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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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A108-AI

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The Shani Dev temple is situated 8 km away from the town of Kosi Kalan In Mathura District. This place of pilgrimage is known as Kokilavan, where Shri Krishna appeared in the form of a Cuckoo, to give darshan to the Gopis. But now it is also widely recognized as Shani Dhaam. Thousands of devotees come here every Saturday to pray to the deity of Lord Shani.

This Pilgrimage destination of Braj is now being developed by the Uttar Pradesh Braj Teerth Vikas Parishad. Shanidham in Kokilavan has become a well-known place of worship in Braj. After seeing an increase in the number of devotees, the government agencies have started to work on the beautification of  Shani Dham.

Developmental activities are being carried in this area. PWD has created a four lane and the Mathura – Vrindavan Development Authority (MVDA) has put lights on the dividers. Uttar Pradesa Braj Teerth Vikas Parishad (UPBTVP) is planning to to construct a Parikrama Marg in lines of the Parikrama Marg build at the Giriraj Parikrama in Govardhan. This signifies that the Government is focusing on better transportation facilities in this region.

images.jpgDue to the growing popularity of Shani Dham, devotees from the different parts of the country visit here every Saturday. Among them, most of the devotees are from Delhi. Seeing the increasing footfall at Shani Dev Temple in Kosikalan, the different government agencies have begun to develop it as another important pilgrimage center in Braj.

This temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shani and Shri Radha Krishna is also worshiped here. According to the Vedic scriptures, Shani dev is considered to be a demigod who looks after Karma, justice, and retribution and delivers results depending upon one’s karma or deeds.

This very ancient temple is located in Kokilavan which gets its name from a beautiful pastime of Shri Krishna.  It is said that, Lord Shree Kṛṣṇa gave darshan to the Gopis in the form of a Kokila or cuckoo bird,  hence this place is known as Kokilvan.

31_10_2020-kokilavan-dham-shanidev-mandir_20991635.jpgParikrama Marg of Kokilavan to be widened.

Uttar Pradesh Braj Teerth Vikas Parishad (UPBTVP) is planning to build Shani Dham Parikrama Marg in the lines of Govardhan Parikrama. In this process they are planning to widen the 3 km long Parikrama marg with a width of 8 meter. They have planned to construct 4 meter wide metalled road and 4 meter wide un – metalled road in the 3 kilometer long parikrama. This project is estimated to be approximately Rupees 7 crore.

However there’s not much done to get the NOC from the department of forestry. Kaushalendra Chaudhary, the Executive Engineer of the Mathura – Vrindavan Development Authority (MVDA) informed that they were waiting for the NOC for the development of the Parikrama Marg from the Forestry Department. Some objections were raised by the department, which have been resolved; he added.

kokilavan-shani-dev-mandir.jpgHistory of Shani Dev and Kokilavan

The famous Shani Dev Temple, also known as Kokilavan Dham, at Kosi Kalan near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh is the place where Shri Krishna gave darshan to Shani Dev (God Shani). The temple is visited by thousands of devotees on Saturday.

There is an interesting story associated with Shri Krishna and Shani Dev and the Kokilavan Dham. Legend has it that when Lord Krishna was born all Devas (demigods) visited Nandgaon. Shani Dev too came to see little Krishna but Mother Yashoda did not let him see young Krishna, as she believed that Shanidev might bring bad upon Krishna.

Shani felt disappointed and went to a nearby forest and started performing austerities (tapas). He wanted to know why he was being sidelined when he does his duty of punishing people according to their Karma. It is said that Shani only creates trouble to those people who commits bad Karma. Moved by Shani’s plight, Shri Krishna appeared before him in the forest and asked him to stay near Nandgaon. He also granted him the boon that whoever visited his temple will be immediately freed from troubles.

There is another story associated to the Kokilavan. In his teenage, Krishna visited the same place and attracted gopis with the music of His flute. When the gopis arrived, Krishna appeared in the form of a Koyal (Cuckoo). That place came to be known as Kokilavan.

The Kokilavan Shani Temple is just five  km from Kosi on the Nandgaon-Barsana road.

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Four Secrets of Gita


Shri Vraja Dhama

avatars-000211408697-ouagbe-t500x500.jpgBy Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Do you know the four secret teachings of Bhagavad Gita? In chapters 1-6, Sri Krishna teaches the truth about karm, gyan and yoga. Then Krishna says, “O Arjun! Because you are NONENVIOUS (anusuya) of Me and very dear (ishto -si -me -drdham: 18.64), I will now tell you four secret teachings which will make your life perfect, sublime and successful.”

  1. Guhyam (secret knowledge) Knowledge of brahman or brahma-gyan 18.54 brahma bhuta. This is the knowledge that I am an eternal spiritual being, jivatma, etc. which is essential for liberation and described in Chapters 2-3.
  2. Guhyatara (more secret knowledge) Knowledge of Antaryami or paramatma-gyan (18.61-63). This is the knowledge to see Bhagavan as the background and essence of everything great as described in chapters 7-8.

It culminates in (18.61) where Sri Krishna says, “Bhagavan is in your heart as Antaryami directing you. So take shelter of Him (sharanam gaccha), and by Antaryami’s mercy (tat –prasadat) you will attain supreme peace in the eternal realm (param –shantim –sthanam –prapsyasi =shashvatam)”

  1. Guhyatamam (most secret knowledge) (9.1) This is bhagavat-gyan or personal knowledge about Bhagavan appearing in chapter nine which describes pure devotion, ananya: manasa, bhakti, cinta and bhak in verses 13, 14, 22, 30 and its characteristics.

Although pure, this devotion is devoid of prema-sambandha with Krishna and the relishing of rasa in personal loving exchanges. Guhyam is positive knowledge, guhyatara is comparative, and guhyatamam is superlative knowledge.

