SHRI NANDANANDANA KRISHNA
BANKE BEHARI TEMPLE – ONE OF THE GREATEST ATTRACTIONS
Lord Krishna was kind enough to bestow us the opportunity of visiting the lanes and by-lanes of Mathura and Vrindavan / Gokul and other places a few days back where we found to our big surprise that whatever we had heard or read through other mediums proved to be hundred percent on dot. In every nook and corner we felt as if some elusive hands were guiding us to explore further into the realm of Lord Krishna. In every bit of living and non-living things including the Yamuna flowing majestically are laced in mysticism and historical reality. We became a part of that reality!
I was really mesmerized by the Lord Krishna’s idol in BANKE BEHARI TEMPLE. Its image is etched indelibly in my heart. It will I am sanguine remain guiding me in the days to come. What a visit it was. I shall not barter this visit with anything in this material world. I visited many of the temples for the first time but it seemed I had seen those places many a times. I was obviously surprised when one of the temple priests told that he had seen me before also! That is the surprise of all surprises.
Shri Krishna was born in Dwapara Yuga is the eighth son of Yadava Prince Vasudev and mother Devki. The Yadu dynasty belongs to the family descending from Som – the god in the moon planet. Lord Krishna’s task was to establish the principles of religion or to establish the principles of righteousness. In order to save the infant child from his maternal uncle Kansa (ruler of Mathura) he was taken away to Gokul – the village of gopas in Braj under the able care of Nand and Yashoda. Krishna as a child grew to manhood with gipis and gopas to play with.
Mathura is a part of Brajbhoomi now in Uttar Pradsesh. It covers an area of 3800 Sq. Kms. Brajbhoomi is divided into two distinct units. Eastern part which include trans-Yamuna with places like Gokul; Mahavan; Baldeo; and Bajna. The western side of the Yamuna include: Vrindavan; Govardhan; Kusum Sarovar; Barsana and Nandgaon.
Mathura is situated on the bank of river Yamuna. This is the place where Shri Krishna was born and spent his youth. His presence could be felt if one cares to feel. This place has a sanctity of its own. There is a special sort of attraction in the air. If one cares to feel one can imagine the sweet melody of Krishna’s flute. This place has a special fragrance.
Mathura is eternally connected with Lord Krishna and not merely a material city. It still is a transcendental abode of Lord Krishna. He remained intimately connected with Vrindavan. Wosoever goes there becomes a part of this transience hence is purified. One who goes there with purity at heart feels himself/herself to part and parcel of this place. When that person leaves this place after having seen/heard all the Leela of Lalaa that person goes back to his / her home after an overall change; mental and spiritual.
Lord Krishna had spent His childhood and thereafter to in Mathura and Vrindavan hence these places could be termed as the abode of the Lord where He engaged in pastimes; that is why this place is the most sacred one. It is also a sacred place because there are numerous sacred places in Mathura and Vrindavan – amongst these the birth place of Krishna and Banke Behari Temple among others. It also signifies the importance of nature which Lord Krishna espoused.
Gokul is the place where Nand Baba with the members of his family settled down at Mahavan. Gokul (Go – associated with cows) is called so because all the cows; gopis; gopas along with the members of their families resided there. Nand Baba had his own herd of cows.
SHRI THAKURANI GHAT/GOKUL GHAT
The majestic / mystic Yamuna and the most important Ghat from where our Lord Krishana as a infant was spirited away from His birthplace Mathura while all the guards of the prison were sleeping. There is also a temple of Shri Gangaji opposite the Ghat.
This is the main ghat in Gokul and the place where Shri Vallabhacharya received darshan of Shri Yamuna Maharani. He began to give initiation (diksa) at this place. This Ghat is thus a place of great significance to the Vaishnavas of theVallabha Sampradaya. There are so many places situated in Gokul; amongst these following are the important ones:-
- Ø Temple of Shri Vitthalnath,
- Ø Shri Madan Mohan Temple,
- Ø Shri Madhavray Temple,
- Ø Shri Gokulnath Temple,
- Ø Shri Dvarkanath Temple,
- Ø Shri Navanitapriya Temple
- Ø Shri Gokul Chandrama Temple
- Ø Place where He killed Demoness Putana
- Ø The place where Shri Nand Maharaj kept his cart
- Ø The place where Krishna as a child ate mitti (earth)
- Ø Yashoda Ghat, ,
This place is situated 15 km from Mathura. It is also a sacred place where Krishna as a child exhibited his playfulness and his association with gopas and gopis are very famous. It is a place where He wooed Radha Rani. Now we can see quite a number of temples there – new and the ancient ones.
