Kokilavan / कोकिलावन
Kokilavan lies three miles north of Nand Gaon and one mile west of Javat. Even today, the sweet sounds of many birds – such as peacocks, peahens, male parrots, female parrots, swans and cranes – can be heard in this protected and enchanting forest, and animals like deer and blue cows, or nil gay, can be seen wandering about. The Brajvasis bring their vast herds of cows here for grazing. The sweet kuhu-kuhu of hundreds of cuckoo birds (kokilas) resounds in this forest. Although most forests of Braj have been destroyed, this one, with a circumference of three-and-a-half miles, remains somewhat protected. According to Braj-bhakti-vilas, Ratnakar-Sarovar and a Ras-mandal are situated in Kokilavan.
Once, the very playful Shri Krishna eagerly desired to meet Radhika, but because of the obstacles created by Her mother-in-law Jatila, sister-in-law Kutila and husband Abhimanyu, Radhika could not get to Their appointed meeting place. After waiting for a long time, Krishna climbed a tall tree and sweetly began to imitate the sound of a cuckoo. Hearing the loud and delightful call of this astonishing cuckoo bird, Radhika and the sakhis understood that it was a signal from Krishna and became eager and restless to meet with Him. At that time, Jatila addressed Vishakha, saying, "Vishakha, I have heard cuckoo birds make so many beautiful sounds, but I have never heard anything like the wonderful and lengthy melody this bird sings today." Vishakha replied, "Dadiji, we also have never heard anything like it. This is certainly an amazing cuckoo bird. With your permission, we would like to go out and see it for ourselves." The old woman gladly gave permission for the sakhis to go. They very happily entered the forest, and thus Krishna was able to meet with Raffia. This is how this place became known as Kokilavan.
The sakhis brought milk from their homes to make this kund. Many varities of jewels (ratna) appeared from the pond that the sakhis used to decorate Radhika. This pond, which destroys all sins and bestows an abundance of wealth and affluence, can give devotees the greatest jewel of all – causeless devotion for the Divine Couple, Shri Radha-Krishna.
Shri Krishna performed ras-lila with the gopis here, after which they played in the water of Ratnakar-sarovar.
This is Shri Vishakha Sakhi's place of residence. She is famous among the eight prominent sakhis. Her father is Shri Pavan Gopa and her mother is Devadani Hopi. This place, situated five miles south-east of Nand gaon, is where playful Krishna applied kajala (anjan) to the eyes of His Pran-Vallabh Radhika. This pastime place is therefore known as Anjanuk.
StoryOnce, Radhika was sitting in a secluded kunja with Her sakhis, who were dressing and decorating Her with various ornaments and jewels. All that was left to be done was to apply anjan to Her eyes, when suddenly Krishna played upon His sweet flute. As soon as Radhika heard that sound, She became overwhelmed, and with great anticipation She left to meet Her Pran-vallabh without having applied anjan. Krishna was also anxiously waiting to meet Her, and when She arrived, He sat Her on a flower-seat. He then put His arms around Her neck and His eyes eagerly drank Her beauty. When He noticed that there was no anjan on Her eyes, He asked the sakhis why. They answered, "We had fully decorated Her except for the anjan but, as soon as She heard the sweet sound of Your flute, She became so eager to meet with You that She immediately ran off. Although we repeatedly requested Her to wait so that we could apply anjan, we were unable to stop Her." This filled Krishna with joy, and He applied anjan to Her eyes with His own hands. He then held up a mirror to let Radhika taste the beauty of Her form, which He also relished by looking in that mirror. Bhakti-Ratnakar says:
Rasera avese Krishna anjan laiya
dilena radhika netre maha harsa haiya
"Krishna was absorbed in rasa and happily applied anjan to Radhika's eyes."
Also situated here is a ras-mandal, where ras-lila took place. Kishori-kund lies in the south of the village, and on the west bank of this pond is the anjani-Shila on which Shri Krishna seated Radha and decorated Her eyes with anjan.
Bijvari lies one-and-a-half miles south-east of Nandgaon and one mile south of Khayro.
