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I am an ardent blogger and a web enthusiast. My blogs include varied topics from the picturesque details of my travelogue to theology and worldly facts. My passions are reading English and Tamil classics, Management Topics, Playing Tennis and taking long walks. I live with my wife in Bangalore. Visit regularly my children in Michigan and Colorado to spend time with them and three grandsons. Please brief your opinions there in when you read my blog :-

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Dwaraka Dham Yatra ( Day 5 - Part 5)

 Dwaraka  Dham  Yatra  ( Day 5  -  Part 5 )
         01 March 2016  ( Tuesday )


     सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज I
     अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुच: I (Gita:18:66)

     Giving up all duties take refuge in me.
     I will liberate you from all sins, do not grieve .

March 1st was the day 5 and also the penultimate day of our Dwaraka Tour. We had an early  breakfast by 7:00 am in the restaurant attached to the Atithi Gruh, our place of stay in Somnath.  Breakfast menu - Kichadi, a fried item of besan, kadi, curds and coffee / tea. We loaded our luggage into the bus, which we had availed from day 1 after landing @ Ahmedabad airport.on 26th Feb. The first spot we visited was  Shri Golok Dham, 4km away. We reached there by 7.40 a.m.

                                                           Shri Golok Dham

Shri Somnath is also called Harihar Tirth. There is a Shiva temple with Jyotirlinga. Golok Dham is close to the Shiva temple. Lord Krishna  commenced his journey from Bhooloka,
( that is from Golok Dham ) for  Sri Vaikunta. Sri Krishna’s disappearance took place on the bank of Hiran River (Harini) in Somnath on Chitra Sukla, Prathama day in 3102 2:27:39 pm on a Friday. According to English Calendar, it was on 18, February, 3102 B.C.
First we entered the Gita Mandir which is also known as Birla Mandir. It is built by the Birlas in 1970 at the very same spot , Goloka Tirth , where Lord Krishna came to take rest by walk after hit by an hunter’s arrow from Bhaluka Tirtha. An admirable work for the benefit of all had been carried out here. The verses 700 in all, contained in 18 Chapters  of  Bhagavad Gita are carved on 18 marble pillars inside the temple. There is a very beautiful idol of Sri Gopalakrishna playing the flute.  We sat in front of the Krishna Idol. Shri Dasa described the significance of Bhagavad Gita, the ‘Song of Gods’. Upanishads are the essence of Vedas. Bhagavad Gita is the essence of all Upanishads. If Upanishads are compared to the cows, Sri Gopalakrishna is the milkman and  Arjuna is the calf to receive the milk first in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Most important , as Mr.Dasa emphasised, Bhagavad Gita is narrated directly by Lord Krishna himself to Arjuna. Hence it stands as a treasure, immeasurable, great and beyond description. Gita occupies a significant place in the intellectual and ethical life of modern man for a long time to come. If truth is what works, Gita explores it as a determinant. Those who follow its teachings display a joyous serenity..Bhagavad Gita is a deeply felt, powerfully conceived, and beautifully explained work.

       Gita Mandir                       Bhagavad Gita Inscriptions  on the marble pillars

Next we entered the Sri Lakshmi Narayan temple where we worshipped the beautiful idols of  Sriman Narayana and Lakshmi and a small idol of Garuda. The various Avatars of Sri Krishna  are painted on the walls

Sri Lakshmi Narayan temple            Sri Narayana & Lakshmi

                                              Paintings of Krishna Avatars    

The third place we visited was Sri Balaram Mandir with the Balaram Gufa, a cave inside.
.After  witnessing the destruction of the Yadavas and Lord  Krishna’s departure, Sri Balarama entered the cave, sat in meditation, took the form of ‘Sheshnag’  and departed from the earth. The figure of a snake on the wall of the cave is the route from where Balarama made his journey to Patal Lok. We too entered the cave to view this Sheshnag form. There is a statue of Lord Balarama in front of the temple.
            Sheshnag inside Balarama Cave               Sri Balarama

In the open area , there is a memorial built where Sri Krishna’s footprints are installed inside a mandap. We prayed to His Pada Charan with utmost devotion. This place on the banks of River Hiran  is called ‘Dehotsarg Tirth’ or ‘Golok Dham’ meaning it was the place from where the Lord went to his ‘Nij Dham’. (‘ Nij’ means true and’ Dham’ means God’s abode.)  It is the place where Daruka brought the Lord’s Chariot and took him back to Vaikuntha. (Dehotsarg Golok Dham).  A serene and peaceful atmosphere prevails at this spot and  we could sense  the spiritual vibration in our physical body.

