Radha Kunda

Glories of Radha Kunda     Appearance of Radha Kunda in the Material World
Lord Chaitanya Rediscovers Radha and Syama Kundas
Raghunatha dasa Goswami Excavates Radha and Syama Kundas
Bathing at the Kundas
     Goswami Temples at Radha Kunda
Ma Janava's Sitting Place     Raghunatha dasa Goswami's Samadhi
Krishna dasa Kaviraja's Bhajan Kutira     Panca Pandava Ghat
Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur's Bhajan Kutira      The Sangam
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Sitting Place    Giriraja Maharaja Mandir and Caran Cinha

Raghunatha Dasa Goswami Excavates Radha Kunda

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent many of His important followers to transcendental land of Vrindavana in order to excavate the lost holy sites of Lord Krishna’s pastimes, establish deity worship and write books on devotional service. Prominent amongst them were the six Goswamis namely, the two brothers Rupa and Sanatana, besides Gopala Bhatta, Raghunatha Bhatta, Jiva and Raghunatha dasa.

 Having spent eight long years serving Lord Chaitanya at Puri, Raghunatha dasa Goswami arrived in Vrindavana just after the Lord’s disappearance, which occurred in the year 1534. Feeling intense separation from Lord Chaitanya, Raghunatha dasa had decided to end his life by throwing himself down from the top of Govardhana Hill. But first he desired to have darsana of both Rupa and Sanatana Goswami’s in Vrindavana. Seeing Raghunatha’s sorrowful condition, Rupa and Sanatana consoled him and accepting him as their third brother, requested him to spend the rest of his life performing bhajana at Radha-kunda.

Rupa and Sanatana had reasoned that since Lord Chaitanya had personally given His own Govardhana-sila to Raghunatha, along with His own set of gunja-mala, sacred to Radharani, this was surely a sign that the Lord desired Raghunatha to live near Govardhana Hill and worship Radha-kunda. The Goswamis decided to appoint Raghunatha as the custodian of Radha-kunda and acarya for all those who wish to reside on her sacred banks.

Following the advice of Rupa and Sanatana, Raghunatha went to live near the sacred lakes and regularly circumambulated Govardhana Hill. Some years later while performing his bhajana on the banks of Radha-kunda, the idea of enlarging the kundas and building steps around them entered Raghunatha’s mind. At that time the two sacred kundas were just muddy pools of water about twelve feet in diameter in the middle of two paddy fields, devotees wishing to take a holy dip had to wade through ankle deep mud to get there. Raghunatha visualized that in the future, thousands of pilgrims would flock to Radha-kunda to take a holy bath, and therefore to enlarge the kundas seemed a good idea. Raghunatha then considered how much money would be required for excavation of the kundas, but then suddenly condemned himself for allowing such a lusty thought to enter his mind and distract his bhajana. With increased determination he again absorbed himself in meditation on the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna.

That very same day over one thousand miles away at Badrikasrama in the Himalayas, a wealthy merchant of the name Samarpan (some say that Samarpan was a King), was on his way to give a large donation to the Deity of Lord Badri-Narayana. That night in a dream, Lord Badri-Narayana came before the merchant and ordered him to give the donation to a devotee living at Radha-kunda in Vrindavana, of the name Raghunatha dasa Goswami, to be used as he so desires.

Early the next morning the merchant awoke in an ecstatic mood having had darsana of Lord Badri-Narayana in his dream, and started immediately for Vrindavana. On reaching the holy land of Vrindavana, the merchant Samarpan soon located Raghunatha dasa who was sitting on the banks of Radha-kunda absorbed in his bhajana. After offering his respects, Samarpan handed the large donation of money to Raghunatha dasa, who at first flatly refused to accept it, but after hearing the merchants story, astonished at the ways of the Lord, relented and accepted the donation with humble gratitude.

