Saturday, October 14, 2023

Navratri: 15th October to 24th October, 2023

Navratri means nine nights. Nav means nine and ratri stands for night, so combined it means Navratri. In northern India the festival is called Navratra. A nine day religious festival, Navratri is celebrated to propitiate Goddess Durga, the Mother Goddess.

In Hindu mythology Durga is Shakti, the divine feminine energy. According to a legend, Lord Brahma granted a boon to Mahishasur, the buffalo demon. As of now armed with infinite power, the asura created havoc in the universe, and no one could dare defeat or kill him. Equipped with unprecedented might he became so atrocious, that he started terrorizing the deities as well. One fine day he ventured to Heaven or Swargaloka to kill Indra, the King of the Gods. Greatly distressed, Indra and other deities entreated Lord Shiva for help. Enraged at such blatant misuse of Brahma’s boon, Lord Shiva along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, released their energies. The shaktis of the gods flashed forth and fused together, bringing to life a magnificent Goddess resplendent with many arms.

Acclaimed as Durga, she was ravishingly beautiful and deadly. The armed Durga rode a Lion and fought a fiercely bloody battle with Mahishasur, raging for nine days and nights. During the course of this combat Mahishasur changed his form many times. Finally on the tenth day, Durga trampled him under her foot and Mahishasur was killed, saving the universe from his reign of terror. The Goddess’s triump because of her innate divinity symbolizes the victory of good over evil. These nine days are solely devoted to propitiation of the Mother Goddess or Shakti Incarnate.

Navratri is Celebrated Twice a Year

As per astrological predictions there are two major solar influences each year, the seasons being determined by the directions in which the sun moves. So one is the Dakshinayana period when the Sun crosses the Equator moving towards the southern hemisphere, heralding the start of winter. The second is the Uttarayana period when the Sun crosses the Equator moving towards the northern hemisphere, indicating the onset of summer.

The arrival of the summer and winter seasons are two crucial junctures of solar influences when people undergo a substantial change physically and mentally due to climatic variations. These two periods are cited as the sacred time for worshipping the Mother Goddess or Shakti Incarnate and chosen for celebrating Navratras. Ram Navratri is celebrated in the Chaitra Month (first month of the year according to Hindu Calendar, beginning on 22 March and ending on 20 April) and the Durga Navratri in the first nine days of the light half of the month Ashvin (seventh month of the year as per the Hindu calendar, starting on 23 September and ending on 22 October).

This year Navratris are from 26th September to 5th October 2022.


Durga, the Mother Goddess of the Hindus is an amalgam of Devi (consort of a God) and Shakti (the energy of a deity personified as his wife). Believed to have manifested in various forms, the Navadurga are said to be the most sacred aspects of Durga. According to Hindu tradition, Durga incarnated herself in three major forms of Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi and Mahakali who owe their origin to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively. These three further appeared in three more forms of Durga each and thus the nine forms of Durga collectively called the Navadurga or Nine Durgas evolved.

Navratri's each night is dedicated to one form of Goddess Durga who creates, sustains and destroys the Universe. Mahakali Goddess of valor, power and energy is propitiated for the first three days to end our vices.

Durga Shailputri

Shailputri is the daughter of Himalaya, king of the Mountains. Shail means mountain and putri stands for daughter. She is the first among the nine Durgas married to Lord Shiva and mother of Ganesha, the remover of obstacles and Kartikeya, god of war. The first navratra is devoted to the worship of Shailputri. Her two hands hold a trident and a lotus. Her mount is a bull.

In her previous birth she was Sati, the wife of Lord Shiva and daughter of Daksha and Bhavani. Once Daksha had organized a grand Yagna and did not invite Shiva. Sati being obstinate however reached there and consequently Daksha insulted Shiva. Sati could not tolerate her husband being slighted and burnt herself in the fire of the Yagna. In the next birth she was Parvati, born as the daughter of Himalaya and married to Shiva. As per the Upanishadas she had shattered the egoism of Indra and other Deities. Ashamed, they made obeisance to her, "In fact, thou are Shakti, we all - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv are empowered by getting Shakti or power from you."

Ma Brahmacharini

The second Durga Shakti is Brahmacharini, the personification of love and loyalty, spreading the message of pristine love to the world. A trove of knowledge and wisdom, the rudraksha beads are Her most treasured ornaments. Brahma means one who observes penance or tapa and endowed with good conduct. The idol of this Goddess is very gorgeous. There is a rosary in her right hand and k umbha or water pot in the left hand. She is awash with merriment.

A tale is famed about her. In her previous birth she was Parvati or Hemvati the daughter of Himvan. Once when she was busy frolicking with her friends, Naradaji came and seeing her palm predicted, "You will get married with a naked-terrible Bhole Baba who was with when you were Sati, the daughter of Daksha in your previous birth. But now you have to perform penance for him." There upon Parvati insisted and told her mother Menaka that she would marry none except Shambhu, or remain unwed. Saying this she did austere penance. Ever since she is famed as tapacharini or Brahmacharini and since then her name Uma became familiar.

