Dhyan Chaand

Dhyanchaand birth.jpg

Legendary Hockey Player

Dhyan Chaand, the legendary Indian hockey player is counted among the greatest sportsmen this country has every seen.

‘Hockey ka Jadugar’

The greatest hockey player the world has known. Known for his great ability to score goals, he was nicknamed ‘Hockey ka Jadugar’.

‘The Wizard’

Internationally, he was called “The Wizard” for his great ability to control the ball. His name was verily synonymous with hockey.

1

Dhyan Chaand, the Hockey Wizard

Dhyan Singh was born on August 29th, 1905 in Jodhpur.

Practicing under Moon light

He later got the name “Chaand” as he used to practice hockey under moon light, Moon in Hindi is Chaand. We should remember that there were no flood lights in those days.Thus came about his name Dhyan Chaand.

2

Dhayanchand practicing under moonlight

From Moonlight to Limelight

From being under ‘moon light’, Dhyan Chaand soon came under international limelight.

1927-Folkstone Festival

He displayed his skills against the British Hockey team at the London Folkstone festival, scoring 36 of India’s 72 goals in 10 matches.

1928-Summer Olympics in Amsterdam

In 1928, the Indian Hockey Team participated in the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In this tornament, Chaand helped India gain a victory score 3-0, by scoring 2 goals.

Dhyan Chaand 3Gold Medal of Amsterdam Olympics                      Dhyanchand in action during the Amsterdam Festival          

Wizard of Hockey

Dhyan Chaand’s impeccable control over the ball was such that, people soon started having doubts as to whether he had hidden a magnet in his hockey stick. The ball always seemed to stick to his hockey stick when he was playing. Once, during Indian hockey team’s sojourn to Japan, the Tokyo hockey officials had a similar doubt. They broke open his stick to see whether there was a hidden magnet within. Such was his magic!

Dhyan Chaand 1

3.6

Dhyan Chaand scoring a goal

Playing with Walking Stick

In another amusing incident, a lady from the audience asked Chaand to play with her her walking stick. He was able to score goals even with that walking stick.

1932 Olympics in USA

In this Olympics, the Indian hockey team defeated the United States 24-1. Dhyan Chaand scored 8 of these goals and made it a one sided contest.

Dhyan Chaand 2.jpg

1933 The most memorable moment

Interestingly, the most memorable moment for Dhyan Chaand according to him was in a match in which he did not score a goal. This was the Beighton Cup final of 1933. The contest was between Calcutta Customs and Jhansi Heroes. In this closely fought match, Dhyan Chand provided a crucial pass for the only goal of the match won by Jhansi Heroes.

3.8

Jhansi Team with the Beighton Cup

1935 Tour of New Zealand and Australia

This was another memorable tour for Dhyan Chaand as he scored 201 of the total 584 goals by the Indian team in 43 matches. Needless to say, the Indian team crushed their opponents.

Meeting Don Bradman

During this tour of Australia, Dhyan Chaand met Don Bradman, the legendary Australian cricketer. After seeing Dhyan displaying his skills, Bradman paid his tributes to the Indian hockey magician remarking, “He scores goals just like we score runs in cricket.” That was the consistency and ease with which Dhyan Chaand scored goals.

4

                 Don Bradman                                                Dhyan Chaand   

1936 Olympics – Hitler impressed

Even the Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler, who was a prejudiced person and a supremacist, was impressed by Dhyan Chaand’s skills. In the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin, Dhyan Chaand led the Indian Hockey Team. In the first round of the final, Indians lead German 1-0. In the second round, the Indian team managed 6 consecutive goals.

5

Dhyan Chaand displaying his magic during the Berlin Olympics

At this moment, the Germans resorted to body play, trying to win by foul means. Dhyan Chaand was injured as he broke one of his teeth. He however continued to play.

Hitler who was in the audience couldn’t see his team being crushed. He left midway.

