Krishna: Myth or Man?

Archeologists Document the Life of Krishna

Rasa Lila


Dwaraka
Lord Krishna 's Home Discovered

"The sea, which had been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. The sea rushed into the city. It coursed through the streets of the beautiful city. The sea covered up everything in the city. Arjuna saw the beautiful buildings becoming submerged one by one. He took a last look at the mansion of Krishna. In a matter of a few moments it was all over. The sea had now become as placid as a lake. There was no trace of the beautiful city, which had been the favourite haunt of all the Pandavas. Dwarka was just a name; just a memory." – Mausala Parva, Mahabharata.




Hinduism is not a historical religion. If somebody were to prove conclusively that Krishna, Rama and the various gods of the Hindu pantheon never existed, most Hindus would not mind in the least and the religion would continue to flourish as it has done for so many centuries. However to the devotees of Krishna, he is as real as any of their friends or relatives or children depending on how they regard him-as friend, relation, child or lover. This being so, most Indians have not bothered to verify his existence. This itself is very strange since there have been countless devotees of his who have heard the haunting melody of his flute calling to them across the centuries and even seen glimpses of his enchanting form. But this is a failing in the Indian mentality which considers historicity to be of least importance. What is more important to us is the impact that such a being has had on us. Krishna has shaped the trend of our culture, our art, music and sculpture over the centuries and this is enough for us. The very fact that the stories of Krishna have stood the challenge of centuries should have proved to us that such a personality did indeed exist in solid flesh and blood at the time given in our scriptures. The modern mind is the western mind and has a scientific bent and our generation should have tried to price open the veil of the centuries and found out the truth about our favourite god.

But unfortunately the modern educated youth of our country have been fed on a pack of lies which have been given in our history books which have been written by western orientalists with vested interests. Our youth have been brainwashed into believing that our scriptures are all a pack of lies or at best a type of myth and fantasy. However the fact is that our Puranas are true records of our glorious past. When the English first came to India they were shocked to find that if the dates given in our Puranas were true, Indian civilization pre-dated theirs by thousands of years. They refused to accept the fact that a glorious civilization flourished in India at a time when in Europe, they were still scurrying around like barbarians clothed in skins and carrying crude weapons. Thus they labelled as myth all historical evidences in the Hindu scriptures especially in the Puranas.

Brainwashed by the views of the western historians we have forgotten to gaze at our scriptures with an unprejudiced look. If we did so we would realise that Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata was a contemporary of Lord Krishna and was actually describing events which he had observed himself and in some of which he had played an important part. But unfortunately as I said, our Puranas have never been recognised as a true record of our history by western historians but have been dumped into the category of myth and fantasy. This type of classification had been done by the British colonial scholars who were in reality missionaries who did not want Indian history to clash with the views of the bible. Destroying the historicity of Krishna was an important part of their campaign to establish their own religion in India. To give them their due it might be possible that they did not understand or realise the depth and wisdom which was embedded in the Hindu scriptures. The sad fact is that the Indian historians, who should have known better, blindly copied the facts given by the westerners in their books.

Early western Indologists in their missionary zeal tried to put down the importance of the Vedas as well. They labelled them as primitive mythology. However, many great souls like Schopenhauer in Europe and Emerson in America acclaimed the Vedas as the greatest revelations of divinity known to man. It is said that when Oppenheimer who invented the atomic bomb, watched the explosion, he quoted from the 11th chapter of the Sreemad Bhagavad-Gita. When asked if this was the first ever nuclear explosion he said “yes, in modern times,” meaning to say there were many before that. In fact there is evidence to prove that nuclear weapons were used in the great Mahabharata War.

Another despicable thing done by the western historians in order to belittle the greatness of the Aryan culture was to say that the Aryans were a foreign race who came from outside. Modern archaeologists have proved this to be absolutely false. Archaeology certainly does not support the Aryan invasion theory. Recent independent studies show no evidence of a foreign invasion occurring in India at the dates pointed out by the historians. The river, Saraswathy is described more than 50 times in the Rig Veda. Satellite pictures very clearly show the Saraswathy rising in the Himalayas and going to the Arabian Sea. The drying up, due to many geographical reasons, is also clearly seen in the pictures. The great Vedic culture flourished all along the banks of the River Saraswathy and was essentially a product of the holy soil of India and not an implant from outside. This is clearly shown in the Vedas. Why did those historians not accept the data given in the Vedas instead of going on a trip of their own in order to establish their own views which were certainly not supported by anything in our scriptures and inflict their religion on this country?

Unfortunately our own historians have only copied all the false observations of our own country’s history and these are the views that are being taught to our school children. Brought up on western educational methods and books, our children have been taught to scorn their own religion and doubt the reality of their gods who are the corner stones of our culture.

Luckily this century which is famous for its thirst for investigations, has unearthed many astonishing facts, which will prove, for those who need proof, that our scriptures were absolutely correct in their description of the fabulous city of Dwaraka which was built by Krishna as the stronghold of the Yadavas. It will also prove that Krishna was indeed the superman or supreme incarnation of God as our scriptures declare.




Sri Krishna

The City of Dwarka
had existed
 from 32,000 to 9,000 BC.


When the Pandavas heard that Krishna, their friend, God and guide had left this mortal plane, Yudhistira, the eldest Pandava and King of Bharatavarsha (India) sent his brother Arjuna, the middle Pandava to Dwaraka to find out what has happened to the Yadava clan. When Arjuna reached the place he was appalled to find what was happening. The quotation given above is from the Mahabharata and is a first hand account of how Dwaraka went under the sea underArjuna’s very eyes, as prophesied by Lord Krishna.

