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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The following is a wonderfully inspiring prayer written by Gaudiya Vaisnava rasika acharya Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada.

By reading this prayer and absorbing his heart’s moods, the burning candle of desire to hear, and directly serve in Krishna’s Vraja lilas will manifest in your heart.

Sri Krishna is the dashing young son of Yashoda, and the most charming boy in all the universes. Madan Gopalaji is the wealthiest of capitalists, possessing a vast, unlimited treasury of transcendental love.

Nagarendra Shyama is immersed in the sentiments of ever-fresh and amorous love divine. Ananda Bihari always increases the ocean of spiritual joy. Madhava ever delights in the magical mellows of madhura rasa. Pranakantha is the divine necklace adorning Radhika’s graceful neck. All glories to Shyamachandra!

Srimati Radharani is the life and soul of Sri Vrindavana-natha. As the transcendental desire-creeper of brilliant divine rapture, Navina-kishori Radha is forever overwhelmed by intense, amorous love for Nandanandana. Sriji is splendid, virtuous, charmingly youthful and very playful. All glories to Radhika!

Flowing through the amorous pastimes of Radha-Madhava is a sweet river of transcendental joking words. Brahmaji, Shivaji, Naradaji and Sukadeva Gosvami all desire to see the astonishing amorous pastimes of Lila Yugala Radha-Krishna.

I pray that my mind may fully submerge in Radha-Krishna’s immaculately pristine pastimes of sweet divine love. The forest of Vrindavana is the natural home of Radha-Gopinatha’s madhurya-lilas. The ever-fresh nectar of Priya-Priyatama’s pastimes is always manifest in the minds and hearts of Their devotees.

The blissfully fulfilling, divinely sweet lilas Sri Sri Radha-Krishna make impersonal liberation taste completely bitter. Syamaa-Shyama’s pastimes give everyone the most sumptuous experience of Sri Hari’s sweeter than sweet lotus feet. At every moment, the enchanting pastimes of Rasika Yugala, which resemble a vast transcendental ocean of sweet nectar, display the inconceivable zenith of divine amorous love.

Munivara Sukadevaji proclaims that when one understands Radha-Ghanasyama’s Vraja-lila, then even the most exalted post of Brahmaji seems trivial and unimportant. The captivating, heart-thrilling and mind stealing ecstatic divya lilas of Radha-Shyamasundara are far far beyond the dull and insignificant play of Maya.

Radhika’s priya sakhis and manjaris can always directly see Her playful pastimes with Prananatha. But even the essence of the four Vedas can never perceieve them. The scintillating spiritual love of Radha Rasabihari innocently expresses itself in an unlimited variety of divinely crooked lilas.

I, Prabodhananda Sarasvati, pray that the overheated, mad elephant of my mind may plunge into the cooling sweet river flow of Srimati Radharani’s astounding transcendental pastimes, which can easily extinguish the manifold miseries burning everyone in this world!  (Sangita Madhava Cp. 15)

Radha-Krishna nitya vraja lila ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

For the last 500 years, Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas have directed their students to chant Hare Krishna nama japa while remembering, even in a small way, the eternal Vraja lila of Radha and Krishna.

This practice is called japa with lila-smaran. The Gaudiya Vaisnava mahajanas have written several famous books to acquaint sadhakas with Radha-Govinda Yugala’s eight-fold daily pastimes i.e. asta-kaliya-lila in the spiritual realm, i.e. Krishnainika Kaumudi, Govinda Lilamrita, Krishna Bhavanamrta and Bhavanasara Sangraha.

However, we have often heard followers of Sri Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada repeatedly tell all newcomers and each other, “Srila Prabhupada said, ‘No need to think of Krishna’s lilas. Just chant japa and HEAR THE NAME!’”

Agreed! Each of Sri Krishna’s transcendental eternal names is a complete, totally pure cintamani gem that will fulfil all desires. But if one examines Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, one finds that right from the very beginning of his spiritual mission, Prabhupada was directing disciples to chant japa AND MEDITATE ON KRISHNA LILA!

Not only that, but in his BBT KRSNA BOOK published in 1969, Srila Prabhupada even encourages his disciples to practice asta-kaliya-lila smaran by recommending they READ the classic Radha-Krishna asta-kaliya lila grantha, “Krishna Bhavanamrita” written by the great Vraja rasik Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada.

