Author Archives: Sevak

Lumbini

Lumbini :

Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the apostle of peace, and nonviolence. It is situated 250 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu. The broken Ashokan pillar, remnants of an old monastery, images of Buddha’s mother Maya Devi, etc. are still preserved in Lumbini. It is accessible by air from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa. From Kathmandu it takes about eight hours by bus or car. From Bhairawa it is just 1 hour away.

Sometime during the sixth century BC, a solitary, wandering ascetic sat to meditate beneath a shady tree at Bodh Gaya, resolving not to rise until he had attained the ultimate knowledge of spiritual enlightenment. Thus began Buddhism, one of the world’s great religions and pilgrimage traditions.

Historians, religious scholars, and various Buddhist sects debate the actual year of the Buddha’s birth; it may have been as early as 644 BC or as late as 540 BC. It is, however, relatively certain that he was born as Prince Gautama Siddhartha, the son of Suddodhana, king of the Shakya tribe. His birthplace was the forest grove of Lumbini in the hilly regions of what is today northeastern India and Nepal. Miraculous events surrounded his birth. Sages prophesied that he would become either a powerful king or, renouncing his royal life, an enlightened being and religious leader. King Suddhodhana, wanting the former and fearing the later, sought to insulate his son from religious and philosophical concerns by surrounding him with a life of ease and plenty. Enclosed within palace walls, the prince grew to manhood and fatherhood never having seen old age, sickness, poverty or death.

Yet this blindness to the full range of human experience was not to last. One day the prince ventured beyond the castle walls and, witnessing the inevitable sufferings of human existence, recognized the shallowness of his pampered life. Metaphysical questions filled his mind and along with them the conviction that he must seek and know the great truth of life. Thus, at the age of twenty-nine, he let go the constraints of family and worldly responsibility to tread the path of self-discovery.

Following the ancient traditions of Hinduism, Siddhartha sought out spiritual teachers, or gurus. Inquiring of their knowledge, he diligently practiced various yogas and meditations. Seven years passed, the last three in extreme asceticism, yet still he had not achieved his goal of enlightenment. Finally recognizing that such practices had served him well but were no longer appropriate, Siddhartha journeyed toward the ancient sacred forests of Uruvela (modern Gaya in Bihar, in north India) with the intention of finally and completely realizing the infinite. Guided by visionary dreams and following in the footsteps of Krakucchanda, Kanakamuni, and Kasyapa, the Buddhas of three previous times, Siddhartha sat beneath the Bodhi Tree. Touching the earth, thereby calling it to witness the countless lifetimes of virtue that had led him to this place of enlightenment, he entered into a state of deep meditation. Three days and nights passed and his intention was realized. Siddhartha became the Buddha, meaning the ‘Enlightened One’.

Buddhist Monks at Bodhi Tree

Buddhist Monks at Bodhi Tree (The site of Buddha’s enlightenment)

Buddhist monks at Bodh Gaya

Buddhist monks at Bodh Gaya.

How To Get There

How To Get There: Nandgaon is 48km by road northwest of Vrindavana by first going to Chhatikara, and then turning right, going north, on the Agra to Delhi Road (N.H.2) for 30km as far as Kosi Kalan, and then turning left and going west for another 10 km to Nandgaon.

Start of Nandagrama Parikrama

1. Nanda Bhavan / Krishna Balarama Mandira
Nanda Maharaja’s residence known as Nanda Bhavan is the place where Krishna and Balarama lived. The word ‘bhavan’ means a palatial residence. The present temple of Krishna-Balarama has been built on the same spot where Nanda’s residence was located. In this temple, one can see the large deities of Yasoda Mayi and Nanda Maharaja with Krishna and Balarama standing between them. On the right side of Nanda are Krishna’s friends i.e., Shridama and Madhumangala. On the left of Yashoda one can see Radharani, and then Rohini and Revati, the mother and the consort of Balarama respectively. The deities of Nanda, Yashoda and Krishna are said to be the same deities found by Lord Chaitanya in a cave on Nandishwara Hill. The other deities were added later.

After Lord Chaitanya’s departure from Vrindavana, He sent the six Goswamis to the Holy dhama for the purpose of excavating all the lost places of Krishna’s pastimes and establish temples of Radha-Krishna. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked them to write books on the science of devotion, and in general revitalize the cult of Krishna-bhakti amongst the population. Within a short time, temples were built at all the important pastime places like Vrindavana, Govardhana, Nandagrama and Varsana. The present Krishna Balarama temple at Nandagrama was reportedly built by the wealthy landowner Rupa Rama Singh of Varsana in the 19th Century.

How To Get There: This place is situated on top of the hill (Nandishvara Parvata) in the centre of Nandagrama village. (see map no. 22)

2. Nandishwara Mahadeva
In the courtyard of the Krishna Balarama Mandira at Nanda Bhavana is the deity of Lord Shiva known as Nandishwara Mahadeva. This deity in the form of a Shiva-linga is said to have been established by King Vajranabha, and after this deity was rediscovered it was installed in the courtyard of Nanda Bhavana. It is the tradition that the remnants of Krishna Balarama’s prasadam is first offered to the deity of Nandishwara Mahadeva.

There is a famous story regarding Lord Shiva, which mentions that on a number of occasions when he came to Nanda Bhavana to have darshana of Krishna, he was turned away at the door by mother Yashoda because of the way he appeared. Lord Shiva was dressed in animal skins and had thick matted hair with dread-locks, his body was covered in ash and he wore a garland of shrunken heads and had serpents round his arms and neck. To the mothers, Yashoda and Rohini, he appeared to be an unholy man, and they thought that he may frighten the children. So, they immediately sent him away. Lord Shiva didn’t not protest, instead sat down nearby in the mood of lamentation to meditate on Krishna’s pastimes.

On one occasion though, after Shiva had been sent away, Krishna started to cry and was completely inconsolable. Thinking about the holy man, she had just sent away from the door, mother Yashoda had the holy man called back to have darshana of Krishna. When Lord Shiva arrived, he touched his head to the lotus feet of Krishna who immediately stopped crying. Mother Yashoda was very happy and asked if she could do any seva for the holy man. He replied that he only wanted little Krishna’s prasadam. Therefore, Yashoda Mayi gave him some remnants from the plate of Krishna and Balarama and in great ecstasy, he honored the prasadam and went on his way. Therefore, the tradition has been that whatever offerings are made to the deities of Krishna and Balarama, the remnants of Their maha-prasadam is first given to the deity of Nandishwara Mahadeva. This deity is sometimes mentioned as being one of five important Shiva-lingas of Vraja, and some commentators include this Shiva-linga in the list of ‘dig-pala’ deities who are the ‘protectors’ of the holy dhama.