When Akrur came to take the two brothers, Shri Balram and Krishna to Mathura, They ascended his chariot here. The gopis, being so distressed from their impending separation from Krishna, cried out, "O Prananath!" and fell to the ground unconscious. At that time, it appeared as if lightening bolts were striking the ground. The corrupted form of the word vidyuta-punj is Bijvari. Akrur left Bijvari with the two brothers, and travelling through Pisai, Sahar, Jaint and other villages, reached Akrurghat. There he bathed before finally arriving in Mathura. Akrur-sthan, where you can see Shri Krishna's footprint on a rock, lies between Bijvari and Nandgaon.
While Shri Krishna sat on Akrur’s chariot, waiting to depart, He became disturbed upon seeing the condition of the gopis in their mood of separation. To pacify them, He told them, "I promise that I will surely return the day after tomorrow." The day after tomorrow is called parson in Hindi; hence the name of this village became Parson.
Parson lies on the road between Govardhan and Barsana, close to the village of Shri Krishna repeatedly told the gopis, "I will soon return." The name Si originates in the word shighra, meaning "soon". This is described in
Bhakti-Ratnakar as follows:
mathura haite sighra karibe gamana
ei hetu shighra si, kahaye sarvajana
Kamai is the birthplace of Vishakha, who is prominent among the eight principal sakhis. The village of Kamai lies five miles from Barsana and four-and-a-half miles south-west of Umrao. South of Kamai are the villages of Si and Parson.
This is the birthplace of Lalitaji. The son of Karahala Gopi, Govardhan Malla, would sometimes stay here with his wife Chandravali, and sometimes they would also stay in Sakhithara (Sakhi-sthali) near Govardhan. Chandravali's father is Chandrabhanu Gopa and her mother is Indumati Gopi. Chandravali is the cousin of Radhika and they are considered sisters. Vrishabhanu Maharaj had four brothers – Chandrabhanu, Ratnabhanu, Subhanu and Shribhanu. Vrishabhanu was the eldest. Padma and other yuthesvaris (leaders of groups of gopis) stayed at this place, and would try to arrange meetings between Chandravali and Krishna. Kankan-kund, a kadamb grove, a swing, and the sitting-places (baithakas) of Shri Vallabhacharya, Shri Vitthalesa and Shri Gokul Nath are located here. This place is situated one mile north of Kamai. On Bhadra-purnima, ras-lila is staged here in the dramatic tradition of budhi-lila.
Ludhauli lies half a mile west of Pisai-gaon. Here Lalita arranged for Shri Radha and Krishna to meet. This place became known as Ludhauli because both Radha and Krishna hankered (lubdha) to meet each other here. Outside the village to the north is Lalita-kund, where Radha and Krishna's meeting took place. On the eastern bank of this kund is a temple of Lalita-Bihariji.
Once, while herding the cows, Baldev brought water here for Krishna, who was feeling very thirsty. Hence, this village became known as Pyasai, meaning "thirst came" (pyas ai). Trishn-kund and Vishakha-kund also lie here. Just near this village to the north-west is a beautiful kadamb grove. Pisai is situated one-and-a-half miles north of Karehla.
This is the residence of Nand Baba's eldest brother, Upanand. He was extremely wise and in every respect he was Maharaj Nand's advisor. He loved Nand-nandan Shri Krishna more than he loved his own life. Upanand's son was Subhadra, whom Shri Krishna respected like a real elder brother. Subhadra Sakha, who was also extremely affectionate to Krishna, was expert in astrology and all other arts. He zealously protected Krishna from all types of hardships during cow herding. Subhadra's wife was Kundlata, who accepted Krishna as her very life. Witty and playful, she loved to laugh and she was most expert in arranging meetings between Radha and Krishna. On the order of Yashoda, she would bring Radhika with her from Javat to cook for Krishna.
This pastime place lies one mile west of Nari and two miles north of Sahar. It was here that Krishna killed Sankhachuda, removed the jewel from his forehead, and gave it to Shri Baldev.
One day, Krishna and His sakhas were playing in the colourful Holi festival with Radha and Her sakhas near Radha-kund at the foot of Govardhan. At that time, the demon Sankhachuda caught the gopis and fled. With Saal trees in Their hands, Shri Krishna and Baldev ran after the demon to kill him. Seeing Their raging speed, Sankhachuda left the gopis and fled for his life. Krishna left Dau Bhaiya to protect the gopis, and He pursued the demon alone, and killed him. Krishna then removed the jewel from Sankhachuda's forehead and gave it to Baldev, who sent it to Radhika through Dhanistha. Radhika accepted that jewel with great honour. Nearby is Rama-kund, which is also called Rama-tala.