Ma Chandraghanta

The name of the third Shakti is Chandraghanta who establishes righteousness. There is a crescent moon on her forehead. She is charming and radiant. Her colour is golden and She is endowed with three eyes and ten hands. Eight of her hands display weapons like swords and arrows while the remaining two are in the mudras of giving boons and warding off harm. Chandra plus Ghanta signifies supreme bliss and knowledge, the showering of peace and serenity. This power of Durga rides a tiger ready for waging a battle. An unprecedented image of bravery, the frightful sound of her bell terrifies all the villains, demons and danavas. Changraghanta is mainly worshipped in Tamil Nadu.

Mahalakshmi Goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshipped for the next three days to awaken divine qualities in a devotee’s mind.

Ma Kushmanda

Name of the fourth Durga is Kushmanda. The Shakti bestows the basic necessities and everyday sustenance to the world, creates the Universe merely by laughing. Residing in solar systems, She shines brightly in all ten directions like the Sun beaming with a radiant aura. Equipped with eight hands, She holds seven types of brilliant weapons gleaming in her seven hands and a rosary in her right. She seems resplendent mounted on a Lion. Kumbh Bhand means seeing the cosmic dance in the form of Pindi; the knowledge of cosmic intricacies in humans. She likes the offerings of Kumhde, leading to her name Kushmanda. Her abode is Bhima Parvat.

Skand Mata

She blesses the world with the gift of differentiation and discrimination of right from wrong. The fifth name of Durga is Skanda Mata. Riding a lion, Her chosen vehicle, She holds Her son Skanda on her lap. Endowed with three eyes and four hands; two hands holds lotuses while the other two display defending and granting mudras, respectively. It is said that by the grace of Skanda Mata even a fool transforms into an ocean of knowledge. The fifth name of Durga is Skanda Mata. The daughter of Himalaya, after observing penance She got married to Shiva. She had a son named Skanda who is a leader of the army of Gods. The Shakti is a deity of fire, white-hued and seated on a lotus.

Katyayani Devi

The sixth Durga is Katyayani. The son of Kat is Rishi Katyayan born in the Katya lineage. Katyayan had observed penance with a desire to get Paramba as his daughter. Consequently she took birth as his daughter. Therefore her name is Katyayani. She has three eyes and eight hands. There are eight types of weapons in her seven hands. Her vehicle is the lion. She persistently and relentlessly battles against the evil, deceitful and devious entities.

Mahasaraswati Goddess of Knowledge, Learning and Art is revered for the further three days. It is an implicit belief that her worship enhances the spiritual knowledge of a devotee, freeing him of all materialistic bonds and earthly attachments.

Ma Kaalratri:

She killed Raktabeeja (A demon who had the power to produce a demon from every drop of blood that fell from his body.) The Goddess eventually licked the blood before it could reach the ground and hence conquered and overpowered him. Black or blue-hued like the ratri or night with flowing tresses, Kaalratri is the seventh form of Nav-Durga. Having four hands; two of them clutching a cleaver and a mashal or torch; while the other two are in the mudras of blessing and protecting thus making her devotees fearless. Her vehicle is a faithful donkey.

Acclaimed as the destroyer of darkness and ignorance, Kaalratri stands for scourer and enemy of darkness. Adorned with necklaces shining like lightening, She has three bright eyes which are round like the universe. Thousands of flames emanate while respiring from Her nose. Being auspicious she is acclaimed as Shubhamkari.

Maha Gauri

The Eighth Durga is Maha Gauri. She is pristine white as a conch, moon and the jasmine blossom. She is eight years of age equipped with four arms and the fairest complexion of all the Durgas Shaktis. Maha Gauri radiating peace and compassion is usually draped in a white or green sari. She holds a drum and a trident and is often depicted as riding a bull. Maa Maha Gauri also liberated the world from the evil forces.

She is endowed with three eyes, rides a bull and has four hands. The above left hand is in the fearless mudra and the lower left hand holds the trishul or trident. The above right hand has the tambourine and lower right hand is in a blessing mudra. She is calm, peaceful and exists in serenity. It is said that when the body of Gauri became dirty due to dust and earth while doing austere penance, Shiva cleansed it with the water of Ganges. Soon after, Her body became bright like lightening leading to her name Maha Gauri.

Ma Siddhidatri

The ninth Durga is Siddhidatri. There are eight siddhis or supernatural powers, Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva and Vashitva. It is stated in the ‘Devi Purana’ that the Supreme God Shiv acquired all these siddhis by worshipping Maha Shakti. With Her grace the half body of Shiv is composed of Goddesses leading to his name ‘Ardhanarishvar’ which is famed the world over. Usually shown ensconced in a lotus with four arms, She looks pleased.

iding a lion, She is the bestower of 26 different wishes to Her bhaktas or devotees. A treasure house of mystic powers or yantra tantra and knowledge or gyaan, this form of Durga is worshipped by all Gods, Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Yogis, Sadhakas and devotees for attaining the best religious asset. On the ninth day of the Navratras is Ramnavami when Lord Rama is worshipped.

Navadurga is the Kuldevi (family goddess) of several Gaud Saraswat Brahmins in India. There are many Navadurga temples in Goa such as at Madkiam, Kundaim, Pale, Poingueinim, Borim. The temples at Redi and Vengurla of Maharashtra are famed.

The Mother Goddess

Hinduism is the only religion in the world which has glorified to such an extent the motherhood of God. Durga represents the Divine Mother and is the energy aspect of the Lord. Shiva and Durga are in essence a singly entity.