How To Get There: This Shiva-linga is situated within the courtyard of Nanda Bhavana. (see map no. 22)

3. Dadhi Manthana (Yogurt Pot)
This spot is situated on a path behind Nanda Bhavana. It is the place where Yashoda Mayi used to churn yogurt during the process of making ghee. This yogurt pot is very large being at least five feet wide and four feet deep. Such types of large churning pots are often operated by four ladies standing around the pot at the same time, each lady with an individual rope for turning the churning rod in unison. This method of churning can still be seen in India even today. The word ‘dadhi’ or ‘dahi’ means yogurt, and ‘manthana’ means ‘churning’.

Purnamasi used the same pathway at the back of Nanda Bhavana to visit Yashoda Mayi and to have darshana of Krishna and Balarama. This path is called the ‘Purnamasi-ka-agamana-patha’, or ‘the arrival path of Purnamasi’. There is also a small temple of Yogamaya here in her deity form of goddess Durga.

How To Get There: This place is behind Nanda Bhavana on a narrow lane going south. (see map no. 22)

4. Narasingha Deva Mandira
In this temple, one can take darshan of the deities of Lord Narasingha, Lord Varaha, and Lord Narayana.

It is believed that these were the deities worshiped by Nanda Maharaja. Nanda was already worshiping the deities of Lord Varaha and Lord Narayana, but on the advice of the family priest Gargamuni, Nanda Baba began worshiping Lord Narasingha Deva in order to protect Krishna from the attack of demons. The deity of Lord Narayana is no longer being worshiped due to damage inflicted on it by marauding Mohammedan soldiers.

How To Get There: This place is behind Nanda Bhavana on a narrow lane going south. (see map no. 22)

5. Yashoda-kunda
The place where Yashoda Mayi used to bathe in the morning and sometimes she would also bring Krishna and Balarama with her and They would play together in the water. On some occasions, the two brothers would sport in the water with their cowherd boyfriends while Yashoda Mayi would sit on the bank of the kunda and watch them having fun.

How To Get There: This place is 500 metres behind Nanda Bhavana on a narrow lane going south past Dadhi Manthana. (see map no. 22)

6. Nanda Baba’s Goshala
This is the place where Nanda Maharaja used to keep some of his cows. The word ‘goshala’ means a ‘dairy farm’ where the cows live.

How To Get There: This place is 500 meters behind Nanda Bhavana on a narrow lane going south past Dadhi Manthana and is near to Yashoda-kunda. (see map no. 22)

7. Hau Bilau
These stone images represent monsters similar to the fearful Ruru that roam around in the after-life, punishing the sinners. Yashoda Mayi would sometimes try to frighten Krishna and Balarama when They were naughty or were not coming to take their meals, by saying that the Hau Balau, with its very sharp teeth, was coming to eat them. The boys would immediately come running to their mother as soon as They heard any mention of the Hau Balau monsters.

How To Get There: This place is 500 meters behind Nanda Bhavana near Yashoda-kunda. (see map no. 22)

8. Nanda-kunda and Nanda Baithaka
This is the kunda where Nanda Maharaja used to take his morning bath. There is a small temple on the bank of the kunda containing the deities of Nanda Baba with Krishna and Balarama sitting on his lap. Also found here is the baithaka or sitting place of Nanda Maharaja. The word ‘baithaka’ means a ‘seat’ or ‘sitting place’ and is derived from the word ‘baithna’ meaning ‘to sit’. After bathing, Nanda would sit here and meet some of his friends. Also, whenever there was a meeting amongst the cowherd men, they would always gather at this baithaka to discuss various important matters.

How To Get There: This place is 600 meters behind Nanda Bhavana and 100 meters from Yashoda-kunda. It is just 100 meters from the Varsana road. (see map no. 22)

9. Madhusudana-kunda
This kunda was famous for the availability of great variety of beautiful flowers as well as the large number of honey-bees that would collect nectar from all the flowers. Krishna would enjoy many pastimes at this place with His boyfriends and also took great pleasure in hearing the tumultuous buzzing sound of the bees. The word ‘madhu’ or ‘madhumukhi’, as well as ‘madhusudana’, means a honey-bee. Madhusudana is also one of Krishna’s celebrated names.

How To Get There: This place is 400 meter behind Nanda Bhavana on a narrow lane going south and is just after the Narasingha Mandira on the right before reaching Yashoda-kunda. (see map no. 22)

10. Karela-kunda
The Bhakti-ratnakara says that Krishna used to come and sit here while observing the beauty of the kunda where a large variety of flowers used to grow in great abundance.

How To Get There: This place is 550 meter behind Nanda Bhavana on a narrow lane going south and is to the right of Yashoda-kunda. (see map no. 22)

11. Charana Pahari
This is the place where Krishna’s lotus footprints can be seen on a rock and is one of the three celebrated charana paharis found in Vraja. The word ‘pahari’ or ‘pahadi’ means a ‘small hill’ as well as a ‘rock’, and ‘charana’ means the lotus feet of the Lord. This is not the spot where Akrura saw Krishna’s lotus footprints, which is distant from here at Akrura-sthana near Ter Kadamba.

How To Get There: This place is one kilo meter behind Nanda Bhavana on a narrow lane going south and is 500 meter to the right of Yashoda-kunda and situated on the left of the road to Kaman. (see map no. 22)

12. Panihari-kunda
Yashoda Mayi used to use this kunda for providing drinking water to Krishna and Balarama while they were taking Their meals. The word ‘pani’ means ‘water’ and ‘hari’ means ‘to take away’. This kunda is situated in a forest grove and there is a small temple here containing deities of Radha and Krishna.

How To Get There: This place is 1.2 kilometer behind Nanda Bhavana on a narrow lane going south and is 700 meter to the right of Yashoda-kunda and situated on the road to Kaman.

13. Gedukhora
This is the place where Krishna and Balarama used to play ball games with Their cowherd boyfriends. The Gedukkora-kunda where They played has now dried up except sometimes in the rainy season. The name Gedukhora is derived from the word ‘gaind’, pronounced as gend, meaning a ‘ball’.

How To Get There: This place is opposite from Charana Pahadi. (see map no. 22)

14. Vrinda-kunda
This famous kunda on the outskirts of Nandagrama is the residence of the gopi Vrinda Devi, who is very expert in arranging meetings between the ‘divine lovers’ Radha and Krishna. Every morning Purnamasi meets Vrinda Devi here at Vrinda-kunda and together they make plans for the corresponding day’s loving encounters between Radha and Krishna. After Purnamasi returns home, Vrinda Devi, within her mind, begins to meditate on decorating the various forests, groves, and bowers, where Radha and Krishna are going to meet, by arranging varieties of aromatic creepers and vines, beautiful flowering bushes, and blossom bearing trees of various hues around the chosen places. Vrinda Devi, the predominating deity of Vrindavana forest, is non-different from the forest itself including its fauna, and simply by her desire, she is able to manifest a perfect transcendental environment for Radha and Krishna to enjoy Their amorous pastimes. Therefore, the forests of Vrindavana always appear as if spring-time is manifesting there every single day. She is assisted by her friends of whom Vira Devi (Sanket Devi) is the most prominent, as well as her yellow-colored pet parrot named Daksha, who acts as a messenger as well as bringer of news.

