Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Braj Bhoomi Mohini: Shri Vrindavan Rendezvous of the Lovers

Brajbala in Shri Vrindavan

Saw a confused Brajbala scurrying along, with tinkling anklets, hair dishevelled, amidst swaying trees, clothes disarrayed by the rustling breeze.Somewhere sakhis gathered on the banks of the Yamuna for filling water, colourful hustle and bustle, melody of hundreds of vinas resonating in dense nikunjas; it seemed as if an ocean of smiles and laughter gushed forth. Pleasant weather, ethereal environs, forest deer wandering around and the melodious sound of the flute flooded the site. Not just a musical instrument, the flute is Lord Krishna’s breath of love, a call to eternity, which draws the cowherdesses, symbols of love, and they flock to him.The passionate singing of birds, peacocks dancing in ecstasy, moon beams gleaming, trees showering flowers and the insane breeze blew thus enhancing the divine landscape.



The Romantic Dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna in Vrindavan

Shri Radha coupled with her kaya-vyuha sakhis or replications hurried along. Shri Krishna welcomed them with a sweet smile and soon their intimate, transcendental love sport was in full swing.Till date divine incarnate Lord Krishna is resplendent in his madhurya form of loving tenderness in Vrindavan.We share an eternal relationship with this celestial land, the focus of our ardent desire. Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji remarks that if the gentle breeze reminds you of the young Krishna’s caress you certainly have a bond with Vrindavan, in case the singing birds remind you of the Lord's joyous abandon you are close to Vrindavan, if the clear sky’s pristine blue reminds you of the dark-hued Kishore you are related to Vrindavan.



Earthly Vrindavan is Lord Krishna's Playground

The present day Vrindavan with Shri Yamunaji, pilgrimage sites and idyllic landscape is a temporal reflection of the eternal Vrindavan or Golok where God forever dwells. Shri Krishna opted for it as his playground to relax from protocol. Here the divine enjoys himself in romantic dalliances with Shri Radha without the restrains of divinity in the most beautiful setting of pastoral Braj and its wilds. He imparts delight to the simple people totally unaware of his divine credentials.Observing the intense longing of his bhaktas when he talked of incarnation on earth, Shri Radha clarified that she would not be pleased unless Shri Vrindavan, Shri Yamuna and Shri Goverdhan were present.Shri Naradji says that Lord Krishna dispatched chaurasi kos land encapsulating Shri Goverdhan and Shri Yamunaji to earth.Weaving the leelas or divine play of Shri Krishna, Vrindavan shows us the path of union with the divine.

The Puranas, Sanskrit Texts and devotees have unanimously accepted its significance. Medieval times with the Krishna cult at its crest, was flooded with rasiks or people with intense devotional love for Krishna; Raskhan and Taaj in spite of being Muslim devotees were insanely fond of Vrindavan with history recounting the good fortune of the Mughal emperor Akbar till date. The highly knowledgeable Shri Uddhavaji reflected that so steeped in the love of Krishna are the hearts of the gopis so pure are their thoughts that while others may only aspire towards the state of oneness with the Lord these simple cowherdesses have already attained it.




Shri Shankracharya ji

Shri Shankracharyji could not satiate the delicious anguish of his eyes as Brajendra Nandan had abducted his heart, the one more handsome than infinite Kamdevs. His compositions have charmingly described the nuances of Lord Krishna’s divine play. The spectrum of the Shri Ramanujan Sampradaya has been the south. Shri Shathkop Muni, a renowned Acharya though an ardent worshipper of Shri Laxmi Narayan Bhagwan, was enchanted by Lord Krishna, exquisitely describing the love bonding of Shri Krishna and his gopikas.

Shri Kuresh Swami writes that if we can not be born as animated beings, insects or flies, or grass in Vrindavan it is because of our sluggish destiny, deprived we just can’t attain the dust of the Lord’s feet.Shri Ramanandacharyaji, a follower of Shri Raghvendra, journeyed extensively and was extremely devoted towards Vrindavan.
Shri Nimbark Acharya ji

Acharya Shri Man Nimbarkaji has attained fame by propagating the amorous frolics of Shri Radha-Krishna. In his text ‘Sri Krishan Stavraj’ he describes the idyllic and sensuous Vrindavan where the madhurya or sweet love of the Lord unfolds.

Shri Lalit Kishore Dev ji displayed the celestial nature of Vrindavan as perceived from Golok; the lyrical flow of the Yamuna, clouds showering rain like flowers, peacocks dancing in ecstasy, birds singing passionately, blooming blossoms and creepers embracing tree trunks, bees dancing around lotus pollen, flying birds and cranes, cows drawn towards the flute and six glorious seasons.


Shri Radha-Krishna

The same Vrindavan encompasses the transcendental love of Shri Radha-Krishna.

Shri Vallabhacharya ji

Shri Vallabhacharyaji had been enigmatically drawn towards Vrindavan.Great saints of The Vallabha Sampradaya have been devotedly dedicated to this land with Shri Nathji as their celebrated deity residing in Shri Giriraj. The ashtachap kavis, the chief of whom was Surdas, have composed and sung various padas in honour of Shrinathji.Shri Pad Jeev Goswami has acclaimed Vrindavan as a manifestation of the divine Vrindavan claiming that it is far above Vaikunth because it is here that the Lord spreads his joy and love. Shri Sanatan Goswami maintains that the earthly Vrindavan is inclusive of the celestial Vridanvan, both being the same. Shri Pad Prabhodhanand Saraswati has affirmed that the worldly Vrindavan shows us the path to divine Vrindavan where madhurya or sweet love of the Lord unfolds as he romantically dallies with the gopis.

An ethereal site, awash with golden sands and divine nikunjas, Vrindavan is suffused with passionate pollen. Kam, the god of love and his wife Rati enhance the beauty by brooming love escapades.Shri Dhruvdas says that wherever the nayak is, the nayika soon joins in the amorous frolic. Love-lorn Miraji also could not give up the enchantment of Vrindavan. Though she mostly stayed in Dwarka but gave voice to female longing for the Lord in these pristine environs. Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji enraptured by the loving tenderness of Lord Krishna, exalts ethereal Vrindavan in her songs.Finally one can say that all acharyas, rasiks and bhaktas experiencing the love play of Shri Radha-Krishna have composed padas and sung shlokas; essentially for showing the union of the enraptured soul with the divine.

The ceremony of naming Vrindavan:
There are several charming historical tales leading to its name.Once Shri Naradji curiously asked Lord Narayana about how Vrindavan got its name and the Lord said.that in the Satya Yuga, King Kedara, ruler of seven continents was highly religious.

Vrinda Devi

His daughter Vrinda was manifest from a fraction of Shri Laxmiji. An ascetic, she was against marriage and acquiring the Shri Hari Mantra from Shri Durvasa Muni did austere penance for sixty thousand years. Pleased by her ardent entreaties Lord Krishna appeared in his dazzling form. Shy like numerous Kamdevs, she wanted to be a dasi of his lotus feet. Shri Krishna smiled and taking her along went to Golok where equated to Shri Radha she was a fortunate and blessed consort. 


The second meritorious account reveals that King Kushdhwaj had two daughters, Tulsi and Vedvati and both were devoutly religious. Above mundane attachments, Vedvati attained the supreme male, Narayana by her penance and was later renowned as King Janak’s daughter Sitaji. Tulsi was eagerly desirous of obtaining Lord Krishna as a husband but the curse of Durvasa Rishi made her get Shankchoorh. The Lord could not bear this since he accepts those who aspire for him. This is precisely what happened; he became Shri Shaligram and Tulsi born in the form of a tree stayed in his proximity, leading to an eternally pure bond.

The third and most eminent reason for the region’s name is that Vrinda is one of the foremost sixteen names of Shri Radha as revealed by the Holy Scriptures. Initially in Golok Lord Krishna had created Vrindavan for Shri Radha and earthly Vrindavan made for her pleasure and amorous frolic is a mirrored illusion, a temporal reflection of the eternal Vrindavan where God forever dwells. Here there is life because of Lord Krishna’s devotion, people captivated by mysteries and mazes of the Lord’s leelas, animals and bird entranced by his melodious flute play stand-still as nature is enchanted by some passionate frenzy. For the amusement of Shri Radha-Krishna, their love frolics it becomes the perfect landscape where the madhurya or sweet love of the Lord unfolds.


The Gopis Represent Krishna's Hungering Devotees

Vrindavan reveals Lord Krishna as a supreme lover towards whom his hungering devotees represented by the enraptured cowherdesses with whom he sported in his youth are passionately drawn. This search of the impassioned soul for union with god is centerd within earthly Vrindavan, the celestial region or perhaps that region in the heart where God is ultimately found.

Distinctive features:

Vrindavan is Likened to a Lotus

Vrindavan in the spiritual realm is likened to a lotus flower and because of its presence earth has been been blessed in the three worlds. Far above all the lokas is Golok renowned as Vrindavan, the divine play of love being dynamic here. Its birds and animals, trees and creepers, idyllic and sensuous nature provide the perfect setting for the sweet play of Lord Krishna, forming the Lord’s own parikar (attendants).Vrinda Devi is its supreme goddess and she simply assists the playful frolic of Shri Radha-Krishna. The six seasons coupled with the three-fold breeze are glorious, golden sands of Shri Yamuna, dense bowers, fragrance of flowering blossoms and intoxicated trees and shrubs all constitute Vrindavan.

Joys and abundance of the land are blessed with the in-dwelling Vishnu who resides not only in the heart of the gopis but also in the sap that animates the birds and bees, trees and creepers. Every nikunja enshrines the love sport of Shri Radha-Krishna, exquisite desire makes sakhis long for a sight of the Lord.The essence of Vaikuntha, Vrindavan enlightens us.

The Glory and Grandeur of Vrindavan:
 Shri Vrindavan is the Lord’s own abode where he dwells. A moving incidence is related in the Puranas regarding this belief. Once playing the vina and singing Hari’s virtues Shri Naradji reached Prayagraj, the king of teerths.He inquired if Shri Vrindavan also came like all others to pay tax and got an answer in the non- affirmative. This thought perplexed him and Prayagraj went to the Lord who got up from his bejewelled throne, asking the reason of his visit.Teerthraj narrated the incidence and asked why Vrindavan didn’t accept its subjugation and come to pay its dues.



Lord Krishna Remembers Vrindavan

The Lord was deeply moved on hearing these words and tears streamed down his cheeks. A haze of memories of his most beloved Shri Radha, amorous frolics with the gopis, merry prancing with sakhas overwhelmed him momentarily. Regaining his composure, the Lord confirmed that he had declared him king of teerths but not of his own abode Vrindavan. The foremost site of Shri Radha’s romantic dalliance where she rules the domain while the Lord resides here, makes this dhaam exempt from toll.
 
In the Shrimad Bhagwad Shri Nandrai ji explaining its significance to Shri Bhakti, says that in the company of Vrindavan she has once again become a radiant young woman making this dhaam blessed; where devotional worship eternally dallies in ecstasy.Throwing light, great saint Shri Pad Baba maintains that here



Shri Radha Engages us in Krishna's Devotional Service

Shri Radha is the essence of pleasurable worship in a guru form and Shri Krishna, the divine lover supports this dalliance, the pivotal concept of worship in Vrindavan. Its knowledge and experience is only possible by the grace of Shri Radha and the desirous devotee’s intense longing.

Leaving his family, Hit Harivansh arrived and stayed on for salvation. Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji has expressed the Lord’s thoughts that this ethereal forest protected by Vrinda Devi expiates all sins and is certainly most dear to the Lord who performs leelas along with gopas-gopikas. Celestially enchanting, it is difficult to attain by both deities and demons alike.The composer of ‘Vrindavan Shatak’, Shri Prabodhanandji has acclaimed idyllic Vrindavan for providing the perfect landscape as per Shri Radha-Krishna's wishes where their love unfolds.

There are several green forests within Vrindavan, holy mountains awash with creepers and green pastures beneficial for cattle, not merely providing comfort to the cows, gopas and gopikas but deserving their servitude.One sakhi tells another that this Vrindavan propagates its fame right upto Vaikuntha because it is marked by the lotus feet of Shri Krishna. When he plays his mellifluous flute the peacocks dance in ecstasy and animals and birds hovering over mountain peaks are calmed. The flowers and creepers blossom for serving Shri Radha who nurtures them herself. Every site of Vrindavan is most fortunate because Shri Radha has trod upon it.The passionate singing of birds in the nikunjas enhances the beauty of the place making everyone exquisitely desirous to wander in this celestial land.Shri Radha-Krishna are grateful to Vrindavan, where their love sport unfolds interspersed with the pathos of longing and the joy of belonging.