The modern city of Dwaraka is to be found in Saurashtra and is a great pilgrim centre since our scriptures declare it to be the seat of the Yadava clan and Lord Krishna’s capital. However according to the stories mentioned in many of the Puranas like, the Mahabharata, Harivamsa, Vishnu Purana etc. that fabled city of Dwaraka had been washed away into the sea. Soon after the Lord left his mortal body, the city was washed away as he had predicted, the scene of which has been graphically described above.
In 1983 some excavations were done outside the modern city of Dwaraka, which revealed the existence of a glorious city of ancient times. They found seven temples one on top of the other. The bottom most one was the most interesting since it showed many pottery shards  and seals which clearly pointed to the existence of a fantastic city at about the time mentioned in the Mahabharata. These findings encouraged the Marine archaeology centre of the National Institute of Oceanography, to take up a serious work along the coast of the island known as Bet Dwaraka. 

The strongest archaeological support for the existence for the legendary city of Dwaraka, comes from the structures discovered in the late 1980s under the seabed off the coast of modern Dwaraka in Gujarat by a team of archaeologists and divers led by Dr S.R. Rao, one of India's most respected archaeologists. An emeritus scientist at the marine archaeology unit of the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, Rao has excavated a large number of Harappan sites, including the port city of Lothal in Gujarat.

Dwarka

In his book “The Lost City of Dwaraka”, published in 1999, he writes about his undersea findings: “The discovery is an important landmark in the history of India. It has set to rest the doubts expressed by historians about the historicity of the Mahabharata and the very existence of the city of Dwaraka.”
Conducting 12 expeditions during 1983-1990, Rao identified two underwater settlements, one near the present-day Dwaraka and the other off the nearby island of Bet Dwaraka. This tallies with the two Dwarakas mentioned in the epic. These underwater expeditions won Rao the first World Ship Trust Award for Individual Achievement.
Dr Rao is to be congratulated on his efforts in corroborating these truths with evidence that can stand the test of critical analysis and scientific evaluation. He says that further digging and diving, in India’s vast treasure trove of historical facts will further corroborate the key dates of our eventful and glorious past.

Another important find by the divers was a conch seal that established the submerged township's connection with the Dwaraka of the Mahabharata. The seal corroborates the reference made in the ancient text, the Harivamsa that every citizen of Dwaraka had to carry such a seal for purposes of identification. Krishna had declared that only one who carried such a seal could enter the city. A similar seal has been found onshore.

From 1998 to 2001 many underwater explorations were set about which pointed out to a highly civilised city which must have existed at that site, which had great maritime connections with many other countries and which must have been washed away by something like a tsunami or some such hurricane. Dwaraka was a large well- fortified city with an excellent drainage system, massive gates and a wall stretching about hundred eighty miles. It was a sprawling city with gardens and orchards and bastions, with a population of about 10 thousand people. There are many clues which point out to the fact that it must also have been a bustling port. Many ancient anchor stones give ample evidence of this.

Dwarka
All these findings have suddenly roused a lot of interest amongst all Hindus both in India and abroad since it is solid proof of the existence of one of the favourite gods in the Hindu pantheon, namely Lord Krishna.

Around the same time archaeologists from other countries were also busy. Along the coast of the Bay of Cambay and off the coast of modern Dwaraka, they found evidence of a settlement deep under the sea. In seventy feet of water, they found sandstone walls and cobbled streets. Looking up the descriptions of the city of Dwaraka as found in the ancient Hindu scriptures they realised that this must be the remains of the legendary city of Dwaraka ruled by the great God King, Krishna. Wood and pottery chards were found that can be dated back to 32,000 years again proving that the time limits set in ancient Hindu scriptures might be true even though most westerners dismissed it as being absurd. But now with these findings they cannot help but believe, if they want to believe. For many years now western Indologists have shut their eyes to the glory that was ancient India. The city had existed from 32,000 to 9,000 BC.  This discovery proves that the life of Krishna is not mere mythology but it is a true, historical record of a towering personality who had lived on this holy land of India.





Krishna Arjuna

A mighty war between the super human, Krishna
 and the alien- Salva...



The west coast of Gujarat was the traditional land of the Yadavas, or Yadus, the clan of Krishna. According to the Bhagavad Purana, Krishna led the Yadavas on a thousand kilometre trek from Mathura, the first capital of the Yadavas towards the west coast of India to establish a magnificent city called Dwaraka, where they could start a new life, safe from their enemies in the Gangetic plain.

The Mahabharata says, Dwaraka was reclaimed from the sea. Rao’s divers discovered that the submerged city's walls were erected on a foundation of boulders, suggesting that the land was indeed reclaimed from the sea. However after its Lord and master left this plane, the sea claimed back the land which had been taken from it. One cannot separate Dwarka from Krishna. If the city existed, then it is true that Krishna also existed.

Dr Narhari Achar, professor of physics at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, has dated the Mahabharata war using astronomy and regular planetarium software. According to his research conducted in 2004-05, the titanic clash between the Pandavas and the Kauravas took place in 3067 BC. Using the same software, Dr Achar places the year of Krishna’s birth at 3112 BC. Actually our Puranas set a far earlier date.

Another very interesting fact found by astronaut technologists is that the war between a king called Salva and Lord Krishna, which is described both in the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Purana, is actually a description of a war with an extra- terrestrial being.
The Bhagavad Purana says that Salva had done great tapas to Shiva and had been given an aerial vehicle called the Saubha which was as big as a palace and which had miraculous powers like becoming invisible and appearing at different places at the same time. Salva had been itching to get his hands on Dwaraka and when he heard that both Krishna and Balrama were away at Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas and only Krishna’s son, Pradyumna was left to guard the city, he decided that this was an opportune moment to attack it. He flew over Dwaraka in the Saubha and destroyed the outer woodlands and gardens. Then he directed his attack against the bastions of the city so that his army which was marching over land could easily penetrate it. Flashes of lightning, hail stones, cyclonic storms and clouds of dust were released from the Saubha which was equipped with all the latest type of weapons! Pradyumna and some of the other sons of Krishna ably defended the city for twenty seven days but were overpowered by Salva’s superior forces.

