I always eagerly worship Ariṣṭakuṇd (Shyam Kund), which automatically sprang from Krishna’s lotus feet just as honey naturally trickles from a blooming flower when the wicked Ariṣṭa-demon was killed, which was beautified with staircases by Sri Radha out of great love, and which lovingly embraces Sri Radhakuṇḍ.
duṣṭāriṣṭa-vadhe svayam samudabhūt kṛṣṇāṅghri padmād idam
sphīṭam yan makaranda vistritir ivāriṣṭākhyam iṣṭam saraḥ
sopānaiḥ pariraJjitam priyatayā śrI rādhayā kāritaiḥ
premnālingad iva priyā sara idam tan nitya nityam bhaje
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse, Das Goswami praises Ariṣṭakuṇḍ or Shyam Kund. In the previous verse he desired to worship the early adolescence of Śrī-Śrī Radha-Mādhava, and now he suddenly thinks in great humility: “The worship of the Divine Pair’s early adolescence is very intimate, is it possible for a person like me, whose heart is pierced by lusty desires, to perform such a spotless worship?” While being absorbed in bhajan on the bank of Shyam Kund, Das Goswami meditates upon the kund which destroys all mischief. Hence he praises Sri Shyam Kund in this verse, desiring to destroy all the obstacles to his bhajan.
While the bull-demon Ariṣṭāsur was killed, Shyam Kund became manifest like honey flowing from Sri Krishna’s lotuslike feet. After killing the demon Ariṣṭa, who had appeared in the form of a bull, Sri Krishna desired to purify his body and thus struck the ground with his left heel. This caused the divine Gaṅgā to appear from the Pātāla (subterranean) regions.
Seeing this, Sri Krishna said: “O holy waters! āgaccha! āgaccha! (Come! come!)”, and all the holy waters of the world entered into this cavity. Because Krishna accomplished this by striking the ground with his heel, Raghunath Das Goswami gives the analogy here that it was as if Sri Shyam Kund manifested itself automatically in the form of a stream of honey that emanated from Sri Krishna’s lotus feet.
Sri Shyam Kund is very dear to Sri Radharani, because it is the lake of Sri Śyāmasundara, who is dearer to her than millions of life-airs. When the kuṇḍa advented itself, Srimati said: rādhā’bravid aham api sva sakhībhir etya snāsyāmy ariṣṭa śata mardanam astu tasya; yo’riṣṭa mardana sarasyuru-bhaktiratrasnāyād vasen mama sa eva mahāpriyo’stu Radha replied: “I will also bathe here with my girlfriends! Hundreds of sins of anyone who bathes in this Krishnakuṇḍ with devotion and lives on its banks will be destroyed, and that person will become very dear to me!”
Sri Radharani daily bathes at the Mānasa Pāvana Ghāṭ of her dearmost Sri Shyam Kund with her dearmost girlfriends, and for the sake of bathing, Srimati personally decorated Sri Shyam Kund with a flight of stairs.
Sri Shyam Kund keeps its dear Sri Radhakuṇḍ in a loving embrace. The two kuṇḍs are nondifferent from the dual forms of Śrī-Sri Radha-Mādhava, and just as Sri Krishna embraces his Priyājī with the greatest love, similarly Sri Shyam Kund most lovingly keeps Sri Radhakuṇḍa, which is nondifferent from Srimati, in an embrace.
At the auspicious time of Sri Radha Kund’s appearance, all the holy waters that had assembled in Shyam Kund began to praise Srimati in personified forms, aiming to please her so that they could also dwell in her kuṇḍ. Then, as soon as they got Priyājī’s permission, the holy waters most blissfully broke the wall that existed between the two kuṇḍs and streamed from Shyam Kund into Radha Kund. This place is known as the Saṅgam.
Consequently, the holy waters united the two kuṇḍs under this pretext and now reside in both kuṇḍs. It is at this Saṅgam passage that Sri Shyam Kund lovingly embraces Sri Radha Kund!!
In the scripture named Sri Govinda Līlāmṛta it is written that when Śyāmasundara sees Sri Radha Kund, he vividly remembers his Priyājī, and when he sees the two kuṇḍs meet at the Saṅgam passage many bhāva-citras (love-filled images) of his meeting with Priyājī appear in his mind and heart:
khelac cakra-yugorojaṁ pheṇa muktā-srag ujjvalam
rasormy-uccalitaṁ mene priya vakṣaḥ samaṁ saraḥ
madhura rasa taraṅgā vibhrati paṅkajāsyaṁ
bhramaraka parivītaṁ prollasat khañjanākṣam
pramudita Hariṇoccair haṁsakārāva ramyā
priyatama sarasī sā preyasīva vyaloki
sva preṣṭhāriṣṭa kuṇḍormi cañcat bāhūpagūhitā
sva kokanada pāṇibhyāṁ kṣipta tac calatat karā
samīra cañcad ambhoja calāsyena balād iva
cumbitāli kaṭākṣeṣat tiryag ambuja sanmukhī
bhṛṅgī jhaṅkāra śītkāra vikala svara gadgadā
prodyat kuṭṭamitā tena rādhikeva vyaloki sā
(Govinda Līlāmṛta 7.104-108)
The playing cakravāk ducks on the water reminded Krishna of Priyājī’s breasts, the foam on the water of her pearl necklace, and the water’s waves of her loving mood. All these items reminded him of her chest. This dearmost lake reminded Hari of his dearmost beloved. The sweet waves of water are like the waves of her sweet love, the lotus flowers in the water are like her lotus face, the bees surrounding those lotuses are the curly locks surrounding her lotus face, the restless wagtail birds are like her playful eyes, and the loud and sweet warbling of the swans reminded him of her jingling anklebells. The red lotus flowers that stop the intruding waves of Shyam Kund’s water reminded Krishna of Radhika’s ruddy lotus-like hands that try to stop him from embracing her, and the lotus flowers, moved by the wind from Shyam Kund, that are falling over the lotuses in Radha Kund and which are adorned with bumblebees, remind him of her crooked glances during his efforts to kiss her lotus face. The buzzing of the bees reminded Krishna of Radhika’s faltering screams when she pretends to be angry with him.” Das Goswami says: “I always worship this Ariṣṭakuṇḍ, which is nondifferent from Śyāmasundara!”
ariṣṭa nidhana ante, kṛṣṇa pādapadma ho’te,
yei sarovara samudbhūta
puṣpa pūrṇa vikāśete, yaiche madhu jhare tā’te,
taiche ariṣṭakuṇḍa suvikhyāta
śrī rādhikā priya-jñāne, snāna keli jalapāne,
surañjita korilo sopāne.
govinda preyasī rādhā, ati priya kuṇḍa tathā,
rādhākuṇḍe kore āliṅgane
ati sphīta kalevara, yaiche śyāma manohara,
sadā hoka sei kuṇḍe vāsa.
snāna, pāna, ārādhanā, saṅge vrajavāsī janā,
sadā bhaji ei mora āśa
“I always aspire to worship the very famous Ariṣṭakuṇḍ, the lake that was created from Krishna’s lotus feet after the demon Ariṣṭa was killed just as honey flows from blooming flowers. Sri Radhika, who loves this place because she bathes here and drinks the water, has decorated it with a staircase. This kuṇḍ, which is very dear to Govinda’s beloved Radha, embraces Radhakuṇḍ and has a very large body, just like enchanting Shyam. May I always reside near this kuṇḍ and bathe there, drink its water and worship it along with the people of Vraj!”