Shakti is the Cosmic Energy of the Lord. She keeps up the play of the Lord through the three attributes of Nature, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. Knowledge, peace, lust, anger, greed, egoism and pride, are all Her forms.

You will find in the Devi Sukta of the Rig Veda Samhita that Vak, the daughter of sage Anbhirna, realised her identity with the Divine Mother, Power of the Supreme Lord, which manifests throughout the universe among gods, men and beasts and creatures of the ocean.

In the Kena Upanishada, the Divine Mother bestows wisdom on Indra and the gods, affirming that the gods were able to defeat the demons only with the help of the power of the Supreme Lord.

The worship of Devi, the universal Mother, leads to the attainment of knowledge of the Self. The story in the Kena Upanishad known as the ‘Yaksha Prasna’ endorses this view. Goddess Shakti thus showers wisdom on Her devotees

Adi Shakti is beyond human comprehension. Bhagavan Krishna clarifies in the Gita: "This is only My lower nature. Beyond this is My higher nature, the life-principle which sustains the universe"

The Spiritual Significance of Navaratri

The focus of existence is to comprehend your eternal identity with the supreme Spirit. The aspirant has to get rid of countless impurities and acquire divine virtues. When purified, knowledge dawns upon him.

Thus it is the Divine Mother who has to operate through the aspirant. On the first three days, you pray to Ma Kali to destroy all your vices. She is the power that protects your spiritual practice from its many pitfalls so we worship the destructive aspect of the Mother.

The next step is to build a spiritual persona. Divine virtues that Lord Krishna enumerates in the Gita, have to be acquired for divine wisdom. This pleasanter side of the aspirant's sadhana or devotion is depicted by the worship of Mother Lakshmi who bestows inexhaustible divine wealth on Her devotees. Epitomizing purity, Ma Lakshmi is propitiated during the second set of three days.

Once the aspirant imbibes Sattwic or divine qualities, he is competent to attain wisdom and knowledge of the Self. At this stage comes the devout worship of Ma Saraswathi, the embodiment of knowledge of the Absolute, represented by Her pristine white apparel.

The tenth day, Vijaya Dasami, marks the triumph of the soul at having attained liberation while living in this world, through the dawning of knowledge by the grace of Goddess Saraswati. The soul rests in his own Supreme Self or Satchidananda Brahman.


Many devotees fast on all the nine days of this celebration of nights. Devotees throng the Devi temples all over India where the idol of the Goddess is adorned beautifully. The festivities are observed with joyous abandon in Gujarat where the nine nights of Navratris are enthused with the joyous abandon of the Garba and Rasa dance performances. Ma Durga is an object of widespread public worship as the Mother Goddess in West Bengal’s Durga Puja. Undisputedly the most important festival in this state it is celebrated with gaiety and enthusiasm.

On the first day of Navratri barley seeds are sown in a small earthen pot in the Puja room. When these seeds sprout into small shoots on the tenth day they are uprooted and given to devotees as blessings. During Navratris most people eat vegetarian food, some do not have cereal while others fast for all the nine days.

Kirtans or devotional songs and jagratas are in full swing in various temples and community centres bythe religious-minded. On the fifth day known as Lalita Panchami, it is a tradition to exhibit all literary texts in the house and light a lamp to invoke Saraswati Ma, the Goddess of knowledge and art.

On the 8th day of this colorful festival, yagna or religious sacrifice and homa or holy fire is performed. Pure ghee, kheer and sesame seeds are offered to Goddess Durga. Many people in north India celebrated the 8th day as ashtami when nine young girls symbolizing Navdurge are fed with halwa, puri and kale chane.

Sri Rama is worshipped during Ramnavami, the ninth day and Ma Durga during Navaratri. The tenth day of this festival is celebrated as Vijaydashmi or Dussehra.

People in North India invariably visit the famed holy shrine of Ma Vaishnodevi, situated on Trikoot Mountain near Jammu during this time span. Bhandaras or meals for devotees are organized in temples and community centres.

The potter flaunts his skill in making images, the painter in drawing pictures, the songster in playing on his instrument, and the priest in reciting the sacred texts. The Bengalis save money throughout the year only to spend lavishly during the Puja days. Cloth is freely distributed to the Brahmins and they are fed.

In West Bengal during Navratras, Goddess Durga is worshipped. The pujas are held over a five day period, viewed as the home-coming of the married daughter, Durga, to her father, Parvatraj Himalaya's home. It is considered to be the most important festival when Bengalis buy new clothes, exchange sweets and make new purchases. Decked in the best of finery, the family goes out to see the 'pandalas' (temporary structures set up to venerate the goddess Durga) with musical evenings being organized. On the last day of the puja, the idol of the Goddess is taken with great fanfare and immersed in the river.

Another version states that Durga’s mother (wife of the King of the Himalayas) longed to see her daughter. Durga was permitted by Lord Shiva to visit her mother only for nine days in the year. The festival of Durga Puja marks this brief visit and ends with Vijaya Dashami, when Goddess Durga leaves for Her return to Mount Kailash.

