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Sheela_Mata_Temple_Agroha.jpgBraj (Devanagari: ब्रज), also known as Brij or Brijbhoomi, is a region in Uttar Pradesh of India, around Mathura-Vrindavan. Brij, though never a clearly defined political region in India, is very well demarcated culturally. The area stretches from Mathura, Jalesar, Agra, Hathras and Aligarh right up to Etah, Auraiya and Farrukhabad districts. It is believed to be the land of Krishna and is derived from the Sanskrit word vraja. The main cities in the region are Mathura, Jalesar, Bharatpur, Agra, Hathras, Dholpur, Aligarh, Etawah, Auraiya, Mainpuri, Etah, Kasganj and Firozabad. The term "Braj" means "Pasture", and a settlement of herders and cattle breeders or Abode of Yadavs/Aheers or yaduvanshsthali. The residents or natives of Braj are called Brijwasi. Braj bhasha or Brij bhasha, closely related to spoken Hindi with a soft accent, is spoken throughout the region.

Брадж или Вра́джа (хинди ब्रज), также Бра́джбуми, Враджабху́ми — исторический регион в индийских штатах Уттар-Прадеш, Раджастхан и Харьяна. Является священным местом паломничества для вайшнавов, так как согласно Пуранам и другим текстам индуизма, в этом месте родился и провёл свою юность Кришна. Самые крупные города на территории Враджа — это Матхура, Агра, Алигарх и Майнпури. Географически и культурно Врадж расположен в самом центре доаба Ганги-Ямуны, который с древности являлся центром развития индийской культуры. Врадж занимает территорию в 3800 км² и располагается в "золотом треугольнике" Дели-Джайпур-Агра. Врадж можно разделить на два региона — восточную часть, в которой расположены такие места, как Гокула, Махаван, Балдео, Мат и Баджна; и западную часть, где находится округ Матхура с такими местами паломничества, как Вриндаван, Говардхан, Кусум-саровара, Варшана и Нандаграм. Врадж расположен на территории современных округов Матхура (Уттар-Прадеш), Бхаратпур (Раджастхан) и Палвал (Харьяна). Регион Враджа простирается от местечка Котбан в 95 км от Дели до Рунакты в районе Агры — места, получившего известность в связи с великим поэтом Сурдасом. Жителей региона называют "бриджбаси" или "враджабаси". Население Враджа разговаривает на диалекте хинди браджбхаша.

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Dirgha Vishnu ji Mathura

The two-day patosav is observed amidst rituals and festivities on vaishakh shukla ekadashi and dwadasi every year.

17102021045758-768x745.jpgMathura, 2022-05-12: The appearance day (patotsav) of Shri Deergh Vishnu and Padmalayi Mahalakshmi was celebrated today at Mathura’s ancient Deergh Vishnu temple. The two-day patosav is observed amidst elaborate rituals and grand festivities on vaishakh shukla ekadashi and dwadasi every year.

According to temple sevayat Kantanath Chaturvedi, on the day of Ekadashi (May 12) devotees get darshans of eight jhankis of Thakurji. The day begins with recitation of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. It is followed by chanting of vedic mantras and hymns such as Shri Suktam, Purusha Suktam, Vishnu, Gopala and Lakshmi Sahasranams by qualified brahmins. Special pushpa shringaar darshans are given in the evening, amid singing of ‘mangal geet’ by women.

On the following day, that is dwadashi, maha abhishek is performed with panchamrut after the morning mangala aarti. Various vedic rituals are organised throughout the day. In the evening the deities give darshans from the plush and fragrant ‘phool bangla’.

The 4500-year-old Deergh Vishnu Temple is among the oldest of temples in Mathura, belonging to Shri Krishna’s time. The glories of Shri Deergh Vishnu and Padmalayi Mahalakshmi are mentioned in the Vishnu Purana, Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garga Samhita as well as in the Shrimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. 

The post Shri Deergh Vishnu and Padmalayi Mahalakshmi’s appearance day celebrated today appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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The lilas are enlisted on the basis of Krishna’s age, and the location where they were enacted.