The Gopis are Passionately Drawn by Krishna 

Lord Krishna is a supreme lover towards whom his hungering devotees represented by the enraptured village girls with whom he sported in his youth are passionately drawn. This quest of the impassioned soul for union with God is centered withing earthly Vrindavan. The devotee impassioned with love for Vrindavan and Vrindavan Bihari treats everyone equally and affection for his close ones does not become an impediment in Lord Krishna’s worship. Shri Roop Goswami recites a pada and explains, “Hey sakha even if you are a bit attached to your near ones do not ever sight Shri Krishna’s madhurya of loving tenderness, mellifluously playing the flute, decked with beautiful adornments. In case Vrindavan blesses us we can even shelve salvation leave aside the joys of Vaikuntha; attaining the eternal gopi prema devoid of self gratification and considered the highest level of love.

Splendour:
The fields, forests, nikunjas and down to the streams of Vrindavan seem as if the delights of Paradise are reflected as if by a cosmic mirror onto the plains of earth. The site of Shri Radha-Krishna romantic dalliance, enclosed by the half moon crescent shape of Shri Yamuna, this charming Vrindavan with its dense nikunjas resonates with love sport and the exquisite desire of Brajbalas. Everything about the region is abounding with joy. Come let us savour the sites of the Lord's divine play and get carried away with the amorous frolics of Shri Radha-Krishna scattered amidst the region's dust particles, trees, shrubs and environs.

Shri Yamunaji:
Yamunjaji is Shri Krishna’s swarupini or his form and has regular exclusive company of the Lord. She is his devotional ideal or swamini and expresses love flowing towards the Lord, coming to him on every 12th waning and waxing of the moon.Embellished by golden banks, blossoming floral bunches, what surprises is that lotuses are not spotted in the flowing water but Shri Yamunaji, the leela parikar of Shri Radha-Krishna, has several lotus thickets. Here the Lord with his beloved Shri Radha and sakhis revels in water sports, taking pleasure trips by boat and Shri Yamunaji truly blessed, attains the eternal joy of the Lord.

Shri Yamuna Krishna's Svarupini

Once as always the gopis came to Yamunaji to bathe. Shri Krishna already present, hid merrily in its water with Shri Radha and the sakhis finding him frantically. Transforming her hue to Shri Krishna’s colour, Shri Yamunjai cleverly veiled him. Finally he stepped out himself thus delighting the sakhis. It seems he gifted his complexion, the colour of the condensed sky, to Shri Yamunaji forever. Or is it the radiantly divine love of Shri Radha-Krishna transformed into the gushing water or rather the saffron and musk paste applied on the sensuous body of the Lord. Shri Yamunaji Lord Krishna’s Shakti, stripping us of wordly affection, gifts us the love of Shi Radha-Krishna. The maharasa prema or love of Shri Radha-Krishna as human lovers and divine incarnate rushes forth in the form of Yamunaji, as if their ecstatic hearts are speedily pouring out. Shri Yamunaji is higly revered by all Vaishnavas.

Kalidah:

Kalidah

Shri Krishna is divine incarnate. Now he playfully dallies in Braj and now he exhibits majestic grandeur. In the guise of a cowherd his career is filled with both dangers and delights. Demonic forces continually attacked the area but he always triumphed because of his innate divinity.

There was a pond in Shri Yamunaji where a deadly cobra lived. With the heat of his poison the water was always on the boil and if any animal or bird came into contact with the poisonous air he would die.The Lord saw this monster contaminating his celestial site. On the pretext of playing ball he came here and jumped into the pond splasing water in the process.The Kaliya cobra was infuriated as he saw the dark-hued tender Krishna with his captivating smile and bound him with his body.Shri Nandraiji, Yashodaji and the sakhas were deeply pained to see this tormenting sight. The Lord puffed out his body which weakened the snake and releasing the Lord he attacked from a distance.Spotting a chance the Lord stood on its hood and danced merrily.

The Brajwasis were relieved with devtas and gandharvas blowing trumpets and playing drums in joy. Unable to bear the brunt of Lord Krishna’s feet the snake bled from his hood. Seeing their tortured husband, the wives headed for the Lord’s shelter and prayed that this snake born in a devious yoni be blessed by the touch of his lotus feet which leads to salvation. The Kaliya Naag attained deliverance which famed the place as Kalidah. An ancient kadamba tree by the name of Keli Kadamba is prevalent since Lord Krishna’s era. When Shri Garurh (vehicle of Vishnu) was carrying the amrit kalash he rested on this tree and made it immortal. On a mound right opposite is the ancient Kaliya Mardan temple.

 

Dwadashaditya Teela:
The Lord’s divine play is infinite. Now employing his majestic power he puts an end to demonic forces and now in the guise of a cowherd he is a mortal who feels hungry and thirsty, experiencing heat and cold. He is both human and divine at the same time. Divine Incarnate, Shri Krishna acquires the form of a human to impart joy and delight. He relaxed here after killing Kaliya Naag. Because of the long stay in water he caught a cold and the Sun God served by imparting heat or possibly the Lord obliged him as he was keen to sight the Lord. The sun temple is located here. It is believed that the Lord played the flute and inaugurated the Venu Koop which is close by, making the gopis drink water.

The Bhajan Site of Shri Sanatan Goswami:

Shri Sanatan Goswami

The name of Sri Sanatan Goswami is famed amongst the six principle followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with whose permission he came to Braj and stayed on the banks of the Yamuna near Dwadashaditya Teela. A paragon of renunciation, lost in the devotion of Shri Radha-Krishna he lived here.


Shri Madan Mohanji:


Shri Madan Mohan Thakurji Served by Sanatan ji

Shri Sanatanji’s sevya Thakurji was Shri Madan Mohanji. In seva the devotee attends selflessly without expectation of reward to the needs of the Lord and glorifying him assumes a particular relationship with him.Shri Sanatanji lived in abject poverty with Madan Mohanji blessing him with compassion.Surviving by means of madhukari(cooked food offered as alms) he regularly went to Mathura.Once he went to Shri Parshuram Chaube’s house for alms and the Thakurji swarupa resplendent there played with the sakhas in the guise of a young boy whose loving tenderness, lyrical softness and innocent pranks captivated Shri Sanatanji. Soon he returned to Vrindavan, while Thakurji acquiring his original form was ready for seva.Coming in Sanatanji’s dreams Thakurji confirmed that he would accompany him.Next day getting up at dawn Sanatanji went and related the incidence to Chaubeji and soon after Shri Thakurji left with Sanatanji for Vrindavan.

An amazing occurrence took place the next day. The instant Sanatanji served bhoga to Thakurji he asked for some salt. Sanatanji firmly refused since he somehow managed with madhukari and could not afford to fulfill his wishes. Miraculously that very moment a person asked for help, saying they were traders and their boat was stuck close to the banks.They were trying to pull it out when a young boy assured them of Sanatanji’s assistance. Whatever profit they made would be given for Thakurji’s seva. Seeing through the strategy of naughty Gopala, Sanatanji asked them to ask the boy for help.In a short while the boat was released and the trader made four times more profit.

He came to Sanatanji and by his permission built the temple. Hearing of Shri Madan Mohanji’s manifestation, King Pratap Rudra dispatched two idols from Jagannath Puri to Vrindavan.Shri Madan Mohanji instructed the pujari in his dreams that the big idol was Shri Lalitaji which had to be placed on his left side and the small one was Shri Radha. Ever since their seva has been religiously performed. During the Mughal invasion Shri Madan Mohanji was taken to Jaipur and then onwards to Karauli and is enshrined there. The new temple nearby has the other swarupa famed as Madan Mohanji.

Surdas Madan Mohanji’s Samadhi:
Those who have heard of him must be aware of his devotion to ascetics, reverence for Braj and great humility. Once in Sandila Village where he was a revenue collecting officer for the government, a group of ascetics arrived. Not having enough funds to look after them he spent the treasury’s money, informing the king. It so happened that an ascetic asked him to look after his shoes and came the next day; Surdasji stood right there, starving because only after darshan of Madan Mohanji could he eat a morsel. His Samadhi is in one corner near Madan Mohanji Thakur.


Praskand Region:
It is an auscipicious site which expiates all sins. Near Dwadashaditya Teela it is almost non-existent as of now.

Adwait Vat:
Belonging to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhuji’s own parikar, Shri Adwaitacharyaji is very well known among all Vaishnavas. Coming to Vrindavan he stayed beneath this banyan tree and meditated upon Shri Krishna. His sevya Thakurji was Shri Madan Gopalji. Leaving for Bengal he handed over Thakurji to Mathura’s Chaubeji for seva. It is believed that the same Thakur named Shri Gopalji came to Shri Sanatanji.


Ashtsakhi Temple:


The Ashtasakhi Temple

While going from Shri Madanmohanji’s temple to Shri Banke Bihariji, the Ashtasakhi temple is on the right. Shri Radha, Shri Krishna and eight prime sakhis are resplendent here. A sakhi’s only concern is to see Shri Radha-Krishna united and joyous in love. In the year 1889 King Ramranjan Chakravarty of Hetampur inaugurated this temple and a new temple was formed in 1928 when the ashtasakhis or the eight primary sakhis were included.



Shri Banke Bihariji:


Shri Banke Bihari ji

Just as his name Bihari which means sportive (as Krishna with the herdgirls) implies, a glimpse of Shri Banke Bihariji’s swarupa or living presence, captivates millions of devotees with his radiant lustre, long shapely eyes and miracles impressing innumerabe followers.Vividly perceptible to the mundane world, Shri Bihariji is extremely true to life and spirited. Worshipped and adulated by Swami Haridasji, the Lord blessed him by gratifying his seva or servitude. Swami Shri Haridasji would go to an arbour overgrown with creepers everyday and make obeisance.

Curious about this mystery, Vithalnathji queried that entire Vrindavan is the dalliance site of Shri Radha-Krishna why did he particularly venture to this nikunja. Swamiji asked his close ones to have a look and they all saw a transcendental brilliance with Shri Radha-Krishna’s Rang Mahal. Right then Shri Bihariji manifested himself, enthralling everyone on the auspicious Shukla Paschimi of Margsheersh (nineth month of the Hindu lunar year) famed as Vihar Panchimi.

His passionate persona is renowned the world over. Once Mahanubhav, a devotee looked at the Lord and was spell-bound. As he got up to leave, Bihariji soon enough followed him. It is believed that only after ardent entreaties of the Goswamis, begging him to come back to the temple Bihariji agreed to do so. Since then a ritual of drawing the curtain intermittently while devotees have his darshan was begun.A peculiar trait of his seva is that there is no Mangla Aarti because of a moving bhava of the Gosains; Shri Bihari indulges in Raas (round dance of Krishna with the herdgirls of Braj) throughout the night and he sleeps at dawn thus waking him just two hours later is not right.

Earlier he used to be resplendent at Nidhi Van. In the year 1921 when this temple was constructed again he came here. Shri Radha in the form of a cushion resides on his left. It would be no exaggeration that he is the most revered in Vrindavan till date. In the month of Vaishakh on Akshaya Tritiya we can have charan darshan of Shri Bihariji once a year.

Swami Shri Haridasji Maharaj:



Swami Shri Haridas ji

He was born in 1537 in Rajpur Village near Vrindavan and everyone was overjoyed. Since childhood he was not attached to wordly goods and inclined towards renunciation. Considered the founder of the nikunja bhava taking us to the very heart of the love of Shri Radha-Krishna, he stayed at Nidhi Van. Absorbed every moment in the romantic dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna, he compiled its enchantment in padas available in the text ‘Keli Granth’ and guided Vaishnavas with ‘Sakhi Sampradaya’ and ‘Shri Haridasi Sampradaya’. Shri Lalita Sakhi is the prime leader and bestower of this rasa of nitya vihar and nikunja leela, or the love of Shri Radha-Krishna in idyllic Vrindavan.
 
Once a devotee gave attar for Thakurji’s seva which Swamiji poured on the sand of Yamunaji. Seeing his plight Swamiji asked him to come for Bihariji’s darshan. The devotee was stunned to see the entire temple fragrant with the attar’s scent.

