, the general of the demigods, and with his arrows brought him down to stand before Mahrja Yudhihira. He met Duryodhana very affectionately and respectfully sent him back to his place of residence. But the blackness of coal does not go away even if the coal is washed millions of times with soap. The affectionate behaviour of Mahrja Yudhihira pierced Duryodhanas heart like a sharp iron rod. He considered himself dishonoured, and returned to Hastinapura highly agitated. Whoever God protects,


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no one can harm. Indeed, no one can so much as twist a single hair of someone who is under r Kas shelter. Nearby, at Paca Trtha-sarovara, were some amazing deities of the Pavas and Draupad. This place is uninhabited, and therefore a thief was able to steal a few of the deities here some time ago, while others were broken. Since then, the remaining deities have been kept in the nearby temple of Kmevara Mahdeva, where they are neglected. Dharma-kpa, Dharma-kua and many other places that seem to be connected with the Pavas lie close by.

Some of the few remaining deities of the Pavas and Draupad of Kmevara Mahdeva that are being kept in the temple


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The temple of Kmevara Mahdeva

Kmevara Mahdeva

Kmyav ana

Yaod-kua This place in Kmyavana was the residence of r Yaod s father. During His childhood, r Ka would sometimes come to stay at this very attractive place with His mother. Sometimes, Nanda Bb and his family and associates used to camp here with their cows. r Ka and the sakhs also grazed the cows here. Bhakti-ratnkara mentions this holy place:
dekha yaod-kua parama nirmala eth gocrae ka hay vihvala
See this supremely pure Yaod-kua, where Ka joyfully herded His cows.

Gay-kua The holy place of Gay resides at this place in Vraja-maala, performing worship of Ka. Agasta-kua is also here. Gaykuas southern bank is known as Agasta-gha. Bathing here and performing tarpaa (offering water to the demigods, sages and forefathers) and pia-dna (offering homage to the dead souls) in the month of vina on the day of the dark moon (Kapaka) are highly praised. Prayga-kua Trtharja Prayga worshipped r Ka here. The two kuas Prayga and Pukara lie together here. Dvrak-kua r Ka came to Vraja from Dvrak and resided here in tents with His queens. Dvrak-kua, Gomat-kua, Mna-kua and Balabhadra-kua These four kuas are situated alongside each other.


r v raja-maala parikram

Nrada-kua This is Nradas place of worship. Devari Nrada became impatient here while singing about Kas sweet pastimes. Bhaktiratnakra says:
dekhaha nrada kua nrada e khne haila mah adhairya kera ll gne
Just see this Nrada-kua, where Nrada lost all patience while singing about r Kas pastimes.

Manokman-kua This kua and Kma-sarovara are situated together between Vimala-kua and Yaod-kua. By bathing here, all desires of the heart are fulfilled. The Skanda Pura states:
tatra kmasaro rjan! gopikramaa sara tatra trtha sahasri sarsi ca pthak-pthak
Gopikramaa Kma-sarovara is in Kmyavana. All of the hearts desires are fulfilled there. Thousands of other sacred places are present in that same Kmyavana.

Setubandha-sarovara On the order of the gops, r Ka, in the mood of r Rma, had the monkeys construct a bridge here. Even today, one can see the ruins of this bridge of rocks (setu-bandha) in the lake. Rmevara Mahdeva presides north of this lake. He was installed by r Ka when Ka assumed the mood of r Rma. Lakpur, as a hillock, is situated to the south of the lake across from Rmevara Mahdeva. One day, the supremely playful r Ka was sitting in the shade under the trees on the northern bank of this lake, together with the gops, and was joking and laughing with vinodin r Rdhik. At that time, many monkeys from nearby places descended from the trees, being attracted by Kas sweet beauty. They respectfully 282

Kmyav ana

bowed at His lotus feet, sang in joy, jumped and danced. Several monkeys took very long leaps from trees on the southern bank of the lake and landed near His lotus feet, and Bhagavn r Ka praised their bravery. Watching this amazing pastime charmed the gops. They began to describe the astonishing pastimes of Bhagavn r Rmacandra and said that He received help from monkeys. At that time, Lalit said, We have heard that in Tret-yuga the greatly powerful Hanumn crossed the ocean in one leap, and today we are seeing with our own eyes monkeys crossing this lake in one single jump. Hearing this, Ka proudly declared, Do you know, I was r Rma in Tret-yuga. I performed all these pastimes as Rma. Lalit praised the amazing pastimes of r Rmacandra and then said, You are a liar. You were never Rma. Such bravery is impossible for You. r Ka smiled and replied, You do not believe Me, but I did take the form of Rma, and I married St after breaking the bow of iva in Janakapur. On the order of My father, with bow in hand, together with St and Lakmaa, I roamed through Citraka and Daakraya where I killed cruel and tyrannical demons. Thereafter, I wandered from forest to forest in separation from St, destroyed Rvaa and Lakpur with the help of the monkeys, and then returned to Ayodhy. Now I carry a flute, roam from forest to forest tending and grazing the cows, and perform pastimes with My beloved r Rdhik in the company of you gops. Previously, when I came as Rma, My bow and arrow made the three worlds tremble. Now, however, all living beings, both moving and non-moving , are becoming maddened by the sweet sound of My flute. Smiling, Lalit said, Mere words will not convince us. If You can show some valour like that of r Rma, then we might believe You. r Rmacandra arranged for a bridge to be constructed by bears and monkeys so that He could cross an ocean eight hundred miles wide with His entire army. If You can get these monkeys to construct a bridge over this small lake, then we can believe You.


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Hearing Lalits words, r Ka assembled all the monkeys in a moment by sounding His flute. He ordered them to construct a bridge over the lake using flat stones. On the order of r Ka, thousands of monkeys immediately and eagerly started to help build the bridge, bringing stones from distant places. This occurred right before the gops eyes. r Ka then constructed the bridge with His own hands with the stones brought by the monkeys. He installed His Rmevara Mahdeva at the start of the bridge, on the northern side of the lake. These places can be seen to this day. This lake is also called Lak-kua.

Luk-luk-kua Luk-luk-kua is another site of r Kas water-sports ( jalkr), and is therefore also known as Jal-kr-kua. While grazing the cows, Ka would sometimes leave His play with the sakhs for a while to meet with the gops in this lovely, secluded place. Ka played hide-and-seek (luk-chip) here with the vraja-ramas. The gops closed their eyes, and Ka hid in a cave in a nearby hill. The sakhs searched for Him everywhere, but


Kmyav ana

were unable to find Him. They became very worried. Where could Ka have gone, leaving us behind? they thought, and they began to meditate on Him. That place where they meditated (dhyna k) on Ka is called Dhyna-kua, and the cave (kandar) in which Ka was hiding is called Luk-luka-kandar.

Caraa-pah After r Ka entered the cave known as Luk-luka Kandar, He appeared on top of the hill in which the cave is buried and played sweetly on His flute. The sound of the flute broke the sakhs meditation on Him. They looked up to see their beloved playing His flute on the hill, and eagerly ran there to meet Him. The sound of the flute somewhat melted the hill, and r Kas footprints manifested there. Even today, one can see these footprints very clearly. The stones on the nearby hill where the sakhs were playing and the calves were grazing also melted, leaving impressions of their feet and hooves, which are still clearly visible today, even after 5,000 years.


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Vihvala-kua This kua lies near Caraa-pah, as do the kuas of five sakhs. The gops became overwhelmed (vihvala) with prema here upon hearing the sound of Kas flute. This place has therefore become famous as Vihvala-kua. The kuas of the five sakhs are named Ragl, Chabl, Jakl, Matl and Datl-kua. They are all situated near the village of Agrval. Yaodhar-kua This kua is also named Ghoarn-kua. Ghoarn was Yaodhara Gopas daughter. Yaodhara Gopa gave her hand in marriage here. This is the kua of r Kas maternal grandmother, Pal-dev.

Gola Gopa



(married to rmat Rdhik)

Abhimanyu Kul Durmada

(married to Rem-dev) Rom-dev) Surem-dev)

Yaodhara Yaodeva (married to (married to


Family Tree of r Kas Maternal Relatives


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r Prabodhnanda Sarasvats place of bhajana Near Luk-luk-kua, in a secluded, but naturally beautiful location is r Prabodhnanda Sarasvats place of bhajana. r Prabhodhnanda was the spiritual master and paternal uncle of r Gopla Bhaa Gosvm. He was a transcendental poet, well-versed in all the holy scriptures. Rdh-rasa-sudh-nidhi, r Navadvpa-ataka and r Vndvana-ataka are some of the works of this great personality. In his famous Gaura-gaoddea-dpika, r Kavi Karapra has mentioned that Prabodhnanda Sarasvat is the very talented Tugavidy Sakh, one of the eight main sakhs in Kas pastimes. After Prabodhnanda Sarasvat heard rman Mahprabhu speak ka-kath in r Ragam, he left the r sampradya to




(also known as Dadhisr; married to Cu)


(also known as Havisr; married to Bu)


(married to Tulvat-dev)


Nanda Bb

r Yaod

r Ka



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become a follower of Mahprabhu. When rman Mahprabhu left r Ragam, Prabodhnanda came to Vraja and stayed for some time at this secluded place where he performed bhajana. In his last days, he came to Klya-daha in Vndvana. There he entered his eternal pastimes while performing bhajana. Today, one can take darana of his place of bhajana and his samdhi there.

Phisalan- il This stone slide ( phisalan-il) is situated on the Indrasena Hill near Kalvat-grma. While grazing the cows, r Ka and the sakhs used to slide here. rmat Rdhik sometimes used to slide here also, along with Her sakhs. To this day, the boys of the nearby village take great pleasure in sliding down this hill when they graze their cows. Pilgrims also come to take darana of this slide, where these joyful episodes took place. Vyomsuras cave Nearby the slide, in the middle of the hill is the cave of Vyomsura. Ka killed Vyomsura here. This cave is also referred to as Medhv Munis cave because Medhv Muni worshipped Ka here. The footprint of r Baladeva Prabhu lies nearby, at the foot of the hill. When r Ka was killing Vyomsura, the earth began to tremble. Baladeva pressed down on the earth with His foot and thus stabilised it. His footprint can still be seen today. Once, Ka came to this place while grazing His cows. The forest was filled with green grass, which the cows happily ate. Without any care, r Ka and the sakhs began to play a game of cops and robbers. Many of the sakhs pretended to be sheep while others pretended to be their keepers. Still others took on the role of thieves and stole the sheep. Ka played the judge. The owners of the sheep filed a lawsuit with the judge against the thieves. r Ka called both parties before Him and proceeded to


Kmyav ana



r v raja-maala parikram

Vyomsuras cave

Kmyav ana

Footprint of r Baladeva Prabhu

consider the case. All the cowherd boys were thus deeply absorbed in their play. Intending to kill Ka, Vyomsura, one of Kasas spies, entered the group disguised as a sakh and became one of the thieves. He stole all the sakhs who were playing the part of sheep and hid them in this cave. r Ka looked around and wondered, Where have all our sakhs gone? Recognising Vyomsura as a demon in disguise, He understood that this was his work. He therefore caught him and killed him. Ka and the sakhs who were playing the sheeps owners then released the other sakhs from the cave in the hill. This pastime has been described in the Tenth Canto of rmad-Bhgavatam.4

Bhojana-thl Some distance from Vyomsuras cave is Bhojana-thl, and near Bhojana-thl is Krasgara, or Ka-kua. After killing Vyomsura, r Ka bathed in this kua and ate here with 291

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the gopa sakhs. The marks of a plate (thla) and of cups are still visible on the hill where they ate (bhojana kiy ). The place where r Ka was sitting is also nearby. After eating, Ka played with the sakhs on a nearby hill, where they used a stone as a musical instrument. This place can also still be found today. To this day, various sweet sounds can still be produced by playing on this stone, which is known as a bajan-il.

Of fering at Bhojana-thl

Plate marks on the hill at Bhojana-thl


Kmyav ana

A vieew of Bhojana-thl Temple from Ka-ku a

The deities at the temple of r Gopinthaj


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Nearby is ntanu-kua, the place where ntanu performed austerities. Gupta-gag, Naimia-trtha, Haridvra-kua, Avantik-kua, Matsya-kua, Govinda-kua, Nihakua and Prahlda-kua are also all situated here. On the hill at Bhojana-thl is the place where r Parasurma performed austerities and worshipped the Supreme Lord. Deities of the r Gauya sampradya that are present in Kmyavana include r Govindaj, r Vnd-dev, r Gopintha and r Madana-mohana. Deities of the r Vallabha sampradya include r Ka-Candram, Navanta Priyj and r Madanamohana.

The Gates of Kmyav ana

Kmyavana has seven gates:
(1) g Gate This gate is situated in the south-eastern part of Kmyavana. The road here leads to g (Drghapura) and Bharatpura. (2) Lak Gate This gate is the road to Setubandha-kua, which runs south from the village of Kma. (3) mera Gate This gate is the road to Caraa-pah, which runs south-west from the village of Kma. (4) Dev Gate This gate is the road to Vaiav-dev in the Punjb, which runs west from the village of Kma. (5) Delhi Gate This gate lies in the north of Kmyavana, and the road to Delhi runs from here. (6) Rmaj Gate This gate is situated in the north-eastern side of the village, and the road to Nandagaon runs from here. (7) Mathur Gate This gate is situated in the east of the village, and the road to Mathur via Varsn runs from here.


Kmyav ana

Pastime Places Visited After Parikram of Kmyav ana

Dhule-gaon Every day, r Ka and the sakhs take the cows out to graze, leaving the barns in the morning and returning in the evening. At that time, dust kicked up by the feet of hundreds and thousands of sakhs and by the hooves of countless cows rises like a cloud filling the whole sky. By seeing this dust (dhla), the Vrajavss would at once know that Ka and the sakhs were either going cow grazing or returning home. The village of Dhule, where the whole sky would become full of this dust, is situated east of Kmyavana. dh When Uddhava was making his way from Mathur to Nandagaon to deliver Kas message, he stopped here to rest for some time. This is why this place received the name dh. ora r Ka happily played here throughout the day and night (eight praharas) with His most dear sakhs, like Dma, rdma, Sudma, Vasudma, Stoka-ka, Kokila, Bhga, Ujjvala, Arjuna, Subala and Madhumagala. The word ora means to remain engaged in the pleasure of playing games for all eight praharas of the day (ho praharas). This place has therefore been named ora. Bajer This village, situated two miles east of Kmyavana, is the birthplace of the twin sisters Ragadev and Sudev, who are two of the eight principal sakhs (aa-sakhs). Their father is Ragasra Gopa and their mother is Karu Gop. Ragadev s husband is 295

r v raja-maala parikram

Vakrakhana Gopa, and Sudev s husband is Vakrakhana Gopas younger brother. Both sisters live in Jvaa with rmat Rdhik and always serve Her.

Sunahar-gaon This village lies four miles east of Kmyavana and two miles from Bajer-gaon. rmati Rdhik offered the golden necklace She was wearing to Mahdeva during Her worship of him here. Therefore even today, this village is called Sunahar or Suner, meaning golden necklace. This village is also called Sunahargaon because it is established up on the Suvarcala Hill. Kadamba-kha Near Sunahar-gaon, to the south-west, is a vast grove of kadamba trees (a kadamba-kha ). This is the location of a rsamaala and of Ratna-kua. In the month of Bhdra on the Caturda of the bright moon, rsa-ll is enacted here according to bh-ll. Nbhjs place of bhajana is also in the kadamba-kha. Nbhj s previous name was Catura-cintmai, and he was born in Paya-gaon in Vraja. From childhood, he performed bhajana in an isolated grove of kadamba trees, being detached from the material


Kmyav ana

world. He was a great renunciant. It is said that he would remain absorbed in meditation on different pastimes. Once, while being thus absorbed, he began to pick flowers for the service of PriyPriyatama (Rdh-Ka). He had very long matted hair, which on this occasion became entangled in a thorny bush. He remained standing in that same position for three days. Kiora and Kior (Rdh-Ka) appeared there and started disentangling his hair from the bush. Who are you? Nbhj asked. Kiorj smiled, indicating with Her eyes that ymasundara Himself was disentangling his matted locks. Then, suddenly, They both disappeared. Nbhjs life had become blessed. He rolled about on the ground, weeping. He later came to Vndvana to reside at Vihra-gha.

cgaon This village, situated three miles east of Suner-gaon and one mile west of Varsn, is the village of r Lalit. Vraja-bhakti-vilsa


r v raja-maala parikram

quotes Viu-rahasya, which describes this place as follows: Nearby is Sakhgiri-parvata, on which Phisalan-il (a stone slide), Lalitvivha-maapa (the wedding pavilion of Lalit) and Sakh-kpa are situated. Also nearby are Trive-kpa, a rsa-maala, a deity of Dj in a kuja of thorny bushes, Gop-pukari, Deha-kua, and other pastime places. 5 Sakhgiri-parvata Lalit and other sakhs, being attracted and enamoured by Vrajendra-nandana r Kas qualities as a hero, such as dhralalita, enjoyed rsa and various other pastimes with Him around and on top of this hill.6


Kmyav ana

The Phisalan-il (top) and a citra-il (lower) on Sakhgiri-parvata (left)

Phisalan-il This stone slide is situated on Sakhgiri-parvata, and is adjacent to Lalit-vivha-sthala. Lalit and other sakhs used to slide here. Even today, one can see the mark of the slide on the hill, as well as the markings of red lac (alt) from the gops feet. Nearby, on the northern part of the hilltop, are some astonishing ils that appear multicoloured when the suns rays shine on them. The gops would also paint wonderful pictures (citra) on these ils, and therefore these ils are called citra-ils. One who faithfully searches and prays on this hilltop can sometimes even see the gops footprints there.


r v raja-maala parikram

Lalit-vivha-maapa This is Lalits wedding pavilion. The gops performed Lalit s wedding ceremony with seven-year-old r Ka here. One day, Lalit and the sakhs were sitting with rasika Ka and talking sweetly with Him. Upon the indication of rmat Rdhik, Vikh and some other sakhs tied r ymasundaras yellow cloth to the corner of r Lalit s veil. Ragadev and other sakhs started to sing wedding songs while Tugavidy and others uttered the wedding mantras. The remaining sakhs showered flowers on r Ka and Lalit. Becoming somewhat suspicious, Lalit quickly stood up and went to run away, but she was unable to do so because of the knot. The gops surrounded the couple and with great celebration held a big festival. This place was named Lalitvivha-sthala after this pastime.


Kmyav ana

Gop-pukari This lake is situated at Sakhgiri-parvata. Lalit and other sakhs used to play many kinds of water sports while bathing in this lake. It is rare even for the demigods to come to this place. Once, while playing here, the sakhs collected badr fruit and arranged them in the form of a mortar (okhal). This place is still famous by the name Badr-k-okhal. Sakh-kpa This place lies near Sakhgiri-parvata. Once, Lalit and the other sakhs were eagerly awaiting Kas arrival. Having remained restless for a long time, they were thirsty. They therefore dug a well (kpa) with their own hands. Just as they began to drink its water, Ka arrived, dressed in splendid attire. An astonishing exchange then took place between Ka and the gops, in which the gops mysterious words fully satisfied Him. This well is called Sakh-kpa because it was built by the sakhs. Trive-kpa This well is situated some distance away on the right side of the path that goes from Sakhgiri-parvata to cgaon. r Dj and Lalit daily bathed in Trive-kpa. Once, in the month of Mgha (JanuaryFebruary), Lalit and the other sakhs desired to bathe at Trive, which is the confluence of the Gag, Yamun and Sarasvat Rivers. r Ka therefore created this well for them with the tip of His flute, right before their eyes. Merely by His remembering them, the holy waters from the confluence at Trive appeared in the well, and the gops could bathe. A person easily attains the fruit of bathing in Triven simply by putting the dust surrounding the well on his head, what to speak of actually bathing in the water of this well.


r v raja-maala parikram

Dj Temple A large deity of Dj resides nearby, to the east of Trive-kpa, in the middle of dense thorny hsa bushes. This temple was built by Rj oaramala on the order of r Nryaa Bhaa. r Nryaa Bhaa was a Gauya Vaiava crya. He took birth in the state of Madhurpattana in South India. His father, r Bhaaj of the Bhaabhskara Tailaga brhmaa-parampar of that place, was famous for his erudition. r Nryaa Bhaa became detached from the material world at the age of fourteen and came to Vraja around 1546 AD. He was especially dedicated to rmat Rdhik. It is well known that the present deity in the rj Temple in Varsn manifested as a result of the special prayers of r Nryaa Bhaa. These deities manifested on the second day of the bright moon in the month of ha (July) in 1570 AD. r Nryaa Bhaa had undivided faith in Vraja. In his famous work, Vraja-bhakti-vilsa, he describes all the pastime places of Ka in Vraja in great detail. r Nryaa Bhaa inaugurated the enactment of rsa-ll, which is still being carried out today. The priests and brhmaas of the rj Temple, Varsn, take initiation from the descendants of Nryaa Bhaa Gosvm. Bhaajs main engagement was serving in the Dj Temple in cgaon.

Dj Temple

Kmyav ana

Lalit-sthala (Aor-parvata) This hill is situated east of Deha-kua, and adjacent to and west of the Dj Temple. cgaon is established on this hill, and there one will find the balcony (ar ) of Lalitj and other places of her childhood pastimes.7 Lalit Sakh s parents are Viobha Gopa and rad Gop. She was married in Jvaa; her husband is Bhairo Gopa. Lalit is the foremost of rmat Rdhiks aa-sakhs and the main leader of Her three groups of sakhs, maidservants (dss) and messengers (dts). Lalit is also known as Anurdh because she possesses all the moods and qualities of rmat Rdhik. Her nature is leftist and harsh (vm-prakhar) and she is expert in all varieties of services to Rdh and Ka, such as dressing, decorating, performing magic, making Their bed, and arranging meetings between Them. Even r Ka and rmat Rdhik Themselves cannot overrule her.


r v raja-maala parikram

Deha-kua This kua is situated to the west just below Lalit-sthala. Once, r Rdh and r Ka together with the sakhs were bathing here during a festival. As they were dressing themselves after bathing, a poor brhmaa came there and in a piteous voice


Kmyav ana

Deha-ku a
addressed r Ka, I have a daughter of marriageable age, but due to lack of money, I cannot offer her to a suitable husband. Therefore, please give me some wealth.


r v raja-maala parikram

r Ka thought, Rdh is My only and entire wealth. But for Her, I possess nothing else of value. So He told the brhmaa, I want to give you My entire fortune, not just a little money. He then pointed towards r Rdh and said, She is My entire property and wealth. Please accept Her. When the poor brhmaa heard this, he began to beat his head in sadness. He said, O Vrajea-nandana, I could not even arrange a suitable husband for my one daughter; how will I ever be able to marry off two? This is disastrous for me. What should I do now? The brhmaa only wanted gold. Understanding this, r Ka put Priyj on one side of a scale and Her weight in gold on the other. He then gave all this gold to the brhmaa. rmatj also became pleased with this arrangement, which relieved Her of much trouble. The brhmaa was given an abundance of gold and very happily returned to his home, where he completed the marriage of his daughter with a grand celebration. It is also said that once a wealthy person was suffering severely from leprosy. He came here, bathed in this kua, and donated ten kara (160 grams) of gold to qualified brhmaas. After some time, his disease left him. Veakara Mahdeva On the bank of Deha-kua is Veakara Mahdeva, whom the gops installed with their own hands. He who bathes in this kua with faith and takes darana of Veakara Mahdeva gets the same result as that of bathing in the confluence at Trive. All his problems are eliminated and he attains pure bhakti for Ka.


Kmyav ana


caturtha kmyakavana vann vanam-uttama tatra gatv naro devi! mama loke mahyate
di-varha Pura

tata kmyavana rjan! yatra blye sthito bhavn snna-mtrea sarve sarva-kma phala-pradam
Skanda Pura

yatra gopa-sut sarv lalitdi-prabhtaya kr cakru samsena r-ka-gua-modit yasmt sakhgirir nma babhva vraja-maale tat-prve skhalini khyt ka-kril sthit

Pratibh means to be equal to. A pratibh-vigraha is a deity that is considered non-different from the original deity it replaces. rmad-Bhgavatam (10.37.2633). sakh-giri-parvatosti tat-prve skhalin il-mandira, tatraiva lalit-vivhasthala tat-parvatasya dakia-prve trive-trtha, tan-madhye rsamaala tat-prve sakh-kpa, tad-uttara-prve il-pha-stha ryugala-baladeva-mrti hisa-vkd adha-stha.

4 5

grma-madhye tva tv asti lalitys tu khelanam tasmin-nay lalit sbhi sakhibhi saha abda-sayutvasth sakhibhi parikrate tasmd uccbhidhnasya aori-saja pravakate
Bhad-gautamya Tantra


r v raja-maala parikram


V arsn


V arsn is the pastime beloved rmat Rdhik. this village is a multitude sweet and secret amorous Their transcendental moods and desires. pastimes, together with of the Divine Couples place of r Kas

L ying at the heart of

(V abhnupura)

arsn is the pastime place of r Kas beloved rmat Rdhik. Lying at the heart of this village is a multitude of the Divine Couples sweet and secret amorous pastimes, together with Their transcendental moods and desires. The Vaiava community reveres Varsn. This venerable land with its lakes, ponds, gardens and forests such as Gahvaravana, Skar-khor and other pastime places reminds one of Rdh and Kas different pastimes. In Vraja, the grass, small shrubs, creepers, trees, animals, birds, insects, snakes and so forth are all composed of sac-cid-nanda; or eternality, spiritual consciousness and full transcendental bliss. They assist Rdh and Ka in Their pastimes, and are very dear to Them. It is said in the scriptures that even eminent realised souls, like Brahm and akara, repeatedly pray to attain a birth like theirs so that they too may be able to serve Rdh and Ka.


r v raja-maala parikram

For instance, rla Raghuntha dsa Gosvm says in r Vrajavilsa-stava (verse 102): yat kicit ta-gulma-kkaa-mukha gohe samasta hi tat sarvnandamaya mukunda-dayita llnuklam param strair eva muhur muhu sphuam ida niakita ycay brahmder api sa-sphena tad ida may vandyate
All the grass, shrubs, insects and other creatures found in Vraja are very dear to He who is the very embodiment of all transcendental bliss, r Mukunda, and they assist in His pastimes. All the scriptures have repeatedly established this fact, and devotees ranging from Brahm to Uddhava have expressed a desire to take birth in Vraja amongst these species. For these reasons, I worship all the creatures who reside in Vraja.

Varsn s original name is Vabhnupura. Vabhnu Mahrja, the father of rmat Rdhik, lived here with his family. Varsn is situated fourteen miles west of Govardhana and six miles east of Kmyavana. According to the Varha and Padma Puras, Brahm pleased r Hari at the end of Satya-yuga by performing arduous worship. Brahm then asked for the following boon: Please perform Your sweet pastimes with the vraja-gops on my very form and allow me to behold these lls. Please make my life blessed, by especially performing swing pastimes in the rainy season and by performing Hol in spring. 1 Pleased with Brahm, r Hari instructed him, Go to Vabhnupura and take the form of a hill there. In that form you will be able to behold all Our sweet pastimes. 2 And so it happened that Brahm assumed the form of a hill at this place in Vraja and fulfilled his cherished desire.


V arsn

The parikram of Varsn is four miles long. Vraja-bhaktivilsa, quoting Padma Pura3, describes the characteristics of Vabhnupura as follows: According to the Padma Pura, two hills face each other here one is Viu-parvata and the other is Brahma-parvata. Viu-parvata is on the left and Brahma-parvata is on the right. On top of Brahma-parvata is a temple of r RdhKa. Close by to the north, on the lower side of this hill, is the palace of Mahrja Vabhnu, where one can have darana of r Vabhnu Mahrja, rmat Krtid Mahrn, rdma and rmat Rdhik. Nearby is a temple of r Lalit, in which one can have darana of Rdhik along with nine sakhs. Also on top of Brahma-parvata are Dna Mandira, the place of a swing (hiol), Mayra-ku, a rsa-maala and a temple of rmat Rdh. Further on between the two hills is Skar-khor. Near Skar-khor is Vilsa Mandira, and next to Vilsa Mandira is Gahvaravana. Within Gahvaravana are Rdh-sarovara and

Pastime Places in the Area of Varsn


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To cgaon


To Prema-sarovara & Nandagaon


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13 12
V iu-parvata

11 1


3 2

To Govardhana

5 8 9 7

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Vabhnu-kua Skar-khor Dna-garh Mna-garh Mayra-k Vilsa-garh Ciksaul

8. Ka-kua 9. Dohan-kua 10. Pl-pokhara 11. Krtid-kua 12. Jaipura Temple 13. rj Temple


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a rsa-maala, and nearby is Dohan-kua. Very close to this kua is Mayra-sarovara, which was constructed by Citralekh. Bhnu-sarovara is also nearby, and on its bank is Vrajevara, a deity of Mahrudra. On its left side is Krti-sarovara. There are four sarovaras, or ponds, around Varsn: (1) Vabhnu-kua in the east, (2) Kirtid-kua in the north-east, (3) Vihra-kua (later named Tilaka-kua) in the south-west, and (4) Dohan-kua in the south, south-west of the village of Ciksaul. Skar-khor lies north of Ciksaul, and on Viu-parvata, east of Skar-khor, is Vilsa-garh. This is the location of a rsamaala. Near Vilsa Mandira is where Rdhik, as a child, played with the sand, building palaces and so on. West of Skar-khor, on top of the mountain, is Dna-garh; and south-west of Skar-khor and west of the village of Ciksaul are Gahvaravana and Gahvarakua. Mayra-ku is to the right when entering Gahvaravana. On the top of the hill, south-west of Gahvaravana, are Mna-garh and Mna Mandira; and below and nearby is the village of Mnapur. North of Mna-garh is the temple of the Mahrja of Jaipura, and north of that temple is rj Temple. Just below rj Temple, still on the hill, one comes to the temple of Brahmj and the palace of rmat Rdhiks paternal grandfather, Mahbhnu. Below that lies the village of Varsn. West of Varsn is Mukt-kua, or Ratna-kua. Among the places listed above, we will describe those where prominent pastimes took place.

Vabhnu-kua Vabhnu-kua is situated east of the village of Varsn. Mahrja Vabhnu bathed in this kua every morning. He would also chant his daily mantras and perform other morning duties here. It has been described that in a different era Mahrja Vabhnu found Rdhik in this kua while bathing. She was a newly-born baby girl playing on a lotus flower in the water. 317

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Vabhnu-ku a
This charming kua is surrounded on all sides by jiyala trees. Sometimes, rmat Rdhik would bathe here and enjoy water sports together with Her sakhs. Rasika Vrajendra-nandana r Ka would also bathe here, but at another gha. He would then dive under the water, catch hold of the gops feet, and again emerge on His side of the pond. Sometimes, Nanda-nandana r Ka would also sport with these gops in the water and also play hide and seek. This kua is named after Mahrja Vabhnu.

Skar-khor This narrow passage-way lies between Brahma-parvata and Viu-parvata, and both gopas and gops would make their way along it. After milking the cows, the gopas would carry the milk on kvars, which is a bamboo stick with ropes attached to each end for carrying loads. They used this pathway to cross from one side of the hills to the other. Frolicsome Ka would plunder the milk, yoghurt and butter of the jovial gops here. Every year in the month of Bhdra on ukl-trayoda (the thirteenth day of the bright moon), bh-ll 4 is enacted here, as inaugurated 318

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by r Nryaa Bhaa. Today this pastime is also enacted here annually on the occasion of Rdham, the appearance day of rmat Rdhik. At this dna-gh, r Ka and His gopa friends would become tax collectors and demand milk, yoghurt and butter as tolltax from the gops. When the gops refused to give any tax, Ka would forcibly plunder and relish their milk products. The gops, being tired of these daily encounters, decided one day to retaliate strongly. They decided that on a chosen day they would all hide in the caves and dense kujas on the hill on both sides of the narrow pathway. A few gops would then cross Skar-khor carrying pots of milk, yoghurt and butter on their heads. The plan was that the moment Ka and His sakhs would stop them and try to plunder their load, the gops would call out to their friends hiding nearby, who would at once descend from their hideouts. Then, under the leadership of Lalit, they would teach Ka and His sakhs a good lesson. And so it happened that the next day thousands and thousands of gops divided into groups and hid themselves in the dense kujas and large caves around Skar-khor. Then, as usual, a few gops placed pots of milk and yoghurt on their heads and made their way towards Skar-khor. Ka, Madhumagala and the other sakhs obstructed their path and forcibly began to plunder their milk and yoghurt. At once, these gops signalled the gops who were hiding, and a wonderful pastime took place. Five to ten gops forcefully caught hold of Ka. Another five to ten caught hold of Madhumagala, and further groups captured Subala, Arjuna, Lavaga and the other sakhs. They slapped their cheeks till they were swollen. They then tied the tuft of hair on the back of their heads (ikhs) to the branches of the trees and asked them, What pleasure is there in plundering our yoghurt? Will you ever do it again? Madhumagala folded his hands and prayed at the feet of Lalit. Please spare me. I was very hungry. I am a simple brhmaa boy who fell under the influence of that fickle Ka.


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I shall never behave like this again. The gops thus taught the sakhs a lesson. rmat Rdhik, Vikh and some other gops had captured Ka. They slapped His cheeks a few times and then forcibly dressed Him like a woman with a blouse and skirt. They even put vermilion in the parting of His hair, bangles on His arms, anklets on His feet, and so on. They covered half His face with a veil, placed a pot of yoghurt on His head and began to make fun of Him by demanding tax on the yoghurt. From the top of the hill, Lalit Sakh aimed a stone at the pot of yoghurt on Kas head, breaking it and drenching His whole body. All the sakhs began to laugh and clap, and yma felt very ashamed. Will You dare to demand tax on our yoghurt ever again? they asked. Hold Your ears and vow, From today, I will never try to tax the gops yoghurt. They forced Ka to repeat this.

Dna-garh This beautiful place is on top of Brahmcala-parvata (Brahmaparvata). One day, rasika r Ka and Subala Sakh were sitting here as tax collectors, eagerly awaiting the arrival of rmat Rdhik and Her friends, who were to pass this way carrying various articles of worship on the pretext of going to worship the Sungod. Upon seeing Her, r Ka obstructed Her path and rebuked Her, saying, Who are You? And where are You going? rmat Rdhik answered, Dont You know who we are? and She fearlessly continued forward. Ka and Subala Sakh again obstructed Her way. Ka said, Dont You know that I have been appointed by the king of this state to collect taxes here? You cannot pass without paying tax. Every day, You carelessly strut through here carrying a variety of valuable items, and You never pay tax. Halt! Pay the tax and then You may pass. Vikh then spoke in a stern voice: This is Rdhik s kingdom. Vabhnu-nandin rmat Rdhik is Vndvanevar, not 321

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anyone else. How have You become the tax collector here without receiving Her permission? Your offence is inexcusable and for it, You must suffer. r Ka replied, Dont talk so impudently. Kandarpadeva (Cupid) is the king of this place. Every day you come and go through here, secretly carrying various expensive items, but you never pay any tax. This has angered Mahrja Kandarpa, who has sent Me here. If you refuse to pay tax, then I will arrest you all and bring


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you before the king. You will have to suffer whatever punishment he hands down to you. Hearing Kas words, Vikh replied, What can Your king do? Our queen is Vndvanevar, the queen of Vndvana. In Her presence we fear no one. We are well acquainted with the prowess of Your king, whose pride is shattered to pieces by the arrow-like side-long glances of rmat Rdhik. Having said this, all the sakhs moved forward, keeping rmat Rdhik up front. Ka stepped forward and stood in the middle of the narrow path of Skar-khor. O impertinent women of Vraja, you fearlessly cross this place daily, hiding various kinds of jewels. Today, without fail, you must pay the tax on these jewels. After such joking words and much laughter, Kiora-Kior enjoyed various amorous pastimes in a solitary grove, and all the sakhs became filled with bliss. The temple here is called Dna Mandira. dnaveadhar yaiva dadhyupsybhilie rdhnirbhatsit yaiva kya satata nama Brahma Pura

Mna-garh Mna-garh is a very attractive place on top of Brahmcalaparvata. rmat Rdhik displayed mna, or a sulky mood, here, but rasika Ka very skilfully broke it. One day, r Ka sent a message to rmat Rdhik through Subala, who is one of His priya-narma-sakhs, and through Vnddev that They should meet at a certain time. Ka was on His way when He suddenly met Padm, Candrval s friend. Padm described rmat Candrval s state of separation from Him and repeatedly requested Him to meet with her. r Ka could not ignore her plea, and went to Candrval s kuja for what He intended to be a short time. However, He became so absorbed in sweet talks and playful pastimes with Candrval that He forgot everything else, and the time for the arranged meeting with 323

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rmat Rdhik elapsed. Meanwhile, one of rmat Rdhik s well-trained female parrots (srs) arrived on a tree in the same kuja. The parrot returned to rmat Rdhik and told Her all the details of r Ka and Candrval s sweet conversations and playful pastimes. Rdhik became deeply distressed and went into a mna that was very difficult to break. Within Her heart, She firmly resolved that She had no need for such an insolent Ka; so when r Ka finally arrived, long after the appointed meeting time, rmtij turned Her face away from Him. Seeing Her unwavering mna, r Ka tried to appease Her through all kinds of means and tricks, but Her mna would not break. Becoming hopeless and feeling sad, Ka left that place. On the road He met Vikh, who advised Him to disguise Himself as a new sakh playing a va. He went to rmat Rdhik together with Vikh, who introduced this new sakh as ym Sakh. Vikh profusely praised ym Sakh s ability to play the va and sing, as well as all Her other skills. rmat Rdhik seated this new sakh next to Her with great honour and respect. Upon hearing Her exceptional singing, She became filled with delight and


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embraced Her. rmat Rdhik recognised Her beloved merely by His touch; and as soon as She had done so, Her mna was broken. Surrounded by Her friends, She now became absorbed in beautiful pastimes with the beloved of Her life. deva gandharva ramyya rdh mna-bidhyine mna-mandira sajya namaste ratna-bhmaye di-varha Pura In Mna-garh, one can also have darana of Mna Mandira, a swing, a rsa-maala and Ratnkara-sarovara. Just near Mnagarh to the south is the village of Mnapur, which reminds one of all these pastimes.

Mayra-k Mayra-k is situated on the top of Brahmcala-parvata. Here, one can have darana of the rsa-maala where rmat Rdhik and Ka danced in the form of a peacock (mayra) and peahen. Once, rmat Rdhik and Ka came to this place together with the sakhs. Upon seeing them, the peacocks became overjoyed with ecstasy and began to dance. Clouds gathered in the sky, and a light shower of rain fell. Nature had decorated herself fully, as if she was a beautiful and charming young woman. Rdh and Ka could not check Their feelings. Taking the form of a peacock and peahen, They danced in an astonishing way along with the circle of peacocks and peahens. All the sakhs were astounded to see Their skilful dancing. They began to sing different kinds of rgas, like malhra, which increased Rdh and Kas pleasure.
kirine namastubhya mayra priya-vallabha suramyyai mahkuyai ikhai padavemane nama sakh sametya rdh-kya te nama vimalotsava devya vraja-magala-hetave di-varha Pura


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Vilsa-garh This place is situated on Viu-parvata. Rdh and Ka performed many playful pastimes (vilsa) here. Nearby is where r Rdh used to play in the dust together with Her sakhs. One day, when Rdhik was a child, She was playing in the dust with Her sakhs when mischievous Ka suddenly arrived. 326

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Vilsa-garh atop Viu-parvata

The sakhs forbade Him to come inside the kuja, but why would r Ka obey them? He entered by force. At that moment, a duststorm fell upon them by providence, and the entire sky became covered with dust. Nothing could be seen anywhere, and the sakhs fearfully covered their eyes with their hands. Ka took this opportunity to embrace the youthful Rdhik and kiss Her face. This pastime took place at the time of vaya-sandhi, or the period between childhood and youth. Today, Vilsa Mandira is situated where this pastime took place. The di-varha Pura states: vilsa rpie tubhya nama kya te nama sakhvarga sukhptya kr-vimala darine
I offer my obeisances to r Ka in the form of He who plays lovely pastimes. He performs these pastimes simply to give pleasure to the sakhs.


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Ciksaul Ciksaul is situated below Brahmcala-parvata and between Sakar-khor and Gahvaravana. It is the birthplace of Citr Sakh, one of the eight main sakhs. Citr Sakh s parents are Catura Gopa and Carcit Gop. She is married to Phara Gopa in Jvaa. She is very expert at decorating and dressing rmat Rdhik in a variety of wonderful dresses and ornaments. She is also skilled in many arts, such as painting and understanding the language of animals and birds. Once, Rdhik, the young daughter of Vabhnu Mahrja, was playing here with Her girlfriends when She heard the very sweet and alluring sound of r Kas flute in the distance. She became so enchanted by that sound that She offered Her mind, body and everything to the person playing this sweet flute, and became desirous to meet Him. Rdhik then saw an amazingly beautiful painting of r Ka that Citr Sakh had made. She forgot all else and offered Her everything to this astonishingly beautiful person.

Ciksaul Village

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At this time, r Ka and the sakhs were leaving to herd the cows. Upon seeing His supremely heart-stealing threefold-bending form (tribhaga-lalita), Rdh could not control Her feelings and offered Herself to this handsome young man. Meanwhile r Ka wandered off into the distance to graze His cows. Now in a state of great restlessness, rmatj began to relate what was on Her mind to Her sakhs. She told Lalit, O sakh, I do not want to remain alive for a moment longer. Honourable women dedicate their hearts to one man only. When a young girl is engaged to someone, she considers him to be her husband and thinks of no one else. But today, I have become attached to three men the flute player, the young man in Citr s painting and the beautiful young man taking the cows out to graze. My righteous conduct has been destroyed. What is the use of My remaining alive now? Hearing this, r Lalit burst into peels of laughter and said, O bewildered one, there is no need for You to die. These three are not different people; they are one and the same person. The man playing the sweet flute is none other than Nanda-nandana r Ka. He is also the one in the painting and the one who went cow herding, so what need is there for You to give up Your life?

Gahvaravana Gahvara means deep, dense, inaccessible and secret. True to its name, this place is a dense forest thick with trees, creepers, groves (keli-kujas) and Priy-Priyatamas sweet and intimate pastimes. It is shaped like a conch. Situated here is a sitting-place (baihaka) of Vallabhcrya, where he recited rmad-Bhgavatam, Rdh-sarovara and a rsa-maala. Here, one can also see the places where many bhaktas performed their bhajana.
gahvarkhyya ramyya ka-ll vidhyine gop-ramaa saukhyya vanya ca namo nama Bhan-nradya Pura


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Gahvaravana parikram path

One famous devotee, Ngar Dsa, has described the pastimes of this place in his songs. For instance, the following pastime took place here one day, when r Ka was out grazing the cows with His sakhs: caksaulke can curye gr de daur rakhvrin gvrin sahit gupl bhagaye hare b dbe baglin mei svs bhare van gahvar ye kahat ture bol lol dg hasat-hasat sab baran cahye hare cabt, ko hor kari, van k ll ll lubhye ngariy baih chaki hr chl-chl nandallahi khvye
Nearby in a field, green chickpea plants were growing. Upon seeing them, r Ka together with His sakhs broke off some plants. The woman taking care of the field came to know of this and ran to catch them, but Kanhaiy was too swift.


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Keeping the plants under His arm, He ran very fast through crooked paths and finally came to a stop in Gahvaravana, where He roasted the green chickpeas and ate them with His sakhs. While they were laughing and enjoying eating roasted chickpeas, the cowherd woman arrived at that spot, but upon seeing the splendour of Kas beauty, she forgot the incident and her anger was pacified. Due to absorption in motherly love (vtsalya-bhva), she began shelling the peas and personally fed Kanhaiy.

Ka-kua This pond is also called Gahvara-kua. Canopied by creepers on all sides and covered by thick trees, this pond is the very beauty of Gahvaravana. Nearby are beautiful groves. Vaiavas perform parikram of these groves with deep faith and roll in the dust here. This pond holds many memories of Rdh and Kas various amorous exchanges.

Ka-ku a

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Dohan-kua This pond is situated south of Gahvaravana and south-west of the village of Ciksaul. The cows were milked ( godohana) here at the time of Kas manifest pastimes. This was the cowshed of the many hundred of thousands of cows belonging to Vabhnu Mahrja. One day, Kior Rdhik was watching the cows being milked, and She too desired to milk them. She took a clay pot and proceeded to do so. Mischievous Ka arrived at that spot and said, Sakh, dont You know how to milk a cow? Come, I will teach You. And He sat down next to Her. O Mohana, teach Me, Rdhik said, and She placed Herself in front of Him. All right. You milk from two teats and I will milk from the other two, and keep looking at Me. Laughing, Ka started to milk. Suddenly, He aimed a jet of milk at Rdh s face, saturating Her with it. He and the other sakhs started laughing. This charming pastime has been described in the following Brajabh poem:
me sme baih do dohat karat hahor ddh dhr mukh par paat dg bhaye candr cakor

abharro After seeing rmat Rdhik here, Kas eyes brimmed with tears. The word abharro means full of tears, and this village therefore became known by that name. abharro is situated two miles south of Varsn. Rasol One-and-a-half miles south-west of abharro is Rasol, where Rdh and Ka performed the famous rsa along with the gops. This is the birthplace of Tungavidy Sakh. Tungavidy s father is Pukara Gopa, her mother is Medh Gop, and her husband is Vlia. She is one of the main eight sakhs, and is fully expert in 332

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dancing , singing , playing instrumental music, astrology, writing poetry, cooking and various other arts. Tungavidy Sakh is also skilled in understanding the language of birds and animals, and in arranging for Rdh and Kas meeting.

Mukt-kua Here rmat Rdhik, in a controversy with Ka, cultivated a field in which pearls were planted in abundance. This pastime has been narrated in detail by r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm in his book Mukt-carita. Pl-pokhara Surrounding this pond are plu trees that produce fruits in abundance. On the pretext of collecting plu fruits, rmat Rdhik would come here to perform varieties of playful pastimes. r Ka would also come here from Nandagaon and enact many pastimes with Her. Once, the unmarried daughter of Krtid, rmat


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Rdhik, and Her sakhs went to Nandagaon to see Yaod-maiy. Charmed by rmat Rdhik s beauty and qualities, Yaod-maiy desired in her heart to marry Rdhik to her son Ka and thus have Her as her daughter-in-law. So great was her desire that she painted Kior Rdh s hands yellow. Rdhik s heart became very happy but, as She returned to Her fathers house in Varsn, She became quite embarrassed. She washed and scrubbed Her hands in this pond, and the ponds water turned yellow. This pond is therefore called Pr-pokhara or Pl-pokhara, the yellow pond. It is also called Piyla-kua because piyla trees surround it.

