tat tata gaccha bhadram te
yamunayas tatam suci
punyam madhuvanam yatra
sannidhyam nityada hareh
tat—that; tata—my dear son; gaccha—go; bhadram—good fortune; te—for you; yamunayah—of the Yamuna; tatam—bank; suci—being purified; punyam—the holy; madhu-vanam—of the name Madhuvana; yatra—where; sannidhyam—being nearer; nityada—always; hareh—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
My dear boy, I therefore wish all good fortune for you. You should go to the bank of the Yamuna, where there is a virtuous forest named Madhuvana, and there be purified. Just by going there, one draws nearer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who always lives there.
Both Narada Muni and Suniti, the mother of Dhruva Maharaja, advised Dhruva Maharaja to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now, Narada Muni is especially giving him directions how this worship of the Supreme Person can very quickly fructify. He recommends that Dhruva Maharaja go to the bank of the Yamuna, where there is a forest of the name Madhuvana, and begin his meditation and worship there.
Places of pilgrimage yield a special advantage for a devotee in quickly advancing his spiritual life. Lord Krsna lives everywhere, but still it is very easy to approach Him in holy places of pilgrimage because these places are inhabited by great sages. Lord Sri Krsna says that He lives wherever His devotees are chanting the glories of His transcendental activities. There are many places of pilgrimage in India, and especially prominent are Badari-narayana, Dvaraka, Ramesvara and Jagannatha puri. These sacred places are called the four dhamas. Dhama refers to a place where one can immediately contact the Supreme Lord. To go to Badari-narayana one has to pass through Hardwar on the path to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, there are other holy places of pilgrimage, such as Prayaga (Allahabad) and Mathura, and the topmost of them all is Vrndavana. Unless one is very advanced in spiritual life, it is recommended that he live in such holy places and execute devotional service there. But an advanced devotee like Narada Muni who is engaged in preaching work can serve the Supreme Lord anywhere. Sometimes he even goes to the hellish planets. Hellish conditions do not affect Narada Muni because he is engaged in greatly responsible activities in devotional service. According to the statement of Narada Muni, Madhuvana, which is still existing in the Vrndavana area, in the district of Mathura, is a most sacred place. Many saintly persons still live there and engage in the devotional service of the Lord.
There are twelve forests in the area of Vrndavana, and Madhuvana is one of them. Pilgrims from all parts of India assemble together and visit all twelve of these forests. There are five forests on the eastern bank of the Yamuna: Bhadravana, Bilvavana, Lauhavana, Bhandiravana and Mahavana. On the western side of the bank there are seven: Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudavana, Bahulavana, Kamyavana, Khadiravana and Vrndavana. ln those twelve forests there are different ghatas, or bathing places. They are listed as follows: (1) Avimukta, (2) Adhirudha, (3) Guhya-tirtha, (4) Prayaga-tirtha, (5) Kanakhala, (6) Tinduka-tirtha, (7) Surya-tirtha, (8) Vatasvami, (9) Dhruva-ghata (Dhruva-ghata, where there are many nice trees of fruits and flowers, is famous because Dhruva Maharaja meditated and underwent severe penances and austerities there in an elevated spot), (10) Rsi-tirtha, (11) Moksa-tirtha, (12) Budha-tirtha, (13) Gokarna, (14) Krsnaganga, (15) Vaikuntha, (16) Asi-kunda, (17) Catuh-samudrika-kupa, (18) Akrura-tirtha (when Krsna and Balarama were going to Mathura in the chariot driven by Akrura, all of them took baths in this ghata), (19) Yajnika-vipra-sthana, (20) Kubja-kupa, (21) Ranga-sthala, (22) Mancha-sthala, (23) Mallayuddha-sthana, and (24) Dasasvamedha.
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