                                                  Krishna Pada Charan

We sat under the shade of a tree as Shri Dasa continued with the narration.  Sri Goloka Dhama is most superior compared to millions of spiritual planets. Goloka Vrindavan stands as the topmost among Vrindavan's like Gokula, Mathura and Dwaraka all put together. 11th Skandha of Srimad Bhagavatam describes the entire sequence leading to Lord Krishna’s Vaikuntha Pravesha.:-

Krishna helped the Pandavas to win against the deceitful Kauravas.. After the Kurukshetra war Lord Krishna met Gandhari who blamed him for the death of the Kauravas in the war. She
blamed Krishna for his inaction as he could  have prevented the war and the destruction of millions of soldiers. Though Krishna tried to explain his role and Kauravas hatred towards Pandavas, Gandhari refused to accept his words and cursed Krishna and his lineage (Yaduvansh) to undergo the same punishment and perish by fighting within themselves. The curse of Gandhari materialised after three decades.
Lord Krishna ruled in Dwarka for 35 years after the end of Kurukshetra war. The empire was peaceful and prosperous, but  the youth of Yadavas became frivolous and hedonistic. One day Krishna's son Samba dressed up as a woman and along with his friends met the sages  Vishwamitra, Durvasa, Vashista, Narada and others who were visiting Dwarka for an audience with Krishna. The young man pretending to be a pregnant woman playfully  teased the sages to predict the gender of the baby
One sage saw through the prank and in a fit of rage, cursed that Samba would give birth to an iron bolt that would destroy the entire Yadava race. King Ugrasena who came to know about this incident advised Samba to powder the iron bolt and cast it into the Prabhas sea. The king also issued an order that no intoxicating spirits should be produced or distributed in the Yadavas kingdom.
The town then witnessed several dark omens, including the disappearance of the Sudarshana Chakra, the Panchajanya (Krishna's Conch), Krishna's chariot and the plough weapon of Balarama. Pests and sinful acts  increased. Krishna was concerned and asked everyone to go on a pilgrimage to the sacred waters of the Prabhas Tirtha. There the Yadavas reveled in merry making and drinking alcohol. A fight ensued among the Yadavas regarding the wrongdoings in the Kurukshetra war and they started abusing, attacking and killing each other.

Krishna arrived at the scene and took the ‘eraka grass (grew from the iron powder) which turned into a club and with that he started slaying the violent ones. The others followed the example and with the eraka grass which turned into a pestle they attacked one another and perished in that process. Sri Krishna, Balarama ,Vabhru and Daruka were the only survivors. Later Lord Balarama and Vabhru also left from this earth once for all.

Seeing the painful end of his clan, empire, and its descendents, poignant Krishna departed from Dwarka for Prabhas Patan jungles. Krishna sat under a peepal tree in yogic posture, keeping his right leg over his left. Jara, an archer, mistook the lotus red foot of Krishna for a deer and aimed an arrow at his foot, fatally injuring him. The archer apologised for his mistake. But Krishna was magnanimous to say that it was not Jara’s mistake but only he was paying off for his deeds in his previous birth. Jara was the ’ Monkey King  Vali ‘ , the brother of Sugreeva in his earlier birth. He was killed by Sri Rama ( now incarnating as Sri Krishna)  who shot an arrow hiding behind a tree. Our eyes became moist as we were moved by the narration. With the departure of Sri Krishna, the Dwapara Yuga came to an end ushering in the beginning  of Kali Yuga.

We slowly walked towards the bank of Harini river. There was ample water in the river. The cool breeze blowing from the surrounding  brought a change of mood in us for good..

                                                River Harini

8:45 am--Our next stop was at Triveni Sangam. Three rivers ,the Harini (Yamuna), Kapila (Ganga) and Saraswati meet at this point and finally reach the Arabian Sea. River Saraswati is said to be ‘pratyaksha’ (real form) in this Prabhasa Kshetra.

