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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Vraja Mandala > Vraja Mandala Parikrama > 56. GOKULA (Mahavana)

56. GOKULA (Mahavana)


Gokula is where Krishna lived in the house of Nanda and Yasoda, along with Balarama. Lord Balarama, the older brother of Krishna, took birth here from Rohini, the wife of Vasudeva. Gokula is in the forest of Mahavana. Vasudeva carried Krishna here from Mathura. He crossed the Yamuna at Kole-Ghata. The village that Old Gokula is located in is now called Mahavana.Krishna spent His early childhood here and had many pastimes here. The pastimes of Damodara, the stealing of butter, and other childhood pastimes took place here.There are small temples on the way up the hill that mark the places where Krishna killed the demons Putana and Trinavarta, The bhajan kutir of Sanatana Gosvami is across from the entrance of the Nanda Bhavan Temple. Thakurani-Ghata, in New Gokula, a few km north of Old Gokula, is said to be the place where Krishna was brought from Mathura to Gokula.Nanda Maharaja celebrated the birth of Krishna by giving in charity 18 lakhs (1.8 million) cows. Each cow was wearing a pearl necklace and golden ornaments. He also gave the brahmanas a large amount of jewelry and grains. Garga Muni did the name giving ceremony for Krishna and Balarama very secretly here in a cow barn, so Kansa would not notice.Lord Caitanya came here. When he entered Gokula, he became overwhelmed with ecstatic love upon seeing the place of Krishna's birth festival."Lord Krishna exhibits His most astonishing qualities during His childhood pastimes in Vrindavana, where He steals butter from the cowherd ladies, dances with His girlfriends, and plays with His cowherd friends as their most dear companion. Although appearing like ordinary human activities, such as sublime pastimes embody Lord Krishna's immeasurable and innumerable transcendental qualities, which are the life and soul of the pure devotees." {Srimad Bhag. 10,14.7 Purport)


How to Get Here: This place is about 13 km southeast of Mathura on the other side of the Yamuna River. Gokula (Mahavana) is close to the Yamuna River. It takes an hour by car to get here from Vrindavana. It is 3 km past the town of New Gokula. There are just a few buildings here. Mostly everyone in the area knows where it is located. Raval and Baldeo (Dauji) can easily be visited on the same excursion. To get to this place you should ask the taxi driver to bring you to Mahavana (Old Gokula) and not just Gokula.





There are two places called Gokula. One is Old Gokula, which is now called Mahavana, and the other is new Gokula, or the present town of Gokula. New Gokula is a fairly big town. New Gokula also has a temple named Nanda Bhavan and on the temple wall is a sign that says this is the real Nanda Bhavan temple. Many people are brought to New Gokula and told that it is the real place.

When you park to go to Old Gokula you will see nothing 4 around you but a few road side stands and a path going up the hill to the Nanda Bhavan temple. The places described in this book are in Old Gokula (Mahavana).Getting Around: When you arrive in Gokula, you will be basically in the middle of nowhere, next to a hill. Usually the first place you will go is the Nanda Bhavan temple, which is on top of the hill. When you enter the temple complex, you will see the temple with 84 ancient pillars to your left. Directly next to the entrance of the temple compound (on the left) is the Revati-Balarama temple.Directly across the path from the entrance to the Nanda Bhavan temple compound is the bhajana kutir of Sanatana Gosvami. In the same building there is the Patala Devi temple, which is about 20 feet underground.From the Nanda Bhavan temple, if you proceed down the hill about 40 m (120 feet), you will come to a small temple on your right that marks the spot where the Trinavarta demon was said to have been killed by Krishna. Across the path from this temple is a dirt road. In this temple is a Deity of Krishna and Deities of Laksmi and Narayana. If you proceed down the hill another 40m (120 feet) you will come to the temple that marks the spot where Putana is said to have been killed by Krishna. Another 30m (90 feet) down the hill is a Jagannatha temple on the left. Immediately after this temple (Im) there is a path that leads up a hill about 100m to the Yogamaya temple. This is said to be the birthplace of Balarama. Others say it is the birthplace of Yogamaya.If you then drive down the road towards Brahmanda-Ghata, after about . half a km, you come to Yamalarjuna Banjana (Utkhal) on your right. Further down this same road, another km, is Brahmanda-Ghata.

