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Yamuna River
A Comprehensive Guide to r Vndvana Dhma

Yamuna Devi
Table of contents
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1 Overview
2 Following Acaryas
3 Taking Bath
4 Srila Rupa Gosvami
Instructs
5 Srila Prabhupada
Instructs
6 Prayers Glorifying

Overview

Bhagavan Sri Krsna Himself expands into different forms to enjoy


transcendental pastimes with His eternal associates, who also expand to
serve Him. In Vraja Gokula in the spiritual world, Srimati Visakha-devi
expands in a liquid form as the River Yamuna to nourish the sweet water
pastimes of the Divine Couple.
Sri Rupa Gosvami explains that Yamuna is non-different from Visakha-sakhi.
Whenever Srimati Radhika sees the rich blue hue of the Yamuna, She
immediately remembers Her beloved Syamasundara. The Yamuna River
eternally flows in the spiritual world serving Sri Krsnas blissful pastimes.
When Krsna appears in Bhauma Vrindavana, He enacts many exciting
pastimes in the Yamuna including dancing on the hoods of the demon Kaliya,
splashing water on His cowherd boyfriends, and swimming and boat riding
with His beloved gopis. For thousands of years devotees of Lord Krsna have
bathed in the sacred waters of the Yamuna River while remembering RadhaKrsnas eternal pastimes and praying for mercy. It is a tradition amongst
Krsna bhaktas to first take a Yamun bath at Visrama Ghat in Mathura before
entering Sri Krsnas sacred land of Vrindavana.
Madhavendra Puri, Sri Advaita Acarya, Lord Nityananda, Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu, the Six Gosvmis, Srinivas Acarya, Narottama dasa Thakura,
Syamananda Prabhu, Sri Jahnava Mata, and many Gaudiya acaryas have
observed this most purifying practice. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu offered a
beautiful prayer when He saw the Yamuna,

Yamuna River
O River Yamuna, you are the blissful spiritual water
that gives love to the son of Nanda Maharaja. You are
the same as the water of the spiritual world, for you
can vanquish all our offenses and the sinful reactions
incurred in life. You are the creator of all auspicious
things for the world. O daughter of the sun-god,
kindly purify us by your pious activities. (Cc. Madhya
3.28)

Following Acaryas
Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Jiva Gosvami bathed everyday in the Yamuna while
staying in Vrindavana at Seva-kunja. Following in their footsteps four hundred
years later, Srila Prabhupada also bathed regularly in the Yamuna during his
days of solitary bhajana at the Radha Damodara Temple. Srila Rupa
Gosvamis quotes many Vedic literatures to establish the exalted identity of
and the benefits of bathing in the beautiful River Yamun in the Mathura
Mahatyam: The Adi-Varaha Purana says,
The Yamuna in Vrindavana is a hundred times more
sacred than the Ganges. A person who bathes in the
Yamunas waters becomes pure and sense-controlled.
The Padma Purana says,
The flood of eternal, blissful spiritual nectar, which is
called Brahman in the Upanisads, is the Yamuna,
which has become a flowing river to purify the
worlds.
By the Yamunas touch a sinful person becomes free from sin, saintly and
liberated. A person who dies in the Yamuna as it flows through Vrindavana
attains a spiritual form like that of Lord Hari and goes to Vaikuntha. Simply by
bathing in the Yamuna, the devotees attain the association of Lord Krsna. A
person who bathes there attains the result of visiting all holy places. In the
Matsya Purana, Narada says, O Yudhisthira! A person who enters the Yamuna
and drinks its waters purifies seven generations of ancestors. (Mathura
Mahatyam)

Yamuna Boat Pastime


In Yamunastaka, Sri Rupa Gosvami says that bathing in the Yamuna will
directly manifest spontaneous devotion (raganuga-bhakti) for Radha and
Krsna within the heart, increase ones attachment (asakti) to Krsna, and
manifest Their transcendental pastimes.

Srila Prabhupada explains how in Vrindavana Krsna is the center of


attachment (asakti):
There is Nanda Maharaja, Yasodathey have asakti
to Krsna. The young girls and the cowherd boys have
got asakti to Krsna. The trees, fruits, flowers, and the
Yamun River have asakti to Krsna. (Lecture to
Sanand, 27/Dec/75)
Since ones qualities develop by association, by bathing in the Yamun one
will associate with her and thereby increase his attachment to Krsna.

