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Raghunath Das Goswami’s vows for Braja-vasa: Mathura and Vrindavan

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imageproxy.jpgWe have begun this series from Raghunath Das Goswami’s Sva-niyama-daśakam, which is part of his Stavāvali. The commentary is by Ananta Das Pandit, Mahant of Radha Kund, and the English translation by Advaita Das Baba. This is still a commentary on the first verse. The first two parts can be found here: Verse 1 (1) and Verse 1 (2).

(10) Mathura (Madhupuri)

Shri Raghunath also desires loving attachment to Shri Mathura Puri. In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:

aho madhupurī dhanyā vaikuṇṭhāc ca garīyasī
dinam ekaṁ nivāsena harau bhaktiḥ prajāyate

"Aho! Blessed is this Madhupurī, which is greater even than Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma! Even after staying there for one day one becomes devoted to Lord Hari!"

Of the seven greatest holy cities of the earth Mathura Puri is the greatest and is worshipable by all other holy places. In Shri Rupa Goswami ‘s Mathuraṣṭakam it is seen:

adyāvanti-patad-grahaṁ kuru kare māye śanair vījaya
cchatraṁ kāñci gṛhāna kāśi purataḥ pādū-yugaṁ dhāraya
nāyodhye bhaja sambhramaṁ stuti-kathāṁ nodgāraya dvārake
devīyaṁ bhavatīṣu hanta mathurā dṛṣṭi-prasādaṁ dadhe

"O Avanti! Today you can take a spittoon in the hand! O Māyāpuri! Fan softly! O Kāñci! Hold an umbrella! O Kāśi! you hold the shoes in front! O Ayodhye! Don’t be afraid anymore! O Dvārake! Don’t utter anymore praises now, because today Mathura-devī has become pleased with you. Casting a merciful glance on you, she has accepted you as her maidservant!"

This is why Shri Raghunath desires loving attachment to Mathura, the best of holy cities and the bestower of loving devotion.

(11) Vrindavan

After this Shri Raghunath covets loving attachment to Vrajavana or Vrindavan. Vrindavan here means the present municipality which has a circumference of 5 kos, or 16 kilometers. The whole of Vraja Mandal is also often called Vrindavan. The name Vrindavan can thus be used for both the municipality as well as its surroundings.

Just as Shri Radha Kund is Raghunath’s dearmost place of worship because it was revealed by Shriman Mahaprabhu, who is dearer to him than millions of lives, similarly Vrindavan is also dearer to him than life because it was unveiled by Shriman Mahaprabhu and Shri Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami. When Mahaprabhu came to Vraja, Vrindavan was nothing but a jungle. Vrindavan was the last place Mahaprabhu went when he performed the Vraja Mandal Parikrama. He would go there daily, coming from Akrura Tirtha where he was staying. In Vrindavan the Lord blissfully remembered Krishna’s pastimes and performed nāma saṅkīrtana in solitude.

Shrila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes the Lord’s tour of Shri Vrindavan as follows: On the first day he bathed in Kaliya Hrada and Praskandana tīrtha and had darshan ohttp://www.vrindavantoday.com/vraja-vilasa-85-cheer-ghat-krishna-stole-gopis-clothes/f Dwadashaditya Tila, Keshi Ghat and the Rāsa-sthalī (Vamsi Vat) before returning to Akrura Ghat for taking a meal and rest. On the second day he bathed in Cīra Ghat, took rest and chanted nāma saṅkīrtana at Tentula Talā (Imli Talā) before returning to Akrura Ghat at midday to take his meal. On the third day he chanted nāma saṅkīrtana in Vrindavan until midday, considering this to be a more peaceful place than Akruura Ghat, where he was bothered by crowds of people, and he met a certain Krishna Das of the Rajput caste (kṣatriyas from Rajasthan) before returning to Akrura at midday. On the morning of the fourth day he returned to Vrindavan with Krishna Das to chant nāma saṅkīrtana. If there had been any temples or ashrams at that time, the Lord would not have returned to Akrura Ghat daily to take his alms.

