Matavan is one of the main forests of Braj Mandal. It is a wide and spacious area on the bank of the Yamuna. Krishna and Balbhadra would bring the cows to graze in this enchanting forest full of lush trees and creepers, green grass and untold varieties of fruits and flowers. The many pastimes places here include Mant or Mant Gaon, Krishna Kund, Dangoli Gaon, Man Sarovar, and Pani Gaon.
The word mant refers to a large earthen pot meant for churning yog hurt and other household chores. During Krishna's pastimes, these pots were made here and used by the Brajvasis(Braj People) in their daily household work; hence the village is known as Mant. It lies two miles south of Bhandirvat and five miles north of Vrindavan on the other side of the Yamuna. The land in Matvan is for cow grazing, and there is a famous temple of Baldev here.
In Bhakti Ratnakar, Mant Gaon is described as follows:
ei `manthgram' – maha ananda ekhane
nana krida kare ramakrishna sakhasane
mrttika-nirmita brhat patra – manth nama
mathotpatti-prasasta-e hetu manth grama
dadhimanthanadi lagi vrajavasigana
layena asankhya Manth – aise Babe kana
This village is situated on the bank of the Yamuna two miles south of Man-sarovar and a quarter of a mile south-east of Vrindavan. It is also known as Pani Ghat.
At the time of Krishna's pastimes, Maharishi Durvasa stayed at his hermitage (Ashram) near Pani Gaon. Once, the gopis of Vrindavan wanted to please Maharishi Durvasa with a large selection of very delicious food preparations, which they were going to carry from Vrindavan across the Yamuna to his Ashram. Yamuna was in flood due to the monsoon season, and her waves were so high that no boatman was courageous enough to ferry the gopis across the river. Suddenly, Krishna appeared and smiling, asked them why they were in anxiety. The gopis told Him about their dilemma. Krishna said, "You can easily cross the river. Go to the bank of the Yamuna and tell to her in unison, `If Krishna has not seen the face of any woman, then, on the strength of His firm vow of celibacy, may we easily cross the river on foot.." The gopis did as Krishna had told them and crossed the river on foot, arriving at Durvasa's ashram with all their foodstuffs. There, the hundreds and thousands of gopis pleased Durvasa with a vast spread of delicious foods. Being satisfied, he blessed them that their hearts' desires would be fulfilled.
When they were ready to return, they told Durvasa the difficulty they faced in crossing the river. He said, "Tell Yamuna, `If Durvasa has not eaten any cooked food during his whole life, then, on the strength of his austerities, may we cross over to Vrindavan on foot.." They did so and reached Vrindavan by walking upon the Yamuna's waters. The gopis were greatly astonished that they had been able to cross the Yamuna on foot on the strength of Krishna and Durvasa's declarations. Krishna had been in the company of women since birth and Durvasa had devoured everything they had just brought him. They enquired from Krishna about this mystery. Very seriously, He replied, "Although I stay with all of you day and night, My vow of celibacy nonetheless remains intact, because I do not think Myself as the enjoyer. Durvasa is also free from this identification; therefore, although he has eaten everything, he has eaten nothing. A person who thinks himself to be the enjoyer is strongly attached to this material existence." The gopis looked at Krishna in great astonishment. That place where the gopis crossed the Yamuna is called Pani Gaon or Pani Ghat.
This pond is situated in Gangrali Gaon, which lies between Manth and Belvan. Shri Krishna, the sakhas and the cows would drink water here and delight in playful games in the water.
At the time of the autumnal ras, Radhika saw Her beloved Krishna dancing on the bank of the Yamuna with the other gopis. This threw Her into a sulky mood (man) that was very difficult to subdue. She left the place of rasa on Her own, crossed the Yamuna, and came to this solitary forest. Distressed in separation from Krishna, She began to cry, and the stream of tears that flowed from Her eyes created this lake, or sarovar. Krishna, the topmost relisher of transcendental mellows, searched and found Her here. Placing His flute and His head at Her lotus feet, Krishna admitted His fault and assured Her that He would never act like that again.
This charming place in Braj is embellished by the dense shade of the pilu, kadamb and tamala trees and by the peacocks, cuckoos, swans, deer and other birds and animals. It remains visible to our eyes to this present day so as to remind us of the pastimes of the Divine Couple, Shri Radha-Krishna. In the old temple on the bank of Mana Sarovar, a painting is worshipped of Krishna offering His flute and His head at the lotus feet of Radhika in an effort to break Her mama. Krishna is looking at Her as if to say,
"smara-garala-khandanam mama sirasi mandanam dehi pada-pallavam udaram – the beautiful flower blossoms of Your feet counteract the deadly poison of amorous love, and they extinguish the fearsome fire of the pain of that love, which rages within My heart. Therefore, please be kind and decorate My head with Your flower-like feet."
- ↑ From Shri Jaydev Goswami's Git-govind (Song 19, verse 8).