A leading singer he had the famed Tansen and Baiju Bawra as his disciples.King Akbar highly impressed by his voice came disguised to hear him. He repeatedly requested Swamiji to grant him some seva and bowed his head in reverence.Shri Prakashanand Yogi had attained mystical power living in the Himalayas and saw Swamiji offering prasada to peacocks on coming to Vrindavan. Soon enough transforming into a peacock Yogiji went to get some prasada. .Swamiji instantly recognized him and said by Vrindavan’s grace he was fortunate to venture to this pious land, leaving him dumbfounded.

The charming description of Shri Krishna’s daily dalliance is expressed in several of his verses. The Upanishads mention that divine incarnate, Shri Krishna manifest himself as two distinct individuals for the sake of interpersonal romantic exchange.The Vaishnava Sampradayas named the relationship between Shri Radha-Krishna, this inconceivable identity in difference, as ‘Nitya Nikunja Leela’.

Shri ShriRadhavallabhaji and Shri ShriManmahaprabhu Hit Harivanshji Maharaj:


Shri Radha Vallabh Thakur ji

Vatsalya bhava or maternal affection is a primary bhava in the fundamental set up of seva and that is how Shri Radha Vallabh Thakur ji is served.

Shri Hit Harivansh ji

Sri Manmahaprabu Hit Harivanshji was born in Bad Village and later his parents lived in DevVan. With Shri Radha’s permission he left for Vrindavan. His father had already passed away. When he reached Charthaval Village, Shriji confirmed that a Brahman would give him two girls whom he had to get married and there was a Thakurji swarupa he had to get to Vrindavan. He did so and sighting a raised spot on the banks of the Yamuna sat down. Brajwasis offered all possible help, highly impressed by his unique persona. Perceiving the Raas Mandala he propagated it at this site.

When merely six month old, the sholakas of Shri Radha flowed spontaneously from his lips which Shri Nrisinghashramji compiled in a text. He had dedicated devotion for Shri Radha, the only means of attaining spiritual enlightenment. On Kartik Shukla Trayodashi Shri Harivanshji celebrated the patutsav of Shri Radha Vallabhji and began the seva of five artis and seven bhogas. Shri Radhavallabhaji earlier was in Madan Ter, later at Seva Kunj and finally resplendent in this temple made by a devotee. Right next in the form of a bolster is the bhava of Shriji on a pedestal.

Very much like Shri Haridasji, he was engrossed in nikunja worship. Enlightening us on the pathos of longing and the pleasure of belonging both being intrinsic quotients of love, he had the competence to equate them.

Shri Radha Anand Vallabh:
Shri Radha Anand Vallabh Thakurji is resplendent in Braj for the last 100 years. Serving him with vatsalya (maternal love) bhava, Shri Anandabai had a distinct interaction with the Lord. On one knee Shri Kishoriji would sit and Shri Shyam Sunder on the other as they playfully pranked with her. The nature of Shri Anandabai’s bhoga and servitude is very rare.

Seva Kunj:

Seva Kunj

Seva Kunj is renowned as the site where the Lord slept. Lord Krishna would relax here after a romantic dalliance or maybe it was a pretext for meeting his beloved. Shri Radha-Krishna came daily and when their playful frolic got over they reclined in a nearby nikunja.

Shri Harivanshji’s entire life was spent in unveiling the mazes and mysteries of Shri Radha-Krishna’s love-sport and he gave Seva Kunj this honour. Shri Krishna’s divine play which is both real and illusionary making him both human and divine at the same time, endears him and brings delight to all his bhaktas.These nikunjas provide the perfect setting and Seva Kunj abounds with such frolics.

Shri Rasik Bihariji:
Shri Rasikdevji was a well know mahatma of Braj and connected to Dongarpur.

His ancestors served Shri Rasik Bihari Thakurji. The Lord wanted to be taken to Vrindavan from Dongarpur. Rasikdevji sent two of his disciples Shri Sudamadas and Shri Nagridas to do so. The ruling king made necessary arrangements as instructed in his dream.Thakurji arrived with great pomp and show to Vrindavan, staying at Kalidah for some time and later resplendent in the present Shri Rasikbihariji temple.

Thakurji’s unique character is known the world over. He used to virtually interact with Rasikdevji sharing a close relationship with him.Once Shri Rasikdevji was stringing a gajra for his shringara when a small boy came up and insisted on having it. Rasikji refused but later it struck him that the lad was none other than Shri Rasik Bihariji in guise who entered even when all doors were locked.Shri Rasik Bihariji came to Vrindavan around 1758.

Shri Rasik Devji:
He was a devoted disciple of Shri Narhari Devji, being his favourite.Shri Radha-Krishna were gracious towards him and it is believed that Shri Bihariji Thakur had asked him to accept Shri Narhari Devji as his guru.

Shri Keshavdasji, his fellow disciple, could not tolerate his closeness with guruji and kept complaining. To calm this dispute guruji sent Rasik Devji to Mathura to underpin the greatness of his servitude. Here too he begged for alms and served his guru. Another disciple Shri Changa Sunar would get guruji’s gati and langoti which Rasikji washed for his guru.One day Shri Narharidevji hurt his head and Shri Rasik Devji caught hold of his own as if in pain, very well aware that his guru was in agony.Shri Rasik Devji held the position of a guru from 1741-1758 and was the teacher of Shri Lalit Kishore Devji, founder of Tatiya.

Kishore Van Shri Hariramji Vyas:


Rajmahal Palace, Orcha

A resident of Orcha, the ruler of this region Madhukar Shah was his follower. In childhood he acquired spiritual knowledge. For religious texts he once went to Kashi where Lord Vishwanath ordered him in his dreams to go to Vrindavan.The king of Orcha begged him to return but he was deeply attached to Vrindavan. Once while going for darshan to Shri Govindaji he discovered that Rajbhoga was over. A sweeperess was going with the prasadi karhi and he savoured it soon enough irrespective of her caste. With great respect for Vrindavan, Brajwasis, trees-creepers, ponds, animals-birds, and even dogs and wild boars, Hariramji Vyas was humble to the core, considering himself insignificant.

The ruler of Orcha sent his minister to get him but he refused. Soon after the envoy went to Shri Hit Harivanshji who said he would convince him. Vyasdasji didn’t meet him for three days. When he was found, bathing in the Yamuna, sitting on an ass with his face blackened with soot he wailed that if he was worthy of staying in Vrindavan Guruji wouldn’t ask him to leave. Shri Harivanshji was very pleased and let him stay on. Once the king’s workers were forcefully taking him along when Vyasji pleaded for meeting his close ones and embracing the trees wept for hours.This softened the king’s stance and falling at his feet he asked for forgiveness.

Living in Kishore Van he had a unique attachment with foliage and the sites of Vrindavan. He served Shri Yugal Kishor Thakurji. Once while dressing Thakurji, the paag (turban) slipped several time which irritated him. When he tried again Thakurji had himself adorned the paag, being very gracious towards him.It so happened that Shri Radha-Krishna were doing the Raas dance and Radharani’s anklet broke, Vyasji present there because of his divinity, instantly mended it with his sacred thread.He divided his wealth in three parts with his son Kishordasji accepting the tilak and kanthi (A Vaishnava rosary) which greatly pleased him and he took his son to become the disciple of Shri Hari Dasji. Around the year 1655 he became one with Shri Radha-Krishna forever and left his body.

Imlitala:


Shri Manmahaprabhu Chaitanya

Shri Manmahaprabu Chaitanya came to Braj and fixed Akroor Ghat as his place of rest, visiting Vrindavan everyday.Bathing in the Cheer Ghat, he rested beneath the tamarind tree which is ancient since Lord Krishna’s era. Shri Yamuna flowed majestically nearby and a cold breeze blew. Having darshan of Vrindavan and Yamunaji he did sankirtan (glorifying a deity with devotional songs). During break he would go to Akroor Ghat for meals.

Shangar Vat:
The time had come for Raas which earlier Lord Krishna had assured the gopikas of participating in. Seeing the perfect landscape he took out the flute from his sash. The Brajbalas were drawn to the golden banks of the Yamuna, hearing the mellifluous sound, the breath of love as he passionately welcomed them. They were thrilled, the prem-svarupa Brajbalas and to placate their pathos of longing he came with his beloved Shri Radha.



Shangar Vat

In this episode Shri Radha-Krishna expressed their love by adorning one another. Lord Krishna selected all sorts of fragrant blossoms; sitting on a boulder nearby he did shangara of Shri Radhaji, braided her hair decorating it with flowers, decked her earlobes with tender shoots and attached flowers on her evocative clothes, captivated by her ravishing beauty.Shri Radhaji took a blossom from him and lovingly caressing it she attached it to his vanamala.Both of them were soon lost in a romantic dalliance.

Shriman Nityanand ji Maharaj:
Shri Nityanand ji revered Shri Madhavendrapuri ji like a guru. Nityanandji came to Braj and savoured the character of Shri Balramji.

Jharoo Mandal:
Adjacent to Shringar Vat is Shri Balramdas Babaji’s place known as Jharoo Mandal. A great saint he had the virtues of perception and emotion. Once he was narrating the Bhagavat Katha and several sentimental listeners were present. All of a sudden he stopped the recitation and leapt into the flowing Yamuna, openly declaring that passion had lurked in his heart. It was learnt that a prostitute of Calcutta had arranged for the prasad in Shri Govindji’s temple that day.The incidence impacted him since he was extremely pious and the slightest thought could have repercussions on his mindset.

A woman stayed close by and served Shri Gopal Thakurji. Hard working, at odd times in the night she got up and ground flour on the grindstone. The sound disturbed Shri Balramdas Baba’s bhajans and broke the sleep of Thakurji as well.Once when she woke at midnight to follow the procedure, her sevya Shri Gopalji appeared and throwing the upper portion of the grindstone, stood on the other slab.She was enthralled by his presence and blessed. The footprint of the Lord on the grindstone is visible even today. Close by is the samadhi of Shri Balramdas Babaji.

Entranced Mira:


Mirabi, the Bhakti Poetess

The princess of Mewar, Shri Miraji crazed with love for Lord Krishna, has since ages shown the path to devotees through her bhajans. Glowing with chaste purity she declared herself married to Lord Krishna since childhood. A bhakti poet-saint, Miraji’s disdain for her husband was more than matched by her love for Lord Krishna. Singing songs of love for the Lord she left with an infatuation for Vrindavan.

For her there was no other than Giridhar Gopal. Crazed by love for Krishna she longed to be blessed by the dust of his feet, to savour the picturesque celestial environs of Vrindavan where fragrance of tulsi-pujan pervades, attracted by its pollen the Lord buzzes like a bee. Miraji’s padas give voice to depths of her longing and desire in the name of the Lord. Now she sings of the pathos of longing and now she introduces her eternal love with the divine. Charmed by her enchantment, Lord Krishna sometimes dallies with her in the delightful rain and at times drenched with colour during Holi playfully frolics with her.

She conceptualised Lord Krishna as the supreme male, all questing souls being essentially feminine. When she came to Vrindavan Shri Jeev Goswami, a Gaudiya Brahman was famed for his bhajans and she was desirous of meeting him but he refused since he did not meet women. Challenging him that spiritually there was only one male in Vrindavan, Miraji affirmed that on one else can dare equate him. Shri Jeev Goswami ran to her for forgiveness. Finally she went to Dwarka and became one with Shri Ranchorhji Thakurji.Her temple near Nidhivan spreads light on the chaste passion of Miraji.

Cheer Ghat:

Cheer Ghat

Shri Krishna is the paragon of love, endearing himself with his divine play. His madhurya or sweet love enchants devotees, hearts of the gopis and the elements of nature. The innocent Brajbalas saw his loving tenderness, lovable pranks and were intensely desirous of having Krishna, secretly accepting him as their supreme lover as they stepped into youth. Each prayed that Krishna might become her husband as she bathed in the Yamuna to consummate a rite in honour of the goddess Katyayani.

Lord Krishna was well aware of their exquisite desire as he instantly accepts the longing of his close ones and came to the banks of the Yamuna. Swindling their clothes, he climbed a kadamba tree close by and teased them by his spirited antics. Enraptured by his charm, the gopis meekly asked him to return their clothes. Soon enough, sure that the Lord is omnipresent, making obeisance to the Sun God they stepped out of water and taking their respective garments wore them. Assured by him of the fast’s success and participation in the Raas (rapturuous dance) the Brajbalas returned home.

