We walked in the company of our Brijwasi friends. We were listening to the melodious songs of Brij interspersed with stories of the great saints who live in Radhakund and Govardhan and spend their time immersed in chanting and meditating on the yugal jodi, being blessed to witness the intimate leelas of Radha and Krishna. The sun was about to set and our eyes got attracted to a beautiful lake beside an amazingly beautiful architectural monument in Rajasthani style with Kadamba trees and beautiful flowers. The setting rays of the sun reflected in the tranquil water of this lake called ‘Kusum Sarovar’ and created a heavenly sight. Krishna used to play hide and seek here with his mischievous friends, and Shrimati Radharani used to come here to pluck flowers with the desire to meet Krishna! Once while collecting flowers, Radharani’s dress got stuck in the thorns of the bushes and Krishna, dressed as the gardener of that place came to help her. We all took as many pictures as we could of this beautiful lake and continued our parikrama.
The next temple that caught our attention was ‘Daan Ghati’. Lord Krishna is known for his various leelas that attract everyone’s attraction. One of his fascinating Leela is “Daan Leela”. Daan Ghati is a pass to cross to the other side of Govardhan. The gopis had to pass through this stretch to sell their milk and butter. Krishna with his friends blocked this pass and wouldn’t allow the gopis to go through without paying tax. When the gopis refused, Krishna demanded that as the King of Brij he had a right to the tax. So, the gopis were forced to give a small portion of all the stock they carried. We prayed for Krishna to likewise forcefully take away our ego and resumed our parikrama.
yatraiva krsno vrshabhanu-putrya danam grhitum kalaham vitene
sruteh sprha yatra mahaty atah sri-govardhano me dishatam abhistam
(Trying to collect a toll, Krishna quarrelled there with King Vrishabhanu’s daughter. The Vedas yearn to listen to that quarrel. May Govardhana Hill fulfill my desire.)
As we advanced, we came across another pond called ‘Maansi Ganga’. The story of this place is quite interesting. Krishna was asked to take a dip in the Ganga to relieve him of all the sins he had accumulated by killing so many demons who came in various forms. Krishna replied, “No, I don’t want to leave Brij. I will bring Ganga here.” This holy Maansi Ganga Kund still exists and beside it is a temple of Mansi Devi- considered as one of the four main goddesses, the other three being Vrinda Devi, Yogamaya Devi, and Pataleshwari Devi.
The next attractive temple on our Parikrama Marg was the 'Mukharvind'. Mukharvind Temple is a big rock formation at the base of Govardhan. It is known to be the place of appearance of Giriraj ji. Also known as Shringar Sthali, this is a holy place many saints and seers worshipped. So, we find many baithaks around like Gosainji’s Tulsi Kiyara, Mahaprabhuji’s Tulsi Kiyara, Shri Gosainji’s Baithakji, Shri Girdharji Baithakji, GokulNathJi’s temple, Shri Madanmohanji’s Temple, Shri Mahaprabhuji’s Baithak, Shri Chandramaji’s Temple, Dandvati Shila and many others. Every place has its own sacred relevance and is filled with divine vibrations and energy. When Sri Krishna left Brij Dham and went to Nathdwara for further duties, the Brijvasis were devastated. On request of the Gopis, Shi Krishna decided to come to sleep here for six months from Vasant Panchami to Dussehera. After the Sandhya Aarti at his Nathdwara temple, he comes to the Mukharvind Mandir to give Shayan Darshans. During this period, his presence is very much felt by the receptive devotees. Dandvati shila, near Mukarvind, is believed to have been six feet tall when ShreeNathji went to Mewar. Due to the curse given by Pulastya Muni to Giriraj Govardhan it reduces in size each day. The Dandvati shila is already in the earth and so the land around it has been dug so that the darshans are visible to the devotees. On Govardhan Puja, just the day after Deepavali, Annakut is organized here where hundreds of devotees offer milk, food, varieties of sweets and flowers to the deity.
There are many leelas of Sri Krishna in Govardhan. Here, Sri Krishna lifted the Govardhan hill with his little finger. The fingerprints of Sri Balram are inscribed on one rock. When Surabhi, the cow came with Indra for the darshan of Sri Krishna, milk started flowing from her udder which became inscribed on a rock, which is also visible. Also seen are the hoofs of Shyamkarna, a horse that accompanied Indra, and the footprints of Airavata, Indra’s elephant.
The Mukharvind is the lotus face of Sri Govardhan. If we visualise Govardhan in the form of a sitting cow, his hind part is the Puchari village or puchari ka lota. The cow has his neck turned to place his face near his stomach, which is the town of Govardhan. His two eyes are Radha-Kund and Shyam-Kund.
It took us almost six hours to complete the parikrama and arrive at Radha Kund. What a sight to behold! Devotees sat in groups chanting and singing bhajans. The night was illuminated with the lamps offered that were gliding merrily in the water of Radha Kund. The atmosphere was charged up and reverberated with spiritual energy as we bowed down and completed our Giriraj Parikrama.
Image Courtesy: Shyama Mohanty