BanshiVat at Vrindavan, Vraj Mandal: Shree RadhaKrishn Maha Raas Sthali
Few photos from this sacred mandir, from my visits here.
Some photos from our satsang here in February 2013:
This sacred mandir is situated in the heart of Vrindavan city with an area of approx. 30,000 sq feet.
It is known as BANSHI VAT MAHARAAS STHALI.
The Vrindavan Parikrama Marg and the sacred Yamuna run on the back side of this place and are connected by a narrow lane to the back door of this divine place.
Earlier as history describes, Banshivat was situated on this Yamuna Tat (bank); but as time passed land between the two places became divided, because the sacred Yamuna River has been receding very fast.
There are two mandirs here; one is the small ‘Charan’ mandir which is situated in the center of the parisar. These divine ‘Charan’ of Shree RadhaKrishn were established in 1820, by a great sage, Girdhari Sharn Dev acharya; he was a great devotee and served Ras Bihari with a lot of bhao, which pleased the Divine, and Radha Ras Bihari gave Their Charan to him.
The other large mandir was built by King Oyal (from Lucknow) in the 1900’s; in which the proper sewa is done daily of the Deities of Shree Radha Krishn today.
Pushti maarg samprada Chief Sri Maha Prabhu Vallabhacharya came to Vrindavan. He was looking for a place to hold the Bhagvat katha. He found Banshivat to be the most pure and decided to have the Bhagvat katha here.
Some say that the first darshan of ShreeNathji he found here at Banshivat.
His many disciples – Surdas. Meerabai, Kumbhandas, Nanddas ……. Visited this place and have described it in their books.
It also finds mention in the Chaitanya Charitamrit.
Vrindavan is famous as God played ras leelas with the gopis. In today’s times there are many places which have been proclaimed as the raas sthali; but with the proof available Banshivat is the only place which is mentioned in many scriptures and holy books and history by various saints.
Banshivat is Thakurjee’s most loved Raas leela sthal.
“Brindavan so van nahi, Nandgaon so gaon
Banshivat so vat nahin, Shree Krishn naam so naam”.
‘Gopika shat kati bhi Raas leela vibhu sith
Banshi Rav sama keerm Banshivat namo stute”.
“Brindavane vate banshi, praoage maoarath:|
Gayanya akshay khyat, kalpastu Purushottume||
Nishkumbh: khal lankaya, eategha panch gha vat:|
Eaitesu vat mulesu, sada nivsati makhav”|
*Shree Krishn Played His flute often under this Vat. Banshi means the flute; Vat means the Banyan tree.
*Banshivat is the spot where the Divine couple spent a lot of time.
*ShreeKrishn played the famously divine Maha Raas here on the Sharad Purnima night.
*This is the spot where many famous loving divine leelas of Radha and Shyam along with the gopis took place. Freedom from the many commitments made to various bhakts in the many different avatars;
Granting anand and bliss to the many rasik bhakts; are some of the main reasons spoken about in the olden scriptures as reasons for the Maha Raas.
*Another reason for being famous is Shree Krishn’s victory over Kaam Dev at this spot.
A small temple of Gopeshwar is also on one corner of the main court, inside the Banshivat.
The story about why this is here:
When the sacred Maha Raas began, while in deep meditation on Kailash Parvat, Shiv Bhagwan heard the mesmerizing dhwani of Shree playing His divine flute. He told Parvati that He was going to prathvilok to be a part of this divine happening. He followed that transcendental sound until He came to Vrindavan, where ShreeKrishn was getting ready to start the Maha Raas with His gopis.
Desiring intensely to join the Maha Raas, when He came to the entrance of the Raas-Shali, He was stopped by Yogamaya, who told him, “Only gopis can enter here, no males except Thakurjee can be here at this time.”
Being a male He first, He was requested to take the form of a gopi, which only Shree Yamunajee would be able to grant Him.
After bathing in the Yamunaji, Lord Shiva emerged from the river with the form of a beautiful gopi.
Lord Shiva in Her gopi form stood at one corner of the Raas sthali. Lord Shiva stood there and prayed to Shree Radha Krishn for getting prem-bhakti.
Then the raas started. Shree Krishn danced with all the gopis. He also danced with Lord Shiva who was disguised as a gopi.
As He entered the place, Krishn recognized Him instantly – hence gave Him the name of Gopeshwar. The story continues how Radha became angry; she accused Krishn of calling a new gopi by the name of Gopeshwar, which means – the Lord of gopis. All these years He had never ever called Radha by this name. Then Shyam had to explain the details to Her. “This is no ordinary gopi. He is Lord Shiv and He has come all the way to see the Maharaas leela with a pure and sattvik gopi bhao.
Since then in His respect a mandir showing Shivji in the Gopi Form is there.
On 5th evening at around 4.30 pm which is the 44th day of construction, we visited the mandir and the charan shila to check if all is complete in perfection.
The structure looks heavenly in pure white and I can feel this longing again, this sense of belonging which I feel repeatedly at many places in Vrindavan. In fact looking at their pictures also is enough to evoke this sense of belonging and longing; this deep, deep connection and attraction I feel within; at times I have the over whelming need to be in Vrindavan. This is my home, it is where I belong!
Here at Banshivat today this attraction is very strong and I can feel held by the Divine vibrations.
Further details in my website: http://www.banshivat.org.in