The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Radha-kunda

BY: SUN STAFF


Jun 09, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 112.

Sri Radha-kunda's association with Govardhana Hill is the subject of much glorification in Vaisnava literature, and in his 'Glossary of Places', Srila Bhaktivinoda mentions Radha-kunda in the description of Govardhana:

    "Govardhana - a sacred mountain situated in the middle of Vrajamandala about 26 km north-west of Mathura. This mountain is also known as Sri Giriraja (the king among mountains). He is identical with Sri Krsna and is also known as haridasa-varya, the best devotee of Sri Hari, for He facilitates Sri Krsna's pastimes with His intimate friends and especially the most sacred pastimes with the gopis. Govardhana Hill lies in the shape of a peacock, with Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda as His eyes."

Srila Prabhupada explains the importance of Radha-kunda, at the base of Sri Govardhana, in his purport to Nectar of Instruction, Chapter 9:

    "The holy place known as Mathura is spiritually superior to Vaikuntha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to Mathura-Puri is the transcendental forest of Vrndavana because of Krsna's rasa-lila pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vrndavana is Govardhana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Sri Krsna and was the site of His various loving pastimes. And, above all, the superexcellent Sri Radha-kunda stands supreme, for it is overflooded with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of Gokula, Sri Krsna. Where, then, is that intelligent Person who is unwilling to serve this divine Radha-kunda, which is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill?

    Purport: The spiritual world is three fourths of the total creation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and it is the most exalted region. The spiritual world is naturally superior to the material world; however, Mathura and the adjoining areas, although appearing in the material world, are considered superior to the spiritual world because the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself appeared at Mathura. The interior forests of Vrndavana are considered superior to Mathura because of the presence of the twelve forests (dvadasa-vana), such as Talavana, Madhuvana and Bahulavana, which are famous for the various pastimes of the Lord. Thus the interior Vrndavana forest is considered superior to Mathura, but superior to these forests is the divine Govardhana Hill because Krsna lifted Govardhana Hill like an umbrella, raising it with His lotuslike beautiful hand to protect His associates, the denizens of Vraja, from the torrential rains sent by the angry Indra, King of the demigods. It is also at Govardhana Hill that Krsna tends the cows with His cowherd friends, and there also He had His rendezvous with His most beloved Sri Radha and engaged in loving pastimes with Her. Radha-kunda, at the foot of Govardhana, is superior to all because it is there that love of Krsna overflows. Advanced devotees prefer to reside at Radha-kunda because this place is the site of many memories of the eternal loving affairs between Krsna and Radharani (rati-vilasa)."

The glories of Radha-kunda's presence at the foot of Govardhana are explained by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti in Sri Vraja-riti-cintamani: The Cintamani Jewel of Vraja:

    "Who is able to describe the glories of Govardhana Hill, the best of Lord Hari's servants?

    Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda are Govardhana's two love-filled eyes. Because it nourishes the gopas, gopis, and surabhi cows with Lord Madhava's sweetness, it shines with the name 'go-vardhana'.

    Syama-kunda and Radha-kunda are two great floods of the nectar of beauty. They are two great oceans of splendour. They are two beautiful roots from which sweet devotional service grows.

    They are two jewel-mines of love. They are two seeds from which grow the jewel-vines of transcendental pastimes. How did they become two splendid and nectar-sweet lakes?

    By seeing these two lakes, Radha and Krsna believe They are present in them. It is as if They directly see each other there. The wise say that by approaching these lakes one directly approaches Radha and Krsna.

    Longing to meet, but forced to remain separate, Radha and Krsna assumed the forms of Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda. In this way They become splashed with the nectar of meeting each other.

    I think that when Radha saw Krsna She melted with ecstasy and thus assumed the liquid state of the waters of Radha-kunda, and in the same way when Krsna saw Radha He also melted in ecstasy and became the waters of Syama-kunda. In this way these two lakes bear the names and qualities of the divine couple.

    Out of great kindness to the people, so they could directly taste Their sweetness, Radha and Krsna have become these two lakes. Shining with happiness, the devotees bathe in these two lakes.

    I think these two lakes are the divine couple's love. They who are fortunate bathe there. Because bathing there is like bathing in Their transcendental love, these two lakes bear the names of the divine couple.

    Spelled backwards, the word sara (lake) becomes rasa (nectar). They who are aware of this great secret bathe in these two lakes.

    Wishing to see Their sweet pastimes in the forest, the two lakes have become the divine couple's two pet cakora-birds.

    Limitless beautiful Sri Radha-kunda is filled with the divine couple's great love. On every side are the groves of Radha's friends and the humming of many bees.

    To the north is a jewel lotus garden named Lalita-pramada. To the north is a flower garden named Visakha-pramada.

    To the east is Citra-pramada, a wonderful garden of colourful flowers. To the southeast is Purnendu-kunja, the delight of Indulekha-gopi.

    To the south is Prema-kunja, the delight of Campakalata-gopi. Sri Radha slips away from the protection of her mother-in-law Jatila to meet Krsna in this grove.

    In the southwest is the sapphire studded grove named Nila-nikunja, the delight of Sri Rangadevi-gopi. Once Radha's mother-in-law Jatila happened upon the divine couple sitting together in this sapphire grove. Jatila could not see Krsna, whose bodily lustre camouflaged Him against the background of sapphires. Jatila thought Radha was sitting alone. She glorified Her daughter-in-law and quickly left.

    To the west is Aruna-kunja, the red-flower-filled grove that is the delight of Tungavidya-gopi. To the northwest is the tree grove of Marakata-kunja (grove of emeralds), which is the delight of Sudevi-gopi.

    Placed over the waters in the middle of Radha-kunda is a wonderful jewel palace where Ananga-manjari with great love serves the divine couple. Without love and devotion who is able to know about this palace? All the groves, paths, and various places around Radha-kunda are filled with the nectar of Lord Govinda's pastimes. All these places are elaborately described in Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami's book Sri Govinda-lilamrta."

    (Sri Vraja-riti-cintamani: The Cintamani Jewel of Vraja, 3.28-46)


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