Taking Bath
Bathing in the Yamuna is an important activity of devotional service. In the
purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.23, Srila PrabhupAda describes the fourth
process of devotional service named pada sevanam, serving the Lords lotus
feet, which includes thakurji darsana, mandir and dhama parikrama, tulasi
and vaisnava seva, and Yamun snana. Srila Prabhupda concludes by
saying, All these processes of pada-sevanam help one advance in spiritual
life very quickly.
Vrajavasi Vaisnavas say that every Ekadasi devotees should circumambulate
Vrindavana and bathe in the Yamuna in order to nullify the offenses incurred
during the previous fortnight. For years this was the tradition among the
Vrindavana Iskcon devotees. But lately a different mood prevails as revealed
in the following statement of a senior devotee:
The Yamuna is not so clean anymore. I remember twenty years ago it was so
clear you could see the bottom. But now its difficult with so many plastic bags
and all that stool running in. Its not much fun anymore to bathe. Nowadays, I
just try to bathe in the remembrance.

Rupa Gosvami

Srila Rupa Gosvami Instructs


In Upadesamrta, Sri Rupa Gosvami gives eleven instructions to bring ones
sraddha and saranagati, faith and surrender, to the point of perfection
wherein one realizes his spiritual identity and enters the eternal loving
service of Radha-Syamasundara. Devotees should see reality through the
eyes of such scriptures, and act accordingly by faithfully following in the
footsteps of the predecessor acaryas. One can never perceive transcendental
reality with the eyes of prejudice and a mind full of material knowledge.
Being situated in his original Krsna conscious position, a pure devotee does
not identify with the body. Such a devotee should not be seen from a
materialistic point of view. Indeed, one should overlook a devotees having a
body born in a low family, a body with a bad complexion, a deformed body, or
a diseased or infirm body. According to ordinary vision, such imperfections
may seem prominent in the body of a pure devotee, but despite such
seeming defects, the body of a pure devotee cannot be polluted. It is exactly
like the waters of the Ganges, which sometimes during the rainy season are
full of bubbles, foam and mud. The Ganges waters do not become polluted.
Those who are advanced in spiritual understanding will bathe in the Ganges
without considering the condition of the water. (Upadesamrta v.6)
In this verse, Sri Rupa Gosvami describes that the River Ganga is eternally
pure, transcendental and pollution free. He says that the Ganga is always

transcendental (brahma-dravatvam), and its purity never gets spoiled


(apagacchati), even by the presence of bubbles, foam and mud (budbudaphena- pankaih). These important instructions also apply to the River
Yamuna, which Sri Jiva Gosvmi established is one hundred times purer than
the Ganga. And as far as sanctity is concerned, the River Yamun is more
directly connected with Lord Krsna than the Ganges. The Lord sanctified the
River Yamuna from the beginning of His transcendental pastimes in the world.
According to the Varaha Purana, as quoted by Srila Jiva Gosvami, there is no
difference between the water of the Ganges and the Yamun, but when the
water of the Ganges is sanctified one hundred times, it is called the Yamun.
(SB 1.19.6 pur.)

Srila Prabhupada Instructs

Srila Prabhupada
In the beginning of his purport to verse six of Upadesamrta, Srila Prabhupda
talks about suddha bhakti, pure devotion, and how a surrendered devotee
must serve Krsna without material considerations. Later while discussing the
fault of observing the bodily defects of a pure devotee, Srila Prabhupda
states,
One should, therefore, avoid observing a pure
devotee externally, but should try to see the internal
features and understand how he is engaged in the
transcendental loving service of the Lord. Applying
this to the Yamuna, a sincere devotee should serve
the Yamuna by understanding her internal spiritual
qualities, and by bathing in her sanctified waters
without material considerations.
Twenty-five years ago, Srila Prabhupda established the ISKCON KrsnaBalarama Mandir in Vrindavana to help devotees purify their existence, attain
Krsna-prema, and go back home, back to Godhead. In one purport describing
the activities of the Krsna-Balarama Mandir, Srila Prabhupada states two
ways to attain perfection: nama sankirtana and Yamuna snana.

Our Krsna consciousness movement has therefore


established two very large centers, one in
Vrindavana and another in Mayapur, Navadvipa.
There one may bathe in the Ganges or Yamuna,
chant the Hare Krsna mantra and thus become
perfect and return home, back to Godhead. (SB
6.5.28p.)
The following instructions of Srila Prabhupda are perfect silver jubilee
meditations to inspire the Vrindvana devotees to improve their devotional
practices.
Why people come to Vrindvana? Here the
atmosphere is surcharged with devotional service.
We should take advantage of it. This is called
sadhana-bhakti. (NOD lec. Vrindavana 13/nov/72)
Vrindavana specifically is the most exalted and
preferred holy place for Vaishnava devotees of Lord
Krsna who are aspiring to return back to Godhead.
There are many devotees in Vrindvana who
regularly bathe in the Yamuna, and this cleanses all
the contamination of the material world. (SB 5.8.31)
Let all the ISKCON Vrindvana devotees come together and chant Krsnas
holy names. May we serve Krsna-Balarama without duplicity or ambition,
circumambulate Vrindvana and bathe in Yamunaji on Ekadasi, and thereby
receive the great golden treasure of pure love for Radha-Syamasundara that
Srila Prabhupada is offering to the residents of Raman Reti and the world. In
closing, let us always remember the words of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti
Thakura,
The Yamuna River is like a blue lotus flower garland,
a sapphire necklace, or a blue sash worn by the
goddess of Vrindavana. They who bathe in her
waters transform into pure devotees carrying Lord
Krsna in their hearts. (Vraja-riti-cintamani)
O Srinivasa, who can describe the numerous glories of Sri Yamun? Bathing
in the Yamun at Mathur gives one a hundred times superior results to those
obtained from bathing in the Ganga.
This is confirmed in the Adi Varaha Purna as follows:
Within My Mathura mandala the famous Yamuna is
one hundred times superior to the Ganga. One
should not argue about this. O sinless goddess, I
have many confidential sacred places along the
Yamun. Whoever takes bath there becomes
worshipable in My abode.