Lord Krishna heard of the attack and hurried to his son’s rescue and there ensued a mighty war between the super human, Krishna and the alien- Salva. In this Krishna is said to have fired arrows which resembled thunderbolts and balls of lightning and brilliant piercing rays of the sun. The weapons used by Salva makes one suspect that he was using alien technology. His spacecraft made of metal seemed to appear simultaneously at different places like the UFOs. But Lord Krishna retaliated with weapons which had the force of superior spiritual power and Salva who was hard pressed resorted to magic tricks and created the form of Lord Krishna’s father, Vasudeva and proceeded to cut off his head in front of Krishna’s eyes. Krishna faltered for just a moment but then realised that this was another trick of his enemy and very soon he brought the Saubha down with one of his miraculous astras(missiles), charged with the power of potent mantras. But Salva escaped and came to fight with him again in the great Mahabharata war.

Krishna is famous for his lilas or pranks and games. All these centuries he kept his identity a secret and played along with the western historians and allowed people to think that he was only a myth of the febrile imagination of the mighty intellect of Vyasa! But now it looks as if He has decided that this is enough. He has chosen to reveal himself- tear open the veil of maya in which He has shrouded himself and expose the truth of his inspiring life to the public gaze!

It is in view of such great findings that I have ventured to write a new Introduction to Sri Krishna Lila which is being re-printed by Inner  Traditions, Vermont, USA. I hope this will bring about a revival of interest in the perennial philosophy of Hinduism and uplift the glory of the supreme incarnation of Lord Krishna.

Hari Aum Tat Sat.



Excellent Youtube Videos

Dwarka: Lord Krishna's Home discovered

Dvaraka Giant Underwater City found in India

Ancient Dwarka Website


Dwaraka Temples

​The Temple of Dwarakadeesh
 
Dwarkadeesh
 

The holy land on which the temple of Dwarakadeesh stands is so ancient that it is difficult to pin-point the date even now. The temple is also known as the Jagat Mandir or Temple of the World.The present temple is about three thousand years old. Excavations have shown the existence of seven temples below this one. The present temple is supposed to have been built by Vajranabha, the great grandson of Lord Krishna who was not present when the holocaust of the Yadava clan took place. He is said to have built it over the Harigriha or the palace in which Lord Krishna lived. Dwaraka is one of the holiest of the holy places of India. It is included in the four great dhams of India which are Badrinath in the north, Rameswaram in the south, Jagannathpuri in the east and Dwaraka in the west. These are the four which were visited by Adi Shankaracharya. His shrine is still to be found just outside the temple when you climb up the stairs going up to the Swarga Dwara. Dwaraka is also included in the seven most holy cities of India -Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi, Kanchipuram, Ujjain, and Dwaraka. It is of course included in the 108 Divya Deshams for Vaishnavites. It is supposedly the hundred and sixth. The other two are in Vaikunda and cannot be visited by human beings.  The temple stands on the banks of the Gomati River just before she meets the ocean at the place called Chakra teerth.

Dwarknath
Swarga Dwara...  the door of heaven

Mathura was the original capital of the Yadavas but after the death of Kamsa, his father-in-law Jarasandha kept harassing and attacking the city so that Lord Krishna decided to take his clan to a safer place. He chose the place known as Kushasthali which was given by Yayati, the ancestor of the Yadavas to his son Yadu. It was called Kushasthali because Brahma threw a piece of the grass known as Kusha into the world and it landed on this land and gave the name Kushasthali to it. Since the land was not enough to accommodate his whole clan, Lord Krishna acquired more land from the sea and built the fabulous city of Dwaraka with the help of the celestial architect Visvakarma. It was known as the golden city since all the palaces were made of gold. However the Lord had prophecied that this portion would be given back to the sea after he left this planet and so it happened. Seven days after Lord Krishna left his body the sea took back the land and the fabulous city of Dwarka vanished into the waters. It was only recently that under water investigations revealed the existence of such a city exactly as had been described in the Mahaharata and Harivamsa and the Bhagavad Purana thus providing historical evidence for the existence of Lord Krishna. Of course the Hindus had never doubted it and half the festivals of this land are concerned with some aspect of his life yet the British when they came did their best to make the Hindus disbelieve the evidence of centuries for they instinctively knew that the only way they could subdue this great sub-continent and impose their religion on it was to convince the people that the great incarnations of their land – Rama and Krishna were mere myths, figments of the imagination of Vyasa and Valmiki. The Hindus of course in their usual placating manner did nothing to contradict this idea but continued to worship the gods they had worshipped for ages. Of course they knew that these avataras had trod the holy soil of this land and whatever others tried to prove hardly mattered to them for one day or other Truth would triumph. This faith has paid off and now there is no denying the existence of these great incarnations whose stories form the warp and woof of the intricate fabric of the Hindu religion.

Trivikrama or Vamana
Vishnu’s form as Dwarakadeesh

I had been to Dwaraka twice before but it was always the usual look and run type of pilgrimage since it was with other people who had neither the time nor the patience to seek for the interesting aspects of this great land. So this time I came alone and stayed for 11 days and was able to probe into the heart of this holy place. Of course as soon as I came I took a bath and ran to the temple. I was just in time for the evening arati as I came up to the front. I was so happy that tears were running down my cheeks because He had arranged such a welcome for me. Not only was it the time of the arati but he was dressed all in purple! I couldn’t believe it. I never saw him in purple again even though I stayed on for 11 more days. During the time of the shayana arati I noticed to my joy that his little bed and boltsters kept on either side were all made of a deep purple velvet. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I think I did both. This time I was able to scrutinise his accoutrements closely and noticed that unlike the usual Vishnu idols he held the Sudharshana chakra in his left upper hand, which normally holds the conch shell known as the Panchajanya and the mace known as the Kaumodaki in his right upper hand which normally holds the chakra, and the lower left hand was holding the conch shell and the right hand the lotus. The colour ofthe idol was pitch black. I don’t know what stone it is made of. The idol is supposed to represent not only Vishnu’s form as Krishna but also as Trivikrama or Vamana – the avatara in which he took three steps in order to subdue the asura knwn as Mahabali. Supposedly Durvasa was the one who called Vishnu in his form as Vamana from the nether regions to come to the spot and rid it of the asuras. This was how Trivikrama came and stayed along with Krishna as Dwarakadeesh. The rituals here are quite unlike those in the south. They follow the guidelines given by Vallabhacharya and his disciple Vittaleshnathadaji.

