The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Radha-kunda

BY: SUN STAFF

Sri Chaitanya in Jarikhanda Forest -- a painting found at His sitting place at Radha Kund


Jun 10, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 113.

Ritupura (Ritudvipa) in Navadipa Dhama corresponds to Radha Kunda in Vraja Vrindavan. This is mentioned in Sri Sri Navadvip Bhava Taranga, in which Srila Bhaktivinoda describes Nityananda Prabhu's commentary on His travels through Navadvipa. Nityananda is narrating Lord Caitanya's Vraj-lila ecstasies in Navadvip:

    "In the southern portion of Mayapur, on the bank of the Ganga, near its junction with Sarasvati, is the grave called Isodyana. May that forest be the place of my eternal devotions. At this place, my Lord, Sri Sacinandana, along with His associates, performed His midday pastimes. Seeing the brilliance of the grove, I shall remember Radha Kunda. May all this be eternally visible for my eyes. …

    Then, in Godruma, I shall see the place where Indra's Surabhi cow worshipped the Lord. In the three worlds there is no such place. Just as Isodyana and Radha Kunda lie close to the bank of the Ganga, so Godruma, where Markandeya received mercy from the Lord, lies close to the bank of the Sarasvati. …

    At Rtudvipa, abode of transcendental bliss, covered with attractive forests, the seasons perform eternal service to the Lord. In one part of this area exist Radha Kundha of Vraja. Sometimes Gauranga, singing the glories of Krishna and remembering the pastimes of Krishna as a cowherd, would call out the names of cows repeatedly: "Syamali! Dhubali!" Weeping, He would call out for Subala and Sridama. When will I wander in Rtudvipa, seeing the beauty of the forest and remembering the pastimes, becoming stunned on seeing the pastimes at Radha Kunda directly before my eyes?

    Here, on the bank of the Manasa Ganga, near Radha Kunda, Krishna and Balarama, with Dama, Bala and Mahabala, would go off to solitary woods with countless cows and calves, playing tricks and singing the glories of Krishna. Gossiping as they go, they move together to distant woods. Losing sight of the calves, they become alarmed, but at the sound of Krishna's flute, the calves all come running back. Just as I am able to see this pastime, it all vanishes. I will fall to the ground unconscious, and then, regaining my senses, I shall rise up and wander slowly through the forests. …

    My dream broken, I shall weep and weep; and gazing on Sri Pulina, slowly cross the Ganga. Living at Isodyana at His private grove, I will worship Gauranga, who is non-different from Radha and Krishna. Then according to procedure, I will worship Radha and Govinda, and shall gaze upon Radha Kunda and Vrindavana. Remembering the feet of Ananga Manjari and the sakhis, I will drawn in love of God, and in the bliss attained by a particular service to Their Lordships."

In his Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur gives another description of Radha-kunda at Ritudvipa, and Nityananda Prabhu's pastimes in demonstrating His own Vrala-lila ecstasies here:

    "They came to Ratupura and saw the beauty of that town. Sri Nityananda said, "We have now come to Ritudvipa. This place is extremely attractive. The trees are bending down their heads in respect, the breeze is blowing gently, and the flowers are blooming everywhere. The humming of the bees and the fragrance of the flowers intoxicate the travelers' minds here."

    As He was saying this, Nityananda became like a madman and exclaimed, "Quickly, bring My horn! The calves have gone far off, and Krishna is fast asleep and won't come. He is acting like a baby. Where are Subala and Dama? All alone I cannot go and herd the cows!" Shouting, "Kanai! Kanai!" Nityananda jumped a few yards.

    Seeing His state, the devotees immediately supplicated at Nityananda's feet, "O Prabhu Nityananda, Your brother, Gauracandra is no longer here. He has taken sannyasa and gone to Nilacala, leaving us poor beggars."

    Upon hearing those words, Nityananda became dejected and fell to the ground crying, "You have put us in such sorrow, Kanai, My brother! You have taken sannyasa and left us to go to Nilacala. I will not continue My life. I will jump in the Yamuna River!" Saying this, Sri Nityananda lost consciousness.

    Sensing Nityananda Prabhu's elevated state of spiritual emotional, they began to chant the holy name. After two hours had passed, Nityananda still did not rise. Finally, when the devotees began chanting the glories of Gauranga, Nitai awoke.

