Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The great Gaudiya rasika acarya, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, lived many years in Vrndavana worshiping Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. His many deep realizations and intimate ‘nitya-lila’ visions appear in his wonderful books like  Sri Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi.

Speaking as a realized Vraja ‘bhajananandi’ saint, Sarasvatipada reveals SIX ATTRIBUTES ONE NEEDS to live in Vrindavan and attain perfection in Radha-Krishna bhajana. If you are living in Vrndavana already, or considering it, then please study these six. Sincerely and repeatedly try to think, feel and see the reality of Vraja vasa through these sublime truths.

1= To live in Vrndavana (śrī-vṛndāvanam-āvaset), you must feel that Radha-Muralidhara’s lotus feet are the one and only object of your love, rādhā-muralīdhar-āṅghri-kamala-premaika-mātrīyate.

2= You must think that other’s wives are your mothers, mātrī-yaty-aparāṅganāṁ.

3=You must think that one who severely rebukes you is your own family member, gotrīyat-yati-tarjan-ādiṣu.

4=You must think that all moving and non-moving living entities in Vrindavan are your own lovely children, sthira-caraṁ-sattvaṁ-su-putrīyate.

5=You must see your envious haters as great friends, mahā-mitrīyate-dveṣiṣu.

=6 And, you must see your own body as a stranger to you, the eternal soul within, yaḥ-svāṅge-anya-gātrīyate (Vrndavana-mahimamrta 8.81).

Shri Dhama Vrndavana ki jai! Nitya Vrajavasa ki jai!

Radha-Govinda Yugala nitya kunjavilasa seva ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

From Shravan month, sukla tritiya “Hariyali Teej” until Shravan Purnima, all the Thakurjis in Vraj enjoy Their annual twelve-day blissful rainy season swing festival (jhulanotsava). Below are translations of popular Hindi and Bengali jhulan bhajans, you can meditate upon while chanting Hare Krishna maha-mantra japa.

Radha-Krishna Jhulan Lila Meditation Japa Chanting Technique

** Copy and save this post on your mobile. Since all of Radha Govinda’s lilas are eternal, nitya-lila you can chant japa with these meditations anytime or the year. By doing lila japa you will feel very satisfied, spiritually refreshed and blissful in your heart.

This is the proper way to chant Hare Krishna nama japa; hear, chant and deeply remember the eternal asta-kaliya lilas of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna in Vrndavana.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

1) Before japa, first slowly read one bhajan translation. While reading, try to visualize Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, the sakhis and manjaris, the forest scene, and all the props.

2) Slowly read again, increasing the visualization while trying to identify with the feelings and sevas of the sakhis and manjaris caring for Lila Yugal.

3) Close your eyes, try to recapture the scene, sevas and feelings being exchanged between the sakhis, manjaris, and Sri Sri Radha Govinda Yugal.

4) Open your eyes, read the entire piece again out loud.

5) Close your eyes and begin chanting japa while trying to mentally see, feel, enter into, and serve everything you just read about.

Without a doubt, if you do this sincerely you will have an amazingly sublime and sweet experience during your jhulan lila japa meditations.

Jhulan Lila Japa Meditations

# 1 The sakhis gossip from house to house in Varsana: “Hey sakhi! Quickly, dress and let’s go meet gallant Shyamasundara.”

Lalita and Vishakha dress Radhika, and then everyone rushes to the Jhulan site. Radhika and the sakhis joke and laugh in great fun.

Upon meeting Shyam, they burst with joy. Radha’s loving eyes meet Shyams and Their minds spin with amorous desires.

Mohana dasa observes this lila in great happiness, as Rasik Yugal swing together being as the gopis push back and forth.

# 2 Shyam inebriates with the joy of jhulan swinging with golden Radha on His left, jhulato shyam, gauri bama—ananda range matiya). Exchanging mild smiles, Radha-Shyam arouse amorous mutually moods.

Radhika sweetly gestures to Her sakhis to push the swing. Swarms of bees hover around the fragrant flowers decorating the golden swing. Shyam looks like a rain cloud as the playful Rai embraces His left side like a brilliant lightning strike.

Dangling necklaces and moon lockets toss about as Radha-Shyam embrace. Mrdangas enchantingly pound, bi-dhi, bi-dhik, a-di-ya; tini-na, tini-na, and ta-ti-ya!

The indescribable atmosphere is saturated with the gopis’ high-pitched singing of jhulan bhajans.

Mixing sweetly with the jhunara (large karatals), their bangles, ankle bells and waist bells resound—jha-na, jha-na, jha-na, jha-ti-jha! Overcome with joy, Uddhava dasa takes shelter at the lotus feet of Radha-Mohana.

# 3 “Sakhi, look! As Yugala-kishora look like a blue sapphire set in gold as They swing.” Lalita and Vishakha happily push the swing while relishing the beauty of Their faces. Rai’s playful sakhis surround the flower decorated swing and dense rainclouds rumble overhead.

The sakhis drown in ecstasy as they swing the Divine Couple. Some sakhis clap their hands gleefully while telling lovely-faced Radha, “Tightly hold Your Pranavallabha so You don’t fall off the jhulan!”

As Radha-Shyama swing faster and faster, Their hair loosens and beads of perspiration, like drops of nectar, glide down their moon-like faces. To relieve Radha-Shyama’s fatigue, the sakhis wave chamaras.

The bees and cuckoos watch from the trees and sing out, “Jaya Jaya Radha-Krishna! Jaya Radha-Krishna!”

Padakarta Jagannatha dasa says, “O when will I behold Yugala-kishor’s beautiful jhulan-lila in the groves of Vrindavan?”

# 4 Sweet-faced Radha on His left, the topmost gallant lover floates in an ocean bliss while joyfully swinging on the elegant hindola. The amazing sight of their matchless beauty captivates the universe!

The irresistible enchantment of Radha’s beautiful face and enticing eye gestures induces Shyam to kiss Kishori again and again. Radha’s voice falters as Cupid’s spell seizes Shyama-Shyam!