Vrinda Devi’s position is unique because as the predominating deity of Vrindavana forest and an expansion of Yogamaya Devi, by her mercy one can enter into Krishna’s transcendental pastimes in Goloka. Out of compassion, she has manifested herself as Tulasi Devi to accept the worship of aspiring devotees and thereby help nurture their creeper of devotion. Therefore, she is also called Bhakti Devi, the goddess who can bestow pure devotional service of Krishna upon a devotee. Vrinda Devi is so dear to Krishna that unless an offering of food has a tulasi leaf placed upon it; Krishna does not like to accept it.

At the present time Vrinda-kunda as well as the small temple containing the deity of Vrinda Devi, are now being managed by ISKCON devotees.

How To Get There: This kunda is 750 meters northwest of Nanda Bhavana by first following the road to Kaman for 400 meter and then turning right along a narrow lane for another 350 meter.(see map no. 22)

15. Gupta-kunda
In the Bhakti-ratnakara it is said, “This is Gupta-kunda where Krishna and His friends headed by Subala secretly played various games during their wanderings through the forests.” The word ‘gupta’ means ‘secret’ or ‘hidden’ and this particular kunda holds many such ‘secrets’ as well as ‘hidden truths’. The caretaker of this kunda is Vira Devi (Sanket Devi), the confidential friend and companion of Vrinda Devi. After she has finished cooking in mother Yashoda’s kitchen, Radharani supposedly leaves for Her home in nearby Yavat village. But with the help of Her friend Danishitha, Radharani stealthily makes Her way to Gupta-kunda for a secret meeting with Her beloved Krishna, who also sneaks away with some of His friends and makes His way to Gupta-kunda to meet secretly with His beloved Radha.

Gupta-kunda is very important because in the aprakata-lila, it is one of the three locations of the sacred Yoga-pithas of Vrindavana Dhama, where Radha and Krishna sit in audience surrounded by all Their eternal associates, who assemble in their respective positions around the throne on which Radha and Krishna are sitting. It is rather like when a king and queen hold a royal durbar or state assembly, where all the officials connected to the royal entourage are present at the same time. This grand assembly of eternal associates takes place in the early morning at the Yoga-pitha at Gupta-kunda, in the noon at the Yoga-pitha at Radha-kunda, and in the evening at the Govindaji yoga-pitha in Vrindavana. The word ‘yoga’ means to ‘link-up’ or ‘to meet’ and the word ‘pitha’ means a ‘sacred place’, a ‘transcendental place’, or a ‘secret meeting place’. All those personalities who take part in the divine assembly at the Yoga-pitha are all eternally liberated nitya-siddha devotees, who possess all the perfections of yoga and are eternally situated in pure unalloyed devotional service to Radha and Krishna, and have descended along with Krishna to take part in His earthly pastimes.

How To Get There: Follow the same directions for Vrinda-kunda; Gupta-kunda directly behind it. (see map no. 22)

16. Pavana-sarovara
This is the most celebrated lake in Nandagrama and it is customary to first bathe here before going to have darshana of Krishna and Balarama at Nanda Bhavana. Lord Chaitanya also bathed here before He climbed the Nandishwara Parvata to search for the deities of Nanda, Yashoda, and Krishna, that lay hidden inside a cave on the hill-top. In the Bhakti-ratnakara it says. “O Shrinivasa, anyone who bathes in Pavana-sarovara and sees the deities of Krishna, Balarama, Nanda and Yasoda, on Nandishwara Hill attains all his desires at that very moment.” It appears from this statement that the deities found by Lord Chaitanya were installed in a temple on top of Nandishwara Parvata.

When Krishna returns in the evening with all the cows from the pasturing grounds, He first brings them to Pavana-sarovara so they can drink the cool and refreshing water of this lake. In the Vraja-vilasa-stava it says, “On the pretext of fetching clear water, the lotus eyed gopis repeatedly go there to meet with King Nanda’s son on the shores of Pavana-sarovara, which is surrounded by many kadamba trees accompanied by the pleasant humming sound of intoxicated bees. May that lake known as Pavanasarovara protect us.”

This lake is one of Krishna’s favorite places and He enjoys many wonderful water sports known as ‘jala-krida’ as well as other pastimes with the sakhas and sakhis. It is also said that after playing in the Kadamba-kanana or kadamba grove at Pavana-sarovara, Krishna once massaged Balarama’s lotus feet as He lay under the shade of a kadamba tree. It is also said that Yashoda Mayi would often bathe Krishna here in the morning and Radharani would also come and cook Krishna’s breakfast on the banks of the kunda. Mother Yashoda always asked Radharani to cook because of the benediction She received from Durvasa Muni, that anyone who ate her cooking would never get sick and would also achieve a long life.

Therefore, Yasoda Mayi engaged Radharani in cooking for Krishna every morning along with
Balarama’s mother Rohini. Radharani also cooked for Krishna at Her own home in Yavata and would send this home-cooked food with Her maidservants to Nanda Bhavana. The word ‘pavana’ means ‘purifying’ as well as ‘merciful’, and Pavana-sarovara, due to its supreme sanctity, does all of these things. One day, Nanda Maharaja was planning a pilgrimage to Prayag for bathing in the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati known as the Triveni Sangama. Not wanting His father to leave Vrindavana, Krishna requested him to go on the next day as it would be akshaya-tritiya, an auspicious day for pilgrimage. Waking early the next morning, Nanda came to Pavana-sarovara to take his bath and planned to leave for Prayag. When he reached the lake, he saw a dark-complexioned stranger with large built body taking a ritual bath in Pavana-sarovara. Having not seen him at Nandagrama before, Nanda Baba enquired his name. The stranger replied that his name was Prayag Raja. Still confused about the stranger and not knowing anyone from Nandagrama by that name, Nanda asked him from which place he had come. Prayag Raja explained that he was the king of ‘tirthas’ and was from Prayag, which was situated at the confluences of the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. He further explained that because all the pilgrims went to Prayag to wash off their sins, he himself was forced to come to Pavana-sarovara to bathe and cleanse himself of all those sins that had been left behind by the pilgrims.

Astonished at what he had just heard, Nanda Baba was completely taken-aback. Prayag Raja then informed Nanda, that because this day was akshaya-tritiya, all the holy places of Bharata-varsha would assemble at Pavana-sarovara to wash of the sins left behind by pilgrims at their respective tirthas. Looking around the banks of Pavana-sarovara, Nanda suddenly noticed so many beautiful looking ladies with blackish complexions coming down to the banks of the lake to take a ritual bath. He then realized that they were the holy rivers like the Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Gandaki, Gomti, Godavari, Tapti, and Kaveri, who were also accompanied by so many other tirthas. Nanda Maharaja was struck with wonder at what he had just seen and heard, and decided there was no value in going to Prayag to take a holy bath, as Prayag Tirtharaja himself was coming to Pavana-sarovara to take his own purifying bath.