The following direct quotes of Srila Prabhupada give very clear instructions about the practice and benefits of lila smaran while chanting Hare Krishna nama japa.

51 years ago in 1968, a disciple asked, “Srila Prabhupada, is it offensive to think of Krishna’s pastimes while chanting?” Srila Prabhupada: “You should know that it is not offensive, but rather IT IS REQUIRED!” (bbt folio: Letter, 4Dec.1968)

While commenting on the Srimad Bhagavatam “gopi yugal-gita”, Srila Prabhupada said, “By constantly CHANTING the Hare Krishna mantra AND REMEMBERING the transcendental pastimes of Krishna, one can be fully in Krishna consciousness and thus make his life sublime and fruitful.” (bbt folio: KRSNA BOOK ch.35)

Now regarding the doubt, “Is it bonafide to read asta-kaliya-lila books like Govinda Lilamrita and Bhavanasara Sangraha”, Srila Prabhupada said, “Devotees can remain absorbed in Krishna thought by reading such books as Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada’s “Krishna Bhavanamrita”, which is full with Krishna’s pastimes. (bbt folio: KRSNA BOOK 46)

Some devotees will respond to these quotes by preaching here and there, “Ok, that’s fine. But only very advanced pure devotees are qualified to read such books. We are just neophytes full of anarthas. So we should just read Bhagavad-gita and chant Hare Krishna.”

But what about the instructions of Srila Prabhupada? What about the teachings in his books? And what about the fact that Radha-Krishna’s immaculately pure and transcendental intimate pastimes have such power and mercy that Shukdev Goswami says (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.39) that even gross materialists, non-devotees, will attain para bhakti i.e. the supreme form of Krishna bhakti by hearing Radha-Krishna’s Rasa Lila?

vikriditam -vraja-vadhubhir -idam -ca -visnoh
sraddanvito -nusrnuyad -atha -varnayed -yah
bhaktim -param -bhagavati -pratilabhya -kamam
hrd-rogam -asv -apahinoty -acirena -dhirah

“Anyone who faithfully hears or describes Sri Krishna’s playful affairs with the young gopis of Vraja will attain para bhakti, the highest form of pure Krishna devotion i.e. Vraja madhurya rasa; quickly destroy lust, the disease of the heart, and immediately become steady, pure and saintly.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.39)

Srila Prabhupada: “If one hears Krishna’s pastimes with the gopis, which seem to be lusty affairs, the lusty desires in his heart, which constitute the heart disease of the conditioned soul, will be vanquished, and he will become a most exalted devotee of Krishna.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.1.30)

Now please consider this. What follows is a most astonishing instruction wherein Srila Prabhupada gives the SECRET OF SUCCESS in spiritual life.

In 1968, Srila Prabhupada sent the following letter to a former “hippie” turned disciple who was deeply involved with all the illicit acts so popular in America in the 1960-1970’s.

In this letter, which basically is a teaching or instruction for every devotee in Kali-yuga, Srila Prabhupada not only agrees with the Bhagavat siddhanta cited above, but he is practically endorsing the practice of reading about Radha Krishna’s transcendental romantic affairs as the “SECRET OF SUCCESS IN SPIRITUAL LIFE”!

Srila Prabhupada said, “Another secret of success is that when one is very much sexually disturbed he should THINK of Lord KRISHNA’S PASTIMES WITH THE GOPIS, and he WILL FORGET his SEX URGE. To think of Krishna’s pastimes with Gopis, but not to try to imitate.” (bbt folio: SPLetter 8Nov1968)

Sri Sri Radha Krishna Rasa Lila ki jai! Jai Sri Radhe!

Jai Srila Prabhupada!

The conclusion is that it’s perfectly all right and recommended to mix japa chanting with lila smaran, and thereby quickly become love-filled, pure and eligible to relish Krishna’s Vraja madhurya.

What follows is a summary of Radha-Govinda Yugala’s asta-kaliya-lila for devotees who want a sprinkling of asta-kaliya-lila in their nama japa, but don’t have the time to patiently hear and read the wonderful lila books of our acharyas like Govinda Lilamrita.