Krtid-kua This pond is situated near Vabhnu-kua, in the north-east. r Rdhik s mother, r Krtid, used to bathe here daily. This pond is also famous by the name Krti-sarovara.
nama krtir mahbhge! sarve govrajaukasm sarva-saubhgyade trthe sukrtisarase nama Bhat Prara; quoted in Vraja-bhakti-vilsa

Vrajevara Mahdeva Near Bhnu-sarovara is the deity of devdhideva Mahdeva (iva), which was installed by Vabhnu Bb and the other gopas to fulfil their desires. The Vrajavss worship him for their welfare. According to hearsay, some Vrajavss once desired to remove this deity from here and take him to a better place. As they dug, the deity of Mahdeva increased in depth, and they were unable to reach the deitys base. In the end, they gave up the idea of removing this deity, understanding that this was the appropriate place for him, and begged Mahdeva for forgiveness.


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Pastime Places Visited After Parikram of Varsn

Prema-sarovara This pond is situated on the road to Nandagaon, one mile from Varsn. It is shaped like a boat and is so beautifully decorated on all sides with lush kadamba trees that it seems prema itself has manifested as a pond. This charming place, which attracts the hearts of the devotees, is where rmat Rdhik and r Ka enjoy loving pastimes together. It is also where prema-vaicittya 5 manifested in rmat Rdhik. Once, Rdh and Ka, surrounded by Lalit and the other sakhs, were immersed in various kinds of loving pastimes when a bumblebee hovered around the beautiful lotus face of rmat Rdhik. Thinking Her face to be a lotus flower, the bee wanted to sit there and drink its nectar; and so it continued to hover around Her face. rmatj became afraid and covered Her face with Her palms. She also tried to chase the bee away, but to no avail. Madhumagala saw rmat Rdhiks distress and chased the bumblebee far away with his stick. Upon his return, he announced, I have chased madhusdana far away from here. He has gone and will not return. When rmat Rdhik heard Madhumagalas words, She at once thought that Madhusdana Ka had gone away and had left Her, although She was sitting directly in Kas lap. She began to lament, deeply afflicted by separation from Him. She could not, at that instant, understand that madhusdana also means bumblebee. She wept and repeatedly cried out, Oh, Prantha, where have You gone? Oh, Lord of My life, where have You gone? Upon seeing these amazing transcendental sentiments known as prema-vaicittya, in His beloved Rdhik, Ka also forgot that She was sitting on His lap. He too wept and cried, O My beloved! and They both fainted. The tears that flowed from Their eyes and 335

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the perspiration that poured from Their bodies created this pond. When the sakhs saw Their condition, they too became senseless. rmat s female parrot began to loudly chant r Rdh s name, and the male parrot began to loudly chant r Kas name. As They heard each others name, Rdh and Ka regained external consciousness and gazed upon each other with great yearning. Gradually, the sakhs also regained consciousness and in boundless bliss began to call out, Jaya, jaya! The poet r Mdhurj describes this pastime in a very charming way. After this incident, r Ka thought to Himself, Although I remain close by My beloved rmat Rdhik, I am unable to pacify the suffering She experiences in separation from Me. The heat of impending separation constantly scorches Her, and I see no means to console Her. When I am far away from Her, She constantly thinks of Me out of separation from Me. She becomes so absorbed in transcendental emotions that laughing, She talks to tamala trees, thinking them to be Me, and plays with Her sakhs. And sometimes She displays mna. In contrast, when I am close by Her, She is overwhelmed by a feeling of separation from Me, and She becomes distressed and cries. In this condition, I am unable to console Her, even if I am right beside Her. Thus, r Rdh can only be consoled when I am far away from Her. In this state of separation, Her fire of separation can be somewhat pacified upon having an internal transcendental vision (sphrti ) of Me or beholding objects like the tamala tree that possess a lustre similar to My own. This is because She actually considers them to be Me, Her dear most beloved. Thinking in this way, Ka secretly decided to leave for a distant place. This is the main reason why He left Vndvana to go to Mathur and Dvrak. The transcendental sentiment that rmat Rdhik displays here is the topmost mdana-bhva, which is found only in Her. It does not manifest even in Lalit and the other sakhs. In this mdana-bhva, feelings of separation (vipralambha) and meeting


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The deities of r Prema-bihrj at Prema-sarovara

(sabhoga), as well as all other mutually opposed bhvas, are present simultaneously in an astonishing way. Prema-sarovara is a manifestation of Rdh and Kas transcendental sentiments, as the following Brajabha poem explains: prem sarovar prem k bhar rahe din rain jah jah pyr pag dharat ym dharat tah nain
Day and night, Prema-sarovara is always filled with prema, or divine love. Pyr rmat Rdhik keeps Her lotus feet there, and yma desires to keep those lotus feet in the vision of His eyes. (In other words, yma worships this pond because rmat has placed Her feet in its waters.)

There is no doubt that by bathing in this pond, one attains prema for the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka. Here one can


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take darana of Lalit-Mohanaj, a rsa-maala, a place where They would swing ( jhla-sthala), the temple of Prema-bihrj and the sitting-places (baihakas) of r Vallabhcrya and r Vihalantha. The village of Gjpura lies east of this pond. On the day of Bhdra-ukl-dvda (the fourth day from Rdham) bhh-ll is performed here.

Vihvala-kua This pond lies near Saket, to the south-east. Here r Ka became restless and overwhelmed (vihvala) upon hearing r Rdh s name. One day, r Ka and Subala Sakh were engaged in sweet rasika talk, as they sat in a beautiful kuja by this delightful pond. A female parrot sitting on the branch of a nearby tree began to sing of r Rdhik s glorious qualities. When Ka heard the name and qualities of Rdhik, various sentiments arose in His heart. He saw manifestations of Her wherever He looked and anxiously began to run here and there in an attempt to catch Her. Subala Sakh noticed the extremely elevated aa-sttvika bhvas of mahbhva on r Kas limbs, and contemplated how to pacify Him. He understood that the only way would be for Ka to meet with rmat Rdhik. He somehow sent news of Kas astonishing condition to Vikh Sakh and requested her to bring rmat Rdhik to Ka. rmat Rdhik arrived there with Vikh and some other sakhs, and from a distance Subala pointed towards r Ka in His condition of extreme restlessness. Rdh and Ka had been eager to meet and were therefore endlessly joyous to have each others darana. As soon as r Ka experienced the touch of rmat Rdhik s transcendental body, He felt satisfied and content. That sdhaka who affectionately performs bhajana here will definitely become inundated with prema for Rdh and Ka.


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Saket This place is situated between Nandagaon and Varsn. The first meeting of rmat Rdhik and r Ka, after Their prvarga 6, took place here. rmat Rdhik would then come from the house of Her in-laws in Jvaa and r Ka would come from Nandagaon, and They would meet here. Vnd-dev, Vr-dev and Subala Sakh would be messengers (dts) and arrange the meeting of Priy-Priyatama through signals (saket). This is why this place is called Saket. Sometimes, rmat Rdhik would come here to meet with Ka, and sometimes Ka would come here to meet with Rdhik. In Govinda-llmta and Ka-bhvanmta, rla Kadsa Kavirja and rla Vivantha Cakravart hkura respectively, describe Rdh and Kas meetings and pastimes here at midnight (naia) and pre-dawn (ninta). These descriptions are full of rasa.

The temple of Saket-bihrj


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Saket-dev (r Vr-dev)

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By Yogamy s desire, the principal messengers, Vr-dev and Vnd-dev, arrange the meeting of the Divine Couple r RdhKa. Vnd-dev makes very sweet arrangements to awaken the Divine Couple at the end of the night, just before dawn breaks. The male parrot and the female parrot awaken Them with enchanting words. The black cuckoo helps to wake Them up with his sweet kuhu-kuhu, and the peacock and peahen with their ke-k. Lalit, Vikh and the other sakhs offer rat to the Divine Couple. When Kakkha, the old she-monkey, calls out Jail, r Rdh and r Ka become embarrassed and make Their separate ways to Their respective residences, where They fall asleep. Delightful places worth visiting here are the temple of Saketbihrj, a rsa-maala and the place of a swing. The bhajana-ku of r Gopla Bhaa Gosvm stands in front of the rsa-maala, to its east. r Caitanya Mahprabhu rested here while travelling


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The place of the swing at Saket

through the twelve forests of Vraja. Just near the rsa-maala is the temple of Saket-dev (r Vr-dev); and nearby are Vihvaldev, Vihvala-kua, Raga-mahala and ayy Mandira. Kakua lies to the west of the village. On the bank of Ka-kua is a sitting-place of r Vallabhcrya. Some people continue their pilgrimage of Vraja-maala by travelling from Saket to Nandagaon. Others visit and perform parikram of the following pastime places before continuing on to Nandagaon: Rihaura, Bhokhora, Meherna, Stoy, P, Tiloyra, gravaa, Bichora, Andhopa, Sonda, Vanacr, Hoal, Kujaravana, Dagaon, Llpura, Hroyna, Scul, Geo and so forth.


r v raja-maala parikram

Rihaura Rihaura is situated one-and-a-half miles west of Saketvana, and is the village of Vabhnu Mahrjas elder brother, r Candrabhnu Gopa. Candrval, the darling daughter of this same Candrabhnu, was born here. In the south-east of the village, surrounded by dense rows of trees, is Candrval-kua, where Candrval used to perform her childhood pastimes with her sakhs, bathe and play in the water. Another sitting-place of Vallabhcrya is here. Bhokhora Bhokhora, situated four miles north-west of Rihaura and four miles west of Nandagaon, is where Mahrja Nanda had his cowshed that was situated in the west. Earthen vessels (bha) were filled with milk or washed here, which is why this place is known as Bhokhora. Meherna-gaon Meherna-gaon lies two miles west of Bhokhora. r Kas uncle Abhinandana Gopa lived here, and his cowshed was nearby. Abhinandana Gopa is the second eldest among Vrajarja Nanda and his four brothers. Some people also consider this place to be the home of Yaod s father. In the eastern part of this village is Krasgara. It is said that at midnight on iva-rtri, a stream of milk emanates from the middle of this pond, which is why it is named Krasgara, or Ocean of Milk. Once, Yaod-maiy and child Ka came to the house of Abhinandana, Yaod-maiys elder brother-in-law. After dinner, Yaod-maiy sat on the bed lulling Ka to sleep in her lap. Maiy, please tell a story, Ka said. Yaod proceeded to narrate a story as Ka nodded and murmured, Yes, yes. Yaod said, Once there was a king named Daaratha. He had four sons Rma, Lakmaa, Bharata and atrughna. Rma married Jnak, the daughter of Mahrja Janaka. She was also 346

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known as St. On the order of His father, Rma went to the forest with His wife St and younger brother Lakmaa. Yes, yes, Ka uttered. Yaod-maiy continued, In the forest, a demon named Rvaa kidnapped St. Hearing this, Ka, being absorbed in His previous incarnation as Rma, called out, Lakmaa, bring My bow! Lakmaa, bring My bow! and jumped up from bed. Seeing this made Yaod-maiy fearful. This pastime took place here.

Stoy This village lies two miles west of Meherna-gaon. It is also called Satvsa. At this place, Mahrja Satrjita, the father of one of r Kas queens named Satyabhm, worshipped the Sungod. Over the years, the word satr has evolved into the name Satvsa. North-east of this village is Srya-kua, on the northern bank of which there is a temple of Sryadeva, or the Sungod. Mahrja Satrjita used to worship Sryadeva here after bathing in the pond. Sryadeva became pleased and awarded him a sryaknta-mai, a jewel which daily yielded him an abundance of gold. Pgaon Pgaon is situated five-and-a-half miles north-west of Satvsa. Once, r Ka was playing hide and seek with the sakhs. Ka hid somewhere, and Rdhik and the sakhs anxiously searched for Him. After great endeavour, the gops found Ka here. Rdhik and the sakhs became overjoyed to have spotted Ka, and they cried out, P-p! I have found, I have found!. This village thus became renowned as P. All the villages mentioned above lie on the border of Vraja. Tiloyra Here, Rdh and Ka and the sakhs became so absorbed in their playful pastimes that they entirely forgot to eat, what to speak 347

r v raja-maala parikram

of to return home. Vnd-dev finally reminded them to go home. This place became known as Tiloyra because here Ka and the gops were not even slightly conscious of the passing of time. Tilamtra means very slightly and is used in Hindi to denote a very slight measurement of time or space. Tiloyra is also situated on the border of Vraja-maala. Muslims of the meva caste reside in the villages around here.

gravaa This place is situated two miles north of Tiloyra. While playing here, the sakhs decorated r Kas body with sixteen kinds of ornaments (gra). Sometimes, r Ka combed and decorated rmat Rdhiks hair with sixteen kinds of ornaments. The banyan (vaa) tree that was once here has now disappeared, but the village is still known by the name of gravaa or gra-gaon. Bichora This pastime place is situated one-and-a-half miles northeast of gravaa and ten miles south-west of Kos. r Ka performed various kinds of pastimes here with rmat Rdhik and the sakhs. Just as They were about to go home, They became greatly distressed by Their impending separation. This village has therefore become known as Bichora. The purport of the following verse from r Bhakti-ratnkara states that the word bichora is derived from viccheda, meaning separation.
krvasnete dohe cale nijlaya viccheda-prayukta e bichora nma haya

Andhopa Andhopa lies two miles north-west of Bichora and three miles north of gravaa. It too is situated on the border of Vraja.


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Sonda The village of Sonda lies four miles north-east of Andhopa. Nanda Mahrjas younger brother Sananda used to live in this village. Sananda deeply loved Ka. Sometimes he would call for Ka, bathe and dress Him, seat Him next to himself, and feed Him delicious preparations. Vanacar Vanacar is situated two miles north of Sonda and east of the MathurDelhi highway. It too lies on the border of Vraja. There is a temple of Dj here. Hoal Hoal lies four miles south-east of Vanacar on the Delhi Mathur highway. Near this village is Pavavana, where the Pavas resided during their exile. The nearby Pava-kua is where the Pavas used to bathe and drink water. Kujaravana South-west of Hoal, about one mile away, is Kujaravana, where Ka used to play with the sakhs in the kujas. Sometimes, many sakhs together would make themselves into an elephant (kujara) here, which r Ka rode. Because this incident took place here, this place became known as Kujaravana. Dagaon Dagaon lies three miles south of Hoal, and is where Ka and His sakhs looted yoghurt from the gops on the excuse of collecting tax. Here, one can have darana of Dadhi-kua, Madhusdanakua, gra Mandira, tala-kua and Sapta-vka-maal. On the bank of tala-kua under a kadamba tree is a sitting-place of r Vallabhcrya.


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Llpura This village is situated one-and-a-half miles west of Dagaon. North of this village is an rama of Durv Muni. Durv-kua and a temple of Durv are here. Hroyna-grma This village is currently called Pparavra. Here, rmat Rdh defeated Ka in a game of dice and won His flute. Once, rmat Rdhik consulted Lalit and the other sakhs, saying, Since Ka is physically more powerful than us, He defeats us in the games which depend upon bodily strength. Please think of a game based upon intelligence by which we can easily defeat Him. Lalit Sakh advised rmatj to challenge Ka to a game of dice. The sakhs then challenged Ka to a game. It had no sooner started, when rmat Rdhik easily defeated Him and snatched away His flute, which had been kept on stake. Madhumagala, who was sitting nearby, pretended to be sad and said, Kanhaiy, the gops have just taken Your flute, and they will now confiscate everything of Yours. You are expert at grazing the cows, so go and do that. I feel very unhappy when I see You defeated like this. Saying this, he started laughing. Ka rebuked him. He called him a talkative brhmaa and told him to keep quiet. This village has been named Hroyna on account of this pastime, in which Ka was defeated at dice. Hrn means to be defeated. Scul This place is situated four miles south of Hroyna-grma and six miles north-west of Nandagaon. In this village, one can have darana of the temple of Candrval Sakh and of Srya-kua. Candrval used to meet Ka here on the pretext of performing Srya-pj.


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Geo This village lies three miles east of Scul-grma. Ka and Baladeva used to play ball games here with the sakhs. Geda means ball. This village has seven ponds. Geda-kua, which is where r Balarma used to stand when they played ball games, is in the north of the village; and Geda-khora, which is where Ka used to stand, is in the north-west. Gaidharvana is in the east, Belvana-kua is in the south, Gop-kua is in the south-west, Jalbhara-kua is in the west, and Vihra-kua is in the north-west. The gops filled their pots with water (jal bharn) from Jalbhara-kua. Endnotes

pur kta-yuga-synte brahma prrthito hari mamopari sad tva hi rsa-kr kariyasi sarvbhi vraja-gopbh prvkle ktrthakt
Varha Pura

tath brahman vraja gatv vabhnu-pura gata parvato bhavasi tva hi mama kr ca payasi yasmt brahm parvato bhd vabhnu-pure sthita
Padma Pura

brahma-nmnor-ubhayo skar khori-sthala. brahma-parvatopari r-rdh-mandiram agre ll-ntyamaalam. viu-parvatopari-stha r-kmandiram agre ll-ntyamandiram, tat-prve vilsa-mandira tat-prve gahvarvana tadadhasthale rsa-maala, rdhsarovari dohan-kua, tat-sampe citralekhyay kta-mayra-sara.

viu-brahma-nmnau parvatau dvau parasparau. dakia-prve brahma-nma-parvata vmaprve viu-nma-parvata. brahma-parvatopari r-rdhka-mandira, r-rdhka-darana, tad-adho-bhge r-vabhnu-gopa-mandira, vabhnu-krti-rdm-darana, tat-prve lalit-akhin priysahitn mandira rdhdinava-sakhn daranam. brahmaparvatopari dna-mandira, hiolasthala, mayraku-sthala, viu-

The modern enactment of Rdh and Kas pastimes that takes place at Skar-khor in Varsn. This was inaugurated by r Nryaa Bhaa Gosvm. Actually, Rdh and Kas pastimes are never bh, old, but are ever fresh. Prema-vaicittya is a degree of transcendental love in which the lover and beloved are plunged into grief out of fear of separation from each other, even though they directly are in each others presence. Purvarga is the lover and beloveds feeling of mutual attachment that exists prior to their first meeting. It is filled with intense eagerness and anticipation.


life worship the rutis and worship the Mahbhrata. will always worship Nanda the Supreme Absolute Truth is crawling here and there on His knees. Bb, in whose courtyard Let them do so. I myself Smtis, and others may

the perplexities of worldly

Those who are afraid of


he royal palace of Nanda Mahrja, the king of Vraja, is situated in Nandagaon. This village is a source of happiness because r Nanda Rya (Nanda Mahrja), Upnanda, Abhinanda, Sunanda and Nandana all lived here.1 Nandagaon is situated sixteen miles northwest of Govardhana, eight miles south of Kos and twenty-eight miles west of Vndvana. The parikram of Nandagaon is four miles. There are fifty-six ponds related to r Kas various pastimes here and it takes about three to four days to have darana of them all. Devdhideva Mahdeva akara (iva) pleased his worshipful deity r Ka and asked for the boon to have darana of r Kas childhood pastimes. The Supreme Lord r Ka ordered him to situate himself in Nandagaon in the form of a hill. r akara Mahdeva followed this order and became Nandvara Hill. He then waited for the arrival of his worshipful deity. To fulfil the desire of the exalted Vaiava r akara, r Ka


r v raja-maala parikram

performed His sweet childhood (blya) and boyhood ( paugaa) pastimes on Nandvara Hill, along with the Vrajavss like Nanda Bb, Yaod-maiy and His gopa friends. At the end of Dvpara-yuga, there lived a sage named Devamha. He had two wives, one from a katriya family and

Katriy wife

r Deva


Parjanya Mahrja

Devak r Ka

Vasudeva Rukmi Balarma


Pradyumna Aniruddha Vajranbha





Snand-dev (married to Mahnla)

(married to Kundalat-dev)





the other from a gopa family. rasena was born from the katriya wife, and Parjanya Gopa from his gopa wife. Vasudeva and other katriya sons were born from rasena. Parjanya Gopa maintained his life by agriculture and rearing cows. He lived near Nandivara Hill with his wife Varyas Gop.


Gopa wife




(married to Sadan)


(married to Surm)


(married to Yaodev)


(married to Yaasvin)


r Nanda


(married to Sunla)

(also known as Sunanda; married to Bakul-dev)


(married to Atuly-dev)


r Ka


Family Tree of r Kas Paternal Relatives


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Nandvara Hilll

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Once, Devari Nrada came there, and Parjanya Gopa pleased him by offering him appropriate worship. He then requested Nrada to bless him with excellent progeny. Nrada initiated him into the Lakm-Nryaa mantra and informed him, By meditating upon this mantra you will have illustrious progeny. When Nrada left, Parjanya Gopa set about repeating this mantra in his mind. Daily, he would meditate upon it following the proper process, after first taking his bath in the nearby Taga-trtha. One day while he was absorbed in the mantra, a divine voice from the sky announced, O Parjanya, you are very fortunate to have performed one-pointed worship of Me. You will have five highly qualified sons. Of these, the middle son, Nanda, will be greatly fortunate. All victorious r Hari Himself, who is fully endowed with the six kinds of opulences and who gives pleasure to all living beings, will appear as his son. Upon hearing this divine announcement, Parjanya Gopa became overjoyed. In due course of time, five sons and two daughters were born. Parjanya Gopa and his family stayed near Nandvara Hill for some time longer, but, fearing the disturbances created by the Ke demon, they left for Gokula-Mahvana. There, the Supreme Lord r Kacandra was born as the son of the middle brother, Nanda Mahrja. After some time, however, on account of the disturbances of Ptan, akasura, Tvarta and other demons, Vrajevara r Nanda Mahrja, together with his son, family members, relatives, cows, gopas and gops, moved to Chakar village. After that they moved to Kmyavana, Khelanvana and other places before finally returning to live at Nandvara (Nandagaon). Many of Kas childhood and boyhood pastimes took place here. It was from here that on Gopam day, Ka and Baladeva along with the sakhs first went out to graze the calves, and after some years the cows.



10 11 1 9


To Kokilvana To Kos & Jvaa 14 13 15


3 8 7 6 5 4 17


To Kmyavana

19 To V arsn

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Nandvara Hill Nanda-bhavan Temple Yoghurt Pot Nanda-kua & Nanda-baihaka Yaod-kua H-bil Madhusdana-kua Caraa-pah Vnd-dev Kuja & Vnd-kua Pvana-sarovara

11. rla Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku 12. Mo-kua 13. er-kadamba & rla Rpa Gosvms bhajana-ku 14. Nanda-bga 15. evara Mahdeva 16. Ka-kua 17. Srya-kua 18. Lalit-kua 19. Uddhava-kyr


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Pastime Places Within the Compound of Nanda-bhav ana

The compound of Nanda-bhavana is immense and holds many delightful pastime places. r Raghupati Updhyya glorifies Nanda Bb and this compound in very sweet words:

Entrance to Nanda-bhavana


rutim apare smtim itare bhratam anye bhajantu bhava-bht aham iha nanda vande yasylinde para brahma Padyval (126)
Those who are afraid of the perplexities of worldly life worship the rutis and Smtis, and others may worship the Mahbhrata. Let them do so. I myself will always worship Nanda Bb, in whose courtyard the Supreme Absolute Truth is crawling here and there on His knees.

Nanda-bhavana (Nandas residence) To the south, adjacent to Nandvara Hill, are a few ruins of the staircase of Nanda-bhavana. Nandas residence here was extensive, with separate bedrooms for everyone including Nanda Bb, Mother Yaod, Mother Rohi, Ka and Baladeva. It had

The temple atop Nandvara Hill


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a kitchen, store-room and dining hall, as well as resting-rooms and other rooms for Rdhik and Ka. Here, Ka and Baladeva performed many of Their childhood, boyhood and youth pastimes. Daily, at forenoon, rmat Rdhik used to come here from Jvaa with Her sakhs on the zealous and loving requests of Mother Yaod, and with great delight, She would prepare many tasty foodstuffs for Ka together with Mother Rohi. Ka used to eat with His sakhs in the adjacent large dining-hall and then rest in the bedroom situated one hundred steps from the dining-hall.

Nandvara Mahdeva


Rdhiks resting place This is rmat Rdhiks resting place. After completing Her cooking, rmat Rdhik would, on the request of Mother Yaod, take prasda mixed with the remnants of Ka that Dhanih Sakh would bring. Mother Yaod then invited Her to take rest in this garden. At that time, the sakhs used to arrange for Her secret meeting with Ka. This place is called Rdh-bga, Rdhs garden. The path to the forest Every day, Mother Yaod used to decorate Rma and Ka in different ways, thus preparing Them to go to the forest to graze the cows. She would send Them and the sakhs off from here with a heavy heart. The path to go cow grazing Rma and Ka, the best of dancers, traversed this path along with Their friends to go cow grazing. The place where Rdhik was bidden farewell Here, Mother Yaod used to put rmat Rdhik on her lap before seeing Her off to Jvaa with tearful eyes. The place where yoghurt was churned Every day in the early morning, Mother Yaod used to churn yoghurt at this place. To this day, one can see an enormous yoghurt pot here. Prams s arrival path Yogamy Prams used to arrive at Nanda-bhavana along this path to have darana of baby Ka.


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Other Pastime Places in Nandagaon

Nanda-kua Nanda-kua lies a short distance to the south of Nandabhavana. Daily, early in the morning, Mahrja Nanda used to bathe here, chant his regular mantras and perform his other morning duties. Sometimes, he would bring Ka and Balarma here on his shoulders and bathe Them too. In the temple on the bank of this pond are attractive deities of Nanda Bb with his children, Ka and Dj, sitting in his lap.



Nanda Bb with K a (left) and Dj (right)


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Nanda-baihaka Vrajevara Mahrja Nanda would regularly sit here with his elder and younger brothers, as well as with the elderly gopas, priests and so on, to discuss Kas well-being. It is called a baihaka because they would sit here together for discussions. Baihn means to sit. Nanda Mahrja has several baihakas in the eighty-four kosas of Vraja-maala. Wherever Nanda Bb used to reside with his cows, gopas, gops and others is called Nanda-Gokula and there used to be periodic meetings like this in those places. Thus, other such baihakas include Cho-baihana and Ba-baihana. The following pastime refers to this kind of baihaka, or assembly. Seven-year-old Ka held Girirja-Govardhana for seven days on His little finger and thus smashed the pride of Indra. The astonished elderly gopas called an assembly. Upnanda, the eldest brother of Nanda Mahrja, was the chairman of this meeting to which Nanda Bb had also been called. The elderly gopas



expressed their opinion that r Ka was not an ordinary boy. Soon after taking birth, He killed the terrible rkas Ptan, as if He were simply playing, they said. Afterwards, He killed akasura, Tvarta, Aghsura and many other demons. He subdued the terrible snake Klya and sent him out of Kl-daha. Just a few days ago, He held the huge mountain Girirja on His little finger for seven days and saved Vraja from the heavy downpour of rain and raging storms. These are not the activities of an ordinary boy. It seems to us that He must be a perfected, liberated soul, a demigod or Nryaa Himself. It is not proper for us to consider Him to be the son of Nanda and Yaod, to chastise or threaten Him, or to address Him with words such as thief, wilful and impertinent. Nanda, Yaod and the other gopas and gops should always deal with Him lovingly and respectfully. All the gopas present heard this statement with much gravity and together they cautioned Nanda Bb. Nanda Bb laughingly dismissed their words. Respected gentlemen, he said. I have heard your statements, but I do not see even the slightest demigod-like symptom in Him nor any symptom of supreme godliness. I have known Him from His very birth. Does Bhagavn feel hunger or thirst? This boy cries fifty times a day for bread and butter. Does Bhagavn steal and tell lies? This boy goes to the homes of the gops and steals their butter, speaks lies and makes so much mischief. The neighbouring gops play games with Him and make Him dance for a hand-full of buttermilk and a la. Whoever He is, He has taken birth in our home as our son; therefore, it is our duty to raise Him to become an ideal man of excellent conduct who possesses all good qualities. That said, there is one thing we should remember. At the time of Kas namegiving ceremony, Mahari Gargcrya predicted that this child of ours would have qualities like those of Bhagavn Nryaa. This explains everything. Assemblies were held to discuss Kas well-being, His betrothal and other such matters.


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Yaod-kua This pond is situated south of Nanda-bhavana. Mother Yaod used to daily bathe here. Sometimes, she would bring Ka and Balarma along and joyfully watch Their childhood games. After bathing, Mother Yaod would pray for Kas well-being to Nsihadeva in the temple on the bank of the pond. An ancient cave where many great saints have performed sdhana and attained the Supreme Lord lies at a secluded place near Yaod-kua. To this day, this place, where perfected, great personalities have performed their bhajana, attracts sdhakas, who are completely unattached to material life, to come here to perform bhajana. Kroharo-kua lies near Yaod-kua.



H-bil On the western bank of Yaod-kua is a place where Ka performed childhood pastimes with His friends. Here, the brothers Ka and Baladeva became so absorbed in Their childhood games that They even forgot to come home to eat. Yaod-maiy first sent Rohi to get Them, but as Rohi approached, Ka and Baladeva ran away, frustrating her attempts to catch Them. Yaod then went herself. She would employ various tricks and, with great difficulty, bring Them home where she bathed and fed Them. Sometimes she told Them about a ha, or hobgoblin, and filled Them with fear. She would then catch Ka in her arms and bring Him home. Once, Ka insisted on seeing the ha, Maiy, I want to see the ha. The following Brajabh poem tells this delightful pastime:
dr khelan mat ju ll yah h ye hai haskar pcht knh maiy yah kinai pahye hai
Do not go far away, my child, the ha has come. Ka smiled and asked Maiy who had sent him.

Even today, the stone figures of the ha here are a reminder of this sweet childhood pastime.


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Madhusdana-kua This pond is situated south of Nandvara, near Yaod-kua, and lies within a grove of trees and creepers that are laden with many kinds of flowers. Here, intoxicated bumblebees always buzz around, drinking nectar from the flowers. Ka plays with the sakhs in this forest and imitates the buzzing of the bees. One of the names for bumblebee is madhusdana, and one of Kas names is also Madhusdana. This is where the two Madhusdanas buzz, and this pond is therefore known as Madhusdana-kua. Pnhr-kua The Vrajavss used to drink the pure and sweet water of this pond, and the gopa-ramas would come here to fetch water. Therefore, this pond is also known as Panaghaa-kua. A panaghaa is a place from which water is taken, like a well, river or pond. Ka would come to Panaghaa to meet with the gops, and they too would eagerly make their way here to meet Ka. While drawing water, they would become so absorbed in looking at Ka that they were unaware whether or not they had filled their pots. The pot of their hearts, however, would at once become filled with their beloved. There is also another deep secret behind Panaghaa. The gops would come here remembering Kas promise, or pana: I will certainly meet you there. To fulfil His promise, Ka ensured that He was present here, waiting for them. Thus the pana (keeping of ones promise or drawing of water) of both Ka and the gops would be fulfilled here. This is the other reason why this place is known as Panaghaa. Caraa-pah This place is situated west of Nandagaon. During cow herding, Ka played His flute on this hill (pah ) to assemble His hundreds of thousands of cows. By the tender and sweet sound of His flute, this hill melted and became marked with the impressions 374


of Kas footprints (caraa-cihna). Hence, this hill is called Caraa-pah. On Kasas order, the great devotee Akrra came to Nandagaon to bring Ka and Balarma to Mathur. When he saw Kas footprints on this hill and everywhere in the sand nearby, he became filled with ecstatic emotions, and began crying and rolling around on them. To this day, devotees become ecstatic upon seeing r Kas footprints here.

Posts for binding the cows Near Caraa-pah are Rohi-kua, Mohin-kua and a number of posts in a field for binding cows. This is the site of Nanda Bb s cowshed. One can still see stone posts here. Vrajavs ladies worship these posts on special occasions. Vnd-dev Some distance north of Caraa-pah is the kuja of Vnddev. She resided here at the time of r Kas manifest pastimes 375

r v raja-maala parikram

(prakaa-ll). From here, she would arrange the meetings of Rdh and Ka in the kujas of Saket and other places. Sometimes, she would consult Yogamy Prim-dev and on her instruction arrange the meeting of the Divine Couple ri Rdh-Ka by employing ingenious trickery. Here lies the pond of Vnd-dev, in which she used to bathe and so forth. Vnd-dev wears beautiful clothes, and is decorated with many kinds of ornaments. She is the presiding forest-goddess of r Rdh-Kas pastimes in the kujas. It is impossible for anyone to enter Rdh and Kas pastimes without Vnd-devs mercy. Tulasj is the worshipable form (arcvatra) of the original Vnd-dev. Ka does not accept any offering without tulas leaves or majars. Near Vnda-kua, in the east, is Cauokhara, which is also called Caraa-kua. Near this pond are Rohi-kua, Mohinkua, the posts for binding the cows, Nanda Bb s cowshed and Dohin-kua.

Pvana-sarovara This sarovara, or lake, lies north of Nandagaon when coming down from Nandvara Hill, and is situated on the side of the highway that leads towards Kmyavana. The custom is to bathe in this lake before taking darana of Nanda, Yaod and the others on the crest of the hill. It is said that Pvana Gopa, the father of Vikh Sakh, constructed this sarovara, thereby giving it its name. When Ka and His friends would return from cow grazing, they would bring the cows here to drink. At that time, Ka would call out Nr-nr and signal to the cows to enter the sarovara. He would then call out C-c to induce the cows to drink water, and Tr-tr to call them back to the bank. The boys would satisfy the cows by having them drink water in this way before returning them to their resting place in the cowshed. The boys would then go back to their respective homes. The Vrajavss would also bathe in the fragrant and pure water of Pvana-sarovara. Ka used to bathe here and frolic in the water 376


with His friends. On the far bank, rmat Rdhik used to bathe and play in the water with Her sakhs. Sometimes Ka would dive in from His bank like a crocodile, make His way unseen to the bank of the sakhs, and catch their feet. In this way, He played with them. Mahrja Vabhnu had a beautiful palace built for his daughter rmat Rdhik on the northern bank of Pvana-sarovara. She played many games with Her sakhs in this palace, from which She could very easily have darana of Her beloved r Ka.

rla Santana Gosvm s bhajana-ku On the south-eastern bank of Pvana-sarovara is the bhajanaku of r Caitanya Mahprabhus associate rla Santana Gosvm. Sometimes, rla Santana Gosvm would perform bhajana here so as to remember the sweet pastimes of Nandagaon, and sometimes he would go to associate with rla Rpa Gosvm at his bhajana-ku near er-kadamba. rla Rpa Gosvm also used 377

r v raja-maala parikram

rla Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku

to come here to meet with Santana Gosvm. Even today, many Gauya bhaktas in r Santana Gosvm s disciplic succession come to this place to perform bhajana. Once, in the forest here, Santana Gosvm was very distressed in separation from Ka. Restlessly crying for Kas darana, he



went without eating and drinking for three days. At that time, he had no bhajana-ku here. Ka came to Santana Gosvm as a cowherd boy carrying some milk in a clay pot, and said, Why are you here, hungry and thirsty? Nobody remains hungry and thirsty in this place. My mother saw you in this condition and has sent this pot of milk for you. You must drink it. I will return later and collect the pot. Listen, My mother has also said that since it distresses the Vrajavss to see you here in the forest like this, you should make a hut here and live in it. Saying this, the boy left. Santana Gosvm drank the milk and immediately became restless with ka-prema. He cried bitterly, calling out, O Ka, O Ka, You gave me darana but also cheated me. Although remaining invisible to Santana Gosvm, Ka pacified him and had a bhajana-ku built for him through a Vrajavs. Santana Gosvm remained in this bhajana-ku, and performed bhajana. Nearby is the temple of Pvana-bihr. The Vrajavss in the village bathe in this sarovara in the morning and then take darana of Pvana-bihr. Nearby on the northern bank is a sitting-place of r Vallabhcrya where he recited rmad-Bhgavatam for one

r Vallabhcryas sitting-place

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month. In the west of Pvana-sarovara is a kadamba-kha, where the beauty of the kadamba trees is extraordinary. The bumble bees drink the nectar of the kadamba flowers and buzz about intoxicated. This kadamba-grove is especially dear to r Baladeva, who used to enjoy many games here with His younger brother Ka and the sakhs. This unique kadamba-grove reminds one of Ka and Dj s innumerable pastimes. Even today, many saintly persons perform bhajana here.

Taga-trtha (Khunnhra-kua) This is r Parjanya Gopas place of worship, and is situated near Pvana-sarovara towards the north-east. Previously, Parjanya Gopa had no sons, so he took initiation from Devari Nrada in the Lakm-Nryaa mantra. Giving up eating and drinking he performed severe austerities at this place. Morning, noon and evening he bathed in this sarovara, worshipped the deity and chanted the mantra he had received from his holy master. After some time, he heard a divine voice from the sky: O Parjanya, you will have five sons who will be endowed with all good qualities. Bhagavn r Hari Himself will take birth as the son of Nanda, your middle son. He will destroy the demons and perform many kinds of pastimes. This pond is also called Khunnhra-kua because Parjanya performed austerities here. Khunnhra means to give up grains and water. Dhovan-kua This pond is situated north-west of Nandagaon, below Nandvara Hill, and somewhat near to Pvana-sarovara. It received the name Dhovan-kua because the pots of milk and yoghurt were washed (dhon) here. Mot-kua (Mukt-kua) This charming pond, situated about one mile north of Nandvara Taga is surrounded by karla and pl trees. While 380


cow herding with His friends, Ka used to bring the cows here to drink. He and the sakhs also drank water here and performed many pastimes together. Once, Ka planted pearls (mot or mukt) here and produced an abundant crop. When Ka passed from childhood to enter youth, Yaodmaiy began to think about His betrothal. She was particularly inclined toward the daughter of Vabhnu Mahrja, Kior Rdhik, who was endowed with all good qualities. Krtid came to know what Yaod-maiy was thinking and, after discussing it with her husband, Vabhnu, they sent many varieties of clothes and ornaments together with a basketful of pearls to Nanda-bhavana for the engagement. Vrajarja Nanda and Vrajarn Yaod became overjoyed, but it also caused them anxiety. Custom demanded that they send an even greater quantity of pearls to Varsn in exchange for the engagement gifts, but they simply did not have that many pearls. When Ka entered the house He saw that His parents were in anxiety, and asked them the reason why. Yaod-maiy explained the situation to Ka, who simply said, Do not worry. I will quickly arrange something. At an opportune moment, Ka quietly took all of His parents pearls, dug a field near this pond, and planted them in it. Every day, He irrigated the field with cows milk. When Nanda Bb and Yaod-maiy could not find the few pearls they had, they became even more concerned and asked Ka if He knew where they might be. Yes, Ka said. I have planted those pearls, and very soon they will bear many more. Hearing this, Bb and Maiy exclaimed, Oh, ll, has anyone ever farmed pearls? Ka smiled. Yes, He said, and when My pearls will sprout and fructify, you will see this for yourselves. Surprisingly, the pearls began to sprout after a few days, and lush, green plants emerged. A few days later, those plants bore fruit; and as these fruits ripened, radiant and splendid divine pearls began to manifest. Now there was a great abundance of


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pearls. Ka gave a large amount to His mother, who was able to fill three or four beautiful baskets with pearls, golden ornaments and clothes, and send them to Varsn to confirm the betrothal of Rdh to Ka. When rmat Rdhik and Her sakhs heard that r Ka had planted pearls and reaped a huge crop, they asked Him for some. However, Ka flatly refused. When I requested some milk from you to irrigate My pearls, you refused to give Me any. Now I will decorate My cows with ornaments made from these pearls, but I will not give any to you. Vexed, the gops stole pearls from their own homes, dug a field and planted them. Although they irrigated the field with cow-milk for many days, the pearls did not sprout pearl plants only thorny bushes that were completely devoid of fruit emerged from the soil. The disappointed gops returned to Ka and narrated the whole story to Him. Ka smiled and said, Come, I want to see your pearl field Myself. Ka went there and uprooted all the thorny plants. He planted His own ripened pearls and irrigated the field with cow-milk. Within a few days, these pearls sprouted and also bore pearls, filling the gops hearts with joy.

Phulvr-kua This pond is situated near Mukt-kua in the middle of a dense grove of kadamba trees. One day, r Rdh and Her sakhs were picking flowers here when Ka suddenly arrived and said, Who are you? Every day, you steal flowers from My garden. Hearing this, rmat Rdhik rebuked Him. You dont know who I am? Saying no more, Ka placed His flute to His lips and began to play, casting charming glances at Rdh as He walked away. The very sight of Ka leaving greatly distressed Rdh, who fainted in separation from Him. Lalit thought that Rdh had been stung by a black serpent. When She did not regain consciousness after several attempts to revive Her, the sakhs became most worried. 382


Just then, Ka arrived disguised as a doctor who cures one of snakebite. He removed the effect of the poison by chanting mantras and whispered in rmatj s ear, I have come. Just see. Hearing this, rmat Rdhik immediately sat up. She smiled to see Ka nearby and an ocean of bliss welled up in the hearts of the sakhs. This pastime took place here.

Shas-kua Some distance to the east of Phulvr-kua is Vilsavaa, and east of Vilsavaa is Shas-kua. Here, the sakhs encouraged and arranged for Rdhj to meet with Ka. The sakhs would hang a beautiful swing from the nearby banyan tree, and swing Rdh and Ka while singing songs in malhra and other rgas. Sometimes Ka came here to meet with Rdhik and enjoy pastimes with Her. Another name of Shas-kua is Sras-kua. Ka and Balarma were inseparable. They would eat together, play together and even sleep together. Once, the two brothers were playing here when Yaod-maiy came looking for Them. She affectionately addressed Them as a pair of swans, or sras. Since then, this pond has been called Sras-kua. Near this pond are ymappar-kua, Vaa-kadamba, Kyr Vaa-kua and numerous other ponds. There used to be a grove (kyr ) of banyan trees here. er-kadamba This place is situated exactly half-way between Nandagaon and Jvaa. Being a place of Rdh and Kas rsa-ll, a platform has been constructed here in memory of this pastime. While grazing the cows in the afternoon, Ka used to climb this kadamba tree and call ymal, Dhaul, Ptmbar, Klind and His other dear cows with His flute. Hearing Kas call, all the cows would assemble here immediately, and Ka would count them on His jewelled necklace. If some cows were missing, He would again 383

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call out their names by sounding His flute, and only when they were all assembled would He return home with the herd. Sometimes, in the gentle light of the full-moon night, Ka would climb this kadamba tree and call the sakhs by playing their names on the sweet notes of His flute. These gops would forget their bodies, minds and worldly cares, arriving to meet Ka in a spell-bound condition. They would then perform rsa with Ka, which was full of singing and dancing. Since Ka climbed a kadamba tree and with His call ( er) gathered the cows and gops here, this place is known as erkadamba. There used to be many kadamba trees here, but they have all disappeared on account of stagnant rainwater. Great souls who perform bhajana here periodically plant kadamba trees at this place. On the day of Gopam, the Vrajavss bring small Vrajavs boys dressed like Ka and Balarma from Nandagaon to this place and stage a programme of congregational singing called samja. They also worship the cows beautifully and feed them grass and jaggery.



r Rpa Gosvm s bhajana-ku Adjacent to er-kadamba, to the west, is the bhajana-ku of r Rpa Gosvm. He often performed bhajana here at this secluded place, remembering Kas sweet pastimes. He also composed many of his treasured books here. Whenever the sentiments of deep

r Rpa Gosvms bhajana-ku


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separation from rmat Rdhik, who is comprised of mahbhva, manifested in his heart, verses of separation would emanate from his mouth. At that time, all the leaves of the kadamba tree here would dry up in the fire of separation, and fall to the ground. And when the meeting of the Divine Couple manifested in his heart, he recited verses of Their meeting, and the kadamba tree would sprout new leaves. Once, rla Santana Gosvm came here to meet with rla Rpa Gosvm. They began to talk about Kas ambrosial pastimes and became so absorbed in the narrations about Him that they forgot about the time. In the afternoon, when their absorption abated somewhat, rla Rpa Gosvm thought, It is time to honour prasda, but I have nothing to offer r Santana Gosvm. This caused him some concern. Just then, a beautiful girl in ordinary dress came there and said to Rpa Gosvm, Bb, My mother has sent rice, milk and sugar with Me. Quickly make sweet-rice and eat. Saying this, the girl left, only to return a short while later. Bb, She said, because you are talking, you have no time to cook. I will cook for you. She collected some dry cow-dung patties that were nearby and produced a fire simply by Her breathing. In little time, She presented rla Rpa Gosvm with very sweet and fragrant sweet-rice and said, Bb, offer this to hkuraj and quickly take some yourself. I must go, or else My mother will chastise Me for being late. And the beautiful girl departed. r Rpa Gosvm offered the sweet-rice to Ka and placed it before Santana Gosvm. Upon eating the sweet-rice, transcendental visions (sphrtis) of Rdh and Ka manifested in the hearts of the two brothers. They began to lament, calling out, O Rdh, O Rdh! Santana Gosvm said, I have never tasted such sweet-rice. Rpa, did you desire something to eat? That kior was none other than Kas dearest rmat Rdhik. In the future, please do not trouble Her like this. r Rpa Gosvm began to lament, understanding his fault. When he took a little



rest, rmat Rdhik appeared in his dream and pacified him with sweet words.

Nanda-bga Nearby, south of r Rpa Gosvm s bhajana-ku is Nandabga, Nanda Mahrjas garden. This garden was full of lush green trees and creepers laden with many varieties of fruits and flowers. One of Nanda Mahrjas cowsheds, where Ka and Balarma milked the cows and also practised wrestling with the sakhs was also here. rmat Rdhik used to come along this path together with Her girlfriends on Her way from Jvaa to Nanda-bhavana. Once rmat Rdhik and Her sakhs were coming to Nandabhavana to cook. Some distance from this place, they saw Ka and the cowherd boys milking the cows. Lalit Sakh said, We should take the other path. Vrajas crown jewel of debauchees is looking towards us with greedy eyes while He milks the cows and He will certainly tease us in one way or another. But Rdhik insisted. What can that debauchee do to us? She said. We should fearlessly take this path. She and Her friends proceeded to walk in Kas direction. As rmat Rdhik came close, Ka aimed a current of milk at Her face and drenched it. Waves of pleasure surged within the sakhs and sakhs, and they all began to laugh. With knitted eyebrows rmat Rdhik glared at Ka and continued on Her way. As She walked, somehow Her pearl necklace broke and the pearls fell to the earth, scattering here and there, so She sat down to collect them. The sakhs understood rmatj s heart, and knew that on the pretext of picking up the pearls, She was actually beholding Her beloved for some time more. Remembrance of this pastime is like an ocean, and r Rpa Gosvm has placed many such oceans in the pot of his Ujjvalanlamai and other books. In other words, in his books he has described these vast pastimes in a few words.


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evara Mahdeva A short distance to the east of Nanda-bga is evara Mahdeva and evara-kua. Parjanya Mahrja used to bathe here and worship evara Mahdeva, who fulfils all desires. evara Mahdeva easily becomes pleased even by a little worship and bestows blessings (a) by which all of ones desires may be fulfilled. Some Vrajavss also say that it was by the blessings of evara Mahdeva that Parjanya Mahrja had five sons endowed with all good qualities and had such a highly qualified grandson as r Ka.