  1. Sarva Guhyatamam (18.65) (topmost secret of all secret spiritual teachings) Bhagavan and Krishna prema. This is the zenith of pure bhakti which is full of rasa and personal loving dealings with Sri Krishna.

man -manah -bhava -mad -bhakto,
mad -yaji -mam -namaskuru

Sri Krishna says, “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer obeisances unto Me. Then certainly you will come to Me. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” (Bhagavat Gita 18.65)

Sri Jiva Goswamipada tika: “In this verse (18.65) Sri Krishna shows His special love for Arjuna, and vows (satyam te) that those who become His devotees will return to the spiritual world.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada:

“Man-mana -bhava means completely absorbing your mind in Me, Shyamsundar with beautiful eyes raining nectar in the form of glances of sweet mercy.

“Mad-bhaktah means be My devotee, dedicate all your senses to Me, and adore Me by hearing, chanting, seeing My mürti, picking flowers, etc.

“Mad-yaji means worship Me by offering Me scented oils, flowers, incense, lamp and naivedya.

“Mam –namaskuru means just offer respects unto Me by falling on the ground like a stick.

“Mam –eva –eshyasi means you can think of Me with the mind, serve Me with your senses, worship Me with items, offer dandavats to Me or just do one of these and YOU WILL ATTAIN ME (eshyasi).

“Satyam te means I swear and promise you without any doubt that in return for your offerings I will give My very self to you!’

“Hearing this promise, Arjun says doubtingly, ‘Well Krishna! People born in Mathura are famous for always making such “promises” in every other sentence. So how can I believe You?’

“Krishna replies, ‘That is true Arjun. So under oath (pratijane) I vow and declare that you are dear to Me (priyo se me). And no one ever cheats a person dear to himself.’”

Srila Prabhupada comments: “Now Krishna gives the most confidential knowledge (sarva guhyatamam). In (9.34), Krishna repeats the same instruction to stress that this is the ESSENCE of GITA, the ESSENCE of KNOWLEDGE, and the MOST IMPORTANT instruction in all the VEDAS. But [unfortunately] this essence is not understood by a common person!” (tika Bhagavat Gita 18.64)

Comments Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: His heart melting with mercy, Sri Krishna speaks His supreme teaching (paramam –vacah Bg.18.64) in verse 18.65, which is the topmost secret of all secrets (sarva guhyatamam). This verse 18.65 says become Krishna’s devotee, think always of Krishna, and humbly worship, love and serve Krishna for His pleasure.

Krishna directs Arjun and all of us to fix our minds on Krishna in His supremely beautiful, rasika, and most complete transcendental form, Shyamsundara. Always think of Krishna as the most playful, carefree and romantic beautiful blue Prince of Vraja with bouncy black hair sporting fluttering peacock feathers in its crest.

Although Krishna gave so many spiritual teachings in Gita, His final word is that just by accepting Krishna’s love you can attain all spiritual perfection. Since this verse contains Krishna’s paramam –vacha, it means this teaching supersedes all others previously given in Gita.

It is crystal clear from Sri Krishna own words and the commentaries of all acharyas that 18.65, man manah bhava mad bhakto, is the topmost secret and essence of all the wisdom and teachings given in the wonderful Bhagavad Gita.

Nevertheless, many Bharatvasis believe that the essence of Gita is the following verse (18.65), which is the most well known and most frequently quoted verse of the Bhagavad Gita.

sarva-dharman -parityajya, mam -ekam -sharanam -vraja,
aham -tvam -sarva-papebhyo, moksha -yishyami -ma -shucah

Sri Krishna says, “O Arjuna! Give up all varna and ashram duties and just take shelter in Me alone. I will free and liberate you from all sins, do not grieve.”

Sridhar Swamicharan tika: “This verse describes giving up etc. Here Sri Krishna says, ‘You should have firm conviction that everything will come through devotion to Me. So give up your slavery to Vedic injunctions, and just take refuge in Me alone. And do not grieve (ma -shucah) that by living like this you will incur sin for neglecting your duties. For I will liberate from all sins.”

Love and attachment are the essential elements and basis of surrendering to another. First attraction, then love which leads to attachment and culminates in complete surrender. After teaching Arjuna and all of us the topmost secret of divine wisdom (sarva guhyatamam), namely love, submission and service, now Krishna encourages us to surrender everything without any fear.

If love and attachment are strong then one can give up everything for the sake of the beloved without any fear or hesitation. Absolute loving submission itself is a form of moksha, freedom from eons of bondage to ego.

In Gita, Krishna directs us to love and serve Him which inevitably leads to giving up everything for Krishna with the realization that such renunciation will bring the ultimate reward of transcendence to a divine realm of endless peace, joy and happiness in the loving service of Sri Sri Radha Govinda Yugala.

Don’t be afraid, just do it! Fall in love with Krishna and fearlessly forget everything else!

So the conclusion is that divine love, rapturous Krishna prema, is the topmost of all secrets, the supreme essence of Gita upadesh (18.65), and the basis of one’s giving up the entire world for the loving embrace of Shyamsundara (18.66).

Gita shiksha sar ki jai! Krishna prema seva ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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This Saturday, the 11th of December marks the beginning of the ‘Sheet Nikunj Seva Mahotsava’ at Shri Radharaman Temple. The 13 days long seva will be dedicated to Thakur Shri Radharaman ji under the guidance of Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami ji Maharaj & Acharya Venu Gopal ji Maharaj. Acharya Shri Abhinav Goswami and Acharya Shri Suvarna Goswami ji will perform the Seva from Mangala Aarati in the early morning and Shyan Aarati in the night.

258768545_2746948635605225_725223922938330770_n.jpgThis year the ‘Seva Mahotsava’ will be held from 11th December to 24th December, 2021. Each morning during the ‘Seva Mahotsava’, a complete reading of Shrimad Bhagvatam will be performed by 26 Sanskrit scholars. Rendition of Shri Chaitanya Bhagvatam will be performed by the Bengali Vaishnavas. In addition to this, the auspicious prayers of Gopal Sahasranam and Narayan Kavach will also be chanted by the Brahmins during the ‘seva’.

