How did “Kanha” get the name “Banke Bihari”?

Krishna, the god with as many names as the people who adore him, is also known as “Banke Bihari”. But have you ever wondered why Kanha is called by that name? Let’s find out the story behind this interesting name as well the interesting facts behind the “Banke Bihari Temple” in Vrindavan.

Krishna was the Supreme Enjoyer, who knew how to find rasa in every aspect of life, he got the name Banke Bihari, Banke meaning bent in three places (as the curved statue of Krishna normally is – hands folded to hold a flute; waist folded, and leg folded in a standing pose) and Bihari meaning Supreme Enjoyer.

Yet another interpretation exists: that Banke Bihari is a colloquial pronunciation of “Van Ke Vihari”, or the one dwells in the jungle, as Krishna was known to do during his childhood pastimes with the cowherds and the gopis. Krishna’s famous ramblings with the cows and the gopikas in Vrindavan took place in Nidhivan, also the venue of the famous rasleelas.

He Also Has Another Named Called Kunj Bihari

You may be aware that during his aarti, he is also called “Kunj-Vihari”, where Kunj means lakes, making Krishna a lover of lakes. As mentioned before, there’s a temple where Krishna goes by the name Banke Bihari – it’s the Shri Banke Bihari Mandir located in the holy city of Vrindavan in Mathura district of UP. Banke Bihariji, the presiding deity, was originally worshiped at Nidhivana, before being moved into the temple.

The Man Behind The Temple

The Bankey Bihari Temple was established by Swami Haridas, a guru of the famous singer Tansen. Once, on the request of his disciples, Swami Haridasji sang the following verse about Nidhivan in Vrindavan: “Mai ri sahaj jori pragat bhai ju rang ki gaur syam ghan damini jaisen. Pratham hun ahuti ab hun aagen hun rahihai na tarihai taisain.. Ang ang ki ujraii sugharaii chaturaii sunderta aisain. Shri Haridas ke swami syama Kunj Bihari sam vais vaisain.”

Divine Appearance

Apparently, when Swami Haridas sang the verse, the celestial couple Shyama-Shyam (as Radha- Krishna are also known)appeared in front of him and his devotees. Then, they merged into one and the idol of Banke Bihari appeared. The idol was established at the same spot in Nidhivan before being moved to the present location inside the temple.

A Must Visit

The black stone image of Shri Banke Bihariji – installed in the Shri Bankey Bihari Mandir, Vrindavan – being a divine gift by the celestial couple Shyama-Shyam themselves, is certainly worth a visit…it is sure to fill you with positivity and infuse you with a fresh zest for life!

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