Vishrama Ghat

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Dharma Kunda

Now we are at Dharma kunda Dharmaraja in disguise spoke to his son, King Yudhisthira who was looking for his brothers. His four brothers had gone out to get water and coming upon a beautiful lake they were asked by Dharmaraja four questions. If they could answer the questions only then would they be allowed to drink without being harmed. None of the brothers were able to answer all of the questions; but being thirsty they drank anyway and they died. King Yudhisthira being concerned about his four brothers went to look for them and he came upon Dharmaraja who was disguised as a sage. Dharmaraja told him that only if he answered the questions correctly would his brothers he brought back to life. Yudhisthira answered the questions correctly and Dharmaraja then told him he could then get the life returned of one of his brothers. King Yudhisthira started reflecting on the best course of action. He thought, I am the eldest son of Mother Kunti, the great Arjuna and the mighty Bhima are also from her womb. Madri is Kuntidevi’s sister and her two sons are my half brothers. I should take the eldest of them, Nakula. So when Yudhisthira asked for Nakula it took Dharmaraja totally by surprise, so much so that he out of curiosity questioned Yudhisthira on how he came to such a decision. Dharmaraja told him that he would have expected him to pick the great archer Arjuna or at least the mighty armed Bhima. Then Yudhisthira explained his thought process of ksatriya etiquette and why he picked Nakula. Hearing his explanation Dharmaraja became extremely pleased and revealing his true identity as Yudhisthira’s father, Dharmaraja returned the lives of the four brothers. Hare Krishna!

Kamesvara Mahadeva

This temple is one of the four main Shiva temples in Vraja. King Vrishabhanu use to come here and after taking bath in the kunda he would pray to Lord Shiva in his form as Kamesvara to grant him children. In answer to this prayer Kamesvara blessed him and Srimati Radharani appeared and then her sister Ananga Manjari was born and then her brother Sridama was born. Kamesvara Mahadeva is very merciful and by his mercy we can also receive his blessings and have all our desires fulfilled here in the forests of Kamyavana. Kama means desires and Lord Shiva is called Kamesvara because he can fulfil all desires.

Actually we desired to come here and by his mercy he allowed us, for in reality we do not have the eligibility to even enter this forest which is so filled with Lord Krishna’s intimate pastimes. If you look in the distance you can see two mountains sometimes referred to as Brahma mountain and Visnu mountain. You can see that the mountains have two different colours. One mountain is a little yellowish or golden, that mountain is Srimati Radhika and the darkish mountain is Shyamasundara. Now we shall all go to Setubandh Rameshvara and learn what pastimes Krishna enacted there. Hare Krishna!

Setubandh Rameshvara

Now we are at Setubandh Rameshvara. You can see that it is a very rocky place. Once Krishna and the gopis were gathered here and the area in front of them was filled with water all the way to the other side where there was a village on a hill where the gopis wanted to go. Not wanting to have to travel all the way around the gopis said to Krishna. You have bragged to us that you are Lord Rama. Lord Rama ordered monkeys to make a bridge of stones all the way across the ocean to Lanka. Here there is water, here there are many stones and here also are many monkeys. Show us that you are indeed Lord Rama and have these monkeys make a bridge for us to walk across. Krishna smiling began to play upon his flute and as he played hundreds and thousands of monkeys began to gather around Krishna very respectfully, not at all mischievously as monkeys usually are prone to act. Krishna then ordered them to quickly build a bridge for the gopis to walk across. The monkeys all saluted Krishna and then taking the stones, in a very short time they built a beautiful bridge and Krishna and his sakhis crossed over to the other side. The gopis became very pleased at Krishna’s phenomenal display of mystic power, but they told him that still he was not Lord Rama and that the monkeys did not make this by his order alone. But nevertheless, somehow or the other this bridge has been built, so we believe that you somehow must be the head of these monkeys who can be as mischievous as You are.

Setu means bridge and Krishna re-enacting Lord Rama’s radiant pastime gave this place the name Setubandh Rameshvara. This place is very sacred. Also Sankara, Mahadeva is here as well. So let us all give our humble obeisances to this place and remembering this pastime, take the dust upon our heads. Hari! Haribol!

Yashoda Kunda

This kunda is called Yashoda kunda and this is where Mother Yashoda used to come and churn butter and wash her pots. Next to this kunda you can see the bhajan kutir of Prabodhananda Sarasvati, he wrote many wonderful poems in praise of the holy dham of Vraja and he was the spiritual master of Gopala Bhatta Goswami. Next to his bhajan kutir is Nanda kunda, Nanda Maharaja used to come here to take his bath. Hare Krishna!

Radha Madan Mohan, Radha Govindaji, Radha Gopinatha

When the three original deities of Radha Madan Mohan, Radha Govinda and Radha Gopinatha were forced to leave Vrindavan because of the demonic treachery of the Muslim Aurangzeb, on their way to Jaipur they stayed here at Kamyavan for three nights. These three deities Madan Mohan, Govindaji and Gopinatha are very essential in establishing ones relationship with Krishna. These three deities have very specific qualities. Worship of Madan Mohan is essential for re-establishing our forgotten relationship with Krishna. This is called sambandha. In the beginning of spiritual life we must therefore worship Madan Mohan so that he will attract us and eradicate our attachments to gross materialism. After we have become a little more advanced we worship Govindaji in the form of loving devotional service. This is called abhideya. Govinda is the reservoir of all pleasures, when we worship him we become pleased. Later by the grace of Krishna and guru, when we achieve perfection in devotional service, then we can appreciate Krishna as the pleasure deity of the gopis in his form as Gopinatha. This stage is called prayojana. This is the stage that we are always seeking to have. Now we shall go take darshan of these three temples: Radha Madan Mohan,

Radha Govindaji and Radha Gopinatha. When we get to the temple of Radha Gopinatha you will notice that it is in the house of a grhasti. The story goes that Krishna in his form as Gopinatha came to the house of a Vrajavasi to steal a little butter. But as sometimes happens in life, he got caught by a gopi. The gopi told him, normally you come and go as you like; But this time since I have caught you, you are going to have to stay and accept worship here for sometime. Since then Gopinatha has never left. That is why Gopinatha is installed in the home of a householder and not in a normal temple as is customary.

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