Each day Shri Radharaman will give darshan from a new ‘Kunj’ (Grove)’, to be decorated at the Sanctum Sanctorum for the pleasure of His devotees. These Kunj will be decorated according to the 12 ‘rasa’ required for performing the devotional services, as suggested by Shri Rupa Goswami Pada.  Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya, Madhurya are some of the 12 ‘rasas’ for performing the devotional service.

Each ‘Jhanki’ i.e portrayal will be accompanied by the appropriate music and songs describing Radharaman’s lila at that moment.

The daily raag seva will be brought to life by different vocalists. A special ceremony called Rajopachar Seva will be offered to the Lord twice a day during Shringar Aarati and Sandhya Aarati. The devotees will hold flags and other sacred symbols during the Aaratis.

Radharaman ji will wear gorgeous new outfits specially woven by the family of Mahahraj ji. New jewelries will also be offered to Him. Special Khichdi Bhog will be offered to the Lord during the ‘Winter Seva’. 

15356643_1434017543305862_6647108359227351289_n-edited.jpg‘Vyanjan Dwadashi’ which is also known as Mini Annakoot also falls during the ‘Seva Mahotsava, on 15th December. The festival of Vyanjan Dwadashi is an auspicious Dwadashi vrata, which is observed on Margshirsha Shukla Dwadashi (12th day in bright fortnight in Margsheesha month).

Vyanjan Dwadashi marks the beginning of ‘Khichdi Bhog’ offering to Shri Radharaman Dev. Different delicacies will be offered to Shri Radharaman Lal on this day.

It should be noted that His Holiness Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami Maharaj is a senior Acharya of Shri Radharaman Temple and Internationally renowned personality. He is the Founding Trustee of ‘Vrindavan Today News’.  Maharaj ji is also founder of the environmental group of ‘Friends of Vrindavan’.

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Banke Bihari appearance day celebrated


Shri Vraja Dhama

12_12_2018-festival_of_vrindavan_swami_haridas_18740210-1-650x445.jpg

banke-bihari-prakatya-utsav_1575207304.jpgThe devotees were joyfully singing this bhajan while celebrating the appearance day of Thakur Banke Bihari ji Maharaj. The festival was celebrated on Bihar Panchami. Many Congratulatory religious ceremonies were conducted on this occasion. A special’ Mangal Badhai Gayan’ or Congratulatory singing was organized in Nidhivan. The whole of Vrindavan was in a celebration mood on the appearance day of their adored Lord.

Devotees everywhere were heard calling out “Banke Bihari ji Maharaj ki jai.” The temple of Banke Bihari echoed with the sound, “Happy Birthday Bihari ji”.

 The celebrations began in early morning in Nidhivan where Banke Bihari first appeared, pleased by the devotion of Swami Haridas. The entire premises of Nidhivan as well as the Banke Bihari mandir and its surrounding were decorated with flowers, flags, festoons, balloons and lights.

The Mahabhishek was performed at the appearance place in Nidhivan at 5 am, where a ceremonial bath was given to the footprints (charan) of Banke Bihari ji with milk, ghee, curd, honey, sugar etc. The ceremonial Mahabhishek was performed by Bhikki Goswami, Bacchu Goswami, Rohit Goswami and others. In the temple, the Mahabhishek was performed at 7 am in full view of the devotees.

The perfumes of hina, rose and kesar were sprayed in the temple and the deity of Bihari ji was dressed with special saffron clothes with work of silver and jewels. A maha-arati was also performed following the bathing ritual.

265081898_4602664446507123_3693520736957471021_n.jpgIn the Prakatyotsav of Thakur ji, congratulatory singing and singing of hymns started from the morning itself. A Grand Congratulatory Procession (Badhai Shobha Yatra) was taken out from Nidhivanraj temple to Thakur Banke Bihari Temple. at around 8 o’clock in the morning along with the Saint Haridasi devotee Parrikar. An image of Swami Haridas was seated on the Silver Chariot, which was the special attraction of the procession.

Goswamis from the temple informed that on the day of Bihar Panchami, yellow clothes, golden ornaments for adornment, various types of fragrant flowers, dry fruits-pudding-kheer and 56 bhog are offered to the child form of Thakur ji.

Bihar Panchami is a day to remember the appearance of Shri Banke Bihari ji as well as Swami Haridas ji Maharaj’s devotion to the Lord.

The Congratulatory procession consisted of several brass bands, other musical performing groups, decorated horses, high flags and kirtan groups. It was headed by decorated tableaus carrying the images of Swami Haridas ji and Radha Krishna sitting on his lap and Shri Vitthal Vipul Dev ji.

Saints from different akharas walked with the procession carrying the respective signs belonging to their akhara. The dandia dance of the women devotees was the center of attraction. The women devotees were dancing and singing badhai. A rope was encircled with sticks around the group of women devotees who were performing the dandia dance so that street traffic would not disturb it. The procession passed through the main bazaars of Vrindavan to reach the Banke Bihari temple at 1 p.m by the time of Rajbhog at noon. The Goswamis welcomed the procession on reaching the temple. The image of Swami ji was taken inside the temple and then Rajbhog was offered to Bihari ji.

Devotees believe that Bihari ji enjoys the prasadam offered by Swami Haridas ji with his own hands, sitting on his lap on this day. After Rajbhog aarti, at the end of the celebrations, the Prasad was distributed among the devotees.

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7131260e-502c-4238-9263-abd03659d86e-768x768.jpgThousands of devotees gathered in Vrindavan to attend the funeral of Spiritual leader and Devotional Singer Baba Rasika Pagal on Sunday. The noted Devotional Singer passed away on Saturday evening in Vrindavan from kidney ailments. Baba was cremated with full honor of the Haridasi Sampradaya, in which he was initiated. Many of the prominent saints, preachers and devotional singers participated in his last rites, held on the bank of Yamuna in Vrindavan.

A large funeral procession started from his ashram, it passed through different lanes and markets of Vrindavan, where large number of his followers and admirers showered flower petals on his mortal remains. Baba was taken to Banke Bihari Mandir, where the garlands of Banke Bihari ji were offered on his body, then the funeral procession reached Nidhivan, from where the Braj raj (Holy dust of Vrindavan) was spread on him. The body was later taken to Tatiasthan, where the saints of the ashram paid homage to Baba and the dust of the Sacred place was sprinkled on him, before the procession finally proceeded to Vanshivat for cremation.