# 5 The sakhis say, “O Vrishabhanunandini! Auspicious teej has come, so let’s go swing in the cool breeze of monsoon! Black clouds shower tiny rain drops and enthrall everyone with their romantic rumbling.

O Kishori! O Karunamayi Radhe, who takes away everyone’s misery! The beautiful swings on the kadamb trees anxiously await to serve Your exquisitely divine form.

O Vrajeshvari! Please accept our humble request. Wear a bright, colorful sari and come to the jhulan. A gentle smile adorns Your lovely, softly glowing beautiful face which shames the radiance of the moon.”

# 6 O Radhe, costly ornaments adorn Your splendid form, and kajal accents the elegance of Your lotus eyes. O Pyarijeu! Please come for jhulan and bless the anxious monsoon clouds.

O most wise and learned Vrishabhanu-dulari, please give up your angry disposition toward Shyam.

Your beloved Rasika Pritam eagerly waits for You. When Vilasini Radha arrives at the jhulan, Krishna folds His hands in surrender and says, “O Shyamajiu! I submit to Your lotus feet.”

# 7 O Bihariji! You forever relish swing pastimes in Vrindavan. Just see how the keli -kunjas of Vraja are covered with a blanket of green! Here stands Nandabihari and Bhanudulari. O how sweet the Divine Couple look in our eyes! Wearing dazzlingly artistic clothing, You both look so beautiful standing beside the Yamuna.

The kadamb trees blossom with an abundance of fragrant flowers. The shining black luster of Ghanashyam mixes with the resplendent golden hue of Radha like a lightning flash in a raincloud. This incredible sight our hearts with bliss. Shyam’s chakora eyes relish every drop of sweet nectar mercifully dripping from the rasa moon of Madhuri’s countenance. Excited sakhis serve Their every wish.

# 8 At midday, Sri Radha and the sakhis walk to the jhulan mandap. Beautiful blossoming kalpa vrksha trees stand on all sides. The fragrant creepers of madhavi and malati wrapped around the intertwining, densely foliated, bending branches of the trees to form a natural canopy overhead. The pleasure swings hanging from the trees have comfortable seats with soft cushions and pillows.

On the pretext of admiring the forest beauty, Sri Krishna slips away from the boys and cows. With His confidantes Subala and Madhumangala, Krishna quickly goes to meet Radhika and the sakhis. Some sakhis and manjari expertly play vinas, drums and other instruments. And other lovely damsels of Vraja sing and dance for the pleasure of Priya-Priyatam.

With their sweetest possible voices, the cuckoos and parrots join the concert, and the peacocks fan their tails while ecstatically shrieking “Ke Ka! Ke Ka!”

Bees buzz, deer frolic and the entire forest vibrates with festive bliss. Radha-Shyama and Their intimate sakhis sit together in the center of the spectacular thousand-petal lotus jhulan. Nearby on other swings, different yutheshvaris sit with their sakhis.

On her swing in the east is Candravali and her party; south, Bhadra and her sakhis; north, Shyamala and friends; and wes, Dhanya and company. Hovering in their transports, devas and devis happily observe the jhulan utsav from the sky.

Just to make it a super spectacle bliss festival, Vrinda-devi mixes in Holi too! She and her allies bring heaps of colored powders made of pulverized fragrant flowers; flowers bombs, and powerful one meter syringes to completely drench everyone in festive colors of joyful love.

“Preme Se! Preme Se!” Holi Hey! Holi Jhulan Utsava ki jai! Radha’s yutheshvaris team up to bombard Lila Yugal with clouds of color, and streams of rainbow-hued liquids shot from their gem-studded golden syringes (huge squirt guns).

Clever Lalita and Her sakhis form a human shield all around Yugal to protect Radha-Govinda from the attack. In seconds, the sakhis are simultaneously wet and dusted from the torrents of colored liquids, powders and flower bombs. The color monsoon turns the day into night.

After some time, the dense powder clouds settle, and the sakhis get off their individual swings to eagerly push Radha-Shyam’s jhulan. Due to the rapid swinging, Radha-Madhava’s malas start to oscillate. Nectar thirsty bumblebees try to land on these malas. But they end up just chasing the jhulan back in forth without getting any nectar.

Krishna then enjoys jhulan with different partners each taking turn. First Radha, then Lalita and all others. Descending from the swing, Radha seats a pair of sakhis on Shyam’s sides, and personally pushes the swing in great joy. Then Shyama gets off and pushes Priyaji and Her dearest gopis.

When Jhulan ends, the kinkaris relieve the Prem Yugal by fanning Them, daubing Them with sandalwood paste, and offering Them tasty sweet fruits and refreshing cool drinks. (Gutika, adapted)

Jhulan japa meditation ki jai! Sri Sri Radha Govinda Yugal Jhulan Utsav ki jai!


Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

1977, we left our Delhi train in Mathura, and bounced along the dusty road in a clickety-click, clickety-click horse cart ride to Vrndavana. “Welcome to Vrndavana, the Land of Krishna” said the sign as we approached its precincts.

“Ahh, we made it, we’re here; this is the spiritual world!”

Then Sri Vrndavtavi Mata blessed us with our first darshana of Vrndavana, and completely excited our heart with a special kind of attraction. We felt a unique sense of imperceptible peace, and some inexplicable feeling of continually resonating joy in the core of our heart.

As we wandered about the villages of Vrndavana, Varshana, Nandagrama, Govardhana and Radha-kunda all of our senses, especially our eyes, ears and nose, were captivated and transported to a subtle and mysterious realm far beyond whatever lies outside this “play land of God”, lilabhumi Vrndavana.

Now we will share some of our memories from forty-two years ago.

Legions of robust, brilliant green happy parrots chattered everywhere in the neem trees lining the Chattikara road like rows of sentinels guarding the path from the Delhi Road to the Banke Bihari Mandir. The road was so narrow that if two cars were passing, the car giving way would get scratched by the scrawny, thorny babul trees (acacia arabica) flanking the road.

