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Radharani Braja Yatra, Day 4: Nandagaon

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Places visited on Day 4: Pavan Sarovar, Yashoda Kund, Nanda Karak (goshala), Pani Hari Kund, Charan Pahadi, Chach Kund, Mor Kund, Vrindadevi, Lowari, Levara:

Shri Pavana Sarovar

namaḥ pāvana-rūpāya devānāṁ kalmaṣāpaham|nandādi-pāvanāyaiva tīrtharāja namo’stu te ||

‘O Tirtharaja! You are vanquisher of the devas’ difficulties.You bestow auspiciousness to Nanda and the other gopas.To your holy form we offer our obeisances.’

tatraiva saraso madhye yaśodā-kūpam utkhanat |yatra kūpaṁ pibet toyaṁ kṛṣṇa-tulyaṁ sutāṁ bhavet ||

In the middle of this pond is a well in Yashoda’s name.Drinking its water, one can blessed to have a virtuous son like Krishna.

kāmasenī-sutā-kūpa suputra-phala-dāyaka |namaḥ pāvana-tīrthāya gopikāyai namas tu te ||

“O bestower of a virtuous son!O holy well ! Tirtha of Kamaseni’s daughter (Yashoda)!We offer our respect to you and all the gopis.”

This place is very dear to Shri Thakur ji. Shyamasundar used to play in the water with the gopis and while returning from gocharan (caring for the cows), he would quench the thirst of his dear cows Kajari, Bahula, Kapila, Kanchana, and Shyama, etc. He would take bath in the cool waters of this lake along with his friends. It is said that Vrishabhanu Baba constructed a majestic palace on the northern bank for his dear daughter Shri Radharani, where she enjoyed playing with her friends. Moreover, she rejoiced at the sight of Nandalal at this place. It is said that even if a bird flies over Pavana Sarovar, its liberation is guaranteed.

Various holy places, capable of granting salvation to all, come to Braja for their own salvation. According to Vraja-bhakti-vilāsa, at this Pāvana Sar, Baba Nanda Raiji and Ma Yashoda took bath together on Krishna’s birthday celebration and donated a 125 thousand cows. Hence this lake’s glory is unparalleled. Taking bath and achman of its water releases one from the burden of all sins.

Yashoda Kund

Prayer Mantra:

“O Tirtharaj! May you grant us prosperity in this life and the Lord’s eternal abode thereafter.O reliever of the present and future! We offer our obeisances to you again and again.”

The kund came to be known by Yashoda’s name because she would take bath here daily, do her chores, like making butter and churning yogurt. Krishna and Balaram would also follow their mother along with their friends, and being small naughty boys in their play were so disturbing to Yashoda so she tried to scare them. She said, “If you continue your mischief then the hāu bilāu bhūta (an imaginary ghost or bogey man) will come and take you away.”

Prayer Mantra:

“O you who grant Krishna darshan and provider of the four objectives of human life (i.e., dharma, arthaḥ, kāma and mokṣa), established with Yashodaji’s blessings, O Deva in stone form; we offer dandavats to you.”

Shri Krishna would play all pranks at the pond and Ma, to control his naughtiness, would scare him with hāu bilāu bhūta (imaginary ghost). Little Krishna immediately frightened, would hide in Ma’s saree. Ma is delighted with her ruse’s impact and has a special affection for hāu bilāu bhūta.

The boys being very afraid, would run to Nanda Baba next door and tell him about the danger coming their way. Nanda Baba would laugh as they both sat on each of his thighs. Mother Yashoda would chastise them and they would just run to the lap of Nanda Baba for protection. There is a painting in the temple here that depicts this pastime. This is Nanda Baba’s bhajan stali.

Bathing here grants prosperity and a permanent residence in Vaikuṇṭha thereafter.

Within the same area of Nanda Baithak and Yashoda Kund is the Yashoda Mānt, a very large pot, a person can even stand in it, where she would make the butter.

Prayer Mantra:

“O sweet and nectarine curd-pot of Yashoda! You bestow salvation even to devas, we offer our obeisances unto thee.”

Two pots are here. The bigger one is for curds and the other one butter. These pots are located near Yashoda Kund. Shri Krishna as vatsapal (who cares for the calves) used to tend the calves on the outskirts of the village. At that time, Yashoda would come with curds to this spot for His mid-day meal.