Vrindavan, 2022-05-02 (Acharya Shri Kumudesh Bhat): The vivid descriptions of Shri Krishna’s superhuman, yet playfully accomplished feats makes everyone wonder about the age at which they were performed. The center stage for Krishna lilas kept shifting from Gokul and Vrindavan where he played as a divine child and then a young cowherd, to Mathura and Dwarka where he was in the role of a diplomatic, and detached king.

Performed until the age of three years and two months, the lilas in Gokul include Putana Vadh (six days), Shakat Bhanjan (three months), Naamkaran Sanskaar (hundredth day), Trinavarta Vadh (one year), and Yamala-Arjun Uddhar and Damodar lila at three years and two months old.

Krishna’s lilas in Vrindavan begin at the age of three years and three months with His arrival in the enchanting forest. Proceeding from there, Vatsasur Vadh was performed at three years and four months, Aghasura Vadh and Brahmamohana lila at four years and four months, Gocharan lila at five years and two months, Kaliya Daman and first meeting with Gopis at six years and nine months, Govardhan lila at seven years and two months, Raaslila at eight years and one month, Ambika Van Gaman (rescuing Nand Baba), Shankchuda Vadh and Holi lilas at nine years, Keshi Vadh, Akrura’s coming to Vrindavan and Daan and other raag-anuraag lilas between ten and eleven years.

Krishna’s arrival in Mathura and the killing of Kansa was carried out at eleven years and one month. Other pastimes in Mathura include Yagyopaveet (eleven years and five months), Gurukul Gaman for 64 days (eleven years and seven months), and Kubja Uddhar (fourteen years and two months). Between His 15th and 32nd years Krishna had to face Jarasandha’s attacks, 18 of them every year.

The lilas in Dwarka commence at the age of 32 years with Krishna marrying Rukmini. Pradyumna was born at 33. Krishna married several other princesses between the ages of 34 and 40. During this time He also killed Bhaumasura. Kurukshetra Milan was staged at 45 years-old. When Krishna was 51, Pradyumna returned to Dwarka after 18 years. Baldau was sent to Braj a year later. Krishna’s grandson Aniruddh was born at 53. Rajasuya sacrifice and Shishupal Vadh happened at 72 years. It was followed by Draupadi Cheer Haran at 73, also the year when Krishna’s Braj lilas came to an end. The Pandavas returned from exile when He was 86. The war of Mahabharata took shape in His 87th year, eventually happening for 18 days when He was 89. Shri Krishna returned to his heavenly abode at the age of 125.

The post At what age did Krishna perform His lilas? Acharya Shri Kumudesh Bhatt answers appeared first on Vrindavan Today.
 

 

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Why no tears?


Shri Vraja Dhama

By Shri Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Dasa
Devotees often feel frustrated and hopeless with their chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. In humble sadness, they confess, “My heart must be hard as steel because when I chant Hare Krishna, I never cry nor does my hair stand erect.”

This idea of having a heart of steel, despite chanting Hare Krishna, comes from a Srimad Bhagavatam verse (2.3.24), translated by Srila Prabhupada thus: “Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of one’s chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place, tears fill the eyes and the hairs stand on end.”

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Shri Govinda Dev

The prolific translator, Bhanu Swami, gives a slightly different translation to (2.3.24): “That heart which does not transform on hearing the names of the Lord, even though HE SHOWS TEARS in the eyes and hair standing on end, is made of iron.”

Bhanu Swami says the verse describes someone who chants the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, and though feigning symptoms of ecstasy i.e. crying or standing hair, does not experience any real change of heart or consciousness. This phenomena is seen in sahajiya Gaudiyas who, though making a show of tears and transcendental ecstasy, are completely attached to material life.

In his Sarartha Darshini, Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada explains (SB 2.3.24) thus: “A show of tears and erect hairs alone do not prove that a person has a melted heart. Srila Rupa Goswamipada has said that some devotees may have melted hearts and be deeply in Krishna prema, even without showing external tears and hairs standing on end. Therefore this verse means that if someone’s heart does not transform [change or improve] with chanting, yet that person still shows tears in the eyes and hairs standing on end in imitation of bhava, then that means he has an iron heart.”