The twisty, narrow roads of bricks were polished smooth from millions of loving shuffles scurrying to tiny temples or regal palaces housing the sweet Kings of their hearts. In the small “family temples” and grand mandirs, the Thakurajis were all being cooled with large cloth fans pulled by the eager hands of grateful bhaktas.

Before our Vrndavana yatra we had darshan of many Krishna murtis in mandirs in America, Canada and UK. But here in Vrndavana, we experienced the Thakurajis to be very different, extra special, close and friendly, touchable and human like. If you reach out, Thakuraji will hold your hand, whisper something in your ear and move into your heart. Here the Thakurajis are not aloof and distant. They are loving, and like gaumata they want attention and care.

Thakuraji wants to be close and near His devotees. He misses them and hankers to see them in every arati. When you take darshan of Damodar jiu, Govindadeva, Gopinatha, Radha Raman, Radha Vallabh and Shyamsundar you feel that They really like you, and appreciate your standing before them admiring Their sweet and perfectly beautiful divine forms with every drop of devotion you possess.

“O such a land! Such a wondrous experience! And such a love found in nowhere but Vrndavana!”

The Yamuna River, glistening with an undeniably rich dark blue color, immediately reminded us of our beloved Shyamsundar. Yamunaji meandered in a zig-zag way through the magical landscape, not purposely toward a goal, but lazily like a person relishing one’s self in the inner world of contentment. Like the path of Krishna bhakti, Yamunaji moved slowly, carrying the hidden treasure of her personal joy while steadily move toward her goal, the ocean.

One night at 1.30 a.m. while sleeping in our small Raman Reti guesthouse, we were suddenly awakened by some unearthly sound. It was the deep thunderous crying of what seemed to be thousands of domestic cats meowing in unison. What was that curious mystical cry? The sound abated after some time, but then again roared back into prominence at about 4 a.m.

The next morning, our Vrajavasi friend said, “O that is the peacocks in the forests singing for Radha-Krishna’s nightly rasa lila. And at 4, they are calling all the bhaktas to come for Krishna’s darshan in mangal arati!”

In 1992, by Krishna’s power alone, we did dandavat parikrama of Vrndavana. It was all just sandy plains from Keshi Ghat to the big white Jagannatha Mandir. Then believe it or not, the entire length of the parikrama marga was ONLY soothing cool and purifying white Yamuna sand. Parrot and peacock filled big tall neem, palasha, kadamba and arjuna trees interspersed with fruit orchards of ber, guava and jamun trees lined both sides of the marga. Crossing the Vrndavana-Mathura road, the parikrama marga was bordered by big trees and garden filled spacious ashrams of various saints all the way to Raman Reti.

Often we would take visiting devotees to the then tallest building in Vrndavana, the seven storied “Pagal Baba Mandir”. From its roof we would point out the Goswami Saptalaya Mandir domes, and the royal Madan Mohan temple gloriously reigning atop Dvadashaditya Tila.

This is the Vrndavana of forty-two years ago that completely captured the dry and broken heart of one 24-year-old American. Like many, we were searching for a nature loving, personal and playful God. We found Him here; Krishna and Radha in their paradise of pure devotion, Vrndavana! It was an incredible overtaking of our being. Impossible but it’s happening. We can see, smell, hear, taste, touch and feel Krishna right here, NOW in Vrndavana.

Ten years later, in 1987, by Srimati Radharani’s mercy, we happily moved permanently to Vrndavana. Then a tragedy appeared. Unfortunately, for the next 20 years (1987-2007), we painfully and helplessly watched the divine paradise that once enchanted our hearts disappear right before our tear-filled eyes.

Sadly, our hearts broken, it’s now ALL GONE! No more trees, no more parrots, peacocks or mynas, those talented maestros, and NO MORE YAMUNA! Small “family temples” vanished under the rubble of stores and apartments. Other friendly, sweet and vibrant small temples turned into sprawling complexes of marble, gold, tinsel and trim all neatly packaged in steel “monkey cages”. Thakuraji’s “devotee fans” moved by loving hands and hearts were replaced by ceiling fans and AC’s.

During the destruction of Vrndavana, we often thought and prayed, “O Radharani! You are the Queen of the trees, birds and forests of Vrndavana. And You are the one and only supreme Empress of absolutely, pure and immaculate selfless love for Sri Krishna, mahabhava. We promise You that if we ever get some money, we will buy a little land and offer You some beautiful trees as a small token of our love and gratitude for all and everything that you have and still are giving to us.”

After many years, by Srimati Radharani’s sweet will, She gave some land in Her heart’s domain, Sri Radha-kunda Dhama. By Sri Krishna’s grace there are now over thirty-five trees here for Lila Yugal’s enjoyment, including neem, campak, asoka, amla, moulshri and Their favorites, our precious Tamal and Kadamba yugal vrksh.

With great disappointment, however, we have seen that most of the devotees buying land here will mindlessly decimate all the trees, and then cover every inch of their plots with cement, buildings driveways and towering walls, leaving zero vraj raja, save and except a ceremonial “tulsi stambha”. What about serving Vrndavana, and pleasing the Queen who so kindly gave you the land, Vrndavaneshvari Sri Radha?

We met one South Indian sadhu just after he purchased a plot in Vrndavana. “Maharaja, what is your plan for your land? Are you going to cover every inch with cement like everyone else does?”

Swamiji replied, “O, No, no, this is Vraja. I promise you I will build a small ashram along the back wall and leave the remaining area for a garden with trees and flowers for our Thakuraji.”

“Yes, this is good. Actually, it’s a privilege and a special favor from Srimati Radharani to be granted some land in Her Queendom. “Your property” and all the land in Vrndavana actually belongs to Sri Radha alone. We are merely guardians meant to protect and beautify it with flowers and trees as a place for the happiness and sweet pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Govinda Yugal.”

Conversation over, construction starts and guess what happened? A big ashram manifested eating all the land, and the “promised garden” is nonexistent! Such is the age of Kali!

