Kotvan

Kotvan / कोटवन

Kotvan is situated near the Delhi–Mathura highway in between Kosi and Hodal. It is four miles north and a little east of Charan Pahadi. It used to be called Kotavan. Shital-kund and Surya-Kund are places to visit here. Krishna used to herd the cows and perform playful pastimes here.

Sheshashai

This pastime place lies one-and-a-half miles south and somewhat east of Basoli. Kshirsagar is here as a kund. In a temple on the west bank of Kshirsagar is a deity of Bhagvan Ananta reclining on His bed with Lakshmi massaging His lotus feet .

Story

One time, when the playful Krishna was sporting here with Radhika and the sakhis, the incident about Shri Anantasayi Vishnu somehow came up in their conversation. A strong desire to see the sayana-lila of Anantasayi Vishnu arose in Radhika's heart, so Krishna Himself arranged for Her to see this pastime. Immersed in the mood of Anantasayi, Shri Krishna laid down on a thousand-petalled lotus in the middle of Kshirsagar, and Radhika, in the mood of Lakshmi, massaged His lotus feet. All the assembled gopis were astonished. Shri Raghunath das Goswami alludes to this pastime in his Braj-Vilas-Stav. [1] "Even though Radhika has extremely soft limbs, when She brought Shri Krishna's very soft and charming lotus feet near Her chest, She could not bring Herself to place them on it as She feared that the touch of Her hard breasts might cause Him pain. May I obtain residence in the enchanting Braj of Sheshashayi Krishna." When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu travelled throughout Braj, He came to take darshan of this place, and in doing so became filled with divine love. There is a pleasant kadamb forest here, and one can also take darshan of Praudhanath and a swing. Nearby is a sitting-place (baithak) of Shri Vallabhacharya.

Khami-Gaon (Khambahar)

Khami-gaon is situated on the border of Braj. To establish the boundary of Braj, Shri Vajranabh Maharaja constructed a stone pillar (khamba) here. The village of Vanchari is nearby. These two villages are situated on the north-west border of Braj, four miles north-east of Hodal. Here, are temples of Lakshmi-Narayan and Mahadev.

Khayero (Kharero)

This place lies four miles south, and a little east, of Sheshashai. When Baldev came here from Dvarkapuri, He asked the sakhas for good news, or khaira. This place is also a pasturing-ground for the cows.

Banchhauli

This village lies two-and-a-half miles east of Kharero and four miles north-west of Paya-gaon. Krishna performed ras-lila here.

Ujani

This place is situated four miles north-east of Paya-gaon and is near the main road between Chhata and Shergarh. The word ujani means "opposite flow". The Yamuna started flowing upstream here upon hearing the very sweet sound of Shri Krishna's flute. This is seen even today.

Khelanvan (Shergarh)

Khelanvan lies two miles south-east of Ujani. Shri Krishna and Shri Balram played many kinds of games with the sakhas when they came here for cow herding. Radhika also played here with Her sakhis. This place is called Khelanvan because they used to play (khelna) here.

Story

Nand Baba resided here for some time with the gopis, gopas and cows. Vrishabhanu Baba also stayed here with his whole family and herd of cows. Jatila and Kutila thought themselves to be the only chaste women in Braj, and they considered Radhika to be not even slightly chaste. They always spoke ill of Radhika and made propaganda against Her. Krishna was aware of all this. One day, He pretended to be ill to the point of death. Yashodaji called expert doctors and brahmanas skilled in mantras, but no one was able to help. Finally, Yogmaya Purnima arrived on the scene. She said, "If any chaste lady brings water from the Yamuna in this earthen water-pot, which has hundreds of holes, and if I then bathe Krishna with mantras and with that water, then Kanhaiya can become healthy. Otherwise, it will be impossible to save Him." Yashoda called Jatila and Kutila and requested them to bring water from the Yamuna in that special pot. They went separately to the Yamuna to fill the pot, but were unable to retain even a drop of water in it. They left the pot on the Yamuna's shore and returned home by another path so as not to meet anyone. Yogmaya Purnima then advised Yashoda-maiya to request Radhika to bring water in that hundred-holed pot. Upon being repeatedly requested, Radhika finally agreed to go to the Yamuna. She successfully brought back water in that pot without spilling even one drop. Purnamasi sprinkled Krishna with that water, and He immediately regained His health. All the Brajvasis were amazed to see this wonderful incident, and Radhika's chastity was praised everywhere. Places of darsan here are Balram-kund, Gopi ghat, Shri Radha-Govind, Shri Radha-Gopinatha and Shri Radha-Madan-mohan.

