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  1. Shringar-Vat.jpg

    Shri Krishna decorates Shri Radha

    Vrindavan, 2017.11.20 (VT): We continue our Vrindavan Parikrama by taking darshan of the beautiful Shringar Vat.

    When the Raas Lila began, Shri Krishna played his flute and all the gopis came running. He danced with every gopi, giving equal attention to each one. But the glory of the Raas Lila could not reach its supreme state unless Shri Krishna enjoyed fully with Shri Radha. So Radha left the Raas, and Krishna followed her.

    Now alone, Shri Radha and Krishna played with each other freely. Shri Radha’s clothes and jewellery were disturbed during their play. Shringar Vat is the place where Shri Krishna arranged his Beloved’s clothes, tenderly placing her jewellery back in the right places, gently combing her curly locks and decorating her with flowers.

    Shringar Vat is the place where Nityananda Prabhu chose to sit and meditate when he came to Vrindavan. There once was a large banyan tree to mark the place. Now only a stump remains, and a new younger tree offers its shade to the holy spot.

    In the 18th Century, a descendent of Nityananda Prabhu, Shri Nandakishor Goswami, came to live at Shringar Vat. He established the deities of Nitai-Gaur there.

    The boy who herded cows with Shri Krishna

    IMG_8013.jpg

    Shringar Sthali, where Shri Krishna decorated his Beloved.

    A young Brajwasi boy used to take care of Nandakishor Goswami’s cows. People called him “Bhondu” (simple-minded) because he was very naive, but also very pure at heart. Born and raised in Vrindavan, the boy had a natural love for Shri Krishna and longed to meet him. Bhondu knew that Shri Krishna herded cows in Vrindavan’s pastures like he himself did. He was ecstatic that one day, he would probably meet him.

    And so it happened that one day, Bhondu met Shri Krishna in the pasture. The two became close friends. Shri Krishna and his friends used to share their lunches, which were packed by their mothers and brought from home. But Bhondu didn’t have a packed lunch to share. So he started bringing food from the temple kitchen when he went out for cowherding.

    Nandkishor Goswami noticed the missing food and started keeping a closer eye on the kitchen. One morning, Goswami Ji noticed Bhondu on his way to the pasture with the cows, carrying a huge bundle of groceries on his head.

    Nandakishor Goswami said, “Child, where are you going with all that food?”

    Bhondu smiled and said, “We are going to makde dal-bati-churma today.”

    “Who is ‘we’?” asked Nandakishor Goswami.

    “Me, Krishna, Balaram, Subal, Shridama…” Bhondu rattled off the names of Krishna’s cowherd boy friends from the nitya lila.

    Krishna and Balaram…?”

    “Yeah! You know Krishna! That boy who wears a peacock feather and yellow clothes. He’s really nice. We’re friends now.”

    IMG_8011-1.jpg

    Remnant of the banyan tree where Nityananda Prabhu meditated on the Lila

    Goswami Ji didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t wrap his mind around what he was hearing. But Bhondu was not a liar either.

    “Why don’t you invite your buddy Krishna and his friends here for lunch instead? Tomorrow is Gopashtami, so it’s the perfect day to invite them.”

    “Oh yes! That’s a wonderful idea! I will! Thank you Goswami Ji!”

    Bhondu bowed to Goswami Ji and headed out for the pasture.

    That day, Bhondu invited Shri Krishna to Shringar Vat for Gopashtami lunch, but Shri Krishna said, “No, I won’t go.”

    “But I promised Goswami Ji you would come!” said Bhondu.

    “What do I care what you said to Goswami Ji?” said Krishna.

    Bhondu felt insulted and started to walk away. “Goswami Ji is like my Guru. If you are going to insult my Guru then I’m not going to play with you any more!” Bhondu separated his cows from Shri Krishna’s cows and started off in a huff.

    Shri Krishna was shocked and started to cry. He blocked Bhondu’s way and said, “Wait! Don’t go! Listen to me!” Bhondu didn’t want to listen, but he stopped for moment and looked at Krishna.

    IMG_8001.jpg

    The Ghat at Shringar Vat – Yamuna once flowed nearby

    “Listen, I couldn’t say this in front of Balaram and the other cowherd boys. Shringar Vat is a place where I go to meet Radharani. It’s our secret place. I can’t take the boys there. Please understand, brother!”

    Bhondu smiled, “Oh, is that it! Well, if Goswami Ji comes here and cooks for you, will you eat?”

    “Sure I will!” Said Krishna. “But tell him not to bring anyone else with him!”

    Bhondu told Goswami Ji what had happened. He could hardly believe what was happeneing, yet somehow, his hope was greater than his hesitation. The next morning he excitedly got all the provisions ready to make dal-bati-churma for Shri Krishna. Smiling like a child, Goswami Ji brought all the cooking implements from the kitchen across the Yamuna and out into the fields at Bhandirvan.

    IMG_8008.jpg

    Nandakishor Goswami’s Nitai-Gaur

    He was blissful beyond words when he saw that Shri Krishna was actually there waiting for him surrounded by all his cowherd friends. Goswami Ji cooked for them and fed them to his heart’s content. But as soon as the feast was over, they all disappeared. Goswami Ji fainted out of shock and separation.

