On the first day, we introduce you to Adi Katyayani temple, situated 14 kilometers North of Vrindavan on the bank of Yamuna at Cheer Ghat. This Cheer Ghat is different from the Cheer ghat of Vrindavan. It is situated in the village called Siyar on the way to Shergarh.
Although there are many Shakti temples in Vraja, the Katyayani temple of Siyar village plays an important part in forming the heritage of Krishna’s pastimes in Braj. The temple enshrines the beautiful deity of Goddess Katyayani Devi, which is 2.5 feet high.
The gopis made the deity of Katyayani out of sand with their own hands.
According to the Shrimad Bhagvatam, the Vraja gopis, having lost their hearts to Krishna, prayed to the goddess Katyayani and worshiped her. They wanted to have Krishna as their husband. They continued their worship for one month with great steadfastness, and on the final day of this month, their most coveted Shri Krishna fulfilled their desires by stealing their clothes and making nectarine jokes about them, all in accordance with their feelings for him. Finally Krishna performed Maharasa with the gopis on Sharad Purnima.
This is a very confidential pastime of the Lord and it must not be confused with mundane lust. The gopis are the greatest devotees of the Lord, higher than any karmi, jnani or yogi.
One must learn that the goal of life is to approach the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna out of the innocence of spontaneous love. This is the great lesson taught to each of us by Krishna and the gopis at Cheer Ghat.
Shri Raghunath Das Goswami praises Cheer Ghat, the place where Shri Krishna made wonderful nectarine jokes with the maidens of Vraja that were engaged in worship of the goddess Katyayani. Cheer Ghat is just few steps away from the Adi Katyayani Temple. There is a huge Kadamba Tree at Cheer ghat on which people tie colorful clothes to fulfill their wishes. The ‘Vastra haran’ (clothes stealing) pastime of the Lord is depicted on the walls around Cheer ghat.
There is a huge banyan tree near the Katyayani temple, under which a Shiva linga is established. It is said that the Shiv linga is self manifested and the gopis offered water to it.
The new Katyayani was built by Braj Vikas Trust in 2003. Before the temple was built, the deity was established in a nearby hut. Devotees visit this Katyayani Temple and Cheer Ghat during the Vraja Yatra only. Usually, no crowd can be seen here -even during the peak season of Navdurga festival- whereas the Devi temples in other places are overcrowded during this time. (JP)
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