Basically, the Srimad Bhagavatam verse (2.3.24) above talks about change and transformation by contemplative chanting, hari nama dheyaih vikriyeta vikaro. The ultimate change or purification of heart is elevation to the stage of bhava bhakti, or intense loving feelings for Lord Sri Krishna. The tear-full eyes and erect bodily hairs, which may be present or not, are only the secondary characteristics of bhava.

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Shri Radharani ji

Srila Rupa Goswamipada does not even mention them in his description of the nine symptoms of bhava bhakti. Bhakti-rasamrta sindhu (1.3.25–26) says, “The characteristics of a person who has developed the bud of bhava are as follows: tolerance, not wasting time, detachment from enjoyment, pridelessness, confidence in Krishna, longing for Sri Krishna, taste for chanting Krishna’s name, always describing Krishna’s qualities, and attachment to living in Sri Krishna’s abode [Vrindavana, Navadvipa].”

Bhanu Swami’s translation and Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada’s tika will surely give relief to the many sadhakas who think their chanting is useless. Crying and other symptoms of transcendental bliss are sometimes experienced by a devotee who has attained the rare stage of bhava, intense loving attachment for Bhagavan Sri Krishna. This is the ultimate transformation effected by chanting Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.

True, we may not be in ecstasy when chanting Hare Krishna. But we should be confident that our chanting is definitely improving, changing and transforming us. Ceto darpanam marjanam means our consciousness, mind and heart ARE CHANGING AND BECOMING SPIRITUALIZED.

As we daily chant and progress toward bhava bhakti, bhava bhakti is moving toward us. Way before the stage of bhava, every chanter will experience some portion and degree of the nine symptoms of bhava. Correct and steady chanting is slowly softening our hearts. Don’t be sad, lament or feel that nothing is happening.

Just measure your own progress and see the changes and transformation that chanting has brought you. Yes, you can definitely see and feel that chanting Hare Krishna has made you much more tolerant, peaceful and detached from a lot of Maya. You are somewhat humble and much less proud. You don’t waste time and try to serve Krishna whenever possible.

You feel confident in Krishna’s presence and protection; He’s in every pillar! You have some drops of genuine longing for Sri Krishna too. And at least occasionally you really get a taste from chanting Hare Krishna. What to speak about living in Vrindavana, “O, how I love Vrindavana!”

All this personal experience proves that Sri Krishna’s all-sweet and powerful transcendental names are softening our hearts, purifying our minds, raising our consciousness, delivering us and preparing us to see Sri Krishna face to face.

Radha Govinda Yugala darshana ki jai! Hare Krishna Maha Mantra ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

The post Why no tears? appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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“For him whose knots of heart have been undone, only Vrindavan and nothing else exists.”

Vrindavan, 2022-04-26 (Vrindavan Today News): Shri Maa Anandmayi was a widely revered self-realised seer of India. Following is an excerpt from Maa’s discourse with her disciples where she explains the essence of Vrindavan, and why the formless absolute and its divine form are one and the same. The article concludes with some interesting accounts about her Vrindavan ashram situated on the Mathura-Vrindavan road.

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Maa Anandamayee and Gopal

“When the kingdom of pure consciousness has been attained, form is revealed as the essence itself. What was sorrow from the worldly point of view is now ‘viraha’ – separation from THAT; in other words, the agony of existing in a particular form. This separation is without end, and manifests in ever new ways.

By a mere stroke of God’s imagination this vast universe comes into being. What actually is this creation? He himself, the one.

Why then are there distinctions? Why should there be others? There are no others. The ocean is contained in that form.

How can this be when ‘the one’ reveals itself as a form, a ‘vigraha’, say for instance as Radha-Krishna? This ‘vigraha’ exists eternally. Where? In Vrindavan.

For him whose knots of heart have been undone, only Vrindavan and nothing else exists. What you have thus realised as ‘lila’ is infinite, and this infinity will be known by discarding the world and all that belongs to it.