5.5

Adolph Hitler at Olympics, 1936

During the course of the match, the Germans sensed a foul play at the ease with which Dhyan Chaand was scoring, inspite of his breaking his teeth. He was ordered to change his stick. The magic however continued and Indians won the final 8-1.

6

Dhayan Chand, the hero of Berlin Olympics

An invitation to become German

The next day Hitler called Dhyan Chaand for a meeting. Hitler offered him German citizenship for his scintillating performance in 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was also offered a senior position in the German military. Dhyan Chaand however refused saying, “India is my India”.

7

            Hitler                                  Dhyan Chaand

After World War

In the subsequent years from 1939, no matches could be played as the World War-2 was on. After the Word War, Dhyan Chaand continued to display his magic. He hit 61 goals in 22 matches against East Africa.

Post Retirement

In 1948, Dhyan Chaand retired from the sport. The glory of Dhyan Chaand did not fade. Many statues were erected in his honour. The citizens of Austria erected his statue with four hand and four sticks, displaying his control over the ball.

The astro-turf hockey pitch at the Indian Gynkhana Club in London has been named after Dhyan Chand.

7.5

The Dhyan Chaand astro turf hockey pitch, London

In his own country, a statue of his can be found near India Gate, Delhi. Many such statues in honour of Dhyan Chaand can be found all across the country.

8

  Dhyan Chaand Statue, India Gate     

                                                  8.4          8.7

                                                Dhyan Chaand Statue, Jhansi         Dhyan Chaand Statue, Vishakapatnam

The Indian Government has issued a stamp in his honour in 1980.

8.9

Stamp on Dhyan Chaand

National Sports Day

Dhyan Chaand’s birthday is also observed as National Sports Day India. The Dhyan Chaand Award has been institued by the government in his memory.

9

Dhyan Chaand Award

Gold

A movie by name Gold, staring Akshay Kumar has been made on this great sportsman.

0

The Gentleman – Good husband

Inspite of his greatness, Dhyan Chaand was simple at heart. An incident with a fan shows his strong roots in Indian culture. In an exibition match that he played at Prague, a lady fan who was impressed at his game, came upto him and requested to allow her to kiss him. Dhyan Chaand politely refused saying, “I am a married man”.

Rush of Pakistani fans at Lahore station

Sometime after 1947, Dhyan Chaand was in Lahore railway station as part of the Indian on their way to Peshawar, to travel from thereon to take part in Joshan celebrations, Afghanistan. Hundreds of Pakistani fans rushed to have a glimpse of Dhyan Chaand. There was much rush at all stations as many trains arrived late by 4 hours at Peshawar.

A forgotten hero

It is sad that we have forgotten such a hero. A fitting way to remember and honour him would be confer Bharat Ratna on him. That will an apt tribute to this great sportsman.

Ayyankali – Birthday

Ayyankali birth

Leader of socially downtrodden

Ayyankali was one of the foremost leaders of the socially downtrodden community who fought for their rights. He undertook many reforms to end the injustice that this community was facing in the society then.

Birth

Ayyankali was born at Venganoor, the present day part of Trivandrum, Kerala in 1863. He was born in a family called Cheramar.

Ayyankali 1.jpg

Ayyankali

Discrimination against the socially downtrodden

At that time, the socially downtrodden were forbidden from walking freely on roads. They were not allowed to take part in normal activities of life as society considered them untouchable.

Fighting against untouchability

Ayyankali began his revolt against the evil of untouchability by bringing together the socially downtrodden to fight against these discriminatory practices in the society.

Meeting Guru

Ayyankali soon met his Guru Ayyavu Swami who was against the caste system. Ayyankali was inspired by his Guru to further spearhead his movement against social discriminations.

Fighting for Education

Fighting for the cause of education for the neglected socially downtrodden children who were not allowed to study in school, Ayyankali started a school at Venganoor for socially downtrodden children.

