Many believe Sri Krishna Chaitanya stayed two, but the Chaitanya Caritamrita reveals that Gaurahari actually stayed FOUR MONTHS IN VRAJA MANDALA. Let’s see the details of Sri Chaitanya’s Vraja yatra.
IN 1515 a.d., at the beginning of the Sharada season, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu decided to and left Jagannatha Puri to visit Vrindavana. Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja confirms:
sharat kala haila, prabhura calite haila mati (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.3)
According to the Hindu calendar, the Sharada season comprises two months (Bhadra & Ashwina: 17 August to 24 October 2018). This means Sri Chaitanya left Puri around August 18; spent a few days in Benares and Prayaga (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.82, 151), and arrived in Mathura i.e. Vraja Mandala about 10-15 days later on Bhadra Month sukla ekam, which is how long it takes to walk that distance, especially for Radha prema inspired Mahaprabhu.
We see that in a short time, phenomenal distances were crossed by Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami and Sri Sanatana Goswami to reach their goals. And shastras tell that time and space are flexible servants of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. So it was no problem for Mahaprabhu, empowered by Priya’s prema, to race across India to reach His cherished land of loving Vraja.
Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja describes Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic yatra: “Wherever Gaurasundara stayed on the road to Mathura, He made everyone dance by giving them Krishna nama and Krishna prema, mathura calite pathe yatha rahi yaya, krishna nama prema diya, lokere nachaya.
“Whenever Mahaprabhu would see Yamunaji, He would immediately become overcome in prema and jump in Her rasa-filled waters, yamuna darshana jhanpa diya pade prema acetana. As soon as Gauranga came near and saw Mathura, He became absorbed in Krishna prema and collapsed in dandavats, mathura nikate mathura dekhiya dandavat pade prem avishta.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.152-155)
One interesting point is that Mahaprabhu arrived in Vraja Mandala in the middle of the most auspicious and beneficial month of Bhadra. According to many Puranas, the famous Chaurasi Kosh Vraja Mandal Parikrama is best done in Bhadra month (August 27- Sept. 25, 2018). All parikrama details are contained in the book “Braja Bhakti Vilasa”, written by the 15th century Vraja sant named Sri Narayana Bhatta.
Exactly following the shastra and historical tradition, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also started His Vraja Mandala Parikrama in Bhadra month from Mathura. Sri Chaitanya visited all the tirthas in Mathura, the 12 forests of Vrindavana, Nandgrama, Pavana Sarovar, and did Govardhana Parikrama just at the beginning of Karttika month. On Karttika “Bahulastami”, Sriman Mahaprabhu DISCOVERED RADHA KUNDA.
This fact has been established by hundreds of years of sadhu/mahajana vani, and the histories told by the Vrajavasis (loka grantheshu vividheshu/”radha-krsna ganoddesh dipika” v. 4, Sri Rupa Goswamipada)
- Bhadra Month: Sukla ekam, Mahaprabhu arrives in Mathura and begins His Mathura/Vraja Mandala Parikrama.
- Karttika Dark Astami: Before discovering Radha Kunda on Krishna astami, Mahaprabhu had toured Vraja Mandala for seven weeks i.e Bhadra, Ashwina (Sept. 26-Oct. 24, 2018)
- Karttika Purnima: Mahaprabhu arrives in “municipal” Vrindavana i.e. Seva Kunja, Vamshi Vata, Nidhivana etc.
- Mrigashirsha Month: (Nov. 24 – Dec 22, 2018) Mahaprabhu stayed Vrindavana, Akrura-Ghata, Mathura.
- Pausha Month (Dec. 23- Jan. 21, 2018) Mahaprabhu continued living in Vrindavana, Akrura-Ghata, Mathura.
- Magha Month (Jan. 22- Feb. 29, 2018) At beginning, of Magha month, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left Mathura and Vraja Mandala to attend Kumbha Mela in Prayaga aka Allahabad.
In the two chapters describing Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Vraja Gamana Lila (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17-18), Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja mentions only two specific dates: When Mahaprabhu left Puri, and when Mahaprabhu left Vraja Mandala to go to Prayaga for Kumbha Mela.
Just before leaving Vraja Mandala, Mahaprabhu Himself said, “Magha Month (Jan. 22- Feb. 29, 2018) has begun, and I want to go to Prayaga (Allahabad), bathe in Triveni Sangam on Makara Sankranti and stay a few days there, magha masa lagila, makare prayaga snana kata dina paiye.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.18.145)
Thus the shastras clearly mention that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed a total of 4 ½ months in Vraja Mandala!
TWO MONTHS PLUS—Mathura/Vraja Mandala Parikrama: Bhadra-2 weeks, Ashwina-4 weeks, Karttika-4 weeks.
TWO MONTHS—Vrindavana, Akrura-ghata, Mathura: Mrigashirsha-4 weeks, Pausha-4 weeks, Magha- few days.
Thus we see that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spent two 1/2 months: Bhadra, Ashwina, Karttika in Mathura and Vraja Mandala Parikrama. And Sri Gaurahari spent two months: Mrigashirsha and Pausha in Vrindavana, Akrura-ghata and Mathura.
May all the Vaisnavas be pleased with this post, and may Mahaprabhu mercifully shower us all with His love.
Mahaprabhu Vraja Gamana Lila ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!