One who sees Vishnu everywhere is a ‘Vaishnava’. The idea that the world has a boundary is delusive. It is you who have created the distinction between the natural and the supernatural. As a matter of fact all and everything is but his ‘lila’. In the ‘all’ He is to be found. The supernatural is not apart from the rest.

If one remains confined within the boundary, one’s heart cannot become Vrindavan. When realisation has occurred, there is nothing but Vrindavan, nothing but Vrindavan, complete non duality.

Maa Anandmayi and her Vrindavan Ashram

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Deities at Shri Anandamayee Maa Ashram Vrindavan

Maa Anandmayi was born in 1896 in Kheora village of present-day Bangladesh to a pious though impoverished Brahmin couple. Her parents named her Nirmala Sundari Devi. Maa took Samadhi at the age of 86 in the year 1982. Her disciples carry on her unmatched legacy through her many ashrams located all across the country, including in Vrindavan.

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Maa Anandamayee

Shri Haribaba, a well known saint of Vrindavan, had a special desire that there should be an ashram of Maa in Braj Dham. He took the lead to welcome her into the ashram after it was built. Temples gradually came up on the grounds of the Vrindavan Ashram. At first, through the earnest desire of Dr. Panna Lall, the temple of Nitai Gaur was constructed in March 1955. It was followed by a Shiva temple on 10 March, 1956. On 7 September 1966 – the day of Janmashtami, the two supreme deities of Radha and Krishna were installed in the central temple. There’s an interesting account associated with it.

According to information available on the ashram website, Maa had a divine vision of a curly-haired boy of tender age dancing on the banks of Yamuna at the place where the ashram stands today. She also saw someone holding an umbrella for him. Moreover, a mahatma in the form of a stone was also found to bow down at the blessed feet of Maa here. 

To everyone’s amazement, when the plinth was being dug for the construction of the temple, the fact came to be revealed that the Yamuna once flowed at the site and the entire area was in fact a pastoral ground.

The post There is nothing but Vrindavan: Maa Anandmayi appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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Following the inclusion of Govardhan in the TTZ (Taj-Trapezium Zone) by NGT, generators, waste and stubble burning, as well as cutting of trees are prohibited in the region. 

Govardhan, 2022-04-24 (Vrindavan Today News): Despite the order of the National Green Tribunal prohibiting waste and stubble burning in Govardhan forest area, two separate incidents were reported on Friday night. According to the forest department, unidentified persons were responsible for the event. Details will emerge on further enquiry.

Following the inclusion of Govardhan in the TTZ (Taj-Trapezium Zone) by the NGT, generators, waste and stubble burning as well as cutting of trees were prohibited in the region.  Despite these orders, on Friday night two incidents of waste burning came to light in Govardhan foothills. Before the authorities could take any action, the fire claimed many small trees and plants in the vicinity. Parikramarthis had to face inconvenience, as the entire Parikrama Marg from Sant Nivas to Baagdi Pyaau became engulfed in smoke.

On receiving information from officer-in-charge Prabhakant Pandey, forest range officer (Govardhan) Manoj Kumar stepped in to control the situation. The officers seemed to be evading responsibility for the incident. Mostly the forest department employs manual labour to clear up thorny bushes, and plant grass and trees in the area. Instead of taking the waste to the dumping ground, they gather it near the hill and set the dump on fire. The forest officials, however, claim that unidentified miscreants were behind the incident.

The post Two incidents of waste burning reported in Govardhan in defiance of NGT orders appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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The MVDA granted permission for 1180 illegal constructions to be carried out in the ASI protected Madan Mohan Temple premises. On the other hand, only 150 illegal structures were demolished by its order. 

Vrindavan, 2022-04-20 (Vrindavan Today News): Taking cognizance of the petition filed against illegal construction in the protected Madan Mohan Temple zone, the Allahabad High Court has sought explanation from Mathura-Vrindavan Development Authority (MVDA) and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as to why permission was granted for the same.

The 500-yr-old Madan Mohan Temple in Vrindavan is an ASI protected monument, and hence any construction, old or new, in and around the premises (within 200 meters) is restricted by law. Despite the prohibition, the MVDA granted permission for 1180 such illegal constructions to be carried out. On the other hand, only 150 illegal structures were demolished by its order. 