Krishna Comes to Gokula


"Being ordered by the Supereme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva attempted to take his son from the delivery room, and exactly at that time, a daughter was bom of Nanda and Yasoda. She was Yogamaya, the internal potency of the Lord. By the influence of this internal potency, Yogamaya, all the residents of Kansa's palace, especially the doorkeepers, were overwhlmed with deep sleep, and all the palace doors opened, although they were barred and shackled with iron chains."The night was very dark, but as soon as Vasudeva took Krishna on his lap and went out, he could see everything just as in the sunlight."When Vasudeva was carrying Krishna, the darkness of the night disappeared. AU the prison doors automatically opened. At the same time there was thunder in the sky and severe rainfall. While Vasudeva was carrying his son Krishna in the falling rain. Lord Sesa in the shape of a serpent spread his hoods over the head of Vasudeva so that he would not be hampered by the rainfall. Vasudeva came onto the bank of the Yamuna and saw that the water of the Yamuna was roaring with waves and that the whole span was full of foam. Still, in that furious feature, the river gave passage to Vasudeva to cross, just as the great Indian Ocean gave a path to Lord Rama when He was building a bridge over the gulf. In this way Vasudeva crossed the River Yamuna. On the other side, he went to the place of Nanda Maharaja situated in Gokula, where he saw that all the cowherd men were fast asleep. He took the opportunity of silently entering into the house of Yasoda, and without difficulty he replaced his son, taking away the baby girl newly bom in the house of Yasoda. Then, after entering the house very silently and exchanging the boy with the girl, he again returned to the prison of Kansa and silently put the girl on the lap of Devaki. He again clamped the shackles on himself so that Kansa could not recognize that so many things had happened."Mother Yasoda understood that a child was born of her, but because she was very tired from the labour of childbirth, she was fast asleep. When she awoke, she could not remember whether she had given birth to a male or female child." {Krishna Book, Chap. 3).


"Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura discusses that Krishna appeared simultaneously as the son of Devaki and as the son of Yasoda, along with the spiritual energy Yogamaya. As the son of Devaki he first appeared as Vishnu, and because Vasudeva was not in the position of pure affection for Krishna, Vasudeva worshiped his son as Lord Vishnu. Yasoda however, pleased her Son Krishna without understanding His Godhead. This is the difference between Krishna as the son of Yasoda and as the son of Devaki. This is explained by Visvanath Chakravati on the authority of Harivamsa." (Srimad Bhagvatam 10.3.268 purport)


Nanda Bhavan Temple and Chaurasi Khambha


This is where Krishna and Balarama lived with Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda. There are big Deities here of Nanda Maharaja on the left. Mother Yasoda on the right and Lord Balarama in the middle. Below them is a Deity of Krishna, Who is in the form of a baby and is seen swinging in a cradle.The house of Nanda Maharaja was built over 5,000 years ago by the architect Visvakarma. It is on the top of the hill at Old Gokula (Mahavana).It has 84 pillers which is why it is called Chaurasi Khambha. Chaurasi means "84". The pillars in this temple are said to be from the original house of Nanda Maharaja. There are 8,400,000 species of life within the maternal world. Each of these pillars is said to symbolize 100,000 species of life, thus representing the total material existence.To the left of the entrance of the temple compound is a temple dedicated to Balarama and Revati (the wife of Balarama in Dwarka).


Yogamaya Temple (Balarama's Birthplace)


If you go up the steps next to the Jagannatha temple you come to this temple. In this temple are Deities of Vasudeva and Rohini and apparently baby Balarama. Vasudeva is the father and Rohini the mother of Balarama. There is also a deity of Yogamaya in this temple. Some people say this is the birthplace of Balarama and other say it is the birthplace of Yogamaya. Yogamaya is the girl child that was born of Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda. She is also known as Durga.


Killing Trinavarta


One day, shortly after the Janmastami ceremony, when mother Yasoda was putting her baby on her lap, the baby felt too heavy, and being unable to carry Him, she unwillingly placed Him on the ground. After a while, she became engaged in household affairs.At that time, one of the servants of Kamsa, known as Trinavarta, as instructed by Kamsa, appeared there in the shape of a whirlwind. He picked the child up on his shoulders and raised a great dust storm all over Vrindavana. Because of this, everyone's eyes became densely dark so that no one could see himself or anyone else.During this great catastrophe, mother Yasoda could not see her baby, who was taken away by the whirlwind, and she began to cry very piteously. She fell down on the ground exactly like a cow who has lost her calf. When mother Yasoda was so piteously crying, all the cowherd women immediately came and began to look for the baby, but they were disappointed and could not find Him. The Trinavarta demon who took baby Krishna on his shoulder went high in the sky, but the baby assumed such a weight that suddenly he could not go any further, and he had to stop his whirlwind activities. Baby Krishna made Himself heavy and began to weigh down the demon. The Lord caught hold of his neck. Trinavarta felt the baby to be as heavy as a big mountain, and he tried to get out of His cluthes, but he was unable to do so, and his eyes popped out from their sockets. Crying very fiercely, he fell down to the ground of Vrindavana and died. The demon fell exactly like Tripurasura, who was pierced by the arrow of Lord Siva. He hit the stone ground, and His limbs were smashed. His body became visible to all the inhabitants of Vrindavana.


