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Vraja Vilasa 93 : Bhandiravan, where Radha wrestled Krishna

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I worship the Bhandira tree, where my mistress, Krishna’s beloved Radha, dressed herself and her girlfriends as wrestlers to have fun in a game of wrestling and became very proud when she blissfully battled with Krishna, who was also in the garb of a wrestler, thus increasing Cupid’s joy.


mallī-kṛtya nijāḥ sakhīḥ priyatamā garveṇa sambhāvitā
mallībhūya mad-īśvarī rasa-mayī mallatvam utkaṇṭhayā
yasmin samyag upeyuṣā bakabhidā rādhā niyuddhaṁ mudā
kurvāṇā madanasya toṣam atanod bhāṇḍīrakaṁ taṁ bhaje


Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā : In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Bhandira. This is one of the twelve forests of Vraja, and anyone who goes there to see it becomes blessed. In the Ādi-Varāha Purāṇa it is said:

ekādaśas tu bhāṇḍīraṁ yogināṁ priyam uttamam;
tasya darśana-mātreṇa naro garbhaṁ na gacchati
bhāṇḍīraṁ samanuprāpya vanānāṁ vanam uttamam;
vāsudevaṁ tatra dṛṣṭvā punar janma na vidyate
tasmin bhāṇḍīrake snāto niyato niyatāśanaḥ;
sarva-pāpa-vinirmukta indralokaṁ sa gacchati

“The eleventh forest named Bhandira is most excellent and very dear to the yogīs. Simply by seeing Bhandira a person never enters a womb anymore. A person who goes to this superexcellent forest Bhandiravana and sees Vāsudeva there will never take birth again. A self-controlled person who controls his eating-habits who bathes in Bhandira will be freed from all sins and attains Indraloka.”

Here it should be understood that Indraloka means the most opulent abode of the Supreme Lord. This is based on the word Indra being derived from idi, which means “the greatest opulence”.

In Bhandiravana is Bhandira Kund, the temple of Śrīdāma Candra, and Veṇukūpa. By playing his flute Sri Krishna brought water from the Pātāla-region into this well to quench the thirst of his friends.

Sri Radhika met Sri Krishna at Bhandira by dressing like Subala and played different pastimes with him here. Here stands the famous Bhandiravaṭa or Akṣayavaṭa.

Once upon a time, Sri Krishna was playing here with Baladeva and his friends when Pralambāsura came and dressed himself like a cowherd boy to cause havoc by taking Balaram on his shoulders and carrying him off to Mathurā, but Baladeva killed him on the way.

One day Sri Krishna was at Bhandira alone and played his enchanting flute. Hearing this flute song Sri Radharani became unsteady and went out to meet Sri Krishna with her girlfriends. Īśvarī was most blissful to meet Sri Krishna and she and her girlfriends enjoyed different pastimes with him at Bhandira.

Just for fun Sri Radharani asked Sri Krishna: “What kind of games do you play here with your friends?”

Sri Krishna replied: “Priye! Here I play wonderful wrestling matches with my friends. No one in the world can wrestle as well as I can! I can easily defeat everyone else in such combat!”

Hearing Sri Krishna’s words Sri Lalita Sakhī said: “Today we want to see you dress like a wrestler and show us a good match!”

Sri Krishna said: “Lalite! One does not wrestle alone! One needs an opponent, similarly dressed of course!”

Sri Radharani then said: “Today we will stand against you in combat!” So she and the others proudly tied their saris in a way appropriate for wrestling with Krishna. Now Sri Krishna, who had tied his dhoti in a way that showed he was ready to wrestle, look towards Sri Radha in this costume and became completely discombobulated by the amazing sweetness of her every limb.

Ecstatic symptoms like shivering and goosebumps became manifest on his body. Seeing this, the sakhīs jokingly said: “Shyam! Everyone in the world is easily overcome by you in battle, such a hero you are, but now you are trembling just on seeing your opponent enter the arena! How will you fight now?”

Shyam turned red when he heard the sakhīs’ words and came back to his senses.

One of the gopis blew a conch and some of the cowherd boys blew their horns and flute, making a cacophony suitable to the beginnings of a joust. And so the two combattants stepped into the ring. The slightly smiling, haughty rasika Sri Radha opposed by Krishna, the conqueror of Kaliya. They grappled, but this match soon became a stalemate, no one being able to win it.

The audience at this wonderful wrestling match, the sakhīs, were beside themselves with bliss. Seeing the Divine Pair wrestling in this great erotic absorption, even Cupid was intoxicated with feelings of boundless bliss.

The above description is taken from Bhakti Ratnākara.

Raghunath Das Goswami says: “I worship this Bhandira. When Bhandira is merciful then this wonderful wrestling match of Sri Sri Radha Madhava will be revealed to me and I will be blessed with the relish of the flavour of my Īśvarī dressed like a wrestler, in a test of strength with Krishna.”

yathā rasamayī rādhā āmāra īśvarī;
sājāiyā sakhīgaṇe malla rūpa kori
ati garve rādhārāṇī mallaveśa koilā;
kṛṣṇa saṅge yuddha kori ānanditā hoilā
kṛṣṇa saha śrī rādhāra malla krīḍā sthāna
satata bhajibo āmi śrī bhāṇḍīra nāma

“I constantly worship Sri Bhandira, the place where Sri Krishna played a wrestling game with Sri Radha and where my rasika Īśvarī very proudly dressed herself and her girlfriends like wrestlers and blissfully engaged in combat with Krishna.”

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