One day the Lord sat down at Akrura Ghat and remembered Akrura’s vision of Vaikuṇṭha and the Brijbasis’ vision of Goloka as he looked in the Yamuna water. Out of sheer ecstasy he jumped into the water and was about to drown if Krishna Das had not called Balabhadra Bhattacharya to help him pull the Lord out. Balabhadra understood that it was not free from danger to keep the Lord in Vraja, because: vṛndāvane ḍube yadi ke uṭhābe tāre (C.C.) "Who would lift him out if he drowned in Vrindavan?" This statement proves again that Vrindavan was an uninhabited place at the time of Mahaprabhu’s visit.

In Vrindavan Shri Chaitanya Deva revealed the holy places Dwadashaditya Tila, Keshi Ghat, the Rasa-sthali and Cheer Ghat, and later, on the order of the Lord and by his grace, Shri Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami revealed all the other playgrounds of Krishna. The Vrindavan we see today is the merciful revelation of Shriman Mahaprabhu and Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami. The Padma Purāṇa, Uttara Khaṇḍa, says:

pañca yojanam evāsti vanaṁ me deha rūpakam;
kālindīyaṁ suṣumnākhyā paramāmṛta vāhinī
atra devāś ca bhūtāni vartante sūkṣma rūpataḥ;
sarva devamayaś cāhaṁ na tyajāmi vanaṁ kvacit
āvirbhāvas tirobhāvo bhaved atra yuge yuge;
tejomayam idam ramyam adṛśyaṁ carma-cakṣuṣā

"This forest (Vrindavan) extends over five yojanas (ten miles) and the Yamuna River, which carries the highest nectar, is its spine. All the demigods and manes reside here in subtle forms. I, the aggregate of all the gods, also never leave this forest. I appear and disappear here age after age. This transcendentally effulgent lovely forest can not be perceived by the material eyes."

When this Vrindavan and its transcendental pastimes had vanished through the force of time Shri Raghunath’s dearmost Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami unveiled it once more, so that it became dearer to him than his very life-airs. That is why he prays for loving attachment to Shri Vrindavan.

(12) Vraja Vana

The word vraja-vana can also mean the twelve forests and subforests of Vraja Mandal:

tena dṛṣṭā ca sā ramyā keśavasya purī tathā;
vanair dvādaśabhir yuktā puṇyā pāpa-harā śubhā

"He saw these twelve lovely forests of Keshava, which destroy all sins and bestow all auspiciousness and virtue."

In the Padma Purāṇa it is seen:

bhadra-śrī-lauha-bhāṇḍīra-mahā-tāla-khadirakāḥ;
bahulā-kumudaṁ kāmyaṁ madhu-vṛndāvanaṁ tathā
dvādaśaitāny araṇyāni kālindyāḥ sapta paścime;
pūrve pañca vanaṁ proktaṁ tatrāsti guhyam uttamam

"Bhadra-, Shri-, Lauha-, Bhāṇḍīra-, Mahā-, Tāla-, Khadira-, Bahulā-, Kumuda-, Kāmya-, Madhu-and Vrindavan – these are the twelve forests of Vraja. Of them, seven are on the westbank of the Yamunā and five are on the eastbank. These are the most confidential forests."

Shri Raghunath desires loving attachment for these twelve most sacred forests.

(13) The pasture fields (goṣṭha)

Then Shri Raghunath prays for loving attachment to the goṣṭha, or pasture fields of Vraja. There’s nothing as sweet as Krishna’s goṣṭha-līlā:

nija sama sakhā saṅge,   go-gaṇa cāraṇa raṅge
bṛndābane sbacchande bihāra
yāra beṇu-dhvani śuni,   sthābara jaṅgama prāṇī,
pulaka kampa aśru bahe dhāra

"Krishna freely plays with his friends on an equal level, tending his cows in Vrindavan. When the moving and non-moving living entities hear the sound of his flute they shiver, get goose-pimples and shed streams of tears out of ecstasy." (C.C.)

