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Gokulam – Travelogue

Important Places in Gokulam

Gokulam is also known as Mahavanam. Gokulam means ‘Gohu kulam” meaning herd of cows. Immediately after Sri Krishna’s birth in Mathura, the Lord was shifted to Gokulam and stayed in this place upto the age of 5. All the leelas of Krishna as a toddler and kid took place here. Presently, we can see Purana Gokul and Naya Gokul and it is advisable to visit both the places.

Mahavan – Gokul
is situated about 10 km east from Mathura.

Parjanya Gopa, the father of Nandagopala, initially resided at Nandgaon, where he had five sons: Upananda, Abhinanda, Nanda, Sunanda and Nandana – and two daughters Sananda and Nandini….

…His middle son Nanda had no offspring and therefore Parjanya Gopa worshipped Narayan in the hope that Nada would be blessed with the child. A voice from the sky announced that a very brave son would be born to Nanda. After this prophecy, demons began to cause a disturbance at Nandgaon. Parjanya Gopa and his family decided to move along with their relatives to Brhadvan, or Mahavan. Beholding its beauty the vrajavasi gopas began very happily reside here….

…After some time, the Supreme Personality Lord Krishna was born to Vasudev and Devaki in the Kamsa’s prison house in Mathura. The Lord ordered Vasudev to bring Him to the house of Maharaja Nanda in Gokul. The night was very dark, but as soon as Vasudev took Krishna on his lap, he could see everything as in the sunlight. Vasudev came onto the bank of Yamuna and the river gave him mysteriously a free passage over its roaring waters…

…In Gokul he saw that all the cowherd man were asleep. He silently entered into the house of Yasoda, placed Krishna next to her and took her newly born girl back. Than he had returned back to prison, clamped the shackles on himself so that Kamsa could not recognize that so many things had happened…
Yasoda understood that a child was born to her, but because she was very tired from the childbirth, she was fast asleep. When she awoke, she could not remember whether she had given birth to a male or female child….


NANDA BHAVAN:- This is the residence of Krishna’s foster parents-Nanda Maharaja and Yasodha devi. Krishna spent HIS early childhood until they moved to Vrindavan. It is here that Perumal performed various leelas by showing the entire Universe to Yasodha when HE was ordered to open the mouth., it was here that the Supreme who is unattainable even to the rishis performing severe austerity to have HIS darshan, was tied to a mortar by HIS mother, Yasodha. There is a sannidhi for Radha Krishnar along with HIS parents and brother.

The places where Krishna killed Putana, Trinavrat, Sakutasuran and other demons, the places where Lord crawled and played can be seen. In Gokulam, every house is a temple. We can find the locals inviting the pilgrims to their temple referring to some act or the other of Sri Krishna. The houses are on either sides of the narrow lane and one has to walk to see the places where the demonness, Putana was killed. The architect Visvakarma built the House of Nanda Maharaja over 5,000 years ago. It is on a hill at Old Gokul. It has 84 pillars and that is why it is called Chaurasi Khamba. Chaurasi means “84” and the pillars in this temple are said to be the original pillars from the house of Nanda. Nanda, Yasoda, Rohini, Balaram and Krisna are the Deities on different altars at Nanda Bhavan.
…Thee are big Deities of Nanda Maharaja on the left, mother Yasoda on the right and Lord Balaram in the Middle. Bellow them is Deity of baby Krishna swinging in the cradle…

…..Nanda, Yasoda, Rohini, Balaram and Krisna are the Deities on different altars at Nanda Bhavan.

……Krisna and Baladeva’s name giving ceremony also took place at Mahavan in the nearby gosala of Nanda Maharaja. Gargacarya performed it in a simple way without the festivities because of fear of Kamsa. This simplicity is found there in Vraj even today…..