D

The main door through which most people enter is known as Moksha Dwara or the gateway to liberation. The door at the back leading to the banks of the Gomati River is called the Swarga Dwara or the door of heaven. It has thirty-six steps leading to the banks of the Gomati. I went down these steps flanked with shops and came to the Durvasa Kund which was a small well dedicated to Durvasa. He is supposed to be Lord Krishna’s guru and I had noticed that there was a small shrine to him inside the compound of the main temple. In fact there are many stories connected with him in this place. Climbing down the steps from Swarga Dwara, I came to the beautiful Gomati River. She had a lovely colour and her water was clear and translucent. One could see the stones on the bed. She is supposed to be a portion of the heavenly Ganga who was brought down for Lord Krishna’s puja by the rishi Vasishta and hence she was called Gomati. A boat was ferrying people to the opposite shore which was like an island. There was also a bridge going across but I preferred to take the boat. He charged only Rs 10 for the up and down ride. In fact many things here I noticed cost only Rs 10, like the garlands and the tender coconuts and the little flower boats which are to be floated down the river. I thought it was rather sweet and so different from other temple towns like Vrindavan where most of the vendors are very greedy.

 

Across the river is the island which has the Panchadanda theerthas or the five wells of holy water. The Pandavas are supposed to have come to this place during their twelve years of exile. Five of the great rishis like Marichi, Angiras, Atri, Vasishta and Gautama came to help them. Each of them sat with one Pandava and drew the waters of five rivers into the kunds or wells. These rivers are Jambuvanti from Gaya at Bhima’s kund, Gomati from Lucknow at Arjuna’s kund, Ushawati from Goa at Nakula’s kund and Chandrabhaga from Orissa and Maharastra at Sahadeva’s kund and Lakshmana from Badrinath and Himachal at Yudhishtira’s kund.

Rukmini
Rukmani Temple Detail

The peculiar thing is that in this place where all the water has a brackish taste, three of the kunds have sweet water. They were very deep and I shuddered when I looked down and saw the water glinting way down below and wondered what it would feel like to fall down. There was a man with a bucket on a rope who kindly drew up some water from each well and gave pilgrims a sip. It was indeed strange how each of the kunds had different tasting waters. After tasting the water of the kunds I walked down the island to the last point where the river meets the ocean.

Kund
Kund

This is a holy spot known as the Gomati sangam. I noticed how calm the Atlantic is as compared with the Pacific Ocean. There were no huge waves, only the quiet sound of the water lapping on the rocks. I sat there on the tip of the promonatory all by myself. I was all alone with Krishna beside me watching the sun as it slowly went down in a burst of glory. A small boat passed right accros the huge orange ball of the sun just as it was dipping into the ocean. The sky slowly changed into crimson and yellows and even some purple before it started to get dark. I ran back to catch the last boat back to the mainland. I didn’t relish the thought of being stranded on the island at night.

Gomti Ghat
Gomati Ghat

 I walked along the banks of the river on the other side. It was flanked by many little shrines. The one I liked most was the Samudra Narayana temple and the shrine to Gomati Mata. It could be seen from anywhere along the beach. Its so sweet how all rivers are considered as mothers for they are the ones who are capable of feeding the whole population. How would we survive without water? By the time I reached the sangam, the tide was coming up and the ocean was encroaching into the river. It seemed to be pushing her up and she placidly allowed it to do what it willed with her. Surely her pristine waters would get all salty I thought to myself. The ocean which I thought to be quite calm and gentle had turned aggressive and was really pushing her back to where she had come. It was getting dark and I was forced to part company with the river. The way to my hotel turned into a built up pathway along the beach. Luckily it was not lit up so I had the pleasure of walking hand in hand with my beloved Krishna all along the beach till we reached the hotel. People always ask if I get frightened wandering about alone in a strange place especially after dark. How can I explain to them that I’m never in a strange place and I am never alone!

Samudra Narayan Temple
Sunset at Samudra Narayn Temple

When the Lord took up his abode in Dwaraka five sages like Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Gautama and Vasishta came to the place. Vishnu is supposed to have given darshana to them on the banks of the Gomati from which I had taken the boat, in the form of the Sudarshana Chakra so this place is known as Chakra Teerth or Chakra Narayana. The main street leading to the temple was dusty and crowded with cows and saddhus. I had never seen such a collection of cattle and men wearing orange clothes. The cows of course had very placid natures like the Gujaratis but the sadhus were more ferocious and demanded all sorts of things from me. I also went to the lighthouse which again was on a promontory and quite close to the hotel. Luckily I found a man who had a wealth of knowledge about the different temples of Dwaraka. He knew many temples which were hardly ever seen by most pilgrims. The sun sets from the spot on which the lighthouse stood was again spectacular. As he said right across the ocean was Arabia and to the north was Pakistan.

The next few days were spent in visiting various temples many of which have not even heard of by most pilgrims. Of course I would make my daily visit to Dwarakadeesh. Every day he wore a new color and his dress and ornaments were also changed at every arati of which there were many. The priest who adorned Balarama was also extremely artistic. Sometimes I thought he was better dressed than Dwarakadeesh. Once he was kept inside a kind of circle of peacock feathers. How I wished that we were allowed to take photos. It is really sad that so many people are unable to delight in these beautiful creations. Only the same stereotyped photos are found in the market.
 