Raising demands for equal rights

Stepping up his voice for equal rights for the socially downtrodden, Ayyankali called for the boycott of agriculture and farming by the socially downtrodden until certain demand were met. These demands were:

  1. Right to Education for socially downtrodden children
  2. Allowing socially downtrodden to have tea in tea stalls
  3. Resting hours for labourers during their work
  4. Abolishing the in-kind wage system and bringing in cash system.

Inspite of being illiterate

It is noteworthy that Ayyankali carried out all these activities inspite of being an illiterate. It was his impeccable organizing skills that made this possible.

Support from Narayana Guru

As his efforts for bringing the socially downtrodden on an equal platform gathered steam, he received support from many prominent leaders. One of them who assisted Ayyankali in his endeavours on social reforms was Sri Narayana Guru.

Ayyankali 2

Narayana Guru

Efforts bearing fruits

Ayyankali’s efforts soon began to fructify. In the year 1900, socially downtrodden were allowed to travel freely on public places. In 1914, the educational restriction on the socially downtrodden children was lifted and they were allowed to join schools. The many social restriction on socially downtrodden women also disappeared as people began to accept the socially downtrodden into mainstream society.

Starting Sadhujana Paripalana Sangam

In 1907, Ayyankali started a new association called Sadhujana Paripalana Sangam for the cause of human rights and social justice. Many projects were undertaken by this association for economic and educational growth of the socially downtrodden.

Nominated to Assembly

Ayyankali was nominated to the Travancore assembly in the year 1910.

As a leader known for his great leadership qualities, Ayyankali continued to play a major role in the development of the socially downtrodden in the next three decades of his life.

Ayyankali passed away on June 18th, 1941.

After life Impact

Ayyankali had a great impact on various sections of the society even after his life time. In Kerala, he is considered on the same league as Sri Narayana Guru.

The government of India has released a stamp in his name.

Ayyankali 3

Legacy still stands tall

In 1980, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi unveiled a statue of Ayyankali in Trivandrum.

Ayyankali 4

Statue of Ayyankali, Trivandrum                             Indira Gandhi                                           

Just as his statue, the legacy of Ayyankali continues to stand tall among various sects of the society, especially the socially downtrodden community.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation Day

Raja Krishna Deva Raya cornation day

In the year 1509, on Sri Krishna Jayanthi day, Janamashtami, the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, Raja Krishnadevaraya ascended the throne of Vijayanagara, a kingdom that reached its zenith during his reign. Vijayanagara was a kingdom that covered the peninsular India with its capital at Hampi.

Under its most famed king, Krishnadevaraya, the kingdom became prosperous and was known for its well administered society.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 1

Raja Krishnadevaraya

Krishnadevaraya was born in 1471 CE, and ascended the throne in 1509 CE.

In the year 2009, the 500th year of the Coronation was celebrated at Hampi.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 2

Commemorative stamp issued on the 500th year of the Coronation of Krishnadevaraya

A great King

He is one of the greatest kings not only of South India, but of India as well.

In the annals of Indian history, the name of Krishnadevaraya is seen to be on par with great kings like Pulakesin –II, Raja Raja Chola and Samudragupta.

He was the one who kept at bay the Bahmani Sultan of the Deccan, and thereby helped preserve the cultural heritage of this land.

Visitors to India on Krishnadevaraya & Vijayanagara Empire

Domingo Paes

Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveler, who visited the court of Krishnadevaraya, gives an account of the great persona of Krishnadevaraya.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 3

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 4

Domingo Paes also speaks about the prosperity of the city of Vijaynagara, namely Hampi.

“The City of Vijayanagara was atleast as large as Rome and was the best provided in the world.”

Nicola Conti

Nicola Conti, another visitor to India during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, speaks of the extent of the city of Hampi.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 5

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 6

Present day map of Hampi

He did not write this himself, but his views were recorded by Poggio Bracciolini, Secretary to Pope. This was published in 1723 by the Abbe Oliva of Paris, in a book by name, “De Varietate Fortunae, Liber Quatuor”, by Poggio Bracciolini.

