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Vraja Vilasa 80 : Govinda Sthala Yoga Peeth

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Ah, Gandharvika and Girivaradhari are beaming with bright smiles from the pleasures of swinging together. There the sakhis are swinging them, their joy clearly visible. I worship that place which is famed as Govinda Sthala.

 

aho dolā-krīḍā-rasa-vara-bharotphulla-vadanau
muhuḥ śrī-gāndharvā-giri-vara-dharau tau prati madhu
sakhī-vṛndaṁ yatra prakaṭita-mudāndolayati tat
prasiddhaṁ govinda-sthalam idam udāraṁ bata bhaje

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Sri Govinda Sthalī, the highest elevation in Sri Vrindavan. The Yamuna flows north of Govinda Sthalī, so she flows around Vrindavan on three sides; it is as though her eastern and western branches are like arms embracing this central ground. And in the Yamuna’s embrace, it rises to take the shape of a turtle’s back.

At the top of this hillock is Sri Radha and Krishna’s great jeweled Yogapīṭha mandir, which has a kalpavṛkṣa tree standing in each of its four corners. Inside this quadrangle there are kuñjas with platforms in each of the four corners. In the north is Śvetāmbuja Kuñja (“the bower of the white lotus”), where Sri Radha and Krishna play dice, in the east is Nīlāmbuja Kuñja (“the bower of the blue lotus”), where they are dressed and ornamented, in the south is Aruṇāmbuja Kuñja (“the bower of the red lotus”), where they dine and in the west is Hemāmbuja Kuñja (“the bower of the golden lotus”), where they lie down to rest.

In the north-east is a pavilion of mādhavī flowers, in the south-east is one of mālatīs, in the south-west of fresh jasmine, and in the north-west is a pavilion of golden yūthīs.

Outside that are the kuñjas of the eight sakhīs in a circle, and outside of that, in concentric circles the kuñjas of sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four and many thousands of other sakhīs.

Outside that again a golden place (hema-sthalī) with a banana-grove, a flower garden, orchards, six seasonal forests, betel-groves and coconut-groves in gradual rows. Outside of that the afore-mentioned Yamuna streams complete this beautiful and enchanting Govinda-sthala.

Each spring Sri Radha and Mādhava enjoy swinging here. The sakhīs then sing of the sweetness of the Divine Pair, worship the lotus-like faces of the Rasika Mithuna in ārātrika with flowers and lift them on their jeweled swing. They straighten out their necklaces and Krishna’s turban, that may become dishevelled while they mount the swing, and then serve them betel leaves, garlands and sandalwood pulp.

Two prāṇa-sakhīs tuck the edges of their sarees away with their sashes of bells, bend over slightly, catch the swing and begin to rock it, while Radha and Krishna embrace each other. Sri Krishna places his arm, which is so long that it reaches down to his knees, over Srimati’s left shoulder up to her left breast, while Srimati holds on to Śyāma’s waist with her right arm. Both the lovers are blossoming with rasa while they behold the sweetness of each other’s faces, while the sakhīs most blissfully swing the Divine Pair back and forth.

 

jhulata śyāma, gorī bāma,
ānanda raṅge mātiyā
īṣata hasita rabhasa keli,jhulāyata saba sakhinī meli,
gāota koto bhātiyā

Śyāma swings, Gorī (Radha) on his left, maddened by ecstatic love. They play with slight smiles and all the sakhīs join in the pushing of the swing, singing so wonderfully.

 

hema maṇi-yuta vara hi ḍora, racita kusuma gandhe bhora,
paḍato bhramara pāṅtiyā
navīna latāya jaḍita ḍāla, vṛndā-vipina śobhita bhālo
cāṅda ujora rātiyā

The rope of the swing is made of gold and jewels and strings of bumblebees land on the flowers that adorn these ropes, overwhelmed by their fragrance. The tree branch (that supports the swing) is entwined by fresh vines that make Vrindavan so beautiful in the moonlit night.