….Mahavan and Gokul are in fact one and the same place. Mahavan is called Gokul because go (cows), gopas (cowherd men) and gopis (cowherd ladies) live there…   

Putana disguised herself as the mother, smeared her breasts with deadly poison and came here at Nanda Bhavan. Directly in front of Yasoda and Rohini, she picked up sleeping baby Krisna from the cradle, put Him on her lap and began to breast-feed Him. Krisna sucked out the deadly poison together with her life force, thus liberating her from the body of raksasi demoness…

Once Kamsa sent a demon Trnavarta to Gokul to kill Krisna. Trnavarta assumed the form of whirlwind and seized baby Krisna who was sitting beside mother Yasoda and flew into the sky…

…Krisna caught his neck as any baby might do, but this chocked the demon. Trnavarta’s eyes popped out from their sockets, and he fell to the earth and died.
display enlarged image in new windowdisplay enlarged image in new window
display enlarged image in new window Another time Krisna was sleeping in a cradle in a shade under a cart while mother Yasoda was busy preparing His birthday ceremony. Demon Sakatasura entered into the cart and began to press it to the ground wanting to kill the baby. Krishna, however, made a joyous cry and with the kick of the His foot, easily killed the demon…
display enlarged image in new window …In his previous life, Sakatasura was Utkaca, the son of demon Hiranyaksa. Once he had trampled and destroyed the green trees and creepers in Lomasa Risi’s asram. The Risi angrily cursed him: “May you become bodiless!” Utkaca fell at the feet of the Risi begging forgiveness and Risi said: “You will be liberated by the touch of Krisna’s feet during the rein of Vaivasvata Manu.”
display enlarged image in new window …In his previous life, Sakatasura was Utkaca, the son of demon Hiranyaksa. Once he had trampled and destroyed the green trees and creepers in Lomasa Risi’s asram. The Risi angrily cursed him: “May you become bodiless!” Utkaca fell at the feet of the Risi begging forgiveness and Risi said: “You will be liberated by the touch of Krisna’s feet during the rein of Vaivasvata Manu.”
Krisna’s childhood pastimes up to the age of three years also took place in Gokul – Mahavan.

BHADRAVANAM:- The 2 asuras,Vatasuran who disguised as a calf and Kabithasuran who had taken the form of Vilam pazham tree ( wood apple tree) were killed here.

VENU KOOPAM:- With HIS divine will, Krishna summoned all the sacred waters to purify HIMSELF from killing a cow (Vatasuran had disguised as a cow). (Same reference given for Manasi Ganga too)

 

 

display enlarged image in new window Utkhal (“grinding mortar”) is in a small hut, 1 km from the town of Mahavan. Once Yasoda was churning yogurt and singing about Krisna’s pastimes. This waked up baby Krisna and feeling hungry, Krisna searched for His mother. Yasoda began to breast-feed Him, but meanwhile, the milk on the fire began to boil over. She put Krisna on the floor and went after the milk. Krisna was still unsatisfied and in uncontrollable anger broke the churning pot with the stone…
display enlarged image in new window …He trampled through the spilled yogurt and climbed unto the upside-down grinding mortar, feeding the monkeys and crows with the pieces of butter. Yasoda Maiya saw this and began to smile. Creeping up behind Krisna, she went to catch Him, but He caught sight of Her, jumped off the mortar and fled. Yasoda ran faster and caught Him from behind…
display enlarged image in new window …To punish Him, she tried to bind Him to the mortar, but the rope was mysteriously always too short. When Krisna saw His mother fatigued, He agreed to be bound. Krisna and His sakhas began to drag grinding mortar. He was heading for the place where Nalakuvara and Manigriva stood in the form of the Yamala-Arjuna trees…
display enlarged image in new window … Those sons of Kuvera were cursed in their previous lives to become trees because of their frivolous behavior in front of the sage Narada. Krisna was able to pass through the trees but the mortar stocked horizontally between them. When the Lord pulled with the rope, the trees fell on the ground and two shining personalities emerged from them offering prayers to the baby Krisna.
display enlarged image in new window Which ones are the Yamala-Arjuna trees?
display enlarged image in new window …This ones?…
display enlarged image in new window …Or those?…
display enlarged image in new window We can assure you – none of them!