    This is the place of Radha-kunda!" He exclaimed. "Here in the afternoon, Gaurahari would perform kirtana with His associates. Look at the brilliance of Syama-kunda, which attracts the minds of everyone in the universe! And look, here and there are the sakhis' groves. In the afternoon, Gauranga would become immersed in singing Krishna's glories and satisfy all by distributing prema. Know that in the three worlds there is no equal to this place, where the devotees worship the Lord. Whoever lives here will get love of God, which will soothe the burning fire of material life.

    That day the devotees stayed there and drowned in love of God as they called out Gauranga's name. Staying there in Ritudvipa, they passed the whole day and night worshiping the moonlike Lord Caitanya."

    Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Parikrama-khanda, Chapter Twelve)

In Caitanya-caritamrta we read about Lord Caitanya's discovery of Radha-kunda in Navadvipa:

    "In the village of Arit-grama, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu discovered the transcendental lakes known as Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda. He then saw the Deity Harideva at Govardhana Village. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had no desire to climb Govardhana Hill because the hill is worshiped as Krsna. The Gopala Deity could understand the mind of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; therefore on the plea of being attacked by Muslims, Gopala transferred Himself to the village of Ganthuli-grama."

    (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 18 Summary)

In a past Sun Feature series entitled "The Mughal Influence on Vaisnavism", the story is told of another Deity moving from place to place during the Muslim invasion drama:

    Govinda Leaves Vrndavana

    In 1669 A.D. the Mogul ruler Aurangzeb decreed that Hindu temples and carved images, or Deities, should be destroyed. Deities, priests, and pilgrims were in danger, and faithful devotees of Krsna stopped visiting Vrndavana. Many of those who had the courage to express their faith were beaten or killed. Subsequently, the Vaisnava priests appealed to the Hindu dynasties of Rajasthan for protection for themselves and their Deities. Protection was guaranteed, and gradually the Deities migrated to settle in Mewar and in Amber, the old Jaipur capital. But without Deities, brahmanas, and pilgrims, Vrndavana-Mathura lost much of its glory.

    One of the principal Deities of Vrndavana was Govinda, a twenty-four-inch black marble image of Krsna in His original aspect as a cowherd boy. Srila Rupa Gosvami had found Him while excavating the holy places of Vrndavana. Later, warned that Aurangzeb's army would seek to demolish Govinda's splendid seven-story temple, the priests secretly moved the Deity to Radha-kunda, a sacred pond widely known as one of the holiest places in the Mathura district. After a year at Radha-kunda, the priests transferred their divine refugee to Kaman, a fortified city in the Mathura district, where a suitable complex could be built for Govinda. For more than thirty years He and two other Deities, Gopinatha and Madana-Mohana, remained in Kaman."

In the Advaita Prakasha, a detailed narration is given about Lord Chaitanya's identification of the transcendental environs of Radha-Kunda at Navadvipa. The Lord is disclosing this to one of His confidential associates at Shantipura -- Acyutananda, the son of Advaita:

    "Saying this, Shri Chaitanya firmly embraced Acyuta and then chanted the name of Hari in transcendental love. Shri Acyuta was overwhelmed by Gaura's transcendental affection, and in the mood of a gopi he began to dance like a mad person. Then Shri Chaitanya remembered Radha-kunda, and in ecstatic love He began to ask everyone the whereabouts of Radha-kunda.

    The residents of Vraja replied, "No one knows where Radha-kunda is."

    On hearing their reply, Gaura fell unconscious. When Acyuta saw Gauranga's display of maha-bhava, he called out the names of Radha-Krishna and tears flowed from his eyes. Hearing the name of Radha, Gauranga cried out, "Where is Radha-kunda?"

    Shri Acyuta said, "O Krishna Chaitanya, listen as I describe the confidential truths regarding Radha-kunda."

    Gaura said, "You are Krishna's eternal associate. You know the truth about the transcendental holy places."

    Shri Acyuta said, "I offer my obeisances to Your mercy. You always expand the glories of Your devotees. You have made up Your mind to manifest the glories of these two holy places and to propagate the omniscience of Your devotees. Radharani has invested all transcendental potencies in Her kunda, and those same potencies are certainly invested in Shyama-kunda. Anantadeva and others are unable to fathom the extent of those potencies, so how can an insignificant soul like me know them?