Nanda Maharaja very humbly returned to his palace full of praise for Pavana-sarovara. Although Pavana-sarovara eternally exists in Goloka Vrindavana, some say that after this incident the sarovara received the name ‘Pavana’ or purifying, while others say it was named after Vishakha-sakhi’s father Pavana Gopa as he enlarged the sarovara so that large herd of cows could drink water.

How To Get There: This place is 200 meter north of Nanda Bhavan where the road to Kaman begins. (see map no. 22)

17. Pavana-bihari Mandira
This temple is on the northern banks of Pavana-sarovara. Radha and Her sakhis would sport in the cooling waters of the sacred sarovara and where it is said Radha’s father Vrishabhanu Maharaja, constructed a beautiful palace for his beloved daughter. Pavana-sarovara was very dear to Radharani because of its association with Krishna and She performed many delightful pastimes on the banks of the lake. In an intimate poem addressed to Radharani found in the Sankalpa-kalpadruma it says, “For the purpose of taking a cooling bath, You will enter the waters of Pavana-sarovara. At the same time Krishna and His boyfriends will be bathing on the opposite side of the sarovara. Unseen by others, Krishna will dive beneath the surface and after swimming across the lake, embrace You underwater, and then return back. Even though Jatila and Kutila will be standing nearby, and Balarama and others will be bathing there, no one will understand.”

Nearby to the Pavana-bihari temple is the baithaka of Vallabhacharya who established many baithakas around Vraja where he would recite the Bhagavatam. Some say Lord Chaitanya’s baithaka is also here but there is no shastric evidence to support such claims and therefore not accepted by Gaudiya scholars. It has become fashionable amongst locals to make such false claims simply to attract gullible pilgrims to give donations.

How To Get There: This temple is on the far side of Pavana-sarovara. (see map no. 22)

18. Sanatana Goswami Bhajana Kutira
Both Rupa and Sanatana spent time performing bhajana at Nandagrama. This is the spot on the banks of Pavana-sarovara where Sanatana Goswami sat while chanting japa on his beads. According to Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, Sanatana Goswami was an incarnation of Rati-manjari, one of the intimate serving maids of Radharani in Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes. He was accepted by all the Gaudiya Vaishnava followers of Lord Chaitanya as their spiritual master and worshiped by everyone including his brother Rupa Goswami. He wrote a large number of books on the science of devotional service of which the Hari-bhakti-vilasa and Brihad-bhagavatamrita are the most well known. The Vrajavasis also respected him as their own guru. Wherever he traveled in Vraja, he was always enthusiastically welcomed and large crowds would assemble to have his darshana and receive his blessings. When Sanatana Goswami first arrived at Nandagrama, he came here to this secluded spot on the banks of Pavana-sarovara and engaged in penance while chanting the holy name on his beads. He was so much absorbed in ecstatic bhajana that he never even thought about eating. After a few days a little cowherd boy suddenly arrived there carrying a pot of fresh cow’s milk. He came before Sanatana Goswami and said, “Babaji, I have brought some milk for you.” Sanatana was surprised and asked the boy why he had taken so much trouble to bring a pot of milk. The boy replied that he knew Sanatana was not eating properly and therefore brought the milk for him. Sanatana then asked how the little boy knew. The boy replied that some cowherd men who pass by Pavana-sarovara every day had seen him and noticed he was not eating. Because the cowherd men are very busy, they sent me with this milk for you. Sanatana was very happy to receive the milk and thanked the boy by saying, “You are such a nice little boy and have taken so much trouble to bring me this milk.” The little boy replied. “No, no, Babaji, it is no trouble at all.” The boy left.

When Sanatana drank the milk it tasted like nectar, suddenly tears flooded his eyes and he began to experience ecstatic symptoms like trembling within his body. Sanatana then realized that it could not have been an ordinary boy who brought the milk, but must have been Krishna Himself. He began to contemplate the fact that Krishna had taken so much trouble to bring him milk because of his severe fasting. He concluded that Krishna was not happy because of such fasting and decided to stop all severe forms of fasting. He instead performed madhukari, by begging a little milk or flour from door to door. After this incident, the Vrajavasis built Sanatana a bhajana kutira at this spot so that he would be safe from the elements, as well as from wild animals. The word ‘kutira’ or ‘kuti’ refers to a simple hut used by sadhus or holy men, and ‘bhajana’ means ‘to chant’ or ‘to sing’ as a means of meditation and prayer.

Nearby to Sanatana’s kutira is the samadhi of Srila Prabhupada’s dear friend and god-brother Krishna Dasa Babaji, who was a very wonderful kirtana singer as well as mrdanga player, who spent the last years of his life, engaged in bhajana at this place on the banks of Pavana-sarovara.

How To Get There: Sanatana Goswami’s kutira is on the southern-side of Pavana-sarovara facing the Kaman road. (see map no. 22)

19. Rohini-kunda
This is the kunda where Lord Balarama’s mother Rohini Devi used to take her bath in the morning. She was an expert cook and helped to prepare Krishna and Balarama’s meals every day in mother Yashoda’s kitchen.

How To Get There: This kunda is 400 meter north of Pavana-sarovara by taking the narrow lane on the left side of the sarovara. (see map no. 22)

20. Ksunnahara-kunda (Tadaga-tirtha)
Krishna used to herd His cows here and enjoy water sports in this lake with His boyfriends. This area near Nandishwara Parvata is known as Tagada-tirtha and is the place where Nanda Baba’s father, Parjanya Maharaja is said to have formerly lived. The Ksunnahara-kunda is the place where Parjanya performed austerities and underwent fasting in order to beget a worthy son. Srila Narada Muni appeared there to bless Parjanya and initiated him into chanting the Lakshmi-Narayana mantra so he could achieve his desire for good progeny. He was bathing three times daily, chanting the mantra and fasting by going without food and water. One day he heard a great voice reverberate in the sky saying. “O Parjanya, you will beget five highly qualified sons, from your third son whose name will be Nanda, the Supreme Lord Himself will appear and perform innumerable pastimes, whilesimultaneously relieving the burden of the world by killing all the demons.” Parjanya later moved his residence to Gokula. In due course of time, Parjanya Maharaja, through his wife Variyasi, begot five wonderful sons of whom Nanda was the most brilliant, and who would later raise the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Shri Krishna as his own son. The other sons of Parjanya were; Upananda, Abhinanda, Sananda, and Nandana. Parjanya performed ksunnahara, means to give up eating and drinking, while performing penance at this place in order to achieve the mercy of the Lord.

How To Get There: This kunda is 250mt northward down the road to Gedukhor village. (see map no. 22)

21. Mukta-kunda (Moti-kunda)
This kunda is mentioned in the Bhakti-ratnakara as being the place where the gopis would decorate Radharani with ornaments made of pearls. Even today, women everywhere are extremely attracted by pearls and it is a tradition in many countries that every woman should possess at least one pearl necklace. The word ‘mukta’ as well as ‘moti’ means ‘pearls and Bhakti-ratnakara also says that Krishna planted a pearl garden next to this kunda. Amongst the numerous pearl pastimes, one of the most famous pearl pastimes occurred at Malyahari-kunda which is mentioned by Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami in his book Mukta-carita.