Eduardo Barbosa

Eduardo Barbosa who visited India in 1516 CE, gives a description of Hampi.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 7

A great Administrator Supported by able ministers

From the above descriptions, it becomes clear that Krishnadevaraya was a great administrator, and Vijayanagara Empire had reached its peak under his rule.

Krishnadevaraya was supported by many able ministers.

He had a Prime Minister by name Saluva Timmarusu, who helped the king in all aspects of administration. Krishnadevaraya reverentially called him Appaji, Appa meaning Father. This minister was verily a father figure to the King, and guided him in many respects.

He was the Chanakya of Vijayanagara Empire.

Renovated temples

Krishnadevaraya during his rule built, renovated and expanded hundreds of temples all over South India, including the famous Tirumala temple at Tirupati.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 8

Statue of Krishnadevaraya at Tirumala, Tirupati

9 Gems and Tenali Raman

In those days, the number of courtiers in some of the well-known kingdoms of the land had been 9. As each courtier is a gem in himself, they were collectively referred to as Navaratna or 9 gems.

The court of Krishnadevaraya too had 9 courtiers.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 9

Among the above nine gems, the name of Tenali Raman stands out. Tenali Raman was a Vikata Kavi, a humorous poet and a court jester extraordinaire.

Rulers of yore had realized that all serious matters of court cannot be handled only through serious deliberations. Jest, humour was needed to handle many situations.

Tenali Raman brought in humour to solve serious matters in the Court of Krishnadevaraya, through his humorous poetry.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 10

The episode where Tenali Raman got his boon of humour and poetry from the Divine Mother Kali.

More on this in our book, “Telugu Talli – Her Unknown Side”.

Krishnadevaraya Coronation 11

Golden Age of Telugu literature

Krishnadevaraya was himself a poet and also encouraged and supported many poets and writers of all languages. His rule saw a plethora of works on Telugu literature, and other languages.

Which is why his reign is also referred to as the Golden Age of Telugu literature.

Krishnadevaraya was a master of many languages such as Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Samskrt.

His work ‘Amuktamalyada’ is one of the best works in Telugu Literature, which described the story of Andal and Her pangs of separation from Lord Ranganath, an aspect of Narayana, at the temple of Sri Rangam in Tamil Nadu.

He was a man who could wield a pen as well as a sword.

5131st Janmashtami

Click Here To Access Free ebook : Proving The Historicity Of Krishna

Janmashtamii2019-FB

Click Here To Access Free ebook : Proving The Historicity Of Krishna

The people of this country never had any doubts about the historicity of Krishna until the colonial historians projected Krishna as a mythical figure cooked up by wonderful stories.

The story of Krishna is deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of India and the people of this land revere Him as a Divinity. The colonial hangover has however left a doubt on the historicity of this highly adored Divinity.

The science of Archaeo-Astronomy has enabled us to go beyond the boundaries of conventional archaeology in tracing the historicity of some well known personages of this land, such as Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira and Shankara. Planetary configurations mentioned in the ancient scriptures pertaining to major events and personages connected, help us date events that happened around these personages, centuries and millennia ago, either manually or with more ease and accuracy, using Planetarium software.

As per the Purana, Lord Krishna was born around midnight. That night was the eight phase of the moon known as Ashtami Tithi. The moon was near Vrshabha, the bull, i.e the Taurus constellation that houses the star Rohini. The star Rohini is known as Aldeberan in modern astronomy. The month was Shravana, one of the 12 months in the Indian calendar.

Janmashtamii2019-1FB

Krishna’s Birth in Prison

1

Krishna Birth place, Mathura

These details are clearly mentioned in the 10thSkanda, 3rd chapter of the Bhagavata Purana. The relevant sloka is,

Shravana vada ashtami, Rohini Nakshtra, uditam Lagnam

This detail combined with details of sky configurations for events that happened around Krishna’s lifetimes, namely the Mahabharata, leads us to the exact birth date for Krishna.

