Trip to Radha Rani Temple Barsana
By editor - 15.3 2017
Barsana Gram also called Vrishabhanupur, is a village 25 miles northwest from Mathura. Barsana is the eternal playground of Shri Vrindavaneshwari, the Supreme Reservoir of Compassion—Shrimati Radharani.
Barsana is such a beautiful enchanting land that just by seeing and experiencing the divine landscape of Barsana ones heart and mind is naturally transported to the realm of devotion. Just like a lotus flower has a whorl and eight petals similarly Barsana is the whorl of the lotus, the abode of Shrimati Radharani, and around Barsana are the villages of all of Her eight Sakhis. There are many intimate pastime places in Barsana Dham such as Sankhri Khor, Pili Pokhar, Krishna Kunda, Morr Kuti, palace of Vrishabhanu Maharaj, Ladli Lal temple etc. Krishna is Hari—He steals away all our attachments and ultimately steals our heart when it becomes soft like the butter of the gopis, but Shrimati Radharani steals the heart of even Hari, so She is “Hare” and Barsana is the abode of Shri Radhika where She performed Her childhood pastimes in the courtyard of Vrishabhanu and Kirtida.
This village is settled on and around two hills which are adjacent to each other. The white colored hill is the longer one and is called Brahma Hill while the black colored one is called Vishnu Hill. Padma Purana states that Lord Brahma has taken the form of these hills in Barsana so as to get the dust of the lotus feet of Shri Shri Radha Krishna and Their devotees on his heads. There are four peaks of these hills- Bhangarh, Maangarh, Daangarh and Vilasgarh and each of these peaks is one of the heads of Lord Brahma. Vilasgarh lies on the Vishnu Hill while the rest three peaks lie on Brahma Hill.
Shriji Temple -Laadli Sarkar Mahal- Radha Rani Mandir;
Atop Bhangarh is the famous temple of Shriji. This deity of Shriji, also known as Ladli Lal (The beloved one), was originally established by Vajranabh, some 5000 years ago. Just at the foot of the steps leading to Shriji temple is the palace of Vrishabhanu Maharaj where Shri Radhika performed Her childhood pastimes. Here one can have darshan of Vrishabhanu, Kirtida, Shridama and Shri Radhika. Just across the road from Shriji temple is a beautiful pond called Pili Pokhar. When Yashoda Mayi applied turmeric paste to Shri Radhika’s hands accepting Her as her bride, Radharani came and washed Her hands out of shyness in this pond. Consequently the color of the water here turned golden yellow.
Atop Maangarh is the Maan Mandir, the place where Shrimati Radharani would go into seclusion in Her transcendental loving anger towards Krishna. At Maan Mandir Krishna pleads, weeps and cries like a beggar to gain the favor of His beloved Shrimati Radharani. Within the temple, there is a small tunnel leading to a dark chamber which is said to be the place where Radharani would go and sit. Down the hill from Maan Mandir are Morr Kutir and Krishna Kund. Morr Kutir is the place where Krishna and Radharani danced in the form of peacock and peahen. Krishna Kund or Radha Sarovar is the pond in Gahavara Vana (forest of caves) where Shrimati Radharani would bathe. Also Radha-Krishna would have water sports here.
Maan Garh -Maan Mandir;
Sankari Khor is a very narrow passageway at the junction of the Brahma hill and Vishnu hill. Krishna and His cowherd boys dressed up as tax collectors would block the way of Radharani and Her Sakhis with their sticks here and would ask for yogurt, butter and ghee as tax for passing through Sankari Khor.
As we are roaming through these beautiful forests of Barsana, we should be praying for the dust of the lotus feet of Shri Radha and Her devotees. This is the spirit. If there is false ego, we can’t understand the Dham. We should pray to be able to overcome egoistic contaminations and to overcome superficiality, artificiality that is born of the false ego and that we can genuinely, earnestly and honestly pray to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the Vaishnavas, because that gentle and sincere desire will attract the mercy of Shri Shri Radha Shyamasundar. This should be the mood and prayer at Barsana Dham.