Ram-Ghat

This place lies on the bank of Yamuna, two miles east of Shergarh. Its present name is Obe. Baldev performed ras-lila here. Shri Krishna and Balram had been living in Dvarka for a long time. The Brajvasis' distress, caused by their separation from Them, was so great that Shri Krishna sent Shri Baldev to Braj to console them. At that time, Nand-Gokul, where they resided, was here. Baldev spent the two months of Chaitra and Vaishakh in Nand-Braj, and tried His utmost to console His parents, the sakhas and the gopis.[2] In the end, to alleviate the agony of the gopis' separation, Baldev performed rasa here, complete with dancing and singing. At that time, Varundev induced divinely fragrant Varuni, a sweet nectar found in trees, to start flowing. Baldev and His beloveds drank this Varuni and, becoming intoxicated, enjoyed the rasa. To sport in the water and to quench the thirst of gopis, He called Yamuna, who was flowing some distance away. When she did not come, however, He dragged her over to them with His plough. He and the gopis then sported in the Yamuna's water. Even today, the Yamuna leaves her natural course and flows by Ram-ghat. A doubt may arise as to how Baldev could perform rasa with Shri Krishna's beloved gopis. This would be wholly improper from the perspective of Rasa. It also seems improper for Baldev to have dragged the Yamuna with His plough, since she is a manifestation of Vishakha, and therefore a beloved of Krishna. Such doubts, however, arise only in the minds of those who lack knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Ordinary people cannot understand the real nature of transcendental rasa. Shri Krishna's and Balram's rasa does not contain even the slightest trace of material licentiousness or desire for lusty enjoyment. Furthermore, Baldev performed rasa only with His own group of beloved gopis. [3]

Yamuna is Vishakha herself. She is a beloved of Krishna and one of the main girlfriends of Radhika. The Yamuna that flows into the sea is a manifestation of this Yamuna. It was this manifestation, not Yamuna herself, the beloved of Shri Krishna, who Baldev dragged with the nose of His plough. In this way, one's doubt on this subject can be dispelled. Shri Nityanand Prabhu came here during His tour of Brajmandal. When He took darshan of this place, He became absorbed in transcendental ecstasy. Near the temple of Balram is an asvattha tree, which is known to be a sakha of Balram. It was here that Balram's ras-lila took place.

Brahma-Ghat

Near Ram-ghat lies the extremely enchanting Brahma-ghat, where Brahma worshipped Shri Krishna to beg forgiveness for stealing the calves.

Kachchhavan

Kachchhavan is near Ram-Ghat. Here, Krishna and the sakhas played as if they were tortoises (kachhua).

Bhushanvan

This place is situated near Kachchhavan. While they grazed their cows, the sakhas decorated (bhushit kiya) Krishna here with many kinds of flowers. This place is therefore called Bhushanvan.

Gunjavan

Nearby Bhushanvan is Gunjavan where the gopis decorated Krishna in a wonderful way with a necklace of gunja berries, and where Krishna decorated Radhika in the same way.

References

  1. yasya Shrimad-charan-kamale komale komalapi
    Shri-radhoccair nija-sukha-krte sannayanti kucagre
    bhita py aradatha na hi dadhatay asya karkashaya-dosata
    sa Shri-gosthe prathayatu sada sheshashayi sthitim nah ---Braj-Vilas-Stav (verse 91)
  2. dvau masau tatra cavatsin madhum madhavam eva ca
    ramah ksapasu bhagvan gopinam ratim avahan ---Shrimad-Bhagavata (10.65.17)
  3. tatasca pasyatra vasantavesau, Shri-rama-Krishnau vraja-sundaribhih
    vikridatuh sva sva yuthesvaribhih, samam rasajnau kala dhauta manditau
    nrtyanatau gopibhih sardha gayantau rasabhavitau, gayantibhisca ramabhir nrtyantibhisca sobhitau
    ---Shri Murari Gupta's Shri Krishna Chaitanya-charita