The woman of Bengal welcome the Goddess with maternal tenderness and teary-eyed send away the idol on the last day, adorned with every ceremony associated with a daughter's departure to her husband's home. This signifies the parting of Durga from Her beloved mother.

But the basic aim of this celebration is to propitiate Shakti, the Goddess of Power, to bestow wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge and other powers upon us. By relating with Her we are blessed with Her loving mercy and protection.

Apparently, the nine-day worship of Durga is a celebration of triumph, propitiating the Mother for Her successful struggle with the formidable demons led by Mahishasura. On the spiritual plane it epitomises the stages of the evolution of man, from jivahood or the state of an individual to Shivahood or the state of self-realisation.


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Shri Radhashtami: 23 September, 2023

Shri Radha, the Godhead in Female Form

Sri Radha is the most baffling among all the female deities in the Hindu pantheon. The Godhead in female form, She is the divine feminine energy or shakti implying a divine energetic source or shaktiman. The maha-mantra is a prayer to Shri Radha, to engage us in Lord Krishna’s service. As Krishna is the source of all manifestations of God, Sri Radha, His consort, is the source of all  feminine manifestations of cosmic energy..Shri Radha-Krishna are in essence a single entity who manifest as two distinct individuals for the sake of interpersonal romantic exchange. 
 Shri Radha-Krishna, Two Bodies & One Soul

"Know that prakriti, the power of the earth, and purusha, the power of heaven are the same. We have two bodies but the soul is identical...I created you for the sake of joy," Krishna tells Radha.

Shri Vishnu-Lakshmi Incarnate as Shri Radha-Krishna

Her origins are obscure; She neither features in the Shrimad Bhagavatam nor in the Mahabharata. 

The Brahmavaivarta Purana

The Brahmavaivarta Purana, composed later, describes Radha as a consort of Krishna’s in the heavenly sphere called golok who due to a curse was destined to come to earth reborn as a milkmaid and be re-united with Krishna. Radha is foremost of the gopis able to please Krishna with little more than a glance. Other interpretations reveal, just as Vishnu appeared in the incarnation of the human hero Krishna to save the earth, His consort Laxmi also came with Him in the incarnation of Radha.

Shri Radha Enchants Krishna

We can not savour the romantic sentiment without the beloved as love requires not only the self but equally the object of love for its expression, which is Kishori Radha. Lord Krishna enchants the world but She enchants even him. Radha is acknowledged as the supreme deity for She controls Krishna with her love and perfect spiritual life is unattainable without Her grace.

Gita Govinda by Jayadeva

In the sensuous lyrics of ‘Gita Govinda’ by Jayadeva, Sri Radha is exalted as Lord Krishna’s hladini shakti or blissful energy. In this position it is Sri Radha who is the principal idol of devotion and the symbol of divine love. There is no greater symbol to denote the longing of the soul in its quest for the divine than the characterization of Sri Radha. Her sentiment expresses the longing of the nayika for her beloved; experienced through madhura rasa or sweet romance.

Shri Radha, the Goddess of Love 

Sri Radha becomes the goddess of love in Bengali folklore, religious rituals and kirtans. Of course worshipped along with Sri Krishna, Sri Radha is remembered more in Her role as a romantic lover all over Bengal. 

The Shringara Rasa of Shri Radha-Krishna

Devotees are required to savour the shrinagara rasa of Sri Radha by smarana or living through the countless legends of the playful dalliance of Sri Radha-Krishna. Lord Krishna is conceived as the sole purusha, the supreme male and the human soul, striving for spiritual evolution, is therefore conceived as a woman, a celestial energy of the divine.

Everyone is a Nayika Searching for Krishna

Shringara Bhakti whether of the Pushti Margis or the Gaudiyas is suffused with madhurya, the key to understanding and celebrating the love of Shri Radha-Krishna and in doing so get a glimpse of one’s own transcendental self. As madhurya translates into ananda comes the realization that everyone is ultimately a nayika searching for Krishna.

Shri Radha Was Born in Barsana

Sri Radha was born in Barsana, a suburb of Mathura as the daughter of Vrashbhanu and Kirti, some 5000 years ago. The festive occasion is celebrated as Radha-Ashtami throughout the country with dedicated devotion and joyous abandon; 15 days after Lord Krishna's Janmashtami, on the sacred eighth day of the Bhadrapada month of the Hindu calendar, in the waxing phase of the moon somewhere between (August-September).

Sites of Braj Bhoomi closely related to Sri Radha are mentioned below:


Shri Radha in Her Lalan (child) Form, Rawal

Rawal is the only place in the world where Shri Radha is worshipped in Her Lalan (child) form.

Shri Radha Was Found Lying in an Open Lotus

This is the site where Radha Rani's father Shri Vrishbhanu found Her lying in an open lotus. Rawal is 9 kms south of Mathura, on the other side of the Yamuna river. It is about halfway between Mathura and Gokul.