To all those blessed devotees moving to Vrndavana and building a home on a private plot, we humbly make the following appeal. No matter how big or small your plot is, please only build on one-third or one-half of “your land”, and leave the rest for a “Radharani Bagicha”, a beautiful garden full of fragrant flowers and happy trees! The is real residence in Vrndavana, Vrajavasa, and this is Krishna bhakti.

In closing, we pray: “O Vraja! O Vrndatavi Mata! How very much we miss you that while writing this our tears are falling on the paper. Will we ever see you again? Will we ever be embraced by you again, and fill with that special feeling of love, security, hope and happiness than only a bhakta can perceive? O Srimati Radharani! If Vraja does not return, then please I beg You to take me to Your lotus feet in Goloka Vrndavana Dhama.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Sridham Vrndavana ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

For all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, Vrndavana is the topmost place of sadhana bhajan. Sri Krishna Caitanya Himself set the example of staying here for four months, totally immersed in gopi-bhava i.e. Radha’s premonmada mahabhava.

Roaming around Vraja, Mahaprabhu went mad searching for that elusive King of love divine, the all-attractive, Master of sweet bliss eternal—Sri Krishna! After partially recovering from His eternal swoon of love in separation from Syama, Gaurahari left Vraja and returned to His circle of loving friends.

In great ecstasy, Gauranga then ordered His antaranga bhaktas, the six Goswamis, to go live in Vrndavana—serve, search and cry for Krishna, and teach others to do the same.

For fifty-years or more of their manifest presence, the Goswamis—Sri Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta, Gopala and Dasa Raghunatha, and Sri Jiva—LIVED IN VRNDAVANA. They showed the ideal of Radha-Krishna sadhana bhakti for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

Their lives, books, bhajans, and eternal blessings teach us how to live in Vrndavana in the mood of Srimati Radharani’s eternal maidservants i.e. dasis, manjaris. Like the Goswamis, the fervent, hankering bhaktas will internally serve Radhika with their minds, and externally through bhajan, tears and endless prayers to see Her beloved sweet Syama.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe

Ten Phenomenal Powers

To encourage everyone to live in Vrndavana doing Krishna bhakti sadhana, Sri Rupa, the very form of Sri Radha’s beauty and compassion, wrote extensively about the glories of Sridhama Vrndavana. In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Rupa Goswamipada describes ten uniquely astonishing attributes of Vrndavana, unavailable anywhere else in the universe!

1) All in Vraja! Other Yatras Not Needed

In Adi Purana, Bhagavan Sri Krishna says:

mathuram -ca -parityajya,
yon -yatra -kurute -ratim
mudho -bhramati -samsara,
mohita -mama -mayaya

“Only a fool, wandering in samsara and bewildered by My maya, will leave Vrndavana out of attraction to go somewhere on a yatra.” (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.211)

One might argue, “But Bharata-bhumi is filled with all kinds of sacred places, tirthas, and dhamas like Prayaga, Puskara, Haridvara, Kanchi, Dvaraka, Ayodhya, Sri Rangam, Ramesvaram, and Badrinatha. So why can’t we go on tirtha yatras to see all these wonderful places?”

Of course, anyone can go; there is no law against it. Indeed, these sacred places can purify one and even grant mukti. But why leave Braja, since the Six Goswamis never did that once they settled here? They stayed 24/7 in Vrndavana and quoted so many sastras to encourage others to live here too.

In fact, Sri Rupa Goswamipada’s “Sri Mathura Mahatyam” contains over four-hundred Vedic verses proving the supreme efficacy of Braja vasa, and the incredible benefits of living and dying here.

To establish Vrndavana Dhama above all the other sacred places like those listed above, Sri Rupa Goswamipada quotes the Padma Purana on residing in Mathura/Vrndavana:

anyesu –punya -tirthesu
muktir -eva –maha -phalam
muktaih -prarthya -harer -bhaktir
mathurayam tu labhyate

“Mukti is the topmost fruit to be gained at other sacred places. But HARI BHAKTI, which even the liberated desire, is only attainable in Mathura/Vrndavana!”

aho -madhu -puri -dhanya
vaikunthac -ca -gariyasi
dinam -ekam -nivasena
harau -bhaktih -prajayate

“Aho! Wow! The sweet land of Mathura/Vrndavana is most auspicious and even superior to Vaikuntha. By staying here only one day, Hari bhakti will appear! (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.2.135, 137)

In the following, most beautiful, poetic and musical Sanskrit verse, Sri Rupa Goswamipada summarizes nine more powers of Braja, elaborately described in the Puranas (khyatam-puranesu-na-vistara-bhiyocyate). In these nine ways, Mathura/Vrndavana fulfil desires.

sruta- smrta –kirtita -ca
vanchita- preksita -gata
sprsta- srita sevita -ca
mathur -abhista -da -nrnam

“[Due to the unlimited power of Vrndavana], anyone can fulfil their cherished desires [for Krishna’s eternal service] simply by:

2) Hearing about Vrndavana (sruta).

3) Remembering Vrndavana (smrta).

4) Glorifying Vrndavana (kirtita).

5) Desiring Vrndavana (vanchita).

6) Seeing Vrndavana (preksita).

7) Visiting Vrndavana (gata).

8) Touching Vrndavana (sprsta).

9) Living in Vrndavana (asrita).

10) Serving Vrndavana (sevita).”

Sri Jiva Goswami’s commentary

“The word preksita (#6) means seeing Vrndavana from a distance, or going near but without direct contact. Srita (#9) means accepting Vrndavana as one’s shelter [residence]. Sevita (#10) means serving Vrndavana by cleaning, beautifying, repairing old temples, etc.

