This place is called Kumudavan. This is the smallest of the 12 nain forests in Sri Vraja Mandala. Kumudavan was a favorite Aay area of Krishna and his cowherd friends. In fact they were oming from here after swimming and playing when they went md ate fruits in the tal forest. Kumuda is a bright red flower that ise to grow in this lake in abundance and this is why this forest ‘,ot the name Kumudavan. Kapila Muni performed tapasya and Lusterities on the banks of this lake called Padma kunda, housands of years ago. So let us all take acaman here and after putting these holy waters where Krishna swam and drank on our heads, give our obeisances to Kumudavan where Krishia and Balaram enjoyed so many wonderftil pastimes. Hare Krishna!
This place here is called Chatikara. Lord Krishna was raised in jokule for three years and four months. But because there had been many attempts on his life by Kamsa’s demons, like the evil demoness Putana, and the ghostly demon Sakatasura and the ?ricked whirlwind demon Trnavarta, the community elders along with Nanda Maharaja felt it would be safer for Krishna if they all moved to a new location. Some of the elders had heard of a most beautiful place on the other side of the Yamuna named Vrindavan. Finding the suggestion suitable the whole community gathered all the cows and all their household utensils and moving in mass headed for Vrindavan. They all crossed the Yamuna and on the way to Vrindavan they reached this place called Chatikara and liking it, they settled down here. First they put all their cowherd carts in a protective circle around them and then they enclosed the circle with a thick and sharp thorny fence. Feeling safe and protected they spent the night peacefully and the next morning began executing their normal cowherd duties. Before dawn everyone was up and the deities of Narayana and Lakshmi were duly worshipped at mangala arati. Then the cows had to be milked and milk had to be boiled and butter and curds and cheese and milksweets had to be made and so many chores had to be done. Here in Chatikara is where Krishna and Balaram’s cow herding lila began. Here is where they were first allowed to take Out the young calves to graze and every morning they would take them out with the other cowherd boys and play. Once while watering the calves at the Yamuna and playing, a demon by the name of Vatsasura assumed the shape of a calf and mingled in with the other calves intending to try to kill the two brothers. Krishna however immediately noticed the demons entrance into their midst and informing his brother Balaram he caught the demon calf by its hind legs and whirling it around forcibly over his head, tossed it into a tree where its life force departed and it fell down to the ground dead. So these pastimes all happenned in this place called Chatikara. Haribol!
Now we are at Ral. This place is very near to Chatikara and sometimes Nanda Maharaja and his community use to stay here because there was nice fresh grasses here for the cows. Also this is the place where Srimati Radhika and Krishna had one of their first meetings and they use to meet frequently here. Hare Krishna!
Now we have arrived at Bahulavan. This is the place of King Vrishabanu. Lord Krishna and his elder brother Lord Balaram use to come here with their cowherd friends to tend the cows iere. Long ago in this forest a lion caught a cow and wanted to at her. But she begged him to please let her go home and suckle ier calf first and then she promised she would return after giving her calf to one of her sister cows for care. The lion agreed and sat jown patiently to wait for his dinner. After feeding her calf and saying goodbye to her friends, the cow resolutely returned to the ion to keep her promise. The lion being extremely hungry immeadiately ran to eat her but Krishna feeling compassion for the brave, gentle cow, caused the lion to have a change of heart. The lion although hungry was noble and he appreciated the honesty of cow in keeping her promise. I have also heard the story where the calf of this cow came before the lion and implored the lion to eat him instead and Krishna made the lion feel ashamed and he allowed them both to live. But anyway this particular cow was named Bahula and thus this forest got the name Bahulavan. This place is very dear to Lord Krishna and many other pastimes were performed by him here. Haribol!
Santanu kunda has been named after King Santanu. Long before the pastimes of Lord Krishna occurred on this earth, King Santanu use to come to this kunda and perform austerities. He was an extremely pious king and he was aware that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna was to incarnate soon at the end of Dvapara yuga, so he use to worship Lord Krishna here. After sometime, being pleased with his worship, Krishna appeared before him with his brother Balaram and granted him a benediction. King Santanu asked for an exceptional son. Lord Krishna gave him the benediction that he would get a son that would be as strong as Balaram, would be famous throughout the world and would be able to choose the time in which he would die. So according to this benediction Bhisma, one of the 12 mahajanas, was born to King Santanu from Ganga devi. Therefore this kunda is known as Santanu kunda. Lord Krishna came to this kunda and performed various pastimes with His cowherd friends and calves on the banks of this kunda.