Hearing the case, the two-judge bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal and Piyush Agrawal questioned the MVDA’s involvement in the matter. It has also sought an explanation from the ASI.

The Madan Mohan Temple is an ancient heritage site in Vrindavan. It was built by a merchant named Ramdas Kapur at the behest of Sanatan Goswami in 1580.

The post HC questions MVDA, ASI for permitting illegal construction around Madan Mohan Temple appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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Until 18 years back, Bhagwan Goda-Rangmannar’s abhishek was done with the sacred waters of the Yamuna on the river bank. Now it happens in the temple tank (Pushkarni). It seems blasphemous to say this, but the physical form of Shri Krishna’s ‘Patrani’ is not fit for His service anymore.

By Acharya Naresh Narayan

Vrindavan, 2022-04-12 (Vrindavan Today News): Rangji’s ten-day annual festival ‘Brahmotsavam’ concluded on 29 March. Like every year, on the day prior (28 March) Bhagwan Rangnath and Devi Goda went for the grand ritual bathing ceremony in the ‘Pushkarni’ (temple tank) after the morning ‘Shri Palki’. Well, this sentence needs a minor correction….or two perhaps! Like every year ‘for the last nearly 18 years’, Bhagwan Rangnath and Devi Goda went for the grand ritual bathing ceremony in the ‘Yamuna-swaroopini Pushkarni’ after the morning ‘Shri Palki’.

‘Yamuna-swaroopini Pushakrni’ because the physical Yamuna in the form it exists today in Braj-Vrindavan, is unfit for Rangji’s seva! And this calls for ‘major’ correction for us as a civilization, not a ‘minor’ one. It is an extremely disconcerting truth that Yamuna pollution has caused this 150-year-old sacred tradition to break.  And yet it is not the only one.

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Priest performing bathing ritual of the Lord in Pushkarini

Many temples in Braj and outside, for which the Yamuna was a fundamental element of daily and special ‘seva’, had to discontinue their services due to alarming levels of pollution in the river. These include Rangji, Govind Dev,  Radharaman, and Nathdwara’s Shrinathji to name a few. In fact, many people in Vrindavan used to perform daily puja of their personal deities with Yamuna Jal.

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Coming back to Rangji, the temple boasts a lofty tradition of Yamuna worship which began nearly 4500 years ago with the avatar of Bhu Devi, Godamma or Andal as she is popularly known. Andal longed to obtain Krishna as her husband, and the only way she knew was to follow in the footsteps of the Braj Gopikas who worshipped Devi Katyayini and Devi Yamuna in Dwapar Yug for the fulfilment of their desire.

As travelling all the way to Braj was not feasible for her, Andal worshipped the Yamuna by invoking her in the temple tank (‘Pushakarni’) of the Vatapatrasayi Vishnu Temple in the southern town of Srivilliputtur (Tamil Nadu), where she lived. Srivilliputtur became her Vrindavan, the temple was Nandbhavan, and her friends were the Gopis.  On the completion of the ‘vrata’, Bhagwan Shri Rangamannar appeared to her in a dream and married her. Andal merged into Him that very day.

The Shrivaishnav Sampradya celebrates her month-long vow as ‘Dhanurmaas’, of which early morning ‘Yamuna Snaan’ is the most essential element, in addition to the ‘Thiruppavais’ – a collection of 30 poems – one for each day – composed by Andal.

Even today, the Rangji temple area reverberates with the sounds of her transcendental hymns in the wee hours of morning during the months of December-January. But the Yamuna is not there. Even though Andal is now in Vrindavan, the river which granted her the highest of all desires, that of Krishna Bhakti, has to be invoked in the temple tank once again.

But it was not always so. Until 18 years back, Rangji temple followed the daily ritual which involved a retinue of priests heading to the Yamuna with complete paraphernalia comprising chatras, chadi-chamar, mashaal (two each),and two guards to bring water for Bhagwan Rangnath’s early morning abhishek. The tradition was instituted on the day the deity was consecrated in the temple.