Shri Shri Radha Damodar Thakurji:

Shri Shri Radha Damodar Thakur ji

In 1599 Shri Shri Radha Damodarji Thakurji became resplendent by Shri Roop Goswami Paad. Scared of the Mughal invasion, devotees took him to Jaipur where he is enshrined. Here we have the Shri Roop Goswami’s Bhajan Kuti and Samadhi. To the south of the temple there are samadhis of Shri Jeev Goswami and Shri Krishan Das Kaviraj Goswami.The boulder with the Lord’s footprint which was given to Shri Sanatanji by Shri Gopal Krishna in Chakleshwar (Goverdhan) can be seen by the general public on Shri Krishna Janamashtami.



Rasa Mandala:

The Rasa Leela

The miracle of the Rasa Leela, that supreme moment of Krishna’s manifestation as human lover and divine incarnate dancing with the gopis in the forest of Vrindavan and bathing with them in the flowing water of the Yamuna on the radiant night of Sharad Poornima, is a moment of purity and effulgence visited over and over again through centuries. Lord Krishna the supreme lover with his beloved Shri Radha and gopis on the celestial banks of the Yamuna, in the dense nikunjas, in the light of the full moon commenced the rapturuous dance, holding hands to complete a circle.Amidst the idyllic environs and showering merriment the tempo grew faster and faster. Krishna duplicated himself through his maya so that between two gopis was found a Krishna, sporting with them in the magical dance of the Raas Mandala. He assumed as many forms as was necessary to make each one happy.

The gopis eagerly desire for Krishna, delicately stepping to and fro, ringing bracelets, moving kundals, evocative clothes; the Lord welcomed them with a charming smile.The Raas brings to halt the course of the moon and the planets filled with wonder watch the beauty of the dance. Kam (god of love) and Rati his wife struck by this divine sight with no distinction between earthly sensual love and spiritual ecstacy; a moment of eternity.The site is closely related to the mysteries of intense passion reflected in the sensuous dance. Shri Harivanshji Maharaj revealed this site and Sri Dhruvdasji merged with the creepers of this place becoming one with the divine.

Shri Sewak ji (Damodardas ji):
Sewakji was born at Garha Village near Jabalpur.His friend Chaturbhujdas and he enjoyed talking about the Lord’s playful dalliance.For some reason they couldn’t come to Vrindavan soon and during this time ShriHit Harivanshi became one with the Lord in a nikunja. Shri Chaturbhujdas ji became a disciple of Shri Vanchandra ji, son of Harivansh ji and now guru in Vrindavan.

Shri Sevak ji was determined to become a disciple of Harivanshi and sitting beneath a peepul tree he meditated when all of a sudden Vrindavan manifested right there. He sighted the divine play of Shri Radha-Krishna with Harivanshi accepting and blessing him with a mantra. Shri Vanchandraji invited him to Vrindavan and looked after him in a grand fashion. His compilation of padas is considered to reflect the expression of Shri Hit’s thoughts. Shri Sewak ji merged with a banyan tree becoming one with the Lord near Raas Mandala in Vrindavan.

Shri Dhruvdas ji:
The great grandson of Shri Vithaldas ji, Dhruvdas ji was blessed with the ideals of his grandfather since childhood. At the age of five he was desirous of renunciation.Since Bhakta Dhruv had darshan of the Lord when he was five, people called him Dhruvdas. He became a disciple of Shri Gopinathji, the third son of Shri Hit Harivanshji. Near Raas Mandala Shri Radha-Krishna appeared once for his ardent desire.Actually sighting the Lord he composed padas compiled in the text ‘Bayalees Leela’ which showed the divine path to several bhaktas. Fond of privacy and tender-hearted he merged with a tree and became one with the Lord.


Bhaktimati Usha Bahin ji:


Bhaktimati Usha Bahen ji

Vrindavan famous for the divine play of the Lord is renowned for Maharasa. Shri Radha-Krishna with their kaya-vyuha sakhis are forever engrossed in their madhurya or sweet love. The freedom, spontaneity and intense passion of their love escapades overwhelmed several individuals who ideally showed us the path to salvation. In today’s context an enigmatic personality related to this site, entranced with the eternal dalliance of the Lord stayed on in Vrindavan forever. She was ‘Braj Vaibhav Ki Apoorv Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji.’

The incidence is quite recent and several saints on construing the ideal characteristics of this great devotee could not define her persona because saints have their own distinctive traits. Some under the protective canopy of Vrindavan aspired for union with the divine and were least interested in the mundane world and its earthly attachments. Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji belonged to the category of such unique saints; inflamed with seva bhava and devotion to her Thakurji.

Engrossed in his madhurya without any thought of self-gratification, her selfless devotion for Lord Krishna existed intensely in her heart with complete absorption in his joy. Several followers are dependant on her, their ideal who purified the spectrum of devotees with her spiritual mindset.Wherever devotion, pathos of longing and pleasures of belonging are prevalent they becomes an intrinsic part of Braj. During the course of Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji’s life they were not mere incidences but an essential manifestation, an upsurge in her life.

During her tenure as a teacher the rare love and motherly affection she showered on her students, introducing them to the amorous play of Shri Radha-Krishna was possible because of her innate divinity.Whoever came into contact with her was immersed in the profundity of union with the Lord. One had to have the sakhi bhava to satiate the intense longing of the heart, expressed as the cry of the enraptured soul for God, is what she conceptualised.

Revered Bahenji was born in Ambala on 30th July 1925.Even on staying there every moment of her life was woven around Vrindavan. Ably shouldering all her responsibilities she was always impassioned with love for Shri Radha-Krishna.While ailing she writes, “I clearly remember the scene and Shri Radha’s laughing moonlike face, affection exuding from her large eyes with beams of compassion and affinity.The body languished here unwell and feeble but by some spectacular inspiration my divine soul was transported beneath a kadamba tree on the banks of the Yamuna where Shri Radha came and.”

Such unprecedented, divinity can certainly not be mundane. Attaining the zenith of the spiritual plane, underpinning the magnitude of the Lord’s passionate love she symbolised shringara rasa. The peak of human emotions, it leads us to the very heart of the love of Shri Radha-Krishna. Bahenji can best be described as a confluence of dawn and dusk and east and west.



Usha Bahenji's Shri Thakur ji

In celestial Vrindavan where her life’s mission was Shri Thakurji’s seva, experiencing Shri Radha-Krishna’s mysterious dalliances exuding madhurya or sweet love, wandering in Braj’s delightful sites, our mind is distraught now as she became one with the Lord. She left us physically but merging with the joys of the eternal nitya leela she has entry into Shri Radha-Krishna’s transcendental love exchange because of her implicit faith. Coming to know of her end beforehand, simply contented with a joyful face she turned the eyes balls twice from left to right and on 20th February 1992 went into close proximity of Shri Radha-Krishna from where she had come.

Nidhi Van:



Nidhi Van

Dear to Lord Krishna, Nidhi Van is a spectator of his divine play.The romantic dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna is enacted mostly in isolated places.This playful love sport which is both real and illusionary, making Lord Krishna human and divine at the same time; endears him and brings delight to all his bhaktas. In this nikunja the Lord and his beloved Shri Radha get respite from exertion, opening their eyes off and on to absorb the sweetness of each other’s forms. Seeing them fatigued when sleep relievingly embraces them on a bed of tender shoots they go into deep slumber. Soon enough the tingling dawn with chirping birds, flocks of peacocks signalling the advent of a new day, nikunjas ringing with the tinkling of metal bracelets and anklets wake up Shri Radhaji. Her face awash with languor she blesses these bowers with her passionate endeavours.



Romantic Dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna

In the consummation of love which follows the sensuousness is overwhelming and absorbed in it Lord Krishna is rapturuous.The sakhis abruptly abandon husbands, children, calves, dinner on the stove to rush to him, they know no other duty no other loyalty but the exquisite desire to be with Lord Krishna. Seeing Shi Radha’s ravishing beauty in the embrace of Shri Krishna it seems as if thunder has struck the gathered clouds.This sums up the love escapades of Nidhi Van where separation is enthralling as it deepens our understanding of the Lord and becomes the zenith of love. The manifestation site of Shri Banke Bihariji is right here. Swami Shri Haridasji would venture here everyday and his Samadhi has pride of place.Shri Jagannathji’s Samadhi, Rang Mahal and Lalita Kund are situated here.

Shri Vithal Vipuldev ji:
He was born in Rajpur Village next to the parikrama path. Since childhood he was devoid of wordly desires; having great devotion for Shri Haridas ji who made him sight Shri Radha-Krishna in Nidhi Van and blessed him.When Haridas ji became one with the Lord, Vipuldev ji was deeply pained and tied a bandage on his eyes. Several rasiks arranged for the Raas and Shri Radha asked him to open the eyes and the moment he did so, leaving his body he became one with her.

Shri Viharindev ji:

Swami Shri Hari Das and the Nitya Vihar of Shri Radha-Krishna

With the blessings of Swami Shri Haridas ji he was born and was a staunch supporter of nitya vihar. After Shri Vithalvipul ji became one with the Lord he took over his position, performing Shri Bihariji’s seva with great enthusiasm.Once while going for a bath in the Yamuna, entranced in reciting a certain verse he stood for three days at a stretch on the path.Shri Sanatanji had Madanmohanji’s prasada sent saying it was Shri Bihariji’s and only then he came to his senses. Considered the bastion of Shri Haridasji’s Nikunjupasna, he had perfect knowledge of nitya vihar (constant dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna).At the age of 98 he went into the servitude of Shri Radha-Krishna forever.

Daan-Maan and Kunjgali:
Shri Vrindavan Dham is a site mushrooming with nikunjas.These bowers (particular meeting places of Shri Radha-Krishna) can be sighted even today in Nidhi Van and Seva Kunj. The group of sakhis tread on the lonely lanes for selling milk-curd and at times to fill water.All this is a mere excuse, while they are on fire with desire to meet Krishna who can at any time come upon these Brajbalas venturing through these narrow paths.



Krishna Demands Milk & Curd from The Gopis

He demands a toll from the gopis in the form of love, savours the milk-curd, involving them in various spirited antics.His winsome irrepressible joy melts away any vexation but occasionally they sulk and he coaxes them.

Their offence also plays a role in making the Lord delight to them as he appeases them. One sakhi explained to the other not to go on this path where a handsome insistent boy forcefully loots the dairy products, blocking their path. His body-hue is extremely inviting, the eyes can’t bear a moment of separation, perceiving his madhurya fills one with exquisite desire.The tales of daan and maan are woven around these sites known as Daan and Maan Galis.

They are close to Seva Kunj.

The Samadhi of Nagridas ji:
Shri Samantsingh (Nagridas) was the son of King Shri Rajsing, the ruler of Kishangarh (Rajasthan) and highly famed among all Vaishnavas. He was profoundly devoted to Vrindavan and experiencing the sweet divine play of Shri Radha-Krishna has given a wonderful description. Till date the Samadhi of Nagridasji propagating lovable worship attracts infinite devotees in Nagri Kunj beneath a tamal (evergreen) tree.It is tough to express his bhakti bhava.He relinquished the Kishangarh kingdom and lived permanently in Vrindavan. Being a devotee of the highest order, his mother, sister and even dasi were motivated to reside in Vrindavan and were counted as great saints.

He experienced the divine play of Shri Radha-Krishna in great depth and they were absolutely gracious toward him. Narrating the scenes of his interaction with Shri Radha-Krishna is so true to life. The beauty of a cowherdess with a pot on her head is indiscribable, exquisitely desirous, longing to meet the Lord.She had no inkling when her anchal slipped with the rustling breeze, her heart on fire with desire making her helpless. The picture of Shyam Sundar aborbed in her eyes, she was intoxicated by the madhurya of the Lord. Seeing her everyone was overwhelmed with the same pathos of longing and pleasure of belonging.

Supreme devotee Nagridasji is counted amongst the bhakta gems of Vrindavan, showing the path to ascetics even today.

Shriji’s Kunj:
The biggest temple in the name of world renowned Shri Nimbarkacharyaji, it is known as Shriji’s Kunj or Shriji’s Temple.In the year 1926 Bhatiyani Maharani, the mother of Jaipur’s ruler, and Anand Kunwariji had it built. Here Shri Anand Manohar Vrindavanchandraji is enshrined. People take the prasadi water from this site and during their children’s illness drink it to ward off the sickness.

