I take shelter of Cheer Ghat, where the unmarried gopīs worshiped Katyayani Devi in an incomparable way by plunging into the spotless Yamuna water, keeping their clothes on the shore, and where Krishna later embarrassed them by stealing their clothes, climbing into a kadamba tree and making erotic jokes about them before returning them.
kanyānāṁ prakarasya cīra-nikaraṁ saṁrakṣitaṁ tīrataḥ
hṛtvāruhya kadambam ujjvala-parīhāsena taṁ lajjayan
smeraṁs taṁ pradadau subhaṅgi-murajit taṁ cīra-ghaṭṭaṁ śraye
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Cheer Ghat, the place where Sri Krishna made wonderful rasika jokes with the maidens of Vraja that were engaged in worship of the goddess Katyayani.
In the 22nd Chapter of the 10th Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavata, Sri Shuka Muni described how the Vraja-kumaris engaged in the service of Katyayani Devi and how their garments were stolen. Amongst it it a wonderful description of their peerless worship of Katyayani:
cerur haviṣyaṁ bhuñjānā kātyāyanyarcana vratam
āplutyambhasi kālindyā jalānte codite’ruṇe;
kṛtvā pratikṛtiṁ devīm ānarcur nṛpa saikatīm
gandhair mālyaiḥ surabhibhir balibhir dhūpa-dīpakaiḥ;
uccāvacaiś cāpahāraiḥ pravāla-phala-taṇḍulaiḥ
kātyāyani mahāmāye mahā-yoginyadhīśvari;
nanda-gopa-sutaṁ devi patiṁ me kurute namaḥ
iti mantraṁ japantyas tāḥ pūjāṁ cakruḥ kumārikāḥ
Sri Shuka Muni said: “In the first month of the hemanta season the gopīs from Nanda’s Vraja began to worship the goddess Katyayani Devi by eating haviṣya (unspiced and unsalted grains). O King! Every morning at sunrise they went to bathe in the Yamuna and worshipped a sand deity of Katyayani on the shore near the water with offerings of fragrant perfumes, garlands, garments, ornaments, incense, lamps, fresh leaves, fruits and raw rice, praying to her: “O Goddess Katyayani! O Mahamaya! O inconceivable one! O Supreme Goddess! O expert player! Make the son of the cowherd king Nanda my husband! We offer our obeisances unto you!” Repeating this mantra the Vraja-kumaris worshipped Katyayani Devi.” (Bhāgavata 10.22.1-4)
In this way they continued their worship for one month with great steadfastness, and on the final day of this month of vows their most coveted Sri Krishna fulfilled their desires by stealing their clothes and making rasika jokes about them, all in accordance with their feelings for him.
kṛṣṇam uccair jagur yāntyaḥ kālindyāṁ snatum anvaham
nadyāṁ kadācid āgatya tīre nikṣipya pūrvavat;
vāsāṁsi kṛṣṇaṁ gāyantyo vijahruḥ salile mudā
bhagavāṁs tad abhipretya kṛṣṇo yogeśvareśvaraḥ;
vayasyaivāvṛtas tatra gatas tat-karma-siddhaye
tāsāṁ vāsāṁsy upādāya nīpam āruhya satvaraḥ;
hasadbhiḥ prahasan bālaiḥ parihāsam uvāca ha
atrāgatyābalāḥ kāmaṁ svaṁ svaṁ vāsaḥ pragṛhyatām;
satyaṁ bruvāṇi no narma yad yūyaṁ vrata-karṣitāḥ
Every morning the maidens of Vraja would rise before dawn, call each other and then walk hand-in-hand to the Yamuna to bathe, loudly singing Krishna’s glories. On the final day they came to the bank of the Yamuna like every other day, placed their garments there and began to play in the Yamuna water, most blissfully singing Krishna’s glories. Krishna, who is the Lord of the kings of yoga, knew what they were doing and came to the bank of the Yamuna with his friends to grant them the fruits of their penances. Very quickly Sri Krishna stole their clothes from the shore, climbed into a kadamba tree and began to make many jokes about them with his laughing friends. When the cowherd maidens noticed this, he told them: “O cowherd maidens! Come, if you like, to the kadamba tree, find your own clothes and take them back from me. You are all ascetic girls, so I am not kidding with you. I’m speaking the truth! (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.22.6-10)
Seeing Sri Krishna and hearing the joking words the thief of their clothes spoke according to their feelings, the maidens of Vraja floated in oceans of transcendental bliss, but out of embarassment they could not immediately come out of the Yamuna water. With his erotic jokes Krishna brought them to the base of the kadamba tree and embarrassed them even further before returning them their clothes and fulfilling their desires by accepting them as his sweethearts. The place where Sri Krishna stole the clothes of the cowherd maidens is known as Cheer Ghat. Raghunath Das Goswami says: “I take shelter of this Cheer Ghat.”
jala magnā gopa kanyā gaṇa
rākhilo vasana nikara, kṛṣṇa sabā agocara,
tīra hoite korilo haraṇa
kadamba tarute bose, samujjvala parihāse,
lajjita korilo kanyāgaṇe.
punarāya sahāsyete, vastra dāna kore yāte,
āśraya kori cīra ghāṭa nāme
I take shelter of Cheer Ghat, where the cowherd maidens plunged into the Yamuna, performing a vow to please Katyayani Devi to get Krishna for a husband, where Krishna stole their clothes from the shore, where they had kept them, without being noticed and sat in a kadamba tree, embarrassing them all by making erotic jokes, and where he finally returned them their clothes with a smile on his face.
Commentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.
Devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.
© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
More of Ananta Das Pandit’s writings in English translation can be found at Tarun Govinda’s blog, Amrita Tarangini.