    In a half-conscious state, Goswami Ji heard Krishna saying, “Don’t worry. I am always with you. Go home and write about my lila.” According to Shri Krishna’s instructions, Nandakishor Goswami wrote two books called Shri Shri Rasakalika and Shri Vrindavan Lilamrit.

     

  2. Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
    A darsana in Houston
    Houston, Texas: June 28, 2005

    gurudeva scarf 450Devotee: I want to know if it is necessary to discern, as one is reading through the scriptures, what is actually Krsna's desire for us and what is man-made rules and regulations. The reason I ask this question is that there seems to be a lot of negative connotations towards women, and I know that you do not agree with that. Since you don't agree with those statements, I was wondering if maybe there were other things in the scriptures that were more of man-made ancient tradition, that are not applicable today.

    Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:Nothing like this has been written in the scriptures. We are neither male nor female. We are not this body – we are soul. According to the way in which we want to serve Krsna, or the way in which Krsna wants us to serve Him, He gives us our forms.

    You know that Lord Rama loves His wife, Sita. You know how He loves Sabari, a very low-born lady. He even ate Sabari's food remnants. You know that Krsna took His flute and peacock feather and placed them at Srimati Radhika's lotus feet, saying, "I will not be able to repay you, even if I live for millions of years."

    Devotee: Yes.

    Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Then how can you think like this? You should not think in this way. Are you initiated by anyone?

    Devotee: By you.

    Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Then why are you thinking like this? Have I told anything like this? Has this been written in the Bhagavad-gita or in Srimad Bhagavatam?

    Devotee: In the Gita it says that women are not intelligent and…

    Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No, you have not understood the meaning.

    Yaha bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane – "If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam," Svarupa Damodara Gosvami said, "you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 5.131)

    If you want to read anything, don't read on your own. Your mind is not controlled, and it is not pure. You should therefore go to any realized person and serve that tattva-vetta purusa (a self-realized soul, who is a knower of all truths). And then hear from him.

    tad viddhi pranipatena
    pariprasnena sevaya
    upadeksyanti te jnanam
    jnaninas tattva-darsinah

    "Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth." (Bhagavad-gita 4.34)

    You should go to a person who has realized all spiritual truths. Serve him, and after that you may ask a question. With folded hands you may ask him, "If I am qualified to hear, then please explain such and such." Then he will speak, and then there will be no doubt. On the other hand, if you will read by yourself, so many doubts will come. If you will read Mahabharata, you may say, "Oh, Krsna has left His body and died." If you will read Ramayana, you may think that Rama died, Laksmana died and all the monkeys died. This doubt may come; and if it comes, you will be ruined. Your bhakti will disappear. *See endnote

    *Endnote 1:

    "So if you read different scriptures, you will be bewildered…But there is adjustment. If you go to the authorized person, he can adjust. But you cannot see. You see, you'll see contradiction. So srutayo vibhinnah. Therefore they are considered different, but actually, they are not different. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.7 lecture, San Francisco, March 1, 1967)

    "So Caitanya Mahaprabhu says the medium is sastra, and direction is the guru. Sastra also we cannot understand any book, what to speak of the scripture. Sometimes we find contradiction in the scripture. That is not contradiction; that is my poor fund of knowledge. I cannot understand; therefore assistance of guru, a spiritual master, is required." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 20.353-354 Lecture, New York, December 26, 1966)

    "Because the spiritual master is the representative of the Supreme Lord, his direction is directly the direction of the Supreme Lord. The spiritual master, saintly persons and scriptures direct in the same way. There is no contradiction in these three sources. All actions done under such direction are free from the reactions of pious and impious activities of this material world." (Bhagavad-gita 10.3, purport)

    "One should taste the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam in the association of pure devotees, and one should associate with the devotees who are more advanced than oneself and who are endowed with a similar type of affection for the Lord." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.131)

  3. Question: Dear Tarun Ji, sharing about “spiritual” things is wonderful, but what about sharing about material obstacles that block or hinder my path through bhakti. I am very afraid to share these things because I think many will say that this is just maya [illusion]. Answer: In regards to „material“ issues or problems a sadhaka … Continue reading Chant and be happy? Yes…but…b.gif?host=flowingnectarstream.wordpress


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  4. Some pictures from this week:

    slovenia landscape

    The Slovenian landscape is 60% forest

    radha govinda street food

    Burger bars are not my usual haunt but this one was special: Radha Govinda in downtown Ljubliana

    chef

    Looking every inch the Buddhist chef in this designer ensemble is Mrigendra das, TV cook and organiser of the wedding feast

    salad close

    An upturned salad cup: even more tasty than it looks.

    boats

    A fleet of srikhand and halava boats

    couple

    The happy couple cut the wedding cake: Prema Gopi and Bharata

    adi

    The Bob Dylan of Slovenia

    glastonbury

    Meanwhile, back in England, devotees sang in the sunshine at Glasto.


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