Shahji’s Temple (Lalit Kunj):


Shahji's Temple

Born in the family of Shah Biharilal of Lucknow, all Vaishnavas are aware of Shri Lalit Kishori and Lalit Madhuriji. Very emotional he was devoted to Vrindavan and never wore shoes on coming here, considering the dust of Vrindavan to be sacred. Shri Radha Raman Thakurji is resplendent in the magnificent temple made of marble. Shah Biharilalji, his paternal grandfather, built the temple of Shri Radaraman Lalji.

Shri Lalit Kishoriji:
Shah Kundanlalji, later renowned as Lalit Kishori amongst the Vaishnavas, hailed from Lucknow.He had acquired knowledge of Urdu and Persian in childhood.Initially sighting the temple made by his grandfather, he was eager to live in Vrindavan.When his parents passed away, distributing the property, destiny easily got him to this fabled land. He stayed in austerity, never wore shoes or underpants, having great regard for Braj.

During the revolution in 1915 under the leadership of Hirasingh, a group of plunderers came to Vrindavan but they could not create any disturbance. Keeping them, he arranged for the prasad.When British rulers came to know of this incidence he was found guilty of helping revolutionaries. But by Lord Krishna’s grace the magistrate was impressed by his daring.His padas have a true to life quality as they describe the divine play of Shri Radha Krishna. In the year 1930 he sat on a platform of sand from Yamunaji and reciting Radhe-Shyam with the ongoing kirtan he became one with the Lord forever.

Shri Lalit Madhuriji:
Shah Fundanlalji always abided by what his elder brother said.Once having fever he drank cold water and when Lalit Kishoriji said he shouldn’t since he was ill, he stopped and had a drop only after fourteen hours. His character was unique, having great faith in Lord Krishna’s generosity.Once while going for a bath to Shri Yamunaji, two bulls were fighting enroute. Fearless he went close and coaxing them kept his hand on their heads, which calmed them instantly. Very much like his elder brother, chanting the sankirtan he became one with the Lord.

Shri Radaraman Thakur ji:
It is believed that this Thakur ji was manifest in 1591 and stayed on in Vrindavan even during the Mughal invasion, though the Goswamis took most of the self manifest Thakur jis to Rajasthan for safety. Accepting the seva of his devotees God has always been grateful to them. An interesting narrative is famed about Thakurji’s appearance. Shri Gopal Bhattji served Shri Shaligram ji very assiduously.Once a wealthy merchant came to Vrindavan and adorned the Thakur swarupas with golden ornaments. Deeply moved, Shri Gopal Bhattji also yearned for his Shaligram ji to have feet, hands and other body parts so that he could also adorn him.



Shri Radha Raman Thakur ji

When he went the next day for seva an idol was resplendent having feet, hands and a lotus-like face with Shaligramji mainfest on his backside by the grace of Shaligrmaji. Gopal Bhattji was ecstatic and decked him with all the finery. The same Shaligramji in the form of Shri Radha Raman ji is radiant today, displaying his unique brilliance.The temple was founded in 1643 and Shri Gopal Bhattji’s Samadhi is close by.

Shri Shri Gopal Bhatt Goswami:



He was the son of Shri Venkat Bhattji, a South Indian Brahman. When Shri Chaitanya Mahapraphuji ventured to the south he had an indelible impact on Shri Gopalji, merely eight years old.A few days later his father died and Gopalji came to Vrindavan. He studied the Bhakti Shastra from Shri Sanatanji. Mahaprabuhji had sent a handwritten letter, string, kopin and aasan for him. In 1638 he became one witth the Lord and his disciples Shri Gopinathji and Shri Damodardasji took over the seva of Shri Shri Radha Ramanji.

Shri Gopinath Thakur ji:
Close to Shri Radharamanji’s temple, Shri Gopinathji is resplendent and he manifested for Shri Parmanand Bhattacharyaji who later handed over the seva to Shri Madhu Panditji. Shri Janhvi Ma, wife of Shriman Nityanand Prabhu, came to Vrindavan and went for his darshan.A thought struck her that if Shi Radha was a bit higher she would look more beautiful.The Lord came in her dreams and clarified that Shri Radha is lower to him in superiority but she should arrange for a svarupa of Shri Radha which equated him.

It is believed that during her aprakat leela Janhvi Ma created an idol and pervaded it, ordering her devotees to make it resplendent next to Shi Thakurji in the temple.




Gopinath ji Thakur With Ananga Manjari to his left & Radha Rani on his right

Since then Gopinathji is radiant in the centre, Shri Janhvi Ma is to his left with Devi Vishveshwari and on the southern side the small svarupa of Shri Radhaji and Shri Lalitaji exhibit their majestic sweetness to countless Vaishnavas. The ancient svarupa went to Jaipur and the new one is enshrined here.

Shri Shri Radha Vinod ji and Shri Gokulanand Thakurjis:
Shri Loknath Goswami got Shri Radhavinodji Thakur from Kishori Kund in Umrav Village and as far as possible he began the seva there.When Shri Roopji, Shri Sanatanji and Shri Raghunath Bhattji came to know of this incidence they requested him to get Thakurji to Vrindavan.

Since then the Shri Radha Vinod Thakur svarupa is resplendent in a new place near Shri Radharaman Temple in Vrindavan.Scared of the Mughal invasion this Thakurji was also taken to Jaipur. Shriyut Vishwanth Chakravarti worshipped a
Thakurji in Shri Radha Kund and he is radiant too in this temple.The Goverdhan boulder given by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Shri Raghunathdas Goswamiji is preserved.

Lalababu Temple:
Shri Lalababu was a prime Vaishnava. His sevya Thakurji Shri Krishanchandraji is resplendent in a temple.An interesting and sweet incidence took place when the idol was being concecrated and enshrined in the temple.Great learned priests were reciting incantations during the pran-pratishtha ceremony.After the ritual when Sri Lalababu on whom God was very gracious, kept his hand on Thakurji’s heart and couldn’t feel the heartbeats.Soon enough he asked the pandits to repeat the installation and they complied.

As of now when he touched Thakurji’s heart he could clearly feel the blood flow.Once taking a wad of cotton to his nostril he saw it move thus making it evident that Shri Thakurji was prakat (living presence) now.Two huge trees are visible in front of Thakurji.Once they were to be hacked but his son got a dream that these two ascetics pleaded not to be cut as they would shrivel up later.A telegram from Calcutta revoked this order and they were spared.The temple was inaugurated in 1867.

Shri Lalababu:
A great Vaishnava, Shri Lalababu was born in a respectable family of Calcutta.He would stroll on the banks of the Yamuna daily. Once a boatman’s words struck him which implied that the day has passed let us go to the other side. Again one day a washerman intimated his wife that the day has gone by let us quickly burn desire (Washermen in Bengal would gather banana trees and light them which signified the end of passion). These words changed the entire course of his life and returning home renouncing all wordly attachments, he left for Vrindavan.

One day taking permission from Shri Krishna in his dreams he went to live in Goverdhan. While going for parikrama of Shri Giriraj, a priest asked him if he would have prasad and he agreed.That day due to a rain storm the pujari could not get the prasad but was stunned to find it with Lalababu.He was certain now that the Lord had personally got it for him. Savouring the divine play of Lord Krishna on the banks of the Yamuna, Shri Lalababu became one with God.

Shri Shri Bilav Mangal ji Maharaj:
He was the son of Ramdas, a great Vaishnava devotee who lived in a village on the banks of Krishanvina River in the south. Bilavmangalji was in quest for beauty in the mundane world.He was attracted to Chintamani, a prostitute and deeply in love reached her house even on his father’s shradh.There was no boat around so he sat on a dead body in the flooded river and clung on to a black snake instead of a rope and hurried to her. Hearing her deride his adoration he renounced the world and left home.

When he felt drawn to earthly beauty again, he pierced his eyes with thorns and detached himself from worldly pleasures.Shri Krishna came to him in his child form and asked if he would go to Vrindavan. Bilavmangalji was ecstatic. Holding the lakuti, the lad led the way and they soon reached Vrindavan. Now he was no longer Surdas (blind), the touch of the Lord had opened his divine eyes.He figured out that it was Shyam Sundar who had enchanted him and the Lord was now tied in a love bond.

Bilavmangalji’s heart was in a state of constant and deep longing for the sight and touch of his beloved Lord Krishna. His madhurya or sweet love, thick curls framing his lotus like face, loving tenderness, lyrical softness, delicate limbs, playful eyes, charming smile, spirited antics made him eagerly desirous for a glimpse of the Lord. Blessing Braj with his footprints, the madhurya of the Lord forever dwells in this fabled land. Is he Kamdev (lord of Love) or the moon which acts like amrit (nectar of the gods conferring immortality) for us.



Lord Krishna as Madhukara

Lord Krishna is considered the repository of sweetness and is given epithets such as madhukara and madhupati. Shri Bilavmangalji’s interaction with the Lord was unique and his experiences compiled as shlokas are available in the text ‘Shri Krishankarnamrit.’ The samadhi of Shri Bilavmangalji is beneath a khirni tree in Gopinath Bazaar.

Brahma Kund:



Brahma Kund

Next to Shri Rangmannar Temple is a deep pond renowned as Brahma Kund. Lord Krishna is unsurpassable. Lords Brahma and Mahesh also can not easily attain him. The same Lord in the guise of a cowherd playfully dallies with his gopas in the environs of Braj, imparting joy and delight. Once with his very close sakhas Madhumangal, Shri Dama and Tosh, Shri Krishna came here. Brahmaji was ashamed of his infatuation and propitiated the Lord, for the joyous abandon which blesses all Brajwasis.He pleaded to be born in any yoni in Braj but particularly Gokul so that the dust of some devotee’s feet blesses him which would be like attaining the dust of Shri Krishna’s lotus feet.

Kamainti Bai’s Chattri:
Kamainti Bai was the daughter of Parshuramji, the family priest of Khandela kingdom in Jaipur. Because of a spiritual mindset she was steeped in love for Lord Krishna. Though least interested in marriage, her family got her wedded. When it was time to go to her in-laws’ place she longed for Vrindavan. Suddenly a restless passion made her leave in the silence of the night for her destination.



Krishna, the Beautiful Son of Nanda

She trudged alone but the son of Nanda always close to his devotees accompanied her. In the morning her family in deep pain went and related the incidence to the king who soon sent his horsemen to search for her. Hearing the sound of hooves Kamainti frantically sought a place to hide.A dead camel lay near by.Vultures and jackals had gnawed at its flesh. She hid in its cover unaffected by the stench as she was lost in Krishna.By God’s grace the horsemen didn’t look this side and left.Kamainti stepped out on the fourth day and reached Vrindavan via Haridwar.

She stayed on at the Brahma Kund and her father Parshuramji came to find her. One day climbing a tree he saw her in an ascetic’s attire absorbed in meditation.He requested her to come home but she asked him to chant Shri Krishna Bhajans instead. Hearing of the scenario, the king was desirous to see her. He came to Vrindavan and wanted to get a hut made but engrossed in Lord Krishna she did not need anything from the mundane world. It is said that he got a Chattri (umbrella like canopy) to shelter her from the sun and rain when she meditated.

Shri Shri Rangji:
Shri Nivasacharyaji lived in Arhan in South India. It is believed that Shri Ramanucharyaji was born as Rangdeshik to Nivasacharyaji’s wife. One seat existed in the Shri Sampradaya near Shri Goverdhan since the sixteenth century.When Shri Rangdeshikji came to Braj, Shri Nivasacharyaji holding the position kept him and arranged for his study. Shri Radhakrishan belonging to a rich Jain family of Mathura wanted to join the Sampradaya and he was given diksha accordingly.



Shri Ramanujacharya ji

Shri Godamba has particularly mentioned her three wishes in the Alvar texts. First that Brajendra Nandan should hold her hand which Shri Rangnathji complied.Second of a thousand paysan bhoga (rice cooked in milk with sugar) be seved to Shri Rangnathji which Shri Ramanucharyaji fulfilled and her main desire was to be resplendent in Vrindavan along with Shri Rangmannar which Shri Rangdeshik Swamiji abided by.

Shri Rangdeshik Swamiji and Seth Radhakrishanji journeyed to the south for pilgrimage.Swamiji went to Shri Rangam and asked Shri Rangnath Swamiji to fulfill Shri Godambaji’s third wish. Shri Rangji was first taken to Bhutpuri where pratishta was performed.With proper rituals he got the Shri Rangji svarupa to Vrindavan. Earlier the idol stayed at Bhatrorh Garden and later on came to the Laxmi Narayan Temple. Finally he was resplendent in the present temple after its inauguration by Laxmi Chandra Jain.

