1.03.2007

Folklore: Radha kunda and Shyama kunda












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Radha Kunda, Uttar Pradesh:
Walking down a street, and knowing nothing about the place brings with it a whole new experience of the unfamiliar. With the wind in the air and the warm sun shining down on a chilly morning searching for the story that rules the minds of a charming little town can quite be a task.

Armed with a book in hand that gives the basic directions, and then looking expectantly at all the local faces hoping to get more information, its a silent walk down an unknown alley.

This is a small town with no pollution in the air, clear breath warmed by the sun as I sip at a glass of local Chai looking around at people going about their business. Simple people, with lots of goodwill and warmth and no corruption that looks for my wallet, or so I hope!

It’s a quaint little town, completely charming, the old forgotten India that one would have loved to see. The town dotted with temples, with flags flying high still symbolizing victory against time through so many centuries, singing the praise of Radhe Shyam and slowly begins to unravel herself.

This is a land precious to Gaudiya Vaishnavas, hosting the great ponds of Radha Kunda and Shyama Kunda that sing the tales of Krishna killing the demon bull Aristhasura. On the pilgrimage tracks to Mount Govardhana, this town is not too far from Mathura. This little town hosts 5 dead trees that represent the Pandavas singing Bhajan. Folklore has it that Dharamaraja Yudhistira appeared in the dream of Raghunatha Dasa Goswami and directed him not to cut the trees on the banks of the Shyama kunda while he reconstructed the ponds. This is the land of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that sings about the pleasure times of Radha and Shyam.

A small town that hosts the kunjas (garden groves) of the 8 main sakhis - Sri Lalita Sakhi (north), Sri Vishakha Devi (north east), Sri Chitra Devi (east, multi colored), Sri Indulekha Devi (south east, all white), Sri Champakalatha devi (south, gold), Sri Ranga Devi (South west, Shyama blue), Sri Tungavidya Devi (west, crimson), Sri Sudevi Devi (northwest, green) and their respective Sakhas Madhumangala (north), Ujjvala (north east), Arjuna (east), Gandharva (south east), Vidagdha (south), Kokeela (south west), Sanandananda (west), and Subala (north west).

Well I can almost here the jingle of anklets and the laughter of damsels and the happiness and joy of love once displayed among these blooming gardens into a world of colour and enjoyment. A little town so peaceful later ravaged by war and yet retaining it’s original splendor now singing folklore of Radhe Shyam.














(Click the image for a larger view)

And here too, Lord Shiva resides. A small white marble temple, attributed to Sri Kundeswar Mahadev on the roadside is not as small and insignificant as it would seem. There are four such temples, each in a cardinal direction protecting Radha Kunda from the uninitiated. No one gets to Radhakunda if Lord Shiva doesn't permit him or her to do so. Therefore it is tradition that one visits Sri Kundeswar Mahadev temple first before setting foot into this holy land of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.

Jai Bholenath!


Photo courtesy: http://www.vaisnava.cz/ind_en.html
The Hare Krishna inspiration © 2001-2007

19 comments:

anil joshi said...

Kavitha,What a picturesquake description!Serene is the word!The plastic culture of "bisleri" has invaded & destroyed almost all such small towns of India where a bottle of coke is more readily available than a glass of water.What are the other idols that are accompanying lord Shiva in the Photograph.

JC Joshi said...

As we have seen earlier also, it is learnt today that moon apparently evolved from earth-moon at some stage, which the ancient Hindu mythological stories similarly also indicate Parvati (in Satyuga, as the consort of Shiva after Sa(k)ti’s, His original ‘ardhangini’ or the better half’s death in ‘sacred fire’, that perhaps represents an erupting volcano), Sita (in Tretayga the consort of Rama ‘found inside an underground pot’ and also called ‘Vaidehi’ or formless, i.e., energy!), and Draupadi (in Dwaperyuga as the wife of the five Pandavas born out of ‘sacred fire’, though won by expert archer Arjuna and yet, due to mother Kunti’s lack of overall knowledge, was shared by all five brothers, as sunlight and moonlight are shared by all the planets!), all born from inside our planet earth and therefore cryptically communicated as models of moon in different eras... And, in Gita, the apparently itself immortal planet earth or ‘Mrityulok’ (Shiva the Bholenath who applies crematoria’s ash on His body!) is indicated as the Supreme Form of Krishna, in mortal human form, in Dwaperyuga.

