CHAMPAKALATHA:RADHA-KRISHNA’S ASHTA SAKHI


The Puranas states that out of many thousands of gopis, sixteen thousand are predominant and among them  108 gopis are very close , eight are still more prominent . Radharani and Candravalli are very  prominent  and  Srimathi Radharani is the most prominent. Because Radharani possesses all the charm and sweetness to attract Lord Krishna .

Introduction about the Ashta sakhis  is appended in the below linked post

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/lord-krishnas-ashta-sakhi-temples-near-barsaana-vrindavan-an-introduction/

The Eight Gopis who are the foremost, dearest and most beloved friends of Shri  Shri Radharani  are  glorified  as Asta-sakhis  Gopis . Their names areLalita, Visakha, Chitralekha, Champakalata, Tungavidya, Indulekha, Rangadevi and Sudevi.

wp-1499673595244.

The Astha-sakhis display the zenith of spiritual love for Radha and Krishna. No one can equal or exceed the love they bear for the Divine Couple. To increase the transcendental ecstasy of Radha and Krishna, the Parama-preshta Gopis show partiality; sometimes they favour Krishna, sometimes Radha. These Eight Gopis are the leaders of all the other gopis. Although these Varishtha Gopis are the leaders of millions of other gopis, because they are very greedy to earn Radha’s love , they always prefer to serve under the command of Radha and try to please her in every way possible. These gopi friends decorate their own dear friend Srimati Radharani   and they take Radharani’s side whenever she has a lover’s quarrel with Lord Hari. 

wp-1497319129621.

They please the Divine Couple by expertly singing, dancing and playing instrumental music. At the appropriate time they beg to be engaged in various appropriate services.

47c5e530f22fea7025f68baf80d72324302679967.jpg
They serve palatable meals to the Divine Couple and afterward relish tasting the remnants left by Them. Their minds are pure and they are very expert and intelligent, so they serve Radha and Krsna very appropriately.  Lalita-devi is the leader and controller of all these exalted and worshipable young gopis.

wp-1497319152066.

To understand the deep devotion of the brajwasees  one has to really go and see this place for oneself .
flute
Radharani was always surrounded and served by her thousands of gopi-friends out of which eight of them are very prominent and are collectively known as Ashta sakhis.
wp-1497318669409.
  They are Lalitha , Vishaka, Tungadevi, Rangadevi, Indulekha, Chitralekha, Sudevi and Champakalatha.  These sakhis appeared in different villages around Barsana.

How to reach:-

Barsana—–Anjanak(5 kms)——Kamai(3 kms)——Karela (4kms)

Karela village which is the appearance place of Champakalatha sakhi is about 12 kms from Barsana(Varsana)

wp-1497319009299.

Champakalatha sakhi is the third among the varishta ashta sakhis.  She is one day elder to RAdharani  and her  appearance day falls on Sapthami thithi in  Bhadrapad maas (one day before Radhashtami).   Her parents were  Arama and Batika  who were  at Karela , a tiny village which is about 12 kms from Barsana and 3 kms from Kamai Vishakha sakhi’s temple.

Champakalatha was an  expert cook .


She used to  offer  sweet delicacies for little Krishna and Radharani.   Her service included  offering  jewels and garlands  , beautiful clay dolls to please the Lordships .

wp-1508675001630-1446673959.jpg

IMG_20150919_164415

As per the version of Brajvasis the divine sport  Rasakreeda started at this place-Karela.

The priest pointed towards a photograph  and shared an interesting incident .

IMG_20150919_164247

Lord conceded to the request of Jamanda deva who was meditating on the transcendental pastime of Rasa kreeda-the divine dance performed by chinni Krishna with the gopikas at Vrindavan on Sharath Poornima.

The Lord appeared in his dream and said that his wish would be fulfilled.  The Lord instructed him to assemble the  few children of Braj and enact the Rasakreeda and assured that HE and Radharani would manifest in the children and presented two crowns to him to be adorned to the children depicting as Radha and Krishna.

 As  announced , Lord out of abundant mercy  appeared in the villager’s dream and instructed them to send their children along with the sadhu.  Next day, Jamand dev approached the brahmins to send their children and they obliged to his request immediately .  Jamand dev brought the children to this temple and decorated them as Krishna, Radha and gopikas.  As per Lord’s instructions, he adorned the children acting as Radha and Krishna with the crown.

IMG_20150919_164318
closer view of the photograph of the crown being given to Lord to the devotee

 The moment they  were crowned , the children disappeared.The sage was perplexed and worried .  He started contemplating on the Lord and prayed to him fervently.  Lord appeared and  showed him the children who were already performing the Rasa kreeda grandly.
.facebook_1519737877262.jpg1956598173.jpg

The Sadhu was pleased and offered obesiances to LORD for the mercy .

The   Lord  commanded  the brahmins of the village to spread HIS pastimes in other places too  .

791578969_774969

The brahmins started executing the Lord’s orders.  In due course, they reached a place in Madhya Pradesh  wherein  the  king of that territory   asked them to perform Kalinga Narthanam on  a real  snake else they would be punished severely.

 The perplexed brahmins shared the king’s orders with the children.  The boy who was playing the role of Krishna advised  the brahmins to accept the request without any hesitation  . The entire episode of Kalinga Narthanam which took place during Krishnavataram was re-enacted  before the arrogant King.