Popular bhajan singer and saint Baba Rasika Pagal attained Braj-raj on Saturday night due to kidney failure. He was 55.  Baba was sick for last three years and was suffering from diabetes and was in support of dialysis. Baba took his last breath at Vrindavan’s Rama Krishna Mission Hospital on Saturday evening.

Born in Vrindavan’s Purana Bajaja, Raya wali gali on 1st January 1967, Baba was the third among his four brothers and sisters. According to his old friend’s accounts Baba was always keen on learning music. He was always devoted to Banke Bihari ji and used to sing bhajans since his childhood. Baba Rasika Pagal performed hundreds of devotional concerts. Most of the songs sung by him was composed by himself. His Bhajans were very popular among the youngsters.

Born to Shri Ram Singh and Smt. Bhonta, Baba lost his parents at an early age.

28cfb437-f05a-4a67-86cb-613543ac8514.jpgHe grew up under the guidance of his older brother Chandan Singh, who happened to be his first guru in the field of music. Chandan Singh used to sell Kachodis to support his family and Baba helped his brother in his business. Chandan Singh was also a great artists who used to participate in Ramlilas and played the role of Bali, Hanuman and Ravan. He also practiced singing. Baba watched his brother participating in the theatres and practicing singing the devotional songs. He had also desire to learn music. Baba learned singing from his elder brother Chandan Singh.

Baba left home over some minor disagreement and dispute with his sister in law. He spent time pulling cycle rickshaw during his youth to earn his livelihood. Baba was never married and practiced celibacy rules in his life. While pulling the rickshaw he sang the devotional bhajans, and entertained his customers. In his free time, he used to sing the Sawaiya of Raskhan and the bhajan composed by himself standing outside the Banke Bihari temple.

Impressed by his singing, people began gathering around him and repeated the bhajans sung by him. Sometimes people offered him the money. It didn’t go well with the people associated with the temple. They started objecting his singing standing outside Bihariji temple. They criticized people offering him the money. Baba was disappointed seeing some people’s envy for him. This incidence became a turning point in his life. Baba decided to renounce and stopped touching the money.

He took initiation in Haridasi sampradaya and started singing in different places. His potential was noticed by some officer from the T – Series company, who gave him a break in his life by getting his songs recorded in T-Series music company. The cassettes were later released in the market. Several Bhajan singers have been benefitted practicing under Baba’s guidance. They were also initiated by Baba. Chitra – Bichitra, Mohini Sharan are some of the famous names among Baba’s disciples.

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Ten Unique Powers of Vrindavan


Shri Vraja Dhama

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by Shri Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

For all Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Vrindavan is the topmost place of sadhana bhajan. Shri Krishna Chaitanya Himself set the example of staying here for four months, totally immersed in gopi-bhava i.e. Radha’s premonmada mahabhava.

Roaming around Vraja, Mahaprabhu went mad searching for that elusive King of love divine, the all-attractive, Master of sweet bliss eternal—Shri Krishna! After partially recovering from His eternal swoon of love in separation from Syama, Gaurahari left Vraja and returned to His circle of loving friends.

In great ecstasy, Gauranga then ordered His antaranga bhaktas, the six Goswamis, to go live in Vrindavan—serve, search and cry for Krishna, and teach others to do the same.

For fifty-years or more of their manifest presence, the Goswamis—Shri Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta, Gopala and Dasa Raghunatha, and Shri Jiva - LIVED IN VRNDAVANA. They showed the ideal of Radha-Krishna sadhana bhakti for all Gaudiya Vaishnavas.

Their lives, books, bhajans, and eternal blessings teach us how to live in Vrindavan in the mood of Shrimati Radharani’s eternal maidservants i.e. dasis, manjaris. Like the Goswamis, the fervent, hankering bhaktas will internally serve Radhika with their minds, and externally through bhajan, tears and endless prayers to see Her beloved sweet Syama.

Jai Jai Shri Radhe

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Ten Phenomenal Powers

To encourage everyone to live in Vrindavan doing Krishna bhakti sadhana, Shri Rupa, the very form of Shri Radha’s beauty and compassion, wrote extensively about the glories of Shridhama Vrindavan. In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Shri Rupa Goswamipada describes ten uniquely astonishing attributes of Vrindavan, unavailable anywhere else in the universe!

1) All in Vraja! Other Yatras Not Needed

In Adi Purana, Bhagavan Shri Krishna says:

mathuram -ca -parityajya,
yon -yatra -kurute -ratim
mudho -bhramati -samsara,
mohita -mama -mayaya

“Only a fool, wandering in samsara and bewildered by My maya, will leave Vrindavan out of attraction to go somewhere on a yatra.” (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.211)

One might argue, “But Bharata-bhumi is filled with all kinds of sacred places, tirthas, and dhamas like Prayaga, Puskara, Haridvara, Kanchi, Dvaraka, Ayodhya, Shri Rangam, Ramesvaram, and Badrinatha. So why can’t we go on tirtha yatras to see all these wonderful places?”

Of course, anyone can go; there is no law against it. Indeed, these sacred places can purify one and even grant mukti. But why leave Braja, since the Six Goswamis never did that once they settled here? They stayed 24/7 in Vrindavan and quoted so many sastras to encourage others to live here too.

In fact, Shri Rupa Goswamipada’s “Shri Mathura Mahatyam” contains over four-hundred Vedic verses proving the supreme efficacy of Braja vasa, and the incredible benefits of living and dying here.

