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Radhakunda is located in northwest part of Vraja (the area near Vrindavana) 100 km south from capitol Delhi. Gaudiya-vaisnavas consider this lake of Srimati Radharani to be the most sacred place on Earth...

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3 x bigger picture in new window Radhakunda is situated on the parikrama (pilgrimage) road around the Govardhana Hill. The whole Govardhana is about 11 km long and by its shape it resemble peacock. Both ponds - Radhakunda and Syamakunda - are like its eyes.
3 x bigger picture in new window When Krishna killed Aristhasura, a demon in the form of bull, he approached Radharani with desire to enjoy loving pastimes. But Radharani rebuked Him, saying that He became impure by killing a bull, the symbol of religion. She suggested that He could get purified by taking bath in holy rivers on all sacred places...
3 x bigger picture in new window ...Krishna immediately stroked His lotus feet in the ground and created a hole. Thereafter He called all holy rivers. They appeared in front of Him and formed Syamakunda. Krishna took bath in this pond and said that he become purified by taking bath, but gopis became contaminated by siding with the demon even in form of a bull...
3 x bigger picture in new window ...Radharani and other gopis took their bracelets, broke them into pieces and begin to dig their pond. However, there was no water and Krishna started to laugh. Gopis created a line to Manasa Ganga and started to bring water from there...
3 x bigger picture in new window ... The representative of all holy rivers again appeared and this time begged Radharani if they can reside in Her lake. Radharani agreed and holy rivers flowed from Syamakunda thus filling Radhakunda.
3 x bigger picture in new window In the center of Radhakunda of today is small area with the wall around it called Kankanakunda (or Kancankunda). It is the area of the original pond created by gopis with their bracelets.
3 x bigger picture in new window Radhakunda appeared at 12-th midnight on Bahulastami (the eight day of waning moon in the month of Karttika).
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In the autumn (October/November) at the appearance day of Radhakunda many thousands of people gather...

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...and wait for the midnight. Then they take bath in Radhakunda. It is really ecstatic and exiting event with ghee lamps shining on darkened waters of Radhakunda.

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Both lakes were long forgotten until the time of Lord Caitanya, 500 years ago.

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Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Rupa, Sanatana and other Goswamis to excavate places of Krishna's pastimes in Vraja, but He has rediscovered Radhakunda Personally (1514), as documented in Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. When Lord Caitanya came there, Radhakunda and Syamakunda were just small lakes few meters wide among forests and fields.

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Raghunatha dasa Goswami came to Radhakunda few years after that. He began the reconstruction of sacred lakes around 1554.

Long after Mahaprabhu's departure from this world, Raghunatha dasa Goswami wanted to restore the whole area of Radhakunda, understanding that in the future many pilgrims will want to see this holy place...

...At that time a wealthy merchant Sampanna went to Badarikasram, high in Himalayas, to take darsan of the local Deity. Krishna appeared to him in a dream and told him to go to Raghunatha dasa Goswami and help him retrieve the Radhakunda. Sampanna did as Krishna told him and reconstruction could start.
3 x bigger picture in new window With his financial help Radhakunda was completed first (the closer lake on the picture) and thereafter the work started on Syamakunda (further away).
3 x bigger picture in new window One day Maharaja Yudhisthira appeared in the dream to Raghunatha dasa Goswami and asked him not to cut the trees on the banks of Syamakunda, since he and his brothers are in the form of trees performing their bhajan (worship). Raghunatha of course didn't cut the trees and in this way Syamakunda got its irregular shape.
3 x bigger picture in new window Panca-pandava.
Local people say that Pandavas already left and only death trees mark the place of their former meditation.
1. Radha-Krishna Purana Mandira
2. Jhulana sthali
3. Gopala Manipur Mandira
4. Radha-Shyamasundar Mandira
5. Radha-Gopinath Mandira
6. Ma Jahnava Baithak
7. Ananga Manjari kunja
8. Raghunatha das Goswami Samadhi
9. Govinda Ghata
10. Radharaman Mandira
11. Radha-Govinda Mandira
12. Jihva Mandir (tongue of Govardhan)
13. Gopala Bhatta Goswami Bhajan Kutir
14. Three Goswami Samadhi
15. Raghunatha dasa Goswami Bhajan Kutir
16. Vishvanatha Cakravarti Bhajan Kutir
17. Pilu tree
18. Manasa-pavana Ghata
19. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Bhajan Kutir
20. Bhaktivinoda Thakura Bhajan Kutir