    "You should know that I am like a wooden puppet that dances according to Your sweet will. My preceptor is Your dear Gadadhara Pandita, who is a storehouse of love. My father says that he is an expansion of Shrimati Radhika, and one can easily attain devotion to Krishna by his association. I simply repeat whatever he has mercifully told me, without considering whether it is right or wrong.

    "That place where Kundeshvari Radha eternally resides is called Radha-kunda. Who can understand the glories of that kunda? The predominating deities of all holy places reside there in unmanifest forms. The holy places deliver sinful persons from their sins, but the sins accumulate and remain at those places. When saintly persons visit those places, the sins are finally eliminated and the holy places again become sanctified. This is the statement of the Vedic literature.

    "Radha-kunda is the form of Krishna's internal energy. It is eternally perfect and the source of all energies. By remembering Radha-kunda, all sins are destroyed. By reciting the glories of Radha-kunda, one's faith in eternal religious principles increases. By seeing Radha-kunda, devotional service is awakened. And simply by touching Radha-kunda, one attains pure devotional service.

    "One certainly attains Krishna by taking bath in the waters of Radha-kunda. If one gives up his body on the shores of Radha-kunda, he attains the service of Lord Krishna. Who can describe the unlimited qualities of Radha-kunda? Listen now to the secondary qualities of Radha-kunda.

    "Those who live on the shore of Radha-kunda and have attained perfection cry when they hear the names of Radha and Krishna. Simply by visiting Radha-kunda, all one's miseries are mitigated, material existence in forgotten, and one becomes joyful at heart. The waters of Radha-kunda naturally act medicinally. By either bathing in or drinking those waters, one's diseases are destroyed and the duration of one's life is increased.

    "Shri Shyama-kunda is connected with Radha-kunda and is as spiritual and dear to Krishna as Radha-kunda. Shri Nanda-nandana always resides there in His eternal form. By seeing Shyama-kunda, Krishna's form becomes manifested. Even Anantadeva does not know the extent of Shyama-kunda's glories. One attains Radha-Krishna simply by bathing there or drinking the water."

    Saying this, Shri Acyuta offered his obeisances to Gauranga, and Gaura firmly embraced him in ecstatic love. Then Gaura said to Acyuta, "I feel that My body, mind, and soul have become sanctified by hearing the glories of Radha-kunda today."

    They then went in great ecstasy to the practically lost site of Radha-kunda. Shri Krishna Chaitanya said, "O son of Advaita! Here is Radha-kunda! See the symptoms. Even though this holy place is practically lost from vision, one's distress is mitigated simply by seeing it. Otherwise, how have we suddenly become so joyful?"

    Gaura then loudly cried out the name of Radha, and on hearing that name, all the animals and birds cried in ecstatic love like topmost devotees of the Lord. Radha's name is the source of eternal ecstasy, and when that name emanated from the mouth of Shri Gauranga it satisfied all living entities' desire for pure love. Why loving devotion should not manifest on hearing that sound? Both moving and nonmoving living beings shed tears in ecstatic love.

    Shri Gauranga then said, "O son of Advaita, see how all living entities awaken to transcendental love on hearing Radha's name. There is no doubt that this is Radha-kunda, and the pond connected to it is Shyama-kunda. Oh, how fortunate I am to have the darshana of Radha-kunda! This is the inconceivable transcendental result of associating with devotees."

    Saying this, the omniscient Lord Gauranga became overwhelmed in ecstatic love and jumped into the waters of the kunda. He first immersed Himself in Radha-kunda, and then He went to Shyama-kunda. He took bath in Shyama-kunda and then came to Radha-kunda. After completing His bath, He took mud from the kunda and smeared it over His entire body in ecstatic love. With deep affection, Gaurahari offered hundreds of obeisances and various prayers to the kundas.

    Shri Acyuta became intoxicated with love while watching Gaura. He wandered around roaring and exclaiming, "This is that transcendental kunda!"

    In the mood of Kundeshvari Shri Radha, Mahaprabhu then cried out, "Where is the Lord of My life?" He displayed various ecstatic symptoms—one moment He was stunned, another moment He shivered, one moment He laughed loudly, the next moment He roared, one moment He danced, and another moment He spoke some humble words. The great waves of the ocean of His ecstasy gradually grew, and as a result He fell unconscious to the ground.

    Seeing the motionless body of Gauranga, Acyuta incessantly cried, "Alas! What has happened to Gauranga, my life and soul?"