To establish Vrindavan Dhama above all the other sacred places like those listed above, Shri Rupa Goswamipada quotes the Padma Purana on residing in Mathura/Vrindavan:

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anyesu –punya -tirthesu
muktir -eva –maha -phalam
muktaih -prarthya -harer -bhaktir
mathurayam tu labhyate

“Mukti is the topmost fruit to be gained at other sacred places. But HARI BHAKTI, which even the liberated desire, is only attainable in Mathura/Vrindavan!”

aho -madhu -puri -dhanya
vaikunthac -ca -gariyasi
dinam -ekam -nivasena
harau -bhaktih -prajayate

“Aho! Wow! The sweet land of Mathura/Vrindavan is most auspicious and even superior to Vaikuntha. By staying here only one day, Hari bhakti will appear! (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.2.135, 137)

In the following, most beautiful, poetic and musical Sanskrit verse, Shri Rupa Goswamipada summarizes nine more powers of Braja, elaborately described in the Puranas (khyatam-puranesu-na-vistara-bhiyocyate). In these nine ways, Mathura/Vrindavan fulfil desires.

sruta- smrta –kirtita -ca
vanchita- preksita -gata
sprsta- srita sevita -ca
mathur -abhista -da -nrnam

“[Due to the unlimited power of Vrindavan], anyone can fulfil their cherished desires [for Krishna’s eternal service] simply by:

2) Hearing about Vrindavan (sruta).

3) Remembering Vrindavan (smrta).

4) Glorifying Vrindavan (kirtita).

5) Desiring Vrindavan (vanchita).

6) Seeing Vrindavan (preksita).

7) Visiting Vrindavan (gata).

8) Touching Vrindavan (sprsta).

9) Living in Vrindavan (asrita).

10) Serving Vrindavan (sevita).”

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Shri Jiva Goswami’s commentary

“The word preksita (#6) means seeing Vrindavan from a distance, or going near but without direct contact. Shrita (#9) means accepting Vrindavan as one’s shelter [residence]. Sevita (#10) means serving Vrindavan by cleaning, beautifying, repairing old temples, etc.

The items in this list fulfil the desires of all beings with successively increasing power. Thus, the last item, sevita, serving Vrindavan is the most powerful!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das comments:

Regarding (#9), living in Vraja, in Padma Purana (Patala-khanda), Shri Rudra says to Shri Parvati:

aho -madhu -puri -dhanya
yatra –tisthati -kamsaha
tatra -deva -munih -sarve
vasam -icchanti -sarvada

“Aho! Wow! The sweet land of Mathura/Vrindavan, where Kamsari Shri Krishna resides eternally, is so valuable and fortunate. Even all the munis and devas desire to always live there.” (Laghu Bhagavatamrta I.5.433)

Thus, the conclusion of sastra, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the example and teachings of the six Goswamis is that Gaudiya Vaishnavas should live in and serve Vrindavan, while continually practicing raganuga bhakti bhajan in the mood and manner of the sakhi/manjaris of Shrimati Radharani in Goloka Vrindavan.

Shri Dhama Vrindavan vasa ki jai! Six Goswamis ki jai!

Jai Jai Shri Radhe!

A108-AI

Cheer Lila happened in the month of Margshirsha


Shri Vraja Dhama

By Shri Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Dasa Babaji

5a6946f682274812fecf966b-1-1024x683.jpg← Thakur Shri Cheer Bihari at Cheer Ghat, Vrindavan

In this month (November-December), Shri Krishna stole the clothes of the Vraja kumaris and adopted the mood of their husband to fulfill the purpose of their month long Katyayani Vrata. Of the twelve months in a year, this month represents Bhagavan Shri Krishna as Krishna says in Gita (10.35), “Among all months, I am the month of November-December, mrgashirsha aham.”

The story of the gopis complete surrender to Bhagavan, and Shri Krishna’s playful loving reciprocation is narrated in Tenth Canto chapter 22 (Gopi Vastra Harana) of the Shrimad Bhagavatam. For your divine pleasure and meditation during japa, we offer you the following description of this pastime taken from Ananda Vrindavana Campu (ch. 12) by Kavi Karnapura:

One day in Vrindavana, the intense hope of Dhanya-sakhi and the other attractive Vraja kumaris to attain Krishna as their husband blossomed like a flower on the desire tree of their hearts. To fulfill their desires, the unmarried damsels decided to worship Katyayani Devi, a form of Yogamaya who connects devotees with Shri Krishna.

With great enthusiasm they collected all the articles to execute the Katyayani vrata. The transcendental bodies of the gopis displayed a distinct type of beauty while they underwent the hardship of the vrata. The Vrajavasis, astonished at the intensity of the gopis penance and emaciated conditions, all felt pity for them.

Every day before sunrise, the young ladies would meet together, lovingly embrace each other, exchange cordial words and proceed to the Yamuna while loudly singing about the qualities of Hari. Their melodious voices, rich in rhythm and precise intonations, blended harmoniously with the soft notes of their vinas. A sweet smell emanated from their mouths as the gopis engaged in kirtana.

Upon arriving at the Yamuna, the impatient Vraja kumaris immediately threw off their woolen shawls. The blissful bodies of the gopis, covered by thin white cotton bathing outfits, looked more beautiful than a stream of falling snow. The gopis shivered and softly sighed due to the chilly morning air. The quivering of their leaf bud-like lips revealed the splendor of their pearly white teeth.

Reacting to the biting cold, the gopis made a comic scene by slapping their arms and crossing their legs in various novel postures. The gopis smiled gently and giggled upon noticing their friends feeling the same way.

krishna-stealing-the-cloths-of-the-gopis.jpgThe Vraja kumaris climbed down the bank, and slowly entered the Yamuna while ignoring the cold. After completing their baths, the gopis joyfully ran back up the riverbank. They felt elated over courageously tolerating the painful cold winter waters of Yamunaji.

After bathing and drying their creeper-like bodies, the gopis looked even more beautiful as they filled their lotus mouths with the sweet names of Krishna. Then the kumarikas made a murti of goddess Katyayani and together performed the puja. They offered handfuls of flowers, padyam, arghyam, acamana, madhuparka, aromatic massage oils, camphor scented water, a costly sari, ointments of aguru and musk, incense made from Krishna aguru, khus and guggul, ghee lamps, naivedyam of milk, butter, rock candy, bananas, coconut, mung dal, malpoa, sweet rice, cooked grains, and little tasty cakes topped with powered rock candy.