During Dhanurmaas Godamma led the entourage accompanied by ‘Thiruppavai’ singing.  She still does, but her ‘Yamuna snaan’ has now been restricted to ‘Yamuna Darshan’ alone.

Another special occasion linked to the Yamuna is ‘Brahmotsavam’, on the ninth day of which both Devi Goda and Shri Rangamannar are taken to the Yamuna on a splendid sawari (palanquin). Before the Yamuna met this deadly fate, the day used to be marked with grand rituals and festivities beginning with ‘snaan’. It may be difficult for those who have seen the Yamuna only in the present state, but the special ‘vigrahas’ of the deity actually took a dip in the river. The event was attended by hundreds of devotees every year. Now Shri Goda-Rangnath’s ‘sawari’ travels only as far as the temple’s ‘Pushkarni’.

Given the significance of the Yamuna in the Sampradaya, the aggrieved temple and priest community tried its best to save the tradition, devising alternative ways to obtain pure water for seva. The archaks used to dig a deep hole on the river bank at night, and cover with it stones to avoid any disturbance. Overnight, clean water would seep in and collect in the pit. This water was used for the temple rituals next morning. However, the practice could not be carried on for long due to animals and miscreants.

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The Yamuna plays an inextricable role in the lilas and seva of Krishna, both of which are not only incomplete but impossible to conceive without her. This is true specifically of the Yamuna in Braj, where she is worshipped as the ‘Patrani’ – chief queen of Krishna. Her significance remains undiminished wherever His service is held in accordance with the principles of Braj Bhakti.

It is heartbreaking to see how despite its spiritual, ecological, and civilizational significance, the life and liberation-giving Yamuna is suffering this fate due to the apathy of the government and common public.

The post Pollution that affected the age old tradition of Shri Ranganath Temple appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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2022.04.10 (Vrindavan Today News Service): April 2 to 10, 2022 India is celebrating the festival of Chaitra Navaratri – the nine nights dedicated to Devi. Like everything else, Navratri in Braj is also subsumed in Krishna Bhakti, whether through the worship and contemplation of Radha and her ashtasakhis or through the nine manifestations of Devi associated with Krishna lilas in various forms and names. Everyday during ‘Navratri’ our articles will take readers on the trail of Braj’s own shakti peethas – the nine energy centers dedicated to celebrating the feminine. On the ninth day of Navratri, we pay our obeisance to Shri Chandravali Devi.

Nearly 15 km from Mathura, a cut across the Mathura-Baldev road, is situated the temple of Chandravali Devi. Every Monday and during the Navratri, hundreds of devotees gather to attend the temple fair, and pray to Devi for her blessings. Maa Chandravali is known to never disappoint her ‘bhaktas’.

A unique feature of this temple is that it has no roof. Not that the means to build one do not exist, but many devotees have tried and failed. All ‘purusharthas’ pale in front of Devi’s will who sits braving the seasons all alone in the desolate landscape, waiting for Krishn to come back.

Chandravali is one of Radha’s ashtsakhis, and she has been waiting in the wild ever since Dwapar Yuga. The story goes thus…

On seeing Radha and Krishna heading for Raas to the Yamuna bank, Chandravali insisted on joining them, but Krishna asked her to wait at the spot until he returns. Obeying his wish Chadravali sat down to rest under a ‘hees’ tree by the Yamuna. Seasons turned, and years passed before Krishna finally returned. Miffed at the delay, the irate Chandravali refused to talk to Him. So as to assuage her anger, Krishna granted her the boon of being worshipped in Kaliyuga in that very form which exemplified the soul’s wait for the divine.

When the time arrived, Devi Chandravali appeared to a Krishn devotee by the name Muralidhar in a dream, and instructed him to resurrect her form from under the ‘hees’ tree and consecrate it. Every year during Navratri a fair is organised in the temple. Devotees undertake different kinds of penances, and vows to please the ‘ever-waiting goddess’. Some travel barefoot on the treacherous road to her temple, others organise ‘dolas’ (sawari  or palanquin), ‘bhandaras’ and ‘kanya pujan’.

