Nov 5 – Bahulashtami – Appearance day of Radha kund
Today is Bahulashtami
Bahulastami is a beautiful pastime wherein the cow Bahula takes shelter of Krishna. On the bank of Krishna Kunda, in Vrndavan, are deities of a cow and her calf, a brahmana, a tiger and Krishna, all of which remind pilgrims of the beautiful pastime of Bahula.
Once, the cow Bahula was peacefully grazing, when a tiger attacked her. Bahula requested the tiger to allow her to return to her calf, feed it, and bid it farewell before it made a meal of her. Agreeing to her proposal, the tiger waited for her return. In the meantime, the cow went to her master, a brahmana, and to her calf and told them what had happened.
When they heard her pitiful story, they volunteered themselves to go in her place as the tiger’s meal. Bahula declined their selfless offer, but in the end all three – cow, calf and brahmana – returned to offer themselves to the tiger, who was delighted by this exceedingly favourable turn of events.
While the tiger contemplated which victim to eat first; who should appear but Lord Krishna, the presiding Deity of Dharma and the guardian of all the residence Vraja. Holding His chakra in one hand, Krishna assured the tiger of everlasting fame if he were to show leniency to the cow and its kin for their truthful and honorable conduct. The tiger released Bahula from her promise, and the calf and brahmana rejoiced on their mother being spared and felt blessed by Krishna’s merciful intervention.
Being so pleased with Bahula’s truthfulness and integrity, Krishna named the forest after her – Bahulavan – and blessed her to become His consort, thus in her next birth, Bahula became one of Krishna’s wives. This day was also named after her – Bahulastami.
Bahulavan is considered by some Vaisnavas as the most sacred forest of all, for it includes the most sacred place of all – Sri Radha Kunda. Srila Rupa Goswami writes in his Upadesamrta the following verse which confirms the superiority of Radha Kunda above any place else:
“The holy place known as Mathura is spiritually superior to Vaikuntha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to MathuraPuri is the transcendental forest of Vrndavan because of Krishna’s rasa-lila pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vrndavan is Govardhana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Sri Krsna and was the site of His various loving pastimes. And, above all, the superexcellent Sri Radha Kunda stands supreme, for it is over flooded with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of Gokula, Sri Krishna.”
Also today is appearance day of Radhakund.
krsnasyoccaih pranaya-vasatih preyasibhyo ’pi radha
kundam casya munibhir abhitas tadrg eva vyadhayi
yat presthair apy alam asulabham kim punar bhakti-bhajam
tat premedam sakrd api sarah snatur aviskaroti
“Of the many objects of favoured delight and of all the lovable damsels of Vrajabhumi, Srimati Radharani is certainly the most treasured object of Krishna’s love. And, in every respect, Her divine kunda is described by great sages as similarly dear to Him.
Undoubtedly Radha-kunda is rarely attained even by the great devotees; therefore it is even more difficult for ordinary devotees to attain. If one simply bathes once within those holy waters, one’s pure love of Krishna is fully aroused.”
– The Nectar of Instruction verse 11
Sri Radha Kunda manifested on the eighth day of the waning phase of the moon in the month of Kartik. This day is observed by bathing in the holy waters at midnight, which is said to be the time Radha Kunda manifested. At this time, thousands of devotees gather at the banks of Radha Kunda in Vrndavan. The devotees assembled there not only offer various gifts and offerings such as water, milk, fruits, sweets, garlands, lamps and money, but they also offer their minds, bodies and souls. Unified in prayer, they glorify Sri Radha Kunda, which is non-different from Srimati Radhika Herself. In the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 10.36.16, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura beautifully describes the pastime of the appearance of Radha Kunda.
Appearance of Radhakund
On the eighth day of the waning phase of the damodara month the appearance day of Radha Kunda is celebrated by the residents. Bathing in Radha Kunda is especially benefical on this day. By this one gains the favor of Radha, by which one gains the favor of Krishna. Radha Kunda appeared at midnight. People go to Radha Kunda and offer prasadam, garlands and pumkins (gords) into the water, then at midnight take bath in Radha Kunda and then bathe in Syama Kunda. Many people like to bathe at a ghat where Lord Nityananda’s sakti, Jahnava Mata used to bathe. But wherever you go you better get there early as thousands of people/devotees will be there. And bring some warm clothing for afterwards, as it is sooooo “cooling”.
The holy place known as Mathura is spiritually superior to Vaikuntha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to Mathura puri is the transcendental forest of Vrndavana because of Krishna’s rasalila pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vrndavana is Goverdhana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Shri Krishna and was the site of his various loving pastimes. And, above all, the superexcellent Shri Radha Kunda stands supreme, for it is overflooded with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of gokula, Shri Krishna. Where, then, is that intelligent person who is unwilling to serve this divine Radha Kunda, which is situated at the foot of Goverdhana Hill?
Shrila Rupa Goswami’s Nectar of Instruction (Upadeshamritam)
The Origin of Radha-kund
After killing a bull-demon named Aristasura, Krishna approached Radharani to engage in loving affairs. However, She rebuked Him, stating He was impure because of committing the sin of killing a bull, the symbol of religion. She suggested that to counteract this sin He should bathe in all the sacred rivers.
Krishna, being eager to engage in loving affairs with Shrimati Radharani, immediately shoved His lotus foot into the ground, making a large hole, and called all the sacred rivers to enter into it. They appeared before Him and formed Syama-kunda (the bathing place of Syama–one who is the color of a dark rain cloud).
After bathing, Krishna stated that He had become pure by bathing in Syama-kunda, but that the gopis had become impure, having sided with a demon, even though he appeared in the form of a bull. Radharani, along with some of Her gopi friends, broke their bangles and dug a hole with the broken pieces. But there was no water – so Krishna laughed. The gopis then formed a line to the Manasi Ganga and started to fill the hole with water that was passed from one gopi to another. At that time, all the sacred rivers again arrived in person and requested permission to enter into Radharani’s kunda, which they did after receiving Radharani’s blessing.