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Bahula Kund: The Bahula Cow’s motherly love and our neglect

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Bahula KundaGovardhan, 2018.05.24

Despite the glorious pastime commemorated by this kund, similarly to many of Braj’s village kunds, this kund is in disrepair and lacks even basic facilities for pilgrims.

Bahula kund is the fourth stop on Braj Mandal Parikrama, 8 kilometers from Shantanu Kund. The kund is situated in Bahulavan, Vati Village, on the Chattikara-Govardhan road.

After a two kilometre walk through Vati village, pilgrims come to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sitting place. The village has a Ras Mandal temple, a Bolenath temple and a Radha-Krishna temple. A short distance from the village center is Bahulavan and Bahula Kund.

The Braj Tirtha Vikas Parishad has promised to develop Braj Mandal parikrama, and this kund is much in need of facilities like drinking water and a place where pilgrims can rest. Due to the lack of facilities, very few pilgrims stay overnight at this place.

After taking archman (or sprinkling water on oneself) pilgrims take darshan of the Bahula cow in the Bahula temple. There is a beautiful pastime associated with this temple, related here in Deena Bandhu’s Braj Ras parikrama style, which he has put into writing in Vraja Lila Part 1:

This forest was named after a cow called Bahulā. She always fasted on Ekādaśī.

So she was fasting on Ekādaśī, and on the Dvādaśī morning she gave birth to her calf. When the calf was born she was so thirsty that, although she would ordinarily take care of the calf and feed him some milk, she just ran off to find some water. When she ran off, a lion came out of the forest. He thought, “Oh, here’s my breakfast.” He’s also going to break his Ekādaśī fast. So, Bahulā saw that now her life was going to end because the lion was there. There was no way to escape from the lion, so she began to plead, “Please, I was so thirsty, I left my calf and I haven’t given him my first milk.” That first milk you don’t drink. When the cow first has a baby then that milk is not fit for humans. It’s only for the calf. Then he becomes very strong if he drinks that milk. She begged, “But I haven’t even given any milk to my calf, he was just born. Please, cross my heart. I’ll come back.” She showed the lion that all her toes weren’t crossed—four hands she showed, no crossing. Promise. Because lions are also noble, he said, “All right, you go and feed your calf, then I’ll eat you,” and he began to wait very patiently. The cow went back to feed her calf. She was crying, and the calf saw the mother was crying and said, “O my dear Mother, why are you crying?” She said, “Because this is the last time I will see you.” He said, “Why? What is this?” Then she told the whole story, and the calf began to cry and he said, “No, you’re my mother. You have given life to me, therefore I will give my life for you.” She said, “No, I am just an old cow. You have your whole life in front of you. I will go to the lion. You don’t worry. You have a nice cowherd boy to take care of you. I will go.”

They were both crying and a big argument was going on, and the cowherd boy came and saw everyone crying and he said, “What’s going on?” When he heard what happened he said, “No, how can I see my cows die. Neither my cow nor my calf, I can’t bear it. I will go. You should live. This is horrible. If my cow is eaten by this lion how will I manage my life?” She said, “No, you can’t go. You have taken such nice care of me, how can you go?” The calf said, “No, you’re my mother, how can you go?” Everybody was crying, so all three of them went to the lion. The lion was so surprised. He was waiting for the cow, and now the cow and calf and cowherd boy had come. He heard their discussion and was so benevolent that he gave up his desire to eat them. At that moment Lord Krishna appeared on the scene and blew on His flute, and immediately everyone realized there was a whole pastime behind this. Once there were two Gandharvas named Hūhū and Hāhā. (It’s true, Hūhū and Hāhā.) They were doing some performance before all the demigods. At that time Nārada Muni and Pippalāyana Ṛṣi came. All the demigods stood up and paid their respects as these two ṛṣis walked into the arena, except for Hūhū and Hāhā. Pippalāyana Ṛṣi became very upset and he said, “You rascals, you didn’t pay any respects, therefore I curse you to take birth as animals on the earth.” Hūhū and Hāhā said, “Look, you’re a great mystic yogi, you sit in meditation, you can see whether within our hearts we were paying our respects or not.” So Pippalāyana sat in mystic yoga, and by his transcendental vision, he saw that when Hūhū and Hāhā saw him come, within their hearts they had offered him many prayers and respects. He then wondered what to do. He said, “I’ve made a big mistake, and I’m standing on the earth which has tolerated this mistake, so she is also at fault. So she will become a cow. Hūhū will become a lion. Nārada Muni also didn’t stop me, so he’ll become a cowherd boy.” So Hūhū became the lion, the calf was Pippalāyana, and Nārada Muni was the cowherd boy. And Hāhā became the crocodile that attacked Gajendra. That’s another pastime.

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