Nanda Baba had an enormous goshala here and to this present day there is a beautiful goshala with well fed cows.

Kajal Kund

Next comes Karelo Van and Kajal Kund where the gopis would put kajal on Krishna’s eyes to make them more beautiful, if that was possible.

Panihari Kund

The gopis used to bring drinking water for their homes from this place, three kilometers from Nandagram. Sometimes Krishna would hide on their way home and break their pots and splatter milk products all over them.

Kanaiya loves this pond. He doesn’t eat anything till he gets water from Panihari Kund. He loves its soft, sweet water, so Ma Yashoda herself goes to fetch a big potful of this sweet water for her dear Kanha.

Not only Krishna, rather all Brajabasis satiate their thirst with its cool, clear water. In the evening, many groups of gopis, gossiping about Kanha, can be seen going to Panihari Kund with pots on their heads.

Charan Pahadi

This is Sri Charan Pahadi, which is on the north side of Bathan and from here it is only one and a half kilometers to the North. This particular Charan Pahadi description is available in the Garga-saṁhitā.

When Krishna performed the rasa lila, and disappeared from the rasa mandap at that particular time, the gopis were crying and searching for Krishna throughout the entire forest of trees, plants, wells, flowers, and bees. They were inquiring from everyone, “Did you see Krishna? Have you see Krishna?” They were so intoxicated looking for Krishna, they were mad, completely mad.

At that particular time they came here and finally saw the lotus feet of Lord Krishna on this particular hill within this forest. That is why it is called Charan Pahadi.

tatas tu tat-prasādena tat-padārcana-darśanātdadṛśur gāṁ tadā gopyo bhagavat-pada-cihnitāmtad-rajaḥ satatam nītvā dhṛtva mūrdhni vrajāṅganāḥpadāny anyāni dadṛśur anya-cihnānvitāni caWhen he saw them worship his feet, the Lord became merciful. For this reason the gopis were able to see a place marked with the Lord’s footprints. . . and as they again and again took the dust from those footprints and placed it to their heads, the girls of Vraja saw another set of footprints marked with different signs. (Garga-saṁhitā, Vrindavan-khaṇḍa, 24.16, 24)Krishna, along with the cowherd boys, came on this hill along with Surabhi, the mother cow, Airāvata, the elephant, and Turanga (a horse). They all came here and heard the flute of Krishna. And even the earth planet, by hearing this flute melted, the stones began to liquefy.

The impressions of the Lord’s lotus feet are clearly seen on this hill, which is why it is called Charan Pahadi. Next to them, Krishna’s and Balaram’s cowherd stick indentations are also found. Also one will find the hoof prints of cows, the cowherd boys, elephant, horse, deer, and parrots in the stone.

Close by Charan Pahadi, all the cowherd boys used to bathe Lord Krishna and Balaram’s lotus feet (pāda-prakṣālanam). That is why the kund here is called Charan Ganga. On the bank here is a beautiful Lakshmi Narayan temple.

In the Bhagavatam also, Śukadeva Gosvami has described the pastimes of Charan Pahadi in the Rasa Lila.

padāni vyaktam etāni nanda-sūnor mahātmanaḥ lakṣyante hi dhvajāmbhoja-vajrāṅkuśa-yavādibhiḥ

[The gopis said:] The marks of a flag, lotus, thunderbolt, elephant goad, barleycorn and so forth on these footprints clearly distinguish them as belonging to that great soul, the son of Nanda Mahārāja. (10.30.25)

Chach Kund

Since there were so many cows, there was so much butter, milk and yogurt everywhere. There used to be a kunda where the chach (whey) would be stored.

Mor Kund

Just as Krishna took the form of a peacock at Mor Kuti in Barsana and would dance to give pleasure to Shrimati Radharani, similarly at this kunda Krishna took the form of a peacock for the pleasure of his friends, his sakhas.

Vrinda Kund

This Kund is a glorification to Vrinda Devi.

There have been many Vrinda Devis:

1. Tulasī , King Kushadhvaja’s daughter, was known by the name ‘Vrinda’. She was married to Shankhachuda – a partial incarnation of Shri Krishna. This story appears in ‘Br. Vai. Pu. K. J. Kh – 17.

