Sri Vrndavana Dhama is a most sacred place. The Supreme Lord Sri Krisna Appeared here 5000 years ago, and performed His most wonderful transcendental pastimes here, in the company of His eternal consort, Srimanti Radharani, Her gopi friends, His parents Nanda Maharaja and Mother Yasoda, His brother Lord Balarama, and His cowherd Boyfriends.
Every year millions of pilgrims visit, to absorb themselves in the amazing spiritual atmosphere, and relish the devotional mood that pervades everything there. The experience is unforgettable, and makes a profound impact on the hearts of all who visit.
As One saint has written: ‘The supremely blissful land of Vrindavana possesses unlimited, transcendental glory, which cannot be understood by even the most intelligent materialistic person. It quickly awakens pure devotional love for the Supreme Lord, and shines with such divine splendour that it astonishes even the residents of heaven. It is full of nectar, and is the most exalted of all transcendental abodes, I pray that, with a flood of its spiritual sweetness, it may overwhelm and delight my heart’.
From time to time, Lord Krishna comes to this material world. In Bhagavad-gita (4.8)
He mentions some of the primary reasons for His descent:
Vinasaya ca duskrtam
Sambhavami yuge yuge
"To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium."
In this regard, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness makes the point: "So to kill the demons Krisna does not need to come. When He comes, He does so because He is requested by His devotees like Vasudeva and Devaki. Therefore the real cause of His coming is at the request of His devotees, but when He comes He simultaneously shows that He is prepared to kill anyone who is envious of His devotees. Of course, His killing and maintaining are the same because He is absolute. Those who are killed by Krisna immediately attain salvation, which generally takes millions of years to get. So people may say that Krishna has come for this purpose or that purpose, but actually Krishna comes for the benefit of His devotees. He always looks after the welfare of the devotees, and so we should understand that we should always be concerned with how to become devotees."
When Lord Krishna comes to this world, He performs wonderful pastimes to attract us to come back to Him in the spiritual world. He appears in many forms, all of them fully transcendental to this material nature, and in those forms He exhibits wonderful qualities which are displayed in the course of His activities and interactions with His devotees.
The main place of these pastimes is Sri Vrindavana-dharna, an area of about 168 square miles, or 435 square kilometers in north-central India. There Krishna appeared about five thousand years ago and performed pastimes in many places throughout the length and breadth of the entire region.
Krishna initially appeared in the city of Mathura, located in the southern portion of Virndavana-dhama (Vraja), but was immediately taken to Gokula, to the east. Some years later, He went to the area of current day Virndavana town, and
thereafter moved to Nandagrama, in the north-west. Every day He would roam about Vraja with His friends and the cows. It was not unusual for Him to start the day in, for instance, Nandagrama, then go southward to Govardhana Hill, next go even further south to Talavana, then visit the Yamuna River, which runs through
the center of the dhama, and finally in the evening return to Nandagrama via Ter Kadamba. Our desire is to produce a series of books describing all these wonderful places. But for the present, this volume will describe the temples and other sacred
places in Vrindavana town.
Krishna's earliest childhood pastimes took place in the area of Gokula- Mahavana, There He killed the demons Putana, Trnavarta, and Sakatasura, and also began cowherding, along with His cowherd boyfriends.
After He had grown a little older, Krishna engaged in conjugal pastimes with the gopis, or cowherd girls. Many of these lilas took place in the vicinity of Vrindavana town, in such places as Seva-kunja and Nidhuvana. At Vamsivata, on the sarat-purnima, or full-moon night of the autumn season, He played His celebrated flute to entice the gopis to join Him in the rasa dance, and they rushed out, abandoning whatever duties they were performing at that time. Some were cooking, some tending to their children's needs, while others were assisting their family members in different household chores, but when the sound of Krishna's flute
entered their ears, their attraction to it instantly eclipsed their interest in any other activity.
This attraction of the gopis toward Krishna should not be mistaken for the kind of attraction typically felt by young women of this material world for young men. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who possesses all spiritual qualities, and the gopis are pure devotees, completely free from all types of material
interest and influence. Thus, the gopis attraction to Krishna is based simply on pure love, and is devoid of even a trace of material lust. Pure love means that their only concern is to please Krishna by serving Him in any way. The Caitanya-caritamrta
discusses this principle:
The happiness of the abode of love is in the happiness of the object of that love. This is not a relationship of desire for personal gratification. Whenever there is unselfish love, that is its style. The reservoir of love derives pleasure when the lovable object is pleased. When the pleasure of love interferes with the service of Lord Krisna, the devotee becomes angry toward such ecstasy.
Furthermore, pure devotees never forsake the loving service of Lord Krishna to aspire for their own personal pleasure through the five kinds of liberation. Lord Krishna says, just as the celestial waters of the Ganges flow unobstructed into the ocean, so when My devotees simply hear of Me, their minds come to Me, who reside in the hearts of all. These are the characteristics of transcendental loving service to Purusottama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; it is causeless, and it cannot be obstructed in any way. (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 4.199-201,204-206)
Even if the devotees are offered liberation by Krishna personally, they will not accept it in place of devotional service to Him. This is the Vrindavana mood, and it pervades the atmosphere throughout Vraja.
Now we will proceed to visit all the main temples and pastime places in the town of Vindavana, beginning with the seven main temples established by the six Gosvamis of Vrindavana and by their close associates. Please take this book along with you and explore the town for yourself. The impact of that experience might
change your life forever.
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