                                          Triveni  Sangam ( Harini, Kapila & Saraswati)

Legend ;-( Srimad Bhagavatam ,Sk;6 Ch 4&5 )

During the 6th Manvantara, KIng Prachinabarhis had 10 sons, known as Prachetas. They married Marisha, daughter of an Apsaras named Amlochana. Their son became the Daksha Prajapati. He did severe penance in the lake Aghamarshana and worshipped God with the hymn known as Hamsaguhya. Pleased with his devotion he was blessed  with a boon that his progeny would grow. Due to Vishnu Maya he got 100,00 sons  through his wife Asikini, the daughter of Panchajana.These sons of Daksha behaved and thought like one man. Asked by their father to multiply the species they went in westerly direction to do Tapas, and to invoke the blessings of the Lord. They went to the holy spot called Narayana Saras (in Kutch), the resort of holy sages, and did penance for many years and got purified in the mind more and more.  Sage Narada met them at this stage and by interacting deftly, he tried to bring about a change in their attitude. They became firm and gave up doing penance to create progeny. They renounced the common man’s life and continued tapas severely for getting ‘Moksha’.

Thus disappointed with his sons’ change of mind, Daksha Prajapati  again begot several thousand sons known as Sabalaswas. They too went to the same Narayana Saras to do tapas as per their father’s wish. Again Sage Narada came there to thwart their effort. They also went in the path of renunciation. Daksha vexed with Narada’s mischief cursed him saying that the sage would always be wandering in the worlds without an abode of his own. Then Daksha got 60 daughters, out of them 27 married Soma (Chandra). Daksha cursed  Soma to decrease in size as the latter was extremely fond of his wife Rohini, neglecting his other 26 spouses. Later Soma  prayed  to Lord Shiva and got some relief from his curse by meditating in Triveni Sangam..

We visited the ‘ Triveni Sangam ‘ (confluence of the three rivers ) which is about 2 Kms from Golok Dham. Here people perform the  last rites for their elders and relatives and  it is considered a holy place for ‘pitru tarpana’ ( for the departed souls in the family.)
     At Triveni Sangam                                        Feeding the cow
With the guidance of a pandit we too did sankalpa and offered arghya for our ancestors. The water in the sangam area needs intensive cleaning. We heard some construction work is going on in this area and may be in the future the Triveni Sangam will have a clean and appealing look. Here also we fed the cows as per local tradition.

              Bhalka Tirtha in Veraval      Peepul Leaf collected  from the same venue(2006)

9;40 am--  (4 Kms) We proceeded to Bhalka Tirtha in Veraval,  the place where Lord Krishna was hit by the arrow, aimed by Jara, the hunter.’ In Gujarati ‘Bhall’ means an arrow. That is why this place gets the name Bhalka Tirth. This is also called the Moksha Dwaraka.

Major renovation work is going on to develop this spot as a tourist attraction. We saw the statue of Lord Krishna in a reclining posture his right leg crossed over the left.  The foot has a red tinge which Jara mistook for a young fawn. His poisonous arrow pierced the foot in the centre which proved fatal. We also saw the statue of Jara opposite to the Lord’s feet begging for his forgiveness. The peepal tree under which Lord Krishna was resting now looks shrivelled with hardly any leaves. (may be due to pollution in that site at present).  We paid our homage to  Dwarkadheesh with a heavy heart as if bidding him farewell. There is a Tirth (pond)  and Mahadev temple nearby. We had darshan of the deity Shiva.
         Jara, the Hunter                                Sri Krishna in Reclining Posture
          Bhalka Tirth                                                          Shri Mahadev Shrine
11;00 am we proceeded towards Junagadh (96 miles) to visit Shri Damodar Hari’s Main Temple (Radha Damodar) situated along the road to Girnar in Junagadh city. This is also called as Vastrapata Kshetra. Skanda Purana mentions about the glory of this place. Five places are mentioned as important--Damodar Kund, Revati Kund, Raivataka Parvat (Girnar Parvat), Muchukunda Cave and Radha Damodar Mandir. The Mandir of Sri Radha Damodar Ji- Sri Revathi Balaram Ji  has an ancient look. The idols installed in the same Mandir are said to be beautiful but we could not see them as we reached the temple after the closing time. We had darshan of the deities only in the photos. The water of  both the Kunds is considered as sacred as Ganga jal. Lighting Ghee lamps during the month of  Kartik is believed to be auspicious. We had a good view of the Raivataka Mountain from the temple courtyard. It looked like a sleeping man.
                                 Radha- Damodar- Mandir

                                                View Of  the Raivataka  Parvata

Raivataka Mountain is the highest mountain in Gujarat. It is older than Himalayas. It is believed that Lord Dattatreya lived here. Hindus, Jains and Buddhists consider this place as sacred. Maha Shivaratri is celebrated grandly here. Shri Dasa narrated the legend regarding the Raivataka Mountain.

