This vata (banyan) tree is famous in Bhandiravana as the site of many different pastimes of Sri Radha-Krishna Yugala.
At the time of Sri Krishna’s manifest pastimes (prakata-lila), a huge banyan tree stood here full of long branches that spread in all directions.
Nearby, Sri Yamuna made a sweet sound as she followed her meandering course.
Sri Krishna, Baladeva and the sakhas would cross the river by walking on the branches of this tree.
Male and female parrots, peacocks, peahens, cuckoos and papihas were always sitting singing on the tree’s profuse branches.
They remained satisfied by eating its fruit.
Deer, does and other forest animals drank the sweet water of the Yamuna and took rest in the cool, pleasant shade of the banyan tree.
It was mostly to this Bhandiravata that Mother Yasoda and the mothers of the other cowherd boys used to send lunch with some gopas for their respective sons.
While grazing the cows, Sri Krishna, Baladeva and the sakhas used to have the cows drink the water in the Yamuna and then freely graze on the lush, green grass of the forest.
The boys themselves bathed and engaged in water sports in the Yamuna’s cool water.
They would then sit in the shade under this banyan tree and eat the various tasty preparations sent by their mothers.
Sri Krishna sat in the midst of them all, and the sakhas would sit around Him in thousands of rows that extended here and there.
Each and every sakha, even if sitting at the back or far away, experienced that Sri Krishna was sitting right in front of him.
Their eating was accompanied by laughing and joking, and they would play various games together.
Brahma and other demigods in the sky became astonished to see their festive and joyful picnics.
Brahma performed the gandharva marriage of Sri Radha-Krishna Yugala beneath this banyan tree.
According to the Garga-samhita and Gita-govinda, Nanda Baba once took Sri Krishna to Bhandiravana to graze the cows.
This forest was very attractively covered with the dense foliage of the tamala and kadamba trees and the lush creepers, and therefore it was only lit by scant sunrays.
Suddenly, black clouds gathered from all directions and a raging rainstorm developed.
Nanda Baba became frightened of the bad omen and carefully hid Kanhaiya on his lap.
At that moment, the extraordinarily beautiful daughter of Vrishabhanu Maharaja, Sri Radhika, appeared there in the form of a young girl.
She held Her hands out to Nanda Baba, indicating that She wanted to take Krishna with Her.
The astonished Nanda Baba gave Sri Krishna to Her.
Radhika then took Krishna to the inner part of Bhandiravana under the shelter of Bhandiravata.
Here Sri Krishna manifested Himself as manmatha-manmatha kisora, a beautiful youth who bewilders even the mind of Cupid.
Meawhile, Lalita, Visakha and the other sakhis also appeared here with Caturmukha Brahma.
Knowing the desire of Kisora-Kisori, Brahma performed Their gandharva wedding by reciting Vedic mantras.
Srimati Radhika and Sri Krishna exchanged beautiful flower garlands.
The delighted sakhis sang wedding songs as the demigods showered flowers from the sky.
While everyone looked on, Brahma left that place.
The sakhis also disappeared, and Krishna again assumed the form of a small boy.
Srimati Radhika took Krishna by hand and returned to Nanda Baba, who was standing waiting for Him.
Meanwhile, the clouds dispersed and the storm abated.
Nanda Baba now returned with Krishna to his Nanda-Vraja.
Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP).
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