While offering the various items to Katyayani, the gopis prayed, “O Devi, please help us meet our beloved Krishna! Please arrange for us to bathe in the nectar of Krishna’s association.”

They also chanted the following mantra with clear pronunciation and full feelings:

katyayani maha-maye, maha-yogin yadhishvari,
nanda-gopa-sutam devi, patim me kuru te namah

“O goddess Katyayani! O Mahamaya (i.e. Yogamaya)! O greatest of mystic yoginis and mighty controller of all! Please make the son of Nanda Maharaja our husband. We offer our obeisance unto you.”

Each gopi chanted the mantra while mentally expressing their individual desires i.e. “O Mahesvari! Please shower your mercy upon us; You are called Yogamaya, the internal spiritual potency of Maha-Visnu, who possesses all energies. So you have the power to do the impossible; O Devi! You are the pinnacle of all auspiciousness. Your orders and glories are sitting like a swan on the heads of all the devatas. You are expert in worshiping Krishna and you are the supreme Vaishnavi; You perfectly understand the minds of all living entities. So please fulfill our desire to achieve Krishna as our husband.”

Throughout the days and nights of the entire month of Margashirsha, the Vraja kumarikas performed their Katyayani Vrata with unswerving zeal. Their throats always sung about Krishna’s qualities. As the days passed, the gopis offered more items and increased the standard of worship. Katyayani-devi was pleased with their immaculate offerings and regular worship. The all-auspicious Katyayani Maa fulfills desires, and bestows mercy and happiness upon those qualified with a pure heart.

Reciprocating with the young damsels of Vrajabhumi, Devi appeared within their minds saying, “O auspicious girls! You are the embodiments of Krishna’s conjugal attraction. Your sincere prayers ornament your heart and indicate your sincere longing for Krishna. Very soon you will attain the association of Krishna according to your individual tastes.” After communicating this, Katyayani disappeared from their hearts.

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Cheer Ghat area of Rural Braj

Anticipating the forthcoming success of their austerities, the gopis succumbed to a playful mood and stood up excitedly. Then following the local customs, they bathed naked in the Yamuna. Elated and enthused, the gopis joyfully pushed and squeezed each other.

The prema of the young gopis reached perfection because it had the desire to give bliss to Krishna as its only goal. Knowing this, Govinda left the happiness of herding the cows and playing with His intimate friends. Taking a few toddlers with Him, Krishna went to perform pastimes with the gopis in order make the bud of their heart’s prema blossom into a flower.

Shri Krishna is an unfathomable reservoir of steadiness and all other good qualities, yet He often displays a unique type of fickleness. Crouching down and casting a few furtive glances and a mischievous smile, Krishna adopted the mood of a thief and arrogantly snatched the gopis’ garments from the bank of the Yamuna. After hushing up His little friends, Krishna slung the gopis’ clothes over His shoulder and quickly climbed to the top of a kadamba tree. Sitting on a branch, Krishna glanced toward the gopis and listened to their chatter.

Upon coming out of the Yamuna and not seeing their clothes, the gopis exclaimed with surprise, “Who stole our clothes?” While arguing over the various possibilities, they looked fearfully here and there with their wide blue eyes that resembled the petals of a blue lotus.

Seeing their plight, Vrajendrakumara assumed a splendid aura of beauty as He sat on the kadamba tree. Then Vidagdha Krishna joked with the gopis in a sweet, clear voice soaked in a nectar unknown even to celestials. “I have stolen your sparkling pure garments just to enchant your minds and relish some pleasurable pastimes. Now you can come here one by one or all together to collect your clothes.”

The Vraja kanyas, with gleaming teeth and bashful faces, stood silently without yielding to Krishna’s demand. They were thinking that Krishna might not keep His promise to return their clothes. So they deliberately refused to answer for a long time, or even look toward the kadamba tree. Finally giving up their shyness, they gopis spoke in such a way to show their disgust with Krishna’s naughty behavior.

252777239_1943370515828701_3036348291368919998_n.jpg← Clothes hanging on the Kadamba tree

At that time, the sweet dancing of their lotus eyes and the darting movements of their eyebrows captivated all directions. Through their affectionate solicitations and entreaties, that appeared both witty and respectful at the same time, the innocent gopis showed their shyness with their smiling faces sending waves of sweetness in all directions.

Mustering her courage, one gopi said, “O Krishna! Are You not the respectable son of the great king of Vrindavana who instructs everyone in proper behavior? Are You not the all-attractive ocean of good qualities full of waves of compassion? Are You not the personified bliss of Vrindavana, illuminating the eyes of everyone with Your effulgent limbs? Are You not learned in all sastras and weapons? Therefore, why are suddenly performing such an unjust and abominable act?”

Another gopi spoke up, “Why did You steal our splendid garments? Is this Your idea of fun? It will not bring You any good; but rather it will make You infamous. Now just follow the path of honor, play fair and return our clothes.”

Shri Krishna, touched by their humble entreaties, said, “When I said come and take your beautiful clothes, I was not telling a lie.”

The young unmarried girls were intensely eager to attain Krishna. Thus they felt they could no longer ignore the harsh demands of this rarely achieved person. However, inside themselves the gopis waged a war with the forces of shyness trying to hold them back, and the forces of desire pushing them forward.

The gopis could not move forward because the power of their moral character equaled that of their strong attraction to Krishna. Though saturated with Krishna prema, modesty subdued their ecstatic bliss. Glancing restlessly here and there from the corners of their eyes, the gopis came to the Yamuna’s bank with great difficulty. Due to shyness, they hid behind each other while trying to cover themselves from Krishna’s curious gaze.

Then Krishna said, “O sakhis! Why are you afraid of Me? Now stand in a straight line, come before Me, and exhibit your splendid beauty. If you do what I say, then easily you will get your clothes.”

The Vraja kumaris attentively listened to Krishna’s pleasing words. Overcome with feelings of love, respect and hesitation, each gopi slowly moved toward their beloved. While observing their state of embarrassment, Krishna relished the purity of the gopis’ prema. With their draped over His shoulder, Krishna smiled as He drank the nectar of their sweet loving faces.

