Vrindavan, 2018.03.19 (VT) Yesterday, we wrote about Adi Katyayani temple of Vraja, which is situated on the bank of Yamuna in the Siyar village, on the Yamuna, 15 kilometers upstream from Vrindavan. Today, on the second day of Navratri, we are covering the ‘Katyayani Peeth’, Vrindavan’s Katyayani temple.
There are many Shakti Peeths or Durga temples around the country. But… the Shakti Peeths of Vraja are special, as this is the land of Shri Krishna and Goddess Yogmaya is Krishna’s sister. Vrindavan is a temple town and known for the temples of the Divine Couple of Radha and Krishna and their pastimes. The temple of Shakti known as Katyayani Peeth, situated in Vrindavan stands out as one of the main centers for worship of Shakti – the energy of the Divine Mother.
Several references to Katyayani in Vrindavan are found in Hindu scriptures. The Shiv Puran mentions that “Dakshprajapati”, father of Goddess Sati, (consort of Lord Shiva), organized a huge Yagya program and did not invite Lord Shiva. When Sati learned that Lord Shiva was insulted, she jumped into the fire. This enraged Lord Shiva who took the burning body of Sati on his shoulders and performed the Tandav dance (dance of destruction). According to the legend, when Lord Vishnu saw mass destruction all around, he tried to normalize Lord Shiva and cut the burning body of Sati into pieces with his Chakra (Mace). It is said that the various spots where parts of Devi Sati fell became Shakti Peeth Sthans. It is said that there are 108 such places, but only 51 of these ‘Shakti Peeth’ are known today.
It is stated that the hair of Goddess Sati fell in Vraja and the spot is known as Katyayani Peeth.
The Katyayani Peeth
The temple of Katyayani was consecrated in the year 1923, on the full moon day of Magh in the Hindu calendar (February). The deity of Mother Katyayani, made of ashtadhatu (8 metals) was installed in accordance with the Hindu rites by learned pundits invited from Bengal, Varanasi and other cities. The main temple has 5 deities corresponding to the five forms of worship – Shakt, Shaiv, Vaishnav, Ganapataya and Saurya.
The temple was founded by Swami Keshavananda ji, who spent 40 years traversing the snow-clad peaks and dales of the Himalayas meeting the existing masters under the directions of his Guru Shir Lahiri Mahashay.
While in the Himalayas, Swamiji had the vision and direction of the Divine Mother to proceed to Vrindavan and perform the most important mission of his life by locating the Peethsthan mentioned in the Puranas, installing the deity of Goddess Katyayani and starting the worship of the Goddess for the benefit of mankind.
Guided by the dictates of the almighty, he came to Vrindavan and started living in a small hut on the banks of the river Yamuna in Radha Bagh and identified the Shakti Peeth. He gradually acquired the land and built the present temple and an ashram in the year 1923, where he for lived the rest of his life until 1942 when he attained “Mahasamadhi”.
Story of Lord Ganesh’s return from London
An Englishman, Mr.W.R Yule, used to work as the Eastern Secretary with M/s Atlas Insurance Co Ltd., situated at 4 Clive Road in Calcutta. In 1911-1912, his wife was going abroad and took with her a statue of Lord Ganesh, purchased from Jaipur. When she reached her home in London, she placed the statue on the cornice in the living room.
One evening, there was a party organized at their house. Friends who attended the party asked Mrs Yule about the unique statue. She replied that the statue is a “Hindu God with an elephant trunk”. Her friends then placed the statue on the centre table and started making fun of the statue. One person even placed a spoon near The Lords Ganesha’s mouth and asked where the mouth was.
That night after dinner, Mrs.Yule’s daughter ran a high fever and started shouting that the toy with the elephant trunk was coming to gobble her. The doctors thought that she was disoriented and hence talking like that. But she kept repeating this and was frightened throughout the night. Mrs.Yule wrote everything about this incident to her husband in Calcutta. Her daughter did not respond to any medicine or treatment.
One day, Mrs.Yule, saw in her dreams that she was sitting in her garden guest house. The sun was setting. Suddenly, a gentle and kind person with curly hair, flaring red eyes and carrying a lancet in his hand, riding a bull was coming towards her from the darkness. He was saying “ Send my son, the God with the elephant trunk, immediately to India, otherwise I will destroy your family”. She woke up terrified next morning, immediately made a parcel of the toy (Lord Ganesh statue) and sent it by post to her husband in India.
In India, the deity of Lord Ganesh remained in the office Garden Henderson for a few days. Soon men and women from Calcutta started flocking to the office to have darshan of the Lord Siddh Ganesh. All office work stopped because of the rush of people. Mr. Yule asked his subordinate Insurance agent, Shri Kedar Babu, what should be done about the idol. Shri Kedar babu then took the idol to his house at 7 Abhay Charan Mitra Street and started worshiping him. The devotes then started coming to Kedar Babu’s house to have a glimpse of Lord Ganesh.
Meanwhile, in Vrindavan Swami Keshvanandji Maharaj was in the process of getting idols made of five primary deities of the Hindu Sanatam Dharma in accordance with the Panchaytan principles of worship. Shri Katyayani Devi’s ashtdhaatu (8 metal mix) idol was being made in Calcutta and Sri Bhairav Chandrashekhar’s (Lord Shiva) idol was being made in Jaipur. While Swami Keshavanadji Maharaj was contemplating where to get the idol of Lord Ganesh made, Mother Goddess Katyayani Devi told Him that an idol of Lord Ganesh was at the house of Shri Kedar Babu. The Mother said that when you bring me from Calcutta you also bring my son along.
When Swami Keshvanandji went to Calcutta to bring the idol of Katyayani Devi, Kedar Babu went to see Him and said “ Gurudev, I am in a fix. I was planning to come to Vrindaban to meet you. I have an idol of Lord Ganesh. Every night in my dreams He tells me that when Shri Katyayani Devi’s idol goes to Vrindaban, you send me with Her.” Kedar Babu requested Swami Keshvanandji to take the idol of Lord Ganesh from him. Swami replied, “All right, you bring the idol to the railway station, I will take the ‘Toofan’ to Vrindavan. When Mother goes, her son will also go”
Thus the deity of Shri Siddh Ganesh (Lord Ganesh) was installed by the great yogi Swami Keshvanandji Maharaj in the temple of Sri Katyayani Devi at Radha Bagh at Vrindaban.
(courtesy: Katyayani temple Vrindavan)