2. Jalandhar’s wife too was Vrinda.

3. The presiding deity of Vrindavan is also Vrinda sakhī.

4. One Vrinda is daughter of King Kedar.

Usually there is a confusion over which Vrinda is being refered to here. This has been clearly explained below:

A little further from Charan Pahari, visible from quite a distance in north, midst of tall trees is the abode of Vrinda, Kedar’s daughter. According to Brahmāvaivarta Purāṇa, Krishna Janam-khāṇḍa, chapter 86, Shri Thakurji narrated this wonderful story to Nanda Baba. In a previous period, from Brahmā’s son, Uttanpada was born to Swambhuva, from him Dhruva, and from Dhruva, Nandsavarni was born. Mahārāja Kedar was Nandisavarni’s son.

He was a Rajarshi, a devout, scholarly king. He used to feed the Brahmins, donating cows every day, performing all actions as an offering to Lord. One day, Lakshmiji appeared from his sacrificial fire as a divinely beautiful girl; with an aspiration to marry Shri Krishna, she proceeded to a forest on the banks of holy Yamuna for performing tapas. The same land of her tapasya came to be known as Vrindavan. Brahmaji, pleased with her austerities, came to bless her, ‘O beautiful girl! You will certainly achieve your goal very soon.’ Later, he deputed Dharmaraj to test the integrity of her aspiration.

Dharma came to her as a handsome young brahmin and asked Vrinda, ‘O lovely damsel! What is the objective of your ardent austerities? I am capable of granting your wish, ask, what you want?’

Vrinda replied humbly, ‘O Supreme brahmin! My sole objective is to marry Shri Krishnachandra.’

Dharma said, ‘O beautiful girl! To have the Supreme Lord as your spouse is impossible. Only Rama and Sharda have succeeded, none else. And the One who resides in Goloka, his sublimely beautiful eternal partner, his inner potency, Shri Radharani resides in his heart.’

Shri Krishna has two forms: as Golokadhipati with two arms and as Vaikunthadhipati, with four arms (caturbhuja).

‘Leave aside Indra, Brahmā whose age is just a small fraction of his time-scale, Sanakadi, all their life remain engaged in remembrance of that all-pervading Lord, Sesa with his thousand mouths constantly sings his glory; all of them are still unable to attain him.’

‘O Vrinde! How will you attain him?’ he continued, ‘When that Brahman is unattainable by you, why don’t you marry me!’

Hearing his words, Vrinda got so angry that she pronounced curse upon him. She said, ‘You lecherous, boastful brahmin! My dharma is my protector. You have uttered such shameful, highly condemnable words before me. Since brahmins are not to be killed, I curse you – kṣayo bhava! kṣayo bhava! kṣayo bhava!’ (Be destroyed! Be destroyed! Be destroyed!)

She said it thrice, and was about to say it the fourth time when the Sun god appeared and stopped her from doing so by saying, ‘Devi! This is Dharmaraj himself who came here to test your integrity. If you destroy him, religious principles will be banished from this world. Therefore, grant him his life.’ Dharma’s wife Murti with her head bowed down in shame, prayed for her husband’s life.

The Lord said to Vrinda, ‘O beautiful girl! You have performed tapas for 108 yugas; you have attained a long life. Now donate your life years to Dharma and proceed to Goloka. In the Varaha kalpa, you will be born in Shri Radha’s image as Vrishabhanu’s daughter and will marry my part incarnation Rayan Gopa. The sinful, illusioned people will consider you as real Radha, though Radha is my eternal partner whose darshan is inaccessible without her grace.’

After listening to Lord’s delightful sweet words, Vrinda gave her life-years to Dharma and instantly Dharma stood up. Vrinda then proceeded to Goloka. The infallible curse, which Vrinda had pronounced thrice, that too manifested in the following way: In Satya-yuga, dharma was complete, but in the Treta-yuga, lost one of its four legs; in the Dvāpara-yuga, only two legs remained, and in the beginning of Kali yuga just one leg will remain; towards the end of Kali, this too will diminish in the last 16th part of Kali.Rejoicing in the bliss of Yugal’s manifest līlā, Shri Vrinda Devi is established here in Nandagaon as Vanadevi. In front of the temple there is a scenic pond in which she would bathe. This is known by her name Vrinda Devi Kund.

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