The gopis lost all their apprehension after hearing Krishna’s clever and pleasing words. Thus overwhelmed with prema, the kumaris slowly rose out of the water to reveal the stunning beauty and unique elegance of their beautiful divine bodies. Casting aside their shyness, the gopis stood humbly before Krishna with their heads hanging down. As Krishna’s prema-filled heart melted, a nectarean smile perfumed His lips.

At that tender time, Shri Krishna said, “O Vraja abalas! You have greatly pleased Me, and I feel the utmost limit of love for you. Now take your clothes and dress yourselves. May you drown in the ocean of ecstasy according to your individual tastes of love.”

While saying this, Krishna extended His hand to give each gopi her respective clothes. Holding their shimmering dresses in their hands, the gopis appeared very beautiful like clusters of golden lotuses bedecked with flags.

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The Kadamba tree at the Vastra Haran Ghat situated in Rural Braj

Then Vrajendrakumara compassionately addressed the gopis, “I know everything about your vrata and austerities. So I have performed this astonishing pastime just to increase your love for Me. By ordering you harshly, I tested the purity of your love. Being completely attracted and attached to Me, however, you submissively obeyed My beneficial orders. Thus I have manifested a permanent bond of love within your hearts.”

Accepting the words of their dearest beloved Krishna as truth, the gopis experienced both immeasurable joy and agitation due to their intense longing for Krishna. These thoughtful girls were beautified with the sweet fragrance of the vine of fickleness. Now that their vrata was finished, the gopis felt surcharged with love and incredible bliss.

Krishna concluded, “O gopis! Soon we will enjoy together during a festive night. You have attained eternal perfection, so now you can return to Vrindavana.”

Shri Krishna’s gopi vastra harana lila ki jai!

Margashirsha mas Shri Katyayani vrata ki jai!

Jai Jai Shri Radhe!

A108-AI

20210604_165604-800x445.jpg

by Shri Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Shrimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Shrimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Shri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Shri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions. To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Shri Chaitanya Caritamrta.

This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Shri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.

Human Means Helping Others

One intensely hot summer day in Vraja, Shri Krishna voiced His loving appreciation and gratitude for the beautiful, luxuriant trees of Shri Vrindavan, saying:

“O Shridama, Subala, Vishala, Vrshabha, and Ojasvi! Just see how these trees have completely dedicated their lives for the benefit of others by freely offering their leaves, flowers and fruits, their shade, roots, bark, wood, and their fragrance, sap, ashes, pulp and shoots. Anyone who asks anything from a tree never goes away disappointed.”

Then Bhagavan Shri Krishna addressed all humanity saying:

etavaj -janma -saphalyam

dehinam -iha -dehishu

pranair -arthair -dhiya -vaca

shreya -acaranam -sada

“Human life will be successful if one always helps others with one’s life, wealth, intelligence and words (prana-artha-dhiya-vaca).” ­(Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.22.33-35)

Shri Jiva Goswamipada tika:

Here Shri Krishna makes the point that helping always others produces success in life. If one cannot give one’s life, then give wealth, if not wealth, then intelligence and if not intelligence, then words.

Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

 One should use one’s life to serve others.

mmgds comments:

There are two kinds of actions one can perform, shreyas and preyas, or acts that give  ultimate or immediate benefit. Unfortunately, most everyone is working very hard to get money and enjoy.

But here the Bhagavata directs us to act for permanent benefit, shreya -acaranam -sada, by using our life, money, intelligence and words to HELP OTHERS!

Vishnu -Purana (III.12.45) says:

praninam -upakaraya

yad -eveha -paratra -ca

karmana -manasa -vaca

tad -eva -mati -man -bhajet

“By one’s work, thoughts and words, an intelligent person must perform actions that will help all living entities in this life and the next.”

To encourage us to help others, the Shrimad Bhagavatam recounts the story of a sage who donated his whole body, mind, words and BONES to benefit the devatas who were harassed by the atheists.

Following the order of Bhagavan Shri Hari, the devatas begged Dadhici Muni for his body. Dadhici Muni, however, just to hear about dharma from the devatas, jokingly refused to give his body. But then Dadhici donated his body to Indra who made a thunderbolt from Dadhici’s bones to vanquish Vrtrasura.

During this incident, Dadhici Muni instructs Indra, the other devatas, and all of us, “O devatas! One who has no compassion for suffering humanity (bhuta-daya) and does not sacrifice one’s impermanent body for the higher causes of dharma or eternal glory is certainly most lamentable.

“A person who does not help others by one’s body, relatives and wealth, which are perishable, is in a miserable, difficult situation.” (SB 6.10.8-10).

We humbly encourage everyone to please think about these teachings, and start today helping a needy person by giving money, food, clothing; or by speaking kindly, remind them of Bhagavan Shri Krishna and encourage them to sing Krishna’s divine names.

In these times of doubt, fear, prejudice and hate let us all become more tolerant, loving, kind and helping. Sarve sukhino bhavantu: “May everyone be happy!”

Jai Jai Shri Radhe!

A108-AI

davanal-kund-1-800x445.jpg

Kartik Braj Darshan (Day 34): Davanal Kund

At Davanala Kunda Krishna swallowed a blazing forest fire that threatened the lives of Brajavasis. The word davanala means “forest fire”. This peaceful tank is situated between two temples of relatively recent construction, namely the Gouranga Mahaprabhu Mandir OF Haridas Baba and the two temples called Kanpurwala.

Dawanal-bihari-temple.jpg

Davanal Bihari temple

To get to this kunda from the Jamai Thakur Ji Mandir, proceed straight ahead on the Mathura-Vrindavan road for about three minutes until you see a water tower on the right. Consult the map often. Turn right at the tower, and make your first left on the narrow lane which runs alongside the Paramahamsa Ashrama (a Hanuman temple). Have the rickshaw stop just beyond the Gaurang Mahaprabhu Mandir. A minute’s walk along a footpath brings us to this sacred kunda, a place where the ancient rustic beauty of Vrindavan has been entirely conserved. Indeed this is the town’s nicest public kunda.