The items in this list fulfil the desires of all beings with successively increasing power. Thus, the last item, sevita, serving Vrndavana is the most powerful!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das comments:

Regarding (#9), living in Vraja, in Padma Purana (Patala-khanda), Sri Rudra says to Sri Parvati:

aho -madhu -puri -dhanya
yatra –tisthati -kamsaha
tatra -deva -munih -sarve
vasam -icchanti -sarvada

“Aho! Wow! The sweet land of Mathura/Vrndavana, where Kamsari Sri Krishna resides eternally, is so valuable and fortunate. Even all the munis and devas desire to always live there.” (Laghu Bhagavatamrta I.5.433)

Thus, the conclusion of sastra, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and the example and teachings of the six Goswamis is that Gaudiya Vaisnavas should live in and serve Vrndavana, while continually practicing raganuga bhakti bhajan in the mood and manner of the sakhi/manjaris of Srimati Radharani in Goloka Vrndavana.

Sridhama Vrndavana vasa ki jai! Six Goswamis ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Welcome all lovers of Vrindavana! This is Part Seven of our continuing series of articles glorifying Sridhama Vrindavana. Vraja [aka Vrindavana] is the divine realm wherein Sri Krishna loves, plays and sports with all and everyone. If you simply visit Vraja or live in Vraja, Gopala will enchant your heart by His sweet love, beauty, charm and naughty playfulness.

Filled with thousands of temples, Vrindavana is known as a “temple town”. In fact, the entire 168 sq. mile area of Vraja Mandala is adorned with thousands of temples, sacred places, mountains, rivers, lakes and bathing tanks.

Bhakti-ratnakara, a 500-year-old holy book penned by Gaudiya Acarya Sri Narahari Chakravarti, describes over 300 different inhabited villages still existing today in Vraja Mandala. Each village is named after and commemorated to a particular amazing pastime of Sri Krishna which occurred there.

Vraja Dhama ki jai ho! This is such a unique and captivating sacred place. In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila-to-lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

These articles are meant to increase attract everyone more and more and more to this most astonishing, wonderland of pure love and never ending play. Sri Krishna’s pastime villages will be grouped by area like Kamavana, Govaradhana, Varsana, etc. The villages will be listed by their modern names. The origin of that name will appear in brackets after its English translation.

Sri Vraja Dhama ki jai!

Vraja Dhama! O, What an amazing sacred place? In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila to lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

Nandagaon & Kokilavana Area Lila Villages

Now come, let us wander through the northern area of Vraja Mandala around Nandagrama to uncover more hidden lila sthalis full of bliss.

** Kosi (Kosikalan)
While waiting here in a kunja, Radhika pretends not to recognize Her eternal beloved when Syama knocks on the bamboo door.

“Who is that?”, Sri Radha tauntingly says from behind the door.
Krishna: I am Krishna.
Radha: O, a black snake has come here to bite Me? Just go from here, slither into the forest and leave Me alone. [word Krishna means black snake]
Krishna: No Priyaji, listen it’s Me—Ghanasyama!
Radha: O, no, no, no! I don’t want any thick rain clouds [ghanasyama] drenching My kunja!
Krishna: Come on Kisori, I am Cakri, wielder of the Sudarsana cakra.
Radha: Sorry, no need, My father has thousands of water pots [cakri].
Krishna: I am Madhusudana.
Radha: There are no blossoming flowers inside this kunja, little bee [madhusudana], so just fly away to some white flowers and drink some honey.
Krishna: What are You saying? It’s Me, Hari, your dearest!
Radha: I am very afraid of being scratched and bitten by a lion [hari]. So just run away somewhere into a deep forest!

May we someday come to Kosi, and hear this wonderful joking pastime of Lila Yugala, Radha Govinda.

** Nari-Semaré (near Chata)
These are two combined villages (Nari & Semari), of which, Semari is the residence of Syamala, a friendly sakhi of Radha. Here, Srimati Radhika is feeling so angry and jealous with Krishna that none of the sakhis even Her confidante Visakha-sakhi can break it. As advised, Krishna arrives disguised as a beautiful girl playing a vina.

Marvelling at her beauty and virtuosity in music, mystified Madhuri asks, “O sakhi, what is Your name and where are you from?”

Krishna [sakhi] “My name is Syamari. I am a celestial Kinnari, and I have come to entertain You.”

To reward Syamari for her stunning performance, Radha starts to drape a costly diamond necklace around Syamari’s lovely neck.

But Syamari [Krishna], immediately lifts her arms to stop Radha while begging with folded palms, “O sakhi, I don’t need a diamond necklace. I just want You to give up your sulky angry mood [maan].” Seeing through the ruse, Radha immediately wraps Ramana in a tight loving embrace while all the sakhi/manjari’s cheer:

“Jai Jai Sri Radheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee—SYAMA!” Thus the village is named.

** Baithäna (Baithana)
Name derived from baithaka [sit]. Here Nanda Baba, Upananda and the village chiefs sit down to discuss the welfare of Krishna, Baladeva and all Vrajavasis in Baba’s kingdom. It’s said that the love and hospitality of Vrajavasis here was so amazing, that only in this village did Sri Sanatana Goswami stay for more than one night as he wandered around Vraja Mandala.

** Rasauli Grama
Near Kotvana and Chota Bhaitan. Puranas say this village is the actual, original site of the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.29-33) Maha Rasa Lila. Hence the name Rasa-uli.

In 2017, Sri Pandit Baba personally showed us this lila sthali, with its Rasa mandala, forests and small “Yamuna” river meandering between its sandy banks. Indeed, a very beautiful, tranquil divine spot.

** Kamara [blanket/lust]
Village name is derived from a lila involving a woollen blanket and divine, spiritual desire or love [kama]. Feeling extremely eager to meet Priyaji and all the gopis, Priyatama Syama summons them all to His side. Radhika and the playful sakhis decide to play a trick on Krishna. Without Syama seeing, the sakhis snatch Krishna’s favorite black blanket [kari kamara] and hide it.

Not finding it, Krishna goes home to complain to Maa Yasoda: “Maiya, while I was grazing cows just now, the pesky sakhis stole My blanket. When I ask them to return it, they say, ‘O Kanhaiya, I saw Your old blanket floating in the Yamuna.’ Maa, another sakhi then says, ‘Hey Gopala, I saw a cow eating Your blanket.’ A third sakhi then teases Me, saying, ‘If you dance for me, then I will buy You a new blanket.’