 

nava ghana tanu dolaye śyāma, rāi saṅge jhulata vāma,
taḍita jaḍita kāṅtiyā
tārā-maṇi candrahāra, jhulita dolita gale doṅhāra
hilana duṅhuka gātiyā

Śyāma, who shines like a fresh monsoon cloud, swings with Rai, who embraces him with her lightning-like luster, on his left. Necklaces that shine like the moon and the stars oscillate around their necks while they lean against each other.

dhidhikaṭa dhiyā tāthaiyā bola, bāje mṛdaṅga mohana rola,
tininā tininā tā tiyā
bheda pavana grāma pūra, ghora śabada jīla sūra,
varaṇa nāhiko yātiyā

The mridangas play dhi dhi kaṭa dhiyā tāthaiyā – tininā tininā tā tiyā in an enchanting way, the loud sounds of the songs and the musical instruments pierce the atmosphere in an indescribably sweet way.

maṇi ābharaṇa kiṅkiṇī baṅka, jhulane bājaye jhunura jhaṅka,
jhana jhana jhāṅtiyā
rādhā mohana caraṇe āśa, kevala bharasā uddhava dāsa,
racita pūrita chātiyā

Their jewelled anklebells chime ‘runu jhunu’ along with the swinging. Uddhava Dāsa, his heart filled with the sole desire for attaining the lotus feet of Radha Mohana (Krishna, the enchanter of Radha), writes this song.

Just for fun Sri Krishna increases the speed of the swing, making Sri Radha afraid that she will fall. The sakhīs forbid Krishna to swing so fast, but Krishna does not listen and increases the speed of the swing even more. This causes Sri Radha’s braid to loosen, her veil to fall off and her clothes and ornaments to become dishevelled.

Seeing the sweetness of Srimati’s form at that time Krishna begins to swing even harder, making the terrified Sri Radha embrace Sri Krishna around the neck with her vine-like arms. Krishna then lets go of the swing’s ropes and holds Srimati to his chest with both hands, while pushing the swing on with his feet. In this way it looks as if the Śrī-mūrti-yugala has become one in a beautiful way as they are bound by the ropes of their mutual embrace. Thus they look as incomparably lovely and beautiful as a blooming champaka flower and a blooming indīvara flower tightly united on one stem and oscillating in the southern breezes.

The sakhīs are immersed in an ocean of transcendental bliss when they behold these sweet pastimes of the Śrī-Yugala. After the swinging pastime the sakhīs take the Divine Pair off the swing and serve Them by straightening out Their dresses and ornaments and by feeding Them a meal of fruits and roots. In this way Raghunath Das Goswami reveals his aspiration to worship Govinda Sthalī, which is so famous and glorious because of the wonderful swinging-pastime that takes place there.

 

dolā-kṛīḍā rasabhare,ratana hindolā pare,
rādhā sane śrī rādhā-ramaṇa
utphulla vadana śobhā, daraśana manalobhā,
mātiyāche yoto sakhīgaṇa
samaya vasanta kāle, saba sakhīgaṇa mile,
āndolita koriche hindola
sukhamaya sei sthāne, bhaji nitya śuddha mane,
suprasiddha se govinda sthala

With a pure mind I always worship the blissful and famous place called Govinda Sthala, where Radha and Sri Radha Ramaṇa sit on a jeweled swing with beautiful blossoming faces that are so enchanting and intoxicating for the minds of the sakhīs, who meet here in the spring to push this swing.

OldGovindaji_01.jpg

“The temple now survives in its truncated form since its sanctuary was complete destroyed during the reign of Aurangzeb. It was originally seven storeys high and atop the temple a large lamp was kept burning. The story goes that from Agra Aurangzeb saw the majestic lamp and got infuriated by the greatness of this Hindu temple and sent troops to demolish it. The Mohammedan soldiers were able to dismantle the top four stories of the seven storied structure. According to another version, the upper four stories were neatly dismantled and placed alongside. During the attack, the deities enshrined within were moved to Jaipur, where they remain until the present day.” (Baij Nath Aryan in Economic Times 19-4-1991,
This is the central dome. You can see the patterns in the setting of thestone. I wonder if the original intent was to have some of these surfaces painted. The dome seems to be intact.

 

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