Brahmaji as mountain in Barsana
Lord Brahma is the father of all living beings in the universe. He lives for three hundred and eleven trillion (311,000,000,000,000) years and even the demigods turn to him in times of difficulty. But Lord Brahma, according to Varaha Purana and Padma Purana performed tapasya, and prayed to Krishna to allow him to serve the Lord in such a way that the dust of the feet of not only the Lord but of all His devotees would always be upon his head. Understanding His devotee’s heart, Lord Krishna benedicted Brahmaji to become a mountain in Barsana Dham. This mountain is comprised of two hills. The white colored hill is the longer one and is called Brahma Hill while the black colored one is called Vishnu Hill. The four peaks of this mountain in Barsana are actually the four heads of Brahmaji. He finds greater pleasure with the devotees walking on the top of his head, sitting on his head, dancing on his head. The peak where Vrishabhanu Maharaj had his palace is known as Bhanugarh. Just across the ridge from Bhangadh, there is the beautiful peak that is called Vilasgarh, where Shri Shri Radha and Krishna performed innumerable playful pastimes. The esoteric mountain peak where Shrimati Radharani would go in seclusion when She wanted to please Krishna through Her pastimes of ‘Anger’ is Maangarh. The peak where the pastimes of charity and tax collection are performed is Daangadh. Vilasgarh lies on the Vishnu Hill while the rest three lie on Brahma Hill.
A brief description of the important pastime places atop these four peaks can be given as follows: Atop Bhanugarh is the famous temple of Shriji also called the Ladli Lal temple. On Bhanugarh, the palace of Vrishabhanu Maharaj is there where Shri Radhika performed Her childhood pastimes. Across the road from Shriji temple is a beautiful pond called Pili Pokhar. Atop Maangarh is the Maan Mandir, the place where Shrimati Radharani would go into seclusion in Her transcendental loving anger towards Krishna. Down the hill from Maan Mandir are Morr Kutir and Krishna Kund. Sankari Khor is a very narrow passageway at the junction of the Brahma hill and Vishnu hill where mischievous Krishna and His cowherd boys would stop Radharani and Her Sakhis and collect taxes of butter, yougurt and ghee from them. Thus, Brahmaji in the form of this mountain is witness to these sweet pastimes in Barsana.
About half a kilometer from the Larily-Lal temple is Kushal Bihari temple.
There was a great king from Rajasthan who was very much devoted to Barsana Dham. He would come here with his royal family regularly to worship in the eternal home of Srimati Radharani. He decided to build a magnificent temple for Larily Lal, and thus this temple, one of the extravagantly opulent temples in Vraja Dham with very intricate hand carved sand stone—both inside and outside—came into being. He built it this way to show the world that Krishna should be the center of all activities, whoever we may be. He was a king. But he didn’t put his throne in the center. He wanted the beautiful deity of Larily-Lal in the center. And he built small rooms around the deity where he and his family members and his ministers could live. The idea is, everyone should be fully conscious that whoever we are, we are just the humble servant of the servant of the servants of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.
So the King spent years and fabulous amounts of wealth to build this beautiful palace. When it was complete, a day was assigned for the installation—bringing the deities of the little temple on Bhangad to this place. But the day before the installation Srimati Radharani appeared to the King in a dream and told him, “The place where the little temple is situated, that is my home, and not this.” Therefore, the King built another big temple where the little temple was.
Different set of deities were installed in this temple and were named Radha-Kushalbihari. With Their merciful glance, They bless all the pilgrims who come here to Barsana Dham.
So we should pray to Radha Kushal Bihari that we may learn how to practically perform our service for the pleasure of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. When Krishna is pleased all our desires will be fulfilled. Krishna is pleased when there is harmony, love and trust amongst the devotees. He is displeased when there are egoistic conflicts and disunity amongst the Vaishnavas. Vaikuntha consciousness means – “everyone is better than me. I am the servant.”
Shriji Temple at Barsana
A top Bhanugarh, one of the four peaks of Barsana, is the famous temple of Shriji. This deity of Shriji, also known as Ladli Lal (The beloved one), were originally established by Vajranabh, some 5000 years ago but were lost later on. One very great devotee of Lord Chaitanya, Narayan Bhatt Goswami, discovered the deities just close by, and installed them here. The temple is a masterpiece of exquisite stonework with beautiful arches and domes adorning the palace. There are beautiful colorful pictures on the walls and ceiling of this temple, depicting the loving pastimes of Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. This temple is one of the most important places to visit in Vraja. All the Vrajavasis gather together at this particular temple to celebrate Radhashtami, the appearance day festival of Shrimati Radharani. At the foot of the steps that lead to this temple is the palace of Vrishabhanu Maharaj where one can have darshan of Vrishabhanu, Kirtida, Shridama and Shri Radhika. Near this palace is the temple of Brahmaji who is welcoming and blessing devotees going to take darshan of Ladli lal. Also close by is the Ashtasakhi temple where one can have darshan of Shri Radhika alongwith Her principal Sakhis (girl-friends).