The place in which we just now have circumambulated known as Dan Gati. Previously Govardhana hill was one yojana in length, that is eight miles and extremely high; but ever since Lord Krishna left this world, out of intense separation from him Giri Govardhana is slowly sinking into the ground at the speed of one mustard seed a day. The gopis would pass through here with their stock of butter, milk, cheese and yoghurt on their way to the other side of Govardhana hill to sell them. There was no other passage for many miles through Govardhana. The shape of Giri Govardhana is like that of a peacock. His two eyes are Radha kunda and Shyama kunda. His mouth is the Mukharavinda, Puncari is his backside and is like the peacocks tail feathers when he slightly raises his plumes for dancing. Where we are now standing is like the narrow stretch of the peacock’s neck, and this narrow stretch is called Dan Gati the place where taxes were collected.
Once here in Vraja there was a big yajna being conducted by all the sages at Govinda kunda. A lot of ghee, milk and yoghurt is always required for a yajna and so the gopis were carrying these things through here going to Govinda kunda on the other side of Govardhana. Naturally Krishna and the cowherd boys heard the news also and so they came here before anyone else and blocked the road. Krishna was with his friends like Sudama Madhu Mangal, Sridama and others like that. Krishna stopped the gopis and told them that if they wanted to pass through they had to pay tax. Every day they passed through here freely without paying taxes; but today they had to pay tax. So pay up, he told them. The gopis like Lalita and Vishaka challenged Krishna saying, what sort of taxes should we be paying and who are you to demand taxes from us. Krishna said, don’t you know this kingdom belongs to me. The gopis retorted very sarcastically does this place belong to your father or did it belong to you grandfather? Since when did you claim this place to be yours please tell us? Krishna said, whether my father owns this place o whether my grandfather owned this place is of no consequence ‘The fact is that I am the King of Vraja and this is part of my kingdom. Lalita and Vishaka looked at each other and then told Krishna that as far as they were concerned Srimati Radhika is Vrindavana’s Ishwari, the Queen of Vrindavan which means that this is Her kingdom and she is the soul proprietor. We haven’t heard of another one. Since when did it change hands and you became the proprietor. Krishna said, haven’t you heard that Vrinda devi is my wife? This place is known as Vrindavan, named after her and all that belongs to the wife naturally becomes the legal property of the husband after marriage. Therefore I am the King of Vraja, this is my property and if you want to cross over you must pay your taxes. So you had better pay up and be on your way.
The gopis started clapping their hands and laughing and joking, saying to Krishna that he was a big liar, and Vrinda devi would never be his wife. So Krishna said, why don’t you ask Vrinda devi and find out directly from her? The gopis agreed and they went to get Vrinda devi. When the gopis arrived at Vrinda devi’s and asked her whether this mischievous rascal Krishna was actually married to her, Vrinda devi immediately denied it saying that she would never think of marrying such a naughty boy. It’s a fact Vrindavan does belong to me; but I have voluntarily surrendered it to the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani and that is why the proprietress of Vrindavan is not me but Srimati Radhika. The gopis heard this and laughing and clapping raced back to Krishna and called him a liar and a rascal. Krishna of course pretended to be shy and totally ignoring the gopis remarks said. I don’t care what Vrinda devi says, if you want to pass this way you have to pay me tax and calling his friends they got sticks and blocked the road. So seeing no other way around Krishna’s impertinence the gopis gave Krishna a little of everything they had, a little butter, a little milk, a little yoghurt, like that. Srila Rupa Goswami describes this particular pastime in detail in his book "Dan Keli Kaumudi". In the pastime of Dan Keli milk, yoghurt, ghee, cream, butter are all symbolic. Actually what Krishna really wants is our love and devotion not our material possessions Krishna is always hankering for his devotees love. The possession offers are simply symbolic for him. What he wants is all our love. Gaura Premanandi!!
Dan Nivartan Kunda
One day soon after Krishna had taxed the gopis. Lalita and Vishaka conspired to have revenge on him. Complaining to each other they said, we have been used and abused enough, that was unfair and highly rascalish. We must give him the same back, but double. So clapping their hands gleefully they got all the gopis together and hid themselves in the forest groves around this place which is called Dan nivartana kunda. Krishna who had got so cocky by this time was walking around here with only a few of His cowherd friends. The gopis by sign language, like reflecting be sun in mirrors to each other surrounded Krishna and his sakhas. Hundreds of gopis grabbed Krishna and his friends and tying their sikhas to the tree branches and holding them still boxed their ears good for them and made them promise never to harass the gopis again from that day onwards. Furthermore they said, today you are the ones who must pay taxes. So pay up! What do you have to pay with and who gave you permission to graze Your cows here? Krishna meekly said, we don’t have anything to pay for taxes. The gopis said, you don’t? Why not? This property belongs to Srimati Radharani, Vrindavana’s Queen and for the audacious behaviour that you exhibited by taxing us the other day, for this you have to be punished. Krishna, you must bow down to Srimati Radharani’s lotus feet and beg her forgiveness. Krishna seeing that there was no other way out of the situation, shyly looked at his friends and bowing down to the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani begged her forgiveness. That is why this place is known as Dan nivartana kunda, the place where the tax was excused. Hari! Haribol!!