Barsana, 2014.10.10 (VT): Places visited on Day 3: Gulab Sakhi Samadhi, Prema Sarorava, Sanket, Purnamasi Bhajan Gupha (Kutir), Uddhava Kyari, Nandagram, Tera Kadamba, Asheshvara Mahadeva
Gulab Sakhi Samadhi
The party left from Barsana progressing towards Nandagaon. On the left off the main road is Gulab Sakhi’s chabutara or raised platform, which is his samādhi.
Gulab Sakhi was a Muslim and a great devotee of Radharani. Once he was sitting beneath the tree behind the Shriji mandir when a temple pujari asked him, “What are you doing here?”
Gulabji said, “I have the seva of offering pan to Thakurani.”
The pujari asked, “What is the proof?”
Gulabji opened his hand and said, “Well, here is the pan that you just offered to Shriji.”
The pujari was astounded and could understand that this devotee is very dear to Radharani.
Next we came to Prema Sarovar. This lake manifested from the tears of Shriji in her complete mahā-bhāva relation with the Lord. This is such a beautiful kund with many steps where the pilgrims can take darshan and snana. Here Thakurji was placed on a table and bhoga was offered. Nrisingha Baba led another rasiya kirtan.
Sanket Vana, came after this. The word sanket refers to signs, through various hidden indications the Divine Couple would come and rendezvous here. This place was the field of their early loving exchanges.
One time Krishna said, “Oh you are a very beautiful girl, where are you from? Where is your father and mother? I have never seen you before? I am none other than Nanda-nandan.”
Radharani asked, “Are you the same fellow who is always stealing the butter?”
Then Krishna becomes embarrassed and felt that on the first meeting this was not an impressive start. He replied, “What it may be , but don’t worry I will not steal any thing from you. Why don’t you just play with me?” Surdas wrote this conversation in his poetry.
Also Gopal Batta Goswami’s samadhi is located here.
Here Sanket Bihari, the presiding deity which was returned just a few days ago after being abducted one year previously. Such a beautifully deity carved from fine hard stone is nearly impossible to make in these modern times.
Then we arrived at Uddhava Kyari, where Uddhava met with the gopis, he was sent by Krishna to give a message and here he witnessed the exalted stature of their love for Krishna. Uddhava was a great jñāni pandit, a disciple of Bṛhaspati, the guru of the demigods, however before the gopis he felt ever so unqualified in his relation with the Lord. Here he spoke his verses glorifying the gopis.
He told the gopis, “Krishna is the Supreme Soul and you are the part and parcel souls, so there can no be any separation between you and the Lord. Just meditate on him and you will feel his presence.”
But the gopis replied, “You say to meditate on him but we are trying to pull him out from our minds!” They are always remembering him because they do not have anything else but him.
From there the long line of pilgrims could easily see Nandagram manifesting in the distance, a mount that has the main white temple on top. Nandagram is the home of Shri Krishna.
Krishna would cow graze his cows here and have pastimes with his cowherd boy friends.
Many other pastimes took place here. The mountain of Nandagram is known as Nandishwar, the head of Lord Shiva. One time Śaṅkara came to take darshan and he was wearing matted locks, skulls, and snakes on his body. Yashoda Mayi was thinking that if my little boy sees this form with its extraordinary dress and ornaments he will be frightened. So she asked Shiva to stay some distance away.
Shiva was saddened and stayed at a distance came here and sat here and hoped that one day he could get the darshan of the Lord, from which he gets the name Asheshwar (“one who sits with hope”). In this mood, Mahadeva and began to play his damaru, his drum with a ball.
Krishna knew he was there playing and he started to cry. Yashoda Ma wondered why her Lala was crying and the other gopis asked her, “Did you sent a guest away? Perhaps he has done some black magic?” Yashoda told them, “Oh, one baba came to see Krishna and I did not allow him to enter because he looked so strange. After he left my Lala began to cry.”
Then the gopis said, “Oh then you had better go quickly and call that baba back. He must be the reason behind all this crying.”
Mother Yashoda order them, “Jao jao! Go get him!”
The gopis looked for him, and found Shiva with his eyes closed in meditation on Krishna. The gopis asked Mahadeva, “Hey sadhu, are you sleeping? Mother wants you to come and solve a problem with Krishna.”
Shiva said, “What does she want of me? She has already told me to go away.”
The gopis replied, “Don’t worry just come.”
When he arrived, Yashoda explained the condition of the child and Lord Shiva said, “I am expert in the healing arts.” When Krishna saw Shiva, he became silent. Then both Lords were satisfied Lord Shiva with mantras and put some ashes in his navel and asked the gopis to lift the child and place the lotus feet of the Lord on his head. Yashoda then begged Lord Shiva to always reside in Nandagram. Lord Shiva’s prayers had been answered.
This is the pastime behind Lord Shiva taking the form of Nandishwar mountain in Nandagram.
We walked by the pandal setup to Ter Kadamba.After cow grazing, Krishna climbed the kadamba tree and called the cows to return to their home. Here Krishna and Balaram would play with the sakhas, cowherd boys.
This place was also Rupa Goswami’s bhajan-sthali (place). He would perform his bhajan here.
Once when Sanatan came to meet Rupa. While they were engaged in Hari katha, Rupa was thinking, “My elder brother is an elevated Vaishnava. How can I serve him?”
He had nothing to give him. He himself used to only eat madhukari by begging from the local Brijvasis and had no possessions. At that time a beautiful little girl came with some milk products and rice, and said, “You make some kheer (sweet rice) with this, my mother sent this to you. You appear to be busy in sādhanas and discussion, so I can prepare this offering.” So while the two brothers were absorbed, she started to cook and completed it. “You can now offer to your Thakur, I am going.” and left.
When Rupa offered the prasad to his brother, Sanatan, after tasting experienced aṣṭa-sāttvika bhāvas, ecstatic symptoms on his body.
The Sanatan asked, “Where did you get this prasad?” Rupa replied what had happened and then Sanatan said, “No ordinary being can make such a preparation.”
Rupa told him, “I was thinking how to give you some gift and then this girl just came to me.” Rupa described what she looked like and Sanatan, “Oh Radharani has come herself and served us. We have given some difficulty to her, we should be careful our of desires.” And he told Rupa never to accept Radharani’s servants, as we are all her servants.
In the pandal program, Baba Shri mentions how Shri Radharani is much more merciful than Krishna. The milk goods supplied to Madhavendra Puri by Krishna cannot compare to the opulent kheer supplied to Rupa by Shrimati Radhika.
As we have unlimited material desires, it is very difficult for us to understand this elevated mood of Sanatan, to never inconvenience the Supreme. Of course in this situation, is the nature of the Lord; the satisfaction in serving the selfless devotee.