  1. Late Night Pastimes (nishant-lila 336-6 am)

Fearing the imminent sunrise, Vrndadevi orders some parrots to sing sweetly to awaken Radha-Madhava. A refreshing, flower-scented wind wafts through the kunja. With charming calls, the cuckoos, parrots, peahens and peacocks praise Priya-Priyatama’s pastimes.

The birds sing, “O Vrajaraja-nandana! O Nikunjeshvari! We want to see You, so please arise!” Although Lila Yugala awaken from the sweet chirping, They tightly embrace again and fall asleep, weary from amorous play. The more Vrndadevi tries to waken Radha-Madhava, the more They drowsily pretend to sleep because They don’t want to separate. As a last resort, Radha’s old pet she-monkey Kakkhati cries out, “Jatila! Jatila!”.

Everyone jumps up in fear of Radha’s mother-in-law, Jatila, and scrambles out of the kunja. The sakhi/manjaris then enter the kunja to redress Radha-Madhava and conceal the signs of Their loving intimacies. Yugala Bihari joke each other as Lalita-sakhi performs mangal arati. Then Krishna, Radha and the gopis run to Their respective homes. Nishant lila is also called kunja-bhanga lila.

  1. Sunrise Pastimes (pratah-lila 6-836)

Radha-Krishna lie in their beds in Nandagrama and Yavata. Seeing Radhika burning in the fire of Shyam’s separation, Sri Rupa and Tulasi manjari comfort Her and sustain Radha’s life. Yashoda and Paurnamasi rouse Krishna, and Jatila and Mukhara, Radha’s Nanny, rouse Radha from Her slumber.

The friendly sakhi Shyamala comes to cheer up Radha with sweet memories of Her times with Shyam. The sakhi/manjaris then bathe, dress and ornament Srimati so beautifully that Radha wants to immediately run to Krishna to please His admiring eyes.

Radhika and Her sakhi entourage then travel to Nandagram to cook Krishna’s breakfast. Kishori cooks and supervises 100 different stoves in preparing a variety of tasty, nourishing dishes for Krishna. Naughty Madhava accosts Swamini on the path and many hilarious pastimes ensue.

When Yashoda Ma stirs Shyam and sees scratches on His chest she sadly says, “Lala’s body is softer than lotus petals. So why have the pesky gopas hurt my tender boy by wrestling frivolously? Ha Hanta! Hanta! What can I do to stop this?”

Out of love for His mother, Krishna quickly jumps out of bed and runs to the goshala to milk the cows. Then Krishna, enjoys a wonderful joking breakfast with Madhumangala and the boys, and goes out for go-charana lila. Sri Radha and Her confidential sakhis take Krishna’s madhura prasadi and return to Yavata.

  1. Morning Pastimes (purvahna-lila 836-1048)

Sri Krishna and the gopas take the cows to the forest to pasture and play together. Nanda Baba, Yashoda Ma and other Vrajavasis follow Krishna and repeatedly say good bye, fearing even a moment’s separation from their most beloved Nandulal.

Using a clever excuse, Krishna, restless and eager to meet Radha, slips away from the sakhas at Manasi Ganga and rushes off to Radha-kunda with Subala and Madhumangala. Radha waits in Yavata for a sakhi to bring news of Krishna before going out to Surya Kunda for Surya puja.

  1. Midday Pastimes (madhyahna-lila 1048-1536)

For six hours in the day and night, Radha-Krishna enjoy a continuous variety of pastimes together full of blissful intimacies. They wander, joke, sing, laugh, swing, swim, picnic, gamble, drink, steal, worship, and dive deeply in the fathomless ocean of Their ecstatic love sports.

  1. Late Afternoon Pastimes (apurvahna-lila 1536-1800)

After Surya puja, Radhika goes home, bathes, dresses and cooks five special sweets for Krishna on Yashoda’s request. Sriji steals a sweet and joyful glimpse of Shyam as He passes through Her village with His cows and boys returning to Nandagram.

Krishna lovingly greets Nanda and Yashoda, who cleanses the dust from His face with the end of her sari before performing Krishna’s arati. Then Yashoda Ma breast-feeds Lala and sends Him off to milk His beloved cows.