Seen from a detached view-point, the layout of the 'Radha kund' in the middle of the premises containing water, or one of the ‘five ghosts’ or ‘Panchabhoota’ - with four Kundeshwar Mahadeva Temples, each housing a Shivalinga to represent the Formless Creator in the four Cardinal directions, and eight green garden groves in eight directions – indicates life-giving water to reflect the infinite energy within the void of the physical universe on earth, as the reflection of the female or the ‘better half’ of Ardhanarishwar on the ground open to air, as the other important ‘Bhootas’ that primarily help provide base to the different forms of life according to time of temporary stay related with the alloted breaths to each animal, just as the universal void holds innumerable galaxies within it that undergo change with time.

The inert infinite void/ apparent planet earth could perhaps also be simply visualized as a large pocket, although itself empty, and yet having the potential to contain from zero to infinity any amount of money for different transactions during the stay of different forms!

JC Josh said...

Anilji, Kavitha, I am sorry I entered some comments in the other blog!

As far as the other idols are concerned, I am able to identify Nandi and Ganesha only.

kavitha said...

Hi Joshi Uncle and Anilji,

The one of the left is definitely Ganesha, and the corner right is Nandi. The three headed God to the left of Ganesha is either Brahma or Trimurthy and the other idol to the side should ideally be Devi, or another form of Shiva judging by the pantheon of Gods surrounding typical Shiva temples.

Thats my guess for the picture.

Regds
Kavitha

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, Anilji, Anyway, ultimately all represent Bholenath, our taken for granted earth, or Shiva the Gangadhara! And, talking of water and Ganga and its ghats at Varanasi, in the ancient times all learned people from all over the country reportedly used to gather together there and discuss the mysteries of human life, viz. Who am I? Where do I come from? Who has sent me here and for what purpose? And, so on. History tells us that foreign travelers, even in the recent past, were astonished that such questions were discussed even by the common man on the streets in India!

Perhaps it is time that is responsible for material gaining dominanace over the spiritual, which was of course predicted by the ‘wise’ ancients based on their realization about falling efficiency of humans with the passage of cyclic time thereby allowing spiritual also to co-exist with the material, although to a gradually diminishing percentage to spring up at some predetermined time once again like a King Cobra, or Shiva-like Vishadhara! Behaviour of snakes has recently been recognised to be helpful in predicting earthquakes much before theri occurrence at a given place! And, Hindus symblically show snake across Shiva's neck!

JC Joshi said...

A snake across Shiva’s neck, as a symbol, served multi-purpose. It helped the astrologers/ yogis, or the ancient relatively much more advanced scientists, primarily to indicate the essence of poisonous planet Venus or Shukra realized to be housed in the throat of human form considered as an instrument. The neck acted as a bottle neck or a check-point for the blood vessels, analogous to natural or man-made dams on rivers carrying water to the sea, and also nerves that carry information from different chakras - where they believably are stored - to the head only if these were finally approved by the essence of earth at Ajna chakra at the level of the eye-brow or the ‘third eye’ of Shiva. It also helped a layman visualize with the use of expression “awakening of kundalini”, i.e., the believable rise of the additional dormant energy/ information at the Mooladhar chakra to the head due to release of energy that believably is locked up there and is analogously represented by raising of its hood by a normally coiled up king cobra.

A snake across Shiva’s neck, as a symbol, served multi-purpose. It helped the astrologers/ yogis, or the ancient relatively much more advanced scientists, primarily to indicate the essence of poisonous planet Venus or Shukra realized to be housed in the throat of human form considered as an instrument. The neck acting as a bottle neck or a check-point for the blood vessels, like rivers carry water, and also nerves that carry information from different chakras - where they believably are stored - to the head only if these were finally approved by the essence of earth at Ajna chakra at the level of the eye-brow or the ‘third eye’ of Shiva. It also helped a layman visualize with the use of expression “awakening of kundalini”, i.e., the believable rise of dormant energy/ information at the Mooladhar chakra to the head due to release of energy that believably is locked up there and is analogously represented by raising of its hood by a normally coiled up king cobra.

The mythological stories related Shukracharya with ‘Rakshashas’ who played an important role in the defence mechanism to keep the average instruments at the required efficiency level related with the Yuga concerned. And they were ardent devotees of Shiva, and communicated with Him just as Snakes are relatively more advanced in receiving earth's vibrations!

JC Joshi said...

I am sorry that ‘cut and paste’ has resulted in duplication of the first para such that the comment looks too long! And I try to be as brief as possible without losing the essence!

Kavitha, in your description, you have indicated how a devotee who might not even be aware of the realization of man as model of universe - represented through essences of eight selected members of the solar system – builds Radha Kund (representing supreme knowledge) such that it can only be accessed through one of the four Kundeshwar Mahadev temples (representing Ajna Chakra or Shiva’s Third Eye) from any direction, North, East, West or South (NEWS)! And, he sees in his dream Yudhister, a model of Earth in Dwaperyuga!

