Dwaraka also spelled as Dwarka is one of the most important and holy places of India situated on the western coast of the country on the banks of sacred river Gomati where it meets the Western Sea. It is located in the Sourashtra region of Gujarat state in Jamnagar District. It is in existence since Vedic and Pouranic days with great mythological significance. It is held in high esteem as one of the seven most sacred places called as Sapta Puri in the Indian Sub-continent. The seven sacred places are Ayodhya, Mathura, Kasi, Kanchi, Avantika (Ujjain), Puri (Jagannathapuri), and Dwaraka. These seven places are said to be the most holy and religious places attached with great spiritual importance that leads one towards salvation. It is also called as one of the Char Dhams, the four abodes of God in four directions viz. Badari in the North, Rameswaram in the South, Puri Jagannath in the East and Dwaraka in the West. These are said to be the most revered sites for Hindus to be visited at least once in their life time.
The word Dwaraka is a combination of two words Dwara + Ka = Dwaraka. It is a Sanskrit word wherein, Dwar means a gate or a door or an entrance and Ka has a mystic meaning suggesting Brahma the Supreme Being. Hence, Dwaraka means the gateway to Brahma – the Supreme Being. Dwaraka also means the gateway to liberation of soul from actions that is liberation from Karma. Hence, Dwaraka is also referred to as the Mukthidham or Mokshapuri. Dwaraka is also called as Dwaravati or Dwarakavati. Reference to Dwarka can be found in many Pouranic scripts like Skandha Purana, Maha Bharatha, Srimad Bhagavatha, Vishnu Purana, and Harivamsa Purana etc…
It is said that Brahma Manasa Puthras (mind born sons), Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana, Sanatkumara, assuming Dwarka as the seat of liberation, did severe penance at this place for several thousands of years on the banks of the ocean worshipping Lord Sri Maha Vishnu. As a result of which Sudarshana Chakra the disc of Lord Maha Vishnu appeared first and later Lord Maha Vishnu himself manifested here. Hence, the Lord at this place is called as Chakra Narayana and the entire area of pilgrimage is known as Chakra Theertha. Thereafter the sages invited Ganga (Ganges) to come there and Ganga descended there along with the sage Vasishta. The river Ganges flowing here is referred to as Gomati and hence, Dwaraka is also referred to as Gomati Dwaraka. The river Gomati merges with the ocean (Arabian Sea) at this place and the point where the river merges with the ocean is known as Gomati Sangam and hence, the Lord at this place is also referred to as Sangam Narayana or Samudra Narayana.
There is a great significance for taking holy bath and performing sacred rites to forefathers at this Sangam point of sacred river Gomati, as it will liberate one from the sins committed in the previous births and is regarded as the gate way to salvation. His ancestors belonging to three generations go to the abode of Vishnu and his accumulated sins of thousands of years get destroyed. Mere darshan of Gomati at Dwaraka destroys all the sins, which are committed by thoughts, words and deeds.
It is said that during Dwapara Yuga, sage Durvasa came to this place to have Darshan of the Lord Chakra Narayana who got manifested there and for a holy bath in the sacred river Gomati. But he was obstructed by the demons there. It is said that the sage went straight to Pathala Loka and informed the same to Lord Trivikrama who was fulfilling the boon given to his ardent devotee King Bali. Soon the Lord Trivikrama came to the rescue of Sage Durvasa at Dwaraka and hence, this place is also known as Trivikrama Kshetra. It is also significantly holy place where prominent sages like Athri, Marichi, Durvasa and Angirasa etc… made it as their abode and performed sacred penance and austerities.
Dwaraka is also called as Kushasthali the place where Kusa (Dharbha) used by Lord Brahma fell on the earth while He was taking measurement of the Earth. There is also another version of Kushasthali. It is said and believed that there used to live a demon called Kusha at this place which is known as Kushasthali and later Lord Sri Krishna killed him at this spot.
The coastal area of western region of which Dwaraka forms a part of it was the kingdom of Lord Sri Krishna’s forefathers belonging to Yadu lineage. Later on, during the end of Dwapara Yuga Lord Sri Krishna migrated to this place and made Dwaraka as his abode and capital of his kingdom.
Migration of Lord Sri Krishna to Dwaraka
Lord Sri Krishna migrated to this place in order to protect his people in Mathura from the frequent attacks of Jarasandha and Kalayavana. After the killing of Kamsa (maternal uncle of Lord Sri Krishna) by the Lord Sri Krishna, Jarasandha the father-in -law of Kamsa in order to take revenge against Lord Sri Krishna, attacked Mathura as many as 17 times. Every time he used to get defeated at the hands of Lord Sri Krishna and Balarama. On the 18th occasion, Jarasandha took the help of Kalayavana who also got provoked from the words of Sage Narada and joined Jarasandha in attacking Mathura. By that time Sri Krishna had pressure to move out of Mathura and already had planned to shift to Dwaraka considering it as the safest place.