There is another story mentioned in the Garga Samhita that Krishna planted pearls in a garden near this kunda at Nandagrama, which is sometimes referred as Mukta-sarovara. After Krishna had lifted Govardhana Hill with single hand, a small group of herdsmen from Varsana became disturbed by this incredible show of strength by a mere child and actually became fearful, being unsure of Krishna’s real identity. They were also disturbed by rumors of a secret relationship between this unusual boy, the lifter of Govardhana Hill, and Radha the daughter of their king, Maharaja Vrishabhanu.

In order to convince the bewildered cowherd men, King Vrishabhanu devised a plan where Krishna would have to perform some miracle and prove His divinity to these men.

As everyone knew, King Vrishabhanu was far wealthier than Nanda Maharaja due to having Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune (Shri Radha) residing in his house. Vrishabhanu decided to send such a valuable gift to Nanda Maharaja, that he would be unable to send such a gift of equal value in return. It is the custom in this part of the world that if one has a daughter of marriageable age; one may send a gift to the family of a suitable boy as a sign of affection and it also sends a signal to the boy’s family that their son had been chosen as the prime candidate for their daughter’s hand. In response, the boy’s family must send a gift of equal value to the girl’s family as a mark of respect and friendship. Maharaja Vrishabhanu sent a large number of his servants carrying caskets full of expensive pearl necklaces and each of the pearls were very large and of great caliber. The servants also conveyed the news regarding the proposal of marriage. Nanda and Yashoda were overwhelmed and exceedingly happy to see valuable gift of pearls and hear about the marriage proposal sent by Vrishabhanu and his wife. After the servants had returned to Varsana, Nanda Maharaja put the caskets containing the pearls within the inner chambers of his palace where he kept his treasury. While looking around his treasury, he could not see anything of equal value to send as a return gift to Vrishabhanu and his wife. Sometime later, Krishna, unseen by anyone, entered the inner chambers of the palace and seeing the caskets, picked up around one hundred of valuable pearl necklaces and headed for the fields. Krishna removed each of the pearls from the necklaces and very carefully planted them in the ground and then returned home.

Krishna was an expert pearl grower as had been proven previously, and He diligently watered the pearls every day with pure cow’s milk. After some days, Nanda Maharaja opened the caskets containing the pearls to admire them, but got a sudden shock when he saw about one hundred pearl necklaces were missing. Thinking that a servant or relative from within his own palace might have stolen the valuable pearls, he felt very upset. But before accusing anyone, he first decided to check whether Krishna or Balarama might have taken the pearls to play with, and therefore went to ask Them. When he found the two brothers, he enquired about the pearls and to his surprise discovered that Krishna, who thought that they were all seeds, had planted them in a nearby garden. Nanda Baba mildly scolded Krishna and asked him to show exactly where the pearls had been buried.

Krishna took Nanda Maharaja to a garden near Mukta-kunda where He had planted the pearls. Nanda Baba was shocked to see when he saw a thousand pearl trees, their branches bending under the weight of all the pearls that were growing there like bunches of grapes on a vine. On inspecting the crop more closely, he saw that these pearls were far bigger and of far greater value than the ones sent by Vrishabhanu. Each and every pearl shone as if the moon itself was shining from within it. He felt somewhat overjoyed at the prospect of being able to send a large quantity of these superior quality pearls as a return gift to Vrishabhanu Maharaja. When the pearl crop was harvested, Nanda Maharaja loaded the most precious pearls in six or seven bullock carts to their brim. He sent them to Varsana as a gift to Vrishabhanu and his wife Kirtida. When completely loaded bullock carts with high grade pearls arrived at Varsana, everyone became struck with wonder at the great and unprecedented opulence of Nanda Maharaja. Vrishabhanu was more pleased than anyone else, because it signified Nanda’s acceptance of the marriage proposal and was also a fitting reply to those who doubted the divinity of Krishna. After having seen the proof, in the form of this colossal bounty of extraordinary high quality pearls, the doubters became pacified. Even though the marriage of Radha and Krishna had been formalized by their parents, on the advice of the family priest Gargamuni and Purnamasi, this arrangement was cancelled and Radha was instead married to a dull-headed retard from Yavata Village named Abhimanyu.

How To Get There: This kunda is 300 meter northward down the Gedukhor village road on the right of Pavanasarovara and behind Ksunnahara-kunda. (see map no. 22)

22. Phulwali-kunda
It is said that Radharani and the gopis would come to the banks of this kunda to pick flowers. The word ‘phul’ means ‘flowers’ and ‘wali’, means a ‘flower girl’, but can also mean the ‘place’ from where the ‘phul’ has been picked from.

How To Get There: This kunda is 350 meter northward along the Gedukhor village road on the right of Pavanasarovara 100 meter past Mukta-kunda. (see map no. 22)

23. Sahasi-kunda (Sarasika Judai-kunda)
The word ‘sahasi’ means to be ‘very bold’ as well as ‘resolute’. In the Bhakti ratnakara it is said that the sakhis acted very boldly in arranging a secret meeting between Radha and Krishna where the sakhis had hung a rope from a large banyan tree and prepared a swing. The sakhis then invited Radha and Krishna to sit on the swing while the sakhis pushed it in turns. This kunda is also known as Sarasi-kunda, as well as Sarasika Judai-kunda. The kunda received this name because Krishna and Balarama were practically inseparable. They ate together, slept together, played together, and whenever Yashoda Mayi saw Them, They were always together. She therefore likened Them to two ‘saras’ cranes who spend their entire life together. Unlike most animals, once the Saras cranes choose their mates, they never separate and will remain with each other for the rest of their lives. Therefore, the words Sarasika judai means that just like the Saras cranes, Krishna and Balarama are life-long partners (judai) and will never separate.

How To Get There: This kunda is 750 meters northeast of Nanda Bhavan on the road to Kokilavana. (see map no. 22)

24. Ter Kadamba
There used to be a large kadamba-khandi or forests of kadamba trees here during Krishna’s pastimes at Nandagrama, but now only a few kadamba trees remain. The word ‘ter’ or ‘tera’ means that Krishna was sitting on the end of a tree branch in one of the kadamba trees. After enjoying go-charana-lila or cow herding adventures during the day, Krishna would return in the evening with His cows, He would climb one of the kadamba trees and while sitting on a tree branch, He would call all the cows to assemble there by playing on His flute. When all the cows had assembled, Krishna would count them on His counting beads (go-mala) and then take them to Pavana-sarovara to drink water, and from there the cows would then return to the goshala. Once, while sitting on the same kadamba tree, Krishna played His flute and called all the gopis to assemble at Ter Kadamba to enjoy rasa-lila pastimes. Thus, the kunda is known as Ter Kadamba-kunda. There is also a rasa-mandala platform established to commemorate the rasa-lila pastimes at Ter Kadamba.