Vrindavan is a village famous for groves of fragrant plants – cleansing the environs around. We can feel enchantment of Lord Krishna in every elements present there. Even the earth on which Krishna journeyed/walked is considered sacred.
Govardhan, a very famous place of Hindu pilgrimage. It is located 26 km west of Mathura. Govardhan is located on a narrow sandstone hill known as Giriraj (King of mountains) which is about 8 km in length. It can better be said that Lord loved nature and the people who take parikrama of Govardhan Hill (circumambulation) do not dissociate the two. What a sight to see when the children; old men and women circumambulation just barefooted weathering all sort of climates or time – night or day no inhibition at all! Here only belief and indomitable faith wins ultimately. Govardhan Hill at its highest point is 80 feet with a length of 8 km.
Legent has it that there was a huge deluge; due to persistent rains owing to anger of rain God Indra. The incessant rain was so severe that all the people were in danger of losing their livestock’s and properties including their own lives. In order to save these hapless people Lord Krishna picked up the Govardhan Hill with his little finger for seven days continuously! That is the reason Lord Krishna is also called Govardhandhri. All the cow herds; gopas; gopis and other things were saved by our Lord Krishna. Even Govadhan Hill is pleased by the touch of the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. In order to convince His followers that both He and Govardhan Hill are not separate He Himself conveyed this. In this way the rain God Indra got a sweet lesson for his anger. He realized the prowess of Lord Krishna.
Thus in this way the inhabitants of Vrindavan were saved from the deluge. Lord Krishna advised the inhabitants to worship Govardhan Hill and take circumambulation around as a matter of respect to it. Govardan Puja is also done one day after Diwali every year by the devout. After the ceremony the people distribute Prasada to the devotees.
GOVARDAHAN PUJA AND HILL PARIKRAMA
Parikrama of Govardhana starts at the Manasi-Ganga Kund (lake) and then after having darsan of Lord Harideva, from Radha-kunda village, where the Vrindavan road meets the parikrama path. After parikrama of 38 km, covering important tanks, shilas and shrines such as Radha Kunda, Syama Kunda, Dan Ghati, Mukharavinda, Rinamochana Kunda, Kusuma Sarovara and Punchari, it ends at Mansi Ganga Kund only.
Govardhan Temple which is being a new look now. There are innumerable deities in the precincts of this temple. It is a place which is highly revered by the people. Bhajan and pooja is done with religious fervor and vigour.
SHRI NANDANANDANA KRISHNA
There is a saying most sagacious
Whenever there is prevalence of demonic forces
Posing distortion in world order
Thence our Creator takes Avtar
And to establish principles most dear for Dharma
With all the innate potencies so powerful.
There appeared Supreme Godhead as son of Vasudeva
In the kashatriya dynasty of Yaduva
The pious one of all
As a small baby killed gigantic demoness Putana
And other demons including the most ferocious & vindictive Kamsa
Giving our love and remembering Him is Krishna consciousness
Which becomes a part and parcel of our life in true sense
Rids us of impending dangers for us and our love ones
The transcendental realm of Krishna is Vrindavana
There He is held high by Gopis and Gopas
For they want to remain near the Lotus Feet of beloved Krishna their own Sakha
They had the highest innate attachment to shower Him love so eternal
They had at heart Krishna Supreme Love
Eternal source purest linkage which binds them together
And rid themselves from the maya’s fetters
And gain transcendental consciousness eternally
With His pastimes loved by the souls liberated
And purifies us of our deceased mentality so prevalent.
Krishna is Godhead because He is all attractive
The one who possesses all the six opulences
With unlimited imaginable degrees
Of wealth/power/famous/beauty/wisdom and unattachment
Whilst performing His duty as a human with traits unparalleled
Maintaining the Supreme Personality of Godhead
With knowledge & memory without a boundry
A supreme master/friend/child/love all mixed together