Raja Suchendra born as Vrashbhanu the cowherd in Braj and his wife Kalavati born as Kirtida, the cowherdess,  were blessed with Shri Radha as their daughter. On her incarnation a wave of rejoicing swept the place with auspicious songs being sung. The site of Her manifestation is famed as Rawal with a temple on the banks of the Yamuna citing this miracle. Born at Her grandparents’ house, she later came to Vrashbhanupur. Baba Vrashbhanu came to Vrashbhanu Sarovar on ashtami of the Bhadra month and spotted a small girl atop a lotus flower, swimming in the pond and attracting his gaze. She was Sri Radha Herself.
Lord Krishna and Sri Radha are in essence a single entity who manifest as two distinct individuals for the sake of interpersonal romantic exchange. To express His charm as an amorous lover, Shri Krishna manifested Himself in the Radha form. Two bodies and one soul are Sri Radha-Krishna and Surdas sings ecstatically of their passionate union. Shri Radha is Lord Krishna’s power of pleasure, delighted in Her beloved’s joy. Radha above all the other cowherdesses and all other souls of the world, ultimately emerges as the supreme object of Krishna’s passionate love. Braj’s highly revered Shri Usha Bahenji’s experiences throw light on the pivotal concept of madhurya, taking us to the very heart of the love of Radha and Krishna.

Shri Radha Kund and Shri Krishna Kund:

 Shri Radha Kund, North West Braj

Shri Krishna Kund, Madhuvana

Gaudiya Vaishnavas consider Radha Kund to be the most sacred place on earth.Shri Radha and Krishna Kunds absolve all sins and bless us with the worship of Lord Krishna. On reading certain stotras (hymns of praise) religiously on the banks of Radha Kund one benefits with the grace of Lord Radha-Krishna. In the same fashion as Shri Radhaji is the supreme Beloved of Lord Krishna the pond is extremely dear to Her.

Bathing in Krishna and Radha Kunds on Krishanashtami of the Kartik month, one attains the same fruits as performing the Rajsuya and Ashvamegha sacrifices. Hordes of Vaishnavas throng this site in the Kartik (eighth month of the Hindu lunar year, October-November) month and on Diwali.

The Puranas authenticate their appearance. Motivated by the Lord, Shri Radhika along with Her sakhis inaugurated the enchanting Shri Radha Kund which blesses us with all joys and worship of Lord Radha-Krishna. All pilgrimage sites merged and stepped into Shri Krishna Kund and since its waters filled the Radha Kund they resided in both of them.

Actually these kunds arose from Gaulok where Lord Krishna and Shri Radha reside in its enchanting nikunjas amidst the loving service of their sakhis. 

Tears Streamed Down Shri Radha's Cheeks

Overcome by Shri Radha Bhava, Krishna assumed that He was Radha. Overwhelmed by Shri Krishna Bhava, Shri Radha was forlorn at their separation and tears streamed down Her cheeks. On Shri Krishna’s reciting the Radha Mantra, Shri Radha was drawn to Him along with Her sakhis. He stated that the kund filled with Her tears of anguish will be known as Shri Radha Kund and His will be famed as Shri Krishna Kund. They playfully frolicked in both the ponds and returned to their respective forms. By the grace of Shri Radha-Krishna Kunds in Gaulok, the two ponds were incarnated in Vrindavan.

The Twin Kunds Are a Pilgrimage Site:

Shri Radha-Krishna Kund

Shri Radha Kund is suffused with divine love. Shri Radha-Krishna, divine incarnations as human lover and His beloved, along with their many sakhis, are forever engrossed in the sheer sensuality and serene spirituality of their romantic dalliance. 

Dark-hued Krishna's Flute Plays Draws the Gopis & Cows

Sitting on its banks, playing the melodious flute, the breath of His love, Lord Krishna draws the cows and attracts the gopis, captivating all.

Shri Krishna Kund:

 Shri Krishna Kund, Madhuvana

Shri Radha, the female Godhead, bathes here daily. The site is extremely dear to Her; very much like She is the most beloved of Lord Krishna. To its north is Madhu Manglananda Kund which is shaped by Shri Lalitaji. To its north-east is Ujvala Nanda Kund belonging to Ujvala Sakha and adorned by Vishakaji.

Shri Radha Kund:

Shri Radha Kund

Close to Krishna Kund, Shri Radhikaji inaugurated this kund by embracing Shri Krishna. Bathing in Shri Radha and Sri Krishna Kunds one is freed from the grave sins of killing Brahma, cows and men thus attaining the fruits of Rajsuya and Ashvamegha sacrifices.

Shri Radha-Krishna Mandir:

 Shri Radha-Krishna Mandir, Radha Kund Goverdhan

Bathing in the kunds, sighting Kundeshwar Bhagwan Shankar and worshipping Shri Radha-Krishna one fulfills all desires. Goswami Vithal Nathji handed over the service of the twin idols to Baba Gopaldas. Deities of Shri Radha-Krishna are resplendent in this temple.

Nauka Leela (In Mansi Ganga):

 Radha-Krishna on a Boat in in Mansi Ganga

Lord Krishna and His beloved Sri Radha were keen for boating. Ferrying the boat in Mansi Ganga, the Lord rocked it purposely and Priyaji clung to Him in fear. The incidence led to an unprecedented dalliance with the Lord captivated by the sheer sensuality of His beloved Sri Radha. Sri Gangaji, a witness to these amorous frolics, destroys all earthly drawbacks and blesses us with the worship of Lord Krishna.