Shri Godamba’s lovable worship is revered amongst the famous Alvar saints in the south.Shri Rangnathji Thakur in Shri Rangam (south) would wear the garland which Shri Godamba had already worn. Her father looked after the flower seva while she helped out by selecting blossoms and making the garland.She would wear it herself to if it would become him.Once a strand of hair entangled in the garland was spotted by the pujari, which infuriated him. He asked her father who didn’t know a thing. He in turn questioned his daughter and admonished her, taking over the task himself. The next day when a garland was offered to Shri Rangnathji he refused to wear it, wanting one from his beloved Godamba.The acharyas were stupefied. Later Shri Rangnathji took her hand in marriage and she is resplendent with him in the temple.


Shri Govind Dev ji:
Shri Roop Goswami, follower of Shri Manmahaprabhu Chaitanya, is very famed. Shri Govind Devji manifested and accepted the seva of Shri Roopji. Appearing in his dreams Shri Govind Devji said that he lived in Goma Tila in the Khirak (cow-pen). One cow bathed him with the flow of her milk in the morning.Spotting the sight he had to be taken out and his seva arranged for.



Sri Sri Radha Govinda ji

Early next morning Roopji saw the place and took out the idol of Shri Govind Devji from the earth and was delighted. King Mansingh of Jaipur got a temple constructed and arranged for the seva. The Goswamins took Shri Govinddevji to Jaipur, scared of the Mughal invasion. Till date he attracts innumerable devotees with his captivating radiance.

Shri Roop Goswamiji Maharaj:



Shri Roop Goswami Maharaj

The younger brother of Shri Sanatanji, Roopji was knowledgeable and devoted to Lord Krishna. The credit of Shri Govinddevji’s manifestation goes to him.He composed several texts like ‘Ujwal Neelmani’ and ‘Bhakti Rasamrit Sindhu’.Once he compared Shri Radha’s braided hair to a nagin (female snake) which upset Sri Sanatanji.It so happened that while meditating Sanatanji was wandering in the Nitya Vilas Kunj and he saw Shri Radha swing from a mango tree. Her flowing veni truly looked like a nagin. Soon enough he began respecting Shri Radha’s particular compassion for Roopji.

Keshi Ghat:

Keshi Ghat

Kansa was petrified since all his strategies to kill Lord Krishna had failed. Calling for his close friend Keshi he explained the entire plan to him.

Krishna Triumphs Over Demon Keshi

Disguised as an ordinary horse, Keshi somehow entered Gokul. Digging the earth with his hooves; galloping ahead, he seemed to storm the environs. The Brajwasis were scared of his neighing with the demon frantically searching for the Lord who confronted him. Infuriated he wanted to attack but the divine incarnate instantly caught his hind feet and flung them away.Again he pounced on Shri Krishna who thrust his hand into his mouth, choking him to death. In the Aadi Varah Purana God informs Prithvi that Keshi Teerth blesses us hundred times more than Gangaji.Its distinctive trait is that if we do pind daan (oblation to ancestors offered by relatives) here it is equivalent to performing pind daan in Gaya.


Dhir Samir Ghat:


Jayadeva's Gita Govinda

Everyone is aware of Shri Jaidevji, the composer of ‘Gita Govinda’. He lost his father Bhojdev and mother Vamadevi in childhood.Completing his studies in youth, the Lord was particularly generous towards him. Padmavati was his good-natured wife.His father owed some money to Niranjan who connived and got Jaidevji’ signature on the document to seize his house.The moment he cheated Jaidev, the message of his own house being on fire agonized him. Jaidevji ran and on entering Niranjan’s house the fire cooled down.Once Jaidevji having written an incomplete pada went for a bath.Lord Krishna came in his form and completed the pada, savouring prasad.

When Jaidevji came to Vrindavan he was entranced to experience the divine play of Lord Krishna which he expressed in the‘Gita Govinda’. The text is written in perfect and flawless Sanskrit, the pinnacle of romantic love poetry. The romantic emotion expressed is at once sheerly sensual and serenely spiritual, the two features that define shringara bhakti. At one place he writes that Shri Yamuna’s celestial banks, the dense groves next to it are familiar with the sensuous Lord Krishna’s romantic dalliances.

Lord Krishna daily ventures to these secluded nikunjas and is captivated. According to his wishes all seasons abound in the bowers, enchanting weather, with blossoming flowers and creepers embracing tree trunks make it the perfect landscape where the Lord’ madhurya or sweet love unfolds.




Vrinda Devi

The celestial surroundings are prevalent because of Vrinda Devi’s blessings.Shri Radha-Krishna enchanted along with their lovable sakhis are lost in amorous love sports. The depth of these dalliances in isolated nikunjas made the rustling breeze a bit tired, weak and calm which led to its name Dhir Samir.

Vasnshi Vat:

 
Vanshi Vat


The long awaited sensuous raas nights began. Yearning for these escapades the Brajbalas restlessly counted the moments of separation. And soon enough the supreme moment of Krishna’s manifestation as human lover and divine incarnate, dancing with the gopis in the forest of Madhuvana and bathing with them in the flowing waters of the Yamuna on the radiant night of Sharad Poornima commenced.The autumnal moon rose in the sky in all its glory, moonlight suffusing the elements of nature and banks of the Yamuna garbed in dazzling white.

In such an idyllic ambience, Lord Krishna stood beneath the Vanshi Vat and taking out his flute from the sash breathed mellifluous music into it. The environs resounded with ecstatic devotion because of this call to eternity.


Gopis Drawn by Krishna's Flute

Gopis were irresistibly drawn to this breath of love. They knew no other loyalty no other duty but to be with Krishna, leaving behind family chores and promptly rushing out of their homes.No one had time to adorn themselves, being on fire with desire for the Lord. Decked in blue, yellow, red, saffron and pink lahengas they fled, their clothes flying, kundals dangling and tinklets anklets heralding their arrival. Gazing at Lord Krishna, the supreme lover, they soon reached the heights of elation and ecstacy.

The waves of Shri Yamuna craved to embrace the Lord. Kamdev stood still entranced by the celestial landscape of a moonlight bathed night. Of course Lord Krishna admonished the Brajbalas, now that they had absorbed the forest’s beauty, inhaled the fragrance of scented blossoms, touched the Yamuna bathed in moonlight and swaying branches because of the rustling breeze. He asked them to return to their respective homes. But because of his madhurya, lotus like face, loving tenderness, lyrical softness, fragrant limbs and evocative clothes they could not retrace their steps.

Surrounded by his prema-svarupa balas, Lord Krishna shone resplendent like the moon and imparted joy by his passionate dalliance. The unprecedented scenario had Brajbalas singing of his glories and divine play. With loving compassion Lord Krishna, the nayak of millions of hearts broke into the amorous play that was their delight. Embracing them with the vanmala around his neck and serene sensuality, he made them experience the pathos of longing and the joy of belonging; only possible in the union of enamoured souls’ (gopis) with the divine. And picturesque Vrindavan was ecstatic in the unfolding of their madhurya or sweet love.

Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji describes the sensually spiritual moment of eternity. Along with the gopikas Shri Krishna stepped onto the sandy banks of the Yamuna cooled by the touch of its waters.A soft breeze rustled with a mild fragrance of lotus flowers in harmony with the cool moonlight. In such a celestial landscape the Lord dallied with his kaya-vyuha gopis. Tales of their desirous efforts, amorous frolics, unprecedented joy and delicious anguish of the sakhis are woven around this divine site.The Vanshivat Vihar Thakurji is resplendent here. Pictures of the Chatu Sampradaya Acharyas are preserved.The Lord played his mellifluous flute beneath this banyan tree leading to its name Vanshi Vat.

Shri Gopeshwar Mahadev:



Shri Gopeshwar Mahadev

Lord Shiv was lost in meditation of Lord Krishna on Mount Kailash.The great night of Raas arrived on Sharad Purnima,the autumnal full moon.Shankarji ventured to Vrindavan with the exquisite desire of sighting the Raas Leela of Lord Krishna with his consort Shri Radha and their kaya-vyuha sakhis. Ravishing beauties guarding the entrance to the Raas Mandala(site of the rapturous dance) said that in this private scenario Lord Krishna is the sole supreme male, he is singular without a second. Thus stopping Shri Shankar a devotee of Lord Vishnu from witnessing this playful dalliance which makes Lord Krishna both human and divine at the same time.

The questing soul in search of Vishnu is female and if you are desirous for a glimpse, bathe in the Mansarovar, acquire the gopi form and only then can enter the Raas Mandala.This is precisely what happened,bathing in the Mansarovar Pashupatinath,Shri Shankar reached the Raas Mandala in the gopi deha. Ecstatic on sighting the divine site bathed in ethereal moonlight, with the scented rustling breeze, Shri Radha-Krishna resplendent with their kaya-vyuha sakhis, Lord Shankar prayed for staying on in Vrindavan in close proximity to Lord Krishna’s feet, who fulfilled his delicious anguish.Ever since Lord Shankar resides in a nikunja near Vanshi Vat on the banks of the Yamuna.The rasiks of Braj reside in this main svarupa out of the four Mahadevs of Braj.

Shriman Mahaprabhu ji’s Baithak:
Here he gave us the divine insight of Braj, throwing light on the concept of savouring prasad without the inhibitions of bathing for purification and the significance of Braj.

Gyan Gudhari:



Gyan Gudari

The site where the Lord imparted knowledge to the gopis is renowned as Gyan Gudhari.

Shri Jagannath Prasadji Bhaktmali:


Shri Jagannath Prasad ji Bhaktmali

He was born in Chachorha Village in the Guna district of Madhya Pradesh in 1955. He studied here and taught later on. Once on venturing to Vrindavan he was delighted to meet Baba Ram Krishandasji.Motivated by him he became the disciple of Mahant Shri Bhagwandasji in Tatiya and pleased the Vaishnavas.A charming incidence is related to his being acclaimed as Bhaktmali.

Once a great saint entreated him to narrate his personal experience of sighting Laxmanji, Ramji and Sitaji. He complied with short incomplete sentences,revealing that one day in his dreams Ramji,Sitaji and Laxmanji sat together with Shri Ramji head cuddled on Laxmanji’s lap.Hearing footsteps at a distance he inquired who it was.Laxmanji said the same innocent Bhaktmali.Shri Jaganathji at times used to read katha at Shri Hari Baba’s place.Invited next morning for the reading, Shri Hari Baba initially addressed him as Bhaktmali which famed him by this name amongst the Vaishanava world, confirming Laxmanji’s addressing him as such in his dreams.

His charming innocence was very lovable.Some ascetics came to his house.Requesting them to have prasad, Jaganathji himself went for reciting katha and arranging for the needed ingredients.Very hot-tempered, his wife was rude which infuriated the saints and they left. Pacifying them somehow he got them back.The prasad was cooked and panditji went to get water from the well.Instantly his wife again ridiculed the pangat (row of sadhus) saying eat and sing and eat. Losing all patience, the ascetics rose to leave and panditji was shocked on returning.

He pleaded that she was sensibly talking of great Vaishnavta. First we should sing kirtans or devotional songs, glorifying Lord Krishna and then savour prasad. His wife was deeply moved by this revelation and had a sudden change of heart.Greatly loved by the people, all Vaishnavas revered him, Bhaktmali was a saint of the highest order. Even in the Puranas and Shastras there is no mention of an incidence where people have drunk the water with which Jaganathji’s dead body had been bathed.The clothes he wore were respectfully taken by his devotees in prasadi form, exemplifying unprecedented adoration. Attaining the divine on Bhadra Shukla Panchami of 2041, he became one with Shri Radha-Krishna.

Jagannath Ghat:
Approximately about 225 years back on the pristine banks of Yamunaji in Vrindavan, lived Shri Haridasji belonging to the Ramananda Sect. Devoutly religious he would daily call out to his Ishtdev.All of a sudden he was thrilled on sighting a dark-hued child with a charming smile,curly hair,divine diadem, kundals glimmering in his ears.The adorable boy asked him to go to Jagannath Puri to get the swarupa of Shri Jagannath.Shri Haridasji went to Puri and narrated the incidence to the pujaris and king.Appearing in the king’s dreams, the Lord clarified his wish of going to Vrindavan.