Sky Chart of Krishna's birth

Krishna’s Birth Chart

 Courtesy Prof.Narahari Achar, Memphis University, USA

Such a search leads us to 27th July, 3112 BCE as Krishna’s date of birth in the Gregorian Calendar.

In Indian tradition, Krishna’s birth is also called as “Sri Jayanthi”. The word “Jayanthi” has an interesting connotation in Indian Astronomy. Indian astronomers have accorded special names to lunar phases occurring at certain stars.

The lunar phase occurring at Punarvasu star in Gemini constellation is called Jaya. The lunar phase occurring at Pushya star in the Gemini constellation is called Nasini. The lunar phase seen at Shravana star in the Capricorn zodiac is called Vijaya. Similarly, the phase of the moon occurring at Rohini star is called Jayanthi.

Krishna’s birth which happened when the moon was at Rohini star is called Sri Jayanthi.

Jayanthi also means celebrations and the word has thus come to be used to indicate birthday celebrations. Thus, the word “Jayanthi, over time, has also come to be used for the birthday celebrations of other great personages and we today celebrate Buddha Jayanthi, Mahaveer Jayanthi, Shankara Jayanthi, Shivaji Jayanthi, Gandhi Jayanthi, Ambedkar Jayanthi etc.

Jayanthi” became popular because of association with Krishna.

Every year, for millennia, Indians have been celebrating Krishna’s birthday in the Shravana month, on Rohini Nakshatra, Krishna Paksha Ashtami (8th phase of the waning moon) based on these details in scriptures.

It is the year of birth however, which has been the missing piece in common knowledge.

Not only from Archaeo-astronomy, but also from a wholistic analysis of data across various disciplines, today we can conclude that Lord Krishna was born in 3112 BCE.

So, this year, 2019 CE, makes it the 5131st year since His birth, Sri Jayanthi. Let us celebrate this 5131st birthday of Lord Krishna, keeping in mind that India’s most beloved Divinity was indeed also a historical figure who had walked this planet about 5100 years ago.

While Divinity is a matter of faith, historicity is a matter of existence. With the unravelling of the dates for Krishna, what comes out for all to see is the beautiful blend of Divinity and Historicity in Krishna. One does not preclude the other.

More on this in our book, Historical Krishna.

Historical Krishna Banner

Kalinga Nardhana – Krishna’s Dance on Snake

The Story

Krishna and His friends were grazing their cows when one of the cows went to the riverside to drink water from the river Yamuna.

Soon it dropped dead from water poisoning.

Krishna’s uncle Kamsa had been sending his emissaries on and off to kill Krishna and they too had tried various methods to kill Him, but in vain. So, many thought that this must be another ploy of Kamsa but soon realized that the culprit behind the poisoning of the Yamuna was Kaliya or Kalinga, the dreaded Naga, snake.

The friendly waters of the Yamuna soon became green and nobody could go near the Yamuna any longer. Krishna seized of this, entered the water to seek out and rout out Kaliya.

The people of Braj were shocked and anxious at Krishna’s dare. Krishna’s father Nandagopa and mother Yashoda came running in panic, worried about what would happen to their dear son. The whole village assembled on the banks of the river and everyone started pleading with Krishna to return to the shore.

Krishna however waded further and sought out Kaliya. A fierce struggle ensued between Kaliya and Krishna. At one point, both Krishna and Kaliya disappeared beneath the waters. People on the bank prayed with bated breath.

Krishna suddenly emerged from the waters, dancing on the hood of the fierce Kaliya, holding Kaliya’s tail in His hand.

1

Krishna dancing on Kaliya, Kalinga

Seeing her husband in this plight, Kaliya’s wife emerged from the waters and pleaded with Krishna, not to harm Kaliya but to let them off, so that they could go away somewhere far off and not disturb the people of Braj anymore.