Shri Vrashbhanupur
(Spiritual Bliss showered on Barsana)

Shri Radha-Krishna Romantic Dalliance in Barsana

Nature reflects the delights of Paradise onto the environs; with the peacocks dancing in ecstasy and birds singing passionately. The site is extremely dear to the Vaishnavas since it weaves the divine play, the mazes and mysteries of Shri Radha-Krishna romantic dalliances, their pathos and pleasure in its womb. The fields, forests and streams are resplendent with the dark-hued Krishna fluting in the blossoming pastures, an idyllic landscape where madhurya unfolds.

Every site of Braj is related to the various divine plays of the Lord. Vrindavan, Madhupuri, Barsana and Nandgaon are the duo’s lovable sites.

Child Radha's Tinkling Anklets

Now doting mother Kirtida and Vrashbhanu Baba are delighted by Shri Radha’s prattle, the tinkling of Her anklets, the sweet sound of Her dangling earrings as she roams in their courtyard and now She is the Godhead in female form, with Her male counterpart Nandnandan who rules her heart. Shri Radha interacts with Her sakhis and bursts out laughing. At times she waves the anchal of Her saree and attracted by the glittering work on Her lehenga is delighted. Brajwasis dote on Her and child Radha is radiant as She cuddles in the lap of Her parents. Shri Krishna often ventures from Nandgaon to Vrashbhanupur, Kirtidaji fusses over him and soon both Shri Radha-Krishna are engrossed in love sports. 

Shri Radha Dallies with Nandnandan

Vrashbhanupur resonates with the innocent prattle of Shri Radha and on growing up She romantically dallies with Her beloved Brajraj Nandnandan in Gaharvan, Sankrikhor, Vilasgarh, Mangarh, Dangarh and other sites. Villages of the ashtasakihs or the eight primary sakhis namely Shri Lalita, Vishakha, Chitra, Indulekha, Champakalata, Tungavidya, Rangadevi and Sudevi are located nearby.

Teerth Darshan:

Shri Vishnu and Brahmagiri Parvat face each other. On the southern side is Brahmagiri Parvat and opposite to it is Vishnu Parvat. Radha-Krishna Temple is on top of the Brahmagiri Parvat. 

  Shri Kirti Mataji, Vrashbhanu Baba & Sridama

The Vrashbhanu temple below enshrines the idols of Vrashbhanuji, Kirtidaji and Shridama. 

Priyaji Temple, Barsana

Close to it is the temple of Shri Priyaji along with Shri Lalitaji.Dan Mandir, Hindola Sthan, Mayur kuti and Raas Mandala are on Mount Brahma.

 Sankari Khor

The site of Sankari Khor is nestled between both the mountains. Shri Radha Mandir is on Mount Brahma with the site of Leela Nritya Mandal ahead. Vilas Mandir is close by, with Gahvar Van next to it. The region below has the Raas Mandala and Shri Radha Sarovar and Dohni Kund. Mayur Sarovar created by Shri Chitralekhaji is near it. Herein we have Bhanu Sarovar, Brajeshwari the idol of Maha Rudra and opposite is Kirti Sarovar.

As of now the region’s name is Barsana. Shri Bhanusur in its eastern portion, Kirtida Kund in the northern corner, Vihar Kund is in its south-western corner. Chaksauli Village and other pilgrimage sites are near the Sankari Khor.

Sri Radha Krishna Darshan:

Love of Shri Radha-Krishna

The love of Shri Radha-Krishna is renowned the world over. Shri Vrashbhanuji and Kirtidaji coupled with Nand Baba and Yashodaji always participate in this divine tale. Occurring every day, the divine play of the Lord and His beloved is eternal. Rasiks  have expressed Sri Radha-Krishna as one soul and two bodies with Radhaji being compared to the moon beams and Krishnaji to the moon.

Enraptured, the two of them meet daily. Sometimes Kishoriji ventures to Nandgaon and at times Shr Krishna arrives at Vrashbhanupur. Love makes even a moment of separation unbearable. Once innocently Shri Radha requested Her beloved Shri Krishna to stay on with her at her father’s town which would make the place lovable. Unable to refuse, He gladly accepted her entreaty. The temple is resplendent with the idols of Shri Radha-Krishna. 

Shri Kushal Bihariji Mandir, Barsana

Shri Kushal Bihariji Mandir, another Radha -Krishna temple made by Maharaj Sawai Madho Singh of Jaipur is close by.

Gahvar Van:
Gahvar Van, Barsana

Gahvar Van as the name indicates is a dense forest. It is the idyllic landscape for the romantic escapades of Sri Radha-Krishna, the longing of the gopikas, and the unfolding of their madhurya. Dearly loved by Sri Radha, a site where gopikas giggle and the place resounds with their tinkling anklets as they wander around the trees. 

 Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji

Highly revered Ushaji Bahenji visited the place, expressing the ambience beautifully. Shri Hit Harivanshji Maharaj said that if Sri Radha is graceful in love’s fulfillment and dignified in love’s separation, the sakhi is the love messenger. The sakhis’ sole concern is to see Shri Radha-Krishna united and joyous in love. Till date these divine dalliances are prevalent in Gahvar Van. Only the very fortunate of devotees are able to sight them.