The temple of evara Mahdeva



Jalvihra-kua This pond lies to the west of evara-kua. Ka and the sakhs played (jal-vihra karn) in Jalvihra-kua.

evara Mahdeva

Jogiy-sthala This very charming place, surrounded by trees and creepers, lies north-east of Ka-kua. Mahdeva akara worships Ka here, and therefore this place is also known as Mahdevas sitting-place (baihaka). Once, Mahdeva akara, desiring to have Kas darana, was wandering throughout Vraja like a madman, but his repeated attempts bore no success. Sometimes, Ka would be sleeping when he arrived and sometimes He would be sucking the breast of His mother. Also, Mother Yaod did not want to show her baby Ka to this strange yog, whose hair was matted, who was adorned with a necklace of serpents, and who was riding a bull and carrying a trident in his hand. She thought that he might give her son the evil eye. 389

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Finally, a defeated akara sat down at this very spot firm in his decision not to leave until his desire was fulfilled. He started to beg by invoking the name of God, loudly calling out, Alakha nirajana, alakha nirajana! and playing on his amar drum. Inside Nanda-bhavana baby Ka also started to bawl just as loudly as akara was calling out and playing his drum. The drum playing did not stop; nor did Kas crying. Finally, the clever elderly gops advised Yaod, This must be the work of that yog. He certainly knows some mantras, so why not call him to pacify the child? They went to the yog and said, O yog, come, Nandarn Yaomat is calling you to Nanda-bhavana. Hearing this, akaraj became so happy and made his way to Nanda-bhavana, where he took some mustard seeds and salt in his hands, touched the head of baby Ka and blessed Him. When touched by the hands of akara, Nanda-ll immediately stopped crying and began to make sounds of joy. Seeing the yogs wonderful act, Nandarn (Yaod) became very pleased with him and gave him her pearl necklace in charity, saying, Yog, you should stay here at Nanda-bhavana and, whenever my ll cries, you should pacify Him by your darana. Sradsa has described this pastime in the following poem, which is steeped in transcendental emotion: cal re jog nandabhavan mei yasumati tohi bulve lakat-lakat sakar vai man mei mod bahve nandabhavan mei yo jog r non kar lno br pher llke par hth par dno vith bha ab dr badan k kilak uhe nandall khu bha nandaj k rn dn motiyan ml rahure jog nandabhavan mei braj ko bso kjai jab-jab mero ll rovai tab-tab daran djai tum to jog param manohar tum ko ved bakhne (iv bole) bho bb nm hamro srym mohi jne



Ka-kua This very beautiful pond within a dense grove of kadamba trees is situated near Nandvara Hill to the east. r Ka used to enjoy water-sports here with His friends. On the northern bank of this pond is the path He took to go cow grazing. Ka also used to bring His thirsty cows here to drink water. Chta Svm has described this cow grazing pastime in a very heart-touching way:
ge gy pche gy it gy ut gy govind ko gyanho me basvo ko bhvai gyan ke sag dhve gyan me sacupve gyan k khur raj agso lagve gyan so vraj chyau vaikuh hu bisryau gyan ke het kar lai uhve cht svm giridhr vihle vapudhr gvriy ko bhe dhare gyan me ve
The cows are in front of, behind and on either side of Govinda, who likes to sit in their midst. He runs with the cows, takes rest with them, and smears the dust of their hooves over His body. He so much relishes the company of the cows in Vraja that He even forgets Vaikuha. To protect the cows He lifted Govardhana with His own hand. The Lord of Chta Svm, Giridhri Vihalea, assumes the form of a cowherd boy and appears in the dynasty of gopas.

When Uddhava arrived in Nandagaon, he spent the entire night consoling Nanda and Yaod at Nanda-bhavana. In the early hours before dawn, he came to this pond, bathed, and sat down on the southern bank to recite his morning mantras. At that time, he saw the gops who were hiding in the kadamba grove nearby and, after completing his mantras, went there to meet them.


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Chcha-kua ( Jhagak-kua) A short distance to the north-west of Ka-kua is the place where Ka and the sakhs used to beg the gops for buttermilk (chcha). The gops would offer them this buttermilk with love. Sometimes, the boys used to fight and quarrel ( jhagaan) among themselves, saying, Let me have some first! Let me have some first! Because this childhood pastime took place here, the name of this pond became Chcha-kua, or Jhagak-kua. Srya-kua This pond lies to the south of Ka-kua, on the right-hand side of the highway. Here, Srya-nryaa, the Sungod, became restless after having darana of r Kas exquisite threefoldbending form and forgot to move for some time.



Lalit-kua To the east of Srya-kua, within the lush, green forest, lies a very attractive pond. This is Lalitj s bathing-place. Sometimes, Lalit, employed some cunning to bring Rdhik here to meet with Ka. This pond is situated east of Nandagaon. Once, Ka warned rmat Rdhik to be cautious of Devari Nrada. Devari is a sage whose nature is very complicated, He said. Sometimes he causes disputes between father and son, mother and father, or husband and wife. It is best to always be cautious of him. But rmatj did not take particular heed of Kas words. And so it happened that one day Lalit picked bel, camel and other flowers from the forest and began to string a beautiful garland for Ka. After completing it, she discarded it and began to string a new garland. She repeated this action many times. Nrada


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was hiding behind some trees, watching this intriguing scene. He approached Lalit and asked her about her unusual behaviour. Lalit said, Every time I complete the garland, I feel that it is either too short or too long for Ka. This is why I keep starting again. The mischievous Nrada suggested, Ka is playing nearby. Why dont you make Him sit beside you and string your garland by measuring it against Him? Lalit agreed and called for Ka. She strung a beautiful garland for Him that was just the right size, and placed it around His neck. They then waited for Rdhj, who had earlier asked Lalit to make the garland, telling her that She would be there soon. However, Rdhj was delayed by the sakhs who were busy decorating Her. Previously, r Ka had promised Nrada to give him darana of Him swinging with Lalit, and now Nrada reminded Ka of His promise and repeatedly requested Him to sit with Lalit on a nearby swing. They both sat down and swung back and forth as they waited for Rdhik. In the meantime, Devari went to rmat Rdhik, singing, All glories to Lalit-Ka, all glories to LalitKa! rmat Rdhik respectfully greeted Devari Nrada and inquired, Devari, today you are very happily singing the glories of Lalit and Ka. It seems that you have some astonishing news. What is it? Nrada smiled. Aah, what a beautiful scene, he said. Ka, wearing a beautiful garland of forest flowers, is swinging with Lalit. If You do not believe me, then go there and see for Yourself. rmatj did not believe him, but still, She went there. How could He possibly be swinging with Lalit in My absence? She thought, but from afar, She could see Ka and Lalit on the swing. She angrily returned to Her kuja and sat down, deeply immersed in a sulky mood, or mna. Having waited a long time for Rdhj, Ka finally went to look for Her. He told Her about Nradas activities and how it came to pass that He was swinging with Lalit, and thus somehow pacified Her mna. He took Her to the swing, and Lalit and Vikh pushed Them back and forth. This sweet pastime took



place here. Nrada-kua and the place where Lalit and Ka swung lie near this pond.

Uddhava-kyr (Vi kh-kuja) Uddhava-kyr, which is also known as Kadamba-kyr, is situated a short distance from Lalit-kua to the south-east. Actually, this is the kuja of Vikh, and Vikh-kua lies nearby. In this secluded and beautiful place surrounded by kadamba trees, Vikh used to arrange meetings between Rdh and Ka. Sometimes, Ka also used to perform the rsa dance here with Rdhj and Her friends. There is a platform here reminding us of that pastime. Rdh and Ka also enjoyed many kinds of watersports in the clear and fragrant water of Vikh-kua. After r Kas departure to Mathur, all of Vraja drowned in an ocean of separation from Him. What to speak of the gopas and gops, even the birds and animals gave up eating and drinking,

Vikh-kua at Kadamba-kyr

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feeling distressed in separation from Ka. Kas beloved gops followed Akrras chariot to this point and then fell to the ground unconscious. They never returned home again. Grievously afflicted by separation from Ka, Rdhj stayed in this dense forest in seclusion. In the hope of Kas return, She counted each passing day, remaining on the verge of death. At that time, Kas messenger Uddhava came here to console the gops but, upon seeing rmat Rdhik s state of separation, he paid his respects to Her from afar, unable to say anything. Acutely afflicted by separation, rmat Rdhik saw a bumblebee and thought it to be Kas messenger. In the state of divyonmda 2, She started manifesting citrajalpa, prajalpa and other moods of transcendental madness. Sometimes She chastised the bee, and sometimes She complained to it. Sometimes She gave the bee instructions, sometimes respects and sometimes She inquired from it about the well-being of Her beloved. Uddhava was amazed to see and hear all this. He had come as a teacher to give instructions,



but instead he became a student. To console the gops, he relayed some of Kas messages to them, but this only intensified their pain of separation. They said, Udho man na bhayo das bs, ek huto so gayo ym saga, ko rdhe a Uddhava, we do not each have ten or twenty hearts. We had only one, which has now gone away along with yma. With which heart shall we now worship God? They also said, Udho joga kah rkhe yah rom rom ym hai Uddhava, how can we perform yoga when yma already pervades every particle in our bodies? In the end, Uddhava desired to take birth in Vraja in the form of a small shrub, creeper or blade of grass so that he could be blessed with the dust of the gops feet. He worshipped their foot-dust as follows: sm aho caraa-reu-jum aha sy vndvane kim api gulma-latauadhnm y dustyaja sva-janam rya-pathaca hitv bhejur mukunda-padav rutibhir vimgym rmad-Bhgavatam (10.47.61)
If I become a shrub, creeper or medicinal herb here in Vndvana, it will be my great fortune. I shall then be able to serve the dust of these gops feet, and will be blessed by bathing in that foot-dust. These gops are the most fortunate of all. They have given up those things that are extremely difficult to renounce their relatives, religious principles prescribed in the Vedas, and acceptable social conduct. Having become so completely absorbed in Ka, they have obtained His supreme prema and become as worshipful as He is.

vande nanda-vraja-str pda-reum abhkaa ys hari-kathodgta punti bhuvana-trayam rmad-Bhgavatam (10.47.63)


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I bow down to the dust of the feet of the gops residing in Nanda Bbs Vraja. Oh, whatever these gops have sung about Kas pastimes is purifying the whole world and will continue to do so.

This pastime place is filled with the rasa of topmost meeting (mah-sambhoga) and at the same time, it is filled with the rasa of the highest degree of separation (mah-vipralambha). The life of a sdhaka becomes successful by taking darana of and touching this place.

Prams s cave To the south-east of Vikh-kuja, or Kadamba-kyr, and about one mile from Nandagaon is the pond and cottage of Prams. At the time of Kas pastimes, she lived at this secluded place away from the village as an old ascetic wearing saffron cloth. Nanda and the other Vrajavss had great respect for her and took her blessings before undertaking any important activity. Before coming to Vraja, Prams lived in Avantpur with her husband and her son, Sndpani Muni. Madhumagala and Nndmukh are Sndpani Munis son and daughter. Prams came to Nandagaon before Kas birth with her grandson Madhumagala and granddaughter Nndmukh. Every morning, she came to Nanda-bhavana to see Ka and bless Him. In Kas manifest pastimes ( prakaa-ll) she is Nradas disciple. She is the personification of r Kas collective pastime-potency (samai ll-akti), which belongs to the svarpa-akti, and she nourishes all of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Kas pastimes. Nndmukh s place of residence Near Pramss cave is the place of residence of Nndmukh, the granddaughter of Prams, who also supports and nourishes Kas pastimes in various ways.



omanavana and Runak-Jhunak-kua Adjacent to Pramss cave is omanavana, which is also the location of Runak-Jhunak-kua. The word omana means by two minds. Rdhs mind and Kas mind met here, and therefore this place is known as omana. The kuja of the two sakhs Runak and Jhunak lies here. These two sakhs used to arrange Rdh and Kas meeting here by using various tricks. With great happiness, they would sit Them on the swing and swing Them. One devotee has described this pastime in his poem full of prema:
it so kumri kior ut so nandakior do mil van kr karat bolat pach mor
Kumr Kior came from one direction and Nanda-kiora from the other. They are playing together in the forest, accompanied by the calls of the peacocks.


yatra nandopanandste prati nanddhinandan cakrurvsa sukhasthna yato nandbhidhnakam

di Pura

A wonderful, divine state that resembles delusion. This state is virtually only in rmat Rdhik. One manifestation of divyonmda is citra-jalpa, which induces rmat to speak nonsensically, as when She addresses a bumblebee in the presence of Uddhava.


r Ka would adorn the red lac, or jvaka, lotus feet. This place, from r Rdhiks His chest here with

Sometimes, rasika

which is decorated with a vaa (banyan) tree is renown as Jvaa or Yva-grma.


vaa or Yva-grma, lies approximately two miles east of Nandagaon, and is one of the places where the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka perform highly confidential pastimes. It is not possible to describe all the pastimes that took place here. Sometimes, rasika r Ka would adorn His chest here with the red lac, or jvaka, from r Rdhiks lotus feet. This place, which is decorated with a vaa (banyan) tree is renown as Jvaa or Yva-grma.1 The gop Jail used to live in this village with her son Abhimanyu and daughter Kuil. Mahrja Vabhnu married his beloved daughter, r Rdhik, to Jails son Abhimanyu on the instruction of Yogamy Purams. Although Abhimanyu had the conception that he was r Rdhiks husband, by the power of Bhagavat Yogamy he could not even touch Her shadow. Instead, out of shyness, he always busied himself by looking after his cows in the cowshed or spending time with his


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friends. Jail and Kuil remained wholly occupied in household chores. On various deceptive pretexts the clever sakhs would arrange meetings between rmat Rdhik and r Ka. Actually these meetings were brought about by Yogamy to nourish the rasa of paramour love, because rmat Rdhik is the embodiment of r Kas pleasure giving potency (hldin-akti), and the crown jewel of Kas eternal beloveds. Fire and its power to burn, or the sun and its light, are intrinsically one in nature and cannot be separated from each other. Similarly, r Ka and His par-akti r Rdh are eternally non-different and inseparable from each other; They are one soul manifest in two forms solely to taste rasa-vilsa. Rvaa could not so much as touch the original St. He was only able to kidnap her shadow. One can reconcile Abhimanyu and rmat Rdhiks relationship in the same way. Mahrja Vabhnu built a beautiful royal palace for his darling daughter in Jvaa, in which rmatj lived happily with Her girlfriends. Every morning, Mukhar used to come here to see her beloved granddaughter. Bhakti-ratnkara gives charming accounts of the pastimes that took place here.2 One day, r Ka could not meet with Rdhik because She was in mna. He became most agitated in separation from Her, so on the advice of Vikh, He disguised Himself as a brhmaa student. He donned a sacred thread across His shoulder and wooden shoes on His feet. Carrying a begging bowl and staff in His hands and a book under His arm, He arrived at the door of Jails house in Jvaa and began begging by calling out Gods name. Since it was morning time, Jail and Kuil were making cow-dung patties and had not yet bathed. Because they were not clean, they could not give any alms in charity. They therefore called for Rdhik and ordered Her to give alms to the brhmaa, but Rdhik refused to come before any man other than Her husband. The beggar boy had His own unique style. Mother, He said, I cannot stay here very long. I can only wait for as long as it takes to milk a cow and no longer. It is already time for Me to go.


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Jail thought, If this young brhmaa leaves empty-handed, it will not be at all auspicious for my family and the cows or any of my family members may die. She entered the house and in a gentle way explained the situation to her daughter-in-law, repeatedly requesting Her to give the mendicant some alms. She then returned to make cow-dung patties. rmat Rdhik covered Her face with Her veil and carried a plate of flour, lentils and vegetables to the door. Lalit, Vikh and the other sakhs accompanied Her. When She tried to offer them to the beggar, He humbly petitioned Her, I have no need for these alms. Please place Your precious mna in My begging bowl. Now Priyj understood everything. She smiled, uncovered Her face a little and emptied the whole plate on top of His head. Delighted, the young beggar went His way, meditating upon the alms He had just received from Rdhik. The following pastime also took place here. Once, Mother Yaod was in her storeroom, organising some skirts, blouses, shawls and other expensive clothes and ornaments to be placed in a large chest, when mischievous Ka burst into the room. He came up behind her, put His arms around her neck and insisted on knowing what she was doing. Maiy, is it My birthday today? He asked. Are you preparing all of these clothes and ornaments for Me? Go and play now, Maiy answered with some irritation. Do not disturb me. Ka felt somewhat dejected and left, only to observe what His mother was doing from a hidden place. Mother Yaod was preparing this box to send to rmat Rdhik in Jvaa. She would occasionally send such gifts to please the hardhearted Jail, so that she would not prohibit her daughter-in-law from coming to Nanda-bhavana. Clever r Ka understood this fact, so when His mother finished packing the chest and became absorbed in other household chores, Ka made His way with Subala Sakh to the room in which the chest lay. They unlocked it and removed its contents, and Ka climbed inside. Subala closed the lid and locked it as before.


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Yaod had requested Abhimanyu to personally come and collect the box because it was filled with expensive gifts and should not be given to anyone else. Abhimanyu put the box on his head and with great difficulty carried it to his mother in Jvaa-grma. Jail said, My son, this box is filled with very expensive clothes and ornaments for my daughter-in-law, so put it in Her room. He happily placed the box in rmat Rdhiks room and left. When the sakhs eagerly opened the box and saw the mischievous ymasundara inside, they burst out laughing. Their bliss knew no bounds. With intense prema, Rdh and Ka met, which filled the sakhs with great satisfaction. Once, rmat Rdhik was in mna and did not meet Ka for several days. The sakhs tried various means to convince Her to give up Her mna, but on this occasion Her mna was fixed and therefore difficult to subdue. Kas separation from Rdh filled Him with great distress. Subala Sakh therefore began to hatch a plan to help Him meet with Rdh. Subala exactly resembles rmat Rdhik in age, beauty, speech and so forth and is skilled in many arts. He consoled Ka, saying, Why are You so distressed? You should wait in this kuja for a short time while I arrange Your meeting with Priyj. Saying this, he went to Yva-grma. When Jail saw him there, she cried out, Subala, you are the friend of that licentious debauchee Ka; why are you hovering around our house? Leave this place immediately. Subala replied, Maiy, one of my calves is lost and I cannot find it anywhere. I have come to search for it. Your calf has not come here, Jail answered. Leave at once. Subala repeatedly requested her to please allow him to look for his calf, and she finally relented. I am going now to make cow-dung patties. Go to the cowshed and search for your calf, and if you find it, take it. Subala became delighted and reached rmat Rdhiks balcony through the cowshed. He gave such a heart-rending description of Kas condition of separation that rmatjs heart melted. She


Jv aa

immediately gave up Her mna and prepared Herself to go and console Ka, but how would She be able to leave Her house? Subala then gave Her his clothes and She disguised Herself as him, carrying a stick and wearing a twisted turban on Her head, a dhot around Her waist, and a necklace of guj-seeds around Her neck. Carrying a small calf in Her arms, She appeared to be Subala happily leaving, having found his lost calf. She held the calf in such a way that no one would notice Her breasts and become suspicious. Meanwhile, Subala, disguised as Rdhik, became immersed in conversation with the sakhs. When Jail saw rmatj disguised as Subala leaving the cowshed, she asked, So, did you find your calf ? Rdhik answered in Subalas voice. Just see, Maiy, She said, I have found it. Jail did not become even the slightest bit suspicious. rmat Rdhik finally reached Ka, having made Her way to the location as indicated by Subala. Distressed in separation, Ka asked Her, Sakh, were you unable to bring My beloved? My life is coming to an end. What should I do? Where should I go? Upon seeing Ka in such a miserable condition, rmatj could not contain Herself. She put the calf down and embraced Him. By Her tender touch and by the fragrance of Her body, Ka understood everything and all His sorrow went far away. He repeatedly praised the intelligence of Subala, and proceeded to enjoy delightful pastimes with His beloved. After some time, Subala also arrived there and became so happy to watch Their meeting. Once, r Kas desire to meet Rdhik was so intense that He became very restless. That evening, with the hope of meeting Rdhik, He went to Jvaa and waited outside Jails mansion under a ber tree. Climbing upon a branch of that tree, He started cooing like a black cuckoo (kokila). rmat and Her girlfriends understood that this kokila was none other than r Ka in the ber tree eagerly awaiting a meeting. However, whenever Ka tried to enter the house, the vigilant Jail, hearing a sound, would call


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out, Who is there? and Ka would again hide in the bushes. This continued all night long, and thus Kas attempts to meet with rmat Rdhik were repeatedly foiled. In the end, He gave up hope and left, dejected. r Rpa Gosvm has described this incident in his book Ujjvala-nlama (1.16): saket-kta-kokildi-ninada kasa-dvia kurvato dvronmocana-lolakhavalaya-kva muhu vata keya keyam iti pragalbha-jarat-vkyena dntmano rdh-prgaa-koa-koli-viapi-kroe gat arvar In this verse, one sakh is describing r Rdh-Kas pardhnat 3 of the previous night to her dear friend: Last night, r Ka was standing under a ber tree in rmat Rdhiks courtyard, cooing like a kokila again and again. rmatj understood His signal but, whenever She went to open the door, Her bangles and ankle-bells made such a loud sound that even r Ka heard them. From inside the house, haughty old Jail


Jv aa

would repeatedly call out, Who is there? Hearing her loud call, r Ka, with a distressed heart, spent the whole night under that ber tree. May r Yva-grma be victorious as it conceals so many sweet memories.

Jail s house (Jail k Havel) In the western part of the village, on a high hillock, is the large house of Jail, in which there are deities of Jail, Kuil and Abhimanyu. Now a temple of r Rdh-Kntaj is also there. The sakhs arrange meetings between rmatj and Ka here by deceiving Jail, Kuil and Abhimanyu.

Jail, Kuil and Abhimanyu


r v raja-maala parikram

Jails house

r Rdh-Kntaj

Jv aa

The cowshed (Vatsakhora) On the pretext of having lost his calf, Subala Sakh deceived Jail and sent rmat Rdhik, disguised as him, to meet with Ka. Even today, this cowshed of Abhimanyu is known by the name Vatsakhora. Beriy Beriy is situated near the cowshed. Within the dense kujas here was a ber tree. Once, Ka waited here all night long to meet with rmat Rdhik. Pnihr-kua North of Beriy is Pnihr-kua. The gops used to come here to fetch water. Pni means water, and hr means taking. Sometimes, Ka met with the gops here. Mukhar s pathway Every morning, Mukhar joyfully trod this path to visit her granddaughter Rdhik and bestow blessings upon Her. She would then return by the same path. Kuil daa-sthna This is where Jails daughter Kuil, due to her wicked nature, would always direct all kinds of accusations at rmat Rdhik. She would falsely accuse Rdhik of various transgressions. Once, she saw Rdhik meeting with Ka at this place. She locked Them inside a room and created an uproar by which she was able to gather together Prim, her mother Jail, her older brother Abhimanyu and her younger brother Durmada. She announced to them that she had locked her disgraced sister-in-law in this room together with Ka. When the door was opened, however, everyone saw Rdhj worshipping a deity of Kl. What happened next? They all began to chastise Kuil for making false accusations. Kuil pulled a long face and walked away. [Daa means disgracing or dishonouring.] 411

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Rdhik s pathway (Rdhik gamana-patha) Rdhik and Her sakhs used this path to go to worship the Sungod and to return. Along the road is a kadamba forest (Kadamba-knana), where Ka would eagerly approach Rdhik. As She tried to escape, He would tug at the corner of Her cloth to stop Her. This pastime is described in Bhakti-ratnkara.4 Pvana-kua This kua lies in the middle of Kadamba-knana, where the eager Ka, guided by the sakhs, drank the nectar of rmat Rdhiks lips. This kua is therefore called Pvana-kua ( pn means to drink). This kua is the witness to the Divine Couples amorous pastimes. Bhakti-ratnkara describes this incident.5 Ka-kua This pond, which is surrounded by dense banyan trees, provides a concealed setting for various pastimes of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka. It lies in the southern part of Jvaa. Once, r Ka came here to swing with rmat Rdhik and Her girlfriends under these closely-packed banyan trees. That day the sakhs were late in arriving here, so rasika Ka considered what act of naughtiness He could perform. Without waiting for the sakhs, He Himself hung a swing from the branch of a tree and asked rmatj to sit on it. Yet the swing was so high that She was unable to climb up on it. On the pretext of helping Her on to the swing, r Ka lifted Her up in His arms and embraced Her. Thus, even before the swing-festival began, the Youthful Couple submerged Themselves in waves of delight. At that moment, the sakhs arrived at this swing-festival, laughing and joking, and they too drowned in delight. Lal-kua At this place, Lalitj secretly arranged meetings between r Rdh-Ka Yugala. 412

Jv aa

The place where a boon was given (situated near Nrada-kua) Here, Durvs i gave rmat Rdhik the boon that whatever She cooked with Her own hands would at once become like divine nectar (amta), and whoever partook of this food would become immortal, invincible, greatly valiant and able to defeat everyone, including demigods and demons. This narration is found in Padma Pura. The path to go cow herding (Gocraa-patha) r Ka and His sakhs used this path to go cow herding and to return home. At this time, Rdh and Ka, unseen by all others, would meet with each other. The following verse by r radkra found in r Padyval reveals the beauty of r Ka when going cow herding:
phullendvara-kntim indu-vadana barhvatasa-priya r-vatskam udra-kaustubha-dhara ptmbara sundaram gopn nayanotpalrcita-tanu go-gopa-saghvta govinda kala-veu-vdana-para divyga-bha bhaje
I worship Govinda, whose complexion is the colour of a blossoming blue lotus, whose face is like the moon, who is fond of wearing a peacock feather in His crown, whose chest bears the mark of rvatsa and is adorned with the Kaustubha gem, who is attired in beautiful yellow garments, whose handsome form the gops worship with sidelong glances, whose companions are multitudes of cows and gopas, who plays sweet melodies on the flute, and whose body is decorated with glittering ornaments.

Kior-kua, or Rdh-kua In the eastern part of Jvaa are a temple of Kiorj and Kiorkua. Sometimes, r Ka used to play in the water of this kua with r Rdhik and the sakhs. This kua is sprinkled with the kukum, saffron and other cosmetics from the bodies of the sakhs 413

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and is still decorated with the memories of these pastimes, which are full of sweetness (mdhurya).

Rsa-maala Here, Rdhik and Her sakhs, being overwhelmed with prema, performed rsa and other pastimes with the seven-yearold Ka.6 The place of Padmvat s wedding (Padmvat vivha-sthala) In this place, the jovial girls of Vraja celebrated the wedding of Candrvals sakh Padmvat with Nanda-nandana. The heart of kior rmat Rdhik is very liberal. On Her indication, Lalit and the other sakhs decorated Padmvat as a bride and seated her on Kas left. The sakhs then tied the corner of Padmvats veil with Kas yellow cloth and began singing wedding songs. Padmvat felt very shy as she gazed upon Ka. Cra-kua and Hiol-sthna (the place of the swing) These very attractive places are situated near Kior-kua. Prala-Gag This place lies in the north-western part of Jvaa. rmat Rdhik manifested a stream of Bhagavat Gag here. It is said that this Prala-Gag is a pond endowed with transcendental power. On the western bank of this pond is an ancient prijta tree, which blossoms in the month of Vaikha (MarchApril). It is accepted that this tree was planted by the hands of Rdh Herself and still exists today.


Jv aa


rdh pdataldyatra jvaka svalato bhavat yasatjjva vaa nma vikhyta pthv tale
Bhad Gautamya

abhimanyu rahe nija go-gopa-samje jail kuil sad rahe ghakrye sakh sucatur ke niy ethye dohra vilse dekhe ullsa hiyya jail, kuil, abhimanyu bhy vilse kautuke ka eth siy mukhar ntin eth dekhiy ullse jailra prati kata kahe mdubhe e khne kuil hay mahhara rdhikya dite karaye parmara e pathe rdhik calena srylaye kadamba knane rahi ka nirikhaye pathe si rdhikra vastra karaya rknu dohra kautuka atiaya

kadamba knane rahi ka nirikhaye pathe si rdhikra vastra karaya r knu dohra kautuka atiaya

e pvana kua nad kadamba knane sukhe rdhka vilsaye sakhsane parama kautuk ka sakh igita py rdhikra adhara sudh piye matta hay

Being under Jails vigilant eye, Rdh and Ka were unable to meet. They were thus pardhnat, or under control. The prema that manifest at this time is called pardhnat prema.

yatra rdh-karodrsa kena saha vihval sapta-vara svarpea sakhbhir-bahudh sukham



gops in their mood of separation. To pacif y them, He told them, return the day after tomorrow. I promise that I will surely

upon seeing the condition of the

to depart, He became disturbed

on Akrras chariot, waiting

While r Ka sat

The day after tomorrow is called parso in Hindi; hence the name of this village became Parso.

& other Pastime Places


okilvana lies three miles north of Nandagaon and one mile west of Jvaa. Even today, the sweet sounds of many birds such as peacocks, peahens, male parrots, female parrots, swans and cranes can be heard in this protected and enchanting forest, and animals like deer and blue cows, or nla gya, can be seen wandering about. The Vrajavss bring their vast herds of cows here for grazing. The sweet kuh-kuh of hundreds of cuckoo birds (kokilas) resounds in this forest. Although most forests of Vraja have been destroyed, this one, with a circumference of three-and-a-half miles, remains somewhat protected. According to Vraja-bhakti-vilsa, Ratnkara-sarovara and a rsa-maala are situated in Kokilvana. Bhakti-ratnkara describes a magnificent pastime that took place here: jvaera pacime e vana manohara laka-laka kokila khare nirantara


r v raja-maala parikram

eka dina ka e vanete siy kokila-sada abda kare hara hay sakala kokila hate abda sumadhura ye sune breka tra dhairya jya dra jail kahaye vikhre priyav kokilera abda aiche kabhu nhi uni vikh khaye e mo sabhra mane yadi kaha e kokile dekhi giy vane vddh kahe jo! uni ullsa aea r sakhsaha vane karil pravea hala mahkautuka sukhera sm n sakale siy milil eka h kokilera abde ka mile rdhikre e hetu kokilvana kahaye ihre Once, the very playful r Ka eagerly desired to meet rmat Rdhik, but because of the obstacles created by Her mother-inlaw Jail, sister-in-law Kuil and husband Abhimanyu, rmat Rdhik could not get to Their appointed meeting place. After waiting for a long time, Ka climbed a tall tree and sweetly began to imitate the sound of a cuckoo. Hearing the loud and delightful call of this astonishing cuckoo bird, rmat Rdhik and the sakhs understood that it was a signal from Ka and became eager and restless to meet with Him. At that time, Jail addressed Vikh, saying, Vikh, I have heard cuckoo birds make so many beautiful sounds, but I have never heard anything like the wonderful and lengthy melody this bird sings today. Vikh replied, Ddj, we also have never heard anything like it. This is certainly an amazing cuckoo bird. With your permission, we would like to go out and see it for ourselves. The old woman gladly gave permission for the sakhs to go. They very happily entered the forest, and thus Ka was able to meet with Rdh. This is how this place became known as Kokilvana.


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

The entrance to the temple at Kokilvana


r v raja-maala parikram



Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

Ratnkara-sarovara The sakhs brought milk from their homes to make this kua. Many varieties of jewels (ratna) appeared from the pond that the sakhs used to decorate rmat Rdhik.1 This pond, which destroys all sins and bestows an abundance of wealth and affluence, can give devotees the greatest jewel of all causeless devotion for the Divine Couple, r Rdh-Ka.


r v raja-maala parikram

Rsa-maala r Ka performed rsa-ll with the gops here, after which they played in the water of Ratnkara-sarovara.

janauka This is r Vikh Sakhs place of residence. She is famous among the eight prominent sakhs. Her father is r Pvana Gopa and her mother is Devadn Gop.2 This place, situated five miles south-east of Nandagaon, is where playful Ka applied kajala (ajana) to the eyes of His pra-vallabh rmat Rdhik. This pastime place is therefore known as janauka. Once, rmat Rdhik was sitting in a secluded kuja with Her sakhs, who were dressing and decorating Her with various ornaments and jewels. All that was left to be done was to apply ajana to Her eyes, when suddenly Ka played upon His sweet flute. As soon as rmat Rdhik heard that sound, She became overwhelmed, and with great anticipation She left to meet Her pra-vallabha without having applied ajana. Ka was also anxiously waiting to meet Her, and when She arrived, He sat Her on a flower-seat. He then put His arms around Her neck and His eyes eagerly drank Her beauty. When He noticed that there was no ajana on Her eyes, He asked the sakhs why. They answered, We had fully decorated Her except for the ajana but, as soon as She heard the sweet sound of Your flute, She became so eager to meet with You that She immediately ran off. Although we repeatedly requested Her to wait so that we could apply ajana, we were unable to stop Her. This filled Ka with joy, and He applied ajana to Her eyes with His own hands. He then held up a mirror to let Rdhik taste the beauty of Her form, which He also relished by looking in that mirror. Bhakti-ratnkara says:
rasera vee ka ajana lay dilena rdhik netre mah hara hay


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

Ka was absorbed in rasa and happily applied ajana to Rdhiks eyes.

Also situated here is a rsa-maala, where rsa-ll took place. Kior-kua lies in the south of the village, and on the west bank of this pond is the ajan-l on which r Ka seated r Rdh and decorated Her eyes with ajana.




r v raja-maala parikram

Bijavr Bijavr lies one-and-a-half miles south-east of Nandagaon and one mile south of Khyaro. When Akrra came to take the two brothers, r Rma and Ka to Mathur, They ascended his chariot here. The gops, being so distressed from their impending separation from Ka, cried out, O Prantha! and fell to the ground unconscious. At that time, it appeared as if lightening bolts (vidyuta-puja) were striking the ground. The corrupted form of the word vidyuta-puja is bijavr. Akrra left Bijavr with the two brothers, and travelling through Pis, Sahra, Jainta and other villages, reached Akrragha. There he bathed before finally arriving in Mathur. Akrrasthna, where you can see r Kas footprint on a rock, lies between Bijavr and Nandagaon. Parso While r Ka sat on Akrras chariot, waiting to depart, He became disturbed upon seeing the condition of the gops in their mood of separation. To pacify them, He told them, I promise that I will surely return the day after tomorrow. The day after tomorrow is called parso in Hindi; hence the name of this village became Parso. Parso lies on the road between Govardhana and Varsn, close to the village of S. Ka repeatedly told the gops, I will soon return. The name S originates in the word ghra, meaning soon. This is described in Bhakti-ratnkara as follows:
mathur hate ghra karibe gamana e hetu ghra s, kahaye sarvajana


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

Kma Kma is the birthplace of Vikh, who is prominent among the eight principal sakhs. The village of Kma lies five miles from Varsn and four-and-a-half miles south-west of Umro. South of Kma are the villages of S and Parso. Karehl This is the birthplace of Lalitj. The son of Karahl Gop, Govardhana Malla, would sometimes stay here with his wife Candrval, and sometimes they would also stay in Sakhthar (Sakh-sthal) near Govardhana. Candrvals father is Candrabhnu Gopa and her mother is Indmat Gop. Candrval is the cousin of rmat Rdhik and they are considered sisters. Vabhnu Mahrja had four brothers Candrabhnu, Ratnabhnu, Subhnu and rbhnu. Vabhnu was the eldest. Padm and other ythevars (leaders of groups of gops) stayed at this place, and would try to arrange meetings between Candrval and Ka. Kakaa-kua, a kadamba grove, a swing, and the sitting-places (baihakas) of r Vallabhcrya, r Vihalea and r Gokulantha are located here. This place is situated one mile north of Kma. On Bhdra-prim, rsa-ll is staged here in the dramatic tradition of bh-ll 3 Ludhaul Ludhaul lies half a mile west of Ps-gaon. Here Lalit arranged for r Rdh and Ka to meet. This place became known as Ludhaul because both Rdh and Ka hankered (lubdha) to meet each other here. Outside the village to the north is Lalit-kua, where Rdh and Kas meeting took place. On the eastern bank of this kua is a temple of Lalit-Bihrj.


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Ps Once, while herding the cows, Baladeva brought water here for Ka, who was feeling very thirsty. Hence, this village became known as Pys, meaning thirst came ( pys ). Ta-kua and Vikh-kua also lie here. Just near this village to the northwest is a beautiful kadamba grove. Ps is situated one-and-a-half miles north of Karehl. Sahra This is the residence of Nanda Bbs eldest brother, Upnanda. He was extremely wise and in every respect he was Mahrja Nandas advisor. He loved Nanda-nandana r Ka more than he loved his own life. Upnandas son was Subhadra, whom r Ka respected like a real elder brother. Subhadra Sakh, who was also extremely affectionate to Ka, was expert in astrology and all other arts. He zealously protected Ka from all types of hardships during cow herding. Subhadras wife was Kundalat, who accepted Ka as her very life. Witty and playful, she loved to laugh and she was most expert in arranging meetings between Rdh and Ka. On the order of Yaod, she would bring rmat Rdhik with her from Jvaa to cook for Ka. Skh This pastime place lies one mile west of Nar and two miles north of Sahra. It was here that Ka killed akhacha, removed the jewel from his forehead, and gave it to r Baladeva. One day, Ka and His sakhs were playing in the colourful Hol festival with Rdh and Her sakhs near Rdh-kua at the foot of Govardhana. At that time, the demon akhaca caught the gops and fled. With la trees in Their hands, r Ka and Baladeva ran after the demon to kill him. Seeing Their raging speed, akhaca left the gops and fled for his life. Ka left D Bhaiy to protect the gops, and He pursued the demon alone, and killed him. Ka then removed the jewel from akhacas 428

Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

forehead and gave it to Baladeva, who sent it to rmat Rdhik through Dhanih. rmat Rdhik accepted that jewel with great honour. Nearby is Rma-kua, which is also called Rma-tal.

Chatravana (Cht) Chatravana is situated on the MathurDelh highway approximately twenty miles north-west of Mathur and four miles southwest of Paya-gaon. Its present name is Cht. In the north-east corner of this village lies Srya-kua, and in its south-west is Candra-kua, on whose bank a temple of Dj is situated. Here, rdma and the other sakhs seated r Ka on a throne and declared Him the exalted king (chatra-pati ) of Vraja. They thus performed a wonderful unprecedented pastime here. r Balarma sat on Kas left side, and began executing the duties of minister of state. rdma held an umbrella over Kas head; Arjuna fanned Him with a cmara; Madumagala sat in front of Ka and acted as court jester; Subala offered Him betel-nuts; and Subhu, Vila and some other sakhs assumed the roles of subjects. Through Madhumagala, Chatra-pati Mahrja Ka proclaimed throughout the land, Mahrja Chatra-pati Nandakumra is the sole emperor here. No one else has claim to any authority. Daily the gops destroy this garden; therefore, they should all be punished. In this way, r Ka and His friends sported in this playful way. In memory of this pastime, this village is named Chatravana, or Cht. Umro This village is situated some four or five miles east of Chatravana. When the sakhs heard r Kas proclamation, they complained to Lalit about Him. Bhakti-ratnkara describes what ensued:
lalitdi sakh krodhe kahe bra bra rdhikra rjya ke karaye adhikra


r v raja-maala parikram

aiche kata kahi lalitdi sakhgaa rdhikre umro kail kaa

Lalit became angry and said, Who is that person who dares to claim authority over Rdhiks kingdom? We will retaliate against Him. Saying this, she seated Rdhik on a beautiful throne and pronounced Her to be the undisputed queen (umrva).

Citr Sakh held an umbrella over Rdhiks head, and Vikh fanned Her with a cmara. Lalit sat on Rdhiks left as Her minister of state. One sakh offered Her betel-nuts, and the remaining sakhs acted as subjects. Sitting on Her throne, Rdhik ordered the sakhs: mora rjya adhikra kare ye jana parbhava kari tre na e kaa Bhakti-ratnkara
Go and defeat the person who desires to usurp My kingdom. Bind Him and bring Him before Me.

Receiving the order of their Umrva, thousands and thousands of sakhs with flower-sticks in their hands left for battle. When Arjuna, Lavaga, Bhga, Kokila, Subala and Madhumagala saw them approaching, they fled in all directions. One clever sakh, however, caught Madhumagala, bound him with a flower garland, and brought him to the lotus feet of the Umrva. Some gops slapped Madhumagalas cheeks a few times and said, What audacity you have to try to unlawfully seize the authority of this kingdom from our Umrva? We will punish you right now. Madhumagala bowed his head low like a defeated general. That is only befitting, he said. We concede defeat, but please hand down such a punishment that my stomach will be filled. Mahrn Rdhik started to laugh and said, This is just some gluttonous


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brhmaa. Release him. The sakhs filled his stomach with las and let him go. Madhumagala returned to Chatra-pati Mahrja Ka and, pretending to cry, gave Him a detailed report of his humiliating detention. Hearing this, Ka together with Madhumagala and the sakhs invaded Umro. When rmat Rdhik saw Her pra-vallabha r Ka, She became quite embarrassed and quickly tried to take off Her royal dress, but the sakhs, laughing, would not let Her do so. Madhumagala seated Chatra-pati r Ka on Umrva Rdhiks right side. They both made a treaty in which Ka accepted Rdhiks sovereignty. Madhumagala folded his hands before rmat Rdhik and said, The kingdom of Kas body is now under Your rule. You can take whatever You desire from Him. Participating in this pastime filled the sakhs and sakhs with bliss. This village is named Umro after this umrva-ll, and is also known as Rdh-sthal, or Rdhs place. Prams later enthroned Rdhik here as Vrajevar, the Queen of Vraja. There is also a Kior-kua here, where r Lokantha Gosvm performed bhajana. The worshipful deities of Lokantha Gosvm, r RdhVinoda, who appeared from this kua, are now worshipped in Jaipura.

r Rdh-V inoda


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Dhanaiga This is the village of Dhanih Sakh and lies near Umro. Dhanih Sakh is a ka-pakya sakh, meaning she is in the group of sakhs who have more affection for Ka than for rmat Rdhik. Dhanih Sakh is always busily engaged in various services in the home of Yaod. She especially performs the tasks of a messenger, arranging for Ka to meet with Rdhik. Kos (Kosvana) This place is situated on the MathurDelhi highway about thirty-five miles from Mathur and some ten miles from Chatravana. Here r Ka arranged for Nanda Bb to have darana of Kuasthal (Dvrak-dhma) at Gomat-kua, situated west of the village.



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Pretending ignorance and speaking in a taunting voice, rmat Rdhik asked Ka, Ko s? Who are You? This place is therefore called Kos or Kosvana. Once, r Ka was so eager to meet rmat Rdhik that He knocked on Her door. From inside the house, rmat Rdhik asked, Ko s? r Ka replied, I am Ka. The word ka also happens to mean black snake. Rdhik therefore said, If You are a black snake, then why come here? Do You want to bite Me? Go to the forest. You have no purpose here. No Priyatam, I am Ghanayma. Rdhik decided to take ghanayma to mean black cloud. If You are a black cloud, then You also are not needed here, She answered. Do not shower rain here and muddy My courtyard. Go to the forests and fields to discharge Your rain. Priyatam, I am Cakr. Cakr also means potter. Rdhik therefore said, There is no need for a cakr here. No wedding festival is being held in My house. Take Your clay pots and find a marriage celebration. Priyatam, I am Madhusdana. Rdhik intentionally took the word madhusdana to mean bumblebee and said, If You are madhusdana, then quickly fly from here to a flower-garden and drink the nectar of the flowers. There is no flower-garden here. Come on, I am Your beloved Hari, Ka insisted. Rdhik, interpreted hari as monkey or lion, and laughingly replied, What is the need of a monkey or a lion here? Do You want to scratch Me? Quickly run away to a dense forest. We are all scared of lions and monkeys here. In this way, rmat Rdhik jokes with Her beloved Hari. May They be pleased with us. The place of this joking pastime is called Kosvana.


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Raav The village of Raav lies one mile north of rab and three miles south-west of Cht. Nanda-nandana r Ka is directly manmatha-manmatha, the one who attracts even Cupid, and rmat Rdhik is the direct manifestation of mahbhva. Her function is to fulfil all of Kas desires. In Raav, They are both absorbed in varieties of love-play with the aim of pleasing each other. Raav means the place of amorous exchanges and playful games. Around one hundred and fifty years ago, a Bengali bb named Kadsa performed bhajana here. One day, an ardent desire to visit all the sacred places of India awakened in his heart. Coincidentally, a brhmaa from here was leaving for Dvrak at that same time, and he insisted that Kadsa Bbj accompany him. On the way, they took darana of many holy places before finally arriving at Dvrak-dhma. To enter Dvrak, one had to be branded with a cakra, which Kadsa Bbj did. After visiting other pilgrimage places, he made his way back to Raav, where he found, to his amazement that he could no longer absorb his mind in bhajana. Despite great endeavour, he was unable to remember r Kas eightfold pastimes of the day (aaklya-ll). This caused him great distress, so he went to see his friend Siddha Kadsa Bbj at Rdhkua. When Siddha Bbj saw Kadsa Bbj, he turned his face away and said, You have been deprived of rmat Rdhiks mercy. You have left Her exclusive shelter and have accepted the emblem of Dvrak, and therefore the shelter of r Rukmi, Satyabhm and the other queens of Dvrak. As long as you are in your current body, it will be impossible for you to get rmat Rdhiks mercy. Please leave this place at once, otherwise I will also be deprived of Her mercy. Despondent, Kadsa Bbj returned to Raav. He closed the doors of his cottage and refrained from taking water and food. His burning separation produced in his body a fire that exploded 434

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inside him, and within three days his material body had turned to ashes. After three days, the villagers broke open the door of his cottage, and were astonished to find ashes instead of his body. On the Amvasy day in the month of Paua (DecemberJanuary), the Vrajavss of this place annually celebrate the disappearance festival of this bbj with great splendour.