How To Get There: This place is 1.2 kilometer east to Nanda Bhavan crossing over the Varsana road down an isolated lane that goes towards Yavat village. (see map no. 22)

25. Rupa Goswami Bhajana Kutira
At Ter Kadamba, Srila Rupa Goswami performed his bhajana and wrote well known books during the period of his stay at Nandagrama. It has been said that when Rupa was writing about the anguished feelings of separation experienced by Radha and Krishna, when apart from each other, it caused the leaves of the kadamba trees to dry-up and fall to the ground. But when Rupa started writing about the ecstatic reunion between the ‘divine lovers’, the leaves on the kadamba trees would again start sprouting a new, so powerful were the emotions being generated from the heart of Srila Rupa Goswami. It is acknowledged that Rupa Goswami was the most important disciple of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and contributed to a great extent to establish the philosophy and teachings behind Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtana movement.

As the principle ‘anga’ or arm of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Goswami fulfilled all the tasks delegated to him by the Lord, including the excavation of Vrindavana’s holy places, delineation of the principles and practices of bhakti-yoga, establishing temples of Radha Krishna, and introducing the regulations governing deity worship. Rupa Goswami also discovered Govindaji, the presiding deity of Vrindavana Dhama at Yoga-pitha in Vrindavana when Krishna appeared as a cowherd boy and led him to the spot where the deity lay buried. He also discovered Vrinda Devi, the presiding deity of Vrindavana forest, when she appeared to him in a dream and revealed the place where she lay hidden at Brahma-kunda. Rupa Goswami also wrote a large number of important books that establishes the science of devotional service. Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu or ‘The Nectar of Devotion’ stands as one of his foremost works. In fact, Rupa Goswami’s celebrated Bhaktirasamrita-sindhu is a true Vedic classic and the principle guide-book for all Gaudiya Vaishnavas and followers of Lord Chaitanya in today’s world. Those who do not follow the principles laid down in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, cannot be counted amongst the true followers of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. According to the Gaura-ganaddesha-dipika, in Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes, Srila Rupa Goswami was the incarnation of Rupa-manjari, one of the most intimate serving maids of Radharani and the most confidential assistant to Lalita-sakhi, Radha’s closest friend and confidant.

How To Get There: Follow the same directions for Ter Kadamba and this kutira is near the kunda. (see map no. 22)

26. Ashiseshwara Mahadeva Mandira
Near to the garden (bagicha) of Nanda Maharaja is the temple presided by a very beautiful deity of Lord Shiva in his form as ‘Ashiseshwara’, which means ‘the Lord who gives innumerable blessings’. The temple is situated in a very beautiful place surrounded by a grove of trees and known as Ashiseshwaravan, where one can also see the Ashiseshwarakunda. The word ‘ashisa’ means ‘to bestow blessings’ and ‘eshwara’ or ‘ishwara’ means ‘Lord and Master’ or ‘protector’. Another name of Shiva is ‘Ashutosha’, which means he is ‘very easily satisfied’. It is well known that he always gives his blessing or ‘ashisa’ to anyone who sincerely prays before him. It is related in the Puranas that one day Lord Shiva came and sat down at this place lamenting that he was unable to see his worshipable Lord Shri Krishna. Shiva had come many times to see Krishna at both Gokula and Nandagrama, but he was not successful in his attempts. When Lord Shiva arrived at Nanda Bhavan to get a glimpse of Krishna, mother Yashoda turned him away because of his appearance which was covered with ash and with thick matted hair locks, snakes wrapped round his arms, and a garland of shrunken heads round his neck. Yashoda Mayi thought that such a wild looking tantric-yogi might actually frighten her darling little son. As a last resort, Mahadeva sat down at this place and resolved not to move until he could obtain the darshana of his beloved Krishna. Meanwhile Krishna began to cry and no matter how much Yashoda tried to console Him, He continued to cry. Yashoda Mayi then thought to herself that perhaps she should not have turned the tantric-yogi away. Yashoda Mayi immediately sent the servants to find the tantric-yogi to bring him back. When Shiva arrived to have darshana, he touched his head to Krishna’s lotus feet and Krishna immediately stopped crying. Yashoda Mayi was very happy and told the yogi that he could come to Nanda Bhavana at any time to see her darling little boy. Yashoda Mayi also asked the yogi if there was any service, she could do for him, but the yogi simply requested a little prashadam from Krishna’s plate which Yashoda Mayi was very happy to give him.

How To Get There: This place is 1.2 kilometre directly east of Nanda Bhavan crossing over the Varsana road down in an isolated lane that heads towards Yavat village. This place is 50 meter south of Ter Kadamba. (see map no. 22)

27. Nanda Maharaja Bagicha
This was the garden or bagicha maintained by Krishna’s father Nanda Maharaja, where he would grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Radharani used to pass through this garden every morning on Her way from her mother-in-law’s house in Yavat, to Krishna’s house at Nandagrama where She would cook Krishna’s breakfast. Nearby there is Chandra-kunda, as well as Jalvihara-kunda, where Krishna would enjoy water sports with His friends.

How To Get There: This place is one kilometer directly east of Nanda Bhavan crossing over the Varsana road down in an isolated lane that goes towards Yavat village. This place is located before Ter Kadamba and just next to Chandrakunda (see map no. 22)

28. Kokeshwara-kunda
Whenever Lord Shiva arrived at Nandagrama to see Krishna, it is said that he would come to this kunda and imitate the sound of a cuckoo bird known as the kokila or koel, which makes a loud sequence of screeching calls, to inform Krishna of his arrival. There is also a small shrine here dedicated to Kokeshwara Mahadeva.

How To Get There: This kunda is 100 meter directly east of Nanda Bhavan and is situated on the road to Varsana and next to Krishna-kunda (see map no. 22)

29. Krishna-kunda
Krishna sometimes used a path that passes next to this kunda when He was taking His cows out for grazing in the morning. It is said that one day Krishna created this kunda by pushing His flute into the ground so that the cows could drink water. Krishna and His friends also used to play water-sports in this kunda. It is also said that when Uddhava arrived at Nandagrama, the next morning he came here to take his bath in this kunda. After bathing Uddhava noticed the gopis in a nearby kadamba grove near to Vishakha-kunda and immediately went there to convey the message sent to them by Krishna.

How To Get There: This kunda is 100 meter directly east of Nanda Bhavan and is situated on the road to Varsana and next to Kokeshvara-kunda (see map no. 22)

30 .Yogiya-sthana 
There used to be a kunda called Yogiya-kunda which has now become dry. According to Bhakti-ratnakara, the Yogiya-sthana is the place where Uddhava gave instructions on bhakti-yoga to the residents of Nandagrama and often discussed Krishna’s pastimes with them during the ten months that he remained in their association at Nandagrama. Uddhava’s presence at Nandagrama relieved Vrajavasis from the burning fire of Krishna’s separation.

