Kartik Braj Darshan with Vrindavan Today (Day 34): Davanal Kund
2021.11.19( Vrindavan Today News ): At Davanala Kunda Krishna swallowed a blazing forest fire that threatened the lives of Brajavasis. The word davanala means “forest fire”. This peaceful tank is situated between two temples of relatively recent construction, namely the Gouranga Mahaprabhu Mandir OF Haridas Baba and the two temples called Kanpurwala.
To get to this kunda from the Jamai Thakur Ji Mandir, proceed straight ahead on the Mathura-Vrindavan road for about three minutes until you see a water tower on the right. Consult the map often. Turn right at the tower, and make your first left on the narrow lane which runs alongside the Paramahamsa Ashrama (a Hanuman temple). Have the rickshaw stop just beyond the Gaurang Mahaprabhu Mandir. A minute’s walk along a footpath brings us to this sacred kunda, a place where the ancient rustic beauty of Vrindavan has been entirely conserved. Indeed this is the town’s nicest public kunda.
The tenth canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam describes two separate incidents wherein Lord Krishna swallowed forest fires to save the lives of His fellow Brajavasis. One incident occurred after His brother Lord Balaram killed the demon Pralambasura, and the other occurred after the chastisement of the Kaliya serpent. As the place where Kaliya was chastised is only about half a mile from here, is to be understood that the forest fire Krishna swallowed here happened just after this incident which is described in Krishna on page 130 of vol.1. The other forest fire Krishna swallowed is described later in Chapter Six. That is the forest called Isitkatavi on the other side of the river near the town of Mat.
A small peaceful temple dedicated to Davanala Bihari stands beside the path to the kunda. This ancient mandir is dedicated to the Lord in the mood of swallowing the forest fire.
ASHRAMS IN THE VICINITY OF DAVANALA KUND GOURANGA MAHAPRABHU MANDIR
Besides the Kunda is the Gouranga Mahaprabhu Mandir of the late Haridasa Baba. According to his biographer, he had originally taken initiation into the impersonal path adored by the followers of Shri Shankaracharya. Such is the power of Vrindavan, however, that he turned to become a follower of Lord Chaitanya and a devotee of Shri Krishna.
This change in heart has been specially dealt with by the atmarama shloka of the Bhagavata (S.B.1.7.10.) which was explained by Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Sanatana Goswami. This shloka indicates that those who have liberated souls (those who are atma-rama, or satisfied in the spirit self) will eventually become devotees of Krishna. The personal form of the Lord is so attractive, so strong, that He captures the minds of even brahmavadis or those who tread the impersonal path. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna revealed to Arjuna, “I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness, and which is immortal, imperishable, and eternal.” (B.G. 14.27)
Beside the kunda are two temples built by a Marwari family from Kanpur, the Singhanias. In the brown sandstone temple, worship is performed before Radha-Krishna vigrah. The white marble temple facing it is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Krishna’s supreme devotee. As the Bhagavata says vaishnavanam yatha shambhu: “The greatest devotee is Shiva.” A true Krishna bhakta is therefore always respectful to Lord Shiva, “the auspicious.”
SWAMI AKHANDANANDA ASHRAM
Beyond the railroad tracks is the high-domed temple of Goral-Shankar at the ashrama of Swami Akhandananda, a well-known sanyasi of the area. In the lecture hall, there is also a Deity called Nritya Gopal, or dancing Krishna, who is very beautiful.