Restoring the Heritage of Vraja
by Çrépäd Kåñëa-kåpä däsa
Uddhava-kyäré (Çré Viçäkhä-kuïja)
Under the guidance and leadership of Çré Çrémad Bhaktivedänta Näräyaëa Gosvämé Mahäräja, both Çré Brahma-kuëòa and Uddhava-kyäré are currently being excavated and restored. Unfortunately, many of the holy places in Çré Vraja-maëòala are falling into disrepair and gradually becoming lost to us due to neglect, and this project aims to help preserve the heritage of Vraja for future generations. What follows is a brief account of the history and astonishing glories of Çré Brahma-kuëòa and Uddhava-kyäré.
Çré Brahma-kuëòa (at the base of Çré Govardhana)
Below the Çré Harideva temple, beside Manasä-devé on the southern side of Çré Mänasé-gaìgä, is a very ancient and holy tértha, Çré Brahma-kuëòa. Çré Kåñëadvaipäyana Veda-vyäsa has described the glories of this ancient kuëòa in the Çré Kürma Puräëa and Çré Varäha Puräëa. In the Çré Kürma Puräëa it is said:
yätra brahmädayo deväù samäjagmurbhuva-sthale
brahma-stutyäbhiñekaà ca hareçcakre vidhänataù
brahma-kuëòaà yato jätaà brahmädibhir vinirmitaà
Out of a desire to take darçana of the sweet léläs of Kåñëa, Brahmä stole all the calves and cowherd boys and hid them in a cave. Then, being very merciful, Kåñëa Himself assumed the forms of all the stolen calves and cowherd boys, thus showing His astonishing opulence (majestic power) to Brahmäjé. This verse explains that upon his illusion being dispelled, Brahmäjé, surrounded by Mähadeva Çaìkara and many other demigods, came near to this presently situated Çré Harideva temple and fell at the lotus feet of Çré Kåñëa, begging forgiveness for his faults. To fulfill his cherished desire, he performed abhiñeka of Çré Kåñëa by reciting all the appropriate mantras from the Säma Veda. From the water of this abhiñeka, Brahmakuëòa was formed. Brahmä and the others demigods bathed in that kuëòa, and from that day onwards this pond became known as Brahma kuëòa.
In the same Kürma Puräëa the following mantras have been prescribed for taking bath and performing äcamana in Brahma-kuëòa:
brahmädi nirmitastértha çuddha-kåñëabhiñecana
namaù kaivalyanäthäya devänäà muktikäraka
iti mantraà daçävåtyä majjanäcamanairnaman
dvayormadhye kåtaà dänaà sahastraà guëitaà bhavet
“O tértha created by Brahmä and other devas! O supremely pure kuëòa! O bathing place of Kåñëa, O kaivalya-näyaka! I am offering obeisances to you, who release the demigods from their material bondage.” Recite this mantra ten times, perform äcamana, offer pranämas and then bathe in the waters of this kuëòa.
puëyaà mänasikaà yatra phalamakñayam äpnuyät
manasi saàsthitän kämän cintanät sarvamäpnuyät
guptadänaà prakurvéta svarëagaurajatädikaà
annavasträdikaà caiva pätra påthvégåhädikaà
daçäyutaguëaà puëyaà phalaà tad dvidaguëaà labhet
puëyaà lakñaguëaà jätaà phalaà syättaccaturguëäà
manasä kriyate dänamakñyaà phalamäpnuyät
The result of performing charitable acts here is increased one-thousand times. If anyone performs these pious acts here, even within his mind, he will gain imperishable results. All types of desires are fulfilled here. The results of giving away gold, silver, clothing or ornaments is increased 100,000 times here, and then by four times again.
On a nearby shore lies the
According to the Väyu Puräëa, on the eastern side of this kuëòa lies Indra-tértha; on the southern bank lies Yama-tértha; on the western bank is Varuëa-tértha; and on the northern bank is Kuvera-tértha. These four demigods are performing worship here to receive Kåñëa’s mercy.
Manasi-ganga and Manasa-ganga Mandira
Nearby is Mänasé-gaìgä, who manifested from Çré Kåñëa’s mind. She dispels all types of sin, as well as the sufferings of birth and death, for all those who merely bathe in her waters. In the centre is Mukhäravinda of Çré Giriräjajé. On the pretext of taking the gopés across this Mänasé-gaëgä, Kåñëa performed boat-sporting pastimes here.