Raghunatha dasa immediately called for Jiva Goswami from Vrindavana and asked him to purchase the two paddy fields where Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda were situated. On his arrival at Radha-kunda, Jiva Goswami immediately purchased the two paddy fields in the name of Raghunatha dasa Goswami. This event occurred in the year 1545. Work then started on the excavation of Radha-kunda under the personal supervision of both Raghunatha and Jiva. During the digging, Raghunatha dasa discovered the beautiful Deities of Radha and Krishna buried in the mud. Raghunatha handled the Deities over to a local brahmana to worship and a temple was constructed on the western bank of Radha-kunda. These were the first Deities to be installed at Radha-kunda. This temple became known as the Purana (which means old) Radha-Krishna Mandira.

Further excavation revealed the original kunda known as Kancana-kunda created by Srimati Radharani and the gopis. The Bengali word kancana, or kankon in Hindi, means bangle, which was used by Srimati Radharani to dig Radha-kunda. Around this original kunda Raghunatha dasa had many steps built on all four sides. Some years later in 1591, the king of Jaipur, Raja Mansingh, after completing the construction of the Govindaji Mandira in Vrindavana, came to Radha-kunda and constructed more steps above the one’s built by Raghunatha dasa. Raja Mansingh also built a canal linking Syama-kunda with Lalita-kunda for maintaining the water level of the kundas. Much later in the year 1817, a wealthy landlord from Calcutta, Lal Babu, who later entered the renounced order, constructed even more stone steps around the kundas. When Radha-kunda is periodically emptied for cleaning, Kancana-kunda created by Radharani and the gopis can be clearly seen, as well as the steps constructed by Raghunatha dasa Goswami.

As recently as 1941 when Radha-kunda was completely emptied for cleaning, natural springs could be seen bubbling water from beneath the ground. It is said that these springs are in fact the holy places called by Krishna to fill the kundas. These holy places have now taken the form of natural springs in order to continue their service to Srimati Radharani. Devotees also saw some springs emitting a thick milky white substance which is believed to be Ksira-sagara, the milk ocean, who also appeared here by the order of Krishna and helped fill the kundas. It is said that one devotee collected some of this milky substance in a bottle, and by the next day it had turned to yogurt. On some days one can clearly see milky white patches within the sacred waters of Radha-kunda. Some devotees say that on rare occasions the waters of Radha-kunda appear almost completely white, due to large volumes of milk being released by the springs below.

After completing the excavation of Radha-kunda, Raghunatha dasa Goswami turned his attention to Syama-kunda with the idea of making it in the same square shape as Radha-kunda. This could not be done unless a number of trees were cut down and it was decided to start the work the very next day. That night in a dream the five Pandavas headed by king Yudhisthira, came before Raghunatha and requested that he not allow the trees near Syama-kunda to be cut down. Yudhisthira explained that he and the other Pandavas were living in those trees and performing bhajana on the banks of Syama-kunda. The next morning before work began, Raghunatha instructed the workers that no trees should be cut down and only the vacant area should be used to dig the kunda. This accounts for the unusual triangular shape of Syama-kunda. During the excavation of Syama-kunda, the original kunda created by Krishna’s right heel was discovered. Encircling this original kunda were seen the stone steps built almost five thousand years earlier by King Vajranabha known as Vajra-kunda.

After the excavation work was completed in the year 1554. Raghunatha dasa Goswami continued to perform his bhajana on the banks of the sacred kundas right up until his disappearance in the year 1583. Raghunatha dasa personally set the highest example of renunciation expected for all those who wish to reside at Radha-kunda.

On the Vijaya-dasami day in the year 1576, Raghunatha dasa Goswami handed over charge of Radha-kunda to Jiva Goswami, who became the next mahanta. Krishna dasa Brahmacari, a disciple of Jiva Goswami became the next mahanta after the disappearance of Jiva in 1608. The line of  mahantas of Radha-kunda is still continuing even up to present day. The original land deed and letter of appointment given to Jiva by Raghunatha dasa Goswami is still existing.

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