The sons of Kuvera are already liberated. Just Vrajavasis have planted new trees in the places where Nalakuvara and Manigriva were delivered from their bodies.

display enlarged image in new window Nandagopala’s well is across the road from here. The yellow turret behind the tree is Main Temple at Nanda Bhavan.
display enlarged image in new window On the road between Utkhal and Nanda Bhavan is the ancient Yogamaya temple.
display enlarged image in new window Some say that this is the birthplace of Balaram, others say that Yogamaya was born here.
display enlarged image in new window There are Deities of Vasudev and Rohini and apparently baby Balaram.
display enlarged image in new window There is also a Deity of Yogamaya in the middle.
display enlarged image in new window Brahmanda-ghat
About 2 km south is Brahmanda-ghat on the bank of the Yamuna River.
display enlarged image in new window While playing with the cowherd men, Bala Krisna ate dirt. The boys saw it and told mother Yasoda about it. Balaram verified that it is true and she went to her boy asking: “Have you eaten dirt?”
“No Maiya, I haven’t.”
“All right Kanhaiya, open Your mouth and show me!”
“You can see, Maiya,” said Krisna and opened His mouth…
display enlarged image in new window …Looking into Krisna’s mouth, Yasoda became dumbstruck. She saw countless planets, universes, Brahmas, Visnus and Mahesas, the entire universal creation. She closed her eyes in fear and thought: “What I am seeing?”
display enlarged image in new window “It is someone’s mystic power or illusion or I am becoming a crazy woman?”
Upon opening her eyes she saw her baby Krisna on her lap. She had returned to her house and called brahmanas to pacify the Supreme Lord and invoke His blessing just to make sure no wrong might come from this strange incident to her son Krisna.
display enlarged image in new window Although Yasoda Maiya had directly witnessed Krisna’s bhagavatta in the form of countless universes, she never accepted Krisna as Bhagavan, Supreme Lord. Her parental love vatsalya-prema blossomed rather than weakened during this incident. When Devaki and Vasudev saw Krisna’s four-armed form, their vatsalya-prema weakened. Devaki and Vasudev folded their hand and began to pray to Krisna…
display enlarged image in new window …In Vraja, however, the prema of the vrajavasis does not weaken even when Krisna manifest Himself as Bhagavan. Their sweet mood toward Krisna never diminishes because they see HIM as their son, friend or lover.

BRAHMANDA GHAT:- Where the showed the entire Universe to Mother Yasodha who was chastising HIM for having eaten mud.

UKAL BANDHAN:- Here the was tied to a mortar by Yasodha. Thus, HE came to be known as “Damodaran”

RAMAN RETI :- where Krishna played with his friends. We can find Raman Reti at Vrindavan and Gokulam too.

display enlarged image in new window Another time, Bala Krisna was playing with the cowherd boys and after while they started to tease Him about being blackish. They said that He might not be the son of Nanda and Yasoda, since they are both fair complexioned. “Nanda Baba must have found you in some hollow in the tree and picked you up as his son.” Krisna stopped playing and went home weeping.
display enlarged image in new window “Dama and Sudama were saying that I am not your son, since you are fair complexioned and I am blackish!” said Krisna to Yasoda Maiya, when He had calmed down.
Hearing this Yasoda started to laugh: “Lala, who else is saying this?”
“I take my oath before the Supreme Lord Narayan that You are my only son. Do not worry, I will chastise those naughty boys.”
display enlarged image in new window …Nanda Baba was in realty fair complexioned and Yasoda was slightly darker in hue and because Kanhaiya was somewhat darker than His mother, boys were teasing Him about it.
display enlarged image in new window And the place that treasures these pastimes can still be seen today.

 

 

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