Cakleçvara Mahädeva is situated nearby on a bank of this Mänasé-gaìgä. He protected Giriräja and the Vrajaväsés from the torrents of rain, thunderbolts and lightning of Indra. This Brahma-kuëòa is therefore a prominent tértha among all the holy places of Govardhana. By serving this kuëòa all of the jéva’s cherished desires are fulfilled.
Uddhava-kyäré (Çré Viçäkhä-kuïja)
This place, which is also known as Kadamba-kyäré, is situated a short distance from Nandéçvara Hill, to the south-east. This is in fact the kuïja of Viçäkhäjé, and nearby lies Viçäkhä-kuëòa. In this secluded and beautiful place surrounded by kadamba trees, Viçäkhäjé used to arrange meetings between Rädhä and Kåñëa. Sometimes Kåñëa also used to perform räsa-lélä here with Rädhäjé and Her friends. There is a räsa-vedé (sitting place in räsa-lélä) here, reminding us of that räsa-lélä. Rädhä and Kåñëa also enjoyed many kinds of playful water-pastimes in the clear and fragrant waters of Viçäkhä-kuëòa.
After Çré Kåñëa went to Mathurä, all of Vraja drowned in an ocean of separation from Him. Even the birds and animals gave up eating and drinking, feeling distressed in separation from Kåñëa, what to speak of the distress felt by the gopas and gopés. Kåñëa’s beloved gopés followed Akrüra’s chariot to this point and then fell to the ground unconscious. They never returned home again. Grievously afflicted by separation from Kåñëa, Rädhäjé stayed in this dense forest in seclusion. In the hope of Kåñëa’s return, She counted each passing day, remaining on the verge of death.
At that time Kåñëa’s messenger, Uddhavajé, came here to console the gopés, but upon seeing Çrématé Rädhikä’s state of separation, he paid his obeisances to Her from afar, unable to say anything.
Acutely afflicted by separation from Kåñëa, Çrématé Rädhikä saw a bumblebee and thought it to be a messenger from Kåñëa. In the state of divyonmäda, She started manifesting citrajalpa, prajalpa and other moods of transcendental madness. At times She chastised the bee, and at times She complained to it. At times She gave the bee instructions and at times respect, and still at other times She enquired from it about the well-being of Her beloved. Uddhava was amazed to see and hear all this. He had come as guru to deliver instructions, but instead he became a disciple.
To console the gopés, Uddhava relayed some of Kåñëa’s messages to them, but this only intensified their pain of separation from Him. They said, “uddo man na bhayos das bés, ek huto so gayo çyäm saìga, ko ärädhe éça — Uddhava, we don’t have ten or twenty hearts each. We had only one, which has now left us along with Çyäma. With which heart shall we now worship God?” They also said, “udo joga kahäì räkheì yahäì rom rom çyäm hai — Uddhava, how can we perform yoga when Çyäma pervades every particle of our bodies?”
Finally, Uddhavajé desired to take birth in Vraja in the form of a small shrub, creeper or blade of grass, so that he could be blessed with the dust of the gopés’ feet. He worshipped their foot-dust with the following prayers:
aho caraëa-reëu-juñäm ahaà syäà
vrndävane kim api gulma-latauñadhénäm
yä dustyajaà sva-janam ärya-pathaïca hitvä
bhejur mukunda-padavéà çrutibhir vimågyäm
If I become a shrub, creeper or medicinal herb, here in Våndävana, it will be my great fortune. Oh! I shall then be able to serve the dust of these gopés’ feet, and will be blessed by bathing in that foot-dust. These gopés are the most fortunate of all. They have given up those things that are extremely difficult to renounce – their relatives, religious principles prescribed in the Vedas, and acceptable social conduct. Having become so completely absorbed in Kåñëa, they have obtained supreme prema for Him and become as worshipable as Him.
I bow down to the dust of the feet of the gopés residing in Nanda Bäbä’s Vraja. Oh! Whatever these gopés have sung about Kåñëa’s pastimes is purifying the whole world and will continue to do so.
This pastime-place is filled with the rasa of the highest level of meeting (mahä- sambhoga) with Kåñëa; and, simultaneously, it is filled with the rasa of the highest degree of separation (mahä-vipralamba) from Him. The life of a sädhaka becomes successful by taking darçana of and touching this place.
RAYS OF THE HARMONIST
No 12 Gaura Purnima 2003·
Contemporary Disciples Page