Maa Yasoda caresses Gopala to her bosom, and says, “O Lala, don’t worry, just go back, and I am sure the gopis will return your blanket.” Upon returning, the gopis give back the black blanket, and then lead Syama into a dark, shady Keli Nikunja to dive in the waves of Radha’s mysteriously sweet love.

Krishna Kanhaiya ki jai! Radha Govinda Yugala ki jai!

** Basosi
Village near Sesasayi. When Krishna comes here, the bees hover all around Syama, smelling the sweeter than sweet fragrance of Krishna’s transcendental form. Basa means fragrance and so the village name, Basosi.

While throwing colors on each other here during Holi, Krishna and the gopis fill the atmosphere with the beautiful flower-like, sandal-scented, natural fragrance of Their beautiful limbs.

** Paya-gaon
10 km. east of Kosi. Feeling hungry because His tiffin has not come, Krishna, Dou and all the gopas do madhukari here, and drink the milk [paya] loving offered by the sweet hands of the Vrajavasis.

** Sesasayi
While sporting here with Srimati and the damsels of Vraja, Krishna tells the lila of Visnu lying on the snake bed of Anantasesa in the milk ocean. Entering the bhava and lila of His form as Anantasayi, Sri Krishna lies down on a huge lotus flower in the middle of a clear water lake.

Srimati adopts the bhava of Visnu’s consort, Laksmi-devi, and massages Krishna’s lotus feet. Astonished, the gopis look on and cheer, “Visnu Visnu Visnu! Syama Syama Syama! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!”

Here today, one can see a large lake called Ksirasagara.

** Kashrata
Kashrata means [exercise or wrestle]. While Radha-Krishna and the sakhis play and sport here, Radha says, “O Pranavallabha! You always boast about your strength, and how You’ve defeated the strongest gopas like Sridhama and Subala!”

Krishna interjects, “That’s right, no one in the whole universe can defeat Me!”

Radhika replies, “O yea? If that’s so, then now just wrestle with us. If by chance you defeat us, then we will believe Your boasting.”

Radha removes Her bangles, ties up Her hair, and folds Her dress. Slapping Her arms like a wrestler, Rai starts tussling with Syama. Within minutes, Radhika easily pins Krishna on the earth. Then all the sakhi/manjaris clap their hands excitedly while crying out happily, “Jai Sri, Jai Sri, Jai Sri Radhe!”

Radha-Krishna nitya Vraja madhurya lila ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das


Village called ludhauli from lubdha which means eager. Here Radha and Shyama hankered to meet each other so Lalita arranged for it.

While tending the cows one day, Baladeva brought water here to slake Shyama’s thirst. Village name comes from pyas ai meaning “thirst came”.

Village named after Shankhachuda, who was killed here by Krishna. Removing the valuable jewel from his head, Krishna arranged thru Baladeva, Madhumangala and Dhanishtha to secretly give it to Swamini.

Once Shridama and the sakhas came here to enact the pastime of a royal coronation. Sitting Shyama on a regal throne topped with an umbrella (chatra), the gopas proudly pronounced Krishna to be the reigning king of Vraja Mandala (chatra-pati). Then each boy took a different post in the new government. Balarama became the state minister. Arjuna fanned with a royal camara, Shridama held the umbrella, Madumangala pranced about as the court jester, Subala offered betel-nuts, and other sakhas became the subjects of the newly appointed King Gopala.

This village lies just nearby Chata where Kanaiya ascended the throne. The sakhis became very angry when they heard that Hari had been honored as the Chatrapati of Vraja. Fuming with anger, Lalita-sakhi said, “Who is that person who dares to claim authority over Ishvari Radha’s kingdom? We shall retaliate against Him!”

Then she sat Rai on a beautiful throne and pronounced Radhika to be Vrindavana’s undisputed queen, umrava (now Umrao). Chitra sakhi held the umbrella over Vrindavaneshvari’s head, Vishakha fanned Radha with a camara, and Lalita, now the state minister, sat on Radha’s left. One sakhi offered betel-nuts and the rest acted as subjects.

Sitting on Her throne, Srimati commanded, “Go and conquer that person who so brazenly wants to usurp My kingdom. Bind Him with ropes and bring Him before Me.” Receiving the order of their Umrava Urjjeshvari Radha, thousands and thousands of sakhés with flower-sticks in their hands set out for battle.

Seeing an army of angry sakhis approaching, the cowherd boys Arjuna, Lavanga, Bhrnga, Kokila, Subala and Madhumaìgala ran away in all directions. One clever sakhi, however, caught the slow moving Madhumaìgala, tied him up with a mala, and brought him to the lotus feet of the Queen. Then some other gopis slapped Madhumangala’s cheeks a few times and said, “What audacity you have to try to unlawfully seize the authority of this kingdom from our Umrava? Now we will severely punish you!”

Like a defeated general, Madhumaìgala bowed his head and muttered, “That is only befitting. We concede defeat, but please punish me in such a way that my stomach will be completely filled!” Slightly laughing, Maharani Madhuri said, “This is just some gluttonous brahmana, so sakhis stuff his stomach with laddus and let him go!”

Returning to Chatra-pati Maharaja, Madhumangala, pretending to cry, told Krishna everything about his humiliating detention. After hearing this, Krishna, Madhu and the sakha army invaded Umrao. Upon seeing Shyama, Rai-vinodini became quite embarrassed and quickly tried to remove Her royal dress. The sakhis, however, laughed uproariously and prevented Radha from doing that.

Madhumangala sat Chatra-pati Sri Krishna on Umrava Sundari’s right side. Somehow Radha and Krishna signed a peace treaty, wherein Shyama submitted to Sriji’s sovereignty. Coming before Srimati, Madhumangala folded his hands and said humorously, “The kingdom of Kanu’s body is now under Your rule. You can take whatever You desire from Him.”