Legend :-
Long time ago there lived a sage by name Apantarathama Muni. One day when he was doing penance he failed to welcome Sage Durvasa who made his appearance there. Durvasa Muni was angry to see him sluggish and without any movement (Achala) in front of a sage of his calibre and cursed him to change into a mountain,( the Raivataka Mountain). Achala in Sanskrit means a mountain. Raivataka Mountain became the son of Vindhya Parvat. He remembered his tapas and Lord Krishna. He asked  sage Narada to give him a place in Dwaraka Mandal. King Raivata allowed the Raivataka mountain to stay in his kingdom in response to Narada’s request. In the meanwhile Narada told the other mountains that King Raivata had come to grab Raivataka  All the mountains came to fight against King Raivata. Narada also informed Lord Krishna regarding the fight between the King and the mountains. Sri Krishna gave the king Vishnu Shakti to fight against the  mountains. King Raivata defeated the mountains and Raivataka Mountain remained in Girnar as Girnar Mountain.

Mahabharata mentions that Raivataka mountain  was situated in the Anarta kingdom .Harivamsa Purana mentions it was "close to the sporting ground of the King Raivataka" . It is called as "the living place for the Gods". People from Dwaraka visited this mountain and celebrated their worshipping as a grand festival. People climb 9999 steps to do parikrama on the top of the mountain.

Balarama-Revathi wedding
Raivata Kakudmi was the king of Kushasthali.  Revata and Anarta were his father and grandfather respectively. Kakudmi had one daughter named Revathi who was beautiful and accomplished. The king took his daughter to Brahma Lok to seek advice for a suitable husband for her. He had to wait for a considerable time to meet Brahma as he was watching a musical programme of the Gandharvas.

When Kakudmi presented the list of suitable candidates to marry Revati, Brahma laughed as they were not alive due to the passage of long time amounting to 27 Chatur Yugas or 108 Yugas on Earth during the time interval Kakudmi waited in Brahma lok. Brahma explained the then prevailing time difference between Brahmaloka and the Earth. Brahma however suggested that Kaliyuga was nearing and  Lord Krishna and Balaram were present  on Earth. He also suggested the name of Lord Balarama as a suitable husband for Revathi.

Kakudmi and Revati when returned to Earth were shocked to find the  human race  had dwindled in stature, reduced in vigour, and enfeebled in intellect during the 108 Yugas lapsed when they were absent from  the earth.The King and the daughter found Lord Balarama and proposed the marriage.

Revati was taller and larger in size than Balarama as she belonged to the earlier yuga. She tapped her head and shoulder with the plough which  Balarama conventionally carried. Revathi got shrunk to normal height by this way.

Revati and Balarama were duly married. ( ref: Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana and Garga Samhita).

Girnar also happened to be Revathi’s parents’ place of residence. After listening to these two legends connected with Raivataka (Girnar) we  walked towards Muchukunda cave in the adjacent building. Inside the cave a number of idols are installed.
We also listened to the narration about the significance of Muchukunda cave.            Way to Muchukunda Cave


                                                Inside Muchukunda Cave   

Muchukunda lived in Satya Yuga. He was born to the King Mandhata in the Ikshvaku dynasty. Devendra saw Muchukunda not only as a king but  also as a great war hero and a strategist. He invited Muchukunda to help him to fight against the asuras. Muchukunda readily accepted Indra’s invitation. In one particular battle  Muchukunda had to fight for a very long time to destroy the asuras. Indra was pleased with Muchukunda and wanted him to lead a normal life without the stress and strain of fighting. Muchukunda faintly remembered the faces of his wife, children and relatives and wanted to see them. Indra told Muchukunda about the the difference in time between Devalok and Earth. The time Muchukunda spent in Devalok was short but during that period, eons and eons of years must have passed in Earth. His family members had passed away. Further Lord Karthikeya had now assumed the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Devas and hence Muchukunda’s services were no longer needed. Indra asked him to seek a boon.