In the Matsya Purana, in a conversation between Yudhisthira and Nrada, it is


stated:
O Yudhisthira, a man becomes virtuous if he takes a
bath in the Yamuna, drinks the pure water and sings
her glories. Even the darshana of Yamuna gives
auspicious results. One who takes bath in the
Yamun or drinks her water guarantees
auspiciousness for seven generations of his family.
Whoever dies on the bank of the Yamun attains the
eternal abode.
In the Vishnu Dharmottara it is stated:
O King, whoever performs the sraddha ceremony on
the bank of the Yamun attains immortal results and
becomes happy in heaven.
The Padma Purana states, while describing the creation of Prajpati Marici
He who is the support of all existence, the cause of
all causes, the eternal, omniscient blissful Lord,
glorified as Brahma by the Upanisads, that Supreme
Lord, the embodiment of transcendental mellows,
Krsna, exists in the form of Yamuna.
According to the Puranas, one achieves superior
fruits by taking bath in Yamuna at special times. O
Srinivasa, it is commonly known that by the mercy of
Yamuna one can easily fulfill his desires. As iron
becomes gold by the touch of the touchstone, so a
sinful person become virtuous by the touch of the
waters of the Yamuna.
O river Yamuna, you are the blissful spiritual water
that gives love to the son of Nanda Maharaja. You are
the same as the water of the spiritual world, for you
can vanquish all our offenses and the sinful reactions
incurred in life. You are the creator of all auspicious
things for the world. O daughter of the sun-god,
kindly purify us by your pious activities.

Yamuna Devi

Prayers Glorifying
Yamunaloka
By Kusakratha Dasa
May Sri Yamuna, the daughter of Suryadeva, who
saves one from having to enter the city of her
brother Yamaraja, the sight of whom enables the
most sinful persons to cross the ocean of sin, and the
sweetness of whose water charms the hearts of
everyone, always purify me.
May Sri Yamuna, the daughter of Suryadeva, who
decorates the great Khandava forest with a stream of
pleasant waters, who is filled with lotus flowers and
dancing birds, and who blinds the terrible sins of
those who desire to bath in her, always purify me.
May Sri Yamuna, the daughter of Suryadeva, a drop
of whose water destroys the sinful reactions of the
people, who creates a great flood of confidential pure
devotional service to Sri Nandanandana, and who
brings auspiciousness to they who desire to live on
her shore, always purify me.
May Sri Yamuna, the daughter of Suryadeva, who
divides the seven oceans and seven continents, who
witnessed many of Lord Mukunda's transcendental
pastimes, and whose splendor rebukes a host of
sapphires, always purify me.
May Sri Yamuna, the daughter of Suryadeva, who is
decorated by the beautiful district of Mathura, who
expertly protects those who follow the path of loving
devotional service, and who with the playful motions

of the waves that are her arms offers respectful


obeisances to Padmanabha's feet, always purify me.
May Sri Yamuna, the daughter of Suryadeva, whose
charming shores are decorated with many lowing
cows, who is filled with many splendid and fragrant
kadamba flowers, and who is delighted to have the
company of Lord Krsna's devotees, always purify me.
May Sri Yamuna, the daughter of Suryadeva, who is
filled with the warblings of thousands of joyful
mallikaksa swans, who is worshiped by the
Vaisnavas, devas, siddhas, and kinnaras, and the
slightest scent of the fragrant breeze moving on
whose shores stops the cycle of repeated birth and
death, always purify me.
May Sri Yamuna, the daughter of Suryadeva, who is
the famous, splendid, spiritual river flowing through
the Bhur, Bhuvah and Svar planetary systems, who
burns away the greatest sins, and who is fragrant
with scented ointments from Lord Krsna's
transcendental body, always purify me.
O lotus eyed one, O daughter of Suryadeva, O
rescuer from all sins, please flood with pure
devotional service that person who, reciting these
eight prayers with a cheerful heart, glorifies you,
whose waves are pure and splendid, and who is
accompanied by the demigods.
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