Krishna let Kaliya and his family off and peace returned to Braj. The waters of the Yamuna sparkled once again. Krishna and His friends returned to their favourite pastime of grazing and playing by the Yamuna.

This incident of Krishna subduing Kaliya has come down as one of the popular tales around Krishna’s childhood. It has found a place in everyone’s heart and in almost all homes in India through millennia in legends and some form of art or the other, including song and dance.

In art it became Kalinga Nardhana, since Nardhana means dance.

In legend and plays, this same incident also became popular as Kalinga Mardhana. Mardhana means crushing, destroying, vanquishing. Just like Kamsa Mardhana for the vanquishing of Kamsa, by Krishna again.

2

Kalinga Nardhana, Krishna’s Dance On Kalinga

Under the Hood

Rivers meander by nature. i.e., they take up a new course. In the course of this meandering, as the river moves away, troughs in its earlier path which get cut off from the main stem, retain water and become stagnant and seasonal pools. Such cut off sections of the rivers are known in geography as Oxbow lakes.

The Krishna-Kaliya episode is expressed as an incident connected with contamination of one such Oxbow. It was not in the main Yamuna, as in a river, the poisons would have been carried away downstream by the flowing waters of the river.

Beyond the Miracle

Today, this legend of Kaliya has to perhaps be understood and internalized beyond the miracle and beauty of Krishna’s dance on the hood of a venomous snake.

Even today, there are people who continue to poison our waters with modern day pollutants and garbage. They are the “Kaliya” of today, who need to be identified and suitable steps need to be taken to rescue our water bodies from the inconsiderate acts of such Kaliya.

More on the story of Kaliya Nardhan in our book, “Historical KrishnaFacets of Krishna”.

3

Jala Kreeda

Images of Krishna stealing the clothes of women when they bathed in the river and they begging Him to give their clothes back, have been imprinted onto the minds of many with the colourful stories woven around them.

This scene has been ridiculed by many and some have even derogatorily mentioned it as being voyeuristic. This incident warrants a philosophical look in.

1

Krishna’s Jala Kreeda, a popular illustration

Jalakreeda – Meaning

The word Kreeda means play, game, sport. The word Jala normally means water. The word Jala can also be split into two where ja stands for jananam, “birth” and la is for layam, “to melt”, that which leads to pralayam, “dissolution”.

Jananam and Pralayam, form a rhythm, a cycle that is represented by each and every body in the Universe. The meaning and concept of pralayam is explained in our book “Understanding Shiva”.

2

From origin to dissolution, everything is shrouded in maya, illusion.

It is in this play, Jalakreeda, a play with the word jala, that Krishna helps remove the shroud of maya from our minds, enabling us to see the real play from ja to la, from origin to dissolution. It is this whole play from ja to la which is the real ja-la-kreeda. The setting for this was with the Gopi.

Gopa and Gopi

The word Gopa comes from Go and Pa. Go stands for “cow” and Pa for “one who looks after”, “nourishes”. Gopa literally means “cowherd”, one who tends to cows.

From another perspective, Gopa also implies one who cherishes knowledge. This again comes from the roots Pa to “cherish”, “nurture”, “look after” and Go which also means knowledge. Gopi is the feminine gender of Gopa.

Gopi is also explained from the root Pi, as one who is drunk, consumed by the thirst for divine knowledge, Go.

Gopa and Gopi, the cow-herd folk, constantly sought Krishna out, surrounded Him and relished spending time with Him. The Gopa and Gopi, their yearning for and cherishing of Krishna, signify symbolically every soul’s yearning, thirst and cherish for true knowledge, symbolized by Krishna.

Raslila – A Metaphor for Devotion

In recent years however, based on looking at the poetic descriptions of such Lila at a superficial level, for just the literal meaning of the words used, some have loosely cast the image of Krishna into the mould of a young man who flirted with the Gopi.

The Raslila dance stands as a metaphor for the emotions of single minded love, devotion and unification with the divine that prevailed in the seeker, the simple Gopi.

