The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Radha-kunda

BY: SUN STAFF - 17.1 2020

Krishna Destroys the Bull Demon, Aristasura
Bhagavata Purana, Mewar, 19th c.

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 115.

Sri Sri Radha-Krsna's pastimes at Radha Kunda are the dearmost topic of conversation for Vaisnavas. Before addressing the Appearance of Radha Kunda, here is a similar pastime in which Sri Krsna created a theertham in order to bath after killing a demon. In chapter five of Bhakti Ratnakara, Srila Narahari Cakravarti Thakur gives this description of Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda in Airatagrama:

"The story of the vilasa of Krsna in the village of Airat is a charming one. Once Krsna killed a demon in the form of a boar. Afterwards he wanted to touch Radharani but she jokingly rebuked him saying he could not touch her with his unpurified hands. Since he had killed a boar, a boar was actually a demon, she told him he had to purify himself by bathing in all the holy places before he could touch her. Krsna said, "I shall bathe in the water of all the holy places by calling them all together here." He stomped on the earth and created a depression which immediately filled up the water of all the holy places. The personification of each holy place also appeared before Krsna, introduced himself and praised Krsna in different ways.

In front of Radha and the Gopinis Krnsa then took a bath in the water, uttering the name of each holy place as he did. He finished his bath sometime before midnight. Even now people follow the same system of bathing in the holy lake. Unmoved by Krsna's joke Radha also created another lake in her preference. When Krsna learned that she also wanted water he ordered the Ganges, which represents all the holy places, to fill up her lake. The personified holy rivers also worshipped Radha with obliged respect. From that time on Radha and Krsna enjoyed their pastimes with the sakhis on the sides of the two lakes such was surrounded by beautiful trees and plants. Even now people enjoy bathing in those two holy lakes.

In the Vraja vilasa chapter of the book Stavavali a description of Radha Kunda and Shyama Kinda is given in a beautiful way. Radha Kunda is surrounded by subaladi and Shyama Kunda and other kunjas of Lalita and the other eight sakhis were also beautiful and pleasant places to see.

Sri Narahari Cakravarty has written a few sayings describing Radha Kunda. The inner meaning of the sayings is that Radha and Krsna are enjoying the beauty of the kunda. The lake is full of divine water and lotuses. The bumble bees hum amongst the lotuses and the gentle wind causes small ripples in the water. Aquatics move pleasurably through the water. The banks of the lakes are decorated with different kinds of gems and the platforms are decorated with painted pictures. The house of Madana bows its head in inferiority, a golden-gem studded swing hangs from the trees and the birds and peacocks sing and dance as Radha and Krsna swing. As Narahari sings his songs he enjoys the darshan of Radha within his heart."

Krsna Kills Aristasura

The Appearance day of Radha-kund, called Snana Dana Bahulastami, is observed by the devotees meditating on the pastime of Lord Krsna killing Arista, the bull-demon. After killing a named Aristasura, Krsna approached Radharani but She rebuked Him, saying He was impure because of committing the sin of killing a bull, the symbol of religion. She suggested that to counteract this sin He should bathe in all the sacred rivers.

Krsna immediately shoved His lotus foot into the ground, making a large hole, and called all the sacred rivers to enter into it. They appeared before Him and formed Syama-kunda (the bathing place of Syama--one who is the color of a dark rain cloud).

After bathing, Krsna stated that He had become pure by bathing in Syama-kunda, but that the gopis had become impure, having sided with a demon, even though he appeared in the form of a bull. Radharani, along with some of Her gopi friends, then broke their bangles and dug a hole with the broken pieces. But there was no water - so Krsna laughed. The gopis then formed a line to the Manasi Ganga and started to fill the hole with water that was passed from one gopi to another. At that time, all the sacred rivers arrived in person and requested permission to enter into Radharani's kunda, which they did after receiving Radharani's blessing.

The Demon Aristasura

"Once a demon named Aristasura entered the village like a great bull with a gigantic body and horns, digging up the earth with his hooves. When the demon entered Vrndavana, it appeared that the whole land trembled, as if there were an earthquake. He roared fiercely, and after digging up the earth on the riverside, he entered the village proper. The fearful roaring of the bull was so piercing that some of the pregnant cows and women had miscarriages. Its body was so big, stout and strong that a cloud hovered over its body just as clouds hover over mountains. Aristasura entered Vrndavana with such a fearful appearance that just on seeing this great demon, all the men and women were afflicted with great fear, and the cows and other animals fled the village.

The situation became very terrible, and all the inhabitants of Vrndavana began to cry, "Krsna! Krsna, please save us!" Krsna also saw that the cows were running away, and He immediately replied, "Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid." He then appeared before Aristasura and said, "You are the lowest of living entities! Why are you frightening the inhabitants of Gokula? What will you gain by this action? If you have come to challenge My authority, then I am prepared to fight you." In this way, Krsna challenged the demon, and the demon became very angry by the words of Krsna. Krsna stood before the bull, resting His hand on the shoulder of a friend. The bull began to proceeded towards Krsna in anger. Digging the earth with his hooves, Aristasura lifted his tail, and it appeared that clouds were hovering about the tail. His eyes were reddish and moving in anger. Pointing his horns at Krsna, he began to charge Him, just like the thunderbolt of Indra. But Krsna immediately caught his horns and tossed him away, just as a gigantic elephant repels a small inimical elephant. Although the demon appeared to be very tired and although he was perspiring, he took courage and got up. Again he charged Krsna with great force and anger. While rushing towards Krsna, he breathed very heavily. Krsna again caught his horns and immediately threw him on the ground, breaking his horns. Krsna then began to kick his body, just as one squeezes a wet cloth on the ground. Being thus kicked by Krsna, Aristasura rolled over and began to move his legs violently. Bleeding and passing stool and urine, his eyes starting from their sockets, he passed to the kingdom of death."