How To Get There: This kunda is 250 meters east of Nanda Bhavan and situated on a lane just off the Varsana road which goes towards Akrura-kunda (see map no. 22)

31. Jhagadaki-kunda (chach-kunda)
Arriving at this kunda, the gopis began to distribute buttermilk to the cowherd boys, who in great excitement started to squabble and fight amongst themselves to see who would be first to drink the buttermilk, as well as who would be the one to drink the most. The name Jhagadaki is derived from the word ‘jhagra’ which means ‘to fight’ or ‘to squabble. The word ‘chach’ means ‘buttermilk’. This kunda is presently dry except during the rainy season.

How To Get There: Follow the same directions for Yogiya-sthana, this kunda is 30 meter to the east. (see map no. 22)

32. Akrura-sthana
This is the place where Akrura arrived on his chariot from Mathura and suddenly saw Krishna’s lotus footprints in the dust; he immediately got down from his chariot and bowed his head to the ground while offering prayers to the Lord. There used to be Akrura-kunda but currently it has disappeared; only a pile of stones next to a solitary tree marks the sacred spot, which is still visited and worshiped by the local Vrajavasis. In the Bhakti-ratnakara it says. “O Shrinivasa, this is the place of Akrura, who was sent by King Kamsa to bring Krishna back to Mathura.” Although Akrura knew that Krishna was the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, he was slightly anxious in his mind, because he had been ordered by Kamsa to bring Krishna and Balarama to Mathura, where he knew the evil-minded Kamsa conspired to kill Them. Akrura-sthana is on the road from Mathura to Nandagrama that passes through the village of Khayara. Accompanying Krishna and Balarama from Nanda Bhavana, Akrura left Nandagrama by the same road that he had arrived on. Although this place is generally known as Akrura-sthana, the local Vrajavasis call it ‘Krura-sthana’ which means the ‘cruel place’. This is because they felt that Akrura was very a cruel person because he took Krishna and Balarama away from them, leaving them devastated by breaking their hearts.

How To Get There: This kunda is 1.5 kilometer east of Nanda Bhavana and is situated on the road that goes to Khayara Village. (see map no. 22)

33. Domanavana-kunda
On the banks of this beautiful kunda, within the forest of Domanavana, many secret meetings took place between Radha and Krishna arranged by the clever tricks of two gopis named Rimki and Jhimki, who both have kundas nearby named after them. The name ‘domana’ means ‘two minds’ and ‘vana’ means forest, or in other words the forest where the two minds of the ‘divine lovers’ Radha and Krishna became united as one. The word domana can also mean that the two minds of Rimki and Jimki acted as one in arranging the secret meetings of Radha and Krishna.

How To Get There: This place is two kilometer southeast of Nanda Bhavan and 300 meter east of Purnamasi-kunda. From Varsana road about 1.5 kilometer before Nandagram, one must turn right and proceed 750 meter eastwards to reach this kunda. (see map no. 22)

34. Purnamasi-kunda
Next to this large kunda is the humble residence of Purnamasi Devi, who was the mother of Krishna’s gurukula teacher Sandipani Muni. Being the widow of a brahmana, she lived at Nandagrama as a tapasvini and always wore simple saffron cloth. Every Vrajavasi respected her and treated her as if she was their guru, and no important activity in Vraja was undertaken without her consultation and blessings. On the advice of her spiritual master, Srila Narada Muni, after the loss of her husband, she left the ashrama of her son Sandipani Muni at Avantipura (Ujjain), and along with her two grandchildren, she came to Vraja to witness the pastimes of Krishna, whom she loved even more than her own life.

The local Vrajavasis became very much attached to Paurnamasi and made her a thatched cottage out of leaves and bamboo where she stayed alongwith her two grandchildren, Sandipani Muni’s son and daughter named Madhumangala and Nandamukhi. It is said that Purnamasi was especially close to Yashoda Mayi and would go to Nanda Bhavana every day without fail to have darshana of Krishna. It is believed that after the marriage of her grandchildren, Purnamasi moved into a cave or gufa near the same spot. Nandamukhi also played an integral role in Krishna’s pastimes, had her own residence nearby.

Srimati Purnamasi Devi is one of the most important personalities in the Vraja pastimes of Radha and Krishna. She is an expansion of the internal potency called yogamaya and all the pastimes are enacted by Radha and Krishna falls within her jurisdiction. She is supported in this task by another expansion of the yogamaya potency in the form of Vrinda Devi. In their supervision, all the various pastimes are unfolding one after another. Consequently Krishna, who placed Himself under the controlling feature of the yogamaya potency, can therefore forget His own position as the Supreme Controller, and has nothing to do other than enjoy His transcendental pastimes with the gopis in the forests of Vraja.

How To Get There: This place is 2 kilometer southeast of Nanda Bhavan. Before 1.5 kilometer to Nandagrama , on the road from Varsana, one must turn right eastwards along a lane and proceed another 500 meter to reach this kunda. (see map no. 22)

35. Uddhava Kyari (Udho-kriya-sthana)
The word ‘kyari’ means a ‘garden’ that is being systematically cultivated and also regularly watered. This particular garden was situated within the kunja or forest grove of kadamba trees belonging to Vishakha-sakhi, whose kunda is also nearby. When Krishna left Vrindavana, all the residents especially the gopis, drowned in an ocean of sorrow due to separation from their beloved Krishna. Therefore, Krishna chose His dear friend, Uddhava to send message to the gopis. This is the place where Uddhava met the gopis and delivered the message. After receiving Krishna’s message, Srimati Radharani entered into the state of ‘maha-bhava’, the topmost ecstatic expression of pure love of God. Uddhava was extremely surprised to see the high level of spiritual advancement of Radharani as well as the gopis, and therefore desired to take the dust of their lotus feet on his head. To fulfill Uddhava’s desire, Krishna allowed him to take birth as grass next to Kusuma-sarovara, so that when the gopis came there to pick flowers, they would trample on the grass and in this way Uddhava could receive the dust from their lotus feet on his head. Uddhava Kyari is located in a very isolated spot on the parikrama path of Nandagrama where one can also see Uddhava-kunda. This place is also known as Udho-kriya-sthana, which implies that ‘Uddhava completed the important task’ given to him by Krishna, when he conveyed Krishna’s message to the gopis of Vraja at this spot.

Uddhava remained in Vrindavana for ten months and wherever he went, he spoke about the wonderful pastimes of Krishna. Due to Uddhava continually describing Krishna’s pastimes, it appeared as if Krishna was present in Vrindavana. The Vrajavasis appreciated Uddhava’s presence amongst them. By hearing about their beloved Krishna, they appeared to get back their life. In the Bhakti-ratnakara it says, “Uddhava felt fortunate to see the activities of the gopis. He had come to console the cowherd men like Nanda, but felt restless by seeing the wonderful display of the gopis loving entiments. It is said that by seeing this place known as Uddhava Kyari, one will achieve perfection in all his activities.”