This phenomenon could also be seen reflected in the game of Cricket, say, which has evolved over time without anyone consciously attempting to copy ‘Nature’. As I had earlier also elsewhere indicated, the circular shape of the stadium, properly secured to allow entry only to persons who hold valid tickets, represents our disc shaped Milky Way galaxy that allows exchange of energy between different galaxies through pure energy or Infra Red rays only! The players represent the planets that exchange energy by interacting with each other. The bowlers change ends after six balls to represent apparent change of movement of direction of our Sun every six months, and so on!

JC Joshi said...

It is therefore not surprising that the game of Cricket originated in the USA that is North America, the true WEST with refernce to India as the true EAST – situated almost directly opposite India on the other side of the globe! They, however, gave it up quickly and opted for more ‘manly’ game, the Baseball - true to their (Kartika like) believably ‘demoniacal’ thought due to the characteristic property of time, in the words of the relatively not very ancient ‘Hindus’, who originally considered God as mischievous or ‘shaitan’ or Krishna-like ‘natkhat’! However, the game was popularized later by the British in the colonies that they ruled, like Sun – for it was once said, ‘the sun never sets on the British Empire’!

JC said...

For us Indians, zero hour of the 15th of August in the year 1947 marked the time of ‘sun-set’ on attainment of political ‘Independence’ and, therefore, perhaps we are witnessing dusk or ‘godhuli’ time with the Congress (I) Party that originally had the Cow & her Calf (Parvati& Ganesha-like) as their symbol - and now a human palm asking one to patiently wait for the right time - is once again returned to the (stable-like?) seat of power recently!

It is therefore anybody’s guess whether Brahma is preparing to go to sleep? Or, would the coiled cobra spring up again? If so, when, in either case?

Although humans everywhere on the globe in the present appear to have technologically more advanced (copying from the west) and yet apparently more and more confused about the ‘Truth’ or the ‘essential spirit’, which apparently, progressively, is getting more and more enveloped in darkness due to the believable ‘rat race’ for ‘material development!

It would perhaps therefore remain a mystery. And, Yogiraj Krishna in Gita advised one to live like a spectator as He was the real doer!
Mirabai, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are historical examples of some of the personalities that 'surrenderd in Krishna' as advised in Gita.

anil joshi said...

Kavita,While reading about Kundeswar I realized that none of the Great characters in "Mahabharata" were worshipping Shiva.As compared to it Rama worshipped Rameshwar & of course Ravana was also a devotee of Shiva.Would like to know your views on this.

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, I had posted in the meanwhile two comments at different times, which have remained 'unaccepted' perhaps due to some 'technical reason'. I, therefore, have combined the two into one now as below.

It is therefore not surprising that the game of Cricket originated in the USA that is North America, the true WEST with refernce to India as the true EAST – situated almost directly opposite India on the other side of the globe! They, however, gave it up quickly and opted for more ‘manly’ game, the Baseball - true to their (Kartika like) believably ‘demoniacal’ thought due to the characteristic property of time in the words of the relatively not very ancient ‘Hindus’, who originally considered God as mischievous or ‘shaitan’ or Krishna-like ‘natkhat’! However, the game was popularized later by the British in the colonies they ruled, like Sun – for it was once said, ‘the sun never sets on the British Empire’!
*********
For us Indians, zero hour of the 15th of August in the year 1947 marked the time of ‘sun-set’ on attainment of political ‘Independence’ and, therefore, perhaps we are witnessing dusk or ‘godhuli’ time with the Congress (I) Party that originally had the Cow & her Calf (Parvati& Ganesha-like) as their symbol - and now a human palm asking one to patiently wait for the right time - is once again returned to the (stable-like?) seat of power recently!

It is therefore anybody’s guess whether Brahma is preparing to go to sleep? Or, would the coiled cobra spring up again? If so, when, in either case?

Although humans everywhere on the globe in the present appear to have technologically more advanced (copying from the west) and yet apparently more and more confused about the ‘Truth’ or the ‘essential spirit’, which apparently, progressively, is getting more and more enveloped in darkness due to the believable ‘rat race’ for ‘material development!

It would perhaps therefore remain a mystery. And, Yogiraj Krishna in Gita advised one to live like a spectator as He was the real doer!
Mirabai, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are historical examples of some of the personalities that 'surrenderd in Krishna' as advised in Gita.

JC Joshi said...