  1. Evening Pastimes (shayan-lila 1800-2024)

Yashoda then attentively bathes Krishna, dresses Him in beautiful clothes, and fondles Krishna in the many ways mothers do. Krishna milks the cows, and Yashoda lovingly feeds Him the sweets sent by Radha.

The sakhi/manjaris witness these lilas and immediately bring Krishna’s food remnants and the good news to Radha’s eager ears. Then Sri Radha enjoys Krishna’s nectar-lips prasadi along with Her confidential sakhis.

  1. Evening Pastimes (pradosh-lila 2024-2248)

Radharani sends more cooked foods to Nandagram. Yashoda affectionately greets Radhika’s maidservants and then serves Radha’s delicacies to Kanai Balai, and other family members. Krishna enjoys an evening of entertainment in the palace theatre featuring recitals, music, dramas, gymnastic feats and magic shows.

Yashoda Ma sings a lullaby as Krishna pretends to fall asleep. Then Shyam secretly slips away from the palace, and runs into the dark forest to meet His sweetheart Srimati Radharani.

Yashoda gives Krishna’s prasadi to the manjaris who take it to Sri Radha and inform Her of the evening’s meeting place. Radha’s kinkaris tell Her all about Krishna relishing Her preparations, and then prepare Radha for abhisara, love journey to Krishna in the kunja.

  1. Midnight Pastimes (ratri-lila 2248-336)

The love anxious, Playful Pair Radha-Madhava finally meet under the soothing moon of night. Their dearest sakhi/manjaris worship and expertly serve Them in many tasteful ways. Krishna and all the gopis sport the night away with forest rambling, singing, rasa dancing, Yamuna bathing, forest snacking, honey-nectar drinking, resting and enjoying confidentially.

Radha’s loyal and dedicated kinkari maidservants serve Radha-Madhava by fanning, offering flavourful betel tambula, massaging Their feet and so on. Finally, Rasika Yugal drift off to sleep, and enjoy tender hugs and kisses in Their svapna-vilasa -amritam.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe Shyam! Radha-Krishna asta-kaliya-lila ki jai!

In closing, we offer you Sri Jiva Goswami’s beautiful prayer “Yugalashtakam”, crying out to the wonderfully kind and merciful eternal Loving Pair, Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

1) Radha is made of Krishna prema and Hari is made of Radha prema. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

2) Radha is Krishna’s treasure and Hari is Radha’s treasure. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

3) Radha pervades Krishna’s prana, and Hari pervades Priya’s prana. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

4) Radha is completely melted into Krishna, and Hari is completely melted into Radha. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

5) Radha is permanently within Krishna’s body, and Hari is permanently within Hari’s body. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

6) Radha is permanently fixed in Krishna’s heart and Hari is fixed in Hers. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

7) Radha wears Shyam blue clothing, and Hari dons Radha golden clothes. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

8) Radha is Vrndavaneshvari and Hari is Vrndavaneshvara. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

Jai Jai Radhe! Jai Jai Shyam! Jai Jai Sri Vrndavana Dham!

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

VARSANA AREA LILA VILLAGES

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!

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

Jainta
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.

Ranavadi
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

BAELVANA & BHANDIRAVANA LILA VILLAGES

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.

Venuya
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.

Sarakoriya
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.

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

Jayapura
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!

MORE KAMAVANA AREA LILA VILLAGES:

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.

Virara
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).

Badali
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.

Kanabada
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.

Dana
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.

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

Papadi
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).

Vanacariya
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.”

Parehi
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).”

Niganya
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.

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

Vichora
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).

Bhulavana
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!”

Khambi
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!

Hasanapura
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!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Welcome all lovers of Vrindavana! This is part one 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, 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!

KAMAVANA AREA LILA VILLAGES:

Dhuleda Gaon (gaon means village)
This village is so named, because here the whole sky filled with dust (dhuli) from the hooves of cows as Govinda drove them home.

Udha
Named after Uddhava (udha), who rested here while en route to Nandagrama to deliver Krishna’s message to the gopis.

Atora
Here Krishna, Subala, Sridama, Bhrnga and the gopas would frolic here for eight (atora) hours a day.

