Journey to Spiritual Places with Radhanath Swami

Kaliya Ghat

Kaliya Mardan

Kaliya Ghat is the place where Krishna performed the celebrated pastime of Kaliya Daman or the subduing of the envious serpent, Kaliya. Kaliya Ghat is just at a 3 minutes walking distance from the famous Madanmohan Temple of Srila Sanatana Goswami. The bhajan kutir and samadhi of Shrila Prabhodanand Sarasvati lies close to Kaliya Ghat.  Bilvamangal Thakur’s bhajan place is also nearby. Kaliya was a thousand hooded serpent out of which 101 hoods were most prominent. He, alongwith his wives, the Nagapatnis was staying in a deep pond, called the Kaliya Daha or the poisonous lake of the serpent Kaliya, at this place within the River Yamuna. Previously, Kaliya Ghat was one of the ghats (series of steps leading down to a water body) on the banks of River Yamuna but in due course of time Yamuna changed its path and currently Kaliya Ghat lies at some distance from the Yamuna. This is also the place where Shoubhri Muni was performing his meditation underneath the waters of Yamuna and out of pride he cursed Garuda (the Bird Carrier of Lord Vishnu who thrives on snakes and fishes) to die if he ever came here to eat fishes. In order to escape the wrath of Garuda, Kaliya later took shelter of this lake. Because of the deadly poison of Kaliya all vegetation and life forms near this lake had died except one Kadamba tree which was showered with nectar by Garuda previously. Radhanath Swami narrating the pastime of Kaliya Daman said that once the Gopas and their cows had innocently drunk the water of this Kaliya Daha and had fallen down unconscious. Krishna brought them back to life just by throwing His merciful glance upon them. Then he climbed up this Kadamba tree and elegantly jumped into the lake creating great commotion and huge waves. Infuriated, Kaliya pounced upon Krishna and coiled around Him. Krishna expanded Himself and slipped out of Kaliya’s coils. He dodged Kaliya and jumped over his head and started performing a beautiful dance over the hoods of Kaliya. His graceful moves on the hoods of Kaliya were like thunderbolts for Kaliya and all his hoods collapsed one by one with blood and poison pouring out of his mouths.  Seeing their husband becoming remorseful, the Nagapatnis begged Krishna to forgive Kaliya. Bhaktavatsala Krishna forgave Kaliya and told him not to disturb the Vrajavasis any longer and immediately leave for the ocean. Thus Krishna performed the celebrated subdual of Kaliya serpent at this place. Prayer: Radhanath Swami gave a brilliant purport to the Kaliya Daman pastime during one of his yatras to Kaliya Ghat. He compares the uncontrolled tongue to a snake like Kaliya, which is very venomous and envious. The uncontrolled tongue keeps on biting and spitting the venom of harsh words and unfavorable speech on others making everyone’s life difficult. However when Krishna appears on this tongue in the form of His holy names: HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA  KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE, the tongue gets purified and all the poison of this snake like tongue gets removed.  Radhanath Swami tells that at this place one should make a prayer to Krishna that, “Krishna, please subdue these propensities of Kaliya within my heart i.e. envy, lust and cruelty. Let me become humble and appreciate Your glories and the glories of Your devotees, let me become purified.”

Kadamba Tree in Kaliya Ghat