The three main deities of Sri Vrindavan Dham are Radha Madana Mohana, Radha Govindadeva, and Radha Gopinatha. Each of these deities had intimate connections with the six goswamis, the foremost of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s disciples. Each deity represents a type of spiritual knowledge gained by the spirit soul on it’s progression to attaining pure love for Krsna. In this progression, Sri Madana Mohana is the first deity to worship. Lord Krsna in His form as Madana Mohana represents sambandha jnana or the knowledge of one’s eternal relationship with Krsna. We are not who we think we are… we are His eternal servitors, and in re-establishing this relationship, we begin the journey to true self realization… realizing Krsna!
Each of these three famous deities was carved originally by Sri Vajranabha, Lord Krsna’s great grandson. These deities are considered self-manifest, and thus particularly miraculous. The three deities were made by Vajranabha who made each, unsatisfied that he wasn’t able to completely capture Lord Krsna’s perfect features and beauty in deity form. Hence these three deities together represent Lord Krsna’s transcendental bodily features in totality. Sri Madana Mohan resembles Lord Krsna from His waist down to His lotus feet. Lord Krsna’s chest resembles that of Sri Gopinatha. Sri Govindadev represent’s Lord Krsna’s beautiful face, whom the gopis gazed at with unblinking eyes…
Srila Prabhupada made frequent mention of Lord Krsna’s beauty as surpassing Cupid. As Sri Madana Mohana, Lord Krsna attracts the living entities back to His fold… not with a bland image of divinity, but an enchanting, captivating, and bewildering form. This form of Sri Madana Mohana is to be contemplated by all of us (especially me!), as we struggle to overcome our helpless attraction to this world. Everyone wants love, and so who could be more enticing to worship than the god of love, Cupid? Well, Lord Krsna appears as Madana Mohana, or the Enchanter of Cupid, and in some sense is the God of transcendental love…eternal love… the real deal.
The following is an excerpt of a brief history of Sri Madana Mohana, and how He arrived at His present location – Karoli, Rajasthan (from Harekrsna.com).
“The Radha Madana-Mohana temple was built in 1580 A.D.. The temple is 60 ft. high, and sits on a 50 ft. high hill next to the Yamuna. One day, a ship loaded with cargo went aground in the Yamuna. Sanatana Gosvami advised the ship’s owner to pray to Madana Mohan for help. The ship came free, and the owner, Ram Das Kapoor, dedicated his profits to build the temple.”
“On one side of the temple is the bhajan kutir (meditation place) of Sanatana Goswami. There is also a sweet water well that Sanatana Goswami used. Nearby is the samadhi of Sanatana Goswami, on one side of which are the puspa-samadhis of Candrasekhara Acharya and Tapana Misra, two of Lord Caitanya’s associates. Behind Sanatana Goswami’s samadhi is a grantha samadhi, which contains some of the original manuscripts of the Goswamis.”
Srila Sanatana Goswami
Srila Sanatana Goswami’s relationship with Sri Madana Mohana was a very intimate one. The deity would eat directly from his hands, and ate whatever Sanatana Goswami ate – dried saltless chapatis. Sanatana Goswami once saw the deity running and playing with the children in Vrindavan as if He were a little child, just like them. It is said that the Sri Madana Mohana was completely controlled by Sanatana Goswami’s love for Him. May we also develop such love for Krsna…