Bajhera
This is the appearance place of two of Radhika’s asta-sakhis, the twin sisters Rangadevi and Sudevi.

Sunahara-gaon
Sona or suna means gold and hara means Lord Shiva or take away. Here Srimati Radharani removed Her golden necklace, and offered it in worship to Mahadeva Lord Shiva.

Nagala Moti (nagala means town or village) Here Sri Krishna hung a string of pearls (moti) on the beautiful smooth neck of Kishori.

Nagala Khapana
Madhava then suddenly ran away after offering Srimati the pearl necklace. Swamini Radha asked a sakhi, “Where has Krishna suddenly gone after getting some type of message (khapara)?”

Malapura
One day while cavorting in the forest, Gopala Shyama boasted to His playmates, “I can do anything at any time!” Challenging Nandulala, the gopas said, “Ok, Gopala! Then bring us lots sweets (maala) like rabri, laddus, and kheera. And if the plate remains full even after we stuff ourselves, then we will believe you can do anything!” It came to pass and so the village is named. Even today everyone here remembers and talks about that lila of 50 centuries ago! Vrindavana Dhama ki JAI HO!

Didavali
Yashoda’s mom lived here, and thus it is famous as the village of Krishna’s grandmother (didi ma).

Ghata
Once while cow herding here, Shyama remembered the vastness (ghata) of Priyaji’s love and called out, “O Subala! Quickly bring My Praneshvari here!”

Paramadara
Once the sakhis came to this lonely village searching for Shyama. In the pangs of separation, Ishvari Radha tightly embraced a glossy black tamala tree. Then upon seeing a nearby lake, shimmering with a dark blue hue, all the sakhis fainted. Suddenly Shyama arrived and fully (parama) worshiped (adaraniya) each gopi by satisfying her every wish and whim.

Nagala Maharani
Here the sakhis sat Srimati on a throne to honor Her as the greatest Queen (maharani). They adorned Radharani with lots of flowers; played instruments; sang and danced all around chanting……. Maharani ki Jai! Radharani ki jai! Bolo Varsane walli ki jai, jai, jai!!!!

Pahalabada
Here the gopas challenged Krishna, “If alone You can defeat all of us together in a wrestling match, then we will say You are strong and powerful.” Feeling a little afraid and doubtful about their collective strength, all the sakhas started goading each other, “O bhaiya! You attack (pahela) Krishna first.” And guess what? Sri Krishna defeated everyone and became Ajita Sri Krishna ki jai!

Kalyanapura
Here all the cowherd boys once playfully offered dandavats to the Divine Duo while roaring, “Krishna Kanhaiya, Douji ka Bhaiya ki jai!!!!!!” Responding, Krishna Balarama blessed them all, saying, “May all be auspicious (kalyana) for you!”

Khona
One day to make Radhaji happy, the sakhis started laughing and jumping here in a game called “Kho” (a girl’s play). Hence the name Khonha.

Kayarika Nagala
Once while Sriji and the sakhis were playing the game of Kho here, evening arrived suddenly and covered all directions in dense darkness. While walking home to Varsana the sakhis became scared. So they called out, “O Krishna! O Prananatha! We are afraid of this darkness (kari), so quickly come save us!”

Sri Krishna then fully illuminated the road all the way to Varsana with the effulgent rays of His beautiful smile. By the mercy of Priya-Priyatama, watch here for more nectar from the Wonderful Land of Play.
Sri Dhama Vrndavana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

We think, speak and do so many things each day. But how often do we reflect on the sweet Vraja madhurya-lilas of Radha Govinda Yugala?

 

For those treading the sacred path of heart-inspired bhakti, remembering Radha-Krishna throughout the day is essential. We must regularly pause to think of Radha and Krishna—where are They right now and what are Radha-Madhava doing?

 

Sri Rupa Gosvamipada has nicely summarized the sweet daily pastimes of Radha Govinda Yugala [asta-kaliya lila] in only eight verses. Please store these verses on your phone or print them.

 

Then time-to-time through the day read the verses and fix your heart in Vraja dhama and Lila Yugala Radhe-Shyama’s blissful pastimes. Within a short time you can memorize them, and then mentally tune into the joyful world of sweet lila whenever your heart turns in that direction. Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

 

Radha Govinda Yugala Asta-kaliya-lila

 

Nishanta Lila: Dawn Pastimes (3.24—6 a.m.)

