Day 2 Places visited: Shri Ji Mandir, Jaipur Mandir, Pili Pokhar, Brajeshwar, Padṛvan, Bhanukhar, Maheshwari Sar
Barsana, 2013.10.08. At 5.00 a.m., at Maan Mandir, located on one of the well-known four heads of Brahmā, Brahmācal Mountain. This place is famous as a rasa-stali of Lord Shri Krishna and most notably the Maan lila of Radharani, Who enhances Krishna’s love for Her through jealous anger in love. The presiding deities here are Shri Shri Rādhā Maan Bhihari Lal, Who are the presiding deities on the Radharani Braja Yatra.
The 220-strong group of small sannyasi children led the party to Shriji Mandir then walked along the ridge with the beautiful pre-dawn view of Barsana on both sides, first arriving at the Raja Mandir or Jaipur Mandir.
These children reside at Maan Mandir who do daily sadhanas like like sannyasis, and another 120 girls who can probably quote shlokas better than most sannyasis! Ramesh Baba has personally trained these children, most of whom were born in Braja, to be future of the future of Braja. Some say it is the best Gurukula they have ever seen.
This temple is most beautiful with high walls and Vedic architecture and was built by the King Jai Singh.
Between the Jaipur and Shriji temples on Dan Garh is the place where the present deities became manifest. On the parikrama marg there is a small square cage that protects the spot where Radharani manifested from the ground, which is circumambulated by visiting pilgrims.
In the courtyard of the Shriji temple, while waiting for the deity curtains to open, various kirtaniyas sang heart-warming bhajans while other devotees danced in the midst of the seated yatris. It was quite a sight to see the more enthusiastic dancers pull others up from the ground to join in the dancing. An increase in numbers is what creates a more festive atmosphere, a “presence in transcendence.”
All the boys and girls stood to the back of Shriji Ji Mandir during the mangal arati ceremony of Shriji and Thakurji, all very well behaved and wearing clean saffron and yellow uniforms.
From there, the party went down the steps towards Pili Pokhar, which is in Barsana and is also called Priya Kund. According to the Bhakti Ratnakar, Shriji used to pick fruits and flowers from the pilu tree here.
ei pilu khora ethā pilu phala chhale|sakhī saha rāi kānu krīḍā kutūhale ||
This place is also called Priya Kund due to her rinsing her yellow hands after her marriage with Nandanandan. It is called Pili Pokhar, and place where bath turmeric of Radharani created an exotic golden color in the water, called piri ki.
When Nandalal comes to play Holi from Nandagram, he rests here and later tightens His turban. Ahead he is welcomed in a place called Munh Midi (chandan on cheeks). This occasion is celebrated every year.
The story of Radha and Krishna’s marriage is told in many Purāṇas, but many people ask whether this lila actually took place or not. There is some confirmation in the Bhāgavata where the word “wife” (vadhū) is mentioned three times in connection with Radharani. These references are found in the 30th chapter in the Rasa Lila.
tais taiḥ padais tat-padavīm anvicchantyo’grato’balāḥ |vadhvāḥ padaiḥ supṛktāni vilokyārtāḥ samabruvan ||
The gopis were searching for Krishna by following his footprints when they saw those of his vadhū next to them. Then, being pained, they began to speak to one another. (10.30.26)
imāny adhika-magnāni padāni vahato vadhūm
[seeing] these marks more deeply imprinted he was carrying his vadhū (10.30.32)
tataś cāntardadhe kṛṣṇaḥ sā vadhūr anvatapyata
When Krishna disappeared, his vadhū began to suffer greatly.
In the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa and Garga Saṁhitā as well as in other Purāṇas, descriptions of Radha and Krishna’s marriage can be found. But this is not accepted in all sampradayas.
It is also named Priya Kund, because Shriji comes here. Nandalal arranges to come here and take a dip in this sarovar or lake.
This is the kund in the song that Swami Haridasji sings about her bathing lila (Kelimāl 83). When Nandalal asks Lalitaji to be introduced to Shri Radha, she responds, “You are just a crazy village boy.”
kahou yah kaki beti kaha dho kunvari kou naun/tum sab rahou ri hou hi utar deihoun,chale kin jahu dhouta bai bavarou gaun //sab sakhi mili cheeraka khelan lagin,tolou tum rahou ri joloun houn nhaun /shri haridas ke swami syama kunja bihari,lei budaki garei lagi chouki pari kahan houn jaun //
Shriji is on her way to bathe in Vrishabhanu Sarovar when Nandalal comes from other side. Only Shriji can bathe in her father’s lake, so Nandalal understood that she was the daughter of Vrishabhanuji. Still he asks the sakhis, “Whose daughter is she? What is her name? She is coming with such pomp and grace.”
Lalitaji hears his words and orders the other girls, “Don’t answer him. I alone shall speak with him, for only I know the proper way to deal with him!”
She then said to Shyamasundar, “Only crazy people live in Nandagram. You are also crazy, so go back to your village. This is the home of our Swaminiji! Go back home!”
Shyamasundar remained silent but thought, “She speaks very rudely. Now what should I reply? She speaks so rudely in answer to a single question. I dare not make another inquiry.”
So, all the sakhis went back to playing.
Now see the mercy and love of Radharani. She felt that they had acted unjustly to Shyamasundar. He was simply asking whose daughter she was and Lalita told him to go back to his crazy village. She did not think this was proper and so when they all started to play again, she told them, “You go on playing while I take my bath.”
Shriji left them and went alone in order that Shyamasundar could get a chance to meet her on the other side. So that is how Thakurji got the answer to his questions.
Shriji is so lovely and kind, as she dipped in the water, Shyamasundar then embraced her as she stood in the water. She was shocked. It is a very beautiful lila.
The biggest festival of Pili Pokhar is when the people of Nandagram come to play holi on Rangili. First they stop there in the kund. When Nandalal comes to play holi, he first tightens his turban and carries his shield for protection as people welcome him.
Here at Pili Pokhar, Naradaji came to see the childhood lila of Lali Radhika. Here Naradaji gave pleasure to Shriji and her sakhis by playing his vina. He then begged alms of them and did their parikrama. Shri Radhika, a most benevolent child, gave him many sweets, which she had in her hands. Due to her compassion he rolled in the dust, experiencing such a bhava on achieving her blessing. Child Shriji ran away from there with all the female children just like a group of deer running together, on their way home.
At Brajeshwar Maharaj Vrishabhanu worshiped the Shiva linga with various offerings.
At Padrivan Shriji collected flowers for making sanjhi, which is worshipped daily for 15 days.
At Bhanukhar Vrishabhanu took his snana there at the time of the wedding ceremony.
At Maheshwari Sar, Shivaji wanted to become a gopi so Parvati dressed him up as one, and because he was in a male form, dressed as a woman, she made mimicking expressions making fun of him, thinking that he looked so funny.
On the next day we are off to Nandagaon.