Vallabhacharya, a talented philosopher who introduced the pure non-dualism system, came from Andhra Pradesh. Meera came from Rajasthan, renouncing all royal riches to immerse in the divine longing for Krishna. Surdas, a blind poet, Haridas a renowned Dhrupad singer and many others also moved to Vrindavan, feeling a strong presence of Krishna.
Then came Chaitanya, walking on foot from Orissa, in the year 1516. Until this time, Vrindavan had no temples or any other physical evidence of Krishna’s association with Vrindavan.
When Chaitanya visited the forests near Mathura, his heart was intoxicated by the intensity of love. He, as if in a trance, could see Krishna performing numerous lilas – acts or pastimes of God – as he walked in the Vrindavan forests. He could identify specific places in Vrindavan associated with each of the lilas.
Chaitanya identified Gokul, a village associated with Krishna’s childhood pastimes. Here he could see, Krishna snatching butter from gopis, village girls. At Seva Kunj, he could witness the divine dance called Raas where Krishna danced with his beloved Radha and her eight close friends. Chaitanya could see each gopi dancing with the same Krishna.
Chaitanya identified three water bodies known as Shyama and Radha Kunda. Here, he could see Krishna performing water sports with his friends. So intense was Chaitanya’s realisation, he was dancing with divine joy at all these places.
He identified Govardhan hill and saw Krishna holding it on his fingertip to save his village folks from drowning in the lashing rains. At Chira Ghat, Chaitanya heard the divine flute sound played by Krishna under the tree called Vamshi Vat.
He would see naughty Krishna sitting on a tree, while gopis were taking a bath in the pool. The gopis only later realised that Krishna had stolen their clothes. Chaitanya would hear the request from each of the gopis to Krishna for the return of their clothes. Chaitanya identified many other spots associated with Krishna.
Chaitanya considered himself lucky to feel Krishna in full glory. As a pure devotee, he wanted everyone including future generations to get drowned in the same feeling. So he noted the precise location of each of the experiences and instructed his disciples to build small temples at each of these places. Most of today’s Vrindavan temples have grown from the little temples constructed by Chaitanya’s team.
The feel is not limited to the followers of one religion. In 1570, Akbar felt deep spiritual vibrations while listening to the song sung by Swami Haridas – Tansen’s guru – at the place called Nidhi Van at the heart of Vrindavan.
But for Chaitanya, Krishna’s story would have existed mostly only in books. Though Mathura and Vrindavan were important trade centres in the distant past, most evidence was destroyed by the time Mahmud of Ghazni attacked Mathura in 1018 AD.
Vrindavan today attracts seekers from all over who come here to soak in divine love. They owe gratitude to Chaitanya and his team for connecting them to their deeper selves.
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