This is village is named after Dhanishtha Sakhi, who stayed here. She has more affection for Krishna, (krishna sneha-adhika), than for Radharani. Dhanistha Sakhi serves Krishna in various ways in the home of Nanda Baba and Yashoda. She especially acts as a messenger to arrange for Shyama’s meetings with Sarvanga-sundari Radha.

Watch this site for more wonderland posts.

Sridhama Vrindavana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Welcome all lovers of Vrindavana! This is part five of our continuing series of articles glorifying Sridhama Vrindavana. For those who are new to this series, we will repeat the introduction, and then describe the pastime villages in NANDAGRAMA for part five.

Vraja [aka Vrindavana] is the divine realm wherein Sri Krishna loves, plays and sports with all and everyone. If you simply visit Vraja or live in Vraja, Gopala will enchant your heart by His sweet love, beauty, charm and naughty playfulness.

Filled with thousands of temples, Vrindavana is known as a “temple town”. In fact, the entire 168 sq. mile area of Vraja Mandala is adorned with thousands of temples, sacred places, mountains, rivers, lakes and bathing tanks.

Bhakti-ratnakara, a 500 year old holy book penned by Gaudiya Acarya Sri Narahari Chakravarti, describes over 300 different inhabited villages still existing today in Vraja Mandala. Each village is named after and commemorated to a particular amazing pastime of Sri Krishna which occurred there.

Vraja Dhama ki jai ho! This is such a unique and captivating sacred place. In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila-to-lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

A series of articles will appear here to attract everyone more and more and more to this most astonishing, wonderland of pure love and never ending play. Sri Krishna’s pastime villages will be grouped by area like Kamavana, Govaradhana, Varsana, etc. The villages will be listed by their modern names. The origin of that name will appear in brackets after its English translation. Sri Vraja Dhama ki jai!


The name of this pastime village, where Sri Vishakha-sakhi forever lives, comes from the word anjana meaning eyeliner or kajala.

Once, Praneshvari sat in a hidden grove here while Her priya-sakhis adorned Her gorgeous divine form with costly jewels and ornaments. Just when they were about to apply the anjana to Kishori’s beautiful blue lotus eyes, Radhika suddenly heard the dulcet sound of Dhani Raya’s murali.

Excited and overjoyed, Sri Radha immediately ran away to meet Her Pranavallabha. When Radhika arrived, Shyama anxiously sat His precious one on a fragrant flower asana, embraced Her and eagerly relished Priya’s sublime elegance with His thirsty eyes. Shyama became very pleased to see that in Her haste to meet Him, Radhika had forgotten to apply kajala. Seizing the opportunity for Radha’s seva, Kanu then carefully applied anjana to Anuragini’s loving eyes.

This is the “thunderbolt village” because the name Bijavari derives from the word vidyuta-punja which means thunderbolt. Here Kanai Balai mounted uncle Akrura’s chariot to go to Mathura. Thoroughly distressed over their impending separation from Kanaiyalal, the damsels of Vraja cried out “Prananatha!” and fainted. To all observers, it seemed that many brilliant golden lightning bolts (vidyuta-punja) were striking the ground.

This village name means “the day after tomorrow”. While sitting on Akrura’s chariot, Acyuta tried to solace the saddened sakhis by saying, “I promise you that I will surely return the day after tomorrow.”

This village name comes from shighra which means soon because Sri Krishna repeatedly told the gopis, “I will return soon!”

This village is named, not after a bitter gourd, but after a cowherd wrestler named Karahala, the father of Govardhana Malla, who sometimes stayed here with his wife Candravali.

Vrajabhumi ki jai ho! Jai Jai Sri RadheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeShyama!!!!!!!!!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das


My wisdom teacher once said, “Prema is everywhere available in Vraja Mandala, but especially in Varsana!”

I replied, “Really, but what about Radha Kunda?”

Teacher: “Yes, of course there, BUT in Varsana—PREMA IS RAINING FROM THE SKY (prema-varsha)!!!”

Come! Let’s go to Varsana, and get drenched and completely soaked in Radha’s rain shower of mercy, compassion and love. O, What an amazing sacred place? Ahh, My Vraja Dhama!

Please, O Radhika! I beg you with tears in my eyes, “May I live here eternally in the cooling shade seva of Your sweeter than sweet lotus feet.”

In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can see, feel and touch two transcendental villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila to lila, and on into Krishna’s heart. Vraja Bhumi ki jai!

After Krishna bewildered Brahmaji (brahma-vimohana lila), the cowherd boys came here and exclaimed, “Today (aja) Nandulala killed the monster snake Agha!”

In this village, Krishna is remembered for killing Aghasura. At that time, the devatas cheered happily, “All victory to Bhagavan Sri Krishna, all victory to Him!” The gopas also chimed in to saturate the sky with a tumultuous sound of “All victory (jaya:jainta), all victory!”

Sihona (now Seyano)
Upon hearing of Agha’s demise, the elderly Vrajavasis repeatedly glorified Yashodanandana saying, “Krishna is so clever, very very clever (seyano) and strong!” (Krishna seyano hoya gayo hai).

Deravali Grama
When coming from Gokula and Chattikara in route to his ancestral home in Nandagrama, Sri Nanda Baba and his clan camped (dera dala) here overnight.

This amazing lila village is significant for two pastimes, and the phenomenal disappearance of Siddha Krishna Dasa Babaji around 1865 a.d.

Within the sacred transcendental kunjas of this place, Sakshat manmatha-manmatha Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Mahabhavati Srimati Radharani often enjoyed playful games and love battles (rana).

Also at this lila sthali, Krishna and His comrades once met Kishori and Her band of heavily armed sakhis. They all fought a terrible yet hilarious battle of colors; each gleefully drenching and powdering the other in a barrage of rainbow colors. “Ho Ho Holi hai!!!” Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das


Jai Ho! Vraja Dhama ki jai! Radharani Sarkar ki jai. In parts one and two, we wandered together through the lila villages of the Kamyavan area. Now we will visit the eastern side of Yamunaji, and hear of little lila villages near the famous lila-sthalis of Bhandiravan and Baelvan.