BET DWARAKA

Next day bright and early I set out for Bet Dwaraka which is the original island called Shankodara. It is about 30 km from Dwaraka to Okha which was a sea port. We have to pass the town called Mittapur which is the salt city of India. All the Tata salt which is sold all over the sub-continent comes from here. As you pass along the road you can see that the fields look white. This is all salt. Okha is a small town from which you can catch the ferry to Bet Dwaraka in which there is a huge temple of Krishna. The idol is supposedly made by Rukmani. There is utter confusion at the place where we have to catch the boat. There is no proper channelling of people so it’s a kind of a free for all. If you are lucky you can somehow manage to get into the boat without falling into the ocean. It is best to grab a ledge or the floor of the boat or some place where you can sit. They charge only Rs. 10 for this wonderful ride with gulls screaming overhead and the sun glinting on the waves. There was a bhajan party who happily sat on the floor of the boat and sang throughout the half hour ride through the placid waters. They had brought their instruments along and sang with great gusto. In fact one of the things which I don’t like about all these temples is that there is a cacophony of songs and drums all the time so that you lose half the vibrations. 

Bet Dwarka

Alighting from the boat on the quay at Bet Dwaraka is also fraught with excitement since one has to leap out of the boat onto the land. There is a steep climb from here to the main temple of Dwarakadeesh. Those who cannot manage the climb are offered the rare privilege of sitting on carts which are normally used for transporting goods. All along the route people are selling shells and things made of shells and porcelain things like pots for tulsi. I think they have a factory somewhere and the clay must be good. The island apparently is made of partly clay and partly sand.

The main temple of Dwarakadeesh was being renovated. The sculptor was obviously very good and had portrayed all the aspects of the Lord’s childhood pranks in Vrindavan.  I’m always surprised that all artists are anxious to show only his childhood leelas and hardly ever touch upon the glory of Dwarakadeesh – the king of Dwaraka. I determined to write a book on Dwarakanatha alone.


Bet Dwarka

The structure is made of sandstone as are all the temples in the vicinity. Hence there is a great deal of wear and tear caused by the salt wind from the sea. Again my Lord’s grace was such that I reached the main temple exactly at 11 o’clock in time for the noon day arati. Since all these temples follow the Pushtimarga a lot of importance is given to aratis and decorations. The idol was almost as big as the one at Dwaraka and was beautifully dressed in a similar fashion. It is supposed to have been made by Rukmini and there is temple to her which is adjoining. The priests try to persuade you that this is the place where Lord Krishna spent a lot of his time but I could not believe this. This is the place where he is supposed to have rescued his Guru’s son from the demon called Shankachuda and got his famous conch shell, the Panchajanya from him. He had made he island into a perfect port and obviously attracted many trading boats coming from Arabia and other places like Mesopotamia and so on. Excavations have unearthed many artifacts. Actually I had read that he had made a palace for Sathyabhama and Jambavati on this island. The temple closed at 12.30 noon so I ran off on my other visit on this island to the famous temple of Hanuman called Dandi Hanuman which is about 5 kms. from the temple.
 

 

 
DANDI HANUMAN.
Hanuman and Makaradwaja
 Hanuman & His Son Makaradwaja
One on the right which is sinking is Hanuman and the one on the left is Makaradwaja.
 
Temple of Dandi Hanuman.

 

Luckily I found a rickshaw on the other side of the temple which took me to Dandi Hanuman. The road was flanked by bare desert shrubs and a hot salty wind blew all the time. The temple was a tiny one as can be seen and it was closed for the noon bhog. So all the devotees sat in front waiting for it to open. All the time everyone kept chanting the Hanuman Chalisa. In the background the thirteen-syllabled mantra was being chanted. It is a small temple built under a peepul tree and is facing east. As soon as it was opened everyone trooped inside the small cave-like structure where one could have darshan of the two figures. The smaller one on the right was Hanuman and the bigger one on the left was his son Makaradwaja. Apparently the one on the right was growing and the one on the left was sinking. When it sank right down to Patala, the Kali Yuga would come to an end. This is the only temple in India where Hanuman is seen with his son.
 
Makaradwaja can be seen fully. His right hand is raised in the abhaya mudra and his left fist is on his chest as if to say “Why should I worry when I have my father in my heart?” His left leg is raised and resting on the head of a demon which is pinned to the ground. His tail is resting on the ground, implying that the demon had been pinned down without much effort.

Hanuman‘s body is seen only above his thigh. His right hand is raised above the right shoulder and kept at the back of his head. His left hand is resting on his chest. His tail held above the right shoulder runs parallel to the hand which is kept on his head. It appears that Hanuman is in a relaxed mood enjoying the scene of his son destroying the demon.

A mace or club is placed between them. It looks as if they don’t need any weapons here since both of them are in a holiday mood. The word “Dandi” in Gujarati means a joyous mood. Hence the name of the temple. This is a unique temple since both father and son are seen together. Another important fact is that neither of them carry weapons. During the festival of Dassera, Lord Dwarakadeesh of Bet Dwaraka is dressed as Sri Rama and taken to this temple in a palanquin. There is a continuous chanting of the tryodashi mantra (Sri Ram jaya Ram, jaya jaya Ram) in the temple.

Hanuman Temple

People suffering from any chronic disease are asked to take some supari or betel nut from the priest and return to their home, promising to chant this mantra with the supari in their hand, for as long as they are able. When their wishes are fulfilled they have to return the supari covered in gold to the temple.
Sri Ram jaya Ram Jaya jaya Ram
 

RUKMANI TEMPLE

Rugmani
Rukmani Temple

I really think this is one of my favorite temples. Rukmani of course was always my favorite and I felt it was a shame that she was given a temple so far away from her beloved. Of course there is story connected with this as there always is. The pujari at the temple is never tired of repeating this to every tourist. Once it is said that Krishna and Rukmani went to invite the sage Durvasa for a meal to their house in Dwaraka. It is considered a great honor to have a sage visit your abode for a meal. Of course Durvasa’s temper was always unpredictable and he told them that he would come provided they both pulled the chariot which had been brought to take him, instead of the horses. They were forced to agree but after some time as can be expected Rukmani became very thirsty. Seeing the sorry condition of his beloved wife the Lord dug his toe into the ground and out spouted the Ganga herself. She quenched her thirst and they were all set to carry on but the sage had noticed all these doings and declared that since they had been so lacking in manners as to have water before offering to the guest they would be cursed to live apart for twelve years. He also cursed that all the water in Dwaraka would be brackish and the only sweet water would be found where the Lord’s toe had dug into the ground. Even today the water for abhishekam in this temple is brought from that kund and it is also given to thirsty pilgrims. Thus Rukmini’s temple is 3 kms away from the temple of her Lord. During her twelve years of penance she is supposed to have made a wonderful statue of Lord Krishna out of the clay found on the sea shore on which the temple is situated. This is the idol of Dwarakadeesh which was later installed in the temple at Bet Dwaraka.

