Mathura and Vrindavan

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					Mathura and Vrindavan
  Birth place of Lord Krishna
Location and Geography
 The city of Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh, is
  located at a distance of 145 km south-east of
  Delhi and 58 km north-west of Agra.
 It covers an area of about 3,800 sq. km.
 The population of Mathura is ~227,000.
 Mathura is located on the western bank of the
  river Yamuna.
 The city of Vrindavan is about 15 km from
  Mathura. It is part of the Mathura district.
Location in context to India
Map of Uttar Pradesh
Mathura: Mathura was founded by Shatughna
 (Rama’s brother). As per the legend, the place was
 known as Madhuvana and Madhu ruled it. He and
 his son Lavana challenged Rama who sent
 Shatrughna to deal with them. Madhu and Lavana
 were killed in the fight and Shatrugna named the
 city as Mathura.
Vrindavan: The ancient name of the city,
 'Brindaban' is after its ancient groves of ‘Brinda’
 or Tulsi with ban meaning a grove or a forest.
Significance of Mathura & Vrindavan
 Mathura is the birth place of Lord Krishna and
  Vrindavan is where he spent his childhood and
 Vrindavan is the transcendental abodes of
  Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna never leaves
  Vrindavan and is engaged in pastimes eternally.
 Mathura and Vrindavan are the prime Tirtha
  for Lord Krishna which offers the loving faith
  of Bhakti (Devotion) for the devotees.
     Story of Lord Krishna…
King Ugrasen of the Yadava clan was deposed and
imprisoned by his son, the tyrannical Kansa.
Ugrasen’s daughter (Kansa’s sister) Devaki was
married to Vasudev and they also lived in Mathura.
During the reign of Kansa the oppression of the
people got so unbearable that Prithvi, the Earth
Goddess, prayed to Lord Vishnu to come down
to earth and save the world. Lord Vishnu chose to
be born in the home of the oppressor himself, as
a son of Devaki and Vasudev.
      Story of Lord Krishna…
One day Kansa heard a voice from the sky that
predicted that the eighth child of Devaki would kill him.
Hearing this Kansa immediately tried to kill his sister
and Vasudev had to make a desperate promise to save
his wife. He said that their children, the moment they
were born, would all be brought to Kansa and if the
king wanted, he could kill them.
To make sure Vasudev did not escape, Kansa put him
and Devaki in prison. Then a time of utter horror
began as every time a child was born, Kansa would
come to the prison to snatch and kill the child.
      Story of Lord Krishna…
Then on a moonless, monsoon night Devaki gave birth
to her eighth child, a boy.Vasudev decided to save his
son and the Gods helped him escape from the prison.
As he walked out of his cell, all the guards fell asleep
and the doors miraculously opened before him. When
he reached the Yamuna river, the water in the flooded
river sank so that he could cross easily.
On the opposite bank, he entered the home of a
cowherd named Nanda, whose wife Yashoda had given
birth to a daughter the same day.Vasudev exchanged
the babies and returned to the prison.
       Story of Lord Krishna…
Vasudev had hoped that on discovering a girl, Kansa would
not kill the child but Kansa was not taking any chances.
Hearing that Devaki had given birth to her eighth child,
Kansa came and when he tried to kill the baby girl, she flew
away with a laugh.

Before she vanished the child announced that the one
Kansa wanted to kill was still alive and would one day come
to take revenge. An infuriated Kansa ordered that all the
new born babies in Mathura should be killed.

Hearing this Nanda and his family escaped to the village of
Gokul. Krishna and his half brother Balarama grew up in
Gokul and Vrindavan and there are many stories of the
child’s superhuman qualities.
    Contrast between Shiva and Krishna
   Devotees of Shiva have preference to meditation and
    asceticism, however devotees of Krishna (Vaishnava)
    celebrate the worship of Krishna through music and dance
    and a simple adoring faith.

   In other words, the tirtha of Shiva (like Kashi or Haridwar)
    offers Gyan (Knowledge), whereas the tirtha of Krishna
    (like Mathura, Vrindavan) offers the loving faith of Bhakti

