Barsana, 2014.10.06 (VT): Today was the beginning of our 40-day yatra. After the yātrā-śubhārambha-pūjā (the auspicious ritual to bless the parikrama) at Maan Mandir, Shri Ramesh Babaji Maharaj, placed the Lordships on his head with great emotion. The saṅkalpa and worship of little Radharani was performed at the Mataji Goshala amidst a packed crowd of 10,000 pilgrims.
Then we walked through the village of Ranga Sakhi, the 8th of the aṣṭa-sakhīs intimate girlfriends of Shri Shri Radha and Krishna, en route to Ratna Kund.
Because Vrishabhanuji was in great anxiety on seeing the beautiful jewels and diamonds sent by Nanda Baba as a dowry before the marriage, Shri Radha planted jewels in the ground that grew into small bushes with even larger more beautiful jewels, diamonds and pearls, to present to Vrishabhanuji in order to outdo Nanda Baba’s gift. This then became Ratna Kund.
Naubari Chaubari palace was on the way. Here is where little Radha would play with dolls in her childhood.
Then we came to Maan Mandir, where the famous māna-līlā pastimes took place, due to Krishna’s antics, Radharani becomes angered and very difficult to appease. Of course this is Her way of enhancing the sweetness of their relation. The gopis were exasperated in running up and down this hill to appease both parties, with Krishna beckoning at the bottom, waiting for Shriji to lose Her anger…which in time would always happen.
The next famous place is Dan Garh, where Thakurji would cruelly tax the gopis for their milk products and feast on large amounts of makhan (butter) especially in the passage that is known as Sankari Khor, the ravine like path the gopis would use to bring their wares from Chiksoli to Barsana township. Many pranks, like breaking butter pots were performed by the gopas to unfairly steal from the gopis. However, the tables turned when in time the gopis themselves, with superior power in the Choti līlā, were able to arrest and tie the chotis (the tuft of hair also called sikha) of the gopas and bring them into submission.
Then we went and paid respects to Mor Kuti.
kirīṭine namas tubhyaṁ mayūra-priya-vallabha |suramyāyai mahā-kuṭyai śikhaṇḍi-pada-veśmane ||
O you who are dear to the mor (peacock)! I offer my obeisance to you who wear the peacock feathered crown! I bow down to the great beautiful cottage of the peacocks, the abode of the dancing mor. (Vraja-bhakti-vilāsa 4.58)
Mor Kuti is above Dan Garh. Here many līlās have been performed. One is where Radha and Krishna both danced there in form of peacocks. Here Krishna became a peacock in order to attract Radha. When Shriji was observing this peacock, she said, “O my dear peacock, also dance like this.” Krishna had to abandon his peacock form and reveal his true identity as Radha’s dear one. This made Radha laugh and thus they came together and both performed a peacock dance together.
Another līlā is that the peacocks of Gahvarvan always come there. Shriji said to someone, “This one is my peacock,” and Thakurji picks another peacock and says that, “That one is mine.” Then they both make wagers on whose peacock will dance better than the other. Shriji inspires her peacock to dance, and Thakurji causes his peacock to dance. Thus many līlās were performed in this way. This is the Rasa-sthali at Mor Kuti. This is the Rāsa Maṇḍala; the pure festival ground and fortune of Braja. Here līlās related to the peacock have been performed, like dances in imitation, and varieties of peacock dancing.
namaḥ sakhī-sametāya rādhā-kṛṣṇāya te namaḥ |vimalotsava-devāya vraja-maṅgala-hetave ||
We pay our obeisances to Radha and Krishna along with their sakhis, who are the divinity of the purest festive pastimes, the source of all auspiciousness for Braj. (Vraja-bhakti-vilāsa 4.59)
At Bihar Kund Lord Shiva had a desire to become a gopi, for no male can enter Lord Krishna mahā-rāsa pastimes; here Parvati performed a shringara seva of Shiva, dressing him up as a gopi.