Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Carita | Book 4 Chapter 3

Third Sarga

Visiting the Twelve Forests


That night passed just like a moment, and at dawn the son of Śacī anxiously hailed the vipra to come quickly.


He said, "He sakhe! Please show Me the Mathurā Maṇḍala, which causes supreme love for the youthful couple to awaken."


Kṛṣṇa Dāsa replied, "O Supreme Spirit! Throughout the land of Mathurā, the Śrī Yamunā Mahārāṇī is in every respect the highest authority. Because of affection for her, Śrī Vrajendranandana Kṛṣṇa, although the controller of all controllers and the all-pervading Super-soul, He accepts a manlike form, and exulting in the rasas of the gopas and gopīs, sports joyously in the rāsa dance and exuberantly plays in her waters.


"On the western side of the Yamunā, child of the Kalinda mountain, lies the charming and transcendental vana of Vṛndā as well as Madhu, Kumuda, Khadira, Tāla, Kāmya and Bahūla vanas.


"To Śrī Yamunā's east are the vanas named Bhadra, Bilva, Loha, Bhāṇīra as well as Mahāvana, which are meditated upon by persons expert at relishing rasa in order to achieve love for the Lord.


"These twelve delightful vanas - Bhadra, Loha, Bhāṇīra, Mahā, Tāla, Khadira, Bahūla, Kumuda, Kāmya, Madhu and Vṛndā - perpetually bestow love for Kṛṣṇa. Bhaktas know the glories of these forests, whereas one without bhakti can never know those glories.


"On the western side of Yāmunā lies the great palace of Kasa. To the north of it lies the very enchanting and rarely-achieved forest of Vṛndā.


"To Yamunā's southwest lies Kumudavana, who gives pleasure to Śrī Hari. To her south is Khadiravana, who also gives Kṛṣṇa joy.


"To the west of Mathurā lies Tālavana, the beloved forest of Keśava. There flows a river named Mānasi Gaṅgā, who purifies all the worlds.


"It lies to the west of Vṛndāraṇya, bordering on Govardhana hill. In her waters Kṛṣṇa engages in boating-sports and other pastimes.


"To the west of Mathurā lies the great hill named Govardhana, and to the west of Govardhana lies Kāmyavana, which is a reservoir of all rasa for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.


"Nearby Kāmyavana, to the north of Madhu-purī, is the splendid and very sanctified river Sarasvatī, who flows northwards following the direction of Śrī Yamunā.


"To the northeast of Mathurā is the shining forest of the name Bahūla. Here the slayer of Kasa crosses the Manasi Gaṅgā and enjoys sports.


"That forest is described as mohana or enchanting. Thus the seven forests to the west of Śrī Yamunā Mahārāṇī have been described. O mighty-armed one! Hear further.


"On Yamunā's eastern bank lie five forests. O rasikeśvara! By the power of Yamunā's unbounded mercy, they have been seen extensively by me.


"Very near to the Yamunā is Mahāraṇya, which is very difficult to attain, and to the west of Mahāraṇya lies delightful Bilvavana, which bestows the fruit of love for Kṛṣṇa.


"To the north of Bilvavana lies Lohavana, Bhadravana and also the great pleasure- filled Bhāṇīrakavana, which awards the aspiring bhakta the gift of bhakti unto Śrī Kṛṣṇa.


"O Prabhu! These are the twelve charming forests of Mathurā Maṇḍala. Within them sported Yogeśvareśvara Kṛṣṇa.


 "I shall show each of them to You, aspiring to receive Your mercy. For, O Hṛṣikeśa, anyone who receives that mercy, is thereby freed from bondage to this world of matter."

Thus ends the Third Sarga entitled "Visiting the Twelve Forests," in the Fourth Prakrama of the great poem Śrī Caitanya Carita.