   Lord Krishna is considered a Purna Avatar (i.e. all divine
    qualities are manifested). Through his life, Krishna has
    depicted the characters of a beloved child, an adolescent
    prankster, the handsome lover, a resplendent king, a warrior,
    diplomat, philosopher and God.
       History of Mathura…
From 3rd century BC during the reign of
Mauryas, Mathura became famous as a center
for stone carving.
Many of the finest Buddha sculptures found at
Sarnath are made in Mathura.
The craftsmen use a typical stone available in
this region which is a red sandstone with beige
spots. This sandstone was later used by Akbar
for his palaces at Fatehpur Sikri.
       History of Mathura…
It was in Mathura that the first images of the
deities were believed to be carved in India. In
the first century AD, during the rule of
Kushans, the first icons of Buddha were
created here. Then images of Hindu deities
and Jain tirthankaras were also made here. The
museum in Mathura has a good collection of
the remnants of the sculptures from Maurya,
Buddha, Greek and Hindu periods.
       History of Mathura…
The Chinese traveler Fa Hien (around 600
A.D.) called it the Peacock city where there
were five Deva temples, three stupas built by
Asoka, twenty Buddhist monasteries and 2000
Buddhist priests.
From 7th century A.D. onwards, Mathura was
starting to get dominated by Hinduism. By 10th
century Buddhism had almost disappeared and
Hinduism became the major religion.
          History of Mathura…
  Starting from the 11th century there were a
  series of attacks on this holy city:
 11th Century: Mahmud of Ghazni plundered and
  looted Mathura.
 Iltutmish plundered Mathura in the 12th century.
 Sikander Lodi plundered it in 16th century.
 Aurangzeb demolished most of the existing
  temples in the 17th century.
 Ahmad Shah Abdali in the 18th century.
       History of Mathura…
As a result of these plunders on Mathura,
none of these original temples or architectural
structures exist in modern day Mathura.
Almost all of the temples have been rebuilt in
the last 150 years.
Perhaps the oldest structure still functioning is
the mosque built by Aurangzeb which now
stands next to the Krishna Janma Bhoomi
            Krishna’s Images…
The 3 images of Krishna that were established in
temples in Brajbhoomi were based on description
given by Uttara (Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu’s wife).
   Image of Govind Devji which resembled the face
   Gopinath’s portrayal resembled the correct neck and
   Madan Mohan’s icon resembled Krishna from naval to
Through religious persecution the first 2 were
shifted to Jaipur and the 3rd was shited to Karoli
in Rajasthan.
  Episode from Akbar’s time…
Sage Haridas who was a devotional singer lived in
Mathura in the 16th century. He was the Guru for
Tansen, who was a singer in the royal court of

Once Akbar and Tansen visited Haridas, and both
Tansen and Haridas sang (guru and shishya) the
same raga. Akbar found that Haridas’ rendition
was more spiritual than Tansen. To this Tansen
explained that Haridas was singing for his God
whereas Tansen was merely performing for the
       Story of Six Goswamis…
 In 16th century, Saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent
  six scholars aka Goswamis to Brajbhoomi to
  revive and reorganize the worship of Krishna.
  They started their mission from here and
  established mathas (monasteries) to spread the
  worship and devotion for Krishna.
 The Goswamis are: Sanatana, Rupa, Raghunath
  Das, Gopal Bhatt, Jiva and Raghunath Bhatt.
 Their lineage has established the ISKCON (Srila
  Prabhupada) mission.
 Saint Mirabai lived in Vrindavan during this time.
Six Goswamis of Vrindavan…
Relevant spots from Krishna’s life
   Visranti Ghat (Visram Ghat) on the bank of Yamuna is
    considered the place where Krishna rested after killing
    the tyrant Kamsa.
   Kamsa ka Tila near the southern gate of Mathura is
    identified as the place with Kamsa was killed.
   Yog Ghat is the place where Kamsa dashed Nanda’s
    daughter Yaganidra to the ground.
   Kesav Deo Temple was built on the site of the great
    Buddhist monastery called Yasa Vihara.
   Bhutesvara Mahadeo Temple is the place where there
    was a stupa of Sariputta, one of the famous disciples of
Bathing Ghat of Mathura
Kesi Ghat on the banks of Yamuna
Temples of Mathura…
Krishna janma bhoomi Temple
Mosque built by Auragzeb (next to the
Krishna janma bhoomi temple)
Radha VallabhaTemple (Vrindavan)
Radha Madan Mohan Temple
Kusum Sarovar Bathing Ghat
            Story of Kushan Dynasty
                (1st century AD)

•King Kanishka
•Silk Route
•Spread of Buddhism
Gold Coins of the Kushan Dynasty

  Gold coin of Kanishka and a depiction of the Buddha,
        with the legend "Boddo" in Greek script
   Kanishka casket
The "Kanishka casket", dated to 127 CE,
with the Buddha surrounded by Brahma
and Indra, and Kanishka standing at the
       center of the lower part.

      Inscription in Kharoshthi
"(*mahara)jasa kanishkasa kanishka-pure
  nagare aya gadha-karae deya-dharme
   sarva-satvana hita-suhartha bhavatu
mahasenasa sagharaki dasa agisala nava-
karmi ana*kanishkasa vihare mahasenasa
   Kanishka casket…
      Inscription Translation
"In the acceptance (i.e. for the
acceptance) of the Sarvāstivādin
teachers, this perfume box is the
meritorious gift of Mahārāja Kanishka
[ . . . jasa Kani] in the city of
Kanishkapura [Kanishkapure nagare].
May (it) be for the welfare and
happiness of all beings. . . . sa, The
servant Agisalaos, the superintendent     Detail of Kanishka, surrounded by the
                                          Iranian Sun-God and Moon-God, on
of construction of the refectory in                the Kanishka casket.
Kanishka's vihāra [nashkasa vihare], in
Mahāsena's saṁghārāma [Mahasenasa
Kushan Dynasty   (1 st   century AD)
Buddha Statute from Kushan Period
Buddha Triad from Kushan Period

From left to right, a Kushan devotee, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Buddha,
           the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and a Buddhist monk
Read stories about Krishna’s childhood/youth:
 Putna Encounter

 Kaliya Naag Encounter

 Goverdhan Parvat Encounter

 Killing of Kansa

 Setting up of Dwarka due to harassment from

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