Mahavana is one of the twelve sacred forests of Vraja and although it was once a large and verdant forest withparikrama of around 12 kilometers, there are hardly any trees remaining there today. Mahavan was the second largest forest after Kamyavana and the name Mahavana means ‘great forest’.Nevertheless, one can still see all the places where krishna enjoyed his trascendental pastimes during His early childhood (Kumar-lila) at Gokula. The ancient village of Gokula, which is presently known as Mahavana, is the original village named Gokula where Nanda Maharaj and mother yasoda Mayi had their residence and where krishna spent the first three and half year of his childhood. The name ‘Gokula’ actually means the residential place of cows. the word ‘go’ means cow and ‘kula’ means residence or living place, or in other words Gokula was a village inhabited by cowherd men and their cows.
Krishna’s childhood pastimes at Gokula are in particular very sweet, and more easily understood by the ordinary people in general.Krishna’s pastimes of stealing butter and yougurt from the houses of the married gopis, and then feeding that same stolen butter and yogurt to his friends and monkeys, or his letting loose the gopis calves so they would drank all the cow’s milk, or his slaying so many demons, are just some of krishna’s many childhood pastimes that can be appritiated by people of all ages. on the other hand, Krishna’s amorous pastimes with the young gopis of vraja are not easily understood, even by greatly learned scholars, philosophers, and pious religionsits.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also visited Mahavan while on his parikrama around the sacred forestd of vraja. It is said that He experienced great trascendental esctasy seeing all the wonderful places in Gokula connected to Krishna’s pastimes.Lord chaitanya visited the chaurasi Khamba, also called Nanda Bhavan, where krishna birth celebration took place. It is said that Lord Chaitanya’s ecstacy increased even more when he saw the twin arjuna trees broken by Krishna, Which was the site of the Damnodara-lila, where mother Yasoda tied her naughty son Krishna to grinding mortar. During His Tour of Gokula, Lord Chaitanya chanted the holy names and danced in ecstacy wherever He went, people gatherd from far and wide to get a glimps of Lord Chaitanya,and all those who saw him also experienced ecstatic and many also fainted on the ground.The local Vrajvasis where saying that Lord Krishna has again appeared in Vrindavan in the form of Sanyasi.