Muchukunda told Indra that no matter on earth attracted him . He was so tired of fighting - still worse tired of seeing  bloodshed. He wanted to take rest and sleep for long and endlessly.. Muchukunda wanted to  sleep and should anyone were to disturb, he should be reduced to ashes by his mere gaze. Indra readily granted the boon.

King Muchukunda descended to earth and selected a cave, where he could sleep without being disturbed. The  cave later came to be known as Muchukunda Cave. He started sleeping and two Yugas passed by. He slept through the second yuga and extended his sleep to the third yuga which was about to end.

Kalayavana  a warrior king  invaded Sri Krishna’s kingdom Mathura along with Jarasandha. When the two armies faced each other in the battlefield, Krishna started running away. Kalayavana followed him. They entered the cave where Muchukunda was sleeping. Krishna threw his yellow robe upon the sleeping Muchukunda and stood aside in the dark. Kalayavana in a fit of anger attacked  the sleeping Muchukunda mistaking him to be Krishna. Muchukunda opened his eyes and his gaze fell upon Kalayavana who was immediately burnt to ashes..

Muchukunda was an ancestor of Lord Rama who belonged to the Tretha yuga. Krishna appeared towards the end of Dwapara yuga. So Muchukunda was  asleep for a long time. When he woke up he saw Sri Krishna and became extremely happy. Krishna told him to do tapas to cleanse the accumulated sins  and his next life would be the last one. After that he would be liberated/obtain moksha. Muchukunda came out of the cave. He was astonished to see all the creatures were shrunk due to the process of evolution during the long time he was asleep.
Then Muchukunda went to Gandhamadana Mountain and from there to Badrika Ashram.

Muchukunda river:- A tributary of Krishna river in Telangana region originates in Ananthagiri hills in Rangareddy District, the hills where Muchukunda had his long sleep. So the river got the name Muchukunda. This was the name in the olden days. The name is changed to Musi which name is still in use today.
In this location the swayambhu  idol of  Pancha Mukha Anjaneya attracted our attention. One leg was turned showing the sole of the foot. The legend connected with this idol-- When Shri Anjaneya was returning to Sri Lanka carrying the Sanjeevani Parvat he flew over Nandigram. Bharatha, Sri Rama’s brother mistook him to be a demon and shot an arrow at  him. Sri Anjaneya uttered Lord Rama’s name loudly. Bharatha realised that Anjaneya was a friend of his brother. He massaged Anjaneya’s  wounded  foot with his hand - the message  healed the foot and a nail grew in the place of the skin. This story was told by the lady in charge of that place. We thanked her for the interesting tale. The  Damodar Kund and Revati Kund are being renovated.  In this trip we observed that many pilgrimage centres are undergoing renovation  in Gujarat.

        Damodar Kund                                             Revati Kund

We  were on the road towards our next stop for lunch . We crossed, the Medical College and the Engineering College of Junagadh, with the Raivata Parvat  forming a huge wall on our right side .  At 3:30 pm we reached the Patel Restaurant opposite to Sakkarbaugh Zoo,on Rajkot Highway, Junagadh and had  a sumptuous lunch. All of us were famished since we had very early B/F at Somnath . We enjoyed the hot and tasty food here.  
Lunch Menu--Phulka, paratha,methi roti, bajra roti, dal, kadi, salad - 3 varieties of sabzi, chaas and for dessert Shrikhand -  all of us had more than one helping of the dessert. We were attracted by the water jugs with fresh pudina leaves inside. The ambience was very pleasing and needless to say we did justice and enjoyed the meals.

            After Lunch                                                                   Pudina leaves  in water

We started moving towards our next destination ‘DAKOR’.( 372 km). We knew it would take about 7 to 8 hours of journey. The roads are  broad with lot of greenery on either side. We were moving on the fertile part of the State. We came across coconut groves, plantations with  banana trees and other fruit varieties.  We chanted slokas and sang bhajans with a spirit of devotion.

6:30 pm--Tea at Maruthi Hotel
9:30 pm --Dinner at Honest Hotel, Rajkot. ( the menu was left to our choice)

1:15 am- 2nd March  reached Dakor, Yatri Nivas. Thanks to Shri Dasa  who quickly allotted the rooms for us. We were like ‘ Muchukunda ‘ ‘wishing to sleep as we were tired after a long journey.

( the travelogue to be concluded in part 6 )


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