We set of for Mathura, bright and early as usual. Guru Maharaj mentioned that he did not know Mathura very well so He would be referring to the book. Our first stop was Vishraam Ghat. Lord Varaha came here to take bathe and rest after killing Hiranyaksha. Krishna and Balarama also came to rest here after killing Kamsa. Lord Caitanya also bathed here. Guru Maharaja said that normally the pandas are very aggressive here – they empty out the devotee’s pockets and we are not allowed to take photos. But today we were lucky. Guru Maharaj very often encourages us to give donations. He said there were nice devotees and it will free us from our burden of karma.
We then went to the Yamaraja Yamuna temple. Yamaraj, the Lord of Death, and Yamuna Devi, the sacred river coming from the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, are brother and sister. Guru Marahaj said that if we get the mercy of Yamuna Devi, we do not need the mercy of Yamaraja. He told the famous story of Ajamila. We went to many temples in this area, the most popular one being the Rukmini Dwarakadish temple. There was a picture of Krishna and Balarama entering Mathura on elephants. Next to that was the head of Kamsa. Guru
Maharaj said that it looked like someone punched Kamsa in the nose. Guru Maharaj said that there were not that many places here that were connected with Krishna lila. Some places were connected to Lord Varaha, there is the place where Krishna killed Kamsa and also the prison where Vasudev and Devaki were held.
We went to the Sveta Varaha temple (white Lord Varaha). It is not a regular temple, it is a private house and usually non hindus are not allowed in. But we were all allowed to take darshan there. Here the deity is exactly as described in the Srimad Bhagavatam – Lord Varaha is holding the earth up, under his right foot is Hiranyaksha and He is in his four armed form.
We then went to the Adi Varaha temple. This is the oldest temple in Mathura. Srila Bhakti Siddanta Saraswati Thakur visited this temple. Kapila Muni had manifested this deity from his mind. In satya yuga he gave this deity to Lord Indra and he worshipped Him in the heavenly planets. Then when Ravana was victorious in battle, he took Adi Varaha to Lanka. When Lord Rama defeated Ravana, he crowned Vibhishan as king. As the king, Vibhishan offered everything in his kingdom to Lord Rama. Lord Rama said “I don’t need anything. I just want the deity of Lord Varaha.” He took Lord Varaha to Ayodhya and worshipped him for 110 years. Shatrughana brought Lord Varaha to Mathura when he came and defeated Lavanasura. He established
a Kingdom and installed Lord Varaha there. This deity has been worshipped here for 1000’s of years since treat yuga. He is also Lal Varaha. This is the most ancient deities and most ancient pilgrimage site in Mathura. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur signed the guest book at this temple. Don’t forget to ask the pujari for darshan when you are here next time.
We then went to the temple of Lord Balarama. We had nice darshan of Lord Balarama and Revati. Guru Maharaj was chanting “dauji ke bhaiya, Krishna ke naya”. We visited Pippaleshwar Mahadev temple. He is the presiding deity of western Mathura and He was worshipped by Pipala Muni. We also visited the Rangeshwar Mahadev temple. This Siva linga was worshipped by Kamsa and was the personal deity of Kamsa. There is also Nandi, Badra Kali, Durga Devi, Giri Govardhan, Hanuman and Lord Shiva.
We then went to Kamsa tila – the arena where Krishna killed Kamsa. Krishna and Balarama were called to come from Vrindavana Akrura brought Krishna and Balarama. They met different people as they arrived. First was Kamsa’s washerman – Guru Maharaj said “dobi-walla, machine walla”. He was holding a
lot of Kamsa’s clothes that were cleaned and ironed. Krishna approached him saying “those are nice looking clothes. Wouldn’t you like to give some to my brother and my friends?” The dobiwalla was very arrogant saying “who do you boys think you are? These clothes are for the King. You boys should go to the forest and get leaves and bark and use that as clothes”. He was a big rascal. Krishna did not appreciate that. Ha gave him a slap. Guru Maharaj pointed out that when Krishna slaps, that is something else. The dobiwalla’s head fell onto the ground. Guru Maharaj joked “good night, das vidanya”. Guru Maharaj also said that in some parts of the world we call it a “what happened?” Then Krishna met some others. The next was a florist.