Nar-Semar The previous and correct name of this village is Kinnarymar. In fact, it comprises two villages, namely Nar and Semar. The village of Semar, the residence of the ythevar ymal Sakh, lies four miles south-east of Cht; and one mile south of Semar is the village of Nar. Once, rmat Rdhik exhibited a mood of jealous anger that seemed unbreakable. Lalit, Vikh and the other sakhs tried their level best to pacify Her, but to no avail; instead Her mna simply increased. Finally, Ka, on the advice of the sakhs, disguised Himself as ymar Sakh and, playing the v, arrived at that place. Upon seeing the amazing beauty of ymar Sakh and hearing her sing in various exquisite rgas to the vs full range of ascending and descending notes, rmat Rdhik became enchanted. Sakh, what is Your name? She asked, and where do You live? The disguised Ka, answered, My name is ymar. I am a kinnar from the heavenly planets. ymar Kinnar then played the v and sang so beautifully that rmat Rdhik was overwhelmed. She was just about to put Her jewelled necklace around the neck of ymar Kinnar, when the sakh folded Her hands and made a request at Her lotus feet: Please give Me the jewel of Your mna. When rmat Rdhik heard this, She immediately understood that this was Her dear most beloved asking Her to surrender Her precious sulky mood. Now Rdh and Ka were happily reunited, and the sakhs were overjoyed to have arranged this reconciliation. 435

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Nar-Semar has taken its name from this sweet pastime: Nar comes from the word kinnar, and Semar from ymar. According to Vndvana-llmta, the name Nar is the corrupted form of the word hari. Another pastime also took place here. When Ka and Baladeva were about to leave for Mathur, Akrra seated Them on his chariot and quickly drove the chariot away. The gops stood watching with unblinking eyes as the chariot gradually disappeared from their vision. They continued to watch as the dust it kicked up settled to the ground. Beside themselves with grief and agony, they fell to the ground calling out, O Hari, O Hari! To preserve the memory of this pastime, Mahrja Vajranbha established a village here known as Hari. Gradually, the word hari changed to Nar. Kior-kua, Sakaraa-kua and a temple of r Baladeva are located in this village.

Khadiravana (Khyaro) The present name of this village is Khyaro, and lies three miles south of Cht and three miles south-east of Jvaa. Ka would come to herd His cows here. Sagama-kua, where a meeting (sagama) between the gops and Ka took place, is situated here. Lokantha Gosvm performed sdhana-bhajana on the bank of this pond in a solitary place. Occasionally, Bhgarbha Gosvm would also come here and perform bhajana together with Lokantha Gosvm. Nearby is a very charming kadamba grove. Ka, Balarma and the sakhs performed many kinds of childhood pastimes here. Every year when the dates (khajra) ripened, Ka and the sakhs would come here to herd the cows and eat ripe dates. Once, Baksura, a demon sent by Kasa, appeared here as a huge crane to swallow Ka. He opened wide his massive beak, his lower beak touching the ground, and his upper beak touching the sky, and then ran at Ka with great speed to swallow Him. When


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Lokantha Gosvms place of sdhana-bhajana


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all the sakhs saw this fearful form, they became filled with fright and began to shout, Khyo re, khyo re! He will eat Ka, he will eat Ka! But Ka remained fearless. He put His foot on the demons lower beak, and catching the upper beak with His hand, split it just as one might split a straw. The sakhs joyfully cried out, Khyo re, khyo re! Ka ate him, Ka ate him! The name of this village became Khyore because of this pastime. This place is also called Khadeavana or Khadravana, because in order to kill Baksura, Ka had to chase him. The Hindi word for to chase is khaden. This forest is also called Khadravana because of the khadra trees growing here, the astringent extract of which is used for making pn.

Bakthar Situated near Jvaa, this village lies between Khyaro and janauka. It was here that Ka actually killed Baksura. This village is also called Cill because Ka caught the beak of Baksura and split it (crn) down the middle. Neochka Ka and the sakhs used to eat their lunch here at midday when they were out tending the cows. Mother Yaod would send lunch for Ka and Balarma, and the other mothers would do so for their own sons. Ka and His friends would then eat in a playful mood, making lots of jokes. The word chka means light meal, and neochka means to eat chka. Bhagora Bhagora is situated two miles north-west of Raav, and currently goes by the name of Bhdval. r Nanda Mahrjas storeroom (bhara-gha) was here. The cows were also brought here for grazing.


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Khpura Khpura lies one mile south of Bhdval. r Rdh-Ka and the sakhs ate various foodstuffs (khdya) here after playing Hol in Raav. Baihna (Baihana) Ba-baihna is situated two-and-a-half miles north of Kokilvana, and Cho-baihna is half a mile north of Babaihna. Thus, both villages lie near each other. Nanda Mahrja, Upnanda, and all other older gopas would sit together here and discuss the welfare of r Ka and Balarma. A place where these kinds of discussions or consultations were going on is called a baihaka. r Santana Gosvm would occasionally stay here for a few days at a time to perform bhajana and remember these pastimes. The Vrajavss were charmed by his affectionate behaviour and would enthusiastically request him to remain here for longer, which he would do. South-east of Ba-baihna is Ka-kua, which Ka holds very dear. He used to bathe and play here with the sakhs. In Cho-baihna is Kuntala-kua, where the sakhs used to decorate Ka. In Ba-baihna is a temple of Dj, and in Cho-baihna is a temple of Sk-Goplaj. Baokhora The present name of this village is Baindokhara, but was previously called Baokhora. It is situated west of Baihna. Rdh and Ka performed pastimes here, behind the closed doors of a kuja. Caraa-gag and Caraa-pah are located here.


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Caraa-pah This place is located one mile north of Cho-baihna. It is called Caraa-pah because one can find r Ka and Baladevas footprints (caraa cihna) here, as well as imprints made by cows and gopas. Once, while herding the cows, Ka reached this place with His entourage of sakhs. The cows were grazing some distance from where He stood, and the sakhs were also some distance away. In a playful mood, Ka stood under a tree on top of Caraa-pah in 441

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His charming threefold-bending form. He played such a melody on His flute that the entire hill melted upon hearing the sound. What to speak of the cowherd boys and cows, even the deer, does and other animals and birds were allured. They quickly made their way to Ka, leaving imprints across the melted stones. The imprints of gopas, deer, camels and so forth are still here. These imprints all point in one direction only, because when Ka stopped playing His flute, the stones regained their natural state, which meant the gopas and animals left no impressions behind when they went their different ways. Bhakti-ratnkara affirms: r-kera pda-padma-cihna e rahila e hetu caraa pah nma hala
This place is named Caraa-pah because r Kas footprints are on top of the mountain.

The word caraa means foot, and pah means mountain. Nearby is Caraa-gag, where Ka washed His feet.



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Rasaul This village lies between Caraa-pah and Kovana. Ka and the gops famous autumnal (radya) rsa took place here. Kmara Once, r Ka was beside Himself with the desire to meet with rmat Rdhik, and restlessly gazed down the path along which She would appear. Finally, He called Her name on His flute. rmat Rdhik and the sakhs were very attracted by that sound and they made their way to Ka, who was overjoyed to meet them. The gops thought to play a trick on Ka. Without making a sound, they picked up their beloveds black blanket (kr kmara) and hid it. r Ka then began searching for His dear blanket. The devotee poet r Sradsa has briefly described this pastime with much rasa. In this poem, Kanhaiy is complaining to Maiy:
maiy mer kmar cor la mai ban jt carvan gaiy sn dekh la ek kahe knh ter kmar jamun jt bah ek kahe knh ter kmar surbhi khy ga ek kahe nco mere ge lai dehu ju na srdsa jasumati ke ge asuvan dhr bah
Maiy, I went to the forest to graze the cows. They had wandered far away, so I put down My blanket and went after them. But while I was gone some sakh quietly stole My blanket. When I returned and could not find it, I asked the sakhs, Where is My blanket? If you have taken it, then return it. One sakh said, Kanhaiy, Your blanket fell in the Yamun and is floating downstream. I saw it myself. Another sakh said, Kanhaiy, I saw a cow eating Your blanket. Maiy, tell Me, how could a kind-hearted cow eat My blanket? Another sakh said, Kanhaiy, if You dance in front of me, I will give You a new blanket. Maiy, these sakhs are teasing Me in many


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ways. Saying this, Kanhaiys eyes filled with tears. Maiy lifted up her ll and put Him to her breast.

This village is called Kmara because Ka was completely immersed in kma, or prema, here, as He eagerly waited for rmat Rdhik. It is also named Kmara because Ka called out for His black blanket, or kmara. Here one finds Gop-kua, Gop-jalvihra, Hari-kua, Mohana-kua, and the temples of Mohanaj and Durvsj.

Bsosi Bsosi is situated two miles north of ea. Here, the bees became intoxicated upon smelling the beautiful fragrance of r Kas limbs and hummed all around Him. The word bsa means fragrance and thus the name of this place became Bsosi. Here Rdh, Ka and the sakhs became intoxicated in playful pastimes. The air was filled with the fragrance of Their limbs, with the red and pink powder of the Hol festival, and with the fragrance of sandalwood. Paya-gaon Paya-gaon lies six miles east of Kos. Although the mothers of Ka, Balarma and the gopas would daily send lunch for them, one day, their lunches arrived late. In hunger, r Ka and the sakhs went to this village and drank milk ( paya). This village has therefore become known as Paya-gaon. North of Paya-gaon is Paya-sarovara, as well as a grove beautifully decorated with tamla and kadamba trees. Kovana Kovana is situated near the DelhiMathur highway in between Kos and Hoal. It is four miles north and a little east of Caraa-pah. It used to be called Koarvana. tala-kua and


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Srya-kua are places to visit here. Ka used to herd the cows and perform playful pastimes here.

ea This pastime place lies one-and-a-half miles south and somewhat east of Bsol. Krasgara is here as a kua. In a temple on the west bank of Krasgara is a deity of Bhagavn Ananta reclining on His bed with Lakm massaging His lotus feet (ayana-ll). One time, when the playful Ka was sporting here with rmat Rdhik and the sakhs, the story about r Anantay Viu somehow came up in their conversation. A strong desire to see the ayana-ll of Anantay Viu arose in rmat Rdhiks heart, so Ka Himself arranged for Her to see this pastime. Immersed in the mood of Anantay, r Ka laid down on a thousand-petalled lotus in the middle of Krasgara, and rmat Rdhik, in the mood of Lakm, massaged His lotus feet. All the assembled gops were astonished. rla Raghuntha dsa Gosvm

The deity of Anantay Viu


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alludes to this pastime in his Vraja-vilsa-stava (verse 91): Even though rmat Rdhik has extremely soft limbs, when She brought r Kas very soft and charming lotus feet near Her chest, She could not bring Herself to place them on it as She feared that the touch of Her hard breasts might cause Him pain. May I obtain residence in the enchanting Vraja of eay Ka. 4 When r Caitanya Mahprabhu travelled throughout Vraja, He came to take darana of this place, and in doing so became filled with divine love. There is a pleasant kadamba forest here, and one can also take darana of Prauhantha and a swing. Nearby is a sitting-place (baihaka) of r Vallabhcrya.

Khm-gaon (Khambahara) Khm-gaon is situated on the border of Vraja. To establish the boundary of Vraja, r Vajranbha Mahrja constructed a stone pillar (khamb) here. The village of Vanacar is nearby. These two villages are situated on the north-west border of Vraja, four miles north-east of Hoal. Here, are temples of Lakm-Nryaa and Mahdeva. Khayero (Kharero) This place lies four miles south, and a little east, of ea. When Baladeva came here from Dvrakpur, He asked the sakhs for good news, or khaira. This place is also a pasturing-ground for the cows. Banachaul This village lies two-and-a-half miles east of Kharero and four miles north-west of Paya-gaon. Ka performed rsa-ll here. jn This place is situated four miles north-east of Paya-gaon and is near the main road between Cht and ergarh. The word jn means opposite flow. The Yamun started flowing upstream 446

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here upon hearing the very sweet sound of r Kas flute. This is seen even today.

Khelanvana (ergarh) Khelanvana lies two miles south-east of jn. r Ka and r Balarma played many kinds of games with the sakhs when they came here for cow herding. rmat Rdhik also played here with Her sakhs. This place is called Khelanvana because they used to play (kheln) here. Nanda Bb resided here for some time with the gops, gopas and cows. Vabhnu Bb also stayed here with his whole family and herd of cows. Jail and Koil thought themselves to be the only chaste women in Vraja, and they considered Rdhik to be not even slightly chaste. They always spoke ill of Rdhik and made propaganda against Her. Ka was aware of all this. One day, He

In the area of Khelanvana


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pretended to be ill to the point of death. Yaodj called expert doctors and brhmaas skilled in mantras, but no one was able to help. Finally, Yogamy Prim arrived on the scene. She said, If any chaste lady brings water from the Yamun in this earthen water-pot, which has hundreds of holes, and if I then bathe Ka with mantras and with that water, then Kanhaiy can become healthy. Otherwise, it will be impossible to save Him. Yaod called Jail and Kuil and requested them to bring water from the Yamun in that special pot. They went separately to the Yamun to fill the pot, but were unable to retain even a drop of water in it. They left the pot on the Yamuns shore and returned home by another path so as not to meet anyone. Yogamy Prim then advised Yaod-maiy to request rmat Rdhik to bring water in that hundred-holed pot. Upon being repeatedly requested, rmat Rdhik finally agreed to go to the Yamun. She successfully brought back water in that pot without spilling even one drop. Prams sprinkled Ka with that water, and He immediately regained His health. All the Vrajavss were amazed to see this wonderful incident, and Rdhiks chastity was praised everywhere. Places of darana here are Balarma-kua, Gop-gha, r Rdh-Govinda, r Rdh-Gopntha and r Rdh-Madanamohana.

Rma-gha This place lies on the bank of Yamun, two miles east of ergarh. Its present name is Obe. Baladeva performed rsa-ll here. r Ka and Balarma had been living in Dvrak for a long time. The Vrajavss distress, caused by their separation from Them, was so great that r Ka sent r Baladeva to Vraja to console them. At that time, Nanda-Gokula, where they resided, was here. Baladeva spent the two months of Caitra and Vaikha in Nanda-Vraja, and tried His utmost to console His parents, the sakhs and the gops. 5 448

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In the end, to alleviate the agony of the gops separation, Baladeva performed rsa here, complete with dancing and singing. At that time, Varuadeva induced divinely fragrant Vru, a sweet nectar found in trees, to start flowing. Baladeva and His beloveds drank this Vru and, becoming intoxicated, enjoyed the rsa. To sport in the water and to quench the thirst of gops, He called Yamun, who was flowing some distance away. When she did not come, however, He dragged her over to them with His plough. He and the gops then sported in the Yamuns water. Even today, the Yamun leaves her natural course and flows by Rma-gha. A doubt may arise as to how Baladeva could perform rsa with r Knas beloved gops. This would be wholly improper from the perspective of rasa. It also seems improper for Baladeva to have dragged the Yamun with His plough, since she is a manifestation of Vikh, and therefore a beloved of Ka. Such doubts, however, arise only in the minds of those who lack knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Ordinary people cannot understand the real nature of transcendental rsa. r Kas and Balarmas rsa does not contain even the slightest trace of material licentiousness or


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The deity of Baladeva Prabhu

desire for lusty enjoyment. Furthermore, Baladeva performed rsa only with His own group of beloved gops. This is clear from r Murri Guptas r Ka Caitanya-carita.6 Yamun is Vikh herself. She is a beloved of Ka and one of the main girlfriends of rmat Rdhik. The Yamun that flows into the sea is a manifestation of this Yamun. It was this manifestation, not Yamun herself, the beloved of r Ka, who Baladeva dragged with the nose of His plough. In this way, ones doubt on this subject can be dispelled. r Nitynanda Prabhu came here during His tour of Vrajamaala. When He took darana of this place, He became absorbed in transcendental ecstasy. Near the temple of Balarma is an avattha tree, which is known to be a sakh of Balarma. It was here that Balarmas rsa-ll took place.


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Brahma-gha Near Rma-gha lies the extremely enchanting Brahma-gha, where Brahm worshipped r Ka to beg forgiveness for stealing the calves. Kacchavana Kacchavana is near Rma-gha. Here, Ka and the sakhs played as if they were tortoises (kachu). Bhaavana This place is situated near Kacchavana. While they grazed their cows, the sakhs decorated (bhita kiy) Ka here with many kinds of flowers. This place is therefore called Bhaavana. Gujvana Nearby Bhaavana is Gujvana where the gops decorated Ka in a wonderful way with a necklace of guj berries, and where Ka decorated rmat Rdhik in the same way.

A necklace of guj berries


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Vihravana Vihravana lies one-and-a-half miles south-west of Rma-gha. Darana of the Bihrj Temple and Vihra-kua is recommended. Vraja-bihr Ka together with Rdhik and the gops performed rsa and other kinds of amorous pastimes at this charming place near r Yamun. Although most of the forests of Vraja have been cut down, Vihravana remains somewhat protected. Even today, cuckoos sing and thousands of peacocks make their ke-k sound here, and during the rainy season they dance and drop their feathers. There are many beautiful kujas, kadamba groves and many kinds of creepers here. When one visits this place, sweet remembrances of Kas pastimes will manifest in ones heart. In the cowshed here, the very beautiful cows, jumping calves and intoxicated looking bulls awaken sweet memories of r Kas cow grazing pastimes.


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A dancing peacock

Kujas in Vihravana

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Akayavaa Akayavaa is also called Bhravaa, and is situated two miles south of Rma-gha. r Ka, Balarma and the sakhs played many games in the shade of this banyan (vaa) tree. They especially liked to wrestle here. Baladeva killed Pralambsura at Akayavaa. Once during cow herding, r Ka and Balarma left the cows to graze in the lush, green fields and went off to play with the sakhs. They divided themselves into two groups, one headed by Ka and the other headed by Baladeva. The game they played had a rule that each boy in the group that lost had to carry the boy who had defeated him on his shoulders from Bhravaa to a fixed place some distance away and then back again. Pralambsura, a demon sent by Kasa, assumed the form of a beautiful sakh and joined Kas team. Ka knowingly encouraged the new sakh to play


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and kept him on His team. r Ka was defeated by rdma and Pralambsura by Balarma. According to the rules, rdma sat on r Kas shoulders and Balarma on Pralambsuras. Ka made His way towards the appointed place, but the wicked Pralambsura ran instead to a place that was deep and isolated. After some time he assumed his hideous rkasa form. Kasa had instructed him to kill Baladeva before killing Ka. At first, Baladeva Prabhu was uncertain about what to do but, upon receiving a clue from Ka, He split the head of the demon with one blow of His fist. Pralambsura vomited blood and collapsed to the earth. When Ka and the sakhs arrived there, they embraced Balarma and praised His strength and fortitude. The following pastime also took place at Akayavaa. One day, rmat Rdhik, the sakhs and r Ka were playing together here. The sakhs said to Ka, Pra-vallabha, You always boast


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that You have defeated even expert wrestlers. But why is it that rdma defeated You? r Ka answered, That is entirely untrue. No one in the whole universe can defeat Me. I have never been defeated by rdma. Rdhik replied, If that is so, then we gops are ready to wrestle with You. If You defeat us, then we will understand that You are the topmost wrestler. The gops dressed themselves as wrestlers and rmat Rdhik wrestled with Ka, easily defeating Him. The sakhs clapped their hands and praised Her. Since r Ka and the sakhs wrestled and performed physical exercise here, the village near Akayavaa is called Kraa. The word kraa means kasrat karn, or to perform physical exercise. It also means kut karn, or to wrestle. When the ancient banyan tree that stood here disappeared, a new one was planted in its place. Note that the Bhravaa situated in Bhravana is a different pastime place on the other side of the Yamun.

giyr-gaon (r) The village of giyr is situated two miles south-west of the village of Kraa. It is located in the middle of Mujav, where Ka used to take the cows to pasture. Once, Ka was playing with the sakhs in the shade of Bhravaa. Nearby, the cows drank water from the Yamun and began to graze on the lush, green grass in the fields. In doing so, they gradually wandered off to Mujav some distance away. It was a summer day, and the scorching heat was drying up the muja7 plants and baking the sand on the ground. The cows had roamed off without Ka, and they now entered this muja forest, which was devoid of water and shade. This Mujav was so dense that they lost track of the path by which they had come. Overwhelmed with thirst and heat, the cows became restless. In their search for the cows, the sakhs had also left Ka and Balarma and, entering Mujav, they too became agitated by 457

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Muja grass
thirst and heat. It was then that the followers of the wicked Kasa set Mujavana on fire. Within a moment, the wind had spread the fire everywhere, so that it surrounded the cows and the cowherd boys. Seeing no other means of escape, they began to cry out to Ka and Baladeva who heard their call and immediately went to them. Close your eyes for just a moment, Ka told them, and in that moment He swallowed the terrible forest fire. Upon opening their eyes, the sakhs saw that they were now standing with Ka and Baladeva in the cooling shade of Bhravaa, the cows peacefully lying nearby chewing their cud. The jva suffering in the forest fire of material existence can similarly be easily delivered from this suffering simply by taking shelter of Ka. Another name for Mujav is ikav. On the other side of the Yamun is the village of Bhra.


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

Tapovana Tapovana is situated on the bank of the Yamun one mile east of Akayavaa. Here, the young gops prayed for the fulfilment of their desire to have r Ka as their husband. It is said that in their previous birth, these gops were the sages in the forest of Daakraya who were absorbed in austerities with the desire to attain r Ka. By the mercy of r Rmacandra, in Dvparayuga they took birth from the womb of gops. The princesses of Janakapur are also counted in this group. Like St, they had wanted to marry r Rmacandra, and therefore, by His mercy, they took birth as gops in Vraja at the end of Dvpara-yuga. This Tapovana is where these young gops performed worship to attain r Ka.

The Yamun at Tapovana


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Lalit, Vikh and other eternally liberated gops are direct bodily expansions (kya-vyha) of rmat Rdhik, r Kas internal energy; therefore, there is no need for them to perform any austerity.

Gop-gha This place is called Gop-gha because here the aforementioned gops used to bathe in the Yamun. C ra-gha This pastime place lies two miles west of Akayavaa. The young gops had worshipped Ktyyan-dev regularly for one month, observing all the vows to attain r Ka as their husband.8 At the end of their vow, r Ka, along with some priyanarma-sakhs stole the gops clothes and gave them the benediction


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

The deity of Ktyyan-dev

that their desire would be fulfilled. The temple of Ktyyan-dev is situated here on the bank of the Yamun. The present name of this village is Siyro.

Nanda-gha Nanda-gha is situated two miles south of Gop-gha and one mile south-east of Akayavaa. Once, Mahrja Nanda performed an Ekda-vrata and took his bath here on Dvda night. This was an inauspicious time to bathe, and therefore the servants of Varua captured him and brought him before their master. News of Mahrja Nandas disappearance in the Yamun so distressed the Vrajavss that, upon seeing their crying, r Ka and Balarma went to Varualoka to look for him. When Varuadeva saw Ka before him, he offered prayers to Ka and glorified Him. He then presented Him with gifts of various ornaments made of pearls, jewels and precious 461

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stones. He begged Ka to forgive him for arresting Nanda Bb. When r Ka returned with His father, they met again with the Vrajavss at this place. Once, in a discussion on the scriptures, Jva Gosvm defeated a digvijay paita, a scholar who is victorious in debate all over the world. This scholar had wanted to edit the writings of r Rpa Gosvm, but the young Jva Gosvm was unable to tolerate this and defeated him at the Yamun in Vndvana. The scholar then approached rla Rpa Gosvm to find out who this boy was, greatly praising the boys erudition. With great humility, rla Rpa Gosvm said, He is my brothers son as well as my disciple. Understanding that Jva had debated with the scholar, rla Rpa Gosvm addressed Jva as soon as the scholar had gone: Jva, could you not even tolerate an event as insignificant as this? Since you desire prestige, please leave this place at once.


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

The location of Jva Gosvms cave

Dejected upon hearing the harsh disciplinary words of rla Rpa Gosvm, Jva Gosvm left Vndvana for Nanda-gha. There, on the bank of the Yamun, in a dense and desolate forest, he lived in a crocodile hole. He maintained his life here somehow or other with great difficulty. Feeling intense separation from his Gurudeva, sometimes he would drink flour mixed with water, and sometimes he would just fast. His body gradually dried up and became very thin. At that time, on the pretext of performing parikram of Vraja, rla Santana Gosvm came to Nanda-gha. He heard from the mouths of the Vrajavss the abundant glories of the young Bengali sdhu and his severe austerities. He went to Jva Gosvm, consoled him, and took him back to Vndvana. rla Santana Gosvm then went alone to meet with Rpa Gosvm, leaving Jva in his bhajana-ku. At that time, rla Rpa Gosvm was speaking to a group of Vaiavas about bestowing mercy upon the jvas. Midway through this discussion, rla Santana Gosvm


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asked, You are instructing others to show mercy to the jvas, but why are you not showing mercy to Jva himself? rla Rpa Gosvm understood the hidden meaning behind the enigmatic words of his elder brother and spiritual master, and called for r Jva. He saw to it that Jva received medical care and engaged him in his service once again. It was while he was living at Nanda-gha that r Jva Gosvm composed his famous work known as the ad-sandarbhas. Even today, the place where Jva Gosvm lived is known as Jva Gosvms cave.

Bhaiy (Bhaya-gaon) Seeing the servants of Varua, r Nanda Mahrja became fearful (bhaya-bhta). In memory of this, Vajranbha named this village Bhaya-gaon. This village lies close to Nanda-gha. Ggral Ggral is situated two miles south and slightly east of Cragha. It also lies two miles north of Bhaya-gaon. Vatsavana (Basa-gaon) Vatsavana lies four miles south-west of Nanda-gha. Because Brahm stole the cows and cowherd boys here, it is known as Vatsavana or Bacchavana. The names of this place derive from the words vatsa and bach, which both mean calf. The present name of the village is Basa-gaon. Places of darana here are the temple of r Vatsa-bihrj, the place of Gvla Maal, Gvla-kua, Haribol-trtha and r Vallabhcryas sitting-place (baihaka). Once, while r Ka and the cowherd boys were grazing the calves on the bank of the Yamun the calves came to this forest. Ka and the sakhs played all kinds of games in the soft sand of the Yamun. Four-headed Brahm had been astonished to see Aghsuras soul enter Kas lotus feet and become liberated. Desiring to see more of Bhagavn r Kas sweet pastimes, he stole the calves when they entered this forest and hid them in a cave. 464

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Walking towards Vatsavana ( far left)

Ka and the cowherd boys became filled with anxiety upon noticing that the calves were nowhere to be seen. Leaving the sakhs here, Ka went out alone to search for the calves. Unable to find them, He returned to the bank of the Yamun where He had left his sakhs. In Kas absence, Brahm had also hidden away the sakhs. r Ka is all-powerful and full in the six opulences9 and He therefore understood Brahms actions. Personally assuming forms identical to His calves and cowherd boys, including their sticks, clothes, flutes, horns and so forth, He continued His pastimes as before. This went on for one year. Even Baladeva could not understand the mystery of what had occurred. Finally, after one year, Baladeva, who had observed some extraordinary occurrence, was able to understand that Ka had expanded Himself as the cows and cowherd boys and was performing a pastime. At that same time, Brahm was amazed to see that the


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same calves and cowherd boys that he had put to sleep in a cave were now performing pastimes with Ka just like before. He was completely astonished. r Ka then removed Yogamys curtain of bewilderment. When Brahm realized the supreme godliness (bhagavatt) of r Ka and saw His astounding activities, he offered prostrated obeisances at His lotus feet and began to recite prayers and glorify Him.10 Brahm prayed to take birth in VrajaGokula and to bathe in its dust.

Un (Jan-gaon) Un lies one-and-a-half miles south of Bjan. This is where Brahm became bewildered upon seeing Ka sitting and eating with his sakhs. In the end, Ka kindly removed Brahms bewilderment and revealed Himself to him. At that time, Brahm saw the whole universe as kamaya, or filled with Ka. Therefore, this place is called Jan-gaon, which is derived from the verb jnn meaning to know or to understand. Blahr It was here that Brahm stole away the cowherd boys. This place is therefore called Blahr. Bla means boy, and harn means to steal. Parkhama This place is situated one mile west of Jan-gaon. Seeing Ka and the sakhs sitting and eating together, Brahm wanted to test His bhagavatt, or quality of being God. This place is therefore known as Parkhama, from the verb park karn, meaning to test. Se
Se is situated one-and-a-half miles south-east of Parkhama and four miles from Pasaul. Brahmj, bewildered by Kas illusory energy, stole the cowherd boys and the calves and hid them in a


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

secret place. However, when he returned after one year, he saw that Ka and the cowherd boys were tending the calves just as before. At that time, he began to wonder if the cowherd boys and calves that he had hidden in the cave were still there (se ). When he saw that they were indeed still there, he doubted that they were with Ka. Ky se? Are they there?, he wondered. By Brahms saying se over and over again in this way, this place became known as Se. Seeing the cowherd boys and the calves together with Ka as before, Brahm ascertained (se ), This Ka is definitely the Supreme Lord Himself.

Caum Being fearful, Brahm repented and praised r Ka with his four mouths (cr mkh) at this place; therefore, this village is called Caumuh. It lies on the MathurDelhi highway one mile west of Parkhama and approximately eight miles from Mathur. One mile from Caumuh is a very beautiful village named Ajha, where one can have darana of an ancient deity of Brahm. Today, Caumuh is simply known as Caum. Bhakti-ratnkara affirms:
caumuh grme brahm si kape karaye ka stuti aea viee
Brahm offered prayers to Ka in Caumuh-grma.

Pasaul This place is also called Sapaul, Aghavana and Sarpasthal. Here, r Ka killed and delivered Aghsura, who had assumed the form of a python. Pasaul lies two miles north-west of Parkhama. Once, Ka and the cowherd boys came to this forest while grazing the cows. Aghsura, the embodiment of sin (agha), came here intent on avenging his sister Ptans death. Taking the form of an enormous and fearsome python, he lay on the road, his lower jaw on the ground and his upper jaw touching the sky. His mouth looked like a cave and his tongue like the road entering 467

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it. The cowherd boys and the calves casually entered his mouth. But he did not close his mouth because he was specifically intent on swallowing Ka. Ka, however, remained behind. From a distance, He had signalled to the cowherd boys to not enter Aghas mouth, but they had fearlessly entered nonetheless, having not the slightest doubt about r Kas power to protect them. To rescue the sakhs, r Ka now also entered Aghas mouth, which thereupon closed. r Ka became an obstacle in Aghas throat by expanding His body so much that Aghas breathing stopped and he choked. The demon thus suffocated. Within a short time, the opening at the top of his skull burst open and a light came out and ascended into the sky. r Ka then glanced over the cowherd boys and calves, bringing them back to life. They all emerged from Aghsuras mouth. Brahm and other demigods saw the light enter Kas lotus feet. After Ka delivered Aghsura, He returned with the cowherd boys to Vndvana.

Jainta After the killing of Aghsura, the sound of the demigods calling out, Let there be all victory to Bhagavn r Ka, all victory! reverberated throughout the sky and the nearby forest area. In great joy, the cowherd boys joined in, and the tumultuous sound of All victory, all victory! filled the sky.11 This place is known as Jainta because it carries the memory of r Kas victory over Aghsura. Jaya means victory. There is a pond here with a statue of a snake constructed in such a way that it is always visible above the water, no matter how high the water is in the pond. This place is situated three miles from Chakar. Seyno The present name of this place is Sihon. Upon receiving the news of Aghsuras death, the old gopas and gops glorified Ka


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

again and again saying, Ka seyno hoya gayo hai, seyno hoya gayo hai Ka is so clever, He is so clever. Seyno means clever or strong, and thus Mahrja Vajranbha named this place Seyno-gaon. This place lies two miles from Ajha. One can have darana here of the deities of the four Kumras Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanata and Santana.

Taraul This village is situated two miles north-west of Basol, one mile east and a little north of the village of ymar, and one mile east of Baraul. Baraul The villages of Taraul and Baraul lie side by side. They are both places of Kas pastimes. Phara-gaon lies on the road leaving from Baraul. Tamlavana and Ka-kua-l Surrounded by a dense forest of tamla trees, this is a place where r Rdh-Ka met and became immersed in nectar-filled loving pastimes. One time, rasika-bihr r Ka met with Rdh and the sakhs in this tamla-kuja. Many kinds of creepers and vines had wound themselves around the tamla trees, embracing them, and had spread over the trees to create a truly exquisite kuja. r Ka pointed to one creeper and asked Priyj, Why is this creeper winding itself around the tamla tree? rmat Rdhik smilingly answered, It is the nature of the creeper to cover the tamla tree with its shoots, leaves and flowers. Although this tree has no fruit or flowers of its own, its fortune is that the creeper enhances the trees beauty with its own leaves and flowers. Just then, a breeze caused the creeper to quiver, the sight of which immersed Kiora-Kior in the ecstatic mood of meeting. This Tamlavana is still present as a reminder of these pastimes.


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asa Only the Vrajavss are qualified to take darana of and fully relish Kas sweet pastimes, which are filled with topmost bliss. Nonetheless, the four-headed Brahm, Mahdeva akara, Devari Nrada and many great saints and sages reside in numerous pastime places in Vrajabhmi, worshipping the Supreme Lord r Ka. This place, called asa-gaon, is Aavakra Munis place of worship. asa is the corrupted form of the word aavakra. This village lies four miles from Jan-gaon and six miles from Vndvana. Dev-asa This village is situated one mile from asa, and is the place of Ekna-dev, Kas twin sister born from Yaods womb. Vasudeva took her with him from Gokula to Kasas jail. When Kasa received the news that Devak had given birth to a child, he went to the jail. He snatched Ekna from Devaks lap and lifted her toward the sky in order to dash her on the ground. When she was lifted into the air, she assumed an eight-armed Durg form, chastised Kasa, and disappeared in the sky. She then reappeared at this place. Vajranbha established this village in the memory of this pastime. Magher When Ka and Baladeva were seated on Akrras chariot as he was driving Them from Vraja to Mathur, the distressed Vrajavss became overwhelmed in separation from Them. Their eyes remained fixed on the road as they saw the dust kicked up by the leaving chariot, and they maintained that same gaze even after the dust had settled back down again. In the memory of this pastime, Vajranbha named this village Magher. This name comes from mag her, which means gazing in the direction of the road.


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

akaroy Indra, the king of the demigods, had committed an offence at the lotus feet of r Ka and the Vrajavss, and was therefore an offender. He worshipped r Ka at this place to seek for forgiveness. One name of Indra is akra, from which the name akaroy is derived. Indras place of worship thus became known as akaroy. Barhara At the time of cow herding, r Ka played here with the sakhs and assumed the form of Varha. This village lies one mile south-west of Hjar-gaon, and its present name is Barr. Bhakti-ratnkara states:
e barhara grme varharpe te khell kapriy sakhra sahite
Here in Barhara, Ka assumed the form of Varha and played with His dear sakhs.

Hrsal Hrsal a place of r Kas rsa-ll. Nearby is Surukhurgaon. One-and-a-half miles north-east of Se are the two villages of M and Bas. Bas lies north-east of M.


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sakhy krasamudbhta ratnkara-sarovare nn prakra-ratnnm udbhave varade nama

Nrada Pacartra

ajapure samkhyte subhnurgopa sasthita devadnti vikhyt gopin nimiasut tayo sut samutpann vikh nma virut
Krma Pura

The modern enactment of Rdh and Kas pastimes that takes place at Skar-khor in Varsn. This was inaugurated by r Nryaa Bhaa Gosvm. Actually, Rdh and Kas pastimes are never bh, old, but are ever fresh. yasya rmac-caraa-kamale komale komalpi r-rdhoccair nija-sukha-kte sannayant kucgre bht py rdatha na hi dadhtay asya krkaaya-dota sa r-gohe prathayatu sad eay sthiti na dvau msau tatra cvtsn madhu mdhavam eva ca rma kapsu bhagavn gopn ratim vahan
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.65.17)

tataca paytra vasantaveau r-rma-kau vraja-sundarbhi vikratu sva sva ythevarbhi sama rasajau kala dhauta maitau ntyanatau gopbhi srdha gyantau rasabhvitau gyantbhica rmbhir ntyantbhica obhitau
r Murri Guptas r Ka Caitanya-carita

A type of tall rush or grass (of the fibers of which ropes are made). Elephant grass.


Kokilv ana & Other Pastime Places

ktyyani mah-mye mah-yoginy adhvari nanda-gopa-suta devi pati me kuru te nama eva msa vrata ceru kumrya ka-cetasa bhadra-kl samanarcur bhyn nanda-suta pati
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.22.45)

He has full strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty and renunciation. naumya te bhra-vapue taid-ambarya gujvatasa-paripiccha-lasan-mukhya vanya-sraje kavala-vetra-via-veulakma-riye mdu-pade paupgajya
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.14.1)


O Lord, You are fit to receive the worship of the entire universe. O son of the king of cowherds, Your transcendental body is dark blue like a new cloud, Your garment is brilliant like lightning, and the beauty of Your face is enhanced by Your guja earrings and the peacock feather on Your head. Wearing garlands of various forest flowers and leaves, and equipped with a herding stick, a buffalo horn, a flute, and a morsel of grain mixed with yoghurt in Your hand, You are most attractive. Your lotus feet are very soft. I offer my prayers unto You.

tato tih sva-kto ktrhaa pupai sug apsarasa ca nartanai gtai sur vdya-dhar ca vdyakai stavai ca vipr jaya nisvanair ga
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.12.34)


bhadrya bhadrrpya sad kalya-varddhane amagalacchide tasmai namo bhadrvanya ca Bhaviya Pura (Uttara-khaa)

O Bhadravana, personification of auspiciousness. You perpetually bestow auspiciousness upon all and destroy inauspiciousness. I repeatedly offer my respects unto you.

Bhadravana & Bhravana

his pastime place, situated two miles south-east of Nanda-gha and across the Yamun, is one of the places where r Ka and r Balarma go to graze the cows. The forest of Bhadravana is named after r Balabhadra (Balarma). Places of darana here are Bhadra-sarovara and Gocraa-sthala.

yaja-snna svarpya rjykhaa-prade trtharja namas-tubhya bhadrkhya sarase nama Bhaviya Pura (Uttara-khaa)
O Bhadra-sarovara, O Trtharja, my greetings to you. You are the personification of sacrifices (yajas), and you bestow that post that is never destroyed (akhaa rjyapada).


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That person who bathes in this sarovara obtains unlimited wealth and enjoyment, and is finally successful in attaining premabhakti to r Ka and r Baladeva.

hravana, where r Ka performed a variety of sweet pastimes, is prominent among the twelve forests. In this forest there are many pastime places to visit, such as Bhnravaa, Veu-kpa, Rsa-sthal Vavaa, the place of wrestling, the temple of rdma, yma-talaiy, Chher-gaon and giyr-gaon. That place where all kinds of tattva-jna fully manifest and where pastimes that are filled with opulence (aivarya) and sweetness (madhurya) manifest is called Bhravana. Some of these pastime places are described here.

Bh ravaa This vaa (banyan) tree is famous in Bhravana as the site of many different pastimes of r Rdh-Ka Yugala. At the time of r Kas manifest pastimes ( prakaa-ll), a huge banyan tree stood here full of long branches that spread in all directions. Nearby, r Yamun made a sweet sound as she followed her meandering course. r Ka, Baladeva and the sakhs would cross the river by walking on the branches of this tree. Male and female parrots, peacocks, peahens, cuckoos and paphs were always sitting singing on the trees profuse branches. They remained satisfied by eating its fruit. Deer, does and other forest animals drank the sweet water of the Yamun and took rest in the cool, pleasant shade of the banyan tree. 478

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Parikram around Bhravaa

It was mostly to this Bhravaa that Mother Yaod and the mothers of the other cowherd boys used to send lunch with some gopas for their respective sons. While grazing the cows, r Ka, Baladeva and the sakhs used to have the cows drink the water in the Yamun and then freely graze on the lush, green grass of the forest. The boys themselves bathed and engaged in water sports in the Yamuns cool water. They would then sit in the shade under


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this banyan tree and eat the various tasty preparations sent by their mothers. r Ka sat in the midst of them all, and the sakhs would sit around Him in thousands of rows that extended here and there. Each and every sakh, even if sitting at the back or far away, experienced that r Ka was sitting right in front of him. Their eating was accompanied by laughing and joking, and they would play various games together. Brahm and other demigods in the sky became astonished to see their festive and joyful picnics. Brahm performed the gndharva 1 marriage of r RdhKa Yugala beneath this banyan tree. According to the Gargasahit and Gta-govinda, Nanda Bb once took r Ka to Bhravana to graze the cows. This forest was very attractively covered with the dense foliage of the tamla and kadamba trees and the lush creepers, and therefore it was only lit by scant sunrays. Suddenly, black clouds gathered from all directions and a raging rainstorm developed. Darkness pervaded. Nanda Bb became frightened of the bad omen and carefully hid Kanhaiy on his lap. At that moment, the extraordinarily beautiful daughter of Vabhnu Mahrja, r Rdhik, appeared there in the form of a young girl. She held Her hands out to Nanda Bb, indicating that She wanted to take Ka with Her. The astonished Nanda Bb gave r Ka to Her. Rdhik then took Ka to the inner part of Bhravana under the shelter of Bhravaa. Here r Ka manifested Himself as manmatha-manmatha kiora, a beautiful youth who bewilders even the mind of Cupid. Meawhile, Lalit, Vikh and the other sakhs also appeared here with Caturmukha Brahm. Knowing the desire of Kiora-Kior, Brahm performed Their gndharva wedding by reciting Vedic mantras. rmat Rdhik and r Ka exchanged beautiful flower garlands. The delighted sakhs sang wedding songs as the demigods showered flowers from the sky. While everyone looked on, Brahm left that place. The sakhs also disappeared, and Ka again assumed the form of a small boy. rmat Rdhik took Ka


Bhadravana & Bhravana

In remembrance of the gndharva marriage

by hand and returned to Nanda Bb, who was standing waiting for Him. Meanwhile, the clouds dispersed and the storm abated. Nanda Bb now returned with Ka to his Nanda-Vraja. The following incident also took place here in Bhravana. One summers day, r Ka and the sakhs brought the cows to drink water at the Yamun and then let them graze freely. The boys became so absorbed in their delightful picnic that they were unaware that their cows had wandered off. The cows made their way to the completely parched Mujavana, through which even elephants could not force their way. It was the month of Jeha (MayJune), and the blazing sun scorched the sand. The cows could not find shade anywhere, and had forgotten the pathway out of this wild muja forest. Dying of thirst, they began to cry out in distress. The sakhs went to look for the cows without telling Ka and Baladeva where they were going. Finally, they too arrived at


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the muja forest in the same dire condition as that of the cows. Meanwhile, the servants of the wicked Kasa set Mujavana on fire, and within a moment the wind had spread it everywhere. The fires blazing flames surrounded the cows and cowherd boys, who saw no other means of rescue than to call out to Ka. They did so, and r Ka arrived immediately. Telling the sakhs to close their eyes, He swallowed the forest-fire within a second. Upon opening their eyes, the sakhs saw that they were again under the cooling shade of Bhravaa, immersed in festive eating pastimes with Ka and Baladeva, the cows grazing peacefully nearby. The distress of the forest-fire seemed like a dream. The place where r Ka swallowed the forest fire is called Mujav or ikav, and in its middle is Agiyr. We have already described this earlier. The place where Ka and the sakhs had festive picnics, and where, after Ka swallowed the forest-fire, the sakhs again began to joke and laugh while eating and the cows happily chewed grass is called Bhravaa. These pastimes are described in rmad-Bhgavatam (10.19.12): tatheti mlitkeu bhagavn agnim ulbaam ptv mukhena tna kcchrd yogdho vyamocayat
Okay, the boys said, and closed their eyes. Then Bhagavn, the controller of all mystic power, swallowed the terrible fire, thus saving the sakhs from the danger.

Veu-kpa After killing Vatssura, r Ka met the gops near Bhravaa and boasted His strength. The gops accused Ka of killing a cow and forbade Him to touch them. Ka said, I did not kill a cow but a demon in the form of a calf. The gops, however, did not accept this. Ka then inquired how His purity could be restored, and the gops answered, If You bathe in all the sacred rivers and ponds on the earth, You will again become pure and can touch us. After hearing the words of the gops, Ka 482

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created a beautiful well (kpa) with His flute (veu) and summoned all of the earths sacred places to enter it. He bathed in that well and then met with the gops. This well, known as Veu-kpa, is situated near Bhravaa. By bathing in it, one obtains the same result as by taking bath at each and every sacred place. Even today, the women of Vraja worship this well on certain occasions. Those who do not have a child or whose child has died untimely make a vow to propitiate the deity here by their worship. Their hearts desires are then fulfilled.

The temple of r Baladeva r Balabhadra, His younger brother Kanhaiy and the sakhs used to come to Bhravana to pasture the cows. r Balabhadra presides over the forests on the east side of the Yamun, like 483

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Bhadravana, Bhravana, Baelvana, Gokula-Mahvana and Lohavana. Therefore, all these places have temples of r Baladeva. It is recommended that one visit the temple of Baladeva in Bhravana.

Chher-gaon The village located between Bhravaa and Vavaa is called Chher-gaon. After playing with the sakhs in Bhravana, r Ka and His friends used to come here, sit in the shade underneath the trees, and enjoy their meals with much joy and laughter. The name Chher is derived from the word chy, which means shade or shadow. This village is also called Bijaul. Rsa-sthal Vavaa r Kas place of rsa at Vavaa is situated a short distance from Bhravaa. This Vavaa is a different place from the Vavaa in Vndvana. At the time of cow herding, r Ka would climb this banyan tree and play His flute to call the cows. In this way, He would gather them and bring them all back home. Sometimes, on a beautiful, pleasant night, He would also call His beloved gops from here Rdhik, Lalit, Vikh! Upon their arrival, rsa-ll would unfold under this Vavaa. The temple of rdma Beneath this Vavaa is the temple of rdma Bhaiy. When r Ka went to Mathur, rdma Sakh was heart-broken. He went to this solitary Vavaa, where he remembered r Kas sweet pastimes, filling his heart with sorrow. Many days later, when r Ka returned to Gokula after killing Dantavakra, He again met with rdma here and took rdma with Him. One can have darana of rdma in the temple here.


Bhadravana & Bhravana

yma-talaiy This pond (talaiy) is situated near Vaivaa. When the gops became thirsty during rsa, r ymasundara made this pond with His flute and satisfied all the gops with its luscious water. Nowadays, this pond lies in a completely dilapidated condition with very little water, but still, people take camana here with faith.



In India, the parents generally select the husband or wife for their daughter or son. The gndharva marriage, however, takes place by personal selection. In a gndharva wedding, there is no lengthy ceremony. The bride and groom need only exchange garlands and simple marriage vows.


Mavana is one of the main It is a wide and spacious area on the bank of the Yamun. K a and Balabhadra forests of Vraja-maala.

in this enchanting forest full of lush trees and creepers, green grass and untold varieties of fruits and flowers.

would bring the cows to graze


avana is one of the main forests of Vrajamaala. It is a wide and spacious area on the bank of the Yamun. Ka and Balabhadra would bring the cows to graze in this enchanting forest full of lush trees and creepers, green grass and untold varieties of fruits and flowers. The many pastimes places here include Ma or Ma-gaon, Ka-kua, gol-gaon, Mna-sarovara, and Pn-gaon.

