Vrindavan Remains Indebted To Chaitanya Dev

February 27th, 2017 | by Pranab Kumar Chakravarty


ILLUSTRIOUS founder of Gaudiya Vaishnav cult Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, born in Nabadwip in 1486 and mysteriously disappeared from this planet at the age of 48 from Puri, is credited for reviving several places in Vrindavana associated with Lord Krishna. Krishna is said to have lived there as a child when he was between three and ten years old. He left the place along with His elder brother Balaram for Mathura at the invite of maternal uncle, Kamsa, the then king of Mathura, for wrestling .After killing the hated and dreaded Kamsa, restoring the throne to his maternal grandfather and living there for 18 years and 4 months, he had to relocate with the people to establish a new kingdom at Dwarka as Jarasandha, the dreaded king of Magadha, father-in-law of Kamsa, had been repeatedly attacking Mathura for revenge. After Krishna’s departure, Gokul, Vrindavan as well as Mathura remained in the pages of the Mahabharata, The Bhagavad Gita as well as the Vishnu Purana. The people living there were scared of talking of these places and kept hidden several artefacts due to the presence of foreigner rulers.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is also credited with the practice of worshipping Lord Krishna along with mysterious Radha, had visited Mathura Vrindavan for the first time in 1515 along with his assistant Balaram Bhattacharjee   and stayed there for two months in Vrindavan looking for the places associated with Krishna and Radha.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu revived Vraja-Mandala-Parikrama meaning   pilgrimage throughout the greater Vrindavan area. Muslim invasions of Vrindavan had brought to a standstill the local devotees’ visits to the sacred sites. For safety, some deities had even been hidden. People gradually lost awareness of places like Radha Kunda and other places now visited by several thousand people annually. Lord Chaitanya’s Parikrama of Vrindavan began the re-establishment of the sacred places. When He visited Vrindavan, the famous Six Goswamis were not yet there, but they arrived later with the mission to locate the forgotten pastime places as directed by Him. The essence of Vrindavan was lost over time until the 16th century, when it was rediscovered by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Vrindavan celebrated Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s   first arrival in this holy city exactly 500 years ago. In 1515, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu along his followers searched for and found all shrines associated with Lord Krishna, thereby mapping all the important places of Shri Krishna’s magical Leelas or activities in and around Vrindavan.

A distinguished promoter for the Vaishnav school of Bhakti Yoga, Chaitanya propagated the worship of Shri Krishna, popularized the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra as well as composed the eight devotional prayers in Sanskrit named Siksastakam. Also called Gaura or Nimai, the followers of Gaudiya Sampradaya revered him as an Avatar of Lord Krishna Himself. Chaitanya is said to have spent his final years in Puri .During November 2015, temples, ashrams and various religious organizations in Vrindavan held activities functions focusing on the life and contribution of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One Special train brought followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu from Bengal to Vrindavan. The celebrations were conducted in the presence of President of India Pranab Mukherjee who also participated in a ritual at the upcoming world’s tallest Krishna temple – the Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir. A souvenir highlighting Radha Tatwa defined by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was released on the occasion.Acharya Padma Nabh Goswami, the President of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Braj Vrindavan Aagman Panchshati Mahotsava Samiti, said “When He (Mahapabhu) found that lion and deer were drinking water from the same pool, with lion not behaving violently on deer, he said this land must be Vrindavan as the incident itself conveys the message of love and harmony propagated by Lord Krishna,”.The credit for Yugal Upasana or duel worship of Radha and Krishna system goes to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who himself is called Avataar of Radha and  Krishna.Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.He  was of the view that Radha and Krishna are inseparable .  He also advised his disciples to find out the places where Radha and Krishna played ..”In fact credit for re-incarnation of Goverdhan, Radha Kund, Shyam Kund Akrur Ghat etc., goes to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,” Goswami added. Another person credited with re-establishing Vraja-Mandala-Parikrama is Narayana Bhatta Goswami. He was a disciple of Krishnadasa Brahmachari, whose spiritual master was Gadadhara Pandita, one of Lord Chaitanya’s closest followers. Narayana Bhatta Goswami was born in South India and travelled to Vrindavan at the age of twelve. He is famous as the Vrajacharya or the authority on Vrindavan, for he not only rediscovered many forgotten places but also established the standard route of the Vraja-Mandala-Parikrama, the path on which Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had walked.

Shri Chaitnya Dev wandered in the forests of Vrindavan beginning with Madhuvan, Talavan, Kumudavanas well as Bahaulvan. On Karttika Purnima, the full-moon day of that holy month, Chaitanya reached Vrindavan and began to visit its twelve sacred forests. He might have visited Mathura-Vrindavana region if He had remained on the earth for some more years.

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