I remember Radha and Krishna at night’s end, being awakened by the variegated songs of the parrots sent by Vrnda devi. With both pleasant and unpleasant poems the parrots inspire Yugala to rise from Their pleasure-bed.

 

The sakhis joyfully observe how Radha-Krishna are fatigued from from Their loving pastimes. Hearing the pinching words of the old she-monkey named Kakkhati, Radha-Madhava become afraid. And though They are still thirsty for more pastimes, Radha-Govinda scurry off to Their individual homes and go to sleep.

 

Pratah Lila: Morning Pastimes (6—8.24 a.m.)

In the morning, I take shelter of Sri Radha who is bathed and decorated by Her sakhis, and then goes to Nandagrama to cook for Krishna on the request of Vrajeshvari Yashoda. After cooking, Radhika eats Krishna’s prasadi. I also take shelter of Sri Krishna, who wakes, milks the cows, bathes and eats along with His friends.

Purvahna Lila: Pastimes at Forenoon (8.24—10.48 a.m.)

In the forenoon, I remember Sri Krishna going to the forest with His cows and friends while being followed by the Vrajavasis. Later in the morning, Krishna goes to the bank of Radha-kunda, eager to meet Sri Radha.

 

I also remember Sri Radha being ordered by Her elder Jatila to go worship Suryadeva. Anxious to hear about Krishna, Radhika sends Her sakhis to look for Krishna. Hoping for some good news, Radharani casts Her eyes down the road searching for the returning sakhis.

 

Madhyahna Lila: Midday Pastimes (10.48 a.m.—3.36 p.m.)

I remember Radha and Krishna at midday, overwhelmed by desire and enchanted by various ornament-like physical transformations of ecstasy arising out of meeting each other, yet being anxious due to shyness and eagerness, and being served by Their attendant sakhis and manjaris.

 

The joking words of Lalita and other sakhis please Radha-Madhava as They perform a Kandarpa Yajna, enjoy Jhulana, Vana-Vihara, and Jala-keli in Radha-kunda, quarrel over Krishna’s stolen flute, enjoy conjugal pastimes, drink honey-wine, worship the sun god and enjoy other sports.

 

Aparahna Lila: Afternoon pastimes (3.36—6.00 p.m.)

In the afternoon, I remember Sri Radha returning home and cooking different dishes for Her beloved Krishna. Radha bathes, dresses nicely and is filled with joy upon seeing Her lover’s lotuslike face.

 

I also remember Sri Krishna returning home with His cows and friends. Krishna feels pleased upon seeing, and later being fondled by Maa Yashoda when He meets His parents.

 

Sayahna Lila: Evening pastimes (6.00—8.24 p.m.)

In the evening, I remember Sri Radha sending many eatables to Krishna’s home through a sakhi. Later Radhika eats Vrajachandra’s prasadi brought by a sakhi.

At this time, I also remember Sri Krishna being nicely bathed, beautifully dressed and fondled by Maa Yashoda. Then Krishna milks some cows and returns to the palace to eat.

 

Pradosh Lila: Pastimes at Nightfall (8.24—10.48 p.m.)

At nightfall, I remember Sri Radha being dressed by Her sakhis in either white or dark clothes according to the moon’s luminosity. On Vrinda’s indication, Radhika and some of Her messengers go to meet Krishna in a desire tree grove in Vrindavana.

 

I also remember Sri Krishna, who witnesses artful games in the assembly of cowherders before His affectionate mother carefully takes Him to bed. Shortly later, Krishna slips away to go to solitary grove to meet Radhika.

 

Nakta Lila: Night Pastimes (10.48 p.m.—3.36 a.m.)

In the night, I remember Radha and Krishna, who are intensely eager to meet and being attended by Vrinda in many ways. Radhe-Shyama and Their priya-sakhis play, sing and dance in the forest. After enjoying many pastimes, Radha Govinda Yugala sleep on a nice flowerbed, being attended by Their loving sakhis.