Rugmani

The temple is exquisitely carved with a variety of figures and there is a panel of elephants at the base. Despite the fact that the salt air has eroded many of the figures, yet we can still see the beauty of the figures. I went there at sunset when none of the pilgrims were there and was lucky to get a photo of Rugmani herself. I could feel her pain at being separated from her beloved Lord for so many years. Yet I suppose he must have visited her often.  It was a most exquisite figure and as I sat there contemplating on her form I felt that she came down and offered me her own seat and insisted that I drink some of the sweet water which was being offered outside. To please her  went and took a sip. I sat outside till the sun did its fabulous dip into the ocean and thus closed another miraculous day.   
 
Rukmini
 
Hari Aum Tat Sat.


NAGESWARA MAHADEVA TEMPLE

Shiva

The Nageswara Mahadeva temple is considered to be one of the twelve important jyotirlingams. Jyotirlingam actually means a column of light in the shape of a linga. The first jyotirlingam was an immeasurable column of light made by Lord Shiva in order to prove his superiority over the tri-murtis (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahadeva). Brahma and Vishnu were astonished to see this light. A voice emanated from the column asking each of them to find out the depth and height of the column of light. Vishnu opted to go down while Brahma chose to go up. Vishnu in the form of Varaha (the cosmic boar) went down for eons and could not discover the source of the light. He came up and declared his inability to do so. Brahma aslo went up for eons and also failed to discover the beginning of the light. As he was coming down disappointed, he saw a keora flower which was falling down from Shiva’s locks. He begged her to swear that she had seen him at the top. She agreed reluctantly. Brahma swore to Shiva that he had seen the top of the column of light and the keora flower nodded her head. Shiva was furious and cursed Brahma that he would never have any temples in his name and no one would worship him. He told the keora flower that henceforth she would never be used in his puja. She begged for forgiveness and he relented and said that she could be used outside the temple for decoration. Shiva also declared that Vishnu would be worshipped for all eternity and have many temples in his name.

The jyotirlingas commemerate this event and they denote the supreme indivisible reality from which Shiva appears. The first appearance is supposed to have happened in Thiruvannamali in Tamil Nadu and is still celebrated by lighting a huge bonfire on top of the hill every pournamai in the month of Kartika (November).

There are actually sixty-four jyotirlingas out of which twelve are considered to be specially auspicious. Each of these jyotiringas takes the name of the presiding deity and each is considered to be a separate manifestaton of Shiva. The twelve jyotirlingas are Somnath is Gujarat, Mallikarjuna in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleswara at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareswara in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in the Himalayas, Bhimshankara in Maharashtra, Kasi Viswanatha at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanatha at Deogarh in Jharkhand, Nageswara in Dwaraka, Rameshwara at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, and Grishneshwara in Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

The Shiva Purana says that the Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is in 'Darukavana', which is forest mentioned in many puranas. The Pandavas are supposed to have spent some time there during their twelve years of exile. Once there was a demon called Daruka who had a wife called Daaruki who worshipped Parvati. Seeing her great devotion Parvati gave her a boon that the forest in which she performed her tapas would be called Darukavana in her honour and wherever she went the forest would follow her. In order to save the demons from punishment from the gods she removed the forest into the sea from where they started to harass the hermits and other devotees of Shiva whom they caught and confined in their under water lair. Her husband, Daruka once attacked a Shiva devotee called Supriya and imprisoned him along with many others in his city of Darukavana, under the sea inhabited by sea snakes and demons. Supriya made a lingam and urged all the prisoners to chant the five lettered mantra of Shiva, „AumNamashivaaya“. Shiva appeared and gave him a divine weapon that saved his life. The demons were killed. The lingam was given the name of Nageshwara. Parvati was known as Nageswari. This is the 10th of the jyotirlingas.  It has the power to take away the effects of all types of poisonous bites by snakes and insects. All Shiva temples have the gomukham, or the channel through which the water  is poured over the deity, facing north. Here it is facing east. It is said that once a devotee called Namadev was singing bhajans in front of the Lord. Some other devotees asked him to stand to a side so that he would not hide the lingam. Namadev promptly asked them to show him one direction in which the Lord does not exist. This angered them and they promptly carried him and dumped him on the south side. To their surprise they found that the lingam now turned to the south so that the gomukham faced east.

This temple is located on the road leading from Dwaraka proper to the island of Bet Dwaraka. I went there on my return from Bet Dwaraka.

The compound is dominated by a huge statue of Shiva. I knew that the lingam was inside a cave but it was all built up so that the cave was covered by a huge modern structure. From the door to the cave people were selling puja things at exorbitant rates without which you were not allowed to enter the cave. Even after buying you were held up just before entering the cave by priests who demanded more money for various purposes. This was the only temple in Gujarat to which I had so far gone that this has happened so I was really sad. However having come all this way I was determined to get in even if I had to pay. Once inside I was overpowered by the peace and purity of the place.The lingam was of sandstone I think and was possibly being eroded so they had covered it with glass. There was a hole on top through which we could do abhishekam and offer flowers etc. Only about ten people would be let in at a time since there was no place inside the cave. Unfortunately the priest kept shouting at some of those who had entered with me for some offence or other. Anyway I finished my own puja and got out before he started shouting at me. I had come here after Bet Dwaraka so it was a marked contrast. Anyway it was all a lesson in acceptance I suppose and I accepted it as such.
Aum Namashivaaya.