Tags: Chandravali, Ashtasakhis, Baldev Highway, Raas, Yamuna, Devi Temple, Kanya Pujan, Bhandara

The post Navratri Special (Day 9): Chandravali Devi, the goddess who refuses to accept a roof appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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2022.04.09 (Vrindavan Today News Service): April 2 to 10, 2022 India is celebrating the festival of Chaitra Navaratri – the nine nights dedicated to Devi. Like everything else, Navratri in Braj is also subsumed in Krishna Bhakti, whether through the worship and contemplation of Radha and her ashtasakhis or through the nine manifestations of Devi associated with Krishna lilas in various forms and names. Everyday during ‘Navratri’ our articles will take readers on the trail of Braj’s own shakti peethas – the nine energy centers dedicated to celebrating the feminine. On the eighth day of Navratri, we pay our obeisance to Maa Yogmaya Devi of Yogpeeth of Goma Teela.

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Steps to the under ground chamber of Patal Devi

During Chaitra Navaratri, ‘Vrindavan Today’ is introducing you to the different  Devi temples of Vraja Vrindavan. Today, we take you for darshan of ‘Maa Yogmaya’ of Goma Teela (the mound upon which Govind Dev temple is built). Among Brajwasis, Goma Teela  Yogamaya  is also known as ‘Patal Devi’. Yogamaya’s nickname ‘Patal Devi’ may refer to her position under the ground, as Patal Lok is the lowest of the three worlds.

The name also indicates Durga Maya’s ability to subdue demons from the underworld. The entrance to Yogmaya temple  is adjacent to the main alter of the iconic old red sandstone building that is Radha Govinda Temple. On the Southern side of the temple, built into the overall design, there is a raised entranceway that leads into an underground chamber. This chamber is generally accepted as the place where the original Govinda ji deity appeared, and supposedly once served as a subterranean bhajan kutir for Roop Goswami. Patal Devi is installed in the underground chamber.

The deity is very small and delicately beautiful. Yogamaya temple only opens a couple of times in a year, during Navaratri. On other days, special permission has to be requested from the priest on the altar. Before Govinda Dev was moved to Jaipur, He was seated on the main altar with Vrinda Devi on the left and Yogamaya on the right. Now Vrinda Devi has been moved to Kama and Yogamaya has moved to Roop Goswami’s bhajan kutir, next to the temple. Patal Devi temple is closed for the entire year except on Navaratri. It is not easy to have darshan of Yogmaya Devi. On request, the temple priest at Govind Dev temple can open the door to allow visitors to enter the basement chamber where the deity of goddess Yogamaya is installed. There is an inner passage from Sanctum Sanctorum of the main alter, from where the priests have direct access to the ‘Yog-peeth’.

The post Navratri Special (Day-8): Maa Yogmaya of Goma Teela appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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The Devis Bandi, Anandi, and Manovancha are the clan goddesses or kuldevis of Shri Krishna. Krishna and Balaram’s tonsure ceremony, and also that of Pradyumna, Aniruddh, and Vajranabh from the successive generations, were held at their temple in Mahavan.

The miracles of Ma Bandi-Anandi are narrated in the third and fourth chapters of the tenth canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam. When Vasudev had to sneak out of Kamsa’s prison to exchange Krishna with Nanda and Yashoda’s daughter in Gokul, Ma Bandi not only freed him from the tethers, but also caused the gatekeepers to go into deep sleep and the gates to unlock miraculously. Ma Anandi, on the other hand, was the one who showered Gokul with ‘anand’ (joy) on the appearance of Krishna.

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It is customary for new brides of the Yaduvanshi Jadon clan pay their first respects to Maa Bandi-Anandi after marriage. The Anand kund (pond), where their vigrahas were found, is situated near the temple. According to the Garga Samhita, Devi Bandi and Anandi presented Shri Radha with beautiful tilak and earrings for her Maharaas shringaar.

Devi Manovancha answered Yashoda’s prayers by protecting her dear son from the many troubles that kept befalling him over and over again. Even today people pray to her for relief from afflictions like squint eye and stammering, and offer silver tongue and eyes to Devi when their wishes are fulfilled.

The post Maa Bandi, Anandi and Manovancha, Mahavan appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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