Mayur Kuti:

 Mayur Kuti

 Located in the upper segment of Brahmachal Mount the Mayur Kuti is an enchanting place. Belonging and longing are the essential parts of madhurya rasa. Belonging imparts pleasure and desire for more and more of the sweet love. Shri Radha-Krishna who are one soul, one mind can not even dream of separation for a moment. Even so at times Shri Radha is somewhat offended and Lord Krishna has a tough time placating her. He came up with a new gimmick and acquiring the form of a peacock danced ecstatically in front of her. She could not make out it was the Lord and forgot her pride. In glee she called out ‘Mor Mor’ which also means ‘Mera’ in the Braj dialect. Hearing this Shri Krishna came close to her and assuming his original form, exulted that he was hers forever. Weaving this divine union in its ethereal environs the site is famed as Mayur Kuti.


 Maan Mandir, Maangarh

Reaching the zenith of love is easily attainable for the innocent Braj Gopikas and Sri Radha, their swamini or devotional ideal because of their selfless devotion .Belonging and longing are two different aspects of love. The gopikas who are always expressing and experiencing their love for Krishna can not possibly think of self gratification, eternally striving for the Lord’s joy but distraught at times by His disappearance.

Shri Radha Sulking

Once Sri Radha sulked when Shri Krishna did not turn up even after assuring that He would. He tried hard to appease her but in vain. The sakhis made an effort to placate her but it was of no use. Finally Shri Krishna in connivance with the sakhis, disguised as one of them came close to Sri Radha. Observing a new sakhi she was amused and began questioning her. The moment she knew that the sakhi was adept at singing she give her a warm hug. The touch enlightened Sri Radha that it was the Lord himself and she cooled down. In a unique manner Shri Krishna blessed the sight known as Mangarh, located on the top of Mount Brahmachal. It is picturesque during the rainy season. Hindola, Raas Mandala and Ratnakar Sarovar are close by.

Shri Radha Sarovar:

Shri Radha Sarovar, Barsana

Kishori Shri Radhika along with her sakhis used to frolic with water in this pond, resulting in its name. A fascinating place it gratifies all deities and grants moksha or salvation in all the three worlds.


 Vilasgarh Temple, Barsana

Vilasgarh is a site of Shri Krishna’s romantic dalliance with the gopis. As Sri Radha and Lord Krishna’ sole purpose is to engage in a loving exchange the gopis, considered the kaya-vyuha (replications) of Shri Radha exist to assist them in the love-play in these isolated nikunjas. Sri Radha feels that her love for Krishna can always expand to greater heights and therefore manifests herself as the many gopis of Braj. Though Sri-Radha Krishna meet daily, their longing and yearning always desires more and more of their union. Once all of a sudden, Shri Krishna with his beloved Sri Radha came to this isolated bower where the pathos of their longing and the pleasure of belonging converged. When the Braj Gopikas came by they saw the duo’s dishevelled appearance, ruffled hair, loose necklaces, clothes out of place, musky spots on their bodies and faces awash with langour. Situated on Mount Vishnu the site recounts their passionate love.

Vrashbhanu Sarovar:

 Vrashbhanu Sarovar

 Expiating all sins, the site was created by Gopraj Vrashbhanu. His daughter Sri Radha and Shri Krishna dearly loved the place. Frolicking here, the two of them were often enchanted with each other as they sported in its water. Situated in the east of Barsana is Vrashbhanu Sarovar. It is believed that when Vrashbhanu Baba in the month of Bhadra on the eighth day of Shuklapaksh came here; he spotted a small girl cradled in a lotus flower floating in this sarovar. Baba got Her to the palace; She was Sri Radha, the Godhead in female form.


 Chitra Sakhi Darshan, Chaksauli Barsana

 The gopikas expert at doing shringara, beautifully adorned Sri Radha for a dalliance with the Lord and brought Her here. It is the village of Chitra Sakhi, adjacent to Sankari Khor.

Mayur Sarovar:

 Shri Radha-Krishna Are Very fond of Dancing Peacocks

 Showing the path to the three worlds the site blesses us with moksha or salvation. The dancing of peacocks is very dear to Shri Chitraji who ventures here daily. Flocks of peacocks inevitably swarm the place surrounding her as she plays with them at times. Flirtatiously loitering around, occasionally Sri-Radha Krishna arrive and are welcomed by the peacocks’ delighted cries. Forever dancing in ecstasy the birds go to Sri Radha and at times hover around Shri Krishna. Shri Chitraji is joyous on observing their madhurya. The site has carefully treasured the mysterious dalliances for its devotees.

Mukta Kund:

Muktas or Pearls

 Shri Krishna and Sri Radha had an amusing argument once. Whereas Lord Krishna is the God of the entire universe, His most beloved Sri Radha is the embodiment of Shakti and the gratifier of His love. During this dispute Sri Radha sowed some pearls in a field and they blossomed. Both the lover and His beloved adorned themselves with these gems, an outward expression of their love-play which resulted in its name.

Sunehra Gram (Swaran Haar) and Kadamba Khandi:

Shri Vallabhacharyaji also ventured to the golden mountain and the ethereal Kadamba Khandi, a site of Raas abounding with swings and an expanse of water. This isolated place of Raas is surrounded by kadamba trees wherein its cool environs incapacitate the sweltering heat. The fragrance of its flowers bathed in rain; enchant us as they blossom with the touch of madhurya or sweet love. The trees form a sort of canopy beneath which Sri Radha-Krishna fix their tryst. The Ratan Kund is nearby. 

