This place where we now are is called Ambikavan. Here Nanda Baba came with all his family and friends to do puja to Mahadev. Late that night a big frightful snake came and choosing Nanda Baba began swallowing him alive. Nanda Baba called out in great fear for Krishna to come and save him and Krishna hearing the cries of His father came at once and saved him. This lila happened here. Hare Krishna!
The place where we are now is called Akrura Ghat. When Akrura was taking Krishna and Balaram from Nandagram to Mathura at the order of Kamsa, he took bath here and saw both Krishna and Balaram in the waters in their forms of Ananta Shesa and Maha Vishnu.
When Krishna sent the cowherd boys to receive charity from the brahmanas in the form of food. The brahmanas all born in caste families were too puffed up to even consider the request, even though they knew it was from Krishna and Balaram. The brahmanas totally ignored them and would not even speak. So the cowherd boys left without securing any food. Hare Krishna!
This is the place where the wives of the brahmanas gave bhat. Bhat means food and when the brahmanas refused to even consider Krishna and Balaram’s request for a little food, Krishna then requested His friends to go to the brahmanas wives whom He knew were very devoted to Him. The cowherd boys went to the brahmanas wives and very humbly requested them for some food. As soon as the brahmanas wives heard the names of Krishna and Balaram they immediately went into their kitchen and pantries and put together a sumptuous feast for Krishna and Balaram and the cowherd boys. Most of the preparations had been already made for the sacrifice that their husbands were performing and some of the preperations like the gulabs and the sweet rice which were cooked never made it to the sacrifice; but instead were offerred to Krishna and Balaramji for their satisfaction. So this wonderful pastime happened here and it should be a lesson to all of us that rituals, sacrifices, and tapasya do not mean anything unless they are done for the satisfaction of Krishna. Otherwise one is just wasting one’s time, illusioned into thinking one actually making spiritual advancement like the brahmanas were in this situation. Haribol!
Vrindavan is the most prominent and auspicious forest out of the 12 forests of Vraja. It is the 12th forest of Sri Vraja Mandala Within this forest flows Yamuna devi. Within this forest is Seva kunja the place of rasa lila. Within this forest stands the might Govardhan hill. Within this forest is the most sacred and holy Radha kunda. Although Vrinda devi was the presiding deity, she is factually an expansion of Srimati Radharani. So the actual tattva is that Srimati Radhika is the true, sovereign queen of Vrindavan.
Actually the 12 forests of Vraja are divided into two sections, those that are on this side, the eastern side of the Yamuna belongs to Lord Balaram. These forests are Bhadravan, Baelvan, Bhandiravan, Lauhavan and Gokula Mahavan. These are the places where Lord Balaram is the presiding deity and is the most prominent and principle personality in all the pastimes. Those forests that are on the western side of Yamuna belong to Lord Krishna and these forests are Bahulavan, Kamyavan, Khadiravan, Kumudavan, Madhuvan, Talavan and Vrindavan. Here Krishna is the most prominent personality. They are Krishna’s forests and He is the most predominating personality along with Srimati Radhika. Radhe! Shyam!
This area of water that we are now standing in front of is called Kaliya hrada. This is where Krishna playfully subdued the naga snake demon Kaliya by forcefully dancing upon its hundred heads. This snake was able to live here due to a curse from Saubhari muni which would not allow even Garuda, Lord Vishnus carrier to come and eat his favorite repast, which is snakes. After Krishna had totally subdued this naga and it was within an inch of losing its life, the naga patnis who were the wives of Kaliya prayed to Krishna for their husband and Krishna spared the serpents life banishing him to the ocean forever. This ancient kadamba tree that you see is the very tree that Krishna jumped from into this water 5,000 years ago. So let us all give our dan-davats at the foot of this tree and sprinkle some water on our heads from this place. Hare Krishna!
Prabhodhananda Saraswati’s Samadhi
This is the samadhi tomb of one of our great Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas, Prabhodhananda Saraswati. He was the uncle and siksha guru of Gopal Bhatta Goswami and he was one of Lord Caitanya’s staunch followers. In the Gaura ganodesa dipika it is revealed that in Lord Krishna’s manifest lila, Prabhodhananda Saraswat was the sakhi Tungavidya. Prabhodhananda Saraswati wrote very beautiful and wonderous poems about Vrindavan and we are eternally grateful to him for this. Haribol!
This hill that we are on has a very unique story. Dvadasa means 12. After Krishna finished playing with Kaliya and had banished him from the holy dham forever, He came out of the water but began to feel a little chill. At this time the 12 Adityas, the sons of Prajapati and Aditi, desiring to render some service to the Supreme Lord Krishna, appeared as 12 suns and gently dried the Lord and took away His chill here. Hare Krishna!
Praskanda means perspiration and when the 12 suns appeared and began shining their warmth all over the transcendental body of Krishna, the perspiration which dropped from the Lord formed this tirtha here called Praskandana tirtha. Hari! Haribol
This beautiful temple is called Radha Madan Mohan. Adwaita Acarya first discovered the deity during his sojourn here. After worshipping it for some time Adwaita Acarya placed it in the care of a brahmana from Mathura named Purusottama Chaube, when he met Sanatan Goswami turned the deity over to him. Now Sanatan Goswami had no possessions except his great devotion for Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He used to do madhukari everyday door to door for his meals, but the deity had to be fed everyday, so Sri Sanatan would manage to obtain a little flour and he would cook a chapati or two, offer it to the deity and then take the renmants for his own prasad. One day the deity actually spoke to him, asking for some salt to go with the dry chapatis. Sanatana Goswami informed the deity that he was a very old and poor man and that what he was giving was the best he could provide. At that time on the Yamuna a large salt barge owned by a wealthy vaiysa named Kapoor got stuck and would not budge near Praskandan ghat. Lord Madan Mohan took the form of a cowherd boy and guided Kapoor to Sanatan Goswami who instructed him to worship the deity. Now Kapoor was a saintly man and immediately upon seeing the deity he prostrated himself and reaching into his pocket to offer some gold coins he discovered he had left them back on the boat, but he did happen to have a little sack of salt, so he offerred this to the deity praying that if by Madan Mohan’s mercy his ship was freed, he would after selling his salt come back and build a temple for him. Receiving the blessings of Sanatan Goswami, Kapoor went back to his ship which was already unstuck and when he returned from Agra selling his salt he became the disciple of Sanatan Goswami and under his direction constructed this temple.