Sri Vraja Mandala Parikrama should begin in Mathura, the place where Lord Krishna appeared. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to the Holy Dham of Vraja, He first visited Mathura and took bath here at Vishrama Ghat. Then He took bath at the twelve ghats to the south of Vishrama Ghat: Avimukta, Adirudha, Guhya Tirtha, Prayag Tirtha, Kankhala Tirtha, Tinluka, Surya Tirtha, Chintamini Ghat, Dhruva Ghat, Rishi Tirtha, Moksha Tirtha, and Bodha Tirtha. Afterwards He took bath at the twelve ghats to the north of Vishrama Ghat: Gokarna, Krishna Ganga, Vaikuntha Ghat, Asi Kunda, Chatur Samudrika Kupa, Akrura Tirtha, Yajïika Vipra Sthana, Kubja Kupa, Ranga Sthala, Mancha Sthala, Mallayuddha Sthana, and Dashashwamedha Ghat.
After ecstatically bathing in each one of these twenty-five ghats, Caitanya Mahaprabhu began His parikrama of Vraja. Prabhu Nityananda also took His bath in all of these ghats before beginning His ecstatic parikrama of Sri Vraja Mandala. So we will also humbly follow in Their footsteps and take bath here in the sacred Yamuna at Vishrama Ghat in Mathura. Then we will also bathe in the twelve ghats north and the twelve ghats south of Vishrama Ghat along the Yamuna. It was here at this place that Lord Krishna and Lord Balaram came to take rest after killing Kamsa and his eight brothers. Vishrama means to rest, so we can see that Vishrama Ghat is very auspicious. Hare Krishna!
Mathura’s Four Mahadeva’s
Now that we have taken bath at all of the essential ghats of Mathura, we will go pay our humble obeisances to Lord Shiva. Since Lord Shiva is the eternal guardian of the Holy Dham, we must seek his permission so that we can successfully circumambulate Sri Vraja Mandala without difficulty. Vaiñëavänaà yathä sambhuù, Lord Shiva is the greatest Vaishnava, as stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Twelve, Chapter Thirteen, verse 16. So we humbly beseech Lord Shiva for his blessings in Mathura in the western quarter in his form of Bhuteshvara Mahadeva, in the northern quarter in his form of Gokarneshvara Mahadeva, in the eastern quarter in his form of Pipaleshvara Mahadeva, and finally in the southern quarter in his form of Rangeshvara Mahadeva.
We have purified ourselves in the sacred Yamuna and received permission from Lord Shiva’s four expansions to make our parikrama. So now let us all give pranamas to the Vaishnavas for their mercy. Then we shall proceed onwards with our parikrama, duly cleansed and safely blessed. Hari! Haribol!!
Now we have come to Mathura devi. Mathura devi is the presiding queen of Mathura. She is actually a direct expansion of Krishna’s shakti. Just like Vrinda devi is to Vrindavan, Mathura devi is to Mathura. Mathura devi has decorated everything very beautifully here because she wants Krishna to be extremely pleased when He comes to Mathura and performs His pastimes. Mathura devi is a very close friend with Yamuna devi. Yamuna devi is Kalindi, and in another form Kalindi is Vishaka devi. Because of this very close relationship Yamuna devi has with Mathura devi, when Yamuna enters into the area of Mathura, she begins to encircle Mathura with her waters. She does not wish to leave the area of Mathura. She wants to fully enjoy her pastimes with Krishna here in Mathura as she did in Vrindavan. She does not want to leave, not even for an instant. She must flow onwards anyway, but just to show her affection to Krishna she sends her waters flowing around Mathura. So just as Yamuna devi is a queen of Krishna, here in Mathura, Mathura devi is the queen of Krishna. Haribol!
Now we will have darshan of Varahadeva as Sweta Varaha in his whitish deity form and as Adi Varaha in his reddish deity form. Varaha is the second incarnation of Krishna. In Satya-yuga Brahma was manifested from the lotus flower emanating from the navel of Garbhodakashayi Vishnu. At that time Brahma thought, "What is to be done? God has instructed me to begin creation, but what can I do? There is air, there is ether, there is light, there is water, but I see no earth. If the essential five ingredients are not present, creation cannot commence. How can this earth be discovered?" Reflecting for some time, Brahma was led to understand that the earth was submerged very deeply under the Garbhodaka Ocean. While contemplating how to resolve the earth situation, he came to the conclusion that it would be better to let the Supreme Lord direct the matter. At that moment from Brahma’s nostril a very minute boar, no bigger than a fingertip, appeared. In a very short time this boar became as big as the sky. Roaring tumultuously, the Lord in His incarnation as Varahadeva entered the water. His hooves were sharp and His tusks were fearful. Diving into the water like a gigantic mountain, Lord Varaha searched for the earth by smell. Discovering the earth at the bottom of the Garbhodaka ocean, Varahadeva very easily took the earth on His tusks and safely placed it very splendidly in its proper place in the universe.
While rescuing the earth, Varahadeva angrily killed the demon Hiranyaksa who tried to impede Him. At that time Varahadeva was in His reddish form. This was one time He appeared. Another time He appeared in His shukla color. Shukla means whitish. This appearance of Varahadeva happened during the Cakshusa devastation of the middle planetary systems.
In Satya-yuga Brahma performed worship of Varahadeva in His Deity form. After Satya-yuga, Brahma gave Him to Kuvera, the treasurer of the demigods, to worship. During Treta-yuga, the demon Ravana became exceedingly powerful. Attacking Kuvera, he took the Deity of Varahadeva from him and brought Him to his kingdom in Lanka. After killing Ravana in Lanka for kidnapping His wife Sita-devi, Ramacandra reclaimed the Deity of Varahadeva. He brought Him with Him to Ayodhya, where He began worshipping Him.
After some time, an emissary from some saintly rishis came to Ramacandra distraught over a demon named Lavanasura who was disturbing their religious ceremonies in Madhuvan. Ramacandra, always desiring to please and protect the rishis and brahmanas, sent His younger brother, Satrughna, to defeat and destroy this powerful demon. Satrughna beseeched Lord Rama to give the Deity of Varahadeva to take with Him so that by worshipping Him, He would surely be victorious. Lord Ramacandra agreed and gave Varahadeva to Satrughna to begin worshipping. Satrughna brought Varahadeva to Mathura where he newly installed Him, and made Mathura His capital city after slaying the powerful demon Lavanasura. So from that time until today this Deity of Varahadeva is being worshipped. Hari! Haribol!