Brajamandak Parikrama Day 3
Lord Balaram’s pastimes at Talvan:
The forest of Taalvan is situated about six miles south of Mathura and two-and-a-half miles southwest of Madhuvana. At the time of Lord Krishna’s pastimes on this planet, it was an enchanting forest full of palm (Taal) trees. This is the place where Shri Balaramji killed the ass demon, Dhenukasura. Taalvan is, therefore, a place of great significance for a practicing devotee as it represents the subjugation of the ass-like ignorance within our hearts by the Guru (Spiritual Master) who is the representative of Balaramji. Here, at Taalvan, lies Balabhadra-kunda and a temple of Lord Baladeva. In this temple, Lord Baladev stands in the center with His wife Revati Devi to his left and Shri Gopalji to His right.
Balaram and Krishna in order to please Their friends ventured into this forest. Balaram saw big Taal trees and shook one of them so hard that all the big Taal fruits began to fall to the ground. The boys began jumping and dancing seeing this. Meanwhile, Dhenukasura heard his Taal fruits falling. Being outraged he galloped straight to that place, went right up to Balaramji, turned around his hind legs as asses do, and kicked Him as hard as he could right in the chest. Shri Balaramaji very patiently stood there, undisturbed by the kick of the demon as if nothing had happened. Dhenukasura feeling insulted by this, turned again and kicked Him right in the chest. Finally, Balaramaji effortlessly took both of the hind legs of Dhenukasura in one hand and whirled him around over His head like a toy. Just by the centrifugal force of that skyride Dhenukasura was dead. Then Balaramaji threw the huge dead body of Dhenukasura into the tallest of the Taal trees. That Taal tree fell down upon another Taal tree which fell down upon another, creating a kind of Domino effect. When the associates of Dhenukasura charged at Krishna Balaram for avenging their master’s death, They grabbed each of the asses by their hind legs, whirled them around to death, and threw them over the Taal trees thus creating a nice panoramic scene. The multi-colored asses looked like big colored clouds floating on the trees. Then Krishna Balaram along with the cowherd boys enjoyed the feast of ripened juicy Taal fruits. Later the animals started coming to Taalvan to eat the fresh grasses and the birds started coming to eat seeds and the fruits on the trees, and Taalvan became a very pleasurable forest for Krishna and Balaram’s pastimes.
This delightful forest which is presently also known as Kudaravan is where Lord Krishna, Shri Balrama ji, and the other cowherd boys wandered through while herding the cows. Kumudavana owes its name to the ancient ‘Kumuda’ trees that formed a dense forest in this part of Braj.
Kumudavana is home to the Kumudini Kund, also known as Vihar Kund. It is said that Shri Krishna Himself sported in this kund with the other cowherd boys who would decorate each other with garlands made of kumudini flowers. He would also summon the cows to the bank of the pond to drink water with his sweet words. It is here that Lord Krishna would sometimes hide from His sakhas and sport in the water with Radhika, Lalita, Vishakha, and other gopis.
There is a deity of Shri Kapildev on the bank of Kumudini Kund at present. It is said that Lord Kapil worshipped Shri Krishna at this place. Kumudavana is also home to Krishna Kund and a Bethakji of Shri Mahaprabhuji. In the backyard of Shri Bethakji, there is a Kadamba tree known as ‘Lal Kadamba’. It is said that Shri Krishna used to play his flute sitting on this tree. It is also said that when the Gopis used to call Shri Krishna for the Chaak, He used to hide behind this Kadamba tree.