Ma-gaon The word ma refers to a large earthen pot meant for churning yoghurt and other household chores. During Kas pastimes, these pots were made here and used by the Vrajavss in their daily household work; hence the village is known as Ma. It lies two miles south of Bhravaa and five miles north of Vndvana on the other side of the Yamun. The land in Mavana is for


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cow grazing, and there is a famous temple of Baladeva here. In Bhakti-ratnkara, Ma-gaon is described as follows: e mhagrma mah nanda ekhne nn kr kare rmaka sakhsane mttika-nirmita bhat ptra mha nma mhotpatti-prasasta-e hetu mha grma dadhimanthandi lgi vrajavsgaa layena asakhya mha aise sabe kana
In Mha-grma, Rma and Ka played with their sakhs. This place is so named after the huge earthen vessel called a mha, which the Vrajavss would use to churn their buttermilk from yoghurt.

Pn-gaon This village is situated on the bank of the Yamun two miles south of Mna-sarovara and a quarter of a mile south-east of Vndvana. It is also known as Pn-gha. At the time of Kas pastimes, Mahari Durvs stayed at his hermitage (rama) near Pn-gaon. Once, the gops of Vndvana wanted to please Mahari Durvs with a large selection of very delicious food preparations, which they were going to carry from Vndvana across the Yamun to his rama. Yamun was in flood due to the monsoon season, and her waves were so high that no boatman was courageous enough to ferry the gops across the river. Suddenly, Ka appeared and smiling, asked them why they were in anxiety. The gops told Him about their dilemma. Ka said, You can easily cross the river. Go to the bank of the Yamun and tell to her in unison, If Ka has not seen the face of any woman, then, on the strength of His firm vow of celibacy, may we easily cross the river on foot. The gops did as Ka had told them and crossed the river on foot, arriving at Mahari Durvss rama with all their foodstuffs. There, the hundreds and thousands of gops pleased Durvs with a vast spread of 490

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delicious foods. Being satisfied, he blessed them that their hearts desires would be fulfilled. When they were ready to return, they told Mahari Durvs the difficulty they faced in crossing the river. He said, Tell Yamun, If Durvs has not eaten any cooked food during his whole life, then, on the strength of his austerities, may we cross over to Vndvana on foot. They did so and reached Vndvana by walking upon the Yamuns waters. The gops were greatly astonished that they had been able to cross the Yamun on foot on the strength of Ka and Mahari Durvss declarations. r Ka had been in the company of women since birth and Mahari Durvs had devoured everything they had just brought him. They enquired from r Ka about this mystery. Very seriously, He replied, Although I stay with all of you day and night, My vow of celibacy nonetheless remains intact, because I do not think Myself as the enjoyer. Durvs is also free from this identification; therefore, although he has eaten everything, he has eaten nothing. A person who thinks himself to be the enjoyer is strongly attached to this material existence. The gops looked at Ka in great astonishment. That place where the gops crossed the Yamun is called Pn-gaon or Pn-gha.

Ka-kua This pond is situated in Ggral-gaon, which lies between Ma and Baelvana. r Ka, the sakhs and the cows would drink water here and delight in playful games in the water. Mna-sarovara At the time of the autumnal (radya) rsa, rmat Rdhik saw Her beloved Ka dancing on the bank of the Yamun with the other gops. This threw Her into a sulky mood (mna) that was very difficult to subdue. She left the place of rsa on Her own, crossed the Yamun, and came to this solitary forest. Distressed in separation from Ka, She began to cry, and the stream of 491

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tears that flowed from Her eyes created this lake, or sarovara. r Ka, the topmost relisher of transcendental mellows, searched for rmatj and found Her here. Placing His flute and His head at Her lotus feet, r Ka admitted His fault and assured Her that He would never act like that again. This charming place in Vraja is embellished by the dense shade of the pl, kadamba and tamla trees and by the peacocks, cuckoos, swans, deer and other birds and animals. It remains visible to our eyes to this present day so as to remind us of the pastimes of the Divine Couple, r Rdh-Ka. In the old temple on the bank of Mna-sarovara, a painting is worshipped of r Ka offering His flute and His head at the lotus feet of rmat Rdhik in an effort to break Her mna. r Ka is looking at Her as if to say, smara-garala-khaana mama irasi maanam dehi pada-pallavam udram the beautiful flower


Mav ana

Kuja in Mna-sarovara

Mna-sarovara temple


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The painting in the temple of Mna-sarovara


Mav ana

Hari-kath outside the temple of Mna-sarovara

blossoms of Your feet counteract the deadly poison of amorous love, and they extinguish the fearsome fire of the pain of that love, which rages within My heart. Therefore, please be kind and decorate My head with Your flower-like feet. 1


From r Jayadeva Gosvms Gtagovinda (Song 19, verse 8).


tapa siddhi pradyaiva namo bilvavanya ca

janrdana namastubhya bilveya namostu te Bhaviya Pura (Uttara-khaa)

O Bilvavana, bestower of the down to you. O Janrdana, O master of Bilvavana, obeisances unto You. perfection of austerities. I bow

Baelvana & Lohavana

Baelv ana
his forest is called Baelvana because, during Kas manifest pastimes, there was an abundance of bael (bilva) trees here. While grazing the cows in this most captivating and pleasant forest, r Ka and His sakhs would play different kinds of sports and relish the ripe bael fruits. This is described in Bhaktiratnkara: rmaka sakh saha e bilvavanete pakka bilvaphala bhuje mahkautukete
It was here that Rma and Ka along with their sakhs ate ripe bilva fruits with great festivity.

Once, r Lakm heard a description from the mouth of Nrada about Vrajendra-nandana r Kas sweet rsa-ll and the good fortune of the gops. An eagerness to behold this rsall arose in her heart. No one but the gops has the qualification


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r Lakm
to enter rsa-ll, since they are the true emblem of undivided and pure prema. It is only possible to gain entrance into rsa-ll by receiving the mercy of rmat Rdhik, the embodiment of mahbhva and the crest jewel of all Kas beloveds, and by the mercy of Her true representatives, the gops. At that time, one can gain entrance very easily. Thus, to enter the rsa-ll Lakm began performing severe austerities at this place, but to no avail. To this day, she is performing austerities here with this desire. In rmad-Bhgavatam 1 the wives of the serpent Klya refer to this pastime in their prayers to r Ka: Bhagavn, we are unable to understand what sdhana Klyanga performed that He became a proprietor of the dust of Your lotus feet. It is so rare to procure this dust that even Your wife r Lakm was unable to obtain it, even after giving up all sense-pleasures and performing austerities for a very long time in conformity with the prescribed rules and regulations. Just nearby are Ka-kua and a sitting-place (baihaka) of r Vallabhcrya. There is also a temple of r Lakm here.


his place lies just across the Yamun from Mathur, approximately two miles north-east of the MathurGokula highway. Bhakti-ratnkara describes Lohavana as follows: lohavane kera adbhuta-gocraa nnpupa sugandhe vypita ramyasthna eth lohajaghsure badhe bhagavn lohajaghavana nma hayata ihra
The forest of Lohavana is decorated with all varieties of trees and flowers and is one of the places where Ka pastures His cows. It is called Lohavana because, while grazing the cows here, r Ka killed Lohajaghsura.


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At a Yamun gha, Ka enjoyed boating-pastimes in the company of the gops. These pastimes has been beautifully described in Bhakti-ratnkara: yamun-nikae yi rnivse kaya e ghe ka nauk-kr rambhay se ati kautuka r sakhra sahite dugdhdi lay sena pra haite dekhi, se aprva obh ka mugdha hay eka bhite rahilena jra nauk lay r-rdhik sakhsaha kahe bre-bre pra kara nvika-yba ghra pre


Baelv ana & Lohav ana

Lohavana is a charming and delightful place adorned with attractive flowers of all kinds. Nearby, in the virtuous Yamun, r Ka performs boating-pastimes with the gops. Disguised as a boatman, He seats the beautiful young cowherd girls in His boat and takes them out into the middle of the Yamuns flowing waters. Then He says, My old dilapidated boat is leaking, and water is rushing in. Throw all your pots of milk and yoghurt overboard; otherwise, it will surely sink. The gops beg and beseech this boatman to quickly take them to the other side of the river.

This pastime place still lies here today, and concealed within it is Kas boating-pastime with the gops. One can also have darana of Ka-kua, Lohsuras cave and r Gopntha here.

Durvs rama This place lies across the Yamun one mile north of Virmagha in Mathur. It is Mahari Durvss place of austerities. It was from here that Durvs crossed the Yamun on Dvda and went to the palace of Ambara Mahrja in Mathur just when the king was due to break his Ekda fast. This pastime has been narrated in detail in rmad-Bhgavatam (Ninth Canto, Fourth Chapter). Just near the hermitage of Durvs was the rama of Mahari Parara. r Vysa and other sages and saints would visit Mahari Parara there. Close by, on the bank of Yamun, was the rama of Datttreya. The mother of r Vysadeva, Satyavat (also known as Matsyagandh), stayed here with her father, the boatman who had raised her. The island on which Ka-dvaipyana r Vedavysa took birth is nearby in the Yamun. At Durvs rama, the gops satisfied Mahari Durvs by offering him various kinds of delicious foodstuffs. Today a large and magnificent temple has been built here that is unique in Vraja.2 This temple has deities of Mahari Durvs, r Caitanya Mahprabhu, r Rdh-Ka and r Yamun-dev. 503

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The deities at Durvs rama

Durvs rama

Baelv ana & Lohav ana

yore-grma This village lies near Lohavana. During the Muslim rule, this village was named lpura, and is still known by this name today. When Ka had killed Dantavakra, He crossed the Yamun and started for Gokula, to meet with the Vrajavss His mother, father, sakhs, gopas and gops. They met Him at this place, crying out with great love, yore, yore, kanhaiy! He is coming, Kanhaiy is coming! Nanda Bbs and Yaods meeting with Ka brimmed with intense affection. This village therefore became known as yore. Bhakti-ratnkara describes this poignant scene:
ka dekhi dhya gopa nande vihvala yore yore bali kare kolhala miliy sabre ka, ka sabe laiy nijlaye il yamunpra hay hail paramnanda braje ghare-ghare prvamata sab-saha rka vihare yore baliy gopa yekhne milila yore nmete grma thatya hala

Gor (Gaurava, or Gorv-gaon, or Gorv) The village of Gor lies near yore-grma, three miles northeast of Gokula. Today, this village is known as Guru. Nanda Mahrja resided here for some days along with the other gopas and gops after they had returned from Kuruketra. Bhakti-ratnkara states that at the time of Kas pastimes there was a well-known village named hn in this very area, where an exceptionally wealthy landlord lived. He had a close, affectionate relationship with Nanda Mahrja. When Nanda Bb and the gopas and gops were journeying to Gokula, they arrived at this village. That landlord happily welcomed them with great honour and joy and accommodated them in his village for several days, serving them with much respect. This place has therefore become famous as


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Gaurava or Gorv, which is derived from the word gaurava den, meaning to give honour.

Band-nand A short distance to the south of Lohavana is the village of Band-nand. Band and nand were two heavenly damsels (devs) who would use the excuse of making cow-dung patties here at r Nanda Bbs place to get r Kas darana. The kuas of Band and nand are still present today in memory of these two devs.

Band and nand

Dj: the place of Baladeva The village of Dj is situated ten miles south of Ry and fifteen miles from Mathur. This village is originally called Rh, but is now known as Dj. In the temple here, there is an extremely attractive yma-complexioned deity of Dj. Revat-dev is also present here, but is hidden to the side of Dj behind the door. 506

Baelv ana & Lohav ana

The confidential reason why she is somewhat concealed is that r Djs marriage took place while He was residing in Dvrak and not while He was living in Vraja. Vajranbha established the deity of r Dj. Even though all the famous deities of Vraja left Vraja when the Yavanas (Muslims) invaded, Dj tricked them and remained here. It is said that this deity was found lying upside down in Krsgara (Sakaraa-kua) which is situated on the western side of this temple. Devoted persons took r Dj from the kua and built this temple, in which they duly seated and worshipped Him. The priests may have put the deity in the kua in fear of attack by the bigot Aurangzeb. Djs birth from the womb of Mother Rohi, eight days before the birth of r Ka, took place in Gokula-Mahvana. His name-giving ceremony, the ceremony held for the first shaving of

The deity of Dj

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Dj Temple
His head and other purificatory rites (saskras) were performed with those of baby Ka. Dj and Ka would also play and crawl around together. Rh or Dj-gaon was the pasturing ground for r Baladevas cows, being a forest area at the time of His manifest pastimes. This place is within Vidrumavana.


Baelv ana & Lohav ana

Dj and Revat-dev


kasynubhvo sya na deva vidmahe tavghri-reu-spardhikra yad-vchaya rr lalancarat tapo vihya kmn su-cira dhta-vrat
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.16.36)

[Editors endnote] This temple has been built by this books author, r rmad Bhaktivednta Nryaa Gosvm Mahrja. He is an intimate disciple of o viupda r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja, the founder of r Gauya Vednta Samiti, and he is completely dedicated to fulfilling his holy masters innermost desire.


The Yamun flows close by Bhadvana, or Mahvana. This forest is beautifully decorated with dif ferent kinds of trees, creepers lush, green meadows

and flowers, and there are for the cows to graze in. the Vrajavs gopas became very pleased and happily began to reside here. Beholding this beauty,

Mahvana-Gokula & Rval

ahvana is situated about six miles east of Mathur. It is also called Bhadvana, because it is the largest (bhad) of all the forests (vanas). In fact this forest has three names: Mahvana, Gokula and Bhadvana. This Gokula is nondifferent from Goloka.1 Parjanya Gopa, the father of Goparja Nanda Bb, initially resided at Nandagaon where he had five sons namely Upnanda, Abhinanda, Nanda, Sunanda and Nandana and two daughters named Sanand and Nandin. Also, while staying in Nandagaon he gave all his sons and daughters in marriage. His middle son, Nanda, had no offspring, which caused Parjanya Gopa great concern. He worshipped Nryaa in the hope that Nanda would father a child. By a voice in the sky, he came to know that a very brave son would soon be born to r Nanda. This son would possess all good qualities and annihilate every demon.


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Some time after this aerial prophecy, Ke and other demons began to cause a disturbance in Nandagaon. Parjanya Gopa together with his family and all of his relatives moved here to Bhadvana. The Yamun flows close by Bhadvana, or Mahvana. This forest is beautifully decorated with different kinds of trees, creepers and flowers, and there are lush, green meadows for the cows to graze in. Beholding this beauty, the Vrajavs gopas became very pleased and happily began to reside here. Yaod-maiy gave birth to the twins Ka Kanhaiy and Yogamy at midnight, in the delivery room at Nanda-bhavana in Mahvana. The umbilical cord was cut and other Vedic purificatory rituals were performed here. Ka killed the demons Ptan, Tvarta and akasura here, thus liberating them. Ka and Baladevas name-giving ceremony also took place at Mahvana, in the nearby cowshed ( gol) of Nanda Mahrja. It was here that Rma and Ka started to crawl on Their knees, that Mother Yaod tied the naughty baby Ka to a mortar, and that Ka delivered the

K a and Baladeva with Their mothers, Yaod and Rohin


Mahv ana-Gokula & Rv al

Yamala-arjuna trees. The childhood pastimes of Ka and Rma up to the age of two-and-a-half to three years took place here in Mahvana. These pastimes are briefly described further on.

The pastime places of Bhadvana, or Mahvana, are mentioned in the Brahma Pura as follows: In Mahvana, there are twenty-one sacred places (trthas), which are saturated with good qualities. They include Yamala-arjuna-uddhra-sthala, Nandakpa, Cintharaa-gha, Brahma-gha, Srasvata-kua, Sarasvat-il, Viu-kua, Kara-kpa, Ka-kua, Gopakpa, Ramaa-reti, Tvrta-badha-sthala, Ptan-badha-sthala, Nandas palace, Nanda-bhavana, Ramaa-gha and Mathur Ketra (the birthplace of Mathurntha, ea (Balarma) and Yogamy). Visiting Mathur Ketra dispels all ones sins and brings about all auspiciousness. 2 Both Vraja-bhakti-vilsa and Bhakti-ratnkara mention the following pastime places: the place where the Yamala-arjuna trees were delivered (Yamalrjuna-uddhra-sthala), the place where Ptan was killed (Ptan-badha-sthala), the place where the cart was broken (akaa-bhajana-sthna), Sapta-smudrika-kpa and Gopvara Mahdeva. Additionally, Vraja-bhakti-vilsa mentions r Nanda Temple, Yaods resting-place (Yaod-ayana-sthala), the place of the grinding mortar (Okhala-sthala), the birthplace of Yogamy (Yogamy-janma-sthala), Bla Gokulevara and Rohi Temple. Bhakti-ratnkara further mentions Kas birthplace ( Janma-sthna), the place where the sanctifying ceremonies took place at the time of Kas birth ( Janma-saskra-sthna), the cowshed ( gol), the place of the name-giving ceremony (Nmakaraa-sthna), Agni-saskra-sthala, Stanya-pna-sthala, the place where Tvarta was killed (Tvarta-badha-sthala), the place where Ka and Balarma crawled on Their knees, Brahma-gha, Yaodjs courtyard, the place where navanta,

The Pastime Places of Mahvana


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or the fresh butter, was stolen (Navanta-cor-sthala), the place where the Dmodara-ll took place (Dmodara-ll-sthala), r Santana Gosvms place of bhajana, the place of Madanamohanaj, Ramaa-ret, Gopa-kpa, the residences of Upnanda and the other gopas, the place of r Kas birth-ceremony and other ceremonies, Gopa-baihaka, the path to go to Vndvana (Vndvana-gamana-patha), Sakraul and so forth. We will now describe those places of darana that still remain visible today.

Danta-dhvana-l Nanda Mahrja would sit on this small hill (il) and clean his teeth (danta-dhvana) with a twig. Nanda Bbs residence Around the base of Danta-dhvana-l stood the residences of Nanda as well as those of his brothers and relatives. The ruins of these houses can still be seen today, even from a distance. Nanda-bhavana (Kas birthplace) The Supreme Lord r Ka and Yogamy took birth as twins from the womb of Mother Yaod in her room in Nandas palace. They were born at midnight on am (the eighth day after the full moon) in the month of Bhdra when the star (nakatra) known as Rohi was visible in the sky. One can take darana of Yogamy here. rmad-Bhgavatam vividly describes how the most fortunate Nanda Bb became very joyful upon receiving a son. After the ceremony known as ncheda-saskra had been performed, in which the umbilical cord is cut, baby Ka was bathed and so on. Nanda Bb then called the brhmaas to perform the various purificatory rituals and other rites of childbirth.3 r Raghupati Updyya says: In a world frightened by birth and death, some people take shelter of the rutis, some of the 518

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Smtis and some of the Mahbhrata. But I pay my homage to r Nandarya, in whose courtyard Parabrahma is playing as a child. 4


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Hari-kath in the courtyard of Nanda-bhavana


Mahv ana-Gokula & Rv al

The deities at Nanda-bhavana


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The place where Ptan was liberated (Ptan-uddhra-sthala) Ptan disguised herself as a mother, smeared her breasts with deadly poison, and came to this place in Nanda-bhavana. Directly in front of Yaod and Rohi, she was able to very easily pick up sleeping baby Ka from the cradle, put Him on her lap and begin to breast-feed Him. Ka sucked out the deadly poison together with her life, thus liberating her from the body of a rkas. He then gave her the position of a dhtr, a nurse or foster-mother, in Goloka. In a previous life, Ptan was Ratnaml, the daughter of Bali Mahrja. When, in the palace of her father, she beheld the beauty of Lord Vmanadeva, she desired to have a son just like Him. But when Vmanadeva took away everything from Bali Mahrja and bound him with a rope of snakes (ngapa), she began to cry. She thought, I would kill such a cruel son by feeding him breast milk mixed with poison. Knowing her desire, Lord Vmanadeva gave her this boon, saying, Evam astu so be it. r Ka therefore killed her in that form and gave Ptan her proper identity as a nurse.

A wall-painting of Ptan in Nanda-bhavana


Mahv ana-Gokula & Rv al

The place where the cart was broken (akaa-bhajana-sthna) Once, Ka was sleeping in a cradle under a cart while Mother Yaod busied herself with His birthday ceremony. Just then, an invisible demon who was sent by Kasa entered that cart and began to press it down with the intention of crushing and killing Ka. The naughty baby Ka, however, made a joyous cry and, with a kick of His foot, easily killed that demon. The cart collapsed and the pots that were filled with milk, yoghurt, butter and other ingredients shattered to pieces. Hearing the babys cry, Mother Yaod rushed to the scene and became struck with wonder. When she saw that her Ka was safe, she called for the brhmaas and donated many cows to them in charity. The brhmaas bathed Ka using the urine and dung of a black cow and recited Vedic mantras for His protection. To this day, the memories of this pastime remain present at this place. In his previous life, akasura was the son of the demon Hirayka. His name in that life was Utkaca and he was also a demon. Once, he trampled on and destroyed the lush, green trees and creepers in the sage Lomaas hermitage. The sage, filled with anger, cursed him, saying, Villain, may you become bodiless! Hearing this, Utkaca fell at the lotus feet of the sage begging forgiveness. The sage said, You will be liberated by the touch of Kas lotus feet during the reign of Vaivasvata Manu. That same demon was concealed within the cart and tried to crush Ka, but by the touch of Bhagavn r Kas lotus feet, he became liberated. This pastime is described in rmad-Bhgavatam (Tenth Canto, Chapter Seven). The place where Tvarta was killed (Tvarta-badha-sthala) Once, Kasa sent a demon named Tvarta to Gokula to kill Ka. Kasa had advised Tvarta to assume the form of a whirlwind and thus he entered Gokula. The demon seized Ka, 523

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who was sitting beside Mother Yaod, and flew into the sky. Baby Ka caught his neck as any baby might, but His doing so choked the demon. Tvartas eyes popped out from their sockets, and he fell to the earth and died.5

The place where yoghurt was churned (Dadhi-manthana-sthala) Yaod would churn yoghurt here. Once, during the last part of the night, baby Ka was sleeping on His bed. The previous day, Yaod-maiy had sent all of her servants and maidservants to their respective homes for the occasion of Dpval. In the morning, she churned the yoghurt herself, so she would be able to feed fresh butter to Ka. As she was churning, she absorbed herself in singing about Kas pastimes in a high and melodious voice. Kna awoke and, feeling hungry, climbed out of His bed and began to search for His mother. Crying and stumbling along with great difficulty, He somehow managed to reach Mother Yaod, who affectionately placed Him on her lap and began to breast-feed Him. When she was only midway through feeding Him, the milk on the fire nearby began to boil over. Mother Yaod forcefully put Ka on the floor and went to take care of the milk. Baby Ka had not yet drunk to His satisfaction and He began to quiver in uncontrollable anger. Taking up a stone pestle, He punched a hole in the churning pot and liquid yoghurt flowed all over the floor. Ka trampled through the stream of yoghurt before walking into the house and climbing upon an upside-down mortar. Taking butter from a hanging pot, He ate some Himself and then began to feed some to the monkeys and crows. Upon returning from the nearby stove, Yaod-maiy saw signs of her childs activities and began to smile. She crept up behind Ka, but just as she went to catch Him He caught sight of her, jumped off the mortar and fled. But Mother Yaod ran faster than Ka and caught hold


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of Him from behind. To punish Him, she tied Him to the mortar and then busied herself with her household duties. rmad-Bhgavatam (10.9.18) states: sva-mtu svinna-gtry visrasta-kabara-sraja dv parirama ka kpay st sva-bandhane
When Ka saw the condition of His mother her body covered with perspiration and the flowers falling from her hair due to her hard labour He could understand that she was fatigued. Ka became merciful to her and agreed to be bound.

Ka and His sakhs began to drag the grinding mortar, and by so doing, touched and delivered Kuveras sons, who had been cursed in a previous life to become trees. This pastime is described in detail in rmad-Bhgavatam (Tenth Canto, Chapters Nine and Ten). Mother Yaod had tied Ka to the mortar right here in Nanda-bhavana, and the place where Nalakuvera and Maigrva were delivered lies just outside.

The grinding mortar


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A wall-painting of the deliverance of Nalakuvera and Maigrva


Mahv ana-Gokula & Rv al

Nanda Babas cowshed, or gol Gargcrya performed Kas and Baladevas name-giving ceremony in this solitary cowshed. During the ceremony, Gargcrya predicted that r Balarma and r Ka would possess astonishing prowess, annihilate demons and perform other divine pastimes. Nanda Mahrja performed the namegiving ceremony without any festivities because he feared Kasas atrocities. Malla-trtha Here, the naked babies Ka and Balarma wrestled with each other. The gops encouraged Them to wrestle by offering to give the winner a la. At this, the two boys, each desiring to defeat the other, began to wrestle. Today, Gopvara Mahdeva is here. Nanda-kpa This well is also known as Sapta-smudrika-kpa. Mahrja Nanda used to draw water from it. It is said that the demigods created it for the service of the Supreme Lord r Ka. Its water stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and liberates one who bathes in it from all sins. r Santana Gosvm s place of bhajana Below the temple of Caurs-khamb, near Smudrika-kpa, is Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku situated inside a cave. Santana Gosvm would come to Gokula occasionally. He would perform bhajana at this place, and daily take darana of r MadanaGopla.6 Once, Santana Gosvm was amazed by an extraordinary child he saw playing in the soft sand on the bank of the Yamun. When the child had finished his game, Santana Gosvm followed him into the temple of r Madana-Gopla. Upon entering the temple, however, Santana Gosvm could only see the deity. Some time later in Mathur, Santana Gosvm saw that same r 527

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Madana-Gopla playing in the house of a Caubin with her son. r Madana-Gopla requested Santana to take Him with him to Vndvana. Santana Gosvm brought Him to his bhajana-ku, and later had a magnificent temple constructed for Him, where he arranged for His service and worship.

Brahma-gha This place lies approximately one mile east of Nanda-bhavana, the birthplace of Ka. Here, the small boy Ka ate earth while playing with the cowherd boys. The boys saw this and told Mother Yaod, who asked Balarma about it. Balarma verified the fact. She went to Ka and asked Him herself, Have You eaten clay? He replied, No, Maiy, I did not eat clay. All right, Kanhaiy, open Your mouth and show me. You can see, Maiy, He said as He opened His mouth.


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Temple at Brahma-gha
Looking into Kanhaiys mouth, Maiy became dumbstruck. There, she saw innumerable universes, countless Brahms, Vius and Maheas (ivas), and all moving and non-moving entities. She closed her eyes in fear and thought, What is this that I am seeing? Is it an illusion or someones magical powers? Upon opening her eyes, Mother Yaod saw that Kanhaiy was sitting on her lap. She returned to the house and called the brhmaas, who recited blessings to pacify the wrath of the demigods. She also donated cows and other valuables to the brhmaas. Although Yaod-maiy had directly witnessed Kas quality of being Bhagavn (bhagavatt) in the form of seeing countless universes and all animate and inanimate objects situated within His mouth, she never accepted Ka as the Supreme Lord. Her vtsalya-prema, or motherly love, for Him blossomed rather than weakened. By contrast, when Devak and Vasudeva beheld Kas four-armed form, their vtsalya-prema weakened. Similarly, Arjunas sakhya-bhva (mood of friendship) also weakened when he saw Kas universal form. Devak, Vasudeva and Arjuna folded


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their hands and began to glorify Ka and pray to Him. In Vraja, however, the prema of the Vrajavss does not weaken even when Ka manifests Himself as the Supreme Lord. Their sweet mood towards r Ka never diminishes because they never accept Him as Bhagavn. Another time, the small boy Ka was playing here with His companions, the cowherd boys, when the boys unexpectedly began to tease Him and laugh and clap. At first, Kanhaiy could not understand why, but quite soon He did. Dma, rdma, Madhumagala and the other cowherd boys were saying, Nanda Bb is fair-complexioned and Yaod-maiy is fair-complexioned, but You are black. Why? The fact is that You were not born from Yaod-maiys womb. Someone else gave birth to You, but being unable to bring You up, they put You in the hollow of a banyan tree. The supremely merciful Nanda Bb found You there crying helplessly. He picked You up and placed You in the lap of Mother Yaod, but, in reality, You are not the son of Nanda and Yaod. Kanhaiy stopped playing and went home weeping. He began to roll around the courtyard, crying. Mother Yaod affectionately picked Him up in her arms and tried to find out why He was crying. But today Kanhaiy refused to sit in her lap. She forcibly took Him in her arms, brushed the dust from His limbs, and asked Him what had happened. After Kanhaiy calmed down a little, He said, Dma, rdma and the other cowherd boys are saying, You were not born from Maiys womb. Bb is fair-complexioned and Maiy is fair-complexioned, so where did You, who are black, come from? Hearing this, Maiy started laughing and said, O my ll, who else is saying this? D Bhaiy. Maiy, put her hand on Kas forehead and said, I take an oath before r Nryaa that You are my son born from my


Mahv ana-Gokula & Rv al

womb. I will chastise those children. She then began to breastfeed Ka. In reality, Nanda Bb was of a fair complexion, but Mother Yaod, who was a very beautiful gop, was slightly dark in hue. How else could Ka have been so beautiful if He had not been born from Mother Yaods womb? But because Kanhaiy was somewhat darker than His mother, the boys teased Him about it. This place, which treasures this pastime, can still be seen today.

Cintharaa-gha This gha lies on the bank of r Yamun near Brahmagha to its east. Cintharaa Mahdeva, who is worshipped by the Vrajavss is present here. When Mother Yaod saw the universes in Kanhaiys mouth, she became extremely anxious for His welfare and prayed to Cintharaa Mahdeva for Kas safety. Cint haraa means removing anxieties. Kole-gha Kole-gha is situated across the Yamun from Brahmagha, towards Mathur. r Vasudeva, along with the newborn baby Ka, crossed the Yamun here on his way to Nanda-bhavana in Gokula. When he was half way across, the Yamun rose up so that she could touch r Kas feet. Vasudeva held Ka higher. When the water reached Vasudevas neck, he became perplexed and anxious for the childs protection. He cried out, Ko leve? Who will save Him? Vajranbha therefore named this gha Kole-gha, which is derived from the phrase ko leve. Seeing the level of the Yamun rise, baby Ka touched Yamun-devs lap (kola) with His lotus feet, and at once the Yamuns waters began to recede. The Yamuns shifting waters created an island, which became the location of Kolegaon. Uthalevara and Pevara Mahdevas are situated on the bank of Kole-gha.


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Devanagara This is the place of residence of Devaspati Gopa and is situated about ten miles north of Dj. Places of darana are Rmasgarakua, an ancient and large kadamba tree, and the govardhana-ila worshipped by Devaspati Gopa. Nanda Ryas baihaka is in the village of Htaur near Dj. The place where ears were pierced (Kara-chedana sthna) The kara-chedana saskra, or ear-piercing ceremony, of the small boys Ka and Balarma took place here. This village is currently known as Karvala. One can have darana of Karabedha-kpa, Ratnacauka, and of the deities of r Madanamohana and Mdhavarya here.

Before r Rpa and r Santanas arrival in Vraja, r Caitanya Mahprabhu came to Vraja and wandered throughout its forests. At the place of Kas birth in Mahvana, Mahprabhu took darana of r Madana-mohana and, overwhelmed with prema, began to dance as streams of tears flowed from His eyes. rman Mahprabhus darana of Kas birthplace has been described in Bhakti-ratnkara: ahe rnivsa! ka caitanya ethya janmotsava sthna dekhi ullsa hiyya bhvvee prabhu ntya, gte magna hail kp kari sarvacitta karaa kail
O rnivsa, seeing the place of Kas birth festival r Caitanya became overwhelmed with ecstatic joy. He became absorbed in dancing and singing. By His mercy He attracted the hearts of everyone.

r Caitanya Mahprabhu in Mahv ana


Mahv ana-Gokula & Rv al

Mahvana and Gokula are in fact one and the same place. Nanda Bb along with his family members journeyed from Nandagaon to Bhadvana, or Mahvana, where they settled down. Mahvana is called Gokula because go (cows), gopas, gops and so forth resided here. At the time of Nanda Bb, Gokula was not a separate village or town. In fact, the current village of Gokula is a recent settlement. Nanda Bbs cowshed was in Gokula. About five hundred years ago, after r Caitanya Mahprabhus arrival in Vraja, r Vallabhcrya sat on this beautiful bank beside the Yamun and read rmad-Bhgavatam from beginning to end. r Vallabhcryas son, r Vihalcrya, and his son, r Gokulantha, also have sitting-places (baihakas) here. In fact, r Vihalcrya tricked Aurangzeb and leased this place in his own name. It was actually he who founded Gokula. After them, the son of r Gokulantha resided here together with his family members. The gosvms of the dynasty of r Vallabha only lived in Gokula, where they established the deities of Mathurea, Vihalantha, Dvrikdha, Gokula-candram, Bla-Ka and r Madana-mohana. Later, r Mathurea went to Ko, r Vihalantha to Nthadvr, r Dvrakdha to Kkraul, Gokula-candram to Kmyavana, r Bla-Ka to Srata and Madana-mohana to Kmyavana. Since the gosvms in the dynasty of r Vallabha reside in Gokula, they are well-known as the Gokula gosvms.

r hkurn-gha This is the main gha in Gokula and the place where r Vallabhcrya received darana of r Yamun Mahrn. He began to give initiation (dk) at this place. This gha is thus a place of great significance to the Vaiavas of the Vallabha sampradya.


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Govinda-gha When r Vallabhcrya came to Vraja, he visited this gha at the Yamun, finding it extremely attractive. He heard from the respectable elderly Vrajavss about Nanda Bbs cowshed nearby. They informed him that the gha where he was sitting was well known by the name of Govinda-gha. r Vallabhcrya became so delighted that he performed a Bhgavata-saptha (recitation of the rmad-Bhgavatam for seven days) under the am tree here. Other places of darana in Gokula include the garden of Gokulantha, Bjana-l, Sihapau, Yaod-gha, the nearby temple of r Vihalantha, r Madana-mohana Temple, r Mdhavarya Temple, r Gokulantha Temple, r Navantapriya Temple, r Dvrakntha Temple, the nearby brahmachokra tree, r Gokula-candram Temple, r Mathurntha Temple, the place where r Nanda Mahrja kept his cart, and so forth. In the village of Nauragabda, which lies across the Yamun facing Gokula, are the temple of r Gagj and other places of darana.

Hari-kath in Rval


val is the appearance place of rmat Rdhik, who is the embodiment of mahbhva, the essence of r Kas pleasure potency. She is also r Kas svarpa-akti, or internal energy. Only by great fortune will someone desire to visit this holy place, and reverentially touch and remember it. The pastime of rmat Rdhiks appearance in this world is narrated differently in different eras (kalpa-bheda). vabhndadhi-nava-ai-lekhe! lalit-sakhi! gua-ramita-vikhe!
O new moon arisen from the ocean of Vabhnu Mahrja, O dear most friend of Lalit, O You who have enchanted and made Vikh happy with Your qualities of friendship, compassion and loyalty to Ka.

rmat Rdhik is most loved by Her father Vabhnu Mahrja. For this reason, devotees usually refer to Her as Vabhnu-nandin (the daughter of Vabhnu Mahrja). Very few call Her Krtid-nandin (the daughter of Krtid-dev). The word rvala means an influential landlord. This place is named after r Vabhnu Mahrja, who was a most influential landlord. Once, in the early morning, when Vabhnu Mahrja went to bathe in the Yamun, he saw in the water a radiant lotus flower of one hundred petals. In the middle of that flower lay a beautiful small baby, rmat Rdhik Herself. He tenderly lifted Her into His arms and took Her home, where he placed Her in the lap of his wife Krtid.


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The Yamun at Rval

Sometimes rmat Rdhik appears in Varsn, where every morning, r Vabhnu Mahrja goes to Vabhnu-kua. On one such morning he found rmat Rdhik on a lotus flower in the kua. It other eras this takes place at Rval. r Nrada knew that the possessor of all powers, Bhagavn r Ka, already had appeared on this earth and concluded that the embodiment of Kas complete potency, rmat Rdhik, must have surely appeared here also. He proceeded to search for Her high and low. He finally arrived at the house of Vabhnu Mahrja. Do you have a child? Nrada asked him.


Mahv ana-Gokula & Rv al

The deities of Rdh and K a in Rval


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Yes, I have a son named rdma. Do you also have a daughter? Nrada asked. Yes, we also have a daughter. I want to see Her and bless Her. Nrada said, I also want to do Her horoscope. Vabhnu Mahrja became delighted and brought out his baby girl. Nrada then asked him to fetch the necessary items to bless the child and do Her horoscope. As soon as he had left the room, Nrada turned to rmatj and began to pray, Kad kariyasha m kp-kaka-bhjanam O young daughter of Vabhnu, when will You bless me with Your merciful glance? Then, rmat Rdhj, along with Lalit, Vikh and Her other sakhs gave Nrada darana of Her eternal form as a fresh youth. Upon beholding this form, r Nrada became overwhelmed with ecstatic, transcendental bliss. The desire to become a maidservant of rmat Rdhik awakens in the heart of one who comes to this place, hears pure Vaiavas speak hari-kath here and touches its sacred dust.


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golokarpie tubhya gokulya namo nama atidrdhya ramyya dvviadyojanyate

Bhaviya Pura (Uttara-khaa)

nandas tv tmaja utpanne jthldo mah-man hya viprna veda jn snta ucir alakta
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.5.1)

ekaviati trthn yukta bhrigunvitam yamalrjuna puytmnam nanda-kpa tathaiva ca cintharaa brahmaa kua srasvata tath sarasvat-il tatra viu-kua samanvitam kara-kpa ka-kua gopa-kpa tathaiva ca ramaa ramaa-sthna tvartkhya-ptanam ptan-ptanasthna tvartkhya-ptanam nanda-harmya nandageha ghaa ramaa-sajakam mathurnthodbhava ketra puya ppa-prananam janma-sthna tu easya janma yogamyay

rutim apare smtim itare bhratam anye bhajantu bhava-bht aham iha nanda vande yasylinde param brahma
r Padyval (text 127)

daityo nmn tvarta kasa-bhtya praodita cakravta-svarpea jahrsnam arbhakam

rmad-Bhgavatam (10.7.20)

santana madanagopla darane mahsukha py rahe mahvane



water to chant the mantra of his worshipful Lord, (four-armed Viu), Santana Brahma

Akrra remained in the

and meditate upon Him. instead of having darana On this day, however,

of his worshipful Santana Brahma in his meditation, Rma and r K a. he saw the forms of r


krra-gha is situated four miles north of Mathur and one mile south of Vndvana. Nearby is Akrra-gaon. r Ka and Baladeva were seated on Akrras chariot as Akrra was bringing Them from Nandagaon to Mathur. Akrra stopped the chariot at this place and, leaving Ka and Baladeva on it, went alone to bathe in a deep pool in the Yamun and perform his other regular morning duties. Akrra remained in the water to chant the mantra of his worshipful Lord, Santana Brahma (four-armed Viu), and meditate upon Him. On this day, however, instead of having darana of his worshipful Santana Brahma in his meditation, he saw the forms of r Rma and r Ka. Akrra became confused. He came out of the water, and looked towards the chariot, where he saw Rma and Ka sitting. Again, when he went into the water, dipped in it and he saw Them there also. He


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was now fully confident that r Rma and r Ka were truly the complete Santana Brahma. The Gauya gosvms have given an excellent philosophical conclusion in explanation of this incident. Nanda-nandana r Ka and Rohi-nandana r Rma never leave Vndvana to go elsewhere. Therefore, Nanda-nandana r Ka and Rohinandana r Rma only came with Akrra as far as Akrra-gha, which marks the line of demarcation between Mathur and Vndvana. Thereafter, They both remained in Vndvana in Their unmanifest (aprakaa) forms. It was Devak-nandana or Vasudevanandana r Balarma, and Devak-nandana or Vasudeva-nandana r Ka, that travelled on the chariot with Akrra from Akrragha to Mathur and performed pastimes there. According to tattva, Yaod-nandana and Devak-nandana are actually one, but from the viewpoint of rasa there is a difference between Them. Once, Nanda Bb was observing Ekda without even drinking water. That very night also saw the start of Dvda. Nanda



The deities at Akrra-gha


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Bb entered the water of the Yamun to take bath but, because on that day this was an inauspicious time the servants of Varuadeva captured him and brought him to Varualoka. Bhagavn r Ka went to Varualoka, where r Varuadeva worshipped Him with gifts, and returned r Nanda Bb to Him with honour. This incident surprised r Nanda Bb, who narrated it to the Vrajavss the next day. They requested r Ka to give them darana of His supreme abode. At that very place where the most merciful Bhagavn later gave Akrra darana of his worshipful deity, He now gave the Vrajavss darana of His eternal Brahmaloka. rmad-Bhgavatam (10.28.14, 16) describes this as follows: iti sacintya bhagavn mah-kriko hari daraym sa loka sva gopn tamasa param te tu brahma-hda nt magn kena coddht dadur brahmao loka yatrkrro dhyagt pur
Considering the thoughts of the cowherd men, the all-merciful Bhagavn r Hari showed them His own abode, which is beyond material darkness. They were brought to Brahmahrada, submerged into the water by Ka and then lifted out. From that very place where Akrra beheld his worshipful deity, the cowherd men had darana of Kas transcendental abode.

Millions of sacred places (trthas) are present at Akrra-gha. There is a sacred injunction to take a bath here at the time of a solar eclipse.1 When r Caitanya Mahprabhu came to Vndvana from Jaganntha Pur via the Jhrakhaa path, there was no settlement in Vndvana, only a deep forest. At night, Mahprabhu would reside at Akrra-gha, and at dawn He would sit at Imltal-gha on the bank of the Yamun in Vndvana. Being overwhelmed with prema, Mahprabhu would chant harinma there until the afternoon. An uninterrupted stream of tears flowed from His eyes,


and brightly shining aa-sttvika transformations were evident on the limbs of His body. r Balabhadra Bhacrya was the only person with Him at that time. r Caitanya-caritmtas narration of this melts the heart. In ancient times, nta i performed a sacrifice for King Bhadsena here. Another name of Akrra-gha is Brahma-hrada, because here Ka gave the cowherd men darana of Brahmadhma. Akrra also received darana of the complete Santana Brahma here.

Yaja-sthala Near Akrra-gha is the sacrificial arena ( yaja-sthala) of the Mathur brhmaas. Once, r Ka and His cowherd friends were grazing the cows near Yaja-sthala. Feeling hungry, Ka sent the sakhs to beg for foodstuffs from the brhmaas who were performing a sacrifice at this place. However, because they were engrossed in their sacrifice, those non-devotional brhmaas refused to give them anything. The sakhs were insulted and returned to Ka, who told them to go and beg something from the wives of those brhmaas. Bhojana-sthala (Bhtrola-gaon) Here, Ka relished various delicious cooked grains and foodstuffs brought by the yaja-patns, the wives of the brhmaas. Having been persuaded by Ka, the cowherd boys had gone to the residence of the yaja-patns and begged for some foodstuffs for Ka and Baladeva. Simply upon hearing the names of Rma and Ka, the yaja-patns became overwhelmed with transcendental emotions. They left their homes to have darana of Ka, eagerly bringing various delicious cooked foodstuffs on large plates. Nothing could stop them, not even the objections of their husbands. Some brhmaas forcefully locked their wives in their houses, but these women gave up their bodies in the fire of 547

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separation from Ka and went to meet Him. When the brhmas approached r Ka, they became enchanted upon seeing His dark-complexioned form, which resembles a fresh rain cloud. The yellow garments on His dark-complexioned limbs wavered like steady lightening. yma hiraya-paridhi vanamlya-barhadhtu-pravla-naa-veam anuvratse vinyasta-hastam itarea dhunnam abja karotpallaka-kapola-mukhbja-hsam rmad-Bhgavatam (10.23.22)
Kas complexion is a blackish-blue hue like a water-laden rain cloud, and His splendid cloth, appears like a flash of lightning. Cresting His head is a peacock feather, and each limb of His body is decorated with exquisite patterns of paint made from coloured forest minerals. Sprigs of new leaves and blossoms adorn His body, and upon His neck an enchanting forest-flower garland of five colours hangs down to His knees. Attired in this way like a dramatic dancer, He rests one hand on His friends shoulder, and with the other twirls a pastime lotus [as if to twist our hearts]. Lilies grace His ears, curly locks of hair splash against His cheeks, and His lotus face blossoms with a gentle smile.

The wives of the brhmaas became so overwhelmed with prema upon seeing Ka that they did not want to return home to their husbands. After Ka instructed them to go, however, they somehow readied themselves to do so. Upon returning home, they found that the attitude of their husbands had entirely changed. The brhmaas now began to praise their wives transcendental devotion to Ka, and they condemned their three types of birth namely seminal, brahminical and sacrificial and their knowledge and expertise in Vedic rituals.2



There is a point to be considered here. Ka told the wives of the brhmaas to return home, and they obeyed Him. When the gopa-ramas heard the sound of Kas flute, they came to Ka, and He similarly told them to return to their husbands. They did not return, however, and Ka danced and performed rsa-ll with them. How is this? The answer is that only the gops have the qualification to participate in Kas rsa-ll and other such pastimes. In Vraja, r Ka wears the dress of a gopa and He is absorbed in the mood of a gopa. Therefore, only the gops who themselves took birth from the wombs of gops have the qualification to participate in Vrajendra-nandana r Kas rsa and other pastimes in the nikujas. Lakm from Vaikuha and the wives of the brhmaas have no qualification to enter these confidential pastimes. They were therefore sent away. It may be that after performing arduous worship for many lifetimes under the guidance of the rgtmik gops, such personalities may one day take a birth from the wombs of gops in manifested Vraja. Then, by the influence of their association with eternally liberated gops, they may eventually become qualified to serve in the nikujas and so forth.


viu-loka prada trtha muktkrr pradyine kokaa prasdya namaste viurpie

di-varha Pura

dv str bhagavati ke bhaktim alaukikm tmna ca tay hnam anutapt vyagarhayan dhig janma nas tri-vd yat tad dhig vrata dhig bahu-jatm dhik kula dhik kriy-dkya vimukh ye tv adhokaje
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.23.3940)


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r Vndvana and the gopa-ramas living in Vndvana are fortunate, because in that place the original

Ah, in all three worlds, only

Supreme Person, r K a, disguised pastimes under the arrangement of Yogamy. Adorned with a multi-coloured garland of the cows with Baladeva and the sakhs, vibrating His sweet flute and absorbed in various kinds of playful pastimes. forest-flowers, He grazes as a human being, performs human-like

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his supremely charming forest known as Vndvana is expertly served by r Vnd-dev and is densely filled with many types of sevkujas and keli-kujas. Vnd-dev eternally resides here, and is the protector, nourisher and forest goddess (vana-dev) of r Vndvana. All the trees, creepers, birds and animals of Vndvana are under her jurisdiction, and they are dependent upon and obedient to her. She constantly engages countless gops in service in the kujas, and she is therefore the presiding deity of kuja-sev. It is important to understand Yogamy (the collective internal energy of the Supreme Lord samaibht svarpa-akti), Paurams (the potency behind all of Kas pastimes parkhy mah-akti) and Vnd-dev, as well as their respective functions. Bhagavat Paurams is the pastime incarnation (ll-avatra) of Yogamy; which means that when Yogamy takes a tangible


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form, she becomes Paurams. Pauramss function is to attend to all the details of the various pastimes in the forests and in the villages of the cow herders (gohas). Vnd-dev, on the other hand, who is the personification of r Kas llkhy mah-akti (His pastime potency) and also a manifestation of Yogamy, makes all the arrangements for Rdh and Kas confidential pastimes in the kujas, and for rsa-vilsa and so on. Vnd-devs father is Candrabhnu, her mother is Phullar Gop and her husband is Mahpla. All of them eternally reside in Vndvana. Vnd-dev is the most important among all the sakh messengers, such as Vndrik, Mel and Mural. Her function is to skilfully arrange the meeting of the Divine Couple through various means and, therefore, she is the vana-dev of Vndvana. Vnd-dev has dedicated her kingdom of Vndvana, which she wonderfully serves, protects and nourishes, at the lotus feet of Vabhnu-nandin rmat Rdhik, who is the embodiment of mahbhva. Therefore, rmat Rdhik is truly Vndvanevar, the Queen of Vndvana. The Puras state that Mahrja Kedras daughter, who is described as Vnd-dev; King Kuadhvajas daughter, whom the Brahma-vaivarta Pura describes as Tulas, the wife of akhaca; and Vnd, or Tulas, the beloved of Hari who appears in the form of a plant on the Earth planet; are aa, praka, and kal-svarpa of Vnd-dev, who is a direct expansion of the personal form (kya-vyh svarp) of sarva-aktimay rmat Rdhik. Vnd-dev eternally resides in Vndvana, and she is continuously engaged in service to the Divine Couple in the nikujas of Vndvana. Indeed, Vndvana is known by the name of this Vnd-dev. Descriptions of the abundant glories of r Vndvana are found throughout rmad-Bhgavatam, which is the crown jewel of all evidences ( pramas). r Nanda Bbs minister and elder brother r Upnanda says:


V ndvana

vana vndvana nma paavya nava-knanam gopa-gop-gav sevya puydri-ta-vrudham rmad-Bhgavatam (10.11.28)
We should not stay in this Gokula-Mahvana which is constantly in turmoil. As gopas and gops, our prime duty is to immediately take up residence in Vndvana, whose charm is unrivalled, being enchanting in every respect. It is covered with lush grass, beautified with various trees, creepers and sacred mountains, and protected in all respects to provide safety to cows and other animals.

