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THE HISTORY OF VRNDAVANA DHAMA
When the Supreme Lord descends from the spiritual world to the earth for enacting His transcendental pastimes, He brings with Him His intimate associates, friends and servants along with various paraphernalia including His own abode. Just like a king when he goes to another country takes with him his ministers, secretaries, and bodyguards as part of his retinue.The Lord's abode, also called dhdma, manifested within the material world, is non-different from His original abode in the spiritual sky. It is in fact, an exact replica. To the mundane vision the Holy Dhama may appear like anywhere else, but to the pure devotees and perfect yogis, it is a completely spiritual place, saturated with its own transcen-dentally surcharged atmosphere.Five thousand years ago when the Supreme Lord in His original form as Krishna, advented Himself here on earth, this part of the world was ruled by the most cruel and sinful King Karhsa. This Kamsa had imprisoned his own father, Ugrasena, and usurped the throne of Mathura. With the help of other sinful and irreligious kings and some of his demoniac friends, Kamsa let loose a terrible reign of terror.
As it has been declared by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita:
To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the
principles of religion, 1 myself appear, millennium after millennium.
It was the Lord's divine plan to take birth in the dynasty of Bhoja kings at Mathura, choosing Kamsa's very own sister, the beautiful princess DevakI, who was a great devotee of the Lord, to play the part of His so-called earthly mother. Prior to Lord Krishna's appearance, King Kamsa had been warned by a prophetic voice from the sky that the eighth son of DevakI would kill him. Kamsa wasted no time in arresting DevakI and her husband Vasudeva, threw them into prison and one by one, murdered all their newborn babies.From the very beginning of His transcendental birth, Lord Krishna performed the most amazing super-human acts. He appeared before DevakI and Vasudeva as their eighth child in His four-armed form of Vishnu-murti. He then miraculously transformed Himself into a small baby. By divine will, baby Krishna was transferred from the prison cell of Kamsa, to the safety of Gokula, and the foster home of Yasoda Mayi and Nanda Maharaja, the king and queen of the cowherd men.The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, is called Bhagavan. This means He is full with six opulences; all strength, all beauty, all wealth, all fame, all knowledge and all renunciation. There is no one greater than God in these six opulences, even when He is playing as a small baby on the lap of His mother. The Lord is also called Yogesvara, or the master of all mystic powers.When Kamsa came to know that baby Krishna had escaped, he became furious and ordered all the new born children in the kingdom to be immediately slaughtered. When he understood somehow that Krishna was still alive, he sent a number of powerful demons in search of Krishna, with orders to kill Him immediately.Due to the attack of so many demoniac friends of King Kamsa, like Putana the witch, and Trnavarta the whirlwind demon, Nanda and Yasoda took Krishna from Gokula to Nandagram, where they found peace for some time.
As Krishna grew a little older, He used to go to the pasturing grounds with the cows and calves, accompanied by His cow¬herd boyfriends and Balarama, His elder brother whose mother was RohinI, another wife of Vasudeva.Throughout Krishna's life, so many demons tried to kill Him - Putana, Aghasura, Dhenuka, the poisonous serpent Kaliya, Pralamba, Kesi, Vyomasura, not forgetting king Kamsa. Each one failed however, and in turn was killed by Lord Krishna.When Krishna reached the age of six or seven, He became friendly with the beautiful young cowherd girls, the gopls of Vrndavana. They all worshipped Krishna as a great hero, due to His killing many demons. They also worshipped Him as the most beautiful person in creation, and all of them wanted to marry Him. All the yoxmggopls were deeply in love with Krishna, they all wanted to serve Him as much as they possibly could, they were not able to forget Krishna even for a moment- The most beautiful and qualified amongst the gopis was Srimatl Radharani, Krishna's most beloved and favorite of the gopl damsels. As Lord Sri Krishna is the source of all the incarnations of Vishnu, Radharani is the original source of all the goddesses of fortune (Laksmls). Just as Krishna descended from the spiritual world, Radharani also descended, along with 108 important gopls for offering different kinds of service to Lord Krishna. Devotional service to God, out of pure love, is the topmost activity for all living entities; even the great yogis aspire to be eternally engaged in the loving service of Krishna.There are a total of five Holy Dhamas of Lord Sri Krishna on earth, but the most important one is Sri Vrndavana Dhama, it is the highest and most super-excellent abode, where only the very intimate, transcendental loving pastimes are enacted by the Lord.
From material vision, the Holy Dhama has a radius of forty-two miles, with Mathura in the centre, and is known as the Vraja Mandala, which includes the twelve important forests, but the forest of Vrndavana is the top-most; Vrndavana means forest (vana) of Tulasi plants "(Vrnda).In this forest of Vrndavana, Lord Krishna enacted His most intimate pastimes with the gopls, the beautiful damsels of Vraja. In the evening, Krishna would come to the forest of Vrndavana and play on His transcendental flute, thus calling all the beautiful gopls to come and enjoy the wonderful rasa-Ma, the divine dance of love. Lord Krishna would then dance in spiritual ecstasy with hundreds of beautifulgopw and each gopl would have the opportunity of personally dancing with Krishna. The gopls also exchanged intimate loving glances with Krishna, and were embraced by the Lord to their hearts content The wonderful pastimes of Lord Krishna unfolded one after another, day after day, enchanting the lives of all the inhabitants of Vrndavana. After attaining the age of fifteen, and accompanied by Balarama, Lord Krishna decided to go to Mathura to kill the evil King Kamsa and release his parents, DevakI and Vasudeva, who were still in captivity. Lord Krishna's going to Mathura, and later Dvaraka, form a whole new chapter in the transcendental life and pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna.Those interested in understanding more about the wonderful pastimes of Lord Krishna would do well to read the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, especially Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a summary study of Krishna's pastimes, as mentioned in the Stimad-Bhagavatam.
Vrindavana is 145 (80 miles) south of Delhi and 55 km (30 miles) north of Agra, just off the Delhi-Agra Road. It is 14 km or a 25 minute auto-rickshaw ride from Mathura. I has a small¬town type atmosphere with narrow streets and not much motor traffic. There are said to be over 5,000 temples in Vrindavana. This town is located within the forest of Vrindavana and is known as Pancakrosi Vrindavana."When Srila Sanatana Goswami came to Vrindavana there were no temples. The city was lying like an open field. Sanatana Gosvami sat down on the banks of the Yamuna, and after some time he gradually constructed the first temple; then other temples were constructed, and now the city is full of temples, numbering over five-thousand." (Caitanya Caritamrita Adi 7.160 purport) "Of all the temples in Vrindavana, ninety percent be long to the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect, the followers of the teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityanand, and seven are very famous." (Caitanya Caritamrita Adi 5.232 purport)