Now we are at the hallowed grounds of Govardhana hill. Over two million years ago in Satya yuga a powerful rishi, Pulastya muni was taking Govardhana to his ashram retreat so he could perform tapasya on its beautiful slopes filled with flowers, caves and streams. But Govardhana had put a condition on the rishi that wherever he was put down is where he would remain. Pulastya muni had agreed but while passing over Sri Vraja Mandala had stopped here to relieve his bladder. Placing Govardhana down momentarily he quickly went to heed the call of nature, but to his dismay when he returned he found that Govardhana would not move even one hair breadth from where he was put down. This angered the rishi and he cursed Govardhana to shrink the width of one mustard seed each day; but this hardly bothered Govardhana For he knew that this was land where Lord Krishna would one day come and display his wonderful pastimes. And also it has been noticed that Giri Govardhana has been feeling intense separation from Krishna over these last 5,000 years and that this intense feeling of separation is what is causing Giri Govardhana to shrink more and more as time passes by.
I can see so many of you eagerly trying to get Govardhana Silas. Be careful please. You can not just go and pick up Giri Govardhana like you are at a market place. You should not pick them up at all Those of you who have already slyly stashed them away, just take them out and put them back. Wherever you found them you must go and put them back in exactly the same place; otherwise your parikrama which is suppose to be auspicious will be only a big disaster for you.
First of all to get a Govardhana Sila you must beg the permission of the Vaisnavas; but only if you are qualified to worship Giri Govardhana. To know if you are qualified you must find out from your spiritual master. Do not ever take it yourself. You must receive it from the hands of a Vaisnava and after taking his permission the Vaisnava who will give it to you will weigh it and you have to leave an equal amount of gold as the Govardhana Sila you are taking out of Vraja. In this way no offense is made and you will receive the full blessings of the Vaisnavas. Those of you who have continued to keep Giri Govardhana in spite of my warning just come up here now with your gold and we will see if the weights are equal. If you have the opulence to do this then you may take Giri Govardhanji Out of Vraja. Do you think that Giri Govardhana is worth any less than gold? Giri Govardhana is worth millions of times more than gold. Giri Govardhana can give you Krishna prema. Gold can only give temporary, material comforts. So please go at once and put them back, or else your offense today will cause you a great disaster in your life.
Sri Giriraja Govardhana plays many roles in the pastimes of Lord Krishna. He is Krishna’s friend, he is Krishna’s protector, he is Krishna’s playland, he always looks after Krishna. He is also the witness to Krishna’s most intimate pastimes. Every blade of grass, every stream, tree, creeper and flower bears witness to Krishna’s unlimited pastimes. This is why Krishna manifested Himself in the form of Govardhana Sila. If anyone receives the mercy to be able to serve Giriraja Govardhana then that fortunate soul can surely attain the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Krishna. Lord Caitanya gave Raghunath das Goswami his Govardhana Sila to worship instructing him to worship Sri Giriraja with gange’s water, gunja mala and Tulsi manjaris. Caitanya Mahaprabhu told him that in this way he would surely attain the eternal service of Radha and Krishna.
One may be a very elevated devotee or only a neophyte, but both twice born souls will receive inconceivable mercy from the worship of Sri Govardhana Sila. In fact Giri Govardhana is intimately referred to as the best of the devotees of Krishna. This title has also been applied to Yudhisthira Maharaja; but in actuality the position of Giriraja is considerably more intimate. For Giriraja is sometimes on the platform as Krishna’s eternal servant and sometimes on the platform as Krishna’s dearmost friend and associate and sometimes Giri Govardhana is able to even take the platform as Krishna Himself. There are two things in all of Sri Vraja Mandala that possess tremendous, unlimited capacity to bless the devotees and give Krishna prema as well. One is Yamuna devi and the other is Sri Giri Govardhanji.
So we should pray to Giri Govardhana that we are able to increase our attachment to his worshipable objects of adoration the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Krishna. Of course we are not eligible to go too deeply into these pastimes which are very intimate and confidential; but if Giriraja is merciful unto us, by his mercy, gradually the true significance of these highly esoteric pastimes will be revealed within our hearts. And by the mercy ol Giriraj in some far, distant, future life we will certainly be engaged as the servant of a servant of a servant of a servant to the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Krishna serving in their transcendental pastimes. So let us all offer our most humble obeisances to Sri Giriraj Govardhanji and beg him that he grant us his unconditional and unreserved mercy. All glories, all glories to Sri Giriraj Govardhan! Hari! Haribol!!