HARI SIDDHI MATA

Harsiddhi-Mata

LH

There is a large lighthouse in Dwaraka which is very close to the hotel I was staying in. I had gone there one day and met a man who is in charge of the place. He said the lighthouse was closed to people but I sat and talked with him and discovered him to be a veritable mine of information regarding all the temples in that area. I have to be really grateful to him for having sent me to all the following temples some of which are not even known to most people.

Hari Siddhi

Hari Siddhi Mata is supposed to be the kula daivam (family diety) of the Yadavas. Its 70 kms away from Dwaraka. The morning was really cold even though the sun was shining but unfortunately I had not taken a shawl so it was not a very pleasant ride but having reached the place it was beautiful. The temple is on a small hill, (900 steps) and is beside the sea. There is a big temple to the goddess at the bottom of the hill so I went there first. All the Devi temples in this locality have a special flavour about them. The deities are always plastered in orange like the Hanumans and all have large lustrous eyes. I sat there for a while and then went up the hill. There was a magnficent view of the sea and the further shore from there. The temple had beautiful carvings. The deity inside was the same as many of the others. I was mesmerized by her since I knew that Lord Krishna must have seen her in pretty much the shape that she was in now. Luckily I was able to take many photos. There was a tree completely covered with red scarves tied by pilgrims for the fulfillment of some vow. This is quite common in all Devi temples. There  were quite a few pilgrims there. There was a man selling barley for feeding the doves. This is quite a common scene in these places. Feeding of birds and cows are part of the worship of God.

Harisiddhi Mata
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Harisiddhi Mata Mandir at Ladol, Gujarat, India.
The Temple was founded in Solanki Yug by an Emperor Siddharaj Jay Sinh who has so much faith in Maa Harisiddhi in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India.

He convinced Maa to Come along with him in his Capital Patan, but during his journey from Ujjain also known as Kashi, Varanasi to Patan… Maa Harisiddhi has Chosen the place called Ladpalli for new temple which is now known as Ladol situated in Vijapur taluka of Mehsana District in Gujarat, India.


BHADRA KALI MANDIR
 Kherwadi

Kali

Bhadra

On the way back we went to a most ancient Bhadra Kali temple. This temple is supposedly much older than the temple of Dwarakadeesh. It is situated in the notorious village of Kherwadi. I was told by my friend in the lighthouse that the deity is very powerful. Aparently the government had wanted to renovate the temple but each tme they built something, the next day when they went to the site it was found broken and scattered on the ground. Obviously Kali  did not want to be renovated. The other story was that the villagers here were very hostile and did not like anyone coming to their village.They were a drunken and aggressive lot and did not encourage anyone to visit the temple. Most auto rickshaw drivers were unwilling to go there. However my driver agreed to take me. We had some difficulty in finding the place but at last reached there before it becae dark. It was a small, ancient looking temple. There was a stone outside proclaiming it to be a Heritage Site. I was glad of this since such temples need to be preserved. There was a banyan tree outside. In fact banyan trees grew prolifickly all over Dwaraka and its surroundings. The areal roots of most of them were cut so as to prevent futher spreading. I feel sure that if this had not been done the whole town would have turned into a forest of banyan trees.

Bhadra Kali

I went inside the cave like structure and came face to face with her. There was a big pot of burning oil kept beside her. I could just about make out her features by the flickering beams from this wickless lamp. Her features were similar to Hari Siddhi Ma. She had the usual orange make up on her face and a lot of clothes and other jewellery like a huge mala which was made to look like skulls. Long black hair flowed down her shoulders on either side. I took some pictures before anyone came and forbade me. Just as well I did so. Soon after a whole family of devotees came all the way from Mitthapur. Apparently she was their family deity and they always came once a year to pay their respects to her. The women wore fabulous gold earrings and huge ankle bangles which made strange noises as they walked. One of the girls was very inquisitive and kept peltering me with questions. Then one of the men started dancing with his tongue protruding like Kali and his eyes crossed and making all sorts of gutteral noises. Everybody took this in their stride. His wife alone sat and cried. The girl informed me that the spirit of the deity had possessed him. This was the first time I had seen a man being possessed by the spirit of Kali. In the hills it was common to see women being possessed and making pronouncements and scattering blessings to people. I decided to leave before the man came and made some pronouncements to me. It was getting dark so I left the family to their special pujas. Due to the brackish nature of the water and soil, the land we passed through was  bleak and barren in which only some clumps of grass grew. The banyan trees were only in the precincts of the city except when they were planted in a temple compound.




SIDDHESHWAR MAHADEV MANDIR





SIDDHESHWAR MAHADEV MANDIRSIDDHESHWAR MAHADEV MANDIR

After two days of my stay in Dwaraka, I suddenly discovered that the oldest temple inside the city is Siddheswara Mahadev and it was only a stone’s throw from my hotel. It was twilight when I first went there and I felt I was entering a dark forest. There were so many ancient banyan trees round the temple that the temple could not be seen at all. I went down the path with the roots of the trees, spread all over the place. There were entwined over the steps and had broken through the confining barricades which had been put around them. The arati was going on as I entered. There were hardly any people there. When I came again the next day I saw people going inside and doing abhishekam. I too went inside and did abhishekam with the water they were bringing from outside. Later when I went out I discovered that there was an ancient „vav“ or step well in the front of the temple with steps leading right down to the crystal clear water. This was the water people were using for the abhishekam.

welljagat
Ancient Step Well                                        Ancient Banyon Tree

SIDDHESHWAR MAHADEV MANDIR

 The lingam was of white stone. I don’t think it was marble. It had a queer shape. It almost seemed as if it had the trunk of Ganesha on it.

Linga

 Anyway I was lucky to get some close up shots of the lingam since no one seemed to care much what you did. The path from the road to the temple was lined with sadhus all waiting hopefully for some donation. On the other side of the step well was a lovely little Hanuman. I was able to get a shot of him also. In front of the temple before the step well there was always​ a collection of cows and bulls all waiting patiently, I don’t know for what. I used to go to this temple every morning. It was just the type of temple I liked – no crowds and no priests – no jostling or haggling -only the cows and the deity. I was truly so greatful for this oportunity. I could imagine what a bustling temple it must have been – the only source of water for all the villagers around there – the only source of salvation also.

