The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Radha-kunda
BY: SUN STAFF
Jun 07, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 110.
Next on the 'Glossary of Places' is Radha-kunda, which Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur describes with this comment:
"Radha-kunda - 'the pond of Sri Radha', situated 26 km northwest of Mathura. Considered to be the most sacred place of pilgrimage for all Gaudiya Vaisnava, Radha-kunda is the direct embodiment of Srimati Radhika. The most confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna take place here."
There are several mentions of Radha-kunda in Jaiva Dharma. The first is in chapter twelve, where the nyaya pandit Vrajanatha is inquiring from Sri Raghunatha dasa babaji, who himself had taken shelter of Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami:
"Sri Raghunatha dasa babaji was very wise. For many days he had lived at Radha-kunda, where he took shelter of Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's feet. There he spent every afternoon listening to Lord Gaura's pastimes from Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's own mouth. Many times Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji and Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja would discuss the spiritual truth, and if any doubt arose among them, they would ask Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami to give the answer. At that time Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji was the most prominent of the pandita babajis. Many times he and Prema dasa, the paramahamsa babaji of Sri Godruma, would discuss the nature of pure spiritual love for the Lord."
In chapter twenty-two, Raghunatha dasa babaji is expressing his love in separation from Sri Radha-kunda:
"Under the bakula tree in Srivasa's courtyard the Vaisnavas are chanting the holy names of the Lord. Some call out, "O Gauranga! O Nityananda!" and sigh. Our saintly babaji was motionless, plunged in ecstatic love. Who knows what he was thinking? After a few moments he said, "Alas!" and began to weep. "Ah! Where is Rupa? Where is Sanatana! Where is Raghunatha dasa Gosvami! Where is my life's brother, Krsnadasa Kaviraja? I cannot be with them. Today I am all alone. I cannot be happy. The memory of Radha-kunda brings me pain. O my life, now you are leaving me. I pray that Rupa and Raghunatha show themselves to me and save my life."
In chapter thirty-three we find a passage wherein Vijaya-kumara is hearing from his guru, Gopala-guru Gosvami, on the glories of Srimati Radha:
"Between the two of them - Radha and Candravali - it is Radha who is the personification of the highest ecstatic love (maha-bhava-svarupa). It is She who has the greatest qualities. She is superior to Candravali in every way. Look. The Gopala-tapani Upanisad calls Her by the name Gandharva and glorifies Her. In the Rk-parisista it is said that Lord Madhava is glorious because Radha stands by His side. In the Padma Purana, Narada declares, "As Radha is dear to Krsna, so Her pond, Radha-kunda is also dear to Him. Of all the gopis, Radha is the most dear to Lord Krsna." And why not? What is Radha's nature? She is the great hladini-sakti, the best of Lord Krsna's potencies. Radha is the essence of the hladini-sakti (hladini-sara-bhava)."
Finally, in chapter thirty-nine, the Gosvami is explaining to his disciple Vijaya-kumara about vasa, or residence in Vraja, and his spiritual identity there:
"You will take birth as a certain gopi in a certain village within the land of Vraja. Within that village you will be married to a certain gopa. However, you will be attracted by the sound of Krsna's flute. You will be the follower of a certain sakhi. Her cottage at Radha-kunda will be your residence also. In this way your eternal nature is situated in parakiya rasa."
(Radha-kunda, to be continued…)
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