He had a big basket of flowers 4 Kamsa and again Krishna asked for flowers for themselves. This person was a nice devotee. He made beautiful garlands and gave to Krishna and Balarama and the cowherd boys. Krishna blessed him to be happy for the rest of his life and said that at the end of this life you will come back to Goloka Vrindavana. Guru Maharaj explained that the dobiwalla performed austerities for many lives to see God. Finally he got to see God but because he was not a devotee, he had a hard heart, so when he
saw God he did not appreciate Him. He offended him. Krishna killed a big elephant – Kauvaliapida. He came here and walked to the centre. Different people saw him in different ways. The old saw him as an innocent boy (parental rasa). They thought is was so unfair that the little boy had to fight with big wrestlers. The young girls saw Krishna and Balarama as the most handsome young men. The wrestlers saw them as death personified. Different people were seeing the same Krishna and Balarama in different ways in terms of attitudes. The impersonalists were there and saw them as two lights crossing the arena – believing that God is light. The Bhuddists think that all is nothing and nothing is everything. Guru Maharaj said that this sounds like a good mantra : They saw Krishna and Balarama as nothing. Then they started to fight the wrestlers – Mushtika and Chanura. Balarama fought with Mushtika and Krishna fought with Chanura. They smashed them into the ground. Everyone was excited. Krishna went to the royal stand, jumped onto the royal stand, grabbed Kamsa by the hair, dragged him onto the ground, jumped on his chest and gave him a “what happened” : Then he punched him in the face and that was the end of Kamsa. Therefore this is a
special place as Krishna killed Kamsa. Guru Maharaj said that if we take shelter of Krishna, he will kill our Kamsa-like material desires. We may think that our material desires are quite nice. We may think “I am not like Kamsa”. We may think I want to enjoy just a little and I am not big enjoyer of the world and I have good material desires. BUT Guru Maharaj said – all are representatives of Kamsa.
We went to the Keshavji temple – Krsna Janam Bhumi – the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Before we arrived there we were warned not to take bags, watches, cellphones, cameras, not even Guru Maharaj’s danda and bead bags, etc as it would not be allowed past the security check point. They were not kidding. The ladies had to enter separately from the men and we were thoroughly searched and we even had to walk through metal detectors. I somehow managed to get past with my watch on! Please remember this if ever you find
yourself there again. Oh boy! This must be an important place. And it is.
As we enter the temple on the right we have Lord Jagganatha, Lord Balarama and Lady Subadra taking darshan of Lord Caitanya directly opposite them. On the Main alter we have Sri Sri Radha Keshavji with Shankaracarya (Guru Maharaj said that he managed to sneak in somehow) and Vyasadev. The rest of the temple is mostly like a museum – there is a little area with the 9 planets and on one wall there is the entire Srimad Bhagavatam. We followed Guru Maharaj around the temple as he explained each painting. The paintings in this temple are outstanding. My personal favourites were the paintings of all the cowherd boys and the gopis and Guru Maharaj could recognise each of them and called out their names.
Then we went down to the prison cell where Krishna was born. This is located directly underneath a mosque. There were a group of devotees having bhajans in the prison cell. It is pretty dark and we didn’t spend much time in there. From there we went into a tunnel shaped like Agasura – where different pastimes were depicted on the inside. On the outside there was a wonderful scene with Krishna and the cowherd boys and gopis.
After that grand tour, we returned to Vrindavana, a little earlier than most days and we all went directly to Radha Gokulananda temple where lunch was being prepared for us all. After relishing a massive feast, whoever wanted to, went with Guru Maharaj down to Kesi-ghat and the Yamuna where he performed the last rites ceremony of 10 departed souls. Guru Maharaj said some prayers, performed an aarti ceremony for the Yamuna, we had some kirtan and a few words were said about each devotee. There was a submersion of the
ashes into the Yamuna. The ceremony was eve more special having Guru Maharaj perform the entire thing by himself. Guru Maharaj spoke from Bhagavat Gita, Chapter 2 – about the eternal nature of the soul. He said
that our time is coming and we hope that some devotees will do a nice ceremony for us on the banks of Yamuna. He said that in the Padma Purana it is stated that if the ashes of a person is placed into the Yamuna, even though that person passed away months ago, simply by the ashes of that person being placed in the Yamuna, he will attain liberation. Guru Maharaj stressed that it was extremely beneficial to do this. Guru Maharaj also said that in Bhagavat Gita it is stated that by rendering devotional service we are accepted by Krishna. Even if we do a little devotional service is benefical, like Ajamila, he did extremely little, hardly any devotional service at all. He even chanted the names of the Lord indirectly and Srimad Bhagavatam tells us what a wonderful future he created for himself. Sukadev Goswami said that if Ajamila could create a bright future, what to speak to those that chant the holy names sincerely. Guru Maharaj ended of by saying
that “Krishna listens and reciprocates with devotees”.
That brought an end to another wonderful day of parikrama with Guru Maharaj. We are starting to see how wonderful and enlivening it is to visit these holy pastime places and each day we all just look forward to the next day’s events.
Syamarani devi dasi