Vishrama Ghat

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Vrinda devi

Now we are at Radha Govinda Mandir. This is the place where Vrinda devi resides. There is no other place in all of Vraja where Vrinda devi is worshipped. Vrinda devi is an expansion of Srimati Radharani and her partial expansion is Tulasi devi in Vaikuntha. Vrinda devi is a very intimate associate and girlfriend of Srimati Radharani. Krishna’s expansion as Narayana married Tulasi devi in one of his pastimes.

According to the Goswamis Vrinda devi has a very unique and elevated position in Sri Sri Radha Krishna’s pastimes. She arranges the secret and intimate meetings of Srimati Radharani and Krishna In fact without Vrinda devi’s mercy it is not possible to enter into these confidential pastimes even as a listener in an audience. Vrindavan is the land of Vrinda devi, she is the queen and proprietress of Vrindavan and in the past she once offered all of Vrindavan which is her kingdom to the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani. That is why Srimati Radharani is considered the actual queen of Vrindavan and the actual king is Lord Krishna.

One day Srimati Radharani was thinking, Vrinda devi is so wonderful. She has given me everything; her lands, her kingdom, she always is so helpful, always arranging for me to meet Krishna. I wonder how I can reciprocate and return this favour and do something lovely for her like she has for me. So one day Srimati Radharani called all her most confidential associates like Lalita devi and Vishaka devi and made a plan. They made a beautiful throne, big enough for two and when Vrinda devi came somehow or other they got her to sit down on it, and they did it in such a way that Vrinda devi didn’t suspect anything. As soon as she sat down on the throne some other gopis led by Vishaka brought Krishna and had him also sit down unsuspectingly next to Vrinda devi. At that time Lalita devi came and playing the role of a priest started chanting all the mantras invoked for a marriage. Srimati Radharani herself exchanged the flower garlands between Krishna and Vrinda devi and got them married and in this way a wonderful wedding ceremony was enacted in this place.

Actually none of the most intimate gopis ever harboured the thought of meeting Krishna alone or having any intimate relationship with him. It was Srimati Radharani who always through a lot of planning and scheming to give her closest girlfriends this opportunity and make them sit on the left side of Krishna, the place where she in reality is the only one qualified to sit. The gopikas were always planning to arrange meetings between Srimati Radhika and Krishna and Srimati Radhika is always planning to make Krishna meet with the gopis.

Vrinda devi was previously installed in the Radha Govinda temple in Vrindavana, but during the Mohammedan invasions she was taken from the temple for safety reasons to travel to Jaipur. On the way to Rajasthan the King of Jaipur had stopped here at Kamyavan to rest. Beginning his journey again he found that his men could not move Vrinda devi any further and they had to leave her here and proceed without her. In this way Vrinda devi being very dear to Srimati Radharani and Krishna was able to remain within Sri Vraja Mandala.

"O devi, pilgrims to Kamyavana will command respect in my world. Bath in Vimala Kunda will wash away all of one’s sins. Anybody who dies here will stroll through My abode."

(Mathura Mahatmya 351-352)

This forest is situated at a distance of 37 miles from Mathura, and has a parikrama (circumambulation) of 14 miles. It was here in Kamyavana that the Pandavas spent their childhood. It is said that there are 84 kundas and 84 deities here, the most important of which is Vimala Kunda.

Govinda temple: In this temple is the presiding deity of Vrindavana, Vrindadevi, which was discovered by Rupa Gosvami on the bank of Brahma Kunda in Vrindavana, and was installed by him in a small temple next to Radha-Govinda Temple (Vrindavan). Later, due to fear of the Moguls, the king of Jaipur decided to take Vrindadevi, Radha-Gopinatha, Radha-Madan-Mohan and Radha-Govinda to Jaipur. But when they reached Kamyavana, Vrindadevi refused to go any further. This deity was originally installed by Vajranabha.

"O Vrinde! We are devoid of devotion due to hundreds and thousands of offences for which we have been hurled into the ocean of material existence, and we are being cast about by the horrible waves of lust, anger, etc. Therefore, we are seeking your shelter. Showing compassion please pick us up from this mundane ocean, which is so difficult to cross over. We offer our respectful obeisances unto your divine lotus feet." (Vrindadevi-astaka 8) Cintamani Dham

"Kamyavana is very attractive to the heart of Krishna. By having darshana of Kamyavana and its beautiful lakes, material existence is crossed. The many tirthas of Kamyavana defy description. (Bhakti Ratnakara, fifth wave)

Although large and extravagant temples are not to be found here, Kamyavan is a favourite place among staunch Vaishnava pilgrims who wish to view actual relics of the past age when Lord Krishna as a carefree cowherd boy actually played in the groves of Vraja. The name of the town is understood to have originated from Kamyavana or "the forest where all desires (kama) of the demigods and devotees were fulfilled" as explained in the Adivaraha Purana.

Kadamba Khandi

This beautiful forest filled with lovely kadamba trees was a favorite place of Srimati Radharani and Krishna. They enjoyec many wonderful pastimes here in the sanctuary of this forest Narayana Bhatta Goswami performed bhajan here and revealed many of the hidden, holy places of parikrama by the grace of Lalita devi in his book Sri Vraja Bhakti Vilasa. Hare Krishna!

Caurasi Khamba

Now we have arrived at Caurasi Khamba, or the place of the 84 pillars. This was the palace of Nanda Maharaja. He had palace in three different places. The palace in Nandagram was the most important one. Next was his palace in Mahavan Gokula, this one also has 84 pillars and the third one is here at Kamyavan. Nanda Maharaja would hold court here. He and his brothers Upanada and Abhinanda and Sunanda and Nandana would sit and hold assembly here. When Nanda Maharaja used to sit on his throne he would have Krishna and Balaram sit on either side of him and then he would gravely decide upon matters concerning his kingdom. So let us offer our obeisances here and then we shall move onwards. Haribol!

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