RADHAA

Lord  Krishna HIMSELF took on the boy’s role and started dancing on the hoods of the snake and suddenly disappeared into the waters and there was no trace of the boy for nearly three hours .

kaalinga-nardhana-krishnar-1b

The brahmins and the king  who believed that it was a divine will were worried about the boy’s welfare.  The king with fear submitted to LORD .He  was worried that he had committed brahma hathi dosha(sin by killing a brahmin boy) and sought forgiveness at the lotus feet of Krishna.  Krishna appeared on the banks of the river and everyone was glad to see the boy alive.

 The king, who by now was repenting for his foolishness presented a 5 kg makut (crown) to be adorned to Krishna.  This crown is kept in Mathura in safe custody.


It  is brought once in a year to this temple with paraphernalia and Lord Krishna adorns it on Bhadrapad Pournami day.  A big festival takes place and all the devotees ,especially sadhus are fed sumptously  reminding this divine leela .

3

As a part of our Piligrimage yatra  recently , when we went to the temple, as part of the forthcoming celebrations, Srimad Bhagavata saptaham was  being recited .

IMG_20150919_164114

Jai Sri Radhey Shyaam

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

The immortal banyan tree at Kurukshetra


 Kurukshetra is 2 hour journey from New Delhi by Train and about 3½  hours by bus. Sridham Vrindavan to Kurukshetra is about 5-6 hour journey by train via Mathura-New Delhi route.  Kurukshetra is the  holy place where the great Mahabharata war took place.  It is believed one who leaves his mortal coils  at Kurukshetra,  attains salvation.  

krishna-forest-boy-lila-shravani

The area extends for  over 96 kms. In this place Kuru, the founder of Kuru  dynasty , performed  penance .  Pleased with his devotion  Lord blessed him with his desire  that whoever leaves his mortals coils   here in this place shall  get rid of the cycle of births and deaths and  attain moksham .  Lord Krishna selected this place for the grand finale the Mahabharata war.

kuruu

Kurukshetra is now a major centre of learning with many colleges and world famous Kurukshetra University. The whole yuddha bhoomi is now flooded with educational institutions.

bhagavad

This is the exact spot where Lord Sri Krishna spoke Bhagavad-Gita. There is a Banyan tree in this place under which  Lord Krishna explained Bhagavad-Gita 5000 years back to Arjuna to  his greatest friend and devotee. There is a board placed on the tree in which is written as The immortal banyan tree witness of the celestial song Bhagavad-Gita.This place is named as the Gitopadesh sthal – place where the Bhagavad-Gita was spoken.

kuuruu

 The tree is full of birds and squirrels which adds to the mystic aura of the holy place which  is eternally peaceful despite amidst coming and going of pilgrims throughout the day.The banyan tree under which Lord Krishna gave upadesam to Arjuna is still existing.  We were told by the priest that since that day, the tree has neither grown nor withered.  

It is remaining as it is. He said that they don’t even allow the leaves to fall down and hence the entire tree is covered with net

.m0

Surya Kund  is one more historical place near Kurukshetra ,  not to be missed . A dip in Surya kund after an eclipse , especially solar eclipse is considered to be very sacred    This place was prominent even before the grand war.

wp-1487989173812.jpg

In Treta yugam,  Lord Sri Rama visited this  holy place . People perform Pithru Kaaryam at this place for its holy legacy .It was said that a dip in this tank after eclipses purified the soul. It was here that the great sage Parshurama had come to atone for killing the evil kings .

lotuss

Lord Krishna along with His parents , Nanda Maharaja  and Yasodha Devi  used to visit this place to have holy dip in Suryakund after an eclipse.   

nuu

   Lord Krishna visited this place before Mahabharata war.   He brought his parents to this holy place to have sacred dip .

krishnagg

g7

During the solar eclipse , a  massive congregation had gathered at the field of Kurukshetra to bathe in the holy kund .

jai-sree-krishna

 Lord Krishna was leading the Yadavas. Dhritarashtra of Hastinapur was there with his sons the Kauravas and nephews the Pandavas. So were many other kings. Little did they know that soon they would be engaged in a do or die battle on this very field some years later. 

na1Once during a total solar eclipse  the cowherd community of Vrindavan arrived . This was the time when Lord Krishna   met the gopis .  

.facebook_1518922282871.jpg953769648.jpg

An incident that took place when Lord Krishna met Radharani for the last time  is discussed during discourses . A priest described the happenings here which is reproduced .

kkuu

 When Lord  Krishna’s parents, Vasudev and Devaki learnt of this they wanted to meet Nand Maharaj  and Yashoda. They had never met Krishna’s foster parents and wanted to thank them for taking care of their  darling son during the  formative years. The meeting was a very emotional one.

g8Lord Krishna came face to face with Radharani and  no words were said. No hands stretched to meet each other, no smile played upon lips and no eyes sparkled with delight.

wp-1508675001630-1446673959.jpg

Only a million thoughts flashed through each mind and a deluge of tears flowed from each pair of eyes. They stood staring  at each other till all the thoughts were exhausted and the eyes were dry.

kuruThough Krishna and Radha had been physically separated, they had been inseparable spiritually . Without saying anything they said everything and went their separate ways. They never saw each other again. The Priest was very emotional while describing the glory of the place and this pastime.

g9

 

IMG_20150922_095601

Ban Ganga is that place near Jyotishwar where  Arjuna quenched Bhishma’s thirst  –arrow pierced the ground and Ganges emerged

bhagavad gita tree

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

IMG-20170713-WA0012

Pics Courtesy : Google images uploaded be several devotees