Let us briefly see what is generally apparent to an average human being. A child, when born, apparently is ignorant of the outside world. He grows physically as well as mentally to a state of physical and mental maturity at some age, which might be different for different individuals depending on one’s original location and ‘education’ as one grows up. Thus there is some sort of hierarchy seen between one man and another, and different associated behaviours with passage of time, till one lasts on earth for a maximum period of 100 + some years…

And, during one’s stay on earth, fear of the unknown is the biggest instinct. That unknown is worshipped at different times/ location by an average man. And, in physical terms, although man loves earth and wants ever to remain attached to it one comes to know that one can’t!

The Hindu mythological stories indicate Yudhister as Dharmaraj, and was given a high pedestal even by Yogiraj Krishna - the re-incarnation of the Formless Vishnu, as the hero in that Yuga and the friend of the Pandavas - as the one who always ‘spoke the truth’ and was apparently not at all worldly wise or bholenath the simple one to have put on stake Pandava's shared wife in gamble with their demonaical cousin Duryodhana (read with “Satyam Shivam Sunderam”). His name itself suggests him as one who is unmoved even in war, neutral or detached - as recommended in Gita too by Krishna whose supreme form we have earlier seen indicated to be the immortal Earth as Mrityulok, called Shiva in Satyuga…

Similarly in Tretayuga, both, Lakshamana as the model of earth in human form as well as Sita as the model of Moon (Shiva& Parvati-like), accompanied Rama although he alone was exiled, indicating solar system as a single unit or Mahashiva of the mythology, with Kartikeya or Venus, the poisonous planet as His ‘neelkantha’ or ‘blue throat’, Shiva as our earth and Parvati as Moon and Ganesha as planet Mars, and so on, acquiring different names in different Yugas or times…

JC Joshi said...

The above read with the believable realization of human being as model of the universe - or containing in essence the entire physical forms that apparently exist in the universe - maybe one could then visualize the innumerable 'imperfect' forms that one sees towards the end of Kaliyuga are (perhaps as in the ‘present’) the original crude reflections of the contents of our earth, which finally evolved in four stages (as are also seen in human form’s development) through Kaliyuga to Dwaperyuga to Tretayuga to Satyuga to result in the apparent immortality of our earth, although considered illusory or 'mithya' as a dream of the Formless Creator.

JC said...

Kavitha, I give below a reaction to an item in my news paper.

This refers to Mysteries of the mind need further exploration - Reaction in My Times My Voice dated 6/1/07 by Ms Sudha Koul, and also ‘Exploring the Creative Mystery of Mind’ (The Speaking Tree, Dec 20) by KR Manohar.

Yogis or the ‘ancient scientists’, apparently relatively, had much advanced in realization of the physical structure of man - as an instrument related with apparent time - created with the apparent relative motions of earth and sun, and the ‘essences’ of the selected members of our solar system gong into its formation. Man was realized to have been created in His Own (illusory) image or as a ‘model’ of the universe/ (mithya) Jagat or (illusory) world, by the ‘Formless Creator of the universe’, i.e., ‘Nadbindu’, who, therefore, in reality was related with Absolute Time as zero.

Thus, in short, as per the ‘wise ancients’, man in the ‘present’ or zero hour is repeatedly being seen in 1080 cycles, in over 4 billion years in His one day, by the Formless Creator to exist on the surface of an imaginary infinite globe - to cover all the 360 degrees of space and apparent time - as formless beings in apparent hierarchical orders to act as ‘His eyes and mouths in all directions at different times’, and correspondingly projected over the surface of earth as apparent physical forms while the Formless Creator or the Supreme Being/ Supreme Knowledge exists at the pole corresponding to the South Pole representing the base, or zero, with His perfect image at the North Pole or the peak of the apparent infinite and ever expanding universe…Man was thus understood as a result of His ‘Maya’ or illusion - like fictitious characters in a novel!

JCj said...

Kavitha, you said, “This is a land precious to Gaudiya Vaishnavas, hosting the great ponds of Radha Kunda and Shyama Kunda that sing the tales of Krishna killing the demon bull Aristhasura”.

The above brings to my mind the typical symbolic representation of Lord Vishnu on Ananta - with Brahma seated on the lotus flower grown out of His navel! It communicates to the ‘scientists’ or ‘seekers’ the navel as the “Shyam Kund” or the ‘black pond’, i.e., Nadbindu (a point source of umlimited sound energy), the original location of the Formless Creator. And, ‘Brahma on lotus’ similarly indicating Aditi the first person or the original Sun (Creator’s son?! thsat multiplied further to result in our evolved near perfect solar system within our near perfect galaxy) as the Gaur or fair “Radha’s Kund”, that helped Yogiraj Krishna the “Siddha” or all rounder - a model or re-incarnation of Formless Vishnu - to dispel the darkness of ignorance symbolically represented by ‘demon bull Atishthasura! A similar symbolic communication is found in the story of Ma Durga’s killing of Mahishasur!