 

Alternate reading: At night, I remember Radha and Krishna meeting together and being worshipped by Vrinda with various items. Lila Yugala Radha-Madhava enjoy joking riddles, sweet talks, plays and Rasa and Lasya dances with Their dearest sakhis. Radha-Madhava drink honeywine, and master various kinds of ever-increasing conjugal bliss in the nikunja.

Radha-Madhava nitya-lila smarana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

Once Madana-mohini displayed an intensely contrary mood (maan) that Vamshidhari could not remove by any means.

 

The playful Dhira-lalita Shyama then devised a charming trick. Krishna strung a beautiful flower garland and draped it on Kishori’s neck. But Devi just threw it away in disgust. By chance that garland fell on Krishna. Hari immediately frowned, grimaced and sighed as if He had been badly injured.

 

Shyama then sat silently in a corner looking very sad. Observing Krishna’s behavior, Srimati felt very anxious and worried. Then to solace Shyama, Manini Radha held Krishna’s shoulders. At this, Krishna laughed mischievously and enveloped Radha in a loving embrace!

Srimati Radharani ki jai! Maan Bhanga ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

At midday, Srimati Radharani and all the sakhis walk to the Swing Pavilion (jhulana mandapa). Beautiful blossoming kalpa vrksha trees surround the mandapa. The intertwining, bending branches of the densely foliated trees that are all embraced by fragrant creepers of madhavi and malati form a natural canopy overhead.

The pleasure swings suspended from these trees on silken ropes are covered with seats, soft cushions and pillows.

On the pretext of admiring the beauty of the forest, Sri Krishna slips away from the boys and cows, and comes here along with His confidantes Subala and Madhumangala to meet Radhika and the sakhis. While playing vinas, drums and other instruments, the lovely damsels of Vraja start singing and dancing for the joy of Yugala. With their sweetest possible voices, the cuckoos and parrots add to the concert, and the tail fanned peacocks dance ecstatically while shrieking “Ka Ka!, Ke Ka!”. Bees buzz, deer frolic and the entire forest vibrates with the bliss of the festival. “Radhe jhulana padharo, jhuki ayi badara.”

Surrounded by all Their intimate sakhis, Radha-Shyama sit in the whorl of the spectacular 1000-petalled lotus-swing. On other swings nearby, the different chief sakhis (yutheshvaris) sit with their girlfriends. In the east on her swing is Candravali and her party; south Bhadra and her sakhis; north Shyamala and friends; and west Dhanya and company. Hovering in their vimanas, the devas and devis observe the swing celebration from the sky.

Just to make it a super spectacle bliss festival, Vrinda-devi brings colored powders made of pulverized fragrant flowers, flowers bombs and powerful 3 foot long syringes to douse everyone in festive colors of joyful love along with the Jhulana utsava. “Preme Se! Preme Se!” Holi and Jhulana—two festivals in one!!

The yutheshvaris surrounding Radha-Krishna team up together and bombard the Playful Pair with clouds of colors and streams of rainbow hued liquids shot from their gem-studded golden syringes (huge squirt guns). To protect Radha-Govinda from the attack, clever Lalita and Her sakhis form a human shield all around Yugala. In seconds, the sakhis are completely drenched and dusted from the torrential hail of colored liquids, powders and flower bombs. Day has become night from the color monsoon.

After some time, the dense color clouds settle and the sakhis step down from their swings to push the hindolana of Radha-Shyama. Due to the forceful swinging, Radha-Madhava’s mala start to oscillate. Nectar thirsty bumblebees try to land on Their flower garlands. But they end up just swinging back in forth without getting the nectar.

Then a variety of swinging partners takes place. Krishna, with Radhika sitting on His right, swings with Lalita and then every individual sakhi sitting on His left. Then Sri Radha descends from the swing, seats a pair of sakhis on either side of Shyama and then happily swings Them. Then Shyama gets down and pushes Priyaji sitting with Her dearest Vraja damsels.

At the conclusion of the Jhulana bliss festival, Radha’s kinkari maidservants relieve the Divine Pair by fanning Them, daubing Them with sandalwood paste and offering Them tasty sweet fruits and refreshing cool drinks. (Gutika, adapted)

Jhulana Chalo Hidolana, Vrishabhanu Nandini!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!