Upon observing the wonderful, sweet pastimes of r Ka, Caturmukha Brahm became very astonished and prayed with folded hands: tad bhri-bhgyam iha janma kim apy aavy yad gokule pi katamghri-rajo-bhiekam yaj-jvita tu nikhila bhagavn mukundas tv adypi yat-pada-raja ruti-mgyam eva rmad-Bhgavatam (10.14.34)
It would be my great good fortune to take birth as a blade of grass, a shrub or any other species which can be anointed with the dust falling from the lotus feet of any of the Vrajavss of Vndvana. Even the rutis, who have been searching for so long, have not yet received the dust of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord Mukunda, who is the life and soul of these Vrajavss. If it is impossible for me to take birth in any species in Vndvana, then let me take birth even as a rock on the border of Nanda-Gokula. The ladies who sweep the streets will then rub their feet on this rock to clean them, and by this I will receive the good fortune of touching the dust of their feet.


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Uddhava, who is the highest among the five kinds of devotees (a premtura bhakta), prays: sm aho caraa-reu-jum aha sy vndvane kim api gulma-latauadhnm y dustyaja sva-janam rya-patha ca hitv bhejur mukunda-padav rutibhir vimgym rmad-Bhgavatam (10.47.61)
I would consider it my greatest fortune to take birth as a shrub, creeper, or any other plant in this Vndvana and thus be sprinkled by the foot dust of these gops. They have given up everything, including their husbands, sons and other family members, the path of chastity (rya-dharma), and their honour in society (loka-lajj), which are all very difficult to renounce. Thus their prema has enchanted even the Supreme Lord Vrajendra-nandana r Ka, who is searched for by the rutis.

The beautiful young women of Mathur present in Kasas wrestling arena lavishly praised Vndvana by saying: puy bata vraja-bhuvo yad aya n-liga gha pura-puruo vana-citra-mlya g playan saha-bala kvaaya ca veu vikraycati giritra-ramrcitghri rmad-Bhgavatam (10.44.13)
Ah, in all three worlds, only r Vndvana and the goparamas living in Vndvana are fortunate, because in that place the original Supreme Person, r Ka, disguised as a human being, performs human-like pastimes under the arrangement of Yogamy. Adorned with a multi-coloured garland of forest-flowers, He grazes the cows with Baladeva and the sakhs, vibrating His sweet flute and absorbed in various kinds of playful pastimes.


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Being intoxicated by ka-prema, one gop addresses another gop, saying: vndvana sakhi bhuvo vitanoti krti yad devak-suta-padmbuja-labdha-lakmi govinda-veum anu matta-mayra-ntya preksydri-snv-avaratnya-samasta-sattvam rmad-Bhgavatam (10.21.10)
O sakh, this Vndvana is spreading the fame of the Earth planet even above that of Vaikuha, because it is splendidly decorated with the marks of the lotus feet of Yaod-nandana r Ka. Friend, when rasikendra r Ka plays on His flute, which enchants the whole world, the peacocks become intoxicated and, thinking the sound of the flute to be the roaring thunder of the clouds, spread their tail feathers and begin to dance. Seeing this, the birds and animals roaming on the mountain summits become completely stunned and relish the sound of the flute with their ears and the dance of the peacocks with their eyes.

What to speak of others, even the supremely rasika and bhavuka ukadeva Gosvm is mesmerised by Vndvana, and repeatedly praises this land: barhpa naa-vara-vapu karayo karikra bibhrad vsa kanaka-kapia vaijayant ca mlm randhrn veor adhara-sudhayprayan gopa-vndair vndraya sva-pada ramaa prviad gta-krti rmad-Bhgavatam (10.21.5)
r Ka, the enchanter of the whole world, dressed as the best of dancers (naavara), entered the supremely charming Vndvana, beautifying it with the marks of His lotus feet. His head was decorated with a peacock feather. He wore fragrant yellow karnikara flowers behind His ears, a radiant golden


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garment on His dark-complexioned limbs, and around His neck a garland of forest flowers made of five different coloured flowers, that extended down to His lotus feet. He poured the nectar from His lips through the holes of His flute, enchanting everyone by its sweet sound, including both moveable and immovable entities. The cowherd boys followed Him, singing His glories.

r Ka never leaves this sweet Vndvana, which is inundated with the rasa of complete transcendental bliss. Vndvana parityajya pdameka na gacchati (Brahma-ymala). One rasika devotee poet extracted the essence of the rutis and Puras in regard to Vndvana. As if putting the vast ocean into a water pot, he summed it up accurately by saying: braj samudr mathur kamal vndvan makarand braj vanit sab pup hai madhukar gokulcand
Vraja is like the ocean, Mathur like the lotus, and Vndvana like the nectar-pollen. All the Vraja gops are like flowers, and Gokulacanda Ka is the bumblebee.


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The Magnificence of r V ana ndv

r Vndvana is not merely a sacred place (trtha), but is Bhagavns own abode, or His own home. It is no exaggeration to say that Vndvana is r Kas form (svarpa) because Ka and His abode are non-different. According to the Puras, Devari Nrada was once singing the glories of r Hari on his va when he reached Prayga. This Prayga is Trtharja, or the king of all sacred places. Prayga welcomed him with great honour and narrated the story of how he became Trtharja. r Nrada said, The Supreme Lord has given you the post of Trtharja, but I have some doubt in this regard. Does Vndvana ever come to make offerings to you like the other trthas? Trtharja replied, No. r Nrada asked, Then, what kind of Trtharja are you? This statement pierced the heart of Trtharja, but he understood it to be true. How, then, am I Trtharja? he wondered. Thinking in this way, he went to the Supreme Lord. Seeing Trtharja approaching, Bhagavn honoured him appropriately and asked him why he had come. Trtharja humbly replied, Prabhu, You have appointed me as Trtharja, but the trtha of Vndvana never comes to make any offering to me. How can it be that I am Trtharja? If a small trtha like Vndvana does not accept my jurisdiction, then it is not at all appropriate for me to hold the title of Trtharja. Upon hearing the statements of Prayga Rja, Bhagavn became silent for a moment. His eyes brimmed with tears as He remembered Vraja cow grazing with His sakhs, the affection of Nanda Bb and Mother Yaod, His beloved Kior r Rdh, the gops and His rsa dance with them these memories appeared in His heart along with many others from Vraja. Bhagavns heart


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melted. After composing Himself a little, He spoke very gravely. Trtharja, it is true that I have appointed you the king of all trthas, but I have not made you the king of My own home, r Vndvana. The land of Vndvana is not only My home, but is the supreme place of My beloved r Rdhs pastimes. She is indeed the mistress (adhipati) and sovereign (var) there. She is truly Vndvanevar, the Queen of Vndvana. I also reside there eternally. You are Trtharja, no doubt, but Vndvana is not merely a trtha. You too can worship and serve Vndvana in some way. r Nrada has glorified r Vndvana not only here, but also to Bhakti-dev in rmad-Bhgavat-mhtmya (1.61, from Padma Pura): vndvanasya sayogt punastva taru nav dhanya vndvana tena bhaktir-ntyati yatra ca
O Dev, by coming to Vndvana, you have again become a fresh young woman. Thus, this Vndvana-dhma, where bhakti is dancing everywhere, is blessed.

The glories of r Vndvana are also mentioned in the Mathur-khaa of the Skanda Pura 1 and in the di-varha Pura 2.


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r Caitanya Mahprabhu and r V ndvana

It has already been mentioned that when r Kas pastimes became unmanifest, nearly all the pastime places in Vraja disappeared. Vndvana, along with its place of rsa and Vavaa, became dense forest and disappeared from sight. After some years, r Vajranbha Mahrja recovered the various pastime places of Vraja with the help of ilya i, Bhgur i and others. They did this by establishing temples, lakes, ponds and so forth. About four-and-a-half thousand years later, however, these places had again vanished. It was then that r Ka appeared in this world as r Caitanya Mahprabhu, immersed in the sentiment of rmat Rdhik. He re-established the lost pastime places of r Vndvana and Vraja-maala, both directly by doing this Himself, and indirectly through r Rpa, r Santana and other associates. The whole universe, especially the community of Vaiavas, will eternally remain indebted to these personalities for this outstanding work. If they had not descended to this earth, who would now know about the sweetness of Vndvana and who would be able to enter that sweetness? If Gaurgadeva had not come, then who would have described the glories of rmat Rdhik and the topmost limit of prema-rasa? Narahari dsa sings with great feeling: (yadi) gaurga nahito, tabe ki hoito kemone dharita de? rdhra mahim, prema-rasa-sm jagate jnto ke? madhura vnd, vipina-mdhur pravea ctur sr baraja-yuvati, bhvera bhakati, akati hoito kr?


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If rman Gaurga Mahprabhu had not appeared, then what would have become of us? How could we have tolerated living? In this universe, who would ever have come to know about the glories of rmat Rdhik and the topmost limit of prema-rasa? If Caitanya Mahprabhu had not come, who would have had the intelligence to join the sweet madhurarasa of r Rdh-Kas pastimes in Vndvana? Who else but Mahprabhu could have bestowed the power to enter the vraja-ramas loving mood of service to the youthful Divine Couple?

Upon the direct order of r Caitanya Mahprabhu, Gauya Vaiava cryas re-established the pastime places of Vraja. Taking the help of various scriptures, r Lokantha Gosvm, r Bhgarbha Gosvm, r Santana Gosvm, r Rpa Gosvm, r Gopla Bhaa Gosvm, r Raghuntha Bhaa Gosvm, r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm, r Jva Gosvm and others rediscovered these places through their untiring endeavours.


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The Pastime Places of r V ndvana

Bhagavat Yamun Mahrn Yamun has the same darkish blue complexion as Ka. She assists in the playful amorous pastimes of r Rdh-Ka Yugala in every respect, and flows on three sides of Vndvana. To fully support the rasa-vilsa of Priy-Priyatama, she creates countless charming nikujas on both her banks with various kinds of dense trees and creepers laden with flowers and fruits. She is ornamented and beautified with divine ghas bedecked with jewels, and with various bowers made from kadamba, tamla, mra, bakula and other types of trees. The Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka perform water pastimes and boating pastimes with the sakhs in the waters of r Yamun. This water is saturated with prema and is always decorated with seven-petalled lotuses. This Bhagavat Yamun, who serves the Youthful Couple eternally, is supremely worshipful. In Caitanya-candrodaya-naka (5.35) rla Kavi-karapura glorifies r Yamun-dev as follows (also quoted in r Caitanyacaritmta, Madhya-ll 3.28):
cid-nanda-bhno sad nanda-sno para-prema-ptr drava-brahma-gtr aghn lavitr jagat-kema-dhtr pavitr-kriyn no vapur-mitra-putr
I repeatedly offer prayers to r Yamun, the daughter of the Sungod, who is the bestower of unnata-ujjvala prema for Nanda-nandana r Ka, the transcendental sun. She embodies transcendental bliss and directly personifies the melted form of Parabrahma. Simply remembering her destroys all types of wickedness and great sins, thus rendering the heart


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r Yamun

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r V ndvana-dhma
1. Klya-hrada, rla Prabodhnanda Sarasvats bhajana-ku & samdhi 2. Dvdaditya-l, r Madana-mohana Temple, Praskandana-ketra, rla Santana Gosvms samdhi 3. Advaitavaa 4. Dna, Mna, Gumna & Kuja-gals 5. r Rpa-Santana Gauya Maha 6. Imltal 7. Gopntha-bhavana 8. r Rdh-Dmodara Temple 9. Jh-maala 10. gravaa 11. Dhra-samra 12. Vavaa 13. Gopvara Mahdeva 14. Jna-guda 15. Brahma-kua 16. Dvnala-kua 17. r Govindaj Temple 18. r Gopnthaj Temple 19. r Rdh-Rmaa Temple 20. r Rdh-Gokulnanda Temple 21. r ymasundara Temple 22. r Bke-bihrj Temple 23. r Rdh-Vallabha Temple 24. r Ll Bb Temple 25. r Ragaj Temple 26. Bankha Mahdeva 27. r Ka-Balarma Temple 28. r Bhgavat-nivsa 29. Rdh-kpa 30. Ramaa-ret 31. Varha Temple 32. Gautama Muni rama


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pure. She bestows all auspiciousness upon the world, and can even infuse vraja-rasa into dry, desert-like hearts. May she purify us.

gagdi-trtha-parievita-pda-padm goloka-saukhya-rasa-pramahi mahimn plvitkhila-sudhsu-jal sukhbdhau rdh-mukunda-mudit yamun nammi

I offer obeisances time and again unto the beloved of Ka, r Yamun, whose lotus feet are always served by Gag, Godvar, Narmad, Sindhu and other trthas. r Yamun is glorious as it is she who bestows service that is saturated with rasa to r Rdh-Ka Yugala in Goloka-Vndvana. In her nectar-filled waters, r Rdh-Mukunda remain immersed in an ocean of happiness.

Sonaraka This place lies about one mile west of the present day Klyadaha. Saubhari is hermitage was here. Before the time of Kas pastimes, Saubhari i performed austerities here for thousands of years. To conquer his senses, he remained standing in the water of the Yamun during all seasons, including summer and winter. One day Garua, an associate of the Supreme Lord, arrived here. Following his nature as a bird, he swallowed a big male fish right before everyones eyes. Seeing this, the fish community lamented and prayed to Saubhari i for retaliation. Engrossed in dry austerities and unaware of the glories of Bhagavns devotees, Saubhari i cursed Garua, saying that if he were to come here again, his head would be cut off. Saubhari i had cursed a great devotee, and, therefore, a desire arose in his heart to enjoy the material world. He came out of the waters of the Yamun, and by his mystic power transformed himself into a young man. He married the many beautiful young daughters of Mahrja Mndhta, and remained engrossed in worldly pleasures for thousands of years. 572

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By the desire of Bhagavn, the Klya serpent later moved to that same Yamun pond with his family, in order to protect himself from the very powerful Garua. This rendered the water in the pond poisonous, and all the fish living here, who had also committed an offence towards Garua, died. In this way, Saubhari i and all the fish that had taken shelter of him faced total destruction, because they had committed an offence towards a bhakta. The scriptures therefore declare that one should at all costs refrain from committing Vaiava apardha.

Klya-hrada (Klya-daha) [Hrada and daha both mean a deep pool within a river.] The current name of this place is Klya-daha. r Ka subdued the serpent Klya here. The keli-kadamba tree from which r Ka jumped with great speed into the Klya-hrada stands nearby. All of the trees and creepers around the lake were burnt to ashes by the poison of the Klya serpent. Only this one keli-kadamba tree remained. The mighty and valiant Garua was once carrying a pot of nectar from the heavenly planets in order to free his mother Vinat from the slavery of his stepmother Kadr. He rested on this keli-kadamba tree for some time, and the strength of the nectars fragrance, or a drop of the nectar itself that had spilled, was enough to save this keli-kadamba tree. Klyanga was also very valiant and powerful. When he tied Ka in his coils, Ka became somewhat helpless and motionless. At that time, the Ngapatns (wives of Klya), who were great devotees of Ka, prayed, We would rather be widows than be the wives of a husband opposed to Bhagavn. But when Ka freed Himself from the serpents coils and began to dance on and kick Klyas hoods, Klya vomited blood from his thousands of mouths and surrendered unto the Lord. At that time, the Ngapatns folded their hands and begged Ka to spare their husbands life, considering his surrendered mood. Their prayers pleased r Ka. He granted Klyanga freedom from fear and 573

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Wall-painting at Klya-daha
ordered him to go to Ramaaka-dvpa with his family. He assured Klya of His protection, saying, You need no longer fear Garua. When he sees My footprints on your hoods, he will forget his enmity towards you. The Ngapatns prayed as follows: O Lord, r Lakm-dev gave up all her desires, took a vow and performed austerities for a long, long time just to attain the dust of Your lotus feet. She nonetheless failed to achieve her hearts desire. Who knows what pious deed Klyanga performed to become qualified to receive that same rare foot dust. 3 The Gauya Vaiava commentators on this verse explain this beautifully: The sole reason why Bhagavn r Ka bestowed His causeless mercy upon Klya was the spontaneous unmotivated devotion that Klyangas wives had for Him. The Supreme Lords mercy follows and is obedient to the mercy of the devotee.


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r Prabodhnanda Sarasvat s bhajana-ku & samdhi r Prabodhnanda Sarasvat is the author of Rdh-rasasudh-nidhi, Vndvana-mahimmta, r Caitanya-candrmta, Sagta-mdhava and other books on bhakti. In his early life, Prabodhnanda Sarasvat was a resident of r Ragam and a devotee of r Lakm-Nryaa. He is the paternal uncle and spiritual master of the famous r Gopla Bhaa Gosvm. However, by the mercy of rman Mahprabhu, he became intoxicated with the rasa of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka. Shortly after rman Mahprabhu left r Ragam, he went to Vndvana to perform bhajana. He also lived in Kmyavana for some time. At the end of his life he entered samdhi here in Vndvana while performing bhajana. In Kas pastimes he is Tugavidy Sakh.

r Prabodhnanda Sarasvats samdhi & bhajana-ku


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Inside the bhajana-ku & samdhi


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Nowadays, some people say that Prabodhnanda Sarasvat and the advaitavd Praknanda Sarasvat of K are one and the same person. This is completely incorrect in every respect. How is it possible for the same person to first be the devotee Prabodhnanda Sarasvat, then the impersonalist Praknanda and then the same Prabodhnanda Sarasvat once again? This modern doctrine is an ignorant, mind-boggling speculation, that has been completely refuted by the r Gauya Vaiava cryas.

Dvda ditya-l It was winter when Ka subdued Klya. Ka, who was performing His human-like pastimes (nara-ll), came out of the water, shivering due to cold. He climbed upon a nearby small hill (l) and basked in the heat of the sun. To serve Ka, the devotee Sryadeva relieved His shivering by shining forth the full scorching heat of the complete sun in its twelve aspects (dvdaa kal). This place is therefore known as Dvdaditya-l.


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Praskandana-ketra The heat of the sun removed Kas shivering, but this heat was excessive and Ka started to perspire. The name of this place thus became Praskandana-trtha; the word praskandana means with perspiration. Advaitavaa Advaitavaa is situated directly in Praskandana-trtha. Just before the advent of r Caitanya Mahprabhu, r Advaita crya came to this place while journeying through Vraja. He resided under this same banyan (vaa) tree for several days. He had found r Madana-Gopla in Mahvana-Gokula, and now served Him here. Due to fear of the Yavanas, and by His desire, He secretly left r Madana-Gopla with a devoted Caube brhmaa and went to ntipura, knowing that very soon acnandana r Gaurahari would appear in the town of Nadiy. Later, that same Madana-Gopla made His way to Santana Gosvm, who had a large temple constructed just nearby and established the deity there. Since then, r Madana-Gopla became known as r Madana-mohana. Dna-gal, Mna-gal, Gumna-gal & Kuja-gal Just near the famous Sev-kuja are four narrow gals, or alleys: Dna-gal, Mna-gal, Gumna-gal and Kuja-gal. Once, when rmat Rdhik was in mna, She made Her way to Mna-sarovara via this very Mna-gal. In the narrow alley named Dna-gal, r Ka and His sakhs asked the gops for tax (dna) in the form of prema, and the gops asked the same thing from Ka. This gal is therefore known as Dna-gal. Prema-gal is where KioraKiorjs first meeting took place. At that moment, by the mutual play of Their eyes, a relationship of prema was established between Them which increased moment by moment. That is why this gal has become known as Prema-gal. Some also call it Gumna-gal, because when Ka asked Priyj for tax, She exhibited great pride 579

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( gumna), and refused to give it. The gal down which the sakhs would make their way to Sev-kuja, where r Ka would massage the feet of svdhna-bhartk r Rdh, is called Kuja-gal. r Dna-bihr and r Rpa-Santana Gauya Maha are situated at the crossing of these four gals.

Sev-kuja This place is also called Nikujavana. It lies just near the temple of r Rdh-Dmodara, to the south-west. A painting of rmat Rdhik with r Ka massaging Her feet is worshipped here in a small temple. The Vrajavss say that even today r Rdh-Ka Yugala perform Their pastimes here every night. Everyone therefore leaves this kuja at dusk. Even the impudent monkeys independently leave this kuja as the evening falls. From time to time it happens that someone stubbornly tries to remain here during the night, and in the morning is found dead. Others have by some means escaped death, but have become completely insane.

At Lalit-kua

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Bhakta Rasakhna searched for Ka all over Vraja but without success. Finally, he had darana of rasika r Ka at this very place. He has revealed this in his beautiful poetry as follows: dekhyo duryo vah kuj kur me baihyo paloat rdhik pyan
Standing in the doorway of the kuja, I watch Ka as He sits massaging Rdhiks feet submissively. [The word paloa here indicates that Ka is massaging in the mood, I will not go to Candrvals kuja again.]

In Sev-kuja, we also find Lalit-kua. When Lalit was feeling thirsty during rsa, Ka manifested this beautiful kua

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by digging it with His flute. Lalit and the sakhs drank the kuas sweet, cool water and refreshed themselves. There is a keli-kadamba tree nearby whose every knot bulges out and resembles a round lagrma.

r Rpa-Santana Gauya Maha (r Vinoda-kuja) This maha lies on Dna-gal, very close to r Sev-kuja, the heart of r Dhma Vndvana, and has become a famous place for darana. Prema-puruottama r Caitanya Mahprabhu, the ocean of mercy, sent the brothers r Rpa Gosvm and r Santana Gosvm to r Vndvana to (i) re-establish the lost places of pastimes in r Vndvana, (ii) establish deities, (iii) compose literatures on bhakti and (iv) establish vaiava-sadcra, or proper vaiava behaviour (smti ). By the causeless mercy and

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encouragement of rman Mahprabhu, r Rpa and r Santana Gosvms established r Govindadeva and r Madana-mohana, re-discovered lost places of pilgrimage (trthas), and composed vaiava-smti and bhakti texts like Bhad-bhgavatmta, Laghubhgavatmta, Bhakti-rasmta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamai and Hari-bhakti-vilsa. To keep alive the memory of r Rpa Gosvm and r Santana Gosvm, who fulfilled rman Mahprabhus inner hearts desire, or manobhia, r rmad Bhaktivednta Vmana Gosvm Mahrja and the author [r rmad Bhaktivednta Nryaa Gosvm Mahrja] established this maha. They did this

The deities in the maha:

r V nd-dev (left) r GauragaMahprabhu & r Rdh-Vinodabihrj (middle) r rmad

Gosvm Mahrja (right)

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under the inspiration of the founder of r Gauya Vednta Samiti, nitya-ll pravia o viupda aottara-ata r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja, and under the direction of the members of r Gauya Vednta Samiti. The distinguishing feature of this maha is the presence of r Vnd-dev in one of the three sections ( prakohas) of the altar. In the remaining two sections are r Gaurasundara along with r Rdh-Vinoda-bihrj and gurupdapadma rla Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja. At the present time, the only other prominent deity of rmat Vnd-dev can be found in Kmyavana.


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Imltal At the time of Kas pastimes in Vraja, the ancient iml (tamarind) tree that stood here was enormous. That tree has since disappeared, and a new iml tree stands in its place. Midway through rsa-ll, r Ka disappeared in order to dispel the other gops pride in their good fortune (saubhgya-mada) and to soothe Priyjs mna. He followed Priyj to gravaa, where He began to decorate Her with flowers. At that time, the other gops, who were searching for Ka, came closer to the place where Rdhik and Ka were. r Ka requested Priyj to leave with Him, but She said, I am unable to walk. You can carry Me on Your shoulders. Ka squatted down, indicating that Priyj should sit on His shoulders. Just as She went to do this, Ka disappeared again. Now, She also called out in separation, O Ntha, O Ramaa! and fell down unconscious. The other gops became very distressed to see Her in this condition.

Imltal Temple

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Having left rmat Rdhik, r Ka began to feel deep separation from Her. Sitting under an iml tree on the bank of the Yamun, He became so absorbed in thinking of Her that His bodily lustre turned golden like Hers. In connection with this incident, our most worshipful o viupda r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja has presented a wonderful verse that penetrates the heart: rdh-cint niveea yasya kntir vilopit r-ka-caraa vande rdhligita vigraham r Rdh-vinoda-bihr Tattvakam (Text 1)
I worship the lotus feet of the form of r Ka that manifests when He is thoroughly immersed in separation from rmat Rdhik (who is displaying mna, Her mood of jealous anger), or when He is embraced by rmat Rdhik (after Her mna is broken). At these times His own dark complexion vanishes and He assumes Her bright, golden lustre.

The transcendental sentiments that lay within the heart of r Gurupdapadma are profound and full of excellent siddhnta. It is the bhva of the majars, the maidservants of rmat Rdhik, to feel that Ka should indeed experience great distress when He is separated from rmat Rdhik. They become very pleased to see this distress, and arrange Kas meeting with Rdh at that time. This bhva is prominent in r Rpnuga Gauya Vaiavas. While visiting Vraja some five hundred and fifty years ago, r Caitanya Mahprabhu resided for several days at Akrra-gha. Daily, He would come to this very beautiful Imltal-gha on the bank of the Yamun, where He was immersed in bhva as He chanted the holy names of the Supreme Lord Hari. He bestowed His mercy upon the Rjapta Kadsa here. One day, while Mahprabhu was staying here, some people requested Him to come to Klya-hrada and take darana of r Ka, who they said was again manifesting His pastimes there at


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night. Mahprabhu told them to wait for a few days. Nonetheless, crowds of people began to throng to Klya-daha at night. At last, it became evident that the spectacle on the Yamun was nothing more than some Muslims in a boat catching fish. A light was burning on the bow of the boat. When the fishermen on the bow stood up and moved about, it appeared as if someone was dancing. The boat looked like a serpent, and the burning light like the serpents jewel. When the facts were revealed, Mahprabhu said to the people, Bhagavn r Ka does not manifest such pastimes before the masses of ordinary people of Kali-yuga. Such pastimes appear only in the hearts of pure devotees. Some days later, r Caitanya Mahprabhu and r Vallabha Bhacrya proceeded to Nlcala via Sauro and Prayga. It is said that several years ago someone cut into a branch of the ancient iml tree here and blood oozed from it. The person who severed the branch realised that he had committed an offence and repeatedly prayed for forgiveness. Residents of the dhma believe

Deity of r Caitanya Mahprabhu at Imltal


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that liberated great souls (siddha mahtms) are still performing bhajana in Vndvana in the form of the trees and creepers.

Jh-maala The pastime connected with this place occurred at the time of the famous rla Jva Gosvm. rla ymnanda, rla Narottama hkura and rla rnivsa crya studied rmad-Bhgavatam and the Gosvm literatures from the young rla Jva Gosvm, who gave ymnanda the service of sweeping this ancient place of Kas pastimes. One day, while he was sweeping in the early hours before dawn, ymnanda found a golden anklet. Previously, Jva Gosvm had instructed him to return any lost object that he might find, directly to its owner, not to anyone else. If any others should try to claim a lost item, he should inform them of Jva Gosvms instruction to him. ymnanda therefore very carefully tied the golden anklet in the corner of his upper garment. A short while later, two vrajabls (young girls) came to him and said, The anklet you found belongs to our sakh, and we have been looking for it. You can give it to us. r ymnanda humbly replied, Whomever the anklet belongs to should personally come and collect it. I will not give it to you. The young girls replied, Do you feel no shame? How can you dare desire to see the face of this young daughter-in-law? But ymnanda adhered to his words and did not give them the anklet. The two young girls brought their girlfriend to ymnanda and said, Tie the anklet around Her foot. r ymnandas hands trembled with prema as he tied the anklet around the foot of their friend. These young girls were none other than rmat Rdhik Herself and Her two sakhs, Lalit and Vikh. rmat Rdhik ceaselessly desires to bestow mercy in this way upon Her loving devotees. By this event, ymnandas life became blessed. Previously his name was Dukh-Ka dsa, but upon receiving the mercy of rmatj, his name became ymnanda dsa. rmat Lalit 592

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stamped that anklet on ymnandas forehead. Even today, those in the spiritual family lineage of ymnanda Prabhu wear a tilaka in the shape of the anklet on their forehead. The following incident also took place here. Once, a long time ago, an old woman lived at Jh-maala, and in her house she had a grindstone. She used this stone to grind wheat for others and in this way carried on her livelihood. She had an unflinching devotion to Ka. As she ground wheat, her beautiful voice sang the sweet names of Ka, while the grindstone made a rumbling gharr-gharr sound. One day, as she was grinding during the early hours before dawn, absorbed in singing the sweet names of Ka, a beautiful dark-complexioned young boy appeared and put one foot on the grindstone. Maiy, He said, why do you turn the grindstone in such a way that it makes this rumbling gharr-gharr sound? I cannot sleep because of it. The old lady became a little fearful and said, My dear son, if I do not work the grindstone, how will I maintain my life? The beautiful, dark-complexioned boy replied, I will put My footprint on your grindstone. People will come to take darana of this footprint and give generous offerings. Their offerings will easily maintain you. Thus, you wont need to use the grindstone anymore. Saying this, the dark-complexioned boy disappeared. When morning came, the old lady saw that the boys footprint had fully appeared on her grindstone. A crowd of people lined up, desirous to take darana of the footprint, and this crowd increased day by day. The old lady was able to maintain herself easily through the donations she received, and she was always absorbed in remembering this pastime of Ka.


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This place lies a little towards the east from Imltal (towards Ke-gha) on the bank of the Yamun. While out grazing the cows, Subala and the other sakhs joyfully decorated Ka here with diverse colours and ornaments. In turn, to break rmat Rdhiks mna, r Ka ornamented Her with marvellously imaginative decorations made of flowers that He had personally picked. This is very wonderfully described in rmad-Bhgavatam. During rsa-ll, when rmat Rdhik saw r Ka dance with other gops as well as with Her, She left the rsa. Wishing to hide Herself, She sat down in this solitary place. Here, rasika Ka decorated rmatj with bel, camel and other flowers that He had personally picked, and thereby pleased Her. When the other sakhs were searching for r Ka, one sakh said, O sakhs, look, look here! Our dear Ka picked flowers for His beloved here, standing on His toes, and therefore the ground is marked with only the front portion of His lotus feet. 4 Ka was decorating rmat when He heard the loud voices of the gops nearby. Ka requested rmatj to quickly leave

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this place with Him, but She refused on the excuse of being tired. ymasundara then crouched down and requested Her to sit on His shoulder, but just as She was about to do so, He disappeared. Distressed in separation, rmatj fainted, crying out: h ntha ramaa preha kvsi kvsi mha-bhuja dsys te kpay me sakhe daraya sannidhim rmad-Bhgavatam (10.30.39)
O master, My lover, O dearest, where are You? Where are You? Please, O mighty-armed one, O friend, show Yourself to this wretched maidservant of Yours.

When the sakhs found rmat Rdhik thus overwhelmed in separation, they consoled Her and took Her with them to the bank of the Yamun. The following pastime also took place here. While wandering throughout Vraja-maala, rman Nitynanda Prabhu stayed near gravaa for a few days. He was always absorbed in the mood of r Baladeva. Sometimes He would be fully absorbed as an avadhta 5. Holding on to the necks of the cows, He would cry and ask them, Have you seen Kanhaiy? Where is He? Sometimes He would catch hold of the cowherd men and ask them with tears in His eyes, Where is Kanhaiy? One day He heard an aerial voice announce, Your Kanhaiy as acnandana Gaurahari in Nadiy is waiting for You to come to Him. ngravaa is thus also known as Nitynandavaa because Nitynanda Prabhu resided here. The presiding deities in the temple are r Nit-Gaura and r Rdh-Ka. Just near the temple under an ancient banyan tree is a unique painting in which r Ka is decorating rmat Rdhik.


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Painting of r K a decorating rmat Rdhik


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C ra-gha There is an ancient kadamba tree on the bank of the Yamun where Ka stole the clothes of the young gops who were bathing here after having completed their Ktyyan-vrata. These young, unmarried girls of Vraja were daily bathing in r Yamun at brhma-muhrta, the early hours before dawn. They would make a deity of Ktyyan (Yogamy) out of sand and worship her on the bank of the Yamun while reciting the following mantra:
ktyyani mah-mye mah-yoginy adhvar nanda-gopa-suta devi pati me kuru te nama rmad-Bhgavatam (10.22.4)
O goddess Ktyyan, O Mah-mya, O Mah-yogin, O mighty controller of all, please make the son of Nanda Mahrja my husband. I offer my respects unto you.


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At the end of the vrata, Ka Himself arrived there and on the excuse of stealing their clothes bestowed upon them their desired boon: Your hearts desires will be fulfilled on the night of the next arada-prim. Near ergarh is another place which is famous as Cra-gha. A kadamba tree also stands there. There is no doubt that both these places are Cra-gha. The same pastime takes place in different eras (kalpa-bheda), and therefore it can occur in more than one place.

Ke -gha This place lies a little east of Cra-gha on the bank of the Yamun. Ka killed the Ke demon here. Once, Ka and His sakhs were grazing the cows at this place. Madhumagala joked with Him, My dear friend, if You give me Your peacock feather, sweet flute and yellow garments, then all the gopas and gops will love me and feed me delicious las. Nobody will even ask You if You would like some. Smiling, Ka personally dressed Madhumagala up in His peacock feather and yellow garments and handed him His flute and staff. Now all dressed up, Madhumagala began to strut about here and there. At this time, the very powerful Ke demon assumed the form of a huge horse. Neighing and whinnying, he appeared there to kill Ka. Mahrja Kasa had instructed him, Whomever you see wearing a peacock feather on his head and yellow garments on his limbs, and holding a flute in his hand, know that person to be Ka for certain and kill Him. Upon seeing Madhumagala dressed as Ka, Ke attacked him with his two hind legs. Ka quickly came to save Madhumagala and killed the Ke demon. Although the demons legs did not so much as touch Madhumagala, he lost consciousness just by the breeze created by the movement of Kes legs. After Ka killed Ke, however, Madhumagala became embarrassed. He went to Ka and handed back His flute, peacock feather and yellow cloth. He told Him, I do not want any las. 599

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My life is worth hundreds of thousands of las. The cowherd boys began to laugh. Even today, the memory of this pastime will enter our hearts by visiting Ke-gha.

Nidhuvana The word nidhu means srata-kr, amorous pastimes. Govinda-llmta and other such literature give beautiful descriptions of Rdh and Kas amorous pastimes in Nidhuvana. These books indicate that because in the keli-kujas of Nidhuvana the playful, amorous night (nia) pastimes take place; so the pastime of sleeping (ayana-vilsa) at the end of the night (ninta) also takes place here. Seeing dawn approaching, Vnd-dev becomes alarmed and orders the male and female parrots, peacocks, cuckoos, bumblebees and so forth to make their sweet humming and other sounds to wake up Kiora and Kior. The rgnuga bhaktas, and especially the eminent rpnuga rasika bhaktas, relish this nintall in their hearts while chanting the holy names of the Supreme



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Lord. rla Vivantha Cakravart hkura gives an elegant description of this pastime in his Svapna-vilsa. Once, at the end of the night, while the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka were sleeping in a keli-kuja of Nidhuvana, r Vabhnu-nandin had an amazing dream. Upon waking, She woke Her Pra-vallabha and said, Beloved, I just had an amazing dream. In that dream I saw an incomparable river, just like the Yamun. Along that river I saw a supremely charming bank, just like a bank of the Yamun. On that bank, which resembled a grove in Vndvana, I saw a wonderful golden-complexioned young man singing and dancing very beautifully. Being absorbed in an internal mood, He was carried away in dancing to the rhythm of the mdaga and kartlas. That golden youth was crying and uttering O Ka, O Ka! and sometimes He would utter, O Rdh, O Rdh, where are You? Sometimes He rolled on the ground, and sometimes He became unconscious. He freely distributed these sentiments of His to the living entities of the entire universe, from a blade of grass to Lord Brahm. My beloved, upon seeing Him, I began to think, Who is this golden-complexioned youth? Am I that golden youth who is constantly crying and uttering O Ka, O Ka? And is the golden-complexioned youth crying out in a loud voice O Rdh, O Rdh, where are You? no one else but You, r Ka, the most beloved of My life? r Ka said, O My beloved, at different times I have given You darana of Nryaa and some of My other forms, yet You were never astonished. Who this golden-complexioned youth is who is bewildering Your mind I cannot say. Speaking in this way, He began to smile. Rdhik replied, Pra-vallabha, now I understand that this golden form is no one but You. No one other than You is able to infatuate Me in this way. Ka then showed r Rdhik Her dream in His Kaustubha jewel, just as She had seen it. rmat Rdhik said, In Your childhood, the all-knowing Garga i


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The main entrance to Nidhuvana


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informed Nanda Bb that in the beginning of the forthcoming Kali-yuga, his son will appear as the golden-complexioned Gaurga. A prediction by Garga i can never be false. Therefore, My dream must be true, and the golden youth I saw in the dream must, in fact, be You. Hearing this, r Ka said, Prevar, I will assume Your golden complexion and the sentiments of Your inner heart to appear in the form of Gaurga. I will thus personally relish Your nectarean bhvas. At the same time, I will preach rga-mrga bhakti through the chanting of the holy name of Hari. In fact, I will appear in the form of the most merciful Gaurga just to distribute divine love for Me, which is rarely attained. You will also appear on earth with Me as My associate. r Rdh-Ka thus gave an indication in this pastime of the future appearance of r Gaura. In Nidhuvana rmat Rdhik, decorated in regal apparel, sat on a royal throne in a kuja. r Ka, dressed as a police officer, protected the entrance of the kuja and the area within it. This pastime is called r-rja-ll. The poets in the Gauya line have given delightful descriptions of this pastime. Vikh-kua lies in Nidhuvana, just as Lalit-kua lies in Sev-kuja. r Rdh-bihrj manifested this kua of sweet, delicious water with His flute to relieve the thirst of His beloved sakh Vikh as well as that of the other sakhs. Later, the famous Svm Haridsa, who was very skilled in devotional music, found the deity of r Bke-bihr in this same Vikh-kua. Svm Haridsaj used to please r Bihrj by sweetly singing devotional songs he had personally composed as he played the v. While singing, he would become so absorbed that he would forget his body and mind. The famous Baijubvara and Tnsena were his disciples. Upon hearing about Svm Haridsas glories from the mouth of Tnsena, who was the jewel among Emperor Akbaras ministers, Akbara himself desired to relish the nectar of Haridsas musical talent. But Svm Haridsa had firmly resolved not to entertain anyone but his deity.


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Therefore one day Emperor Akbara disguised himself as an ordinary man and, along with Tnsena, came to Svm Haridsas hut in Nidhuvana. Tnsena, who also was very expert in music, had purposely brought his v along and now began to sing a sweet song. His singing enchanted Akbara. Svm Haridsa then took the v from the hands of Tnsena and began to sing the same song, pointing out the errors that Tnsena had made in singing it. Svm Haridsas singing was so sweet and attractive that even the deer, birds and other animals of the forest came to that spot, where they listened silently. Emperor Akbaras amazement knew no bounds. He was so pleased that he immediately wanted to present something to Svm Haridsa, but the wise Tnsena indicated to the emperor not to do so as it would alter Haridsas mood. The samdhi of this great personality is still present in Nidhuvana.


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The temple at Dhra-samra

Dhra-samra This place is situated on the bank of r Yamun just near Vavaa. It is the place of rsa-ll, where the Divine Couple perform Their eternal, sportive pastimes in the nikujas. The breeze (samra) itself would become so gentle and calm (dhra) here upon beholding these pastimes that it would be unable to move even an inch. Therefore, this place is named as Dhra-samra. r Gaurdsa Paita established the kuja and temple at Dhra-samra. He was the younger brother of Sryadsa Sarkhela, who was Nitynanda Prabhus father-in-law, the father of Jhnav and Vasudh. r Gauridsa Paita is one of the main associates of rman Mahprabhu. He came to Vndvana at the end of his life, where he established Dhra-samra-kuja and began to serve and 607

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r Gaurdsa Paitas samdhi

worship r ymarya, his worshipful deity. His place of bhajana and his samdhi are also here. In his well-known song from Gta-govinda the famous Vaiava poet r Jayadeva Gosvm has mentioned this kuja: dhra-samre yamun-tre vasati vane vana-ml gop-pna payodhara-mardana cacala-kara-yuga-l The kuja that is mentioned here refers to this Dhra-samrakuja. r Gopla-guru Gosvm s place of bhajana r Gopla-guru Gosvms place of bhajana is situated within Dhra-samra. r Vakrevara Paita was one of rman Mahprabhus well-known associates. In his last days, he became so distressed in separation from r Ka that in the eyes of worldly people he left his material body. Some time later his


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dear disciple r Gopla-guru Gosvm also left this material world. His beloved disciple Dhynacanda Gosvm was also a most learned and a topmost rasika bhakta. During his time, government officials committed some atrocities against the Rdh-Knta Maha and the bhajana-ku of Haridsa hkura in Pur. This caused him great sorrow. At that time, a Vaiava from Vndvana gave him the following news: Why are you so worried? We have seen your gurudeva, r Gopla-guru Gosvm, performing bhajana at Dhra-samra. Go to him. He will settle everything. Hearing this, Dhynacanda Gosvm became very joyful and immediately travelled on foot to Vndvana. Dhynacanda Gosvm reached Vndvana within a few days and upon entering Dhra-samra, he became astonished to see r Gopla-guru Gosvm with chanting-beads in his hand, submerged in ecstasy as he chanted nma-sakrtana. A constant flow of tears streamed from his eyes as he remembered various pastimes. r Dhynacanda fell at his feet like a rod and began to cry. He begged him to return to Pur-dhma. r Gopla-guru Gosvm refused to go in person but said, Return to Pur without anxiety. The disturbance of the government officials will end forever. By his order, Dhynacanda Gosvm returned to the Rdh-Knta Maha in Pur, where the government officials repeatedly apologised to him for their deeds. This is that same Dhra-samra where r Dhynacanda Gosvm had direct darana of r Gopla-guru Gosvms unmanifest transcendental form. Dhra-samra gives transcendental bliss to the devotees. Even today, it treasures all these pastimes in its heart. The place where jealous anger was broken (Mna-bhajana-sthala) Mna-bhajana-sthala lies within Dhra-samra. In the book Vraja Parikram, it is said that the sweet mna-bhajana ll (mna means jealous anger and bhajana means breaking)


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which r Jayadeva Gosvm describes in Gta-govinda (Song 19, verse 7) in his famous verse smara-garala-khaana mama irasi maanam dehi pada-pallavam udram took place here.

Va vaa This is the place where the Youthful Couple r Rdh-Ka together with the sakhs performed their pastimes of rsa as described in rmad-Bhgavatam, the pure and faultless scriptural authority. To bestow the result of the Ktyyan-pj upon the young, unmarried gops, rasika-bihr r Ka granted them a boon. To fulfil this boon, He played a sweet tune on His flute on a full moon night. Hearing the wonderful flute-song, the gops, intoxicated in prema, came here. rmad-Bhgavatam (10.29.4) describes this as follows:
niamya gt tad anaga-vardhana vraja-striya ka-ghta-mnas jagmur anyonyam alakitodyam sa yatra knto java-lola-kual
The young women of Vraja heard the sound of Kas flute. This sound, which reinforces amorous feelings, captivated their minds. Each unknown to the other, they went to where their lover Ka waited. Because they moved so quickly their earrings swung back and forth.

On the pretext of correcting the gops transgression of righteous conduct, rasikendra-ekhara r Ka gave His surrendered gops many reasons why they should return home to serve their husbands, but the clever gops easily refuted all His arguments. Kas autumnal rsa (radya-rsa) with countless gops took place here. One Ka danced between two gops or one gop was dancing between two Kas. In this way, rsa took place with astonishing dancing and singing. The other gops became proud of their good fortune (saubhgya-mada) and rmat


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Rdhik entered into a sulky angry mood, mna. Seeing this, rasika-ekhara r Ka disappeared from that place in order to soothe rmat Rdhiks mna and to remove the pride of the other gops. Thereafter, the gops, suffering separation from Ka and crying loudly, began to sing, jayati te dhika janman vraja .6 Hearing their singing, r Ka again appeared, and at this place He expressed His gratitude to the gops in sweet words: You have performed an extraordinary deed: you have given up everything for Me. For this sacrifice, I am eternally indebted to you and can never repay you. 7 This is the place where rsa-ll was performed, and thus it is the crest jewel among all places of pastimes. r Kas great-grandson r Vajranbha Mahrja planted a tree here in remembrance of this place of rsa, but after some time the Yamun flooded that place. More recently, five hundred and fifty years ago, r Mdhu Paita, a disciple of r Gaddhara Paita, took one of its branches and planted it here, and that branch transformed into a vast tree. r Mdhu Paita found the deity r Gopntha here while engaged in bhajana. There are four very small temples in each of the four corners of the quadrangular wall of Vavaa. The deities of r Rmnujcrya, r Madhvcrya, r Viusvm and r Nimbrkcrya were established within them. Nowadays, some other deities have replaced them. Gauya Vaiavas used to serve here, but then Brahmacrj, the spiritual guide of a king of Gvliyor, bought this place. Since then, it has been in the care of the Nimbrka sampradya.