Hanuman
Siddheswara Mahadev Mandir Hanuman

Jagat Mandir  

Aum Namashivaaya


BHADKESHWARA MANDIR

Bhadkeshwar_Mahadev_Mandir_DwarkaBhadkeshwar_Mahadev_Mandir_Dwarka 
High Tide At Bhadkeshwara Mahader


The Bhadkeshwara Mahader temple is another famous Shiva temple inside the city of Dwaraka. It is actually on a small island fairly close to the shore. I had gone at sunset since that is also known as sunset point even though sunsets can be viewed all along the sea shore. There was a bridge connecting the shore to the temple which made it easy to approach. Apparently that has just been built. In olden days the sea was all around and no one could approach it except by boat. The only time the sea parted and allowed people to approach over land was on Shivaratri day. The crowd on that day used to be enormous. Even now if we went at high tide the sea came over the bridge and we would have to walk ankle deep in water. Anyway I took the bridge and went in. It was a very small temple and the lingam was well below the floor level. The pujari was sitting and decorating the lingam and the yoni with beautiful flowers which I had never seen growing around the place. I was told that the arati would only be at 7 pm so I did not wait for that. I sat outside on the other side of the temple facing the sea and meditated till sunset. There was a huge crowd of devotees who behaved more like picknickers which was quite disturbing. However I could close my eyes and imagine what it would have been like a hundred years ago.


Aum Namashivaaya

INDRESHWARA MAHADEV MANDIR

INDISWARA
Indreswara Mahadeva Shiva/Shakti lingams

Another temple which was totally unknown to most pilgrims was the Indreswara Mahadeva mandir. This again was told to me by my lighthouse friend. This was a unique temple in which Shiva and Shakti were seen together. It was situated in a small village called Varvala which was about 7 kms from Dwaraka town. Of course my auto rickshaw driver had never heard of it so after reaching the village we asked a number of people for the Shiva/Shakti mandir but no one had heard of it. At last in despair I asked them to give me directions to the nearest Shiva mandir. This they gladly did and we went to what was known as the Indreshwara Mahadev mandir. It was in the middle of some barren fields and the road leading to it was totally broken up. The temple was inside the compound of a house apparently belonging to the pujari and his family. I went in and was greeted by his wife who took me inside the temple. I gasped with delight when I saw that my friend was right and there were two lingams joined together. The one on the left was big and the other small. This was definitely the Shiva/Shakti lingam told to me by my friend.

Shiva/Shakti
Shiva/Shakti lingam
Apparently this is unique. You won’t find a double lingam like this anywhere in India. I was able to take close ups of the lingam since there was nobody there. It had been beautifully decorated by the priest with fresh flowers from their garden. I was most touched when the lady came in with a handful of flowers and told me to offer it myself. Actually the Gujaratis are very gently type of people, not at all quarrelsome and a bit shy when they have not been affected by modern civilization and habits. Even though she never asked me for anything I was really happy to give her something for the upkeep of the temple. It looked as if Shiva was continuing to bless me for I was able to go to so many of his unique temples.

 Nandi
Nandiji


Aum Namashivaaya



JAGAT MANDIR



The villagers told me about another ancient temple in the village called Puvar which was adjoining this village. Nothing loathe I asked the driver to take me there. This was also far from the madding crowd in the midst of some barren fields. There was a big banyan tree outside which provided abundant relief from the summer heat I suppose. The approach to all these small temples is a small type of door which is curiously reminiscent of Kerala temples. Inside there was a saddhu who took me into the temple. I was surprised to find a perfect replica of the Jagannath Mandir  trio  - Subadra flanked by her two brothers, Krishna and Balarama.

Siddheswhara
Siddheswara Mahadev Dieties

Jagannath
Jagannath Puri Deities

After praying I came out and asked the swami about the history of the place. He said that this was again a very ancient spot in which a Surya idol covered with gold had existed. Of course the gold was stolen and afterwards the stone was taken off by the British. About 500 years later someone had brought these three idols from Jagannath Puri in Orissa and installed them here and ever since his family had looked after it. The idols apparently were made of the same wood as the original Jagannath Puri idols. He also showed me a secret door which had originally led to the Dwarakadeesh temple. This place had been covered with forest and Lord Krishna had come here and had the fight with Jambavan, the king of the bears who presented him with his daughter Jambavati. Of course the tunnel had been closed off but they had retained a small room there for meditation. It was all very interesting and I was greatful to my Krishna for showing me such wonderful temples.

Aum Jaya Jagadeesha Hare


KAMAKSHI AND BALAJI TEMPLES

 SERPENTS
SERPENT GODS

My driver was insistent that I should visit the Kamakshi and Balaji temples so we went there. My guru is the Shankaracharya of the Kanchikama Koti peetham where you find the original temple of Kamakshi Devi. I was surprised to find a huge complex of temples within a walled compound. The temples were all in Dravidian style of course and the figures were truly beautiful all made by Tamil Nadu sculptors.

VISVAKARMA
Visvakarma in the Kamakshi temple complex


Kamakshi Devi was striking, wearing the usual ornate Kanchipuram sari and all the other highly decorative jewellery.

Kmakshi Devi
Kamakshi Devi

There were many beautiful statues of various gods, a place for the navagrahas and a place for the serpent gods.

KAMAKSHI

Thirupati Balaji was as usual most imposing and an absolute replica of the original. On the way out all along the wall there were little shrines housing all the 24 siddhas, starting with Agastya and Bhogar. They were quite fascinating. I am always intrigued by the siddhas. The pujari was from Madhya Pradesh strangely enough and not from Tamil Nadu as one would have supposed. He was a very nice man and said he had been doing puja there for the past 12 years. I congratulated him on the beautiful and well maintained garden with tulsi and other flowers for puja. I felt truly blessed to have had darshan of Kamakshi in Dwaraka.


BALAJI
Balaji

Jai Ma Kamakshi



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