Glory of Manasi Ganga
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
This Haridev Temple is located to the south of Manasi Ganga. Manasi Ganga is a pond created by Lord Krishna. It is very crowded there today, so we will not be able to speak there—we will only go there and take some water on our heads; that is why we can say something about Manasi Ganga here.
How did Manasi Ganga come to us?
All Vraja-basis thought that Krishna was just a little boy, the son of Nanda Maharaj and Mother Yasoda. Nanda Maharaj and Mother Yasoda also thought, "Krishna is the child of our house, He is our son." Nobody could understand that Krishna was the Lord Himself, that He could do anything. So, one time, when it came to the time of Asari Purnima, everybody wanted to go to the Ganges to bathe in it. What did Krishna do then? He invented, created this Ganges by the strength of His mind (manasa). He told everybody, "It is not necessary for you all to go so far to the Ganges! You can bathe here in this Manasi Ganga!"
We always take the water of the Ganges on our heads—we never bathe in it because to bathe in it you would have to touch the Ganges water with your feet, and we are always afraid of it. For the same reason we do not want to bathe in Radha Kunda or Manasi Ganga. We do not want to touch with our feet the water where Krishna Himself bathed, where Radharani Herself bathed, where all the Vraja-gopis themselves bathed. We consider ourselves very unqualified, that is why we are not able to bathe in Radha Kunda or Manasi Ganga. We have not been able to earn such qualification. Krishna, Radharani, all the Vraja-gopis and other devotees of Vraja Dham bathed in this water, so if we can only take some drops of water from there and place it on our heads, that is sufficient for us.
So, when it came to the time of Asadi Purnima, Nanda Maharaj, Mother Yasoda and other Vraja-basis wanted to travel to the Ganges to bathe in her water. They lived on the outskirts of Govardhan at that time and would have to walk a very long way. Krishna thought, "All holy places (tirthas) are present in Vrindavan and Govardhan! Why do My father and mother need to go so far to the Ganges?" Then He created this Ganga here, but Krishna cannot say, "I have created the Ganges! I have brought her here!" Instead, He told all the Vraja-basis, "Why are you going to the Ganges? The Ganges is here! You wanted to walk so far to bathe in the Ganges, but, knowing that all holy places, including the Ganges herself, are present in Vrindavan, Ganga Devi herself has appeared before you!" And Krishna said, "From today this holy place will be known as Manasi Ganga!"
The banks of Manasi Ganga (the stone steps, the bricks, etc.) were later made by Man Singh, a king of Jaipur.
Srila Raghunath Das Goswami wrote a sloka praying to Manasi Ganga,
গান্ধর্ব্বিকা মুরবিমর্দ্দন নৌবিহার
gandharvika mura-vimardana nau-vihara
"She who enjoys the sweet mellows of boating pastimes of Sri Radha-Krishna and who has lifted the effulgent Govardhan-sila by its rolling waves—may this Manasa Ganga protect me from all that is unfavourable to devotion."
(Sri Vraja-vilasa-stavah, 64—Srila Raghunath Das Goswami)
Manasi Ganga is a playground of Radharani and Krishna—They play here in a boat. Srila Raghunath Das Goswami prays, "O Manasi Ganga! Please protect me!" Who is Manasi Ganga? He says, "I know that Radha and Krishna always play in boats in your water."
Every year on Mudiya Purnima (it is called 'mudiya' because men shave (mundan) their heads on this day), thousands of people come to Manasi Ganga and bathe in it.
You know that there are three hills in Vraja Dham. One is Govardhan (we will do the Govardhan parikrama tomorrow and the day after tomorrow).
By the way, the day after tomorrow is also Govardhan-puja, Annakut Mahotsav. Do not forget it. Today is dipavali—you must offer lamps at the temple. Please buy lamps in clay pots, light them and place them on the four sides of the temple where we are staying. It is 'deep-dan mahotsav' ('festival of offering lamps'). You can offer lamps today and tomorrow, for two days.
So, the first hill is Govardhan, the second one is Varshana, where Radharani stays (we will go there on our last day, on 10 November), and the third hill is Nandishwar, where the house of Nanda Maharaj and Krishna is (we will also go there later). These are the three hills of Vrindavan, and they also represent Vishnu (Govardhan), Rudra (Nandishwar), and Brahma (Varshana).
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita describes Mahaprabhu's visit to this temple in the eighteenth chapter of Madhya-lila:
preme matta chali' aila govardhana-grama
"Mad with ecstatic love, the Lord came to the village known as Govardhan. There He saw the Deity named Haridev and offered His obeisances unto Him."
'mathura'-padmera pascima-dale yanra vasa
"Harideva is an incarnation of Narayan, and His residence is on the western petal of the lotus of Mathura."
harideva-age nache preme matta hana
"Mad with ecstatic love, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to dance before the Deity of Haridev. Hearing of the Lord's wonderful activities, all the people came to see Him."
Inside this temple of Haridev there is a Deity of Govardhan-dhari Haridev.
"He wears a peacock feather crown and yellow garments. He holds the flute and lifts the Govardhan Hill!"
jaya yasoda-nandana krsna murari
"All glory to the son of Yasoda, Krishna, Murari. Glory to He who holds the flute and lifts the Govardhan Hill!"
If anyone does the parikrama of Govardhan and takes the darshan of Haridev, they achieve the result of rajasuya and asvamedha yajnas.
Like the temples in Vrindavan and Govardhan, the temple of Haridev is built with red stone. Sri Bhakti-ratnakar also says that Govardhan-ksetra is located to the west of Mathura and those who bathe in the Manasi Ganga, take the darshan of Haridev at Govardhan, celebrate Annakut Festival and circumambulate Govardhan, will never have to come back to this material world again.
Jay Sri Haridevjiu ki jay
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