How To Get There: This secluded spot is 750 meters before Nandagrama village on the road from Varsana where one must turn to the right eastward down a narrow road about 100 meters to reach Uddhava Kyari. (see map no. 22)

36. Vishakha-kunda
This kunda is mostly dry except in the monsoon season. This kunda is situated within the kunja or forest grove of Vishakha Devi and used to be surrounded by many kadamba trees. It is sometimes also called Mohana-kunda. Vishakha is one of the celebrated ashtasakhis, eight prominent girlfriends. She was born exactly on the same time and day as that of Radharani. Along with her close companion Lalita, she is one of the most intimate confidants of Radharani and is an expert in carrying messages, as well as various diplomatic dealings like consoling hurt feelings. She also knows the art of bribery and is also ready to quarrel even with her beloved Krishna, supporting her most dear friend Radharani, if she thinks that Krishna has done wrong.

How To Get There: Follow the same directions for Uddhava Kyari but proceed eastward another 50mt. (see map no. 22)

37. Lalita-kunda
This kunda is where Lalita would take her bath in the morning. There is also a jhulana-sthali here to commemorate the place where Radha and Krishna would sometimes enjoy Their swing pastimes. This kunda is the site of a famous pastime where Srila Narada Muni had some fun at Radha’s expense. This joking mentality of Narada and his ‘impish’ and sometimes ‘boyish’ behavior, is for some devotees very hard to comprehend, and is perhaps due to his being related to the celestial singers,Gandharvas.

Krishna knew that Narada often visited Radharani and had warned Her about the joking and mischievous nature of Narada, telling Her to be cautious as Narada could create misunderstandings even between father and son, or between husband and wife, simply to enjoy some fun. Radha did not take Krishna’s warning very seriously as the gopis found Narada to be very friendly and funny. One day, Krishna was waiting for Radharani to arrive at Lalita-kunda next to the jhulan-sthali so They could enjoy pastimes together on the swing. Lalita was nearby making a garland of forest flowers for Krishna when Narada arrived there, and seeing that Radha was late, saw a wonderful opportunity to have some fun. Noticing that the length of the garland Lalita was trying to make suspecting it to be either short or long, he suggested that Lalita should measure it against Krishna’s body to make sure that she got the length exactly right. Lalita then approached Krishna near the swing to measure the length of the garland. When they were standing there together, Narada informed Krishna about his long-cherished desire to see Krishna sit on the swing with Lalita.

Krishna was happy to fulfill Narada’s long cherished desire, but Lalita was hesitant, thinking that Radha might arrive at any time, and would be upset to see Lalita sitting on the swing alone with Krishna. However, Krishna told Lalita that there was no harm and she should sit on the swing, just to make Narada happy. Therefore, at Krishna’s request and just to please Narada, Lalita sat on the swing next to Krishna. Narada very gently began pushing them ‘to and fro’. Very soon both Krishna and Lalita became absorbed in talking enjoying each other’s company. At that moment, Narada quickly went to find Radha and told Her about Lalita sitting on the swing with Krishna. Radha became furious and ran to Lalita-kunda to cross check and chastise Lalita. Seeing Radha suddenly arriving there in an angry mood and noticing Narada’s absence, Krishna immediately understood it be Narada’s trick. After pacifying Radharani, Krishna told Her about the joke that Narada had played. Narada was hiding somewhere, laughing to himself at Radha’s predicament. After hearing Krishna’s explanation, Radha’s anger subsided and She was also able to see the funny side of the joke.

Radha and Krishna then sat on the swing together and engaged in jhulana-lila pastimes along with Their friends Lalita and Vishakha and the other gopis.

How To Get There: This kunda is 600 meters southeast of Nanda Bhavan on the road from Varsana. Taking a right turn opposite to Surya-kunda and going east for 50 meters. (see map no. 22)

38. Narada-kunda
This is the kunda named after Narada Muni who sometimes visited Nandagrama to witness Krishna’s transcendental pastimes. Narada’s position is unique, in as much that he also takes part in Krishna’s pastimes in Vraja. This is due to the mercy of Vrinda Devi. She gave Narada, a life-long ‘naishtikya-brahmachari’, the benediction to achieve the form of a gopi. She told him to bathe in Kusuma-sarovara to immediately receive the gopirupa, the form of a gopi. He could therefore enter the rasa-mandala with the other gopis and fulfill his desire to witness the rasa-dance between Radha and Krishna.

Srila Narada Muni is also called Devarishi-Narada, the rishi amongst the demigods, because he travels throughout the three worlds as well as Vaikuntha, completely unhindered, simply by singing the holy names of the Lord and playing on his vina. He travels through the air waves at will, carrying the divine message of Krishna-bhakti to both humans and demigods alike. He is the foremost son of Prajapati Brahmaji and also an empowered incarnation of Vishnu appearing as a devotee of the Lord. After Brahma, he is the principle acharya of the Vedic sampradaya and has transmitted the Vedic teachings to a galaxy of famous personalities, including his own renowned disciples like Veda-Vyasadeva, Madhavacharya, and Nimbarka. In Lord Chaitanya’s pastimes, Narada appeared as Srivasa Pandita of the ‘Pancha-tattva’. Srivasa not only organized the first kirtan parties, but always took part in the ecstatic kirtans led by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself at Sridhama Mayapura in Navadwipa.

How To Get There: This kunda is situated southeast of Nanda Bhavan on the road from Varsana, just opposite Surya-kunda. (see map no. 22)

39. Surya-kunda
It is said that while having darshana of Krishna at Nandagrama, the sun god Surya became so overwhelmed by ecstatic emotions upon seeing the exquisite beauty of Krishna’s transcendental form, he suddenly became momentarily stunned and for some time remained stationary in the sky above Nandagrama.

How To Get There: This kunda is situated southeast of Nanda Bhavan on the left of the road from Varsana, just opposite Narada-kunda. (see map no. 22)

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Visits Nandagrama

When Lord Chaitanya arrived at Nandagrama during His pilgrimage of Vraja Mandala in the year 1515, it was more or less a deserted area with a few scattered hamlets and some old ruins of Nanda’s house including the old boundary wall. The Lord took His bath in some of the holy kundas scattered around Nandagrama including Pavana-sarovara. After taking bath, Lord Chaitanya went on to the hill known as Nandishwara Parvata and enquired from local herdsmen if they knew of any deities somewhere on the hill. The herdsman informed Him that there were some very large deities of a mother and a father along with a child, inside a cave near to the summit. Lord Chaitanya became very happy to hear this and with the help of His assistant Balabhadra and few other locals, Lord Chaitanya excavated the cave and found the three deities of Mother Yashoda, Nanda Maharaja, and Krishna. The deity of Krishna was very beautiful and standing in a three-fold bending form known as the tri-bhanga-rupa playing on a flute. After paying His obeisances, Lord Chaitanya caressed the deity of Krishna and then began to chant the holy names and dance in ecstasy. The local inhabitants of the area came to see Lord Chaitanya and were surprised to see someone in such an ecstatic mood of love for Krishna. They concluded that Lord Narayana Himself must have appeared in the guise of a human being, wandering around Vraja in ecstasy. The locals also joined Lord Chaitanya in chanting and dancing in ecstasy. Lord Chaitanya remained at Nandagrama for a few days before continuing His parikrama around Vraja.