The original village of Gokula where Lord Krishna performed His childhood pastimes is now known as Mahavana. This is because the original village of Gokula lies within the area once covered by the sacred forest of Mahavana. The forest of Mahavana is one of the twelve sacred forests of Vraja and although it was once a large and verdant forest, with a parikrama of around twelve kilometers, there are hardly any trees remaining of the forest today. Mahavana was the second largest forest in Vraja after Kamyavana, and the name Mahavana means ‘great forest’. Nevertheless, one can still see all the places where Krishna enjoyed His transcendental pastimes during His early childhood or kaumara-lila at Gokula. The ancient village of Gokula, now called Mahavana, is the original village where Nanda Maharaja and Yashoda Mayi had their residence and where Krishna spent the first three and a half years of His childhood. The name ‘Gokula’ actually means the residential place of cows. The word ‘go’ means ‘cow’ and ‘kula’ means ‘residence’ or ‘living place’, or in other words Gokula was a village inhabited by cowherd men and their cows.
Krishna’s childhood pastimes at Gokula are very sweet and innocent, and thus these pastimes are easily understood by ordinary people in general. On the other hand, Krishna’s amorous pastimes with the young gopis of Vraja, are not so easily understood, even by greatly learned scholars and philosophers. However, Krishna’s pastimes of stealing butter and yogurt from the houses of the married gopis and feeding it to His friends as well as the monkeys, or His slaying of so many evil demons, are all pastimes which can be understood and appreciated by people of all ages.
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About the Author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rajasekhara was born in England in 1948. From the age of seven he began his inquiry into the meaning of life, after realizing that although death seemed inevitable for everyone, it also appeared completely illogical, as the life-force and will to exist appeared far too dynamic to simply cease to exist at the point of death. As he grew-up, he became disenchanted with what he saw was a world full of cruelty and suffering. His ambition was to discover the answers to life, and not wishing to be involved in the mundane affairs of material existence or raising a family, he began to study philosophy and religion. In 1970 at the age of 21, he became a vegetarian and a follower of Buddhism, and began to practice hatha-yoga and kundalini meditation. In 1972, Rajasekhara adopted Krishna consciousness and bhakti-yoga as the best means for self-realization, and in November that year, he joined the Hare Krishna Movement. In May 1973, he received initiation from Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Hare Krishna founder, at the Bhaktivedanta Manor, the Tudor manor near Watford, donated by George Harrison of the Beatles, where he served as the manor’s first temple commander. The name 'Rajasekhara', given by Swami Prabhupada at the time of initiation, means 'king of kings' and is pronounced as 'raaja-sheykhaara'. In January 1975, desiring to make further advancement in spiritual life, Rajasekhara moved to India and the holy city of Vrindavana, where he became a temple priest at the Krishna-Balarama Mandira. Since 1975, Rajasekhara has lived in India, where he has continued his practice of yoga while studying Vedic philosophy and metaphysics. During his long sojourn in India, Rajasekhara has visited all the important holy places of pilgrimage in the sub-continent from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari, including such famous places as Badrinatha, Yamunotri, Haridwara, Rishikesha, Dwaraka, Tirupati, Rangapatnam, Tiruvanantapuram, Madurai, Kumbhakonam, Tanjore, Navadwipa and Jagannatha Puri, to name just a few. Due to his extensive travelling, he has gained a treasure-trove of knowledge while imbibing the very essence of India’s ancient Vedic culture. His understanding of Vedic philosophy has been acknowledged by all those who have read his books and heard him speak on Vedanta philosophy and Gaudiya Vaishnava siddhanta. Rajasekhara is presently considered to be one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject of Vrindavana Dhama and its holy places, his numerous books about Vrindavana are read the world over by those interested in understanding the deeper mysteries of Lord Krishna’s spiritual abode, where the Lord performed His transcendental pastimes on Earth over 5,000 years ago. Rajasekhara is also known for his exquisite photography of Vrindavana Dhama, featured throughout his books and which perfectly capture the transcendental atmosphere of Lord Krishna’s transcendental land. His personal experience and spiritual realizations, after having lived in India and the holy land of Vrindavana for so many years – is adequately conveyed through his writings, and those who read his books find themselves immediately transported to the transcendental spiritual platform. In 1991, on reaching the age of 42, Rajasekhara, established Vedanta Vision Publications, for the purpose of writing and self-publishing transcendental literature that propagate the glorification of Vrindavana Dhama, the holy land connected to Lord Krishna transcendental pastimes. In 2001, on reaching the age of 52, Rajasekhara, inaugurated the Vedic Heritage Foundation, to expand the awareness of Vedic culture, philosophy and traditions, and to continue his research into the Vedic scriptures. Amongst his upcoming publications, Rajasekhara is working on the highly anticipated Bhu-mandala Tattva-darshan – a five part summary study based on the 5th canto of the Vedic classic Shrimad Bhagavatam – which deals with the subject of Vedic cosmology, the fabled Mount Meru and the island of Jambhudwipa, the kingdom of demigod’s, the heavenly and hellish worlds, and the position of the planets in the solar system as revealed in the Vedas. Another important book now being prepared, concerns the hidden facts regarding the death in 1977, of the Hare Krishna founder, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, which Rajasekhara personally witnessed, and the deviations that took place in the Krishna movement after the demise of its founder who was regarded as the world's foremost Vedic acharya. In 2015, in his 66th year, Rajasekhara released a truly dynamic and forthright presentation based Vedic sex education entitled ‘Kama Sutra-Dharma Sutra - The Yoga of Pure Sex’, for those who wish to understand the true essence of yoga practice, that enables one to cross over the great ocean of material suffering and achieve liberation from the shackles of sex-desire that is the root cause of the living beings reincarnation and repeated birth and death in the material world.