Bahulavan The charming forest of Bahulavana is full of beauty. According to the Skanda Purana (Mathura-khanda), Sri Hari’s sakhi Bahula resides here – bahula srihareh patni tatra tinthati sarvada. This place is now called Bati. It lies seven miles west of Mathura, between Radhakunda and Vrndavana. Sankarnana-kunda and Mana-sarovara are two kundas in Bahulavana.
Once, when Srimati Radhika was in Her sulky mood (mana), She hid Herself in a kunja here. In separation from Her, Krsna became completely distressed. With the help of the sakhis He was able to find Srimati Radhika, and with great difficulty He pacified Her mana. It is popularly believed that any desire of a person who takes bath here will be fulfilled. In the temple on the bank of Sankarsana-kunda are deities of Sri Krsna, a tiger, a cow, its calf and a brahmana.
According to local lore, a cow named Bahula was once drinking water from this pond when a fierce tiger attacked and caught her. She assured the tiger that she would return to be eaten after she had first gone to the house of her master, a brahmana, and fed milk to her hungry calf. When she got home, she told her calf to drink milk to his full satisfaction, and told him about her promise to the tiger. However, the calf insisted on going with her without drinking any milk. The brahmana also prepared himself to go alone. He planned to leave the cow and calf at home and give himself to the tiger as food. In the end, all three approached the tiger, each willing to sacrifice himself. At that moment, Sri Krsna Himself appeared there, and the tiger underwent a change of heart. By the mercy of Sri Krsna, the brahmana returned home safely with his cow and calf.
Sri Radha-kunda lies within Bahulavana. On Bahulastami it is customary to take bath in Sri Radha-kunda. Large numbers of people assemble to bathe here on that day.
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wandered through the different forests, He became overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this place. A charming and heart-rending description of this is given in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
(Madhya-lila, Chapter 17) as follows:
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu entered Bahulavana, the beautiful cows grazing there surrounded Him. They stopped eating the grass and, overflowing with prema, began to bellow and lick His body. Seeing the affectionate motherly mood of the cows, Mahaprabhu became completely absorbed in ecstatic waves of prema. When He regained some external consciousness, He began caressing the cows and they did not want to leave Him. It was with great difficulty that the cowherd folk forced them onwards. Again Sri Mahaprabhu became absorbed in transcendental emotions. Weeping He called out, “Kothaya krsna, kothaya krsna? – Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?” Herds of deer and does gathered and fearlessly licked Mahaprabhu’s limbs with affection. Parrots, cuckoos and bees began singing in the fifth note, and peacocks danced before Him. Completely jubilant, the trees and creepers covered themselves in buds, new leaves and flowers. With their arm-like branches and twigs, they lovingly offered their flowers and fruits at the lotus feet of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Seeing the ecstatic emotions of the moving and non-moving entities of Vrndavana, Sriman Mahaprabhu’s absorption in transcendental ecstasy intensified. He loudly cried, “Chant ‘Krsna’, chant ‘Krsna’!” and all of those moving and non-moving entities echoed His words. Sometimes Mahaprabhu, crying piteously, clasped hold of the necks of the deer and does who gazed at His lotus face with love-filled glances and tear-filled eyes. A little further on, Sriman Mahaprabhu saw a female and male parrot (sari and suka) sitting opposite each other on two branches of a tree, lovingly quarrelling about the glories of the Divine Couple,Sri Radha-Krsna.
Suka: My Krsna is Madana-mohana, the enchanter of Cupid’s mind. Sari: Yes, He is – as long as my Radha is at His left side. Otherwise, He is only Madana (Cupid). Suka: My Krsna lifted Giriraja on His finger. Sari: Because my Radha transmitted power into Him; otherwise, how could He have done so? Suka: My Krsna is the life of the whole universe. Sari: My Radha is the life of that life. Suka: My Krsna’s head is beautifully decorated with a peacockfeather. Sari: Only because my Radha’s name is marked on that feather. Suka: The peacock-feather on my Krsna’s head leans to the left. Sari: Because it wants to bow down to my Radha’s feet. Suka: My Krsna is the moon. Sari: My Radha is the trap that captures that moon. Suka: There is no need to quarrel uselessly. Let us glorify the Youthful Couple together. Sari: I happily agree to this. This loving quarrel between the suka and sari is also described in Govinda-lilamrta. Here, the male parrot says (13.29): “May our Lord Jagamohana, whose unparalleled beauty plunders the wealth of patience of an innumerable multitude of women, whose world-famous glory astounds even Laksmidevi, whose strength turns the majestic Govardhana mountain into a child’s toy, who has unlimited qualities, whose simple disposition entertains everyone, and whose glory substantiates the welfare of the entire universe, protect the entire world.” Hearing this, the female parrot replies (Govinda-lilamrta 13.30): “Suka, Sri Radhika’s divine love, beauty, dancing, excellent calmness, expertise in music, wealth of good qualities, and poetic compositions, or in other words, Her erudition, are all so attractive that She steals away the heart of Sri Krsna, who enchants the mind of the entire universe.” The male parrot then says (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhyalila 17.214): “Dear sari, all glories to Sri Madana-mohana, the enchanter of Cupid, who carries a flute. He steals the heart of all the women in the entire universe, and enjoys with the gopis.” After hearing the parrots’ loving quarrel, Sriman Mahaprabhu watched the dance of the peacocks. Seeing their bluish necks He remembered Krsna and became so overwhelmed in ecstatic love that He fell down on the earth in a faint. His companions somehow brought Him back to consciousness, and He continued His parikrama of Vraja.