Sri Radha-kunda is within Bahulavana, and for this reason there is a custom to take bath in Sri Radha-kunda on the day of Bahulastami. A huge assembly of people take bath in Sri Radha-kunda on that day.
The Padma Purana states:
yatha radha priya visnoh tasyah kundam priyam tatha
sarvagopisu sevaika visnoratyantavallabha
“Among all the gopis, Srimati Radhaji is most dear to Sri Krsna, being His principal prana vallabha. Similarly, Radhaji’s dear kunda is also very dear to Him.”
The Varaha Purana declares:
sarvapapaharastirtham namaste harimuktidah
namah kaivalyanathaya radhaKrsnabhidhayine
“O Sri Radha-kunda! O Sri Krsna Kunda! You destroy all sins and award one-pointed prema. I bow down to you again and again.” The puranas are filled with innumerable descriptions of the glories of these two kundas.
In Vraja-vilasa-stava (text 53), Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prays:
sri-vrindavipinam suramyam api tac chriman sa govardhanah
sa rasa-sthalikapy alam rasamayi kim tavad anyat sthalam
yasyapy amsa-lavena narhati manak samyam va mukundasya tat
pranebhyo ‘py adhika-priyeva dayitam tat kundam evasraye
“Not even Sri Vrindavana, which is supremely delightful because of places like the rasa filled rasa-sthali, or Sriman Govardhana, which is the arena of the nectarian rasa where the most confidential amorous pastimes (keli-krida) of the Divine Couple take place, are equal to even a shadow of a particle of the glories of Sri Radha-kunda, what to speak of other pastime-places within Braja Mandala. I take shelter of this Sri Radha-kunda, which is more dear to Sri Mukunda than His own life.”
Sri Radha-kunda lies in a village named Arita Gaon, about three miles north-east of Govardhana and fourteen miles from Mathura and Vrindavana. Aristasura was a servant of Kamsa who assumed the form of a bull and attacked Krsna with the aim of killing Him. However, Krsna killed him instead at this place.
At Sri Radha-kunda, Sri Radha-Krsna Yugala perform Their midday (madhyahnik) lila-vilasa. Here They perform a variety of amorous pastimes freely and without any obstruction. This is not possible anywhere else. Therefore, Radha-kunda is considered to be the topmost place of bhajana, superior even to Nandagaon, Barsana, Vrindavana and Govardhana. This most confidential place, surcharged with paramount bhavas, was revealed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, who is endowed with the bhava (sentiment) and kanti (lustre) of Sri Radha. Previously, Sri Madhavendra Puri, Sri Lokanatha Gosvami and Sri Bhugarbha Gosvami also came to Braja, where they revealed various pastime-places of Krsna; but they did not reveal this confidential place, which was manifested by Sri Gaurasundara Himself, who is Sri Radha and Krsna combined.
Sri Krsna killed Aristasura during the day. That same night, He met with His beloved Sri Radhika and the other sakhis here. Sri Krsna was very eager to embrace Srimati Radhika, but as soon as He reached out towards Her, She stepped back. Jokingly, She said,
“Today, You have killed a bull, which belongs to the cow family. You have therefore committed the sin of killing a cow. Please don’t touch My pure body.”
Krsna smilingly answered,
“Priyatame! It was a demon that I killed, who had deceitfully assumed the form of a bull; so how can sin even touch Me?”
“Whatever he was, he had assumed the form of a bull when You killed him. Hence, the sin of killing a cow has definitely touched You.” The sakhis supported Her statements.
Sri Krsna asked how He could atone for this sin. Smilingly, Srimatiji answered, “The only atonement is to take bath in all the tirthas of the entire Earth planet.” Hearing this, Sri Krsna created an extensive kunda simply by striking His heel on the ground. He then summoned all the tirthas of the entire planet to it. Uncountable tirthas immediately came before Krsna in their personified forms. Krsna asked them to enter the kunda in the form of water. In a moment, the kunda filled with pure, sacred water. Sri Krsna took bath in that kunda and again tried to touch Srimatiji. But Srimati Radhika now wanted to manifest a kunda full of water that was larger and more exquisite than Krsna’s, in response to Her Priyatama’s bragging. She and Her sakhis therefore stubbornly dug out a very attractive kunda nearby with their bracelets. However, not so much as a drop of water appeared in it. Krsna joked that they could take water from His kunda, but Srimatiji along with Her innumerable sakhis prepared themselves to bring water from Manasi Ganga in clay pots. Sri Krsna signaled to the tirthas that they should insist that Srimatiji and Her sakhis fill up their kunda by taking water from His kunda. The tirthas personified pleased Srimati Radhika by offering Her and the sakhis many prayers. Srimati Radhika then gave them permission to enter Her kunda. Immediately, the current of water that had flowed into Krsna Kunda also filled Radha-kunda. With great pleasure, Sri Krsna bathed and performed water sports (jal-vihara) with Srimati Radhika and the sakhis in this dear kunda.
These two kundas manifested at midnight on Krsnastami (the eighth day of the dark moon) in the month of Kartika. Hundreds and thousands of people therefore bathe here at midnight on this day known as Bahulastami.
The Padma Purana states:
govardhana girau ramye radha-kundam priyam hareh
kartika bahulastamyam tatra snatva hareh priyah
naro bhakto bhaved vitatsthatasya tasya pratosanam
“Radiantly beautiful Sri Radha-kunda is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill. Faithful persons who bathe here on Krsnastami in the Kartika month receive prema-bhakti filled with the seva of Sri Radha-Kunjabihari Sri Hari.”
The Padma Purana also states:
dipotsave kartike ca radha-kunde yudhisthira
drisyate sakalam visvam bhrityair visnu-parayanaih
“On the day of Dipavali in the month of Kartika, the ekantika (one-pointed) bhaktas of Sri Radha-Krsna can see the entire universe and the complete Braja Mandala in Sri Radha-kunda.”
Some time later, when Sri Krsna had left for Dvaraka, both kundas disappeared. While manifesting the pastime-places of Braja, Sri Krsna’s great-grandson, Maharaja Vajranabha, again restored these two kundas under the guidance of Sandilya and other risis.
Five thousand years later, however, they had again disappeared. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to this place, He inquired from the local people about Radha-kundaand Syama Kunda, but they could provide Him with no information. Instead, they told Him about the two fields named Kali Khet and Gauri Khet that lay before them, which contained a little water. Mahaprabhu respectfully addressed Kali Khet as Syama Kunda and Gauri Khet as Radha-kunda and offered them His pranama.
Then, as He bathed in them, He became overwhelmed. Losing all patience, He cried out, “Ha Radhe! Ha Krsna!,” and fainted.
The place where He sat down is now called Tamala Tala. It is also called Mahaprabhu’s baithaka (sitting-place).
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