The Banyan Tree of Advaita Vat
Kartik Braj Darshan with Vrindavan Today (Day 27): Advaita Vat
The deity of ‘Madan Gopal’ who later came to be known as ‘Madan Mohan’ appeared to Shri Advaita Acharya at the Advaita Vat.
2021-11-12 (Vrindavan Today News): To the north of Madanmohan Temple in Vrindavan is the Advaita Vat, the place where Advaita Acharya stayed and worshipped the deity of Shri Madanmohan under the ‘vat vruksh’ (Banyan Tree) which stands here even today.
Shri Advaita Acharya is considered the incarnation of Mahavishnu who came to the material world as the intimate, eternal associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He became a great scholar of the Vedas at a young age. Advaita Acharya met his guru Shri Madhavendra Puri in Gaya when he went there to perform his parents’ shradhha. Madhavendra Puri initiated him into the Madhva Sampradya. He also received instructions on Krishna’s Madhurya Lilas and the glories of Vrindavan from him.
After travelling to all pilgrimages around Bharat, Advaita Acharya came to Vrindavan at last as he had realized Pure Bhakti to be the culmination of all seeking. In Vrindavan, he travelled to all the 12 forests before coming to the Banyan tree at Advaita Vat. It was here that the deity of ‘Madan Gopal’ who later came to be known as ‘Madan Mohan’ appeared to him.
Before His departure for Navadwip Dham, Advaita Acharya entrusted the deity to a Brahmin Chaubhe in Mathura. Years later when Caitanya Mahaprabhu sent Sanatana Goswami to Vrindavan to discover the lost ‘lila-sthalis’ of Shri Krishna, the vigraha of Madan Gopal was also found and consecrated by him in the grand Madanmohan Temple.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also resided at Advaita Vat for some time during His visit to Vrindavan. There is a monument erected in remembrance of His stay here. There’s also a small temple where the beautiful deities of Shri Radha Madan Gopal are worshipped.