21. Jagannatha Mandira
22. Lalita Kund
23. Jiva Goswami Bhajan Kutir
24. Jiva Goswami Ghata
25. Lalita-Bihari Mandir
26. Manipur Maharaja Mandira
27. Radha-Vinoda Mandira
28. Madhavendra Puri Baithak
29. Gopi-kupa
30. Ashta-sakhi Mandira
31. Nitai-Gauranga Sitanath Mandira
32. Radha-Madhava Mandira
33. Caitanya Mahaprabhu Baithak
34. Pasha-khela Ghata
35. Radha-Madana-mohana Mandira
36. Lotus Footprints
37. Sangam
38. Giriraja Maharaja
39. Mahaprabhu Mandira
40. Radha-Gopinatha Mandira
41. Nityananda Prabhu Baithak

1. Radha-Krisna Purana Mandir
Near the Kundeswara Mahadeva Temple there is small temple of a pyramid shape. Raghunatha dasa Goswami rediscovered local Radha Krishna Deities during the excavation of Radhakunda.
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It is the oldest temple in the area and the Deities are said to be predominant Deities of Radhakunda. In the courtyard of the temple there is a banyan and neem tree, interlocked to each other. Local people worship it as Radha and Krishna.

3 x bigger picture in new window In Radhakunda area we can find also Gaudiya Math Temple founded by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati...
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...Deities on the altar are Sri Sri Vinodbihari and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

3 x bigger picture in new window Pilgrims performing parikrama offer their respects.
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2. Jhulana-sthali
There is a stone structure near the bank under banyan tree shaped like an upside-down "U" mark where Radha and Krsna enjoy Their swing pastimes (jhulana).

3. Sri Gopal Manipur Mandir
Gopal Deity was originally being worshiped in the house of brahmana. About one hundred years ago. The king of Manipura had a dream in which the Deity of Gopala appeared and ordered the king to built a temple for Him at such a place that He could gaze at Radhakunda as well as give darsana to Surya, sun-god. The king built a nice temple for Lord Gopala located at the exact spot where the first rays of the rising sun appear at Radhakunda. The temple is presently in care of ISKCON devotees.

5. Radha Gopinath Temple is situated directly on the banks of Radhakunda.

3 x bigger picture in new window On the altar Sri Gopinath is in the center and Ananga Manjari, younger sister of Srimati Radharani, is on His right.
Temple room is directly next to hall of Raghunatha's samadhi. Big feast on the occasion of his departure is being held every year.
The hall during this time becomes part of kitchen...
...with huge pots of subji.
Temple entrance from Radhakunda's bank.

6. Jahnava Mata baithak
Jahnava Mata, the consort of Lord Nityananda visited Radhakunda around 1582 to console Raghunatha dasa Goswami who felt great separation from Radha and Krishna.

"Baithak" is a favorite spot of certain devotee who used to sit there.

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Ma Jahnava, while sitting here had a wonderful vision of Lord Gopinath standing under tamala tree playing His flute. That is why the Gopinath Deity was installed just next to her baithak.

Near her sitting place there are some steps leading down to the water. This place was known as Jahnava-ghat or private bathing place of Ma Jahnava.
7. Ananga Manjari kunja
The very spot where Jahnava Mata sat is the place where in aprakat-lila, a footbridge made of pure crystal extends out into the middle of Radhakunda, where the kunja (grove) of Anaga Manjari is situated. This kunja appears like a large lotus flower floating in the middle of Radhakunda. Ma Jahnava is of course no other than Anaga Manjari, the younger sister of Srimati Radharani.

8. Samadhi of Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami
Raghunatha dasa Goswami was born in Bengal in 1494. Although he came from a very wealthy family, he had absolutely no interest in material affairs. On a number of occasions, much to the consternation of his loving parents, Raghunatha tried to run away from home and join Lord Caitanya at Jagannath Puri. At Jagannath Puri, Lord Caitanya placed Raghunatha under a care of Svarupa Damodara Goswami, Lord's principle secretary.

3 x bigger picture in new window Raghunatha dasa was the embodiment of renunciation and ate only to keep his soul and body together. His strict regulative principles were exactly like lines etched in stone, as such lines can never be erased. Lord Caitanya presented Raghunatha with His own Govardhana-sila to worship as well as gunja-mala, sacred to Radharani. Rupa and Sanatan, who took care about Raghunatha in Vrindavan, took it as a sign that Raghunatha should take shelter of Govardhan Hill and reside on the banks of Radhakunda. Raghunatha spent the rest of his life at Radhakunda. After 40 years of bhajana, in 1583 due to intense feeling of separation from Radha and Krisna passed away to join his Lord in spiritual world.

