The favourite object of adoration with adherents of these sects is Krishna with his mate - but not the devoted friend and counsellor of the Pandavas and deified hero of epic song, nor the ruler of Dvaraka and wedded lord of Rukmini, but the juvenile Krishna, Govinda or Bala Gopala, "the cowherd lad," the foster son of the cowherd Nanda of Gokula, taken up with his amorous sports with the Gopis, or wives of the cowherds of Vrindavana (Brindaban,near Mathura on the Yamuna), especially his favourite mistress Radha or Radhika.
"the sun of the Nimba tree"), a teacher of uncertain date, said to have been a Telugu Brahman who subsequently established himself at Mathura (Muttra) on the Yamuna, where the headquarters of his sect have remained ever since.
Terminating as it usually does with the feeding and feeing of a greater or less number of Brahmans and the feasting of members of the performers' own caste, the Sraddha, especially its first performance, is often a matter of very considerable expense; and more than ordinary benefit to the deceased is supposed to accrue from it when it takes place at a spot of recognized sanctity, such as one of the great places of pilgrimage like Prayaga (Allahabad, where the three sacred rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati, meet), Mathura, and especially Gaya and Kasi (Benares).
The banks of the great rivers such as the Ganga (Ganges), the Yamuna (Jumna), the Narbada, the Krishna (Kistna), are studded with them, and the water of these rivers is supposed to be imbued with the essence of sanctity capable of cleansing the pious bather of all sin and moral taint.
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