The tenth canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam describes two separate incidents wherein Lord Krishna swallowed forest fires to save the lives of His fellow Brajavasis. One incident occurred after His brother Lord Balaram killed the demon Pralambasura, and the other occurred after the chastisement of the Kaliya serpent. As the place where Kaliya was chastised is only about half a mile from here, is to be understood that the forest fire Krishna swallowed here happened just after this incident which is described in Krishna on page 130 of vol.1. The other forest fire Krishna swallowed is described later in Chapter Six. That is the forest called Isitkatavi on the other side of the river near the town of Mat.

A small peaceful temple dedicated to Davanala Bihari stands beside the path to the kunda. This ancient mandir is dedicated to the Lord in the mood of swallowing the forest fire.

ASHRAMS IN THE VICINITY OF DAVANALA KUND GOURANGA MAHAPRABHU MANDIR

Besides the Kunda is the Gouranga Mahaprabhu Mandir of the late Haridasa Baba. According to his biographer, he had originally taken initiation into the impersonal path adored by the followers of Shri Shankaracharya. Such is the power of Vrindavan, however, that he turned to become a follower of Lord Chaitanya and a devotee of Shri Krishna.

This change in heart has been specially dealt with by the atmarama shloka of the Bhagavata (S.B.1.7.10.) which was explained by Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Sanatana Goswami. This shloka indicates that those who have liberated souls (those who are atma-rama, or satisfied in the spirit self) will eventually become devotees of Krishna. The personal form of the Lord is so attractive, so strong, that He captures the minds of even brahmavadis or those who tread the impersonal path. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna revealed to Arjuna, “I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness, and which is immortal, imperishable, and eternal.” (B.G. 14.27)

KANPURWALA TEMPLES

Beside the kunda are two temples built by a Marwari family from Kanpur, the Singhanias. In the brown sandstone temple, worship is performed before Radha-Krishna vigrah. The white marble temple facing it is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Krishna’s supreme devotee. As the Bhagavata says vaishnavanam yatha shambhu: “The greatest devotee is Shiva.” A true Krishna bhakta is therefore always respectful to Lord Shiva, “the auspicious.”

SWAMI AKHANDANANDA ASHRAM

Beyond the railroad tracks is the high-domed temple of Goral-Shankar at the ashrama of Swami Akhandananda, a well-known sanyasi of the area. In the lecture hall, there is also a Deity called Nritya Gopal, or dancing Krishna, who is very beautiful. 

akhandanand-ashram.jpg

Akhandananda ashram

A108-AI

A bath in Keshi Ghat worth 1,000 dips in Ganga


Shri Vraja Dhama

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Kartik Braj Darshan (Day 33): Kesi Ghat

2021-11-18 (Vrindavan Today News) : “Friends: If you have any desire to enjoy mundane pleasure in the company of your friends and relatives, then never go to Keshi Ghat to see Shri Krishna, whose face always smiles fascinatingly, whose three-fold bending posture forcefully attracts the heart, whose long-drawn eyes are crafty and enchanting, whose flute-playing is maddening to the damsels of Braj, and whose crown is decorated with a beautiful peacock feather.” (Bhakta Rasamrita Sindhu 2.239)

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Deity of Yamuna Ji

The twisting narrow street leads us onward to Keshi Ghat by the side of the Yamuna River. This famous and elegant ghat of Vrindavan is where youthful Krishna saved the Brajvasis from the terrible Keshi demon in the form of an immense horse. This exciting story is told in the tenth canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam.

The Keshi demon was a henchman of cruel King Kamsa who instructed him to terrorize the Brajvasis. The horse-demon entered Vrindavan digging up the earth with his hooves while his tail moved in the sky like a big cloud. Krishna appeared and challenged him to a fight, while fiery-eyed Keshi responded with a terrible sound that resembled the roar of a lion. The horse demon rushed with great speed at Krishna trying to crush the Lord with his hard stone-like hooves.

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Painting of Krishna killing the Keshi demon

However, Krishna easily caught his legs and threw Keshi a hundred yards just as Garuda throws a big snake. Though temporarily knocked senseless, the demon soon regained consciousness and thundered at Krishna with his mouth open. Taking full advantage of the situation, Lord Krishna pushed His hand into the demon’s mouth knocking Keshi’s huge teeth out. Keshi felt the fist of Krishna to be just like a hot iron rod. Krishna expanded His hand in Keshi’s mouth and the demon was unable to breathe, threw his legs hither and thither. With his eyeballs bulging in the sockets, the life-breath of the demon forced its way from out of his body. The demigods on the highest planets expressed their amazement at the Lord’s skill by showering Him with flowers. After the incident, Krishna washed Himself here to remove the demon’s blood from His body.

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Manchinteshwara Mahadeva

While taking bath at the Keshi Ghat, one should remember this incident and chant Krishna’s holy name. In that sublime mood one can become completely purified. Indeed, the Adi Varaha Purana confirms that a bath in Keshi Ghat is worth 1,000 dips in the Ganga. The results of bathing in all holy places await those who bathe here.

The small Shiva temple here is named Manchinteshwara Mahadeva. Beside it is a Yamuna ji Temple in which is worshipped a picture of Krishna powerfully thrusting His hands into Keshi’s mouth.

Often melodious Bhagavata discourses echo from the adjacent galleries which have been erected in spectacular Rajasthani style. Indeed these galleries from the rear of the mansion of Rani Lakshmi, a past queen of Bharatpur.

Nearby is the Bhramar Ghat ( Bumble Bee Ghat) where Shri Vilvamangala Thakura, author of Krishna Karnamrita, performed penance . He has previously been attached to a prostitute who once chastised him for lack of devotion to Krishna. Later he tore out his eyes to force his mind to become detached from the flickering material beauties of this world. It is said that here in Vrindavan Lord Krishna used to personally serve Vilvamangala prasada . When Lord Chaitanya would listen to the shlokas from Krishna Karnamrita, He would go into a trance of devotional ecstasy. The ghat however is not kept up nowadays.

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