Gopvara Mahdeva In rmad-Bhgavatam, Mahdeva akara, the god of gods, has been called the foremost Vaiava. He and Bhagavat Prvat are always absorbed in meditation on Kas eternal eightfold daily pastimes (aa-klya ll). Once, during r Kas manifest pastimes, akara desired to take darana of Kas captivating rsa-ll with his own eyes. Being eager to do so, he came directly 612

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to Vndvana from Kaila. At the gate outside Vndvana, some attendant gops stopped him, because no male except for r Ka can enter the rsa. But since when has akara easily agreed to anything? He asked the attendant gops how he might be admitted, and they told him to satisfy Bhagavat Yogamy Paurams (Prim) with his worship. akara followed their advice and after arduous worship he received darana of Yogamy. Knowing the desire of akara, Prim took his hands and dipped him in the nearby Brahmakua. When he came out of the pond, he had been transformed into an extremely beautiful young gop. Prim seated akara, now a gop, inside a kuja north-east of the rsa-sthal. She told him to behold the rsa-ll from there, and then she disappeared. After a short while, the rsa-ll began. The gops thought, Today, for some reason or other, we are not feeling any happiness in singing and dancing. They understood that some outsider had entered the arena, and they began to search for that person. In their search they came to this place where they saw a new, unknown gop sitting in a kuja. They caught that new gop and began to question her, What is your name? What is the name of your village? Who is your husband? Who is your father-in-law? But the new gop was unable to answer any of their questions. Instead, she could only cry. Yogamy had neither arranged her birth from the womb of a gop, nor given her any name. The new gop was not married to any gopa either, so what answers could she give? When the gops received no answer, they began to slap her cheeks till they became swollen. Seeing Mahdevas misery, Prims heart melted. She went there and explained that this gop was an object of her mercy. She requested the gops and Ka to be merciful to her. r Ka, knowing the internal desire of Prim, gave akara the name Gopvara and granted him the boon that a sdhaka would be unable to enter Vndvana, and especially into Kas sweet pastimes there, without first receiving his mercy.


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The Gosvm literatures also describe that at the time of Kas manifest pastimes, the gops worshipped Gopvara Mahdeva with the desire to obtain service to Ka. For instance, Raghuntha dsa Gosvms r Vraja-vilsa-stava (verse 87) states: mud gopendrasytmaja-bhuja-parivaga-nidhaye sphurada-gop-vndairyamaiha bhagavanta praayibhi bhajadbhisa tair bhakty svama bhilaita prptuma cird yam-tre gopvaramanudina ta kila bhaje
To obtain the jewel of being embraced by the arms of Vrajendra-nandana ymasundara, the gops, who possess firm, loving, intimate attachment for r Ka, joyfully worshipped Sadiva with great devotion and had all their internal desires fulfilled without delay. Daily I worship that Gopvara Mahdeva who resides on the bank of the Yamun.

The prama-mantra (from r Vivantha Cakravart hkuras Sakalpa-kalpa-druma, text 103) for Gopvara Mahdeva clearly indicates that Gopvara Mahdeva is the bestower of unadulterated ka-prema: vndvanvani-pate! jaya soma! soma-maule sanaka-sanandana-santana-naradeya gopvara! vraja-vils-yugghri-padme prema prayaccha nirupdhi namo namste
O gatekeeper of Vndvana, O Soma, all glories to you. O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon, and who is worshipful for the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Santana and Nrada. O Gopvara, desiring that you bestow upon me prema for the lotus feet of r Rdh-Mdhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhma, I offer obeisances unto you time and again.


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Special darana of Gopvara Mahdeva


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Jna-guda When r Ka returned to Mathur from gurukula, He sent His dear Uddhava to Nanda-Gokula to console His parents and the gops. What consolation could Uddhava actually give to the tormented hearts of Nanda Bb, Yaod-maiy and the gops that would relieve them from the fire of separation? Ka sent Uddhava on the excuse of consoling the Vrajavss, but the hidden truth is that there was no one in Mathur who could console Ka, who was scorching in separation from the gops. What to speak of console Ka, who in Mathur could even understand His sentiments? Therefore, r Ka sent His dear Uddhava to that school where He Himself had learned lessons on prema Vraja. Ka considered Uddhava a qualified student for such lessons. In that school, the principal was Rdhrn, the embodiment of mahbhva; and Lalit, Vikh and the other sakhs were the teachers. Being an ocean of mercy, the gops allowed into their school this student that Ka had sent them. Uddhava delivered to the gops Kas message, which was full of knowledge of the Absolute Truth (tattva-jna). But they tore it up so that it resembled a tattered garment ( guda ) and threw it into the water of the Yamun. That jna-guda drifted downstream and fell into the Gag at Prayga. From there it floated to the salt ocean where it was lost forever. The place where the gops abandoned that message filled with tattva-jnna, leaving it to float down the Yamun like a torn garment, is known today as Jna-guda. Brahma-kua This kua lies a little towards the south-west of Jna-guda. Bhagavat Yogamy Paurams gave Mahdeva akara the form of a gop by dipping him in this kua. r Vnd-dev also gave Nrada the form of Nrad Gop by bathing him here, thus fulfilling his desire to take darana of mah-rsa, which is very difficult to obtain. 616

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There is an aoka tree on the northern side of this Brahmakua which blossoms with flowers at exactly noontime on the Dvda of Vaikha-ukl. Only extremely fortunate rasika bhaktas, however, can behold those flowers no one else. This is stated in Varha Pura.8

Veu-kpa While engaged in sportive pastimes in Vndvana, r Ka knew that His beloveds were thirsty, so He touched His flute (veu) to the earth and blew into it. A stream of water which pierced Ptla, the lower regions, emerged by the sound of Kas flute. The water was very cool and fragrant. The gops drank this water, praising Ka and His flute. The gops named this well Veu-kpa. Dvnala-kua On the day Klyanga was subdued, Ka and Balarma and the gopas and gops could not return to their residences in 617

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Chakar as night had already fallen. They moved away from the poisonous Klya-daha to a lake a little distance away to the east. The water of this lake was clean and sweet, and after drinking water they rested here. Seeing a good opportunity to kill Ka and His associates, the servants of the wicked Kasa set this forest ablaze in all directions. Very soon, a devastating fire raged throughout the forest. Ka told everyone to close his eyes. He also closed His eyes, and at once swallowed that devastating forest fire as if it were cool water. The pond where this pastime took place is called Dvnala-kua. Dvnala means forest fire.


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There are currently thousands of temples in Vndvana, and therefore Vndvana is also known as The City of Temples. There is a temple in every home. The following temples are some of the principal ancient ones: r Govinda, r Sk-gopla, r Gopntha, r Madana-mohana, r Rdh-Ramaa, r Rdh-Vinoda, r Rdh-Mdhava, r Rdh-Dmodara, r Rdh-ymasundara, r Rdh-Gokulnanda, r Gaura-Nit at gravaa, r Stntha, r Rdh-Vallabha and r Bkebihr. There are also many modern temples, like the temples of haj, Ll Bb, r Ragaj, Tasa, Jaipura, Hb-kuja, rj, Varddhmna Rja, Brahmacrj, Giridhrj, kr Rn, hjpura, Mahrn Svaramay, Klbb-kuja, r RpaSantana Gauya Maha, r Ka-Balarma and many others. To keep this book short, most of these have not been mentioned in any detail. A short description of some of the prominent temples is now given below.

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r Govindadeva Temple (r Govinda Svm-trtha) The present name of this temple is r Govindadeva, and its ancient name was Gom-l. r Rpa Gosvm used to perform sdhana-bhajana in a small hut behind the temple of r RdhDmodara in Sev-kuja. On the order of rman Mahprabhu, he composed different literatures on bhakti, like Bhakti-rasmtasindhu and Ujjvala-nlamai, while living here. Also, following the instruction of Mahprabhu, he wanted to manifest the deity of r Govinda that had previously been installed by r Vajranbha. Daily, r Rpa Gosvm would perform the ten miles parikram of Vndvana. One day, during his parikram, he became very restless thinking about the deity of r Govinda. He sat down under a tree on the bank of the Yamun and wept, yearning for His darana. At that time, a beautiful Vrajavs boy who was also 619

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doing parikram walked past. He saw r Rpa Gosvm weeping under the tree, and asked him why he was crying. At first, Rpa Gosvm said nothing, but when the boy persisted, he revealed to Him the pain in his heart. The Vrajavs boy brought Rpa Gosvm to Gom-l and said, Please listen. Every day, just before noon, one cow comes to this mound, and irrigates this place with the milk from her udder. I think that your desire will be fulfilled here. Saying this, the boy immediately disappeared. Thinking of the beauty and sweet words of the boy, r Rpa Gosvm fainted. Upon regaining consciousness, he called the neighbouring Vrajavss, who very carefully dug up the earth at that place. There, a little under the ground, was r Govindaj, more beautiful than millions of cupids. They bathed the deity with great ceremony. News of this spread quickly, and crowds of people gathered to take darana of r Govindaj. r Govindadeva is Vndvanevara the Lord (vara) of r Vndvana. In the Skanda, Padma, Varha and other Puras, He is said to be Vndvanas rja-rjevara, King of kings. r Govindadeva is thus the worshipful deity of Vndvana. r Caitanya-caritmta (di-ll 8.501) states: vndvane kalpa-drume suvara-sadana mah-yogapha th ratna-sihsana tte vasi che sad vrajendra-nandana r-govinda deva nma-skt madana
At the mah-yogapha in Vndvana, beneath a desire tree is a golden throne bedecked with jewels. On that throne Vrajendra-nandana, r Govindadeva, the transcendental Cupid, is seated.

r Caitanya-caritmta (di-ll 1.16) also says: dvyad-vndraya-kalpa-drumdha rmad-ratngra-sihsana-sthau


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r-r-rdh-rla-govinda-devau prehlibhi sevya-mnau smarmi

I meditate upon r Rdh-Govindadeva, who are seated beneath a desire tree on an effulgent bejewelled throne in the supremely beautiful land of Vndvana. There, They are always being served by Their beloved sakhs, especially by Lalit and Vikh.

There are many famous statements regarding r Govinda in different scriptures. For instance, rmad-Bhgavatam (6.8.20) states: m keavo gaday prtar avyd govinda sagavam ttaveu May r Keava protect me with His club in the morning hours, and may r Govinda, who is holding His flute, protect me in the second portion of the day. A commentary on this verse nicely elucidates its meaning.9 In the Gopla-tpan Upaniad (Prvakhaa text 38) it is said: tam eka govinda sac-cid-nandavigraham You are Govinda and Your form is transcendental, full of knowledge, bliss and eternality. The Vedas (Urddhva-mnya) glorifies r Govinda in the following verse: gopla eva govinda prakaprakaa sad vndvane yogapihe sa eva satata sthita asau yuga-catuke pi rmad-vndvandhipa pjito nanda-gopdyai kenpi supjita The Atharva Veda says, gokulraye mathur-maale vndvana-madhye sahasra-dala-madhye adala-keare govindopi yma dvibhujo, and so on. Furthermore, the Skanda Pura states: govinda-svmi nmtra vasatyarccayatmiko cyuta gandharvair apsarobhica kra mna sa modate r Nryaa Bhaa Gosvm also mentions r Govinda in the following verse from Vraja-bhakti-vilsa (10.76):


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vnd-dev sametya govindya namo nama loka-kalmaa-nya paramtma-svarpie

I pay my respect to r Govinda together with Vnd-dev. He is the personification of the Supersoul and the destroyer of the sins of mankind.

Before r Rpa Gosvms arrival in r Dhma Vndvana, it was unheard of to place a deity of rmat Rdhik beside a deity of r Ka. It so happened that a deity of r Rdhik, who was present in the temple of Jaganntha in Pur-dhma at a place named Cakrabea, was being worshipped by everyone as Lakmj. rmat Rdhik instructed the father of Mahrja Pratparudra, Puruottama Jn, in a dream: I am not Lakm; I am Rdh, the beloved of Vrajendra-nandana r Ka. I am waiting for the manifestation of r Govindadeva in Vndvana. When He appears please send Me to Him with great care. This deity, along with other deities of rmat Rdhik, was later sent to Vndvana with r Jhnav hkurn, and the contemporary gosvms placed this deity of r Rdh to the left of r Govindadeva. After being united with rmat Rdhik, r Govinda became famous by the name of r Rdh-Govinda. r Caitanya Mahprabhu personally sent His own deity form, r Gaura-Govinda, to Vndvana, with His associate Kvara Brahmacr. That same deity is nearby, in the southern part of the Govindaj Temple. In 1590 AD, a disciple of r Raghuntha Bhaa Gosvm, Mahrja Mna Singh of Jaipura, built an extensive seven-storey, red-stone temple, as inspired by his holy master. In 1670 AD, the tyrannical Mughal emperor Aurangzeb demolished this temple, destroying the top four floors. When he was in the process of destroying the lower part, he suddenly received some news of some calamity and had to return to Delhi. Thus, the lower portion of the temple was saved. Before the temples of Vndvana were destroyed, r Govindaj and other worshipful deities of the


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The old Govindadeva Temple

Gauyas were sent to Jaipura. In 1748 AD, the pratibh-vigraha of r Govindadeva was installed nearby here. Then, in 1819 AD, r Nandakumra Vasu constructed the present temple. Situated in this temple is r Govindadeva with r Rdhik to His left. The ancient and original Govindadeva along with His beloved Rdhik now reside in a temple near the royal palace in Jaipura.


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The original r Rdh-Govinda, now in Jaipur

The new Govindadeva Temple


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rla Rpa Gosvm jokingly forbids the darana of Govindadeva with the following words: If you have even a slight desire to enjoy life with your wife, sons, relatives and friends, then listen to my advice. Never go to Kei-gha in Vndvana, even by mistake. There, r Hari as the deity of Govinda is standing in His charming threefold-bending form, smiling. Raising His eyebrows, He looks here and there with slightly crooked eyes. His yellow cloth ( ptmbara) is shimmering on His body, and He is decorated with a heart-stealing garland of forest flowers and bunches of fresh young leaves. Aah, the flute, the root cause of all troubles, is gracefully placed to His lips, and the peacock feather on His head is increasing His beauty. A person who even once beholds this deity of Govinda with his own eyes never returns to his home, and his household life is ruined. Therefore, O wordly jva, be cautious. Never ever go towards Ke-gha; otherwise an unthinkable disaster may occur. 10

r Madana-mohana Mahrja Vajranbha installed the three deities of r Govinda, r Gopntha and r Madana-mohana in r Dhma Vndvana. In time, due to the oppression of the barbarians, the priests hid these deities in various places and fled. Vndvana turned into a dense forest. It has already been described how r Govindadeva re-appeared after many years by the endeavours of r Rpa Gosvm. Now, we will briefly describe how r Santana Gosvm manifested r Madana-mohana. Sometimes in the morning, r Santana Gosvm walked the sixteen miles from Vndvana to Govardhana to perform the fourteen-mile long parikram of Govardhana. From there, he would walk another sixteen miles to Mathur to collect alms (mdhukar) and then again walk back to his bhajana-ku in Vndvana. One day, he came to the house of a Caube brhmaa in Mathur for alms. What did he see there? In the house of the Caube, two beautiful boys were playing the game gull-a. Madana, the 625

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restless, fidgety boy with a dark-bluish complexion defeated the son of the Caube. Madana climbed upon the shoulders of the defeated boy and enjoyed a horse ride. But when the Caubes son defeated Madana the second time they played, and it was his turn to enjoy a ride on Madanas shoulders, Madana ran into the temple room. Seeing this, the son of the Caube angrily abused and pursued Him. He wanted to enter the temple, but the priest scolded him and chased him away. Pointing his forefinger at Madana, who had turned into the deity, the son of the Caube said, You just wait, I will see You tomorrow. This scene amazed r Santana Gosvm. The next day, he arrived a little earlier, at breakfast time, desiring to again have darana. Although she had not yet taken bath, the Caubin was making khichr for both boys, who were sitting waiting for their breakfast. Maiy was brushing her teeth with one end of a stick and was stirring the khichr with the other end. When she had finished cooking, she served the boys the hot khichr in bowls, cooling it down by blowing on it with her mouth. The boys were relishing this khichr with great love. Santana Gosvm could not tolerate her improper conduct. Maiy, it is not proper to cook khichr without taking bath, to stir it with the stick you use to brush your teeth, and then to serve this contaminated breakfast to the boys. The Caubin realized her mistake, and replied, Bb, from tomorrow, I will be clean when I cook and serve the boys their breakfast. r Santana Gosvm wanted to see some more pastimes of the deity of r Madana-mohana, so on the third day he went there again. Breakfast was delayed that day because Maiy was taking bath. She then had to clean the pots. The hungry boys were demanding breakfast. Maiy pacified them, and after completing her morning chores, she started cooking khichr. The two boys were pulling on her cloth and insisting on eating at once. Santana Gosvm was unable to tolerate this. He approached her and said,


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Maiy, there is no need for you to be clean by bathing. If this Madana is pleased with your unclean and impure breakfast, then you should do as such. I have committed an offence at your feet. From tomorrow, you should do whatever you think is proper to satisfy them. Just as Santana Gosvm was about to leave, the boy Madana came out of the temple room and said, Bb, I will come with you. But r Santana Gosvm replied, I am a completely renounced person. I have neither a place to live, nor any arrangement to cook palatable food. If even Yaod-maiy could not completely satisfy You, how can I take care of You? The child Madana nonetheless insisted on coming with him. Santana Gosvm said, If You really want to come, then You will have to follow me on foot. I cannot carry You on my shoulders. The boy said, I will walk behind you, but do not turn around along the way to look at Me. You can look at Me only at your bhajana-ku. When Santana Gosvm had reached his bhajana-ku, he turned around and saw the boy Madana smile and change into His deity form. Santana Gosvm constructed an altar by putting a board on top of a few stones and seated Him there. Every day, he would cook some balls of dough without salt on live coals, and offer them to the deity. One day, as Santana Gosvm was making his offering, Madana-mohanaj asked him for some salt. Santana Gosvm would happily have given salt if only he had some, but there was no salt in his hut. Madana-mohanaj told him, I am not able to swallow this dry dough-ball. Upon hearing this, Santana Gosvm began to repent. At that time, Kadsa Kapra, a rich merchant from the Multna province, happened to be travelling along the Yamun carrying valuable articles for trade in large boats. As the boats approached Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku, they got stuck in the sand. Despite several efforts, the boats could not be released


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r Madana-mohana & Santana Gosvm

from the sand. The merchant came ashore and saw the extremely beautiful deity of r Madana-mohana in front of the hut. Sitting down on the invitation of Santana Gosvm, the merchant began to weep and lament to him about his situation. In his mind, he firmly vowed, As soon as my boats are freed from the sand, I will construct a beautiful temple for r Madana-mohana with the profits I make from this journey. I will also make proper arrangements for His service and offerings. The moment he resolved this, his boats were dislodged by themselves and started drifting again. He made an enormous profit from his trade and, on the inspiration of r Santana Gosvm, had a huge temple constructed for r Madana-mohana. However, r Santana Gosvm entrusted all the arrangements of service, worship, offering and so forth to the priests and again began performing mdhukar 11 in Vraja. In this way, he maintained his life by living under a different tree every night and performing rigid sdhana-bhajana.


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r Madana-mohana Temple
After the disappearance of r Santana Gosvm from this material world, Aurangzeb, who was inimical to the Hindus, desecrated this temple in 1670 AD, destroying the dome and other parts. Before he did this, Madana-mohanaj and other deities of Vndvana had already been moved to Jaipura. Nowadays, Madanamohanaj resides in Karaul. In 1748 AD, a pratibh-vigraha of Madana-mohana was established here. Then, in 1819 AD, r Nandalla Vasu constructed the present temple. The ancient hand-written books, Sev-prkaya and Ialbha, mention that Santana Gosvm obtained r Madana-Gopla from Paraurma Caube of Mahvana in savat 1590 (1534 AD) and re-established the deitys service and worship in the same year on ukl-dvity (the second day of the bright moon) of Mgha (JanuaryFebruary). He entrusted the duties of the service and worship to Kadsa Brahmacr. At that time, there was no


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r Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku


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r Madana-mohana
deity of r Rdhik with r Madana-mohana. r Puroottama Jn, the father of King Pratparudra of Orissa, arranged with great faith to send two deities of Rdh from Pur-dhma to Vndvana. r Madana-mohana informed the priest in his dream, The taller of the two deities from Pur is Lalitj, and the shorter is Rdhj. You should place the deity of Rdhik on My left side and the deity of Lalit on My right side. It is mentioned in Bhakti-ratnkara that r Santana Gosvm built a temple for r Caitanya Mahprabhu in the southern part of r Madanamohanas temple, but r Caitanya Mahprabhu did not come to Vndvana a second time. In the new temple, Rdhik stands on r Madana-mohanas left side and Lalit stands on His right side. A algrma-il is also there, and r Jaganntha presides in a separate room ( prakoha). Places of darana near the old temple are r Santana Gosvms bhajana-ku, samdhi and the grantha-samdhi.


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r Santana Gosvms samdhi

The grantha-samdhi

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r Gopntha Close to the famous Vavaa, on the bank of the Yamun, r Paramnanda Bhacarya and Madhu Paita used to worship r Rdh-Ka Yugala with extreme renunciation. Once, the current of the Yamun cut into her bank and a very beautiful deity of r Gopntha was revealed from under the sand. In the morning, when the devotee Paramnanda came to the Yamun to bathe, he found this exceptional deity who stole his heart. He entrusted the service of r Gopntha to r Madhu Paita. First, r Gopntha resided near Vavaa, but later on a magnificent new temple was constructed elsewhere and His service and worship continued there. Once, Nitynanda Prabhus wife Jhnav hkur came to Vndvana. As she was having darana of r Rdh-Gopntha, she thought that the deity of Rdhik was too small and that

r Rdh-Gopntha & Anaga Majar (right)


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if Rdhik had been a little taller, the Couple would look much more beautiful. Jhnav hkur returned to her residence after beholding the evening ceremony. That night, in a dream, r Gopntha asked Jhnav to arrange for a taller deity of Rdhik. She received similar instructions from rmat Rdhik, and had a deity of Her made that was a more appropriate size for the deity of Gopntha. The book Bhakta-mla describes that at the time of Jhnav hkurns disappearance, she revealed her own deity and established herself in it. She instructed the priests to install the deity of her in the chamber of r Gopntha. When this deity arrived at the temple of Gopntha in Vndvana, the priests hesitated to install her along side r Gopintha. At that time, Gopnthaj Himself instructed the priests, Do not hesitate. This is My beloved Anaga Majar. Place her on My left and Rdhik on My right. And so it came to be that Jhnav stands on r Gopnthas left side and Rdhik stands on His right. During the oppression of Aurangzeb, the original deities of Gopnthaj, Rdhik and Jhnav also proceeded to Jaipura together with other deities. The pratibh-vigrahas now preside in the temple built by Nandakumra Vasu. Jhnav hkurn is seated on the left side of Gopntha, and Lalit Sakh and a small deity of Rdhik are seated on His right. The deity of Mahprabhu r Gaurasundara is in a separate chamber. In 1632 AD, the original temple was built by Rya Singh, the son of the king of Bknera, Mahrja Kalyamala of the Rhaur dynasty. Aurangzeb destroyed this temple. The pratibh-vigrahas were established in 1748 AD, and the new temple was built in 1819 AD. Near the new temple to the east is the samdhi of Madhu Paita.


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r Rdh-Dmodara This temple is situated within the area of Sev-kuja. r Rpa Gosvm used to live here in his bhajana-ku. The contemporary Gosvms and devotees assembled here for iagohs and, in those gatherings of Vaiavas, r Raghuntha Bhaa would elucidate on rmad-Bhgavatam in his melodious voice. r Rpa Gosvm compiled r Bhakti-rasmta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nlamai and other sacred texts on bhakti at this place. The young r Jva Gosvm was engaged in all kinds of service to r Rpa Gosvm, who personally manifested the deity of r Rdh-Dmodara with his own hands and offered the service and worship to r Jva. According to the book Sev-prkaya, r Rdh-Dmodara were installed in savat 1599 (1543 AD) in the month of Mgha (JanuaryFebruary) on ukl-daam (the tenth day of the bright half of the month). The original r Rdh-Dmodara are now in Jaipura, and Their pratibh-vigrahas, which are as potent as the original deities, are in Vndvana. On the altar with Them are r Vndvana-candra,

The pratibh-vigrahas of r Rdh-Dmodara


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r Chailacikaniy, r Rdh-Mdhava and a few others. The samdhis of r Jva Gosvm and r Kadsa Kavirja Gosvm lie behind the temple, and in the northern area of the temple are the samdhi and bhajana-ku of r Rpa Gosvm. Adjacent to this is the samdhi of r Bgarbha Gosvm. Santana Gosvm used to perform parikram of Govardhana daily. In his old age, when he became incapable of performing parikram, Ka came to him as a boy and gave him a govardhanail, which was one-and-a-half cubits long and shaped like a banyan leaf. He instructed Santana Gosvm to perform parikram of this il instead. On this il are imprints of Kas foot, His flute and a cows hoof. Santana Gosvm brought that il to Vndvana and would circumambulate it daily. After his disappearance, r Jva Gosvm installed the il in the temple of r Rdh-Dmodara and began to worship it. Darana of this il is available on special request.

r Rpa Gosvms bhajana-ku & samdhi


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r Rdh-Ramaa r Rdh-Ramaa is the deity of r Gopla Bhaa Gosvm, the recipient of rman Mahprabhus mercy. r Bhaa Gosvm initially served and worshipped a lagrma-il. Once, he intensely desired to decorate his lagrma, to seat Him on a swing and sway Him back and forth, and to serve Him in many ways like a deity. If only He had arms and legs like a deity he thought. Prabhu is very kind to His devotees. To fulfil the desire of this bhakta, He transformed Himself that very night into the attractive

r Rdh-Ramaa Temple


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r Rdh-Ramaa

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threefold-bending form of r Rdh-Ramaa. r Bhaa Gosvm decorated Him with many ornaments, swung Him on a swing and offered food preparations with great affection. If one has darana of r Rdh-Ramaas back, one will see that it resembles a lagrma-il. Although the deity is only twelve finger-widths tall, He is very attractive. r Rdh-Ramaas lotus face is like r Govindas, His chest is like r Gopnthas, and His lotus feet are like r Madana-mohanas. By taking His darana, one receives the benefit of taking darana of these three deities. According to the book Sev-prkaya, Rdh-Ramaa manifested from the lagrma-il in savat 1599 (1543 AD). His abhieka took place on Prim in the month of Vaikha (AprilMay) that same year. There is no deity of r Rdh with Rdh-Ramaa, but a gomat-cakra is worshipped on the altar to His left. According to an injunction in r Hari-bhakti-vilsa, a gomat-cakra is to be worshipped along with a lagrma-il. Adjacent to the temple of r Rdh-Ramaa, to the south, is the samdhi of r Gopla Bhaa Gosvm and the place where Rdh-Ramaa appeared. Unlike other deities, r Rdh-Ramaa never left Vndvana.

r Rdh-Vinoda & r Rdh-Gokulnanda Before the arrival of r Caitanya Mahprabhu in Vndvana, r Lokantha Gosvm and r Bhgarbha Gosvm came here. Being very humble and without any possessions (akicana), they performed bhajana at the many pastime places in Vraja-maala. r Lokantha Gosvm found the deity of r Rdh-Vinoda in Kior-kua in Umro-gaon near Chatravana and served Them there. Later, on the request of Rpa, Santana and the other Gosvms, he brought his worshipful r Rdh-Vinoda to Vndvana and began to worship Them near the temple of r Rdh-Ramaa. Nowadays, the original deity that was worshipped by r Lokantha Gosvm is in Jaipura, and the pratibh-vigraha is worshipped in that same temple in Vndvana. 639

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r Rdh-Vinoda & r Rdh-Gokulnanda

r Gokulnanda, who appeared at r Rdh-kua through r Vivantha Cakravart hkura, also arrived in this temple later on. The govardhana-il given by rman Mahprabhu to r Raghuntha dsa Gosvm used to be present here. The original deity of r Gokulnanda is now also situated in Jaipura with r Rdh-Vinoda. In the courtyard of the temple are the samdhis of r Lokantha Gosvm, r Narottama hkura and r Vivantha Cakravart hkura.

r Sk-gopla West of the r Govinda Temple are the ruins of the Skgopla Temple. This ancient deity of Gopla went to Vidynagara to act as a witness (sk). r Caitanya-caritmta narrates the amazing story of r Goplaj, who is loving to His devotees (bhakta-vatsala). In this case, this refers to an older and a younger brhmaa. Upon arriving at Vidynagara, r Goplaj testified before the assembled people. He said, The older brhmaa was very 640

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pleased with the service of the younger brhmaa, and promised to give his daughter in marriage to him. I am the witness to this statement. In time, this deity went to r Jaganntha Pur and is now present in Satyavdpura, about twelve miles from Pur. Now, Satyavdpura is famous by the name of Sk-gopla. Since then, the temple of Sk-gopla in Vndvana has been deserted, and today only its ruins remain.

r Madana-mohana (the second) r Gaddhara Bhaa is, according to Bhakta-mla, a ik disciple of r Jva Gosvm. He is accepted within the spiritual family lineage of r Gaddhara Paita. Being expert in the art of singing, r Gaddhara Bhaa received the title vkra. This r Gaddhara Bhaa served the deity of r Madana-mohana [the second]. This temple lies in the Bhaa neighbourhood opposite the temple of r Rdh-Vallabha. At this place samja (the singing of pastimes) is performed with great celebration. The deity here is very beautiful. There is a very old copy of rmad-Bhgavatam in this temple. r ymasundara The temple of r ymasundara is situated near the r Rdh-Dmodara Temple. r Rdh-ymasundara, the deities established and worshipped by gauya-vednta-crya r Baladeva Vidybhaa, are very beautiful. Opposite the entrance door of the temple is the samdhi of r ymnanda Prabhu. r Baladeva Vidybhaa was born in a village near the famous Remun in Orissa. He studied grammar, rhetoric and logic in an academic village on the bank of Cilk-hrada. After this, he went to Mysore to study the Vedas. In Uup, he deeply studied Madhva-bhya along with akara-bhya, Prijta-bhya and other commentaries (bhyas) on the Vednta. After some time, he studied in r Dhma Jaganntha Pur the a-sandarbhas under r Rdh-Dmodara, a disciple of r Rasiknanda Prabhu. At 641

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r ymasundara Temple
this time, he came to know of r Rdh-Dmodaras profound scholarship and devout life and became his disciple. Later on, in Vndvana, he studied rmad-Bhgavatam and the books of the Gosvms from the famous gauya rasikcrya r Vivantha Cakravart hkura and, on his instruction, went to Jaipura. At the well-known Galt in Jaipura, he defeated the scholars of the r sampradya and other opponents to the Gauya line, and established the deity of r Vijaya-gopla. To increase the faith of the local scholars, he composed r Govinda-bhya on Brahmastra there, and re-installed r Rdhj beside r Govindadeva in the famous Govinda Temple. Some of the books he composed, which have enlarged the treasure house of r Gauya Vaiava literature, are Govinda-bhya, Siddhnta-ratnam, Vedntasymantaka, Prameya-ratnval, Siddhnta-darpaa and a commentary on a-sandarbha.


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r Rdh-Mdhava r Jayadeva Gosvms deities used to reside in an ancient temple on the old bank of the Yamun at Bhramara-gha, north of r Gokulannda Temple. Nowadays, they are being served in an extensive temple in Jaipura at a hilly place known as Gh. This temple is prominent in Jaipura and is called Kanaka Vndvana. North-east of r Rdh-Mdhava Temple is the large temple of r Yugala-Kiora. The dome of this temple is broken. r Bke-bihr Svm Haridsa recovered r Bke-bihr from Vikhkua in Nidhuvana. In this temple there is no deity of r Rdhik next to Ka. On Akaya-tty in the month of Vaikha, one can have darana of r Bke-bihrs lotus feet. r Bke-bihr previously resided in Nidhuvana, but then moved to the present temple. During the Muslim oppression, r Bke-bihrj secretly

r Bke-bihr

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stayed in Vndvana and did not leave. The darana of r Bkebihr is performed in a very special way. The curtain is drawn every few minutes, thus making the darana very short. This is known as jhk-darana, a momentary darana. The reason for this brief darana is His bhakta-vtsalya ( particular affection for His devotees) and His rasika nature. The following pastime demonstrates this. Once, an eminent bhakta came for r Bke-bihrs darana. He gazed intently at the deity for a long time. Rasika Bke-bihrj became so attracted to him that He went with him to his village. Later, when the gosvms of Bihrj came to know of this, they traced Him and, after much pleading brought the deity back to the temple. After this incident, a momentary darana was introduced so that no one again can gaze upon Him for a long time. The unique feature of the Bke-bihrj Temple is that there is no magala-rat. The gosvms of this temple say that because hkuraj performs rsa every night, He becomes exhausted and goes to sleep in the early morning and it is therefore improper to wake Him at that time.

r Rdh-Vallabha This is the deity served by Svm r Hitahari-vaa Mahrja, who received the deity of r Rdh-Vallabha as dowry at his wedding. There is no deity of r Rdhik with r Rdh-Vallabha, but there is a crown on the altar instead, which is worshipped as r Rdhik. This deity is very attractive. r Yugala-Kioraj r Yugala-Kioraj is situated in Kiorvana, or Vysa-gher, near r Sev-kuja. Mdhava dsa, a disciple of r Mdhavendra Pur, was a famous bhakta crya. r Nbh dsa has described his character in Bhakta-mla. His disciple, Abhirma Vysa, a resident of Orach, revealed this deity through Harirma Vysaj. Nearby in the garden is the samdhi of r Vysaj. 644

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There is a second Yugala-Kioraj whose temple lies on a hillock near Ke-gha. Jhnn-Pann Rj established this temple. During the reign of Mughal emperor Akbara, the two Rjapta brothers Haridsa hkura and Govinda dsa hkura built the temple of a third Yugala-Kioraj. The brothers were from the family of Tomara and belonged to the village of Nmkthn in Jaipura.

r Ll Bb Temple r Ll Bb was a famous and wealthy landlord of East Bengal. He used to go for walks a little distance from his mansion on the other side of the river, along its elegant bank. Once, as he was walking, he heard a boatman remark, O brother, the day is over. Go across. Hearing the boatmans words, he became immersed in contemplation. He crossed the river by boat and returned home. The next day, during his walk, he heard the voice of a washerman addressing his wife, The day is over; go and burn the vsan. (Washermen burn banana plants and prepare a kind of alkali for washing clothes. In Bengali, the bark of the banana plant is called vsan. But, vsan also means desire or passion.) Ll Bb took this remark to mean, The day is over; the days of your life are also over. Quickly burn your lusty desires. The statements of the boatman and the washerman left a deep impression on him. He abandoned his grandiose life and his family and came to Vndvana, where he began performing bhajana. Bhakta Ll Bb installed the deity of r Kacandra in 1810 AD in this magnificent stone temple. haj Temple A resident of Lucknow, Seh Kundanalla ha, constructed this grand, white marble-stone temple in 1835 AD at great expense. He was an unalloyed devotee of r Caitanya Mahprabhu. This temple presently gives some idea of the incomparable grandeur of Vndvana in previous times. 645

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haj Temple

r Ragaj Temple

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r Ragaj Temple In 1851 AD r Lakmcanda Seh built this temple at the expense of 4.5 million rupees. Following the style of the famous r Ragam Temple in South India, r Ragaj presides in the main temple within many walls, with Lakm-dev massaging His feet. At the eastern gate of the temple is a huge Garua-stambha, which is completely covered with gold leaf. The general public call it Sone k Tla-vka, The Golden Palm Tree. Near the main entrance, in the north, is a pond. Yearly on Baladeva-prim, the pastime of the fight between the elephant Gajendra and the crocodile is displayed in this pond, with r Hari protecting the surrendered elephant. Near the western door is a huge chariot, upon which r Ragaj rides on special occasions.

r Ragaj

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rj Temple Mahrn nandakumar-dev, the Queen of Jaya Singh, a king of Jaipura, had this temple constructed in 1826 AD. Two set of deities are installed here, r nanda-manohara and r Vndvana-candra. Varddhamna Mahrja-kuja This kuja is situated opposite the temple of rj, on the other side of the road. The devotee queen Rjarjevar-dev, wife of r Krticnda, a mahrja of Varddhamn in Bengal, built this temple. She also arranged for the ghas of Pvana-sarovara in Nandagaon to be constructed out of stone. Brahmacr hkura-b Mahrja Jiyj Sindhiy of Gwalior built this magnificent temple in 1860 AD. He offered the service of the deities to his spiritual guide, r Giridhr dsa Brahmacr. In this temple are three deities r Rdh-Gopla, Hasa-Gopla and NityaGopla who preside in three separate chambers. This grand, stone temple is situated near the Ll Bb Temple. r krrn hkura-b This temple is located in the northern part of Vndvana on the bank of the Yamun. In 1871 AD this temple was built by Queen Indrajta-kumr and was famous for its hospitality. The Queens husband was Hitakma hkura, a king of kar in the district of Gay in Bihra. Three deities reside in this temple r RdhKa, r Rdh-Gopla and r La-Gopla. hajpura Temple This temple is located in Retiy-bzra. The dvna, or courtminister, of hajpura state, Ll Vrajakioraj, constructed it in 1873 AD. The deity in this temple is r Rdh-Gopla, whose beautiful darana is very grand. 648

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Mahrn Svaramay Temple This temple is located near the bank of the Yamun and was built by Mahrn Svaramay, wife of Kumra Kantha. He was the great grandson of the well-known Knta Bb of Ksmabzra, West Bengal. Previously, a deity of r ymasundara was worshipped in this temple. Now r Gopnthaj, installed by Mahrn, resides here. Jaipura-vl Temple Mahrja Mdho Singh of Jaipura had this grand temple built over a period spanning almost thirty years and expended much money on it. The main temple has three doors. In the northern chamber is r nanda-Bihrj; in the central chamber is r Rdh-Mdhavaj; and in the southern chamber are r NityaGoplaj, r Giridhrij, and the deities of r Nrada and r Sanaka, Santana, Sanandana and Sanata Kumra. The deities in this temple were installed in 1916 AD. Savmana lagrma A huge Savmana lagrma presides in a two-storey temple in the corner of Lo-bzr, opposite the temple of r ymasundara. Savmana refers to a weight of nearly forty-seven kilos. The deities of r St-Rma are also here. In the old temple of r Govindaj is another lagrma of savmana. Bankha Mahdeva This temple is situated at the junction of three roads at the end of Ahkhamb, coming from the famous Bke-bihr Temple. During his stay in Vndvana, r Santana Gosvm resided in his bhajana-ku near the old r Madana-mohana Temple, and would daily go for darana of r Gopvara Mahdeva. When Santana Gosvm became old, r Gopvara Mahdeva instructed him one day in a dream, In your old age, please do not go to so much trouble to take my darana. I myself will appear at Bankha 649

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Bankha Mahdeva
nearer to your bhajana-ku. That very next day, r Gopvara Mahdeva appeared in Bankha. Seeing this, Santana Gosvm became overwhelmed in ecstatic emotions. From that day on, he would take darana of Bankha Mahdeva each day before returning to his bhajana-ku. Because r Gopvara Mahdeva appeared in Bankha, he became known by the name Bankha Mahdeva.

Aa-sakh-kuja Aa-sakh-kuja is situated near the old temple of r Madanamohana. In the centre is r Rdh-Ka Yugala, and surrounding Them are the deities of eight sakhs, four on each side. In 1296 AD, the Mahrja of Hetamapura, Rmarajana Cakravart, and his wife Padmsundar had this temple built and installed the deity of r Rdh-Rsabihr here.


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The deities at Aa-sakh-kuja

r Rdh-Vinoda Jam hkura (Tasa-vl Temple) This temple is also called the hkura-b of Rjari Rya Vanaml dsa. It is situated on the left side of an unpaved lane some distance from the main road that leads from Vndvana to Mathur. r Vchrmaj, an official in the Tasa state in Bengal, was a great devotee of Ka. Daily, he used to take bath in the flowing water of a nearby river. Once, while taking his morning bath, he heard a very sweet voice coming from inside the river. Please take Me out of the water and take Me home, the voice said. However r Vchrma was unable to see the source of that voice in the nearby vicinity. The next day, the same thing happened. While bathing on the third day, he not only heard the sweet voice but simultaneously felt the touch of something under the water. When he picked up the object that touched him, he saw that it was an amazingly beautiful deity of r Ka. That same deity became famous by the name of r Vinoda-hkura. 651

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By His own will, r hkuraj arrived at the house of the great devotee, r Vanaml Rya, and the regular service of the deity began there. The only daughter of r Vanaml Rya was extremely beautiful, highly qualified and especially devoted. When the princess had darana of r Vinoda-hkura, she became fascinated by His sweet smile. r Vinoda-hkura also began to play directly with that girl whose name was Rdh. One day, He caught the corner of the princesss sari and said, You should marry Me. After some time, the princess became ill. hkura Vinodaj told Rdhs mother in a dream, Rdh will not survive now. You should make one deity of Rdh from the wood of the dry cedar tree in your garden and marry her to Me. And so it happened that as soon as the deity of Rdh was installed, the princess Rdh passed away. The cremation of Princess Rdh was carried out at the same time that Rdhs deity form was being installed beside hkura Vinodaj. r Vinoda-hkura now became r Rdh-Vinoda-bihr hkura. After some time, r Vanaml Ryabahdura went to Vndvana and brought r Rdh-Vinodabihr hkuraj with him. He constructed a temple at this place and established hkuraj here. Rjari Rya Vanaml dsa was a highly pious great person of the r Gauya Vaiava sampradya. He published one edition of rmad-Bhgavatam with eight commentaries in the devangar script. In about 1954 AD, our most worshipful o viupda r rmad Bhakti Prajna Keava Gosvm Mahrja collected a set of this rmad-Bhgavatam with its eight commentaries from the Tasa Temple. [Today these books are still well-kept in the library of the author.]

r Rpa-Santana Gauya Maha This temple has been described earlier in the book. It is situated in Dna, Mna and Sev-kuja-gals near Sev-kuja. Presiding here are the wonderful deities of r Gaurga Mahprabhu, r Rdh-Vinoda-bihr, r Vnd-dev and rla Bhakti Prajna 652

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Keava Gosvm Mahrja. In Vndvana, r Vnd-devs darana is available only in this temple. On the upper floor of the temple, one can have an exquisite darana of Sev-kuja.

r Ka-Balarma Temple This temple was established in 1975 by r rmad Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja, and is situated in Ramaa-reti on the Vndvana Chakar road. The presiding deities in this temple are r Ka-Balarma in the middle chamber, r Rdh-ymasundara with Lalit and Vikh in the chamber on the right and r Gaura-Nit in the chamber on the left. At the side is a deity of rla Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja. The samdhi of rla Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja is also here. In his last years, rla Svm Mahrja asked the author to place him in samdhi, and this ceremony took place during Kartika (November) in 1977. r rmad Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja used to call Bombay his office, Mypura his place of sdhana, and Vndvana his nityasiddha abode, his home.

The samdhi ceremony of rla Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja


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K a & Balarma

r K a-Balarma Temple

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The Twelv e Forests of r V ndvana

Within the ten miles parikram of Vndvana, there are twelve forests, or vanas. A brief description of them is given below.

(1) r Aalavana This forest lies in the southern part of Vndvana. Aala-trtha and Aala-bihrj are situated here. At Bhtrola, r Ka and the sakhs relished the many palatable dishes that the wives of the brhmaas gave them. When they came to this place as they were returning to Chakar Nanda-Gokula, Kas friends asked Him about the palatable foodstuffs they had taken earlier that day. O sakh, how was the food today? they inquired. With great delight, Ka replied, I have become immovable (aala), having taken that food. Ka was feeling so full that He was unable to continue walking further. Since then, this forest has become famous by the name Aalavana. It is situated near the junction of the VndvanaMathur road and the Vndvana parikram path. (2) Kevrivana This forest is situated north-west of Aalavana and contains Dvnala-kua, which has been described earlier. After Ka swallowed the forest fire, the gopas and gops looked around with great surprise and said, Ke nivri? Who has saved us from the hands of death? For this reason, this forest became famous as Kevrivana. (3) Vihravana This forest is situated south-west of Kevrivana. It is here that Rdh-kpa is found. The pilgrims performing Vndvana parikram use to loudly call Rdh, Rdh into this well and hear the echo. Nearby in Ramaa-ret are ramas of renounced great 655

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personalities. At r Bhgavat-nivsa, one can have darana of r Giridhr and the guj-ml worshipped by r Dsa Gosvm. Pjyapda r Bhakti Hdaya Bon Mahrja, a disciple of jagadguru rla Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat Prabhupda, established a spiritual college, Viva-vaiava-vidylaya, here.

(4) Gocraavana This forest is situated to the west of Vihravana on the old bank of the Yamun. A temple of r Varhadeva and Gautama Munis rama are here. (5) r Klya-damanavana This forest lies north of Gocraavana and contains many ancient kadamba trees. Among them is the keli-kadamba tree on which r Ka climbed to a high branch, tied His yellow cloth around His waist and jumped into the Yamun to subdue the Klya serpent. This is a keli-kadamba tree, and because Ka performed a pastime (keli) here this particular tree is also known as Keli-kadamba. Adjacent to this keli-kadamba is the bhajana-ku and samdhi of r Prabodhnanda Sarasvat. Nearby on the bank of Klya-daha is rla Bilvamagalas place of bhajana. r Bilvamagala was a resident of a village on the bank of the Kabenv river in South India. In his youth, he became so attached to Cintmai, a beautiful prostitute, that he even went to meet her on the day of his fathers rddha ceremony. With the help of a decayed corpse, he crossed the fearsome river that had overflowed its banks. Then after scaling a wall by grasping a black snake, thinking it to be a rope, he arrived at the prostitutes house. The prostitute scolded him, saying, If you had the same deep attachment for the lotus feet of r Ka that you have for my bones, skin and body which is covered with foul smelling dirt, then your auspiciousness would be guaranteed. When Bilvamagala heard this, he became detached from worldly existence and proceeded to Vndvana. On the way he met a young woman to 656

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whom he became attracted. Taking a sharp pin, he pierced his eyes and became blind. The playful rasika Ka then bestowed His mercy upon Bilvamagala and brought him to Vndvana, where he stayed for some time at Govardhana. There, he received a momentary darana of his worshipful deities r Ka and r Rdhik. He then came to Vndvana and resided near Klyadaha, where he performed bhajana. It is said that approximately seven hundred years later, he transmitted his transcendental power into r Vallabhcrya so he could establish his disciplic line (Puimrga). He performed his disappearance pastime here.