In the temple of Radha-Gopinath the ashes of Raghunatha dasa Goswami are entombed. Jiva Goswami personally performed last rites and placed ashes in the samadhi. It is said that some parts of his ashes were placed in different places because of fear of repressive Mogul rule, to prevent desecration.

Behind the samadhi is a small movable stone. Under this stone is caranamrita of samadhi-murti of Raghunatha dasa Goswami.

24 hours kirtan (singing of mantras and songs for the pleasure of Radha and Krishna) already continues for many years.

3 x bigger picture in new window ...kirtan started around 1960 and continues until today.
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9. Govinda-ghat
Sanatan Goswami once expressed his doubts about a verse by Rupa Goswami where he had compared the braid in Her hairs to a serpent's black hood. At noon he came to this ghat and saw some girls playing under nearby tree. Sanatan suddenly saw a black snake approaching one of the girls from behind and shouted to the girl to warn her...

...Upon hearing Sanatana's warning, the girl tuned around, smiled at Sanatana and disappeared. Sanatan with tears in his eyes, immediately run to Rupa Goswami and congratulated him that the poetic metaphor used in his verse was absolutely correct.

12. Jihva Mandir
Raghunatha dasa Goswami considered the water from Radhakunda to be too sacred for his bodily use and wanted to have a well made....

...One of the workers stroked a stone, which started to bleed. Raghunatha immediately stopped him and in the night Krishna appeared to him...

...He told him that this stone is a tongue of the Govardhana Hill. He wanted him to install and worship the sacred sila in the temple...
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...On the backside of the sila we can still see the markings of workers tools...

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...It is said that if one walks around this Govardhana-sila 10 times, he receives the same benefit as if he has circumambulated the whole Govardhana Hill (govardhana-parikrama). This possibility is usually used in time of physical indisposition.

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Jihva (tongue) Temple is near the Radha-Govinda temple on Radhakunda.

14. Teen Goswami Samadhi
Teen Goswami Samadhi (samadhis of three Goswamis) is about 20 meters from Radha Govinda Temple. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami (1563), Krisnadasa Kaviraja Goswami (1583) and Raghunatha dasa Goswami (1588) left this word on the same day but in different year. Their samadhis are just near each other.

Samadhis from left to right Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami and Raghunatha dasa Goswami.

According to some sources those are puspa-samadhis and it is quite possible that the same portions of ashes of these saintly devotees were buried at different places.

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This is how it looked like few years ago.

13. Bhajan-kutir of Gopal Bhatta Goswami is few steps from there. Gopal Bhatta established Radharamana temple in Vrindavana and spent much of his time at Radhakunda with Raghunatha dasa Goswami and Krisnadasa Kaviraja Goswami.

Bhajan-kutir is usually a small cottage or living place (kutir) where sages and devotees used to live and perform their bhajan (worship by singing, meditating, reciting mantras, reading, writing or performing ceremonies).

It is interesting that Gopal Bhatta Goswami requested Krisnadasa Kaviraja not to mention his name in Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. Trinad-api-sunicena...
15. Bhajan kutir of Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami. Raghunatha dasa Goswami is said to perform bhajan here at Radhakunda for almost 40 years. In the first few years, he lived out in the open. Once when Raghunatha was sitting on the bank of Syamakunda performing his bhajana, two tigers appeared out of the jungle and came to drink water from the kunda. Raghunatha was so absorbed that he did not notice the tigers nearby. Lord Krsna suddenly appeared and stood at distance, just make sure no harm came to him...

...Another day he was chanting holy name and as day went by the sunshine became unbearably hot. Raghunatha started perspiring and from his eyes torrents of tears were flowing. Srimati Radharani could not bear this scene. She personally came there and stood behind holding Her veil shielding Raghunatha from the sun. It so happened that Sanatana Goswami saw both those scenes from a distance and became furious with Raghunatha for his taking service from Radharani and Krisna. "You should serve Them and not because of your negligence force Them to serve you!" thus getting Raghunatha to built his bhajan-kutir...

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...Every day Raghunatha dasa Goswami used to talk for three hours about ecstatic pastimes of Lord Caitanya on the banks of Syamakunda surrounded by all the devotees. Krisnadasa Kaviraja was also there listening in rapt attention and everything recorded in Antya-lila of Caitanya-caritamrta.

19. Bhajan-kutir of Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami

Near Syamakunda in proximity of Raghunatha's bhajan-kutir is also bhajan-kutir of Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami...

