Banke Bihari temple is next to Nidhivan in Vrindavan.
It was constructed in 1864.
The temple was originally in Nidhivan and the idol was brought from there.
The name Banke Bihari has two meanings:
The idol of the temple itself manifested as a miracle.
Swami Haridas (1480 - 1573) was a poet-saint.
His family lived near Vrindavan.
He was an incarnation of Lalita, a sakhi (gopika) very close to the Lord.
Swami Haridas was a sadhaka of the yugala swaroop, Radha-Krishna.
He later moved into Nidhivan.
He spent his days composing and singing the songs of Radha-Krishna.
Haridas Ji used to do his sadhana alone in a dense part of Nidhivan.
Once, his disciples wanted to see that place.
With Haridas Ji’s permission, they went there.
They could see only a blinding light.
Swamiji went after them and realized the divine presence.
He started singing and the divine couple Radha-Krishna appeared.
Everyone was mesmerized by their beauty.
The beauty was so much that ordinary people could not bear it.
Haridas Ji prayed to the divine couple to merge into a single form.
He also wanted them to stay with him forever.
They disappeared leaving behind a beautiful black idol.
This idol used to be worshiped inside Nidhivan and later brought to the current place.
This is because a curtain is pulled between the Lord and the devotees every now and then,
The beauty of the idol is so much and the eyes are so mesmerizing that the devotees may go into a trance.
Banke Bihari Ji spends his nights at Nidhivan enjoying himself (Bihari) performing Ras leela with Radha Rani and Gopikas.
This is after the Shayan Seva at night.
He returns only early morning.
The temple rituals do not start before 9.00 am allowing him to get sufficient sleep.
Bihari Ji goes to a princess - Vrindavan was under the rule of a Rajasthani king.
The princess came once to get darshan of Banke Bihari Ji.
She was so enticed by his beauty that she didn’t want to go back.
But due to compulsions, she went back with a heavy heart.
Even after returning, she kept on thinking about the Lord only longing to see him.
One day, the idol of Bihari Ji went missing.
A search was launched.
It was finally discovered that the idol had reached the palace of the princess by itself.
Scriptures vouch that Lord Krishna is so fond of his devotees that he would go after them.
He can not bear the pain of separation from them.
Judge Baba - In Aligarh, there was a pious family, devotees of Banke Bihari Ji.
When it was time to get their daughter married they had to borrow from a moneylender.
The loan was repaid in full with interest.
But the unscrupulous and powerful moneylender dragged them to court.
In the court, the devotee said that he had repaid the entire amount.
The judge asked: do you have a witness?
The devotee said: Banke Bihari Ji is my only witness.
The judge ordered to send a notice to Banke Bihari Ji to appear before the court as a witness.
Accordingly, a notice was served at the temple.
On the next hearing, when the witness’s name was called out, an old man presented himself.
He narrated details of the entire transaction and exposed the place where the moneylender had hidden the documents.
Everyone was shocked.
But suddenly the man disappeared.
The judge resigned from service and relocated to Vrindavan to serve Banke Bihari Ji and his devotees for the rest of his life.
He is known as Judge Baba.
The Lord becomes a Railway TTE - There was a Railway TTE who was assigned on duty on a train between Mathura and Vrindavan.
Whenever the train halted at the station near Banke Bihari temple, he would rush there and get a quick darshan.
One day, since the temple was closed for some time when he reached.
He had to wait for a few minutes before it opened.
By the time he got back to the station, his train had already left.
He felt ashamed that he had failed in his duty.
He wrote down his resignation and was about to submit it to the Station Master.
The Station Master asked him: why have you come back?
Didn’t you just collect your papers and board your train>
What made you come back?
The TTE was shocked.
The Lord had assumed his form and boarded the train so that his devotee should not fail in his duty.
Later, those on the train confirmed that the ‘TTE’ was really on the train doing his duty.
The missing bangle - There was a sweet shop near Banke Bihari temple.
One day, the shopkeeper got a big order for sweets and was busy making them.
He heard the voice of a boy and looked out.
The boy said: I am hungry, give me something to eat.
The shopkeeper picked up some sweets and gave to him.
The boy gave him a bangle, smiled, and ran away.
The shop owner did not realize its importance and just put it aside.
The next morning, when he came to open the shop, there was an agitated crowd outside the temple.
The bangle of Banke Bihari was missing.
That’s when the shopkeeper remembered what the boy had given him on the previous day, a bangle.
He opened the shop and brought it out.
It was the same, the missing bangle of Banke Bihari Ji.
Yet another leela of the Lord to show his living presence in the temple.
The kidnapped children - Once, a man, his wife, and his three children came to get darshan of Bihari Ji.
They took a taxi from Mathura.
When they reached the temple, it was about time to close.
The man and his wife left the children and luggage in the cat itself and rushed to the temple.
When they came back, they were all gone.
They looked around for some time and then filed a police complaint.
By that time, they saw the taxi driver in tears running towards the temple.
They stopped him and this is what he told.
He had indeed kidnapped the children.
As he was driving away someone stopped him on the way.
He asked the taxi driver to immediately return the children to their parents or face severe punishment.
Suddenly, the taxi driver could not see anything for some time.
He realized that the person was none other than the Lord.
By this time, the car had disappeared.
The taxi driver ran back to the temple pleading for the Lord’s mercy.
The parents also found the children and luggage safe outside the temple.
Curing a leper - A lady of a wealthy household was abandoned by her relatives when they came to know that she had developed leprosy.
She came to Banke Bihari temple and sustained herself by begging.
She developed great devotion towards the Lord.
Every day, she would take back in the Yamuna and attend the aarti at the temple.
One day, she slipped and fell into the river.
A young boy jumped after her and rescued her.
By the time she regained consciousness, the boy was gone.
Her leprosy was also cured.
She spent the rest of her days there serving the devotees of Banke Bihari Ji.
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