Shri Jagannath ji, Baldevji and Subhadra ji

 
During abhishek Shri Jagannathji, Shri Baldauji and Shri Subhadra were made resplendent and the mahatma took leave for Vrindavan. The swarupa of Jagannathji is radiant in the Jagannath Temple of Vrindavan.

His unique and distinctive traits are famed.About twenty five year back a woman was offering tulsi to him when Shri Jagannathji manifest himself with radiant splendour.The woman fainted on feeling his breath. It so happened that once a lakuti (club held by Krishna) which gleamed and seemed divine was found in the temple.People began to worship it and since it was spotted Shri Jagannathji’s devotional grandeur rose.One day the woman did ritualistic worsip of the lakuti on the banks of the Yamunja, after which it strode and merged with the Yamuna.Several divine miracles related to Jagannathji are popular.


Tatiya Sthan:
Every Vaishnava is well aware of devout Guru Rasikdevji. His disciple was Shri Lalit Kishoridevji who began the seva at Tatiya Sthan. Shri Gangaram belonging to the Mathur Clan, lived on the banks of Chamil River and was inspired to listen to the fame of Swami Shri Haridasji in Jagannath Puri. Coming to Vrindavan he longed to hear the same essence here. Finally he became Shri Rasikdevji’s disciple and renowned as Shri Lalit Kishori. He embraced the creepers and tree trunks in Nidhi Van and wept profusely.Hearing of this incidence Rasikdevji called for him and explained the mystery of his upasana or worship. Acquiring the upasana mantra and a quilt he initially roamed in Vrindavan and later stayed on at the banks of the Yamuna.His followers made a bamboo framework to make the site safe. Once someone complained to King Jaising that Shri Rasikdevji does not keep the Ekadashi fast and have virtuous ideas. Soon enough the king sent his messenger to find out. It was a day of celebrating an festival.A Brahman got a pot full of ladoos and another Brajwasi brought a dried up roti.He left the sweetmeats and relished the roti.

Living in his rare abode, he daily trod on the path of Shri Radha-Krishna’s madhurya or sweet love.Shri Mohini Bihariji Thakur manifest himself while digging was on and is resplendent here in the form of a chaste idol attracting dedicated devotees.Within this area Shri Rasikvihariji, Dauji, Pranvallabhji and Dampati Kirshorji swarupas are enshrined.The site is embraced by enchanting nature, secluded and pristine environs, passionate singing of birds and peacocks dancing in ecstacy.

Raman Reti:
One aspect of Lord Krishna’s enigmatic personality which distinguishes him from all other deities is his leela or divine play. This soulful dalliance both real and illusionary, making him human and divine at the same time is that which becomes him most of all.Delighting in play he endears himself, bringing delight to all his devotees. Brajbalas became somewhat conceited on dallying with the Lord, though the arrogant gopis were solely desirous of the Lord’s joys.Forlorn they frantically searched for him, asking creepers about his whereabouts, unable to bear the anguish of separation.Lord Krishna did not tolerate the egotistical pride of his own adorable Shri Radha and leaving her he vanished.All the bewildered Brajbalas lost in their earlier joy of belonging were repentant. Unable to bear their pain for long Lord Krishna reappeared among them with a faint smile, wearing the vanamala and glowing in yellow garments. His ravishing beauty could tug at Kamdev’s heart strings.



The Gopis Captivated by Krishna

The gopis’ senses revived as they gazed upon him with joy and clung to him with endearing gestures.One was pacified with the touch of his arm, someone else caught his yellow garment and was lost in some memory, another held his tender hand, and yet another absored his madhurya and was captivated. Enchanted by love they spread out their odhni (cloth) and relaxing on it the Lord imparted delight to all. Lord Krishna explained that he disappeared not to cause them suffering or to abandon them but to deepen their understanding of him.The Brajbalas were urged in to complete absorbtion in the joy of Krishna, aware that he existed intensely in their hearts when they sang his praise and dwelt in their longing for him. Lord Krishna, the supreme male, was hungry too for the fulfillment of love, honoured by the selfless love of the gopis, representing his hungering devotees or the questing soul in search of union with God.

On Krishna’s suggestion, in the light of the full moon of Sharad Poornima, on the ethereal banks of the Yamuna, they stood in a circle and between two gopis was found a Krishna; duplicating himself through his maya to impart delight. The tempo of the rapturous dance grew faster and faster with Lord Krishna, Shri Radha and their kaya-vyuha sakhis dancing in exquisite delight.Sighting this maharasa, the planets filled with wonder halted in their tracks and Kamdev was wonder-struck.

Bhaktimati Usha Bahinji describes the scenario with enthused exaltation. With her heart-stealing dance Shri Radha displayed several sensuous skills and the Lord’s melodious voice further enchanted the environs.Whatever mellifluous notes Lord Krishna played on his flute, she reciprocated with the tap of her tinkling anklets. He praised her to glory, enraptured by love. The site was awash with amorous frolics, as he danced with one bala, sang with another and lovingly amused yet another. A bala with was enraptured by a touch, he arranged someone’s anchal, wiped another’s beads of perspiration and whispered in yet another's ears.Noticing that his beloveds were fatigued he got them to the banks of the Yamuna. Soon enough the scenario turned into a water sport.All sakhis splashed water on him and he too delighted them with his winsome wit. Probably he had come to impart the divine joy of his body’s touch to Shri Yamunaji on this pretext. Kamdev was enamoured.



The Iskcon Temple on Raman Reti Road, Vrindavan

On touching the dust of whose feet, devotees become love-god themselves, and bonding the mind with the divine incarnate makes yogis attain salvation; the same Lord Krishna in the guise of a cowherd does lilas or divine play to bless his bhaktas.The devotee should savour the lilas by smarana or imaginative recollection of living through the countless legends of the playful dalliance of Shri Radha-Krishna. Enchanted by Yogmaya, no one could fully understand this mystery except these simple cowherdesses. In the morning as he wished they proceeded to their respective homes. Being totally absorbed in the divine love escapades of Shri Radha-Krishna and their kaya-vyuha sakhis all our sins are expiated in the Shravan month and diseases inflicting the heart are destroyed. This pristine love lifts us above all wordly desires.The place of romantic dalliance became famed as Ramanreti.

Davanal Kund:


Davanal Kund

Lord Krishna came to the banks of the Yamuna for grazing cattle.Soon enough the cows wandered off to a dense forest and searching for them the cowherds reached distant green pastures.Scared of the fire engulfing the environs, they prayed to the Lord for protecting the cows.Asking them to shut their eyes, Lord Krishna inhaled the forest fire which famed the site as Davanal Kund, because of his valour and miraculous feat.It is also believed that when he was returning to Braj with his sakhas and cows he spotted a pond enroute, on the banks of the Yamuna. He urged them to bathe in its clean and pristine water because his body was flamed with the heat of the fire. The incidence led to its name Davanal Kund.

Topi Vala Kunj:
Out of Shri Harivyas Devacharyaji’s main twelve disciples, Shri Mukandji was the last who followed him devoutly.The seventh mahanth was Shri Ramdasji who wore a cap which made this site known as Topi Kunj.Shri Madhavadasji became a highly revered great saint here, reciting the Shri Bhaktmal.Shri Jagannath Prasad Bhaktmali and other saints learnt the Bhaktmal from him.There is an ancient Raas Mandala here where Raas is enacted turnwise by all Raas Mandalis.

Madhav Vilas:
Shri Madhav Singh, ruler of Jaipur got the temple constructed, establishing it in 1981 as per his Gurudev’s instructions. It is the site of the Nimbark Sampradaya. Thakurshri Nrityagopal, Shri Radha Gopal and Acharya Panchak are resplendent.A rare site of its own kind, the splendid structure boasts of excellent workmanship.

Shri Shri Pad Babaji Maharaj:
In today’s era of Vrindavan’s deprived cultural and geographical wealth it would be no exaggeration to acclaim revered Baba as its protector. These are two such blazing topics whose load was borne by Pujya Baba Maharaj.Crossing the crucial context of adhyatama (relationship of identity of the soul with the supreme spirit) or the spiritual plane he was an expert in giving it direction. Eminent personalities pitched in for bringing nikunja upasana and nitya vihar on the spiritual plane.



Sri Pad Baba Maharaj

Baba fully respecting the beliefs of rasiks (persons moved by intense religious devotion to Lord Krishna), initiated and motivated foreigners along with Indians on this topic. The unprecedented confluence of action and bhakti as a complete whole, which Pujya Baba sculpted with knowledge is engraved in our hearts for ages to come. Where did he come from, what was his earlier life, his parents his guru sthan is all based on hearsay.Though one belief can be accepted that he was certainly related to the royal family of Panna. An eminent saint truly abiding by the truth of renunciation, Pujya Baba never looked back, confirming to the orthodoxy of the Holy Scriptures with austere penance.

He had intense devotion for Shri Radha, in her myriad moods and sentiments of love. Assuming her form spiritually, mentally and physically was his sole means of attaining spiritual enlightenment.Observing Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji’s vast and noble vision he remarked that his views were very similar to hers. It was famed about his generosity that no matter how much grandeur prevails the world intuitively gravitates towards an ascetic and this precisely is the longing to reside in Braj.

Pursuing the path of knowledge, he ventured into meditation or leela chintan, establishing the field of action harmoniously with the complete whole, protecting cultural heritage, environment, illegal excavation of ancients sites within the context of Bhagwad (devotion to Lord Krishna) seva bhava. Longing for the propagation of Indian culture, he envisioned the Bharti Vishwa Vidhyalaya for this purpose. He strived towards compulsory protection of Lord Krishna’s dearly loved cows.Every fiber of Baba’s was now ready to leave his body but he couldn’t think of leaving his own people. It was unbelievable the aversion he had towards medication. Giving form to his resolutions, constantly on the move, Pujya Baba turned away from earthly attachments on 31 December 1996; making obeisance to Bhagwan Bhuvan Bhaskar, he vanished from the materialistic world.

Chaliya Thakur (Shri Shri Anadnmayi Ma):
The land which has the Shri Ramakrishna Sevashram hospital was initially going to be bought by Ma’s followers for her ashram(abode of a saint).When the site was shown to her she didn’t approve because the place she envisioned in her dreams was different, adorned with a temple and a particular tree.The land where we have her ashram was earlier bought by the Ramakrishna Sevashram but they didn’t find it fit for the hospital and gave it to her devotees.The present ashram site was approved since she had viewed it in her dreams.A splendid temple was constructed and the question of the icon being enshrined arose.

A line tugged her heart, ‘Chaliya, Chaliya Na’.
One day Rajmata Vijayraje Sindhia came to Ma and revealed that she had got built a magnificent temple in Gwalior and arranged for a ravishing icon of Shri Krishna for enshrinement. Not in an angular posture, the idol had one foot in front as if ready to stride and what should be the plan of action now. Ma at once affirmed that it must be sent to her and confirmed on sighting the svarupa that he had visually appeared before her in this very form. Deceiving Rajmata, Shri Thakur’s svarupa was resplendent in Vrindavan because of which he was acclaimed as Chaliya Thakur.

Shri ShriRadha Vinod Thakur-(Taras Temple):
A charming tale is woven around the manifestation of Shri Radha Vinod Thakur.Shri Bancharamji was an official of Tarar state and a great devotee.One day as was his routine, bathing in Kartoya River he clearly heard, “Pull me out of the water and take me home.” but couldn’t see a thing. The incidence repeated on the second day and the third day he came into contact with the swarupa and picked it up. Renowned as Vinod Thakur, the svarupa or living presence of God, willingly proceeded to Shri Vanmaliraiji’s house. Enchanting his only daughter Radha with a sweet smile Thakurji apparently dallied with her, holding her anchal he proposed marriage one fine day. Radha fell sick. Thakur Vinodji told Ma that Radha wouldn’t survive and she must carve an image of the deodar pine in her garden and marry her off to him.The moment the sculpt was ready Radha died.

Now the last rites of Radha were performed and now the sculpture was enshrined along with Thakurji. Shri Vinod Vihari Thakur became Shri Radha Vinod Vihari Thakur. Dating back to 1892, Shri Thakurji told the drowsy pujari to get a hukka (a hubble-bubble), who in turn asked Shri Vanmaliraiji. He arranged for it but was a bit sceptical.One fine day when Jagadbandhuji journeyed there he made Vanmaliraiji hear the gurgling sound of the hukka, turning him into a firm believer of Shri Radha Vinod Thakurji.A few days later Vanmali Babu got the Thakur swarupa to Braj who stayed for some time span in Shri Radha Kund and at times in Vrindavan.