The Krishna, Gopi and their Jalakreeda also provide an intrinsic insight into the kreeda or interplay in the Universe at an ethereal level.

The whole Universe itself is the twinning of the two – the gross and the subtle. The Lila of Krishna, gain relevance, meaning, significance when one elevates one’s thoughts from the gross, physical level to the subtle, ethereal level. It is the twinning of the two that will help us recognize and realize reality.

 (The above is an extract from our book – “Historical Krishna”)

3

Braj Bhumi: The Playground of Krishna

Braj Bhumi

Braj Bhumi is the geographical area where Krishna was born in, played with all His childhood friends, the Gopa Gopi and also performed many of His incredible deeds. This was the area where He enjoyed first 12 years of His life. This area, from His times, till date, has been called Braj Bhumi.

Brajwasi

The people who lived in this area are the Brajwasi, wasi meaning “those who reside in”. Brajwasi are those who reside in the Braj Bhumi area.

This is similar to Balaji, Lord Venkateshwara, the lord of the Tirumala hills, Tirupati also being called as “Srinivasa”, which has become a popular name among the people of this land.

Vas means “to stay”. Nivas means “a place of residence”. Srinivasa is One who has Sri, i.e., Goddess Lakshmi residing in His heart.

Braj Bhasha

Braj is known for Krishna. Braj is known for its delicious milk sweets. Braj is also known for its sweet, lyrical language – Braj Bhasha, bhasha meaning “language”.

Braj Bhasha, language of Braj, is a parent of the Hindi language as it is spoken today and is the language of many a lyrical poems on Krishna.

Spread of Braj Bhumi

Braj Bhumi or Vraj as it is also popularly called, extends over an area of 3800 square km covering several important pilgrimage cities, such as Vrindavan, Barsana and Mathura as well as places along the Yamuna River, forests, ponds, groves, hills and other locations where Krishna spent His early years.

In present day geography, it covers parts of the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

1

Braj Bhumi

Twelve Principal Forests

According to the Padma Purana, there were twelve principal forests, vana, in the heartland of this region.

2

24 fruit groves

Braj Bhumi had 24 fruit groves apart from these forests. It also covered numerous villages.

It is in these fruit yielding groves that Krishna played with the cows, His friends and the Gopi of that region. It is in these forests and groves that Krishna vanquished many an Asura, like,

  • Dhenukasura, associated with the form of an ass, who was preventing the people of Braj from entering the groves
  • Bakasura, associated with the form of a Baka meaning “crane”, who was a friend to Krishna’s maternal uncle, Kamsa and was sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna. This is different from the Bakasura that Bhima had to encounter in the forest
  • Aghasura, associated with the form of a huge snake, who was a friend of Bakasura and Putana and was despatched by Kamsa to poison and kill Krishna when He was a baby
  • Aristasura, associated with the form of a bull, who dug up the riverside and came charging into Braj with a deafening sound
  • Kaliya, the fierce, venomous snake, which was poisoning the waters of the Yamuna.

Same then and Now

Many areas still bear the same names as narrated in the tales of Krishna such as:

  • Phisalini Shila – natural slides on which Krishna and his friends used to play
  • Bhojan Thali – natural stone formation in the shape of a plate on which Krishna and His friends used to have lunch together while grazing their herds
  • Jadkhor Caves – where Krishna and His cowherd friends used to take shelter
  • Saugandhini Shila – a stone that Krishna touched and vowed never to leave Braj Bhumi.

It is not that we have suddenly identified these places today and are placing before all. These places that were witness to Krishna’s pranks and antics as a child, still bear the same names as in the legends. Local traditions in these places too, over the last thousands of years, have connected these places continuously with these acts of Krishna.

(The above is an extract from our book Historical Krishna. More on Krishna and Krishna’s historicity in our book series “Historical Krishna”, which can be purchased at https://www.sattvastore.com)