Vraja Dhama! O, What an amazing sacred place? In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila to lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

A sweet little lila village on the bank of Yamunaji named after Shyama’s enchanting venu flute, which Manohara played one day to steal the hearts of His darlings.

One day, Gopalaji was playing here with His gopas. Some of Krishna’s pals said, “O Gopala! We are very hungry! Could You somehow arrange to feed us some milk?” As soon as they said this, pots of fresh milk suddenly appeared all around them. The boys laughed and drank to their hearts content. In jest they started churning the milk into cream and then relished it in great bliss. In honor of this divya-lila, the village has been known for 5,000 years as Sarakoriya (saram, cream; koriya, to make).

Chaheri (today: Vijauli)
After boisterous wrestling in Bhadravana, Krishna, Balarama and the cowherd boys came here to relax in the luxurious shade and honor prasadam. Chaheri comes from chaya meaning shade.

One day the sakhas came here enjoyed vigorous frolicking on the banks of the Yamuna. Kinara means riverbank.

One day the sakhas trounced Govinda here in play. They cheered loudly in unison, “Hai! Hai! Jai! Jai! O Krishnaji! Every day You win, but today we soundly defeated You. Ha! Ha! So You must treat us with fresh cream and yogurt from Nandalaya!”

Our next magical, wonderland tour of mystical Vraja will take us to the Varshana area.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Come, let us wander through the far western corner of Vraja Mandala to uncover more hidden lila sthalis. Jai Jai Sri Radhe!


Pashopa (cow hoofs)
In this village, Krishna and Balarama and lots of cows once slipped away from the cowherd boys and wandered from forest to forest. After sometime, the gopas realized that Krishna and Balarama had gone away somewhere. However, the clever boys followed the hoofprints (pa) of the cows (pashu) and soon found the playboy brothers, Kanai Balai.

One time Rasabihari performed the Rasa dance here with the gopis. Afterwards, the sakhis made a luxuriant soft bed of fragrant flowers for Shyama to rest upon (virara from vishrama).

Once on a sizzling hot summer day Sri Krishna sat here with all the Vrajavasis. Everyone prayed to Krishna to please do something to relieve them. Soon a cool wind appeared there and refreshing rain (badala) poured down to everyone’s delight. Ghanasyama Radhe Radhe!!

Nagala Hara Narayana
Once Sri Krishna displayed His 4 armed Vishnu form here to please Radha (Hara).

Nagala Harasukha
Once Sri Krishna satisfied (sukha) Radha (Hara) and gopis here in all respects, each according to her own desires.

Here the gopis once dressed Srimati Radharani as a Queen. One gopi played as Radha’s gatekeeper; another one acted as Kishori’s footservant. After sometime, Krishna, Subala, Sridama and other boys, disguised as Vraja damsels, arrived and asked the gatekeeper to allow them to meet the Queen.

The gatekeeper informed Radha of Her “guests”, and Radhajeu asked, ‘Who are they?’ (ku uhara). Hearing Kishori’s inquiry, Krishna and His pals, fearing they may get caught, slowly slipped away into the deep forest. Because Sri Krishna fled after Radhika’s inquiry, this place has been called Kanabada.

One day the sakhas saw a torn and crumpled peacock feather (dana) here. Taking that proof, they concluded that Krishna had surely danced there among some joyful peacocks.

Nagala Sita Rama
Here in order to enjoy Rama-lila, the sakhis once dressed up Sri Krishna and Radharani as Sita-Rama.

One day Nandanandana came here in a maddened state, shouting, “Whose (kona) home (badi) is the home of My dear sakha?”

In this quaint village, the sakhis once decorated the Playful Pair Radha-Madhava with a throne, crowns and garlands all handmade from flower petals (papadi).

Once some sakhas sat here glorifying their bosom friend Shyama: “It appears that our Govinda always moves in the forest (vanacari) either with His cows in the day or His gopis in the night.”

Once the sakhis prepared a beautiful kunja and then invited Krishna to come. When Krishna arrived some sakhis began laughing at Him for some reason or other. Seeing this, Krishna said, “Listen, you all bring Me to this secluded forest bower, and then start laughing at Me. If you do that again, then I will never come anymore afterwards (parehi).”

Here the sakhis told Gokulendu, “Was that You who distracted us while we were fetching water by playing on Your captivating flute? Krishna replied, “I did not play the flute (ham nahi gaya)! Perhaps it was somebody else.”

Pai Grama
One day Radha and Krishna all the sakhis played hide-an-seek here. Krishna hid in the deep dark forest. After a long search, Priyaji and Her sakhis finally got (pai) there Priyatama here.

At this place, Radha-Madhava intimately enjoyed complete bliss without a moment’s (tila; literally a sesame seed) interruption.

Once Shyama enjoyed love sports here with His dearest sakhi Chandramukhi Radha. When departing for Their respective homes, Radha-Govinda both felt unhappy because of separation (viccheda).

This is not a lila village but an unforgettable forest.

One day Krishna and the cowherd boys came here, and everyone except Krishna dove into an ocean of playing. In a forlorn mood, Krishna sat under a kadamba tree lost in thoughts of Kishori.

Subala came and said, “O sakha! What’s happening with You? Who are You contemplating? Why don’t You speak, get up and take part in the games?”

“O Subala” replied Krishna, “As soon as I think of Radha I forget (bhulano) everything else!”

Douji often played in this village. Once to indicate that this place is on the northern frontier of Vraja, Balarama lifted a huge stone pillar (khamba) and stuck it in the ground. It is still visible today!

Here the playful cowherd boys once asked Govinda, “O sakha! How did You as a tiny toddler kill that fiendish witch Putana? Laughing (hasya) heartily at their question, Krishna replied, “This was just an ordinary pastime of Mine. Who can understand the extent of My potencies? I can do anything at any time!”

Thus ends the Kamavana Area Pastimes. Next article we will discover more astonishing places and pastimes.

Sri Dhama Vrndavana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!