Ashtasakhis Rangdevi & Sudevi

Sunehra Gram is the birthplace of both the sakhis, Rangdevi and Sudevi. Sudevi is adept at applying mahavar on Shri Radha’s feet and Rangdevi is skilled at decking Shri Radha’s hair with veni or a string of flowers.


 Shri Radha-Krishna, the Pleasure of Belonging

 Love has a uniique trait. The pathos of separation though very painful somehow enlightens the mind. Forgetting the self in belonging due to the gush of love, sometimes leads to separation. Shri Krishna who daily undergoes the pathos of longing and the pleasure of belonging was ecstatic and turned dewy-eyed on spotting His beloved, Sri Radha, as He gave Her a flirtatious glance. With such an idyllic setting it was but natural for their love to reach its zenith at this site.

Anjnauk (Anjan Van):

 Lord Krishna Applies Kajal to Radha's Eyes

 What delights the Lord is unique, an eternal desire for a romantic dalliance. His love refuses to get into any saintly straitjacket. One day sitting in Her chamber, Shri Radha was doing shringara. A parrot named Vichshan narrated the scenario to Shri Krishna. Suddenly an idea struck the Lord and taking out the flute from his waistband He began to play it melodiously. The sound of the flute which is the breath of their love; drew Shri Radha and her sakhis and they headed to this forest. Making Shri Radha sit on the front boulder, He absorbed Her ravishing beauty. Seeing Her eyes not darkened enough, He applied collyrium and purposely smeared it right upto the eyebrows. Soon after with a mirror he went upto her and holding her hand, wiped it neatly to make up for his error. He repeated this incidence several times which led to an unprecedented dalliance. The sakhis planned to shower them with flowers and after plucking them savoured their romantic escapade which gave them divine joy. Renowned as Anjnauk (Anjan Van) it recounts those pleasurable efforts.

Prem Sarovar:

 Prem Sarovar

 Love is predominant in the realm of Shri Radha-Krishna. Whatever the Lord does pleases Shri Radha and he does whatever she fancies. Saying so, Shri Manmahaprabhu Hit Harivanshji has thrown light on the subject. Striving for the happiness of the lover, transcendental love or the zenith of spiritual awareness is worth calling love. This is the same Prem Sarovar where Shri Radha-Krishna and their kaya-vyuha gopikas have savoured several charming episodes of love. Beneath the canopy of fragrant kadamba trees they are engaged in love talk, as they fix their tryst. During the rainy season this site comes to life with the merriment of swings and at times resounds with the sound of tinkling anklets. Fragments of these dalliances scattered around are woven around this site known as Prem Sarovar.

Raas Mandal:

Raas Mandal

I salute you hey Raas Mandal made for the Raas or pleasure of the Lord! If there is one aspect to Shri Krishna’s enigmatic persona which distinguishes him from all other deities it is his leela. This divine play which is both real and illusionary makes him both human and divine at the same time. Delighting in play, he endears himself and brings delight to all his devotees. Who can possibly describe the good fortune of Braj Bhoomi where every site has been touched by the feet of Shri Radha- Krishna and their group of sakhis, thereby making it even highly honored for saints. Raas Mandala has a distinct significance since it weaves the lovable escapades of the Lord and his beloved.

Hindola Sthal:

Shri Radha-Krishna on a Swing

Arisen from the rejoicing of the Shravan month, the site blesses us with joys and strives for the well-being of mankind. The Jhoolna Utsav in Shravan enhances the beauty of Braj. Merriment all around, rustling creepers embracing tree trunks, ecstatic dance of the peacocks, passionate singing of the black cuckoos, glistening expanse of greenery, rising waves in the sarovars, fragrance of the kadamba trees and melodious songs resounding from gathered crowds, all add up to an event of magical time, a nostalgia for a lost paradise. The elements of nature are entranced by the magic of Shri Radha-Krishna and their Braj Gopikas. Herein is an excerpt from revered Usha Bahinji’s experience from a Jhoolna incidence. Sri Radha arrived to swing at the Prem Sarovar where a dark-complexioned sakhi was already present. Sighting her, the sakhi was delighted and the two of them began conversing as they enjoyed the swings. Shri Radha asked the sakhis to move her and this new friend. With the rocking of the swing the new sakhi’s anchal slipped and Sri Radha was stunned on sighting her body, it was none other than Lord Krishna himself. The environs of this site are bathed with such delightful memories.

Vihval Van (Vihval Kund):

Shri Radha Pining for Krishna

The nature of love is strange. Sometimes overwhelming restlessness makes us experience the pathos of longing even on being close to one’s beloved, as the Raas Shastra explains. Once sitting in a garden of Vihval Kund, Shri Krishna was anxiously waiting for Sri Radha. A mynah began singing her glories which further aggravated his longing. When soft-hearted sakha Subal came to know of this scenario, he figured out a way for their rendezvous. Soon after, moving the creepers in front, Sri Radha arrived with her sakhis. The Lord was delighted but his yearning knew no bounds. Even on being so near to his beloved, he was unable to savour the proximity and remained perturbed. This led to the place being named Vihval which means restless.