Shrimatī Radharani and her sakhīs also come to the goṣṭha when they hear this enchanting flutesong and bless the devotees at Radha Kund, that appear as kiṅkarīs, by playing their sweet pastimes of meeting with Śyāmasundara there. By the grace of the goṣṭha Shri Raghunath is blessed with relishing the sweetness of the sweet goṣṭha-līlās – that is why he desires loving attachment to the goṣṭha. Shri Raghunath also always desires loving attachment to the Brijbasi bhaktas, without whose mercy the darshan and the attainment of the loving devotional service of Radha Madhava is impossible. In our commentary on the first verse of Manaḥ-śikṣā we have elaborated on this point and that commentary may be consulted.

śrī guru karuṇāmaya,  bando tāra padadvaya,
prema kalpataru bara dātā
dīkṣā-mantra hari-nāma,  yāhāra amūlya dāna,
kibā gābo tāra guṇa gāthā

"I praise the lotus feet of my merciful guru, who is a wish-yielding tree of love of God, and the greatest donor, who gave me the invaluable jewels of the initiation mantra and Hari-nāma. How can I sufficiently praise his glories?"

nāma nāmī abheda jāni, guruvākya satya māni,
japa mana parama ādare
śrīkṛṣṇa caitanya deve,svarūpa gosvāmī pade,
mati rahu yuga yugāntare

"Knowing the Lord to be non-different from his holy name and the words of my guru to be the truth I repeat the holy syllables with great awe. May my mind dwell in the lotus feet of Krishna Chaitanya-deva and Swarup Damodar, age after age!"

prabhura abhinna rūpa, nāma yāra śrī rūpa,
ujjvala rasera kārigara
yāra śuddha kalevare, śakti sañcārita kore,
prabhu kore rasera pracāra

"Shri Rupa Goswami, who is non-different from Mahaprabhu, is the craftsman of the erotic rasa. The Lord infused his power into his pure form to preach the science of rasa."

śrī rūpa gosvāmī pade,  mati rahu pade pade,
bhajana rājyera adhipati
daśanete tṛṇa dhare,   ei bhikṣā pade poḍe,
yugalera manera pirīti

"May I always be attracted to Shri Rupa Goswami ‘s lotus feet, for he is the master of the kingdom of bhajana! Holding a straw between my teeth I pray for this alm: May I love the divine Couple!"

tāhāra agraja yini,vairāgyera cūḍāmaṇi,
Shrila sanātana yāra nāma
vṛndāvane vṛkṣamūle, hākṛṣṇa govinda bole,
yāra hṛde gaura guṇa-dhāma
bṛhad bhāgavatāmṛta,  pade pade parāmṛta,
hari bhakti vilāsādi kori.
grantha ratna kore dāna,tribhuvane jayagāna
tāra pada hṛdayete dhari

"I carry the lotus feet of Shri Rupa Goswami ‘s elder brother, named Sanatan Goswami, who is the crownjewel of renouncers, who cried out ‘Hā Krishna! Govinda!’ while simply dwelling at the base of Vrindavan’s trees, who always carries Gaura Guṇadhāma in his heart, who wrote jewel-like books like Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta, which is the highest nectar at every step, Hari-bhakti-vilāsa and others, and whose glories are sung by the three worlds, in my heart!"

rādhā kuṇḍa govardhane,  bando mui sarva kṣaṇe,
yugala pirīti kore dāna
madhupurī vṛndāvane,  goṣṭhe yoto bhaktagaṇe,
pade pade ananta praṇāma

"At every moment I offer my obeisances unto Govardhana hill and Radha Kund, for they bestow love for the Divine Couple on us. I offer countless obeisances to the lotus feet of all the devotees in Vraja, to the town of Mathura and to Vrindavan."

vrajavāsī vaiṣṇava-gaṇe, mui dīna akiñcana,
vrajera yoto sthāvara jaṅgama
gala lagnī kṛta vāse, nitya vandi abhilāṣe,
anurāga vṛddhira kāraṇa

"I always praise the Vrajavāsīs, the Vaishnavas and all the moving and nonmoving creatures of Vraja, being a fallen indigent wretch. I humbly pray that my attraction for them all may increase."
Previously in this series:


Commentary of Shri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Shri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Shri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.

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