    After some time, the son of Sita regained his composure and began to gravely chant the name of Hari. Gaura regained His consciousness in the afternoon, and He began to dance and exclaim, "I found Radha-kunda! These two kundas, belonging to Radha and Krishna, have combined together to bestow mercy on the fallen souls of Kali-yuga."

    Then, holding Acyuta's hand, Gaurachandra circumambulated the kundas while chanting the maha-mantra. In ecstatic love, Shri Acyuta offered hundreds of obeisances to the kundas and then took bath there. Hearing Acyuta's humble devotional prayers, Gaura sat there at the base of a tree and recovered His composure. He then said to Acyuta, "By dint of your association, Radha-kunda has mercifully manifested."

    Acyuta replied, "Why do make me an offender? I am always under the shelter of Your lotus feet. You perform transcendental pastimes in every millennium, and You uncover the lost places of pilgrimage to deliver the conditioned souls. Love of God and Radha-kunda had remained hidden for a long time, but now Radha-kunda has mercifully manifested."

    Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, "This is an exaggeration. This is your father's habit, but I don't like it. Krishna is the Supreme Lord, and everyone else is His servant. One who considers an ordinary living entity to be the Supreme Lord is doomed."

    Shri Acyuta said, "In Your present pastimes it is Your nature to speak humbly and thus cover Your real identity. But just as the sun cannot hide behind the clouds, Krishna cannot hide during His manifest pastimes."

    Acyuta then chanted the name of Hari, and Gaura said, "The holy name is the only truth. Give up this other talk."

    Acyuta then said, "After millions of pious activities, I have obtained the person who possesses the name." Saying this, he held Gaura's feet and cried.

    Gaura, the ocean of mercy, then manifested His eternal transcendental form of Lord Krishna, the reservoir of all pleasure. Appearing on His left was Radharani, the personification of ecstatic love of Godhead. Seeing those two personalities, Shri Acyuta was overwhelmed with ecstatic love and offered his obeisances and composed many prayers. Gaura asked him, "Why are you glorifying Me?"

    Then Shri Acyuta again saw Gaura as a sannyasi, and he said, "You have covered Your form with the complexion of Shri Radha. By serving You, Radha and Krishna are both served." Saying this, Acyuta placed the lotus feet of the Lord upon his head.

    Gaura said, "You are the emperor of love for Krishna. Wherever you go, Radha and Krishna manifest before you."

    After saying this, Lord Chaitanya embraced Acyuta, who then began to dance in ecstatic love. When everyone heard about the location of the kundas, they became purified as they took darshana, bathed there, and drank its waters.

    Then Mahaprabhu went to Giri-Govardhana, the site of Krishna's pastimes, where He lost consciousness due to ecstatic love. Regaining consciousness, He said, "O best of mountains! It seems You have become reduced in the absence of Krishna. Oh, how wonderful! I see that You have the fragrance of Krishna's body. Come, let Me embrace You and thus pacify My burning heart. Then I will go see if I can find My beloved life and soul."

    Speaking these words, Shri Chaitanya stretched out His arms and rushed forward to embrace Govardhana. Sometimes He stood up, and sometimes He fell to the ground. He could not discriminate whether He was in a proper place or not. He then circumambulated the hill while chanting the holy names.

    Gaura's inconceivable pastimes were filled with transcendental love, He showered the nectar of His mercy and thus delivered the living entities. Being overwhelmed with love, Shri Acyutananda sometimes cried, sometimes danced, and sometimes rolled on the ground.

    Gauranga wandered throughout the sacred forests of Vraja, but when He saw the site of the rasa dance He became overflooded with ecstatic love. In the topmost state of maha-bhava, Gaura felt the mood of separation from Krishna and cried while reciting the Gopi-gita, the song of the gopis. One moment He imitated the pastimes of Radha-Krishna, the next moment He sang, and another He danced.

    Even Lord Anantadeva is unable to describe the great ocean of Gauranga's transcendental love. I am an insignificant insect, devoid of all knowledge. Under the instructions of the Vaishnavas, I am giving this brief account.

    Although Gaura had no desire to leave Vraja, to satisfy the desires of His devotees He left Vraja with tears flowing from His eyes.

    Praying at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Advaita, always desiring Their mercy, I, Ishana Nagara, narrate Shri Advaita Prakasha.

    ("Advaita Prakasha: Lord Advaita Acarya" by Shrila Ishana Nagara, translated by HH Subhag Swami)


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