When Mathura was thus attacked by both Jarasandha and Kalayavana, Lord Sri Krishna overnight moved all his people from Mathura and made them comfortable at Dwarka. His move from Mathura was quite dramatic. He came back to the war field at Mathura and while Balarama was confronting with Jarasandha, Lord Sri Krishna took on Kalayavana. He faced Kalayavana without carrying any weapon and came to the war field by foot. Instead of fighting with him, he pretended as if He is running away from the war field and provoked Kalayavana to catch him. Kalayavana chased Sri Krishna assuming that He was really running away from the war. Sri Krishna in the process was moving towards Dwaraka, entered into a cave on the way and hided himself behind a Sage who was in deep slumber. The sage was none other than King Muchukunda. Sri Krishna pulled his upper cloth (Pitambara) and spread it on Muchukunda.
Chasing Sri Krishna, Kalayavana entered the cave and mistook the person sleeping there as Sri Krishna and hit him with his leg disturbing Muchukunda from his sleep. When Muchukunda got disturbed, he got up from his sleep and opened his eyes. Soon Kalayavana standing in front of him got burnt in the fire emanated from his eyes and became ash within no time. Thus, Lord Sri Krishna got rid of the mighty Kalayavana with his trick and in the process crossed the border and migrated to Dwaraka once for all. Since the mode of his migration was a pretended running away from the war field Lord Sri Krishna is also called as Ranchodrai (one who fled from the war) in Dwaraka. It was only a Leela of Bhagavan Sri Krishna apart from Kalayavana also had a boon from Lord Shiva that, he would not get killed by Yadavas. Knowing this, Sri Krishna had to adopt Muchukunda and also utilized his boon in getting Kalayavana killed.
Story of Muchukunda
Muchukunda was belonging to Ikshvaku Dynasty in which Lord Sri Rama was born and was the son of King Maandhatha. Muchukunda during his time had helped a lot to the Deities in their war against Asuras. As a result of which the Deities wanted to give him a boon. Muchukunda wanted Moksha as a boon which the Deities expressed their inability. Only Lord Sri ManNarayana is capable and empowered to give Moksha to anyone. Then, Muchukunda asked for a boon of deep and undisturbed sleep for a long time which was accorded on him. Besides he was also blessed that whoever disturbs him in his sleep would get reduced into ashes from his glance. During the course of his deep slumber Muchukunda got disturbed by Kalayavana and his glance reduced Kalayavana into ashes. In the process Muchukunda had the darshan of Lord Sri Krishna, the Paripoorna avathara of Lord Sri ManNarayana, the Supreme Being. Lord Sri Krishna blessed him with Moksha in his next birth and advised him to take up penance and accordingly he went to Badarikasrama for performing penance. We find this story of Muchukunda and Kalayavana in Sri Mad Bhagavatham in the 10th chapter (Dasamaskhandam).
When Lord Sri Krishna wanted to move to Dwaraka and construct a city there, there was water and forest all around. Then He requested Samudra (Lord of the ocean) to move back 12 yojanas (approx 108 square miles). Then, Viswakarma the Divine architect constructed a beautiful, magnificent, glorious and majestic city on this land within no time where, Lord Sri Krishna settled along with his people. It is said that Lord Sri Krishna lived in Dwaraka for 100 years with all his majesty and prowess till his Niryana. Sri Krishna’s era in Dwaraka was considered as the Golden period and Dwaraka was called as the Golden city. Dwaraka was considered as the capital of Lord Sri Krishna’s kingdom from where He used to administer his government, while Bhet Dwaraka an island 35 km way from Dwaraka was considered as His residence where He used to live with all his Queens. With the Niryana of Lord Sri Krishna the legendary city of Dwaraka got submerged along with its glory more than 5000 years back.
It is believed that since then due to the damage and destruction by the sea Dwaraka has submerged six times and the present city of Dwaraka is the 7th such version built in the area. Though the original Dwarka is not present today it is said to be the same land where the legendary Dwaraka existed. It is believed and said that the remains of the original Dwaraka are still present deep in the ocean. Lot of research work has been done in this regard and some of the evidences have been unearthed.
Dwarka is surrounded by many other sacred and celestial places like Bhet Dwaraka, Nageshwar, Somnath, Harsiddhi Mata temple etc… Sun set view at Dwarka is worth seeing. Dwaraka is also the seat of one of the four spiritual centers “Sharada Peeta” established by the great Hindu Philosopher and Saint Sri Adi Sankaracharya.
Mere thought of going on a pilgrimage to Dwarka in a person’s mind is said to liberate his ancestors from their sins and hell. Providing food to a person going on a pilgrimage to Dwaraka is said to give virtues similar to that of performing Shraaddha at Gaya. Giving Charity at Dwaraka or on the way to Dwaraka, listening to the divine stories or songs in praise of Lord Sri Krishna is highly meritorious and one will surely receive the blessings of Lord Sri Krishna known as Dwarakadheesh. Donation of cow (Go-Dana) at the banks of river Gomati is said to yield highly meritorious results.
It is said that Gomati darshanam, Gomati Snanam(bath), Go-daanam (donation of cow), Gopichandanam and Gopinatha (Lord Sri Krishna) darshanam at Dwaraka are very rare, sacred, celestial and highly meritorious. Blessed are those who live in Dwaraka and one who gets an opportunity to see the face of Lord Sri Krishna (Dwarakadheesh) at Dwaraka at least once in their life time. With all its grandeur Dwaraka is standing as an epitome of Hindu Dharma, religion and culture attracting pilgrims from across the globe.
|| Sri Krishnaarpanamastu ||