JC Joshi said...

Thus the drama - being apparently seen by man as ‘Maya’ or illusion - was understood by the ancients as the creation of ‘Shyam’ and ‘Radha’, i.e., energies related with ‘black’, as Vishnu/ Shiva the real original Formless one, together with apparent forms created with the help of ‘white’ or Brahma and its further sub divisions as reflected in the colours of the rainbow, jointly.

JC Joshi said...

I would like to cite certain quotes of some 'foreigners' on 'Divine Gita' that appeared in my newpaper today. I have also indicated brief particulars of the authors from Wikipedia on the Internet.

It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spake to us, nothing small or unworthy but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same qustions which exercise us – RW Emerson [Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the early nineteenth century.]

The reader is nowhere raised into and sustained in a higher; purer, or rarer region of thought in the Bhagavad Gita… Besides (it), even our Shakespeare seems sometimes youthfully green and practical merely. – Thoreau [(Henry David Thoreau July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, and philosopher.]

The Gita presents some of the most important truths of human existence in a language that is clear, memorable, and charged with emotion. It is a poem, of course, and not a systematic manual. Its method is not linear but circular and descriptive. It returns to its central point – letting go of the fruits of action – again and again, addressing not only superior students but also the majority, who are spiritually unfocussed and slow to grasp the point. – Stephen Mitchell, [(Born Brooklyn, NY in 1943) is an acclaimed poet, translator of French, Greek, Latin, German, and Hebrew, even philosopher… He has translated Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry, the Book of Job, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, and the Epic of Gilgamesh].

JC Joshi said...

One of my colleagues - bored with the existing administrative systems in India - decided to quit India and settle in the UK in the early sventies. He joined an educational institute. While visiting India after a few years he met us. He said that he initially had difficulty in communication with his students, for they had a different ‘thought plane’ than an average Indian’s. However, after sometime he had no difficulty as he too started viewing things from their viewpoint. But then, visiting India after many years, he found it difficult to comprehend our thoughts! According to him in the ‘west’ they were trained to move forward step by step with a particular line of thought so that they appeared to be advancing ahead. Whereas, in India, he felt we were going round in circles so that we were unable to 'leave our bullock-carts even when we wanted to go to the moon'! This reminded me of Swami Ranganathananda telling us students - during the inaugration of Saraswati Temple within our College premises in the late fifties - that he found British soldiers asked pertinent questions related with spirituality straightaway while Indians ‘beat around the bush’ and not come to the point like a person is able to pinpoint where one’s shoe is pinching!

The above - read with the ancient Hindu thought about ‘Truth’ not being related with (apparent) time, related with fair ‘Radha’ or Sun and, in fact, related with ‘Absolute Truth’ or zero time and space, i.e., dark ‘Shyam’ - it shouldn’t surprise an Indian or a Hindu to find Stephen Mitchell also say about the thoughts contained in the Gita, “Its method is not linear but circular and descriptive. It returns to its central point…” That sounds like the ancient Hindu realization of existence of the Creator of the physical universe as Formless or Nadbindu! God was realized to be mischievous!

JCj said...

Kavitha, As one is perhaps aware, the ancients appear to have realized the importance of the region near ‘yoga’, or union, or ‘sangam’ that is confluence of three holy rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati (that believably disappeared at some stage) near Allahabad (Longitude 81.54 degree East) where Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years, as also the believable birthplace of Shiva at Kashi that is present day Varanasi (Longitude 83.00 degrees east) and birth place of Rama at Ayodhya (Long. 82.14 degrees east), and the present day accepted Indian Standard Time (IST) corresponding to Long. 82.5 degrees east, i.e., close to the region considered holy by the ancient Hindus. The Ghats of Kashi were chosen by the ancient Pundits to discuss and iron out any differences of opinion on spiritual matters. Lord Rama of Tretayuga came to be associated with the relatively more sacred river Ganga while mischievous Krishna of Dwaperyuga with river Yamuna. And, Tretayuga believably represented 75 - 50% as the maximum range of possible efficiency of human forms compared to 50 – 25% during Dwaperyuga. It is therefore at a later stage, or Kaliyuga that Indians naturally appear confused and various divisions (not unions) among different beliefs are ‘naturaly’ apparent due to ‘materialism’ getting upper hand and hence the imbalance between the spiritual and material in the beginning of the creation or apparent end of Kaliyuga being seen in the reverse order by the Formless (Bhootnath Shiva) through His innumerable eyes!