Killing Sakatasura and Putana


When Krishna was a small baby He killed the demoness Putana, when she smeared poison on her breast to kill him. She let Him suck her breast and instead of the poison on her breast killing Him, He sucked out her life air. Her dead body extended for 12 miles and smashed all the trees to pieces. The residents of Braj a cut the gigantic body of Putana into pieces and piled it up with wood for burning. When all the limbs of Putana's body were burning, the smoke emanating from the fire created a good aroma. This aroma was due to her being killed by Krishna."Baby Krishna had been placed underneath a hand-driven cart, and while He was kicking His legs, He accidently touched the wheel of the cart, and it collapsed. The wheel of the cart separated from the axle, and the spokes of the wheel were all broken and scattered hither and thither" {Krishna Book, Chap.7). At this time the Sakatasura demon was concealed in the cart and Krishna killed him.


Yamalarjuna Bhajana (Utkhal-Grinding Mortar)


This is where the Damodara pastime took place and where Krishna delivered Nalakuvara and Manigriva, the sons of Kuvera, the treasurer of the demigods, by knockng over the twin arjuna trees.

Utkhal is where Krishna was tied to the grinding mortar by mother Yasoda. Embedded in the stone here is a small grinding mortar. Nanda Maharaja's well is directly across the road from here (about 50 feet away). You have to climb up a small hill, 15 feet high, to the small building next to the well.


How to Get Here: The grinding mortar (utkhal) is in a small hut-like concrete building, about half a km from the Nanda Bhavan temple in Old Gokula. If you just left the Nanda Bhavan Temple going toward Brahmanda-Ghata, the first buildings that you come to on the right is this place. From the outside this place looks like someone's home. This is the building next to Nanda Maharaja's well.


Damodra Pastime


"Mother Yasoda took her son on her lap and pushed the nipples of her breasts into His mouth. And while Krishna was sucking the milk, she was smiling enjoying the beauty of her child's face. Suddenly, the milk which was on the oven began to boil over. Just to stop the milk from spilling, mother Yasoda at once put Krishna aside and went to the oven. Left in that state by His mother, Krishna became very angry, and his lips and eyes became red in rage. He pressed His teeth and lips, and taking up a piece of stone, He immediately broke the butter pot. He took butter out of it, and with false tears in His eyes, he began to eat the butter in a secluded place."In the meantime, mother Yasoda returned to the churning place after setting the overflowing milk pan in order. She saw the broken pot in which the churning yoghurt was kept. Since she could not find her boy, she concluded that the broken pot was His work. She bagan to smile as she thought, 'The child is very clever. After breaking the pot He has left this place, fearing punishment.'After she sought all over, she found a big wooden grinding mortar which was kept upside down, and she found her son sitting on it. He was taking butter which was hanging from the ceiling on a swing, and He was feeding it to the monkeys. She saw Krishna looking this way and that way in fear of her because He was conscious of His naughty behaviour. After seeing her son so engaged, she very silently approached Him from behind. Krishna, however, quickly saw her coming at Him with a stick in her hand, and immediately He got down from the grinding mortar and began to flee in fear."Mother Yasoda then chased Krishna and eventually caught him. She then attempted to tie him up with a rope to a wooden grinding mortar. But when she tried to bind Him, she found that the rope she was using was too short - by two inches. She gathered more ropes from the house and added to it, but at the end she found the same shortage. In attempting to bind her son, she became tired. She was perspiring., and the garland on her head fell down. Then Lord Krishna appreciated the hard labour of His mother, and being compassionate upon her, He agreed to be bound up by the ropes. Krishna, playing as a human child in the house of mother Yasoda, was performing His own selected pastimes" {Krishna Book, Chap. 9)."According to Srila Sanatana Gosvami's Vaisnava-Tosani, the incident of Krishna breaking the pot of yoghurt, and being bound by mother Yasoda took place on Dipawali Day or Dipa-malika. This festival is celebrated very gorgeously in the month of Kartika by fireworks and lights." (Srimad Bhag. 10.9.2 purport)


Pastimes of Nalakuvara and Manigriva


The pastimes of pulling down the twin Arjuna trees took place in Gokula. After being cursed by the great saage Narada the sons of Kuvera. Nalakuvara and Manigriva, took birth in Gokula as Arjuna trees. They were cursed because they did not cover themselves when the sage Narada Muni passed them while they were enjoying themselves with beautiful women."Although the child Krishna was bound up to the wooden mortar, He began to proceed towards the growing trees in order to fulfill the prophecy of His great devotee Narada. Lord Krishna knew that Narada was His great devotee and that the trees standing before Him as twin Arjuna trees were actually the sons of Kuvera, Nalakuvera and Manigriva. T must now fulfill the words of my great devotee Narada, He thought. He then began to proceed through the passage between the two trees. Although he was able to pass through the passage between the two trees, the large wooden mortar stuck horizontally between the trees.Taking advantage of this, Lord Krishna began to pull the rope which was tied to the mortar. As soon as He pulled, with great strength, the two trees, with all branches and limbs, fell down immediately with a great sound. Out of the broken, fallen trees came two great personalities, shining like blazing fire. AU sides became illuminated and beautified by their presence. The two purified bodies immediately came before child Krishna and bowed down to offer their respects and prayers." {Krishna Book, Chap. 10).