Vraja, Wonder Land of Play part one
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.
Named after Uddhava (udha), who rested here while en route to Nandagrama to deliver Krishna’s message to the gopis.
Here Krishna, Subala, Sridama, Bhrnga and the gopas would frolic here for eight (atora) hours a day.
This is the appearance place of two of Radhika’s asta-sakhis, the twin sisters Rangadevi and Sudevi.
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.
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)?”
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!
Yashoda’s mom lived here, and thus it is famous as the village of Krishna’s grandmother (didi ma).
Once while cow herding here, Shyama remembered the vastness (ghata) of Priyaji’s love and called out, “O Subala! Quickly bring My Praneshvari here!”
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.
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!!!!
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!
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!”
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.
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!
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