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... where he wrote some parts of Caitanya-caritamrita.

16. Bhajan-kutir of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura is right left to Raghunatha's kutir closer to Syamakunda above Manasa-pavana-ghat. Vishvanatha Cakravarti was born in Bengal in 1638 and spent large part of his life at Radhakunda.

17. Pilu tree, growing nearby was in his previous life brahmana from Varanasi...

...Desiring service to Radha and Krsna he was born here as this pilu tree on the bank of Syamakunda. Vishvanatha used to discuss with him about Krisna's pastimes and brahmana in the form of tree told him many things that took place here during Krisna's pastimes 5000 years ago.

3 x bigger picture in new window Nearby trunk of dried tree is said to be Bhimasen. Now he went to aprakat (unrevealed to our eyes) lila...
3 x bigger picture in new window ...But on his place new sprouts are already growing.
18. Beautiful sight of Syamakunda from Manasa Pavana Ghat.
3 x bigger picture in new window In the corner of Syamakunda there is a place known as Manasa Pavana Ghat. There Radharani and Her friends took bath every noon...
3 x bigger picture in new window ...and just next to it is Panca Pandava Ghat.
3 x bigger picture in new window The house of Bhaktivinoda Thakura was built in the beginning of the century. We can find it on the way further away from Syamakunda.
3 x bigger picture in new window Bhaktivinoda Thakura during his life (1838-1914) used to stay on different places including Radhakunda. Together with his son Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati they preached Krishna consciousness and tried to disclose pretenders.
Puspa-samadhi of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and his son Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati (on the left). "Puspa" means "flowers" and after departure of saints the flowers from their actual samadhi (tomb, where their bodily remains are buried) are brought to different places, which were connected with their lives. The flowers are buried there and in this way a puspa-samadhi is made.
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Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati used to come there in Karttika (October/November). We can see his personal belongings - wooden shoes, cane, chair and table.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote in his Gita-mala: "The banks of Radhakunda are made of billions of conscious ecstatic, desire-fulfilling touchstones, and surrounding the kunda are hundreds and hundreds of beautiful transcendental gardens made of coral and rubies. The trees in those gardens produce diamonds and pearls, their branches bending under the weight of millions of those lovely gems...

...My cottage is shining beautifully within that most enchanting garden called Svananda-sukhada-kunja. Living there I will sing Krishna's holy name, and I will greedily hanker for the time when I will get the service of Him and His associates."

If you are lucky, you will get benediction by Bhaktisiddhanta's walking stick.

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Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was the first to bring a number of disciples that were not born in brahmana families and dressed in western clothes to Vrindavan and Radhakunda. In Vrindavan even stones were thrown on them as babaji a caste goswami community protested, and all temples were closed except Radharaman Goswamis who enthusiastically welcomed them. Bhaktisiddhanta continued his preaching and planning for further spreading of Krishna consciousness...

...and since than many things have changed.
21. Jagannatha Mandir.

It has became a common practice for devotees performing Radhakunda parikrama and Govardhana parikrama to stop here and take darsan of beautiful Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra.

Friendly pujari is making maps of Radhakunda and Vraja-mandala...
There are signs of Visnu on the tree trunk: cakra, lotus, conshell and club.
22. Lalitakund
Surrounding Radhakunda and Syamakunda there are the kundas of the eight main gopi assistants of Srimati Radharani and Krishna.
3 x bigger picture in new window Lalitakunda is the only one manifested today.
Samadhis next to Lalitakund.
Entrance leading to bhajan-kutir of Jiva Goswami.

23. Bhajan kutir of Srila Jiva Goswami
It is the place where he liked to stay while being on Radhakunda. Even though Raghunatha dasa Goswami was the inspiration and spiritual force behind the excavation of Radhakunda, it was Srila Jiva Goswami who actually purchased the land, oversaw the excavation and managed the work. He also made sure that Raghunatha was properly taken care of because, being so deeply absorbed in the feelings of separation from Radha and Krsna, he had practically no perception of worldly affairs.

3 x bigger picture in new window Srila Jiva Goswami arrived to Vrindavan in 1535 and under expert guidance of Rupa and Sanatana Goswami became brilliant scholar, compiling 400 000 sanskrit verses glorifying the teachings of Lord Caitanya. Jiva Goswami is known as the India's greatest philosopher of all times and his Sat-sandarbha to be the penultimate in all philosophical understanding.
3 x bigger picture in new window Deities in bhajan-kutir of Srila Jiva Goswami and footprint of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
3 x bigger picture in new window 28. Madhavendra Puri Baithak
Madhavendra Puri, a great saint who came shortly before the appearance of Lord Caitanya, used to sit in this place.
29. Gopi-kupa is the well originally used by gopis...
3 x bigger picture in new window ...and rebuilt by Raghunatha dasa Goswami. Here the tongue of Govardhana was found.
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33. Tamala-tala
In this place on the banks of Syamakunda Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to sit during His visit. We can find it on heightened area near a tree.

