Mathura-mandala Parikrama, Part 6

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BY: SUN STAFF - 12.2 2021

Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda

By Srila Narahari Chakravarti Thakur 

See ahead the village named Arita. The pastime Krishna performed here is an enchanting story. Once Krishna killed a demon in the form of a bull [Arishtasura]. Afterwards when He wanted to touch Radharani She smilingly told Him, "Even though he was a demon, he had assumed the form of a bull, by killing him You have become very contaminated. If You take bath at all the holy places, then You will be relieved of the offense of killing him."

Krishna very sweetly replied, "I shall bathe in the water of all the holy places by calling them all here."

Speaking these words, He then stomped on the earth and created a depression, which immediately filled up with the water of all the holy places. The personification of each holy place also appeared before Krishna, introduced himself, and offered prayers. In front of Radha and the gopis, Krishna 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 kunda.

Hearing Krishna speak some boastful words, Radha with the help of Her sakhis quickly dug Her own kunda. The kunda dug by Radharani was most beautiful and the sight of it made Krishna feel very pleased. Radharani thought that She would fill Her kunda with the waters of the Manasa-ganga, which is the essence of all holy places. Understanding Radha's desire, Krishna gave His order and the holy tirthas entered Radha's kunda from Shyama-kunda. The personified holy places then glorified Radharani with many prayers and, considering themselves fortunate, they became very pleased. From that time on these two kundas, which are surrounded by beautiful trees and plants, became the site of Radha and Krishna's wonderful amorous sports.

In Stavavali, Vraja-vilasa, there is the following description: "I take shelter of the meeting place of Radha Madhava's beloved Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda, the site of Their amorous sports. It is most charming, being surrounded by kadamba, campaka, beautiful young ashoka, mango, punnaga [white lotus], and bakula trees, as well as lavanga and vasanti creepers."

Radha-kunda is most beautifully surrounded by the kunjas of the eight sakhis beginning with Lalita's. Shyama-kunda is surrounded by the kundas of the eight sakhas beginning with Subala's. They are most beautiful and pleasant to see.

The following song describes the beauty of Radha-kunda: "Krishna is enjoying the beauty of Radha-kunda. The kunda is full of pure water and lotuses. The bumblebees hum amongst the lotuses, and the gentle wind causes small ripples in the water. Aquatics move pleasurably through the water. The banks of the kunda are decorated with different kinds of gems. The covered terrace on the bank is decorated with painted pictures. The abode of Cupid bows its head feeling inferior. The birds and peacocks sing and dance as Radha and Krishna swing on a golden gem-studded swing hanging from the tree."

The Glories of Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda

Shyama-kunda is also known as Arishta-kunda. Whoever bathes in Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda gets the same results one achieves by the performance of a rajasuya and ashvamedha-yajna. This is confirmed in Adi-varaha Purana.

Raghava Pandita said that according to the Puranas, there is no limit to the glories of Radha-kunda. In the Adi-varaha Purana, Mathura-khanda, it is stated that if a devotee of Vishnu offers a lamp to Radha-kunda during the month of Kartika, he will be able to see the entire universe.

In Padma Purana, Kartika Mahatmya, it is stated: "Radha-kunda is very dear to Shri Hari and is situated near Govardhana Hill. By taking bath in Radha-kunda on the eighth day of the waning moon in the month of Kartika [Bahulashtami], one can greatly please Lord Hari, who enjoys His pastimes there. This kunda is as dear to Krishna as Radha Herself. Amongst all the gopis, She is the most dear to Krishna. It is the duty of the devotees to bathe in the Radha-kunda during the month of Kartika and thereafter worship Lord Janardana. This simple worship pleases Krishna as much as one does by worshiping Janardana on the day of Uthana-ekadashi."

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Discovers Shri Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda

See these two kundas, Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda, which are surrounded by beautiful forests and which enchant the sages and demigods. After visiting the other forests of Vrindavana, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came here and sat under this tamala tree. He asked the residents of Arishta-grama where the two kundas were, but no one could answer. The brahmana accompanying Him from Mathura also did not know.

Being the omniscient Personality of Godhead, Lord Chaitanya, carefully searched and discovered the two kundas in two paddy fields. He joyfully took a bath in whatever little water was there and glorified the kundas in various ways. Then He marked His forehead with mud from the kundas.

The villagers were greatly startled by His behavior. One of them inquired, 'From where has this sannyasi suddenly come?' Someone said, 'O brother, by seeing Him I cannot understand what is happening in my body.' Another person said, 'He cannot be a mortal sannyasi. Seeing Him I cannot explain what is happening in my mind.'

Someone else said, "Who says He is a sannyasi? He is Krishna Himself appearing in this dress and form. Just see the proof. Different birds are all coming for His darshana. The cuckoos and parrots are happily addressing Him as Krishna, and the peacocks are dancing in jubilation. The different sounds of the birds is very pleasing to the ears. And see the wonderful blooming of the trees! O brother, just see the creepers showering flowers on this person, who is disguised as a sannyasi. The deer are coming near Him and staring undivertedly towards His face. All the cows are coming running from all sides with raised tails, and they also look at His face. By the tears of ecstasy falling from the eyes of these creatures we can understand that they are meeting Him after a long period of time.

O brother, I repeatedly glorify the good fortune of these creatures, who are seeing Krishna in this form and dress. Dear brothers, let us offer obeisances unto the feet of the Lord, who has incarnated to distribute knowledge to the people. By His mercy we can now understand that these two paddy fields known as Kali and Gauri are actually holy kundas." Speaking like this amongst themselves, they all became maddened by the nectarean sight of Mahaprabhu at this most holy site. Even Lord Brahma cannot describe a fragment of Mahaprabhu's ecstatic expression when He discovered these kundas.