TalvanThe forest of Taalvan is situated about six miles south of Mathura and two-and-a-half miles south-west 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.

Radhanath Swami narrated the celebrated killing of Dhenukasura during one of the yatras to Taalvan as follows: One day, while herding the cows, Krishna and Baladeva together with the cowherd boys wandered near Taalvan. Some of the intimate cowherd friends, Shridama, Subal, Stoka-Krishna approached  Krishna-Balaram, “Oh Balaramji, whose arms are very strong, please relieve us of the demon of hunger. We can smell fresh, juicy, ripened Taal fruits growing in the nearby forest and are very much eager to taste these fruits. However, this forest has been usurped by a big ass demon of the name “Dhenukasur” who is so wicked and cruel that he does not allow anyone, not even a bird or insect, to enter the forest and enjoy the fruits. You being the princes of Vrindavan should teach this demon a good lesson and feed us these fruits.”

Balaram and Krishna in order to please Their friends ventured into this forest. Balaram saw big 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 ass-ociates 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 panaromic scene. The multi-colored asses looked like big colored clouds floating on the trees. Then Krishna Balaram alongwith 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 again Taalvan became a very pleasurable forest for Krishna and Balaram’s pastimes.

Prayer: Radhanath Swami emphasized that at this place, following in the footsteps of the cowherd boys, one should pray to Guru and Krishna to mercifully enter our hearts which have been currently encroached upon by the demons of lust, anger, envy, false pride, illusion and greed. So that They may slay these demons and consequently the fruits of loving devotional service may be offered to Krishna Balaram,within our hearts. Want to know the practical lessons that we can learn for ourselves from the killing of Dhenukasura demon? Lets see what Radhanath Swami has to say on this: Lessons from the killing of Dhenukasura.

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