This village is situated some four or five miles east of Chhatravan. When the sakhas heard Shri Krishna's proclamation, they complained to Lalita about Him. Bhakti-Ratnakar describes what ensued:
lalitadi sakhi krodhe kahe bara bara, radhikara rajya ke karaye adhikara
aiche kata kahi lalitadi sakhigana, radhikare umrao kaila iksana
Chitra Sakhi held an umbrella over Radhika's head, and Vishakha fanned Her with a camara. Lalita sat on Radhika's left as Her minister of state. One sakhi offered Her betel-nuts, and the remaining sakhis acted as subjects. Sitting on Her throne, Radhika ordered the sakhis:
mora rajya adhikara kare yei Jana,
parabhava kari tare ana ei ksana --- Bhakti-Ratnakar
"Go and defeat the person who desires to usurp My kingdom. Bind Him and bring Him before Me."
Receiving the order of their Umrav, thousands and thousands of sakhis with flower-sticks in their hands left for battle. When Arjuna, Lavanga, Bhringa, Kokila, Subala and Madhumangal saw them approaching, they fled in all directions. One clever sakhi, however, caught Madhumangal, bound him with a flower garland, and brought him to the lotus feet of the Umrav. Some gopis slapped Madhumangal's cheeks a few times and said, "What audacity you have to try to unlawfully seize the authority of this kingdom from our Umrav? We will punish you right now." Madhumangal bowed his head low like a defeated general. "That is only befitting," he said. "We concede defeat, but please hand down such a punishment that my stomach will be filled." Maharani Radhika started to laugh and said, "This is just some gluttonous brahman. Release him." The sakhis filled his stomach with laddus and let him go. Madhumangal returned to Chhatra-pati Maharaja Krishna and, pretending to cry, gave Him a detailed report of his humiliating detention. Hearing this, Krishna together with Madhumangal and the sakhas invaded Umrao. When Radhika saw Her pran-vallabha Shri Krishna, She became quite embarrassed and quickly tried to take off Her royal dress, but the sakhis, laughing, would not let Her do so. Madhumangal seated Chhatra-pati Shri Krishna on Umrav Radhika's right side. They both made a treaty in which Krishna accepted Radhika's sovereignty. Madhumangal folded his hands before Radhika and said, "The kingdom of Krishna's body is now under Your rule. You can take whatever You desire from Him." Participating in this pastime filled the sakhis and sakhas with bliss. This village is named Umrao after this Umrav-lila, and is also known as Radha-sthali, or Raffia's place. Purnamasi later enthroned Radhika here as Brajesvari, the Queen of Braj. There is also a Kishori-kund here, where Shri Lokanath Goswami performed bhajan. The worshipful deities of Lokanath Goswami, Shri Radha-Vinod, who appeared from this kund, are now worshipped in Jaipur. Dhanshinga is the village lies near Umrao.
- Javatera paschime e vana manohara, laksa-laksa kokila kuhare nirantara
eka diva Krishna et vanete asiya, kokila-sadrsa sabda kare harsa haiya
sakala kokila haite sabda sumadhura, ye sune bareka tara dhairya jaya dura
jatila kahaye visdkhare priyavani, kokilera sabda aiche kabhu nahi suni
visakha khaye — et mo sabhara mane, yadi kaha e kokile dekhi giya vane
vriddha kahe — jao! suni ullasa asesa, rat sakhisaha vane karila pravesa
haila mahakautuka sukhera sima nai, sakalei asiya milila eka thani
kokilera sabde Krishna mile adhikare, e hetu `kokilavana' kahaye ihare ---Bhakti-Ratnakar
- sakhyah kshirasamudbhuta ratnakara-sarovare
nana prakara-ratnanam udbhave varade namah --- Narad Pancharatra
- anjapure samakhyate subhanurgopah sarhsthitah
devadaniti vikhyata gopini nimisasuta
tayoh surd samutpanna vishakha nama visruta --- Karma Purana
- The modern enactment of Radha and Krishna's pastimes that takes place at Shankari-khor in Barsana. This was inaugurated by Shri Narayana Bhatta Goswami. Actually, Radha and Krishna's pastimes are newer budhi, old, but are ewer fresh.