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A Call to Vrindavan's Sacred Shores -4

Teir Kadamb


As we jumped into the cab, excitement bubbled within us, eager to roam around the very place where Sri Krishna enacted a pastime in every nook and corner. Our eyes sparkled with anticipation as we looked at Didi, ready to soak in the stories she would share. On the way, the cab halted at a place called 'Teir Kadamb'. Situated on the road to Nandgaon, this spot was a serene sanctuary waiting to be discovered.

Through a small gate, we stepped into an open space that radiated peace and tranquility. Before us stood a majestic kadamb tree, its branches spreading wide like a natural canopy, inviting us to sit and bask in its cool shade. The air was thick with a deep sense of devotion, and the serenity of the place enveloped us like a warm embrace.

"Teir" means "to call," and "Kadamba" refers to a tree. This place holds great significance as it is believed that Shri Krishna used to call his cows while standing under the Kadamba tree. Even today, the Gopashtami festival is celebrated here in a very traditional manner, honoring this historic connection.

Shri Krishna would climb this very tree in the afternoons while grazing the cows. Perched among the branches, he would play his flute, its sweet, melodious notes weaving through the air, calling each cow by name. The sound was so enchanting, so irresistible, that the cows would gather beneath the tree, drawn by the magic of Krishna's music. With his jewelled necklace in hand, Shri Krishna would count each cow, ensuring none were missing. If any were absent, he would once again lift his flute to his lips, the names of the missing cows flowing through the notes. The spellbinding melody would echo through the fields, guiding the stragglers back to their beloved Krishna. Only when all the cows had assembled would Shri Krishna return home, leading his herd back to their cowsheds. The memory of that divine music lingered in the air, a timeless reminder of the bond between the divine cowherd and his cherished cows.

Teir Kadamb is not only known for its historical significance but also as the meditation site of Shri Roopa Goswami. Following the guidance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shri Roopa Goswami arrived in Braj and began his devotional practices, or Bhajan, here. Thus, Teir Kadamb is revered as the Bhajan Sthali of Shri Roopa Goswami. A small temple graces this sacred site, housing a portrait of Srila Roopa Goswami writing verses with Radharani standing beside him. The serene ambiance is maintained by a dedicated Sadhu who, upon our visit, graciously offered us prasad and recounted the enchanting tale of this divine place. Seeing our eagerness, the sadhu was kind enough to narrate the incident frozen in the image that is worshipped at this sacred site.

One day, Shri Roopa Goswami wished to prepare some kheer for a guest who had arrived at his place and also for his brother Sanatana Goswami but lacked the necessary provisions in his humble kutir. As soon as this thought crossed his mind, he heard a young gopi, a girl from the nearby village calling his name. She had brought him some kheer. Accepting the gifts, he turned around, only to find she had vanished, leaving him bewildered.

Later, after offering the bhoga when Srila Roopa Goswami served the prasad kheer to his brother, Sanatana Goswami savoured the prasada and experienced an unusual and enchanting joy. Curious, he asked Shri Roopa where the ingredients had come from. Shrila Roopa recounted the visit from the young gopi girl. Srila Sanatana Goswami, with tears of divine love streaming down his face, realized the truth. "Can't you recognize something when it is right before your eyes? It was Shri Radha Thakurani Herself who brought you milk and rice." Filled with humility, both Sanatana and Roopa Goswami continually lamented their unworthiness for having accepted service from Shri Radha Thakurani, whom they aspired to serve above all. From that day onwards, the prasada of 'Kheer' (sweet rice) is served daily at Teir Kadamb, commemorating this divine incident.

Srila Roopa Goswami was perpetually immersed in the divine leelas of Radharani and Krishna, meticulously documenting his spiritual experiences. Once, recalling an instance of separation between Shri Radha and Krishna, he became so overwhelmed with sorrow that his very breath caused boils to appear on the bodies of those it touched. Such was the depth of his devotion and the intensity of his spiritual emotions. Teir Kadamb remains a place of spiritual resonance, where Srila Roopa Goswami meditated and wrote most of his great works like Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, Bidagdha Madhava, Lalita Madhava, Ujjvala Nilamani and many more.

Our cab halted again, this time in front of a venerable temple, the Aasheshwar Mahadev Temple, cradled beside a beautiful pond whose blue water sparkled as the sun’s rays fell on them. The soft rustling of the leaves in the gentle breeze and the melodious chirping of birds filled the air. The temple, known for granting the deepest wishes of its devotees, stands merely a kilometer away from Nanda Bhavan, the abode of Nanda Maharaj and Mother Yashoda.

Legend whispers through the centuries that King Parjanya Maharaj, with unwavering devotion, worshipped Lord Shiva in this very temple. Each day, he would immerse himself in the sacred waters of the Aasheshwar Kund, the pond that lay peacefully beside the temple. Bholenath, moved by the king’s piety and dedication, bestowed upon him five sons and all the blessings that life could offer. The king’s lineage, blessed by this divine grace, eventually witnessed the birth of the Supreme Being himself, when Lord Krishna was born as Parjanya Maharaj’s grandson.

After Krishna’s birth, one day Mahadev himself decided to visit Yashoda Maiya’s beloved son, Shri Krishna. However, the sight of Mahadev, with his unruly hair tied in a topknot, serpents coiling freely around his neck, and his fierce appearance, was enough to terrify anyone, let alone a child. Yashoda Maiya, herself gripped by fear, was adamant about not letting this strange, fearsome figure near her precious son, worried that Krishna might be scared as well.

But Mahadev, driven by an overwhelming longing to meet the young deity, resolved to wait. He sat down in meditation, his heart brimming with the “aas” or hope of meeting Krishna. Because of this wish or ‘aas’ he got the name Ashweswar Mahadev. Meanwhile, inside the house, little Krishna, equally eager to meet Lord Shiva, began to cry inconsolably. His cry filled the air, distressing everyone around.

Desperate to soothe her child, Yashoda Maiya listened to the suggestion of some villagers who speculated that perhaps the mysterious baba who could calm Krishna. Reluctantly, but hopeful, Yashoda Maiya sent for the wandering sage. Upon entering the house and seeing the crying child, Mahadev's heart swelled with affection. As he picked up little Krishna, the baby stopped crying immediately, his tears drying up as if by some divine magic. The astonished villagers and Yashoda Maiya herself witnessed what seemed like a miracle. The bond between the formidable ascetic and the divine child was palpable.

After the divine darshan, with a few cherished pictures taken around the serene Aasheshwar Kund, we resumed our journey to Nandgaon.

  to be continued...

 Teir Kadamb

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