Bal Bhakt Omprakash:
In 1926 he was born in Tonk Village near Jaipur. A firm believer of God he passed high school and a yearning for Vrindavan got him here.Attached to Lord Krishna, detachment from the world and reciting God’s name became his regime.One fine day firmly determined to have darshan of Lord Krishna he went on a hunger strike.By chance it so happened that his fast continued even when Shri Hari Baba and other great people tried to convince him to give up.He regarded Shri Narayan Swami as his Guru who was to come on the 69th day of his abstinence,forcing him to drink milk.Several emotional spectators gathered on the banks of the Yamuna to watch this spectacle but Shri Omprakashji’s worldly life span was over.Obviously he had sighted Lord Krishna and got carried away.The devotees could not get a chance to admire his firm resolve.In Braj’s bargain, love is giving and giving only.

Kathiya Baba Ashram:
In front of Munger Temple on Gurukul Path is Shri Katiya Baba’s abode from which several great mahatamas have evolved.

Katyayani Peeth:
The site is near Shri Rangji’s garden where the Katyayani Devi is resplendent. Lately attracting devotees with several miracles, the divine form of Shri Ganeshji willingly resides here.

The following other sites are worth seeing in Vrindavan:
Shri Roop Manoharji, Vardhman Kunj, Barsaniyan Kunj, Faujdar Kunj, Jeevaram Kunj, Mahotravali Kunj, Kanpur Vali Kunj, Khak Chauk, Tikari Ghat, Madanmohan Kunj, Shri Haridevji’s Temple, Brahmachari Temple, Radha Bag, Shri Sadhu Ma’s Temple, Radha Niwas, Munger Temple, Atal Van, Kevar Van, Udhiya Baba,Shri Haribaba’s Ashram, Shri Jugalvihari’s Temple(Jugal Ghat), Shri Yashodanandji’s Temple,Brahmar Ghat, Jugal Ghat,Vihar Ghat, Govind Ghat and others.

The Rare Naam Temple:
Close to Katyayini Peeth behind Char Sampradaya is the unusual Naam temple.The distinctive trait of this shrine is that names are lettered on bodies of the Shri Thakur swarupas.Continual naam sankirtan or singing of devotional songs is the beauty of this place. Mahant Shri Rameshwarananji was the founder of the temple consecrated by Baba Shri Pad.The swarupas are definitely remarkable because of Pujari Shri Tulsi Das, an Oriya Mahatma, who performed the first seva and pampered the idols.Very affectionate, he loved everyone and such people are needed by God himself. Some years back he left this mortal world, leaving followers with fond memories.

Madan Mohanji:
Shri Gadadharbhattji was the disciple of Shri Raghunathbhatt Goswamipad, who began the seva of Shri Madanmohanji. In his tradition Shri Goverdhanbhattji became an excellent scholar. Shri Thakurji’s seva and the celebrations of Basant and Holi are particularly worth watching.

The Worth Visiting New Sites:
Gambhira (Brahmar Ghat),Vaijyanti (Gyangudri) Godavihar,Sudama Kuti,Gore Dauji,Shri Krishna-Balram Temple, Nritya Gopal Temple, Pagal Baba Temple, Char Sampradaya Ashram, Chaitanya Kuti, Chateesgarh Kunj. Let us now have a delightful look at the neighbouring pilgrimage sites.

Maat Village:
The earthern pot used for filling water and churning curd is known as maat.Till date they are used in plenty and these huge earthern pots were made here in ancient times which led to its name. It is situated about five miles from Vrindavan and two miles south of Bhandir Van. Several great saints evolved from this village and Shri Bairu Baba was miraculous.Shri Snehiramji is famous for his passionate religious devotion and had prasad only after darshan of Shri Bihariji.

Bilav Van:
I make obeisance to Bilav Van which grants penance. Pained by the constant atrocities of demonic forces, Nandbaba, Upandji and other gopas came and lived in Vrindavan. Shri Krishna-Balram would come here to graze cows, resting beneath the shade of its dense foliage and savour fruits. The group was given in to joyous abandon with their spirited antics, leading to its name Bilav Van.

The Penance Site of Shri Laxmiji:


Shri Laxmiji

There is a temple of Shri Laxmiji. It is believed that Shri Laxmiji eagerly desirous of perceiving the Raas Leela (rapturous dance) of Lord Krishna, left for Braj. Its sighting is only feasible by sakhis steeped in the love of Shri Radha-Krishna thus she could not gain entry to sight the Raas. After repeated entreaties she was allowed to live in Braj. Shri Laxmiji still resides here for penance.Situated in the northwest corner of Vrindavan this forest is across ShriYamuna and has Shri Vithalnathji’s Baithak.

Krishna Kund:
The Krishna Kund is closeby and as the name suggests devotees bathing here are granted the worship of Lord Krishna’s feet. It is located about a mile from Bilav Van.
Maan Sarovar:
Shri Radha-Krishna along with their kaya-vyuha sakhis are delighted by fresh romantic dalliances every day. All stages of these amorous episodes unfold according to time. The pleasure of belonging is also fraught with taking offence though not for long since the Brajbalas’ sole concern is to see Lord Krishna happy.

The Maan Sarovar embellished with dense foliage and clean water is clustered with lotuses exuding a delightful fragrance. Lord Krishna gets more enchanted while Shri Radha sitting close to him at times lifts a lotus and sometimes twirls her finger in the water. All of a sudden she seems lost in a haze of memories and the environs are stupefied. Her forrowed forehead implies her woes, startling the Lord. Love-lorn she complains that he has been unfaithful; dallying with another sakhi; though she understands it makes him happy. Lord Krishna assures that he is eternally a subject of her love, smile, hair snare, tinkling anklets, ravishing beauty which have virtually enslaved him, while she turns irritable on trivial matters.
Even so she sulks.


Lord Krishna Appeasing Radha

When he pleads the second time round she softens her stance, her vexation melting away by his winsome manners. Soon enough passion gushes forth and is calmed only after the most intimate transcendental exchange. Sakhis stand entranced by this divine union with victorious Lord Krishna lost in the love sport.The site narrates these sensuous tales till date.



Shri Vallabharya ji

Baithaks of Shri Manmahaprabu Vallabhacharyaji and Gosain Vithalnathji are near by. Shri Hit Harivanshji had great regard for this place, meditating here and propagating it. We have naam seva of ShriJi and the Raas Mandala. An utsav is celebrated in memory of Shrihit Prabhu’s coming to Vrindavan on Phalgun Krishna Ekadashi.

Pani Village:
The village is situated about two miles south of Maan Sarovar adorned with Durvasa Rishis’s Ashram. During Lord Krishna’s incarnation the gopis served a feast to the Rishi, pleading for devout love of the Lord’s feet. As they made arrangements, the flooded Yamuna made it very tough to cross over to the other side.Lord Krishna gave the solution, asking them to remember their Isht (favoured deity) and requesting Shri Yamuna to pave the way if Shri Krishna is a complete brahmacharya; the river gave way in its centre and the gopikas crossed over.On the other bank they cooked several delicacies, serving them to Durvasa Rishi who relished them, blessing the gopis with immense love for Lord Krishna. Sighting the gushing Yamunaji,they followed Durvasa Rishi’s instructions, entreating that if he had not yet eaten a morsel to please give them way to cross over.



Durvasa Rishi

Soon enough Shri Yamuna receded in the centre and they strode across to their respective homes.Extremely astonished at both the incidences the gopis asked Lord Krishna about its mystery. He said that even on dallying with them day in and day out he was the indestructible brahmacharya (chaste) exhibiting divine majesty, jitendriya (whose senses and passions are subdued), detached from human involvement. Similarly Durvasa Rishi ate food without relishing its taste which made him detached from infatuation.


Akroor Ghat:
Arishtasur’s killing did not lessen Kansa’s fear of his impending death, he felt doomed. Coming up with a new stratagem, Kansa deputed Akroorji who reached Shri Nandji’s house in Braj to bring Shri Krishna-Balram to Mathura.Yashodaji and Nandji were apprehensive but comforted that mighty Krishna would soon finish his task. Who could possibly describe the depth of the gopis’ despair, they swooned on hearing this heart-rending news.Their state could be likened to the papiha longing for rain-drops especially those falling in the autumn asterism svati, not willing to drink Ganga water, the partridge who gulps glowing coals thinking that they are moonbeams, luxuriant vegetation which can’t bear a moment of separation, the Brahminy duck(supposed to be separated from its mate at night) eagerly desirous for the golden morn.

The distraught gopis fainted while others daring decorum lay in front of the chariot which soon moved ahead with the ruler of their hearts.Gradually it disappeared from sight and now the dust was not visible.Shri Krishna-Balram on the swiftly moving chariot soon reached the banks of the sacred Shri Yamuna.Akroorji bathed and when he ducked into the water he sighted both the brothers. Assuming it be a figment of his imagination he took out his face and saw them seated on the chariot which alarmed him.




Lord Vishnu Sleeping on Dev Shesh

When he dived in again Akroorji was stupefied to see Dev Shesh a thousand-headed snake, the symbol of eternity, and dark-hued Lord Krishna sleeping on his body (Lord Vishnu sleeps throughout periods of dissolution of the world). The divine incarnate manifest himself as Lord Krishna, the chaturvyuha form of Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradumbana and Anirudha to spread joy and delight to the Yadus (acestors of Krishna) and Vaishnavas.This site was famed as Akroor Ghat.When Shri Shri Manmahaprabhu Chaitanyadev came to Braj he resided here, begging for alms in the village. The Yagya Sthal is closeby.

Yagya Sthan:



Shri Krishna and Balram

The cowherds gathered for grazing cows began glorifying the valour of their adorable Kanhaiya along with Balram and confessed they were starving.To bless the Brahmans’ wives the Lord told them to go to the Angira Yagya being performed nearby and taking his name get some eatables from the Brahmans.They did precisely the same but the Brahmans considering Shri Krishna an ordinary mortal, busy in praying for heavenly abode ignored the request.The sakhas narrated the incidence to the Lord. He clarified that they should request the Brahmins’ wives and they went a second time and asked the wives for food.

The women were already enchanted by the divine play of Lord Krishna and daring their husbands and relatives,decorated delicious eatables and dared to proceed for serving him.Sighting Shri Krishna-Balram with sakhas; they were exquisitely enchanted by Lord Krishna, dark- hued adorned with yellow garments, exuding beauty with peacock tail feathers decking his diadem, musky spots embellished his body parts. He had one hand on his sakha’s shoulder. His loving tenderness and smiling lotus- face abducted their minds.Lord Krishna charmed by their humility saw their deep attachment for him, daring their close ones the women had come for a glimpse of him. Soon enough he asked them to return since their wish was now fulfilled and help their husbands in the Yagya being performed.

The wives eagerly desirous for his shelter insisted to stay on because their husbands would no longer accept them, the Lord was their only recourse. He assured them that no one would hold them in disdain because they were now his. Thus opening their eyes to a larger reality that complete absorption in the love of Krishna does not require his human presence.Soon enough they returned to the Yagya Shala and the Brahmans did not in any way doubt their credibility, greatly ashamed of their earlier act.Shri Krishna feasted along with his group of sakhas.The same place coupled with the Yagya site and where they ate is know as Bhatraurh Village.

Chatikara (Garurh Govind):
The place lies to the west of Mathura and about five miles from Vrindavan. When Shri Nandraiji came to Vrindavan from Gokul he stayed on at this site, parking his carts.



Shri Garud Govind Ghat, Vrindavan

Shri Garud Govind Temple made on one side of Govind Kund is highly revered by Brajwasis till date.The icon of Lord Govind with twelve arms is resplendent, being an ancient swarupa, or the living presence of God.



3 comments:

Megha said...

This is a beaitiful piece :-)

Ajai said...

This is superb, extraordinary piece of work without parallel. It has brought new insights even for an Indian like me .
For the ardent as well as the uninitiated , every line is/will be a source of learning , opening new horizons and new frontiers.
Similarly for all those who are tired of the material world , it will open hew vistas and give a new purpose and meaning to them and their lives . Congrats !!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very lovely images, will read up the writing part as soon as possible