(6) r Goplavana This forest is situated north of Klya-damanavana. The deities of r Nanda and Yaodj are in a temple here. After Ka subdued the Klya serpent, r Nanda Bb donated a vast number of cows to the brhmaas for Kas welfare. (7) Nikujavana This forest is also named Sev-kuja. Nearby are four narrow lanes ( gals) Dna-gal, Mna-gal, Gumna-gal and Kuja-gal. This is where Rdh and Ka enjoy Their eternal pastimes, and where the supremely rasika Ka massages the lotus feet of the fatigued Rdhj. We have already described Lalit-kua and the other places in this forest. (8) Nidhuvana This well-known forest is situated north of Nikujavana. Vikh-kua, where r Bke-bihr manifested, is here. This forest is also described earlier. (9) Rdhvana (Rdh-bga) This forest is located in the north-east corner of Vndvana, on the bank of the Yamun. It is said that after rmat Rdhik bathed, Lalit and the other sakhs would comb Her hair and 657

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decorate Her here. Svm Haridsas place of bhajana as well as ay-sthna, which is attractively decorated with densely-foliated trees, is here. This place is very famous for the service of devotees and saintly personalities.

(10) Jhlanavana This forest is situated south of Rdh-bga and is where the sakhs used to swing Rdh-Ka Yugala. Here, frolicsome Ka would also seat rmat Rdhik, Lalit, Vikh and the other sakhs one by one beside Him on a swing. He would then swing them with such a force that they would not be able to keep their clothes on their bodies and, out of fear, they would cling to r Ka. The Gauya gosvms have described the swing pastimes ( jhlana-ll) of Rdh and Ka in their literatures. (11) r Gahvaravana This forest is situated south of Jhlanavana, and is where the famous Pn-gha lies. Here the gops, on the advice of Ka, crossed the overflowing Yamun on their way to the rama of Mahari Durvs and fed him fifty-six different kinds of preparations. This has been described earlier. (12) r Papaavana This forest lies south of Gahvaravana. di-badrvana and di-badr-ghaa are also situated here. At this place, r Ka arranged for the gops to take darana of di-badrntha. It is also said that r Ka Dvaipyana Vysadeva received the inspiration to manifest rmad-Bhgavatam here. In the rough and dry Badrikrama in the Himlayas, it is impossible to compose such a literature, which is filled with rasa and saturated with the sweet pastimes of r Ka. Even now, an extensive forest of ber or badr trees is found in this area. It may be that r Vysadeva also taught rmad-Bhgavatam, which is filled with rasa, to ukadeva Gosvm at this place. 658

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There are numerous ghas on the banks of r Yamun in Vndvana. Of them, those that are renowned are described below.

The Famous Ghas of r V ndvana

Varha-gha This gha is situated in the south-western part of Vndvana on the old bank of the Yamun. r Varhadeva is also present on top of the bank. Nearby is the rama of Gautama Muni. Klya-damana-gha This gha is also called Klya-daha, and is situated on the old bank of the Yamun about half a mile north of Varha-gha. The pastime of this place has already been described. When r Ka reached the riverbank after subduing Klya, Vrajarja Nanda and Vrajevar r Yaod soaked Him with their tears, and very carefully and thoroughly examined His body. They wondered, Has our ll been hurt anywhere? Here, Mahrja Nanda donated many cows to the brhmaas for Kas welfare. Srya-gha This gha is also called ditya-gha, and is situated north of Gopla-gha. The hillock ( l) above this gha is called dityal. On this hillock stands the temple of r Madana-mohanaj, the life and soul of r Santana Gosvm. This has also been described earlier. Praskandana-trtha is also here. Yugala-gha This gha is situated north of Srya-gha. Above this gha is the old temple of r Yugala-bihr. It is in a dilapidated state and is without a dome. A temple of r Yugala-Kiora near Ke-gha is in a similar dilapidated condition. 659

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Vihra-gha This gha is situated north of Yugala-gha and is where r Rdh-Ka Yugala used to bathe and sport in the water ( jalvihra), and frolick in many other ways. ndhera-gha This gha is found north of Yugala-gha. Ka and the gops used to play blind mans bluff in the garden adjacent to this gha. The gops covered their eyes with their hands while r Ka hid somewhere nearby. The gops then searched for Him. Sometimes, r Kiorj would hide in this way and the others would look for Her. Imltal-gha This gha is north of ndhera-gha. When Mahprabhu r Caitanyadeva was residing in Vndvana, He would sit under the iml tree here. This iml tree was ancient and had survived from the time of r Ka. Mahprabhu would chant the holy names of Hari here, completely absorbed in prema. Therefore, this gha is also known as Gaurga-gha. This pastime place has also been mentioned earlier. gra-gha This gha is situated somewhat to the east of Imaltal-gha, on the bank of the Yamun. r Ka decorated r Rdhik at this place when She was mnin, or exhibiting Her jealous anger. During His visit to Vndvana, r Nitynanda Prabhu bathed here and stayed at the nearby gravaa for some time. Govinda-gha This gha is situated near gra-gha, to the north. After r Ka disappeared from the arena of the rsa, He re-appeared in front of the gops at this place.


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Cra-gha The mischievous r Ka stole the clothes of the young gops while they were bathing and climbed up a kadamba tree. Cra means clothes. Ka also rested near here after killing the Ke demon. Therefore, another name for this gha is Caina (caina means rest) or Cayana-gha. Nearby is the well known Jh-maala. Bhramara-gha This gha is located north of Cra-gha. When Kiora and Kior performed Their pastimes here, bumble bees (bhramara) became intoxicated by the fragrance of Their bodies and started humming. This gha is therefore called Bhramara-gha. Ke-gha This famous gha is situated north of Bhramara-gha in the north-western part of r Vndvana, and has already been described. Dhra-samra-gha This gha is situated in the northern part of r Vndvana and near Ke-gha, to the east. When the breeze (samra) witnessed the pastime of the Divine Couple r Rdh-Ka, it at once became very cool and started to move very slowly (dhre-dhre) so that it could serve Them. This place has also been described previously. Rdh-bga-gha This gha is situated in the eastern part of Vndvana. It has also been described before. Pn-gha The gops crossed the Yamun on foot from this gha and fed Mahari Durvs delicious food. This too has been described previously. 661

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di-badr-gha This gha is situated a little south of Pn-gha. r Ka gave darana of di-badr-nryaa to the gops at this place. Rja-gha Rja-gha is situated in the south-eastern part of Vndvana, to the south of di-badr-gha and on the bank of Yamuns old course. Dressed as a boatman, Ka used to take rmat Rdhik and the sakhs across the Yamun from here. Halfway across, Ka would make many excuses to delay their crossing. The gops would order Him to cross the river quickly, and try to scare Him by mentioning the name of Mahrja Kasa. Thus, this gha is famous by the name of Rja-gha. In addition to these famous ghas already described, the book Vndvana-kath mentions another fourteen ghas: (1) Mahntaj-gha, (2) Nmovl-gha, (3) Praskandana-gha, (4) Kaiy-gha, (5) Dhsara-gha, (6) Nay-gha, (7) rj-gha, (8) Vihrj-gha, (9) Dharoyra-gha, (10) Ngar-gha, (11) Bhma-gha, (12) Himmata-bahdura-gha, (13) Cra or Cainagha, and (14) Hanumna-gha.


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Other Features of r V ndvana

City quarters (mohalls) (1) Jna-guda (2) Gopvara (3) Vavaa (4) Gopntha-bga (5) Gopntha-bzr (6) Brahma-kua (7) Rdh-nivsa (8) Ke-gha (9) Rdh-Ramaa-gher (10) Nidhuvana (11) Pthara-pur (12) Ngara-gopntha (13) Gopntha-gher (14) Ngara-gopla (15) Cra-gha (16) Ma-darvz (17) Ngara-govindaj (18) akla-gal (19) Rmaj-dvra (20) Kahvl-bzr (21) Sev-kuja (22) Kuja-gal (23) Vysa-gher (24) gravaa (25) Rsa-maala (26) Kiora-pur (27) Dhobvl-gal (28) Raglla-gal
(29) Sukhanakht-gal (30) Purn-ahara (31) Lrivl-gal (32) Gvadhpa-gal (33) Govardhana-darvz (34) Ahrap (35) Dumtap (36) Varaoyra Muhall (37) Madana-Mohanaj-gher (38) Vihr-pur (39) Purohitavl-gal (40) Manp (41) Gautamap (42) Ahkhamb (43) Govinda-bga (44) Lo-bzr (45) Retiy-bzr (46) Bankha Mahdeva (47) Chp-gal (48) Rya-gal (49) Bundela-bga (50) Mathur-darvz (51) Sav Jayasiha-gher (52) Dhra-samra (53) ay-sthna (54) Gahvaravana (55) Govinda-kua (56) Rdh-bga


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Famous samja and samdhis [A samja is a place where devotees gather to hear and speak the glories of the Supreme Lord, His associates and so forth. A samdhi is where the body of a highly elevated devotee is placed after his departure from this world. Sama means equal and dh means complete absorption of the intelligence. In other words, a person in samdhi has the same level of consciousness as ones worshipful deity, and on that platform he is doing service.] (1) Santana Gosvms samdhi lies near ditya-l, in the southern part of the old r Madana-mohanaj Temple. The grantha-samdhi, or samdhi of the Gosvm literatures is also here. (2) r Rpa Gosvms samdhi is to the left of the temple of r Rdh-Dmodara. The samdhis of r Jva Gosvm and r Kadsa Kavirja lie behind the main temple. (3) r Gopla Bhaa Gosvms samdhi is near the temple of r Rdh-Ramaa. (4) Lokanntha Gosvms samdhi lies near r Gokulnanda Temple. Next to Lokantha Gosvms samdhi are the samdhis of r Narottama hkura and r Vivantha Cakravart hkura. (5) r Madhu Paita Gosvms samdhi is near r Gopntha Temple. (6) r Raghuntha Bhaa Gosvms samdhi lies in the centre of the pupa-samdhis of the sixty-four Gauya mahantas opposite the temple of r Govinda. The samdhis of the six cakravarts and eight kavirjas are also there. (7) The samdhis of rnivsa crya and r Rmacandra Kavirja are near Dhra-samra. (8) r ymnanda Prabhus place (samja-b) is near r ymasundara Temple. (9) r Gaddhara Paita Gosvms samdhi of his tooth (dantasamdhi) is in Ke-gha.


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(10) r Prabodhnanda Sarasvats samdhi lies near Klyadaha. (11) Svm Haridsajs samdhi is in Nidhuvana. (12) r Hitahari-vaa Gosvms place is near the temple of r Rdh-Vallabha. (13) Sradsa Madana-mohanajs place lies near r Madanamohana Temple.

Famous kuas (1) Dvnala-kua in Kevrivana (2) Vikh-kua in Nidhuvana (3) Gajarja-kua in the temple of r Ragaj (4) Lalit-kua in Nikujavana (Seva-kuja) (5) Brahma-kua to the north of r Ragaj Temple (6) Govinda-kua near r Ragaj Temple, in the eastern part of Vndvana Famous wells (kpas) (1) Veu-kpa near r Ragaj Temple (2) Sapta-smudrika-kpa near Gopvara Mahdeva (3) Gopa-kpa in Jna-guda (4) Rdh-kpa in Vihravana Devs (goddesses) (1) Ptla-dev, or Yogamy to the south-west of the ancient Govindaj Temple (2) Annapra-dev near Sev-kuja (3) Paurams-dev near Sev-kuja, to the east Mahdevas (1) r Gopvara Mahdeva near Vavaa, to the north-east (2) Bankha Mahdeva at the intersection of Lo-bzr and Athkhamb


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Banyan trees (vaas) (1) Advaitavaa near the ancient Madana-mohana Temple (2) gravaa on the bank of the Yamun near r RdhDmodara Temple (3) Vavaa in Rsa-sthal Kadamba trees (1) Keli-kadamba on the bank of Klya-daha (2) Cra-kadamba on the bank of the Yamun, near Dhrasamra (3) Dol-kadamba in the Rdh-bga Jhlanavana


tasmin vndvane puya govindasya niketanam tatsevakasamkra tatraiva sthyate may bhuvi govinda-vaikuha tasmin vndvane npa yatra vnddayo bhty santi govindallas vndvane mahsadma yai da puruottamai govindasya mahpla te ktrth mahtale
Skanda Pura (Mathur-khaa)

kea-prasdhana tv atra kminy kmin ktam tni cayat kntm upaviam iha dhruvam
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.30.33)

An ascetic who often transgresses the rules governing ordinary social conduct. rmad-Bhgavatam, Tenth Canto, Chapter Thirty-one (Gop-gta). na praye ha niravadya-sayuj sva-sdhu-ktya vibudhyupi va y mbhajan durjara-geha-khal savcya tad va pratiytu sdhun
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.32.22)

vndvane tu govinda ye payanti vasundhare na te yamapura ynti ynti puyakt gatim

di-varha Pura

kasynubhvo sya na deva vidmahe tavghri-reu-spardhikra yad-vchay rr lalancarat tapo vihya kmn su-cira dhta-vrat
rmad-Bhgavatam (10.16.36)

tasya tatrottare prve okavka sitaprabha vaikhasya tu msasya ukla-pakasaya dvdaym sa pupati ca madhynhe mama bhakta-sukhvaha na kacid api jnti bin bhgavata ucim
Varha Pura


V ndvana

tau hi mathur-vndvanayo suprasiddha-mahyogapha-yostattan nmnaiva sahito prasiddhau ttaveuriti iee govinda r-vndvana-deva eva; tat sahapht keavopi mathur-ntha eva. (commentary on rmadBhgavatam 6.8.20) smer bhag-traya paripacit sci-vistra di va-nyastdhara-kisalaym-ujjval candrakea govindkhy hari-tanum ita kei-trthopakahe m prekihs tava yadi sakhe! bandhu-sage sti raga
Bhakti-rasmta-sindhu (1.2.239)



Collecting alms from door to door in the manner of a bee who collects honey (madhu) by going from flower to flower.



Apardha (apa against, taking away; rdha flow Abhieka bathing of the deity of affection) an offence in milk, yoghurt, water and committed against the holy other ingredients at the deitys name, Vaiavas, the spiritual installation or on some other master, sacred scriptures, holy auspicious occasion. places or the deity. camana a ritual of Apsar the heavenly purification in which one sips wives of the Gandharvas; water from the palm of the exceptionally beautiful right hand and simultaneously dancing girls in Indras court. chants names of the Supreme rat the ceremony of offering Lord. a deity articles of worship, crya spiritual preceptor, or such as incense, lamp, flowers one who teaches by example. and fan, accompanied by the Amvasy the last day of chanting of devotional hymns. the dark fortnight of a lunar rama a hermitage. month.


r v raja-maala parikram
Aa-sttvika bhva one of the eight symptoms of spiritual ecstasy which form an essential ingredient of rasa (see Rasa), and arising exclusively from viuddhasattva, or unalloyed goodness untainted by material existence. Bhagavat a title used for a reverd lady. Bhaiy brother; can also mean friend. Bhajana (1) activities performed with the consciousness of being a servant of r Ka (see Garua Pura, Prvakhaa 231.3, which explains that the verbal root bhaj is used specifically in the sense Bb a term of respect and of service); (2) in a general honour given to (1) saintly sense, bhajana refers to the persons and Vaiavas, performance of spiritual particularly to those who have practices, especially hearing, given up all connection with chanting and meditating household life; (2) any elderly upon r Kas name, form, male person. qualities and pastimes. Bael (also bel or bilva) the Bhajana-ku a hut, cottage wood-apple tree and its fruit. or room used for performing Baihaka sitting-place ones spiritual practices. for reciting mantras at Bhakta a devotee. regular intervals or reciting Bhakti loving devotional scriptures; place for holding service to r Ka. council assemblies. Bhakti-yoga the path of Balabhadra Baladeva, spiritual realisation through Balarma. devotional service to r Bhagavn the Supreme Lord Ka. r Ka. Bhva spiritual emotions, love, Bhgavata-parampar disciplic or sentiments. line based on instructions Bhavuka a devotee in the stage (ik) rather than on formal of bhva, who is thus able to initiation (dk). taste spiritual sentiments.


Bhoga any item, particularly food, that has not yet been offered to the deity. Brahmacr celibate student; a member of the first of the four divisions of life in the Vedic social system. Brhmaa the highest of the four castes, or varas, in the Vedic social system; a priest or teacher. Brajabh the speech or dialect of Vraja. Bh-ll the modern enactment of Rdh and Kas pastimes that takes place at Skar-khor in Varsn, as inaugurated by r Nryaa Bhaa Gosvm. Actually, Rdh and Kas pastimes are never bh, old, but ever fresh. Caube (Caubin) a particular brhmaa community; a man (woman) of the Caube community.

Daha a deep pool within a river. amar drum a small drum with a head on both ends and a narrow middle, allowing it to be easily held in the hand. Dna-gh a place where toll is collected; especially a place where r Ka demands tax from rmat Rdhik and the gops before allowing them passage across a river or through a narrow passage way between two hills. Darana seeing, visiting or beholding (especially in regard to a deity, a sacred place or an exalted Vaiava). Cakra r Vius disc weapon. Dsa a male servant. Cmara a yak-tail fan used in Ds a female servant. deity worship. D Bhaiy Baladeva. Cturmsya the four months Dj Baladeva. of the rainy season in India, Devdhideva (literally means when sannyss do not travel the god of gods) a title of and faithful devotees observe Lord iva. special vows of austerity. Devangar the script used for Sanskrit and Hindi.


r v raja-maala parikram
Devari a title, which usually belongs to Nrada Muni, meaning divine sage or sage among the demigods. Dhma a holy place of pilgrimage; the abode of the Supreme Lord, where He appears and enacts His transcendental pastimes. Dharma constitutional nature; principles of religious conduct; religiosity; righteous prescription. Dhra-lalita nyaka the hero (nyaka) who is expert in the sixty-four arts and amorous sports, who is always situated in fresh youth, who is expert at joking, who is devoid of anxiety, and who is controlled by the prema of His beloveds. Dhot a single, long piece of cloth, usually made of cotton, traditionally worn by lndian men to cover the lower half of the body. Dvda the twelfth day of the waxing or waning moon. grains and beans and increase their remembrance of r Ka and His associates.

Gaon village, same as grma. Gauya Vaiava (1) any Vaiava who follows the teachings of r Caitanya Mahprabhu; (2) a Vaiava born in Bengal. Gha bathing-place; steps or landing-stage that lead down to a holy river, lake or pond. Gomat-cakra a stone from the Gomat River in Dvrak. Gopa (1) a cowherd boy who serves r Ka in a mood of intimate friendship; (2) an elderly associate of Nanda Mahrja who serves r Ka in a mood of parental affection. Gopa-rama shy young girl of Vraja who is expert in the various skills that awaken sweet emotions in Ka, and the very sight of whose face gladdens the heart. Gop (1) one of the young cowherd maidens of Vraja headed by rmat Rdhik who serve Ka in the mood

Ekda the eleventh day of the waxing or waning moon, on which devotees fast from


of amorous love; (2) elderly associate of Mother Yaod who serves Ka in a mood of parental affection. Gol cowshed; a shelter for the cows. Goha a cowherd village of Vraja where Ka performs His pastimes. Gosvm (go senses; svm master of) (1) a title for those in the renounced order of life; (2) renowned followers of r Caitanya Mahprabhu who adopted the lifestyle of mendicants (especially refers to one of the six Gosvms of Vndvana). Govardhana-il a stone from the sacred Govardhana Hill, which is as worshipful as r Ka Himself. Gull-a a game played with one small and one big stick. Guj-ml a necklace of guj, or small, bright red seeds with a black spot on the top. Guru, Gurudeva spiritual master. Gurukula the residence (kula) of the spiritual master (guru).

Hari-kath see Kath. Harinma the chanting of r Kas holy names. Unless accompanied by the word sakrtana, it usually refers to the practice of chanting the Hare Ka mah-mantra softly to oneself on a strand of tulas beads. Havel a brick or stone house; an imposing house or building. Hol (also known as Phga) a major Hindu holiday celebrated on the last day of the bright fortnight of the month of Phalgun (February March), in which the most popular activity is the throwing of coloured water and powders. Hrada a deep pool within a river.

Jagad-guru a spiritual master qualified to instruct and deliver the whole world. Jhl swing. Jva the eternal, spiritual living entity.


r v raja-maala parikram
Jva-tattva secondary expansion of the Supreme Lord. of r Kas holy names, sometimes accompanied by music, (ii) loud individual chanting of the holy name, or (iii) oral descriptions of the glories of r Kas names, Kajala (also known as ajana) forms, qualities, associates and a preparation of lampblack pastimes. used to darken the edges of Kiora (kior) youth. the eyelids. Kiora-Kior r Rdh-Ka. Kma (1) the love, or prema, Kiorj rmat Rdhik. of the gops; (2) material lust. Kosa one kosa is Kanhaiy a name of r Ka. approximately two miles. Krtika name of the Vedic Ka-kath see Kath. month that occurs around Ketra-pla (ketra area; pla OctoberNovember of the protector) area-protector (in solar calendar, in which the Vraja, this specifically refers Dmodara form of r Ka to various forms of Lord iva, is worshipped. like Bhtevara Mahdeva in Kath (also referred to as Mathur). hari-kath or ka-kath) Kukum a reddish powder narrations of the holy name, or liquid that married women form, qualities and pastimes of apply to the part in their hair. r Hari, or r Ka. Kua a pond or small lake, Kinnar a celestial being often with steps leading to the expert in singing and playing water. instruments. Kuja a grove or bower; a Kha grove. natural shady retreat with Khichr a dish made with rice a roof and walls formed by and pulse boiled together. trees, vines, creepers and Krtana one of the nine most other climbing plants. important limbs of devotional Kpa well. service, consisting of either Ku a hut, cottage. (i) congregational singing Kyr grove.


mna, pranaya, rga and anurga, and manifests when Lau a type of sweet, usually anurga reaches a special state in the shape of a ball, made of intensity. of gram-flour, sugar, clarified Mah-bhgavata a pure butter and other optional devotee of the Supreme ingredients, like thickened Lord in the highest stage of milk, cardamom and saffron. devotional life, who is expert Ll a term of affectionate in Vedic literature, has full address that the residents of faith in r Ka, and can Vraja use for a young boy. deliver the whole world. Ll a term of affectionate Mahdeva Lord iva. address that the residents of Mahrja great king or Vraja use for a young girl. emperor; a form of address Ll the divine and for a brhmaa or for ones astonishing pastimes of superior. the Supreme Lord and His Mhari a great sage. eternal associates, which Maiy mother. grant all auspiciousness for Mna the transcendental the living entities, which sentiment that prevents the have no connection with this lover (nyaka) and beloved mundane world, and which (nyik) from meeting lie beyond the grasp of the freely, although they are material senses and mind. together and are attracted Loka planet. to each other. Mna gives rise to transient emotions like anger, despondency, doubt, restlessness, pride and Madhura-rasa (or mdhuryajealousy. rasa, gra-rasa) the mellow Maala region, district or of amorous love. zone (e.g., Vraja-maala); Mahbhva the highest stage circular stage (e.g., a rsaof divine love (prema), which maala, which is built in follows the stages of sneha, memory of the rsa-ll.)


r v raja-maala parikram
Mandira temple. Magala-rat daily pre-dawn ceremony for worshipping the deity of the Lord. Majar a maidservant of rmat Rdhik. Mantra (man mind; tra deliverance) a spiritual sound vibration uttered over and over that delivers the mind from its material conditioning and illusion; a Vedic hymn, prayer or chant. Maha a temple of the Lord with attached living quarters for brahmacrs and sannyss; monastery. Muja a rush or sedge-like grass that grows to the height of ten feet. Nikuja (also kuja) bower, grove; a solitary place for the meeting and enjoyment of Rdh and Ka.

Paraky-rasa paramour love. Parikram circumambulation; the path that encircles a sacred tract, such as Vndvana or Vraja; the covered pathway around a temple or the deities within a temple. Prabhu title meaning master, lord, or ruler. Pra-priyatama one who is more dear than ones own life. Pra-vallabha (Pra-vallabh) one who is more dear than ones own life. Prevar one who is the queen of ones life. Prasda (literally means mercy) refers to the remnants of food or other articles offered to the deity. Pratibh-vigraha pratibh means to be equal to. A pratibh-vigraha is a deity that is considered nondifferent from the original deity it replaces.

Nanda-Gokula, Nanda-Vraja any place where Nanda Bb used to reside with his family, cows, and the other gopas and gops. Nyaka hero; especially refers to r Ka. Nyik heroine; especially refers to rmat Rdhik and other gops.


Prema love for r Ka which is extremely concentrated, which completely melts the heart, and which gives rise to a deep sense of possessiveness (mamat) in relation to Him. Priyj rmat Rdhik. Priya-narma-sakh Vrajendranandana r Kas intimate cowherd friends, which include Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta and Ujjvala. Priya-narma-sakh rmat Rdhiks intimate sakhs, such as Lalit and Vikh. Priyatama dear most beloved. Pj offering of worship. Pura the eighteen historical supplements to the Vedas. Prim full-moon night. Pukari large lake or pond. Pupa-samdhi a samdhi established using flowers worn by a departed Vaiava before his body is embalmed and put into samdhi. Rga-mrga bhakti the path of bhajana given by r Caitanya Mahprbhu and which follows in the mood of the Vrajavss, who have natural, spontaneous love for r Ka. Rgtmik one in whose heart a deep spontaneous desire to love and serve r Ka naturally and eternally exists. This specifically refers to the eternal residents of Vraja. Rkas a female rkasa, flesh-eating demon, generally endowed with mystical powers. Rma Balarma (not to be confused with Lord Rmacandra). Rasa (or bhakti-rasa) the spiritual transformation of the heart which takes place when the perfectional state of love for r Ka known as rati is converted into liquid emotions by combining with various types of transcendental ecstasies. Rsa-ll r Kas dance with the gops of Vraja. This is a completely pure exchange of spiritual love between

Rga a musical mode or sequence (e.g., malhra rga).


r v raja-maala parikram
Ka and the gops, His most confidential servitors. Rsa-maala see Maala. Rsa-sthal a place were rsa was performed. Rasika one who is expert at relishing rasa; a connoisseur of rasa. i a great sage learned in the Vedas. Samdhi a samdhi is where the body of a highly elevated devotee is placed after his departure from this world. Sama means equal and dh means complete absorption of the intelligence. In other words, a person in samdhi has the same level of consciousness as ones worshipful deity, and on that platform he is doing service. Sampradya a line of disciplic Sdhaka one who follows a succession; the authentic, spiritual discipline with the unadulterated conception objective of achieving pure transmitted from one spiritual devotion for r Ka, and master to another; a particular more specifically, bhvasystem of religious teaching. bhakti. akara lord iva. Sdhana-bhajana (1) the Sakrtana congregational method one adopts in order to chanting of the names of r obtain ones specific goal, or Ka. sdhya. Sr female parrot. Sdhu (1) a highly-realised Sarovara lake, pool, tank. soul who knows lifes aim, who Sev service, attendance on, is himself practising sdhana, devotion. and who can engage others Siddhnta philosophical in sdhana; (2) (in a general conclusions. sense) a saintly person or ik spiritual instruction, devotee. teaching. Sakh a male friend, il a stone. companion, or attendant. Smti (literally, that Sakh a female friend, which is remembered) the companion, or attendant. body of Vedic literature


that is remembered, in contradistinction to ruti (see ruti), or that which is directly heard by or revealed to the sages. r, rmat honorific prefix to a name. rmatj rmat Rdhik. ruti (literally, that which is heard) infallible knowledge that was received by Brahm or by the great sages in the beginning of creation and that descends in disciplic succession from them. uka male parrot. Surabh cow cow in the spiritual world that yields unlimited quantities of milk. Svdhna-bhartrik one of eight categories of gops, namely, a heroine who controls her hero. yma blackish; colour of a dark, fresh raincloud; r Kas complexion. Tattva-jna knowledge of transcendental truth; knowledge in the science of God; knowledge of the Absolute Truth. l a hillock, mound. Trtha holy place, place of pilgrimage. Tulas a sacred plant whose leaves and blossoms are used by Vaiavas in the worship of r Ka; the wood is also used for chanting beads and neck beads.

Vaiava literally means one whose nature is of Viu, in other words, one in whose heart and mind only r Viu or r Ka resides; a devotee of r Ka or r Viu. Vana forest. Veda the four primary books of knowledge compiled by rla Vysadeva, namely, the g Veda, Sma Veda, Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda. V a stringed, melodic musical instrument, the favourite instrument of Nrada Muni.

Tattva truths, reality, fundamental philosophical principles (e.g., the truths relating to bhakti are known as bhakti-tattva).


r v raja-maala parikram
Vinodin one who is giving lifestyle; one who eats flesh, delight to Ka. takes intoxicants, and engages Viu-tattva primary, personal in other degraded activities; expansion of the Supreme (2) a Muslim; (3) any foreigner Lord. or other person excluded from Vrajavs a resident of Vraja. the Vedic social system. Vrata a vow undertaken for Yog one who practises the self-purification and spiritual yoga system with the goal of benefit. realisation of the Supersoul or of merging into the Lords personal body. Yuga one of the four ages Ydava a member of the Yadu described in the Vedas, dynasty, the dynasty in which namely, Satya-yuga, Tretr Ka appeared. yuga, Dvpara-yuga and Yaka ghostly follower of the Kali-yuga. demigod Kuvera, the treasurer Ythevar (ytha group; of the demigods. var leader, controller) Yavana (1) barbarian; one leader of a group of gops. who does not follow a pure


Index ov er Places

di-badr / 252 di-badr-gha / 662 dikeava Temple / 41 Aga / 132 di-varha / 86 Advaitavaa / 579 giyr-gaon, or r / Airvata-kua / 240 Akrra-bhavana / 61 Akrra-gha / 543 Akayavaa / 455 lpura (di-badr) / 255 Ambara-l / 78 ndhera-gha / 660 Andhopa / 348 janauka / 424

Annaka-sthal / 242 nyora-gaon / 226 Apsar-kua / 236 evara Mahdeva / 388 Aa-sakh-gha / 170 Aa-sakh-kuja / 650 Aalavana / 655 asa / 470 ora / 295 Aor-parvata, or Lalit-sthala / 303 Avimukta-trtha / 50 yore-grma, or lpura / 505

Bacha-gaon / 225


r v raja-maala parikram
Baokhora, or Baindokhara / 439 Baelvana, or Bilvavana / 499500 Bahulvana, or B / 125130 Baihna / 439 Bajer / 295 Bakathar, or Cill / 438 Baladeva Temple (Bhravana) / 483 Blahr / 466 Bali Mahrja-l / 61 Banachaul / 446 Band-nand / 506 Bankha Mahdeva / 649 Bke-bihr / 643 Barhara, or Barr / 471 Baraul / 469 Basa-gaon, or Vatsavana / 464 Basaunt, or Basat / 132 Bsosi / 444 Beheja / 250 Beriy / 411 Bhadvara / 249 Bhadra-sarovara / 477 Bhadravana / 477478 Bhaiy, or Bhaya-gaon / 464 Bhagora, or Bhdval / 438 Bhravana / 478485 Bhnravaa / 478 Bhokhora / 346 Bhojana-sthala, or Bhtrolagaon / 547 Bhojana-thl, or Bhojana-sthal / 291 Bhramara-gha / 661 Bhaavana / 452 Bhtevara Mahdeva / 70 Bichora / 348 Bijavr / 426 Bilach-kua / 242 Bodhi-trtha / 53 Brahma-gha (near Rmagha) / 452 Brahma-kua (Govardhana) / 212 Brahma-kua (Vndvana) / 616 Brahma-gha / 528 Brahma-trtha / 55

Cakalevara, or Cakrevara Mahdeva / 213 Cakra-trtha (Govardhana) / 213 Cakra-trtha (Mathur) / 58 Candra-sarovara / 222 Caraa-pah (near Baihna) / 441 Caraa-pah (Kmyavana) / 285 Caraa-pah (Nandagaon) / 374 Caum, or Caumuh / 467


Index ov er Places
Chcha-kua, or Jhagakkua / 392 Chher-gaon, or Bijaul / 484 Chakn-grma / 133 Chakar, or akakar / 116 Chatravana, or Cht / 429 Ciksaul / 328 Cintharaa-gha / 531 Cra-gha, or Caina-gha / 598, 661 Cra-gha, or Siyro / 460 Cowshed (Vatsakhora) / 411 Dhrpatana-trtha / 55 Dharma-kua / 271 Dhra-samra / 607 Dhra-samra-gha / 661 Dhovan-kua / 380 Dhruva-trtha / 52 Dhule-gaon / 295 Drghapura, or g / 251 Drgha-Viu / 83 Dohan-kua / 332 omanavana / 399 Durv rama / 503 Dvdaditya-l / 578 Dvrak-kua / 281 Dvrakda / 88

abharro / 332 Dagaon / 349 Dna-gal / 579 Dna-garh / 321 Dna-gh / 219 Dna-nivartana-kua / 221 Danta-dhvana-l / 518 Dasvamedha-trtha / 59 Datih, or Datya / 116 Dj, or Rh / 506 Dj Temple (cagaon) / 302 Dvnala-kua / 617 Deha-kua / 304 erval / 245 Devanagara / 532 Devara-sthna / 251 Dev-asa / 470 Dhanaiga / 432

Gahvaravana (Varsn) / 329 Gahvaravana (Vndvana) / 658 Gandhevar, or Gaear / 118 Ggral / 464 Ghol / 249 Garua-Govinda / 117 Gaur-trtha / 232 Gay-gha / 170 Gay-kua / 281 Geo / 351 Gha-bharaaka-trtha / 55 Gocraavana / 656 Godivana, or Guhn / 257 Go-gha / 213 Gokara Mahdeva / 76


r v raja-maala parikram
Gokula / 533 Gopla-guru Gosvms place of bhajana / 608 Goplavana / 657 Gop-gha (near Tapovana) / 460 Gopntha (Vndvana) / 633 Gop-pukari / 301 Gopvara Mahdeva (Vndvana) / 612 Gor, or Gaurava / 505 Govardhana / 187244 Govindadeva (Kmyavana) / 268 Govindadeva (Vndvana) / 619 Govinda-gha (Mahvana) / 534 Govinda-gha (Rdh-kua) / 168 Govinda-gha (Vndvana) / 660 Govinda-kua (Govardhana) / 233 Guhya-trtha / 50 Gulla-kua / 250 Gumna-gal, or Prema-gal / 579 Gujvana / 452 Gvla-pokhar / 205 Hroyna-grma, or Pparavra / 350 H-bil / 373 Hoal / 349

Imltal / 588 Imltal-gha / 660 Indradhvaja-ved / 219 Indraul / 257

Jhnav hkurs sittingplace / 155 Jhnav-gha / 175 Jainta / 468 Jaipura-vl Temple / 649 Jakhina-grma, or Dakiagrma / 131 Jalvihra-kua (Nandagaon) / 389 Jals house (Jail k Havel) / 409 Jatpur / 241 Jvaa, or Yva-grma / 403415 Jh-maala / 592 Jhlana-gha, or Rdh-Kagha / 174 Jhlana-tal / 153 Jhlanavana / 658 Jihv-il / 162 Jva Gosvm-gha / 169

Hrsal / 471 Harideva / 210


Index ov er Places
Jna-guda / 616 Jna-vp, or Jna-bva / 72 Jogiy-sthala / 389 Killola-kua / 206 Kirtid-kua, or Krti-sarovara / 334 Kior-kua, or Rdh Kua / 413 Kokilvana / 419424 Kole-gha / 531 Kos, or Kosvana / 432 Koi-trtha (1) / 53 Koi-trtha (2) / 59 Kovana, or Koaravana / 444 Ka-Balarma Temple / 653 Ka Janma-sthna / 38 Ka-kua (Ggrali-gaon) / 491 Ka-kua (Jvaa) / 412 Ka-kua (Nandagaon) / 391 Ka-kua, or Gahvara-kua / 331 Kubj-kpa / 61 Kumudavana, or Kudaravana / 115 Kuja-gal / 579 Kujaravana / 349 Kujer, or Nav-grma / 245 Kusuma-sarovara / 197 Kuil daa-sthna (Jvaa) / 411 Kyo N, or Kon / 248

Kacchavana / 452 Kadamba-kha (Sunahar) / 296 Klya-damana-gha / 659 Klya-damanavana / 656 Klya-hrada, or Klya-daha / 573 Kma / 427 Kmara / 443 Kasa-kil / 80 Kmyavana, or Kmavana / 263294 Kakaa-kua (Rdh Kua) / 175 Kakl-dev / 69 Kankhala-trtha / 50 Kanovro / 258 Karehl / 427 Keavaj Gauya Maha / 66 Ke-gha / 599, 661 Kevrivana / 655 Khadiravana, or Khyaro / 436 Khm-gaon, or Khambahara / 446 Khpura / 439 Khayero, or Kharero / 446 Khecar-gaon / 118 Khelanvana, or ergarh / 447

Lal-kua / 412 Ll Bb Temple / 645


r v raja-maala parikram
Lalit-kua (Nandagaon) / 393 Lalit-kua (Rdh-kua) / 162 Lalit-sthala, or Aor-parvata / 303 Lalit-vivha-maapa / 300 Llpura / 350 Lohavana / 501509 Ludhaul / 427 Luk-luk-kua / 284 Mna-gal / 579 Mna-garh / 323 Manas-dev / 212 Mnasa-pvana-gha / 168 Mna-sarovara / 491 Mnas-gag / 207 Manokman-kua / 282 Ma-gaon / 489 Mavana / 486495 Mathur / 3393 Mathur-dev / 84 Mayra-grma / 133 Mayra-k / 325 Meherna-gaon / 346 Moka-trtha / 53 Mot-kua, or Mukt-kua / 380 Mukhar / 193 Mukhars pathway (Jvaa) / 411 Mukhravinda / 217 Mukt-kua (Varsn) / 333 Munira-sthna, or Muaerasa / 251

Madana-mohana-gha / 174 Madana-mohana Temple (the second) / 641 Madana-mohana (Vndvana) / 625 Madhumagala-gha / 169 Mdhur-kua / 132 Madhusdana-kua (Nandagaon) / 374 Madhuvana, or Mahol-grma / 97103 Magher / 470 Mahammadpura, or Prsaul / 222 Mahrn Svaramay Temple / 649 Mahvana-Gokula / 515534 Mahvidy-dev, or Ambikdev / 74 Malla-trtha / 527 Mlyahri-kua / 164

Nga-trtha / 55 Nanda Bbs cowshed (Gokula) / 527 Nanda Bbs residence / 518 Nanda-bga / 387 Nanda-baihaka / 370 Nanda-bhavana (Mahvana) / 518


Index ov er Places
Nanda-bhavana (Nandagaon) / 364 Nandagaon / 357399 Nanda-gha / 461 Nanda-kua / 368 Nanda-kpa, or Saptasmudrika-kpa / 527 Nndmukhs place of residence / 398 Nrada-kua (Govardhana) / 202 Nrada-kua (Kmyavana) / 282 Nar-Semar, or Kinnarymar / 435 Nthajs appearance place / 229 Nav-grma, or Kujer / 245 Navala-kua / 236 Nava-trtha / 54 Neochka / 438 Nidhuvana / 602, 657 Nikujavana (Seva-kuja) / 657 Nma-gaon / 245 Pnihr-kua, or Panaghaakua / 374 Ppa-mochana-kua / 219 Papaavana / 658 Prala-Gag / 414 Paramdan, or Pramodavana / 252 Parsaul, or Mahammadpura / 222 Parkhama / 466 Parso / 426 Pasaul, Sapaul, Aghavana, or Sarpasthal / 467 Pala-grma, or Para / 245 Path to go cow grazing (Nandagaon) / 367 Path to go cow herding (Jvaa) / 413 Path to the forest (Nandagaon) / 367 Pvana-sarovara / 376 Paya-gaon / 444 Phisalan-il (Kmyavana) / 288 Phisalan-il (cagaon) / 299 Phulavr-kua / 382 Pl-pokhara / 333 Ppalevara Mahdeva / 59 Pis / 428 Pvana-kua / 412 Place of Padmvats wedding (Jvaa) / 414 Place where a boon was given (Jvaa) / 413

Padmanbha / 85 Pgaon / 347 Paih-grma / 223 Ple / 206 Paca Pava-gha / 168 Pn-gaon, or Pn-gha / 490 Pn-gha / 661 Pnihr-kua (Jvaa) / 411


r v raja-maala parikram
Place where ears were pierced (Mahvana) / 532 Place where jealous anger was broken (Vndvana) / 609 Place where Ptan was liberated (Mahvana) / 522 Place where Rdhik was bidden farewell (Nandagaon) / 367 Place where the cart was broken (Mahvana) / 523 Place where Tvarta was killed (Mahvana) / 523 Place where yoghurt was churned (Nandagaon) / 367 Place where yoghurt was churned (Mahvana) / 524 Posts for binding the cows (Nandagaon) / 375 Potr-kua / 43 Prabodhnanda Sarasvats bhajana-ku & samdhi / 576 Prabodhnanda Sarasvats place of bhajana (Kmyavana) / 287 Praskandana-ketra / 579 Prayga-kua / 281 Prayga-trtha / 50 Prema-sarovara / 335 Pchar / 236 Pramss arrival path / 367 Pramss cave / 398

Rdh-bga-gha / 661 Rdh-bga, or Rdhiks resting place / 367 Rdh-Dmodara / 635 Rdh-Gokulnanda / 639 Rdh-Ka Temple (Rdhkua) / 155 Rdh-kua / 139181 Rdh-Kujabihr Gauya Maha / 164 Rdh-Mdhava / 643 Rdh-Ramaa / 637 Rdh-Vallabha / 644 Rdhvana, or Rdh-bga / 657 Rdh-Vinoda / 639 Rdh-Vinoda Jam hkura (Tasa-vl Temple) / 651 Rdhiks pathway (Jvaa) / 412 Rdhiks resting place, or Rdh-bga / 367 Rghava Paitas cave / 238 Raghuntha dsa Gosvms bhajana-ku / 157 Raghuntha dsa Gosvms pupa-samdhi / 156 Rja-gha / 662 Rajaka-badha-l / 76 Rla-grma, or Rra-grma / 132 Rma-gha, or Obe / 448 Raav / 434 Raga-bhmi / 61


Index ov er Places
Ragaj Temple / 647 Ragevara Mahdeva / 61 Rsa-maala (Jvaa) / 414 Rsa-maala (Kokilvana) / 424 Rsa-sthal Vavaa / 484 Rsav-gha / 174 Rasaul / 443 Rasol / 332 Ratna-sihsana / 204 Ratnkara-sarovara (Kokilvana) / 423 Rval / 535539 Rihaura / 346 a-mochana-kua / 219 i-trtha / 53 Rudra-kua, or Haraji-kua / 240 Runak-Jhunak-kua / 399 Rpa Gosvms bhajana-ku (Nandagaon) / 385 Rpa-Santana Gauya Maha / 585, 652 Sakhgiri-parvata / 298 Sakh-kpa / 301 Sakh-sthal / 243 akn-gaon / 130 Sk-gopla / 640 Sayamana-trtha, or Svmgha / 55 ar-ikhara, or Dhavalaparvata / 257 Santana Gosvms bhajanaku (Govardhana) / 215 Santana Gosvms bhajanaku (Nandagaon) / 377 Santana Gosvms place of bhajana (Mahvana) / 527 Scul / 350 Sagama-gha / 174 Skar-khor / 318 Saket / 341 Skh / 428 ntanu-kua, or Satoh / 119 Sarasvat-patana-trtha, or Ka-gag-gha / 56 Stoy, or Satvsa / 347 Saukar / 243 Savmana lagrma / 649 Se / 466 ergarh, or Khelanvana / 447 ea / 445 Setubandha-sarovara, or Lakkua / 282 Setu-kandar, or Se / 252 Sev-kuja, or Nikujavana / 581

hjpura Temple / 648 haj Temple / 645 Sahra / 428 Shas-kua, or Sras-kua / 383 akaroy / 471 akakar, or Chakar / 116


r v raja-maala parikram
Seyno, or Sihon / 468 ivakhora / 164 Soma-trtha, or Gau-gha / 55 Sonaraka / 572 Sonda / 349 rdma Temple / 484 rj Temple (Vndvana) / 648 gra-gha / 660 gravaa, or gra-gaon / 348 gravaa, or Nitynandavaa / 595 veta-varha / 86 Sunahar-gaon, or Suner / 296 Surabhi-kua / 239 Srya-gha, or ditya-gha / 659 Srya-kua (Cho Bharan) / 246 Srya-kua (Nandagaon) / 392 Srya-trtha / 51 Sryapatanavana, or Svarkher / 251 yma-hka / 238 yma-kua , or Ka-kua / 139181 yma-ku / 205 yma-talaiy / 485 ymasundara / 641 Tlavana / 107111 Tamla-tal-gha / 170 Tamlavana / 469 Tapovana / 459 Taraul / 469 er-kadamba / 383 hkurn-gha / 533 Tinduka-trtha / 51 krrn hkura-b / 648 Tiloyra / 347 Toa-gaon / 131 Trive-kpa / 301

Uddhava-kua / 243 Uddhava-kyr, or Vikhkuja / 395 dh / 295 jn / 446 Umro, or Rdh-sthal / 429 Un, or Jan-gaon / 466 cgaon / 297

Vajranbha-kua / 175 Vallabha-gha / 173 Vavaa (Vndvana) / 610 Vanacar / 349 Varha-gha / 659 Varddhmna Mahrjakuja / 648

Taga-trtha, or Khunnhrakua / 380


Index ov er Places
Varsn, or Vabhnupura / 313334 Vaa-svm-trtha / 52 Vatsakhora (Cowshed) / 411 Vatsavana, or Basa-gaon / 464 Veakara Mahdeva / 306 Veu-kpa (Bhravana) / 483 Veu-kpa (Vndvana) / 617 Vighna-rja-trtha / 59 Vihra-gha / 660 Vihravana / 131 Vihravana (near Rma-gha) / 453 Vihravana (Vndvana) / 655 Vihvala-kua (Kmyavana) / 286 Vihvala-kua (near Saket) / 340 Vilsa-garh / 326 Vimala-kua / 266 Virma-gha / 45 Vrajevara Mahdeva / 334 Vnd-dev (Kmyavana) / 268 Vnd-dev (Nandagaon) / 375 Vndvana / 557667 Vabhnu-kua / 317 Vyomsuras cave / 288

Yaja-sthala / 547 Yamun / 567 Yaod-kua (Kmyavana) / 281 Yaod-kua (Nandagaon) / 372 Yaodhar-kua, or Ghoarnkua / 286 Yugala-gha / 659 Yugala-Kiora (first) / 644 Yugala-Kiora (second) / 645 Yugala-Kiora (third) / 645