The original tamala tree is not here any more...
... but on the right side of baithak there is small offshoot tamala already growing.
Sri Caitanya traveled Vraja asking people about Radhakunda and Syamakunda...
...Than He came here and upon hearing the name of the village - Aristagram - Sri Caitanya became ecstatic. To Him it was obvious that the sacred lakes must be somewhere nearby. But nobody knew exactly where...
...After while He discovered two rice fields on the side of the jungle. One was called Gauri (golden) and the other Kali (black) and two small ponds...
...He took bath in them and announced to His devotees that those are the places of Radha and Krisna's most intimate pastimes.
Sight of Syamakunda from Caitanya-baithak.

34. Pasa-khela-ghat
Gopis were ashamed being defeated in many water sports and games by Krsna and therefore challenged Him to a game of pasa (dice). Thus Krsna lost His precious Kaustubha gem and had to cheat on the next throw to win Radharani's embrace...

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is a meeting place of both sacred lakes. Here Radha and Krsna in the form of the waters of Syamakunda and Radhakunda embrace eternally...
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...If one looks closely one can see small slits in the stone steps below white Carana-cinha that allows the waters of the two sacred kundas to mix together.

Carana-cinha (36.) is a shrine of Radha and Krisna's lotus feet.

3 x bigger picture in new window 38. Giriraja Maharaja Mandira
At the sangam the large number of Govardhana silas create mini-mountain of Giriraja.
3 x bigger picture in new window It was here, next to white house, where Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati told Srila Prabhupada: "If you ever get money, print books."
41. Nityananda Baithak
Lord Nityanada in the mood of Balarama traveled around Vrindavan looking for His younger brother Krsna. Wondering around Govardhan Hill and calling out the name of Kanhaiya (Krsna) He must have looked to everybody around as completely mad avadhuta...
3 x bigger picture in new window ...But right here at this spot, celestial voice told Him, that His brother had now appeared in Navadvipa. Lord Nityananda immediately got up and set out to Bengal.
His baithak was just painted by small Braja-vasi (who might been as bluish as Krsna Himself at the end of the day, if he had enough paint).
Inside of baithak.
Many buildings at Radhakunda are from times of Raghunatha dasa Goswami, but people continue to construct new ones even today...
...and Radhakunda is thus becoming quite busy place.
3 x bigger picture in new window Deity of Siva protects holy places from different sides and Radhakunda is not an exception...
3 x bigger picture in new window ...Sri Kundeswara Mahadeva protects Radhakunda from unqualified people. Altogether there are four Siva Deities on four sides.
3 x bigger picture in new window Big tortoises live in Radhakunda.
Parikram around Radhakunda is sometimes made in such a way that people carry a vessel of milk with small hole in it allowing the milk to drop, thus leaving "milky way" on the ground.
3 x bigger picture in new window In 1670 many Deities were transferred from Vrindavana to Jaipur, because it was never conquered by Muslim kings...
3 x věší obrázek v novém okně First stop was Radhakunda and in honor of Lord's visit small pratibhu-murtis (expanded forms nondifferent from the original ones) were installed and their worship continues until today.
3 x bigger picture in new window Small replicas of the Vrindavana Temples were also built and residents of Radhakunda can visit all main temples of Vrindavana without leaving Radhakunda.
3 x bigger picture in new window The worship of local Deities continues for centuries.
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"May very fragrant Radhakunda, on the shore of which, in a pleasant courtyard Queen Radha and Her friends sweetly joke with Lord Krishna, the moon of Vraja, be my shelter."

(Raghunatha dasa Goswami)

"May very fragrant Radhakunda, where the passionate divine couple daily plays with Their passionate friends in the charming lotus scented water, be my shelter."

(Raghunatha dasa Goswami)

English texts, photographs from their travels, selection of images, design:
Tattva-darsi das and Malati devi dasi
Most texts are based on the information from Jada Bharata's book Holy Places of India,
which contains many additional information useful for travelers. It can be found on:

Photographs from their travels:
Radha-raman das, Tattva-darsi, Pavan-suta das and bhakta Zbynek


Datum vzniku:
January 2004 (first article in January 2002)
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