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Shrivatsa-Goswami-with-President.jpgVrindavan, 2017.06.24 (VT): This week the All-India Kashiraj Trust organized a grand ceremony at the President’s house in Delhi. The trust is dedicated to publishing the ancient scriptures of India. It is a matter of great pride for Braj that Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami Maharaj, Acharya of the Shri Radharaman Temple and a trustee of AIKT, played a vital role in the event.

The ceremony marked the release of a new annotated edition of the Garud Puran, created through the efforts of the king of Kashi, Shri Anant Narayan Singh, who is the chief editor and chairman of the trust. The book’s release was formally inaugurated by the President of India, the honorable Shri Pranab Mukherjee himself.

Dr. Anant Narayan Singh spoke about the trust’s various educational and cultural activities, highlighting the trust’s mission to publish new, high-quality editions of the Purans. These new editions will include English and Hindi translations with commentary by various prominent scholars.

Addressing the gathering, His Excellency the President emphasized the dire need for the publication, teaching and study of sacred scriptures like the Purans, and the positive impact such noble efforts can make on Indian culture as a whole. Acharya Shrivats Goswami Maharaj spoke in detail about the Garud Puran’s significance as an encyclopedia of Bharatiya culture.

Dr. Karn Singh, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Dr. Ramkaran Sharma, Dr. Valmiki Singh, Dr. Janardan, Padmashri Dr. Gita Chandran and other scholars spoke about the cultural and intellectual influence of the Purans from the modern perspective.

Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami Maharaj presented His Excellency the President with a portrait of Shri Radharaman Lal and a package of His prasad. He invited the President to come to Vrindavan and attend the temple’s ongoing summer Nikunj Mahotsav.

 

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Vrindavan, 2017.06.24 (VT): The sadhus of Vrindavan are outraged by an incident earlier this week in which the residents of an entire ashram were poisoned by their cook, who then looted the ashram.

Sadhus from all over Vrindavan met yesterday to discuss the incident. During the meeting, the sadhus demanded that police catch the suspect within twenty-four hours.

Malook Peethadhishwar Shripad Rajendra Dasji, addressing the gathering, said that the incident was extremely unfortunate. He urged the sadhus to take all precautions in the future. Ashrams should no longer accept unknown persons, and each ashram should install CCTV cameras if possible.

Mahant Phooldol Bihari Das Maharaj added that this is not the first time the sadhus have been the target of violence, and that the police should make arrangements for their protection.

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The Suspect, Bharat Sharma (P.C. Amar Ujala)

In response, the CO of Police, Mr. Ajay Kumar, said that police will soon make a survey of all the ashrams in Vrindavan and create a list of all persons residing there. Meanwhile, the suspect in the case has been identified as one Bharat Sharma. A police team has been dispatched to capture him.

Mr. Kumar expressed certainty that the suspect would be apprehended quickly. He asked the sadhus to give police seven days’ time.

Shri Rampravesh Dasji, the mahant of the Varah Adyapeeth ashram where the poisoning incident occurred, revealed that he had eaten very litte on the day of the attack; only dal, nothing else. Still he became gravely ill and fell unconscious, along with twelve other residents of the ashram. They were admitted to Ramkrishna Mission hospital. Several of the sadhus remain in ICU.

The Mahant’s disciple, Pappu ji of Jaunai village said that the mahant had recently sold some land at Varah Ghat worth 1.5 crores. However, he had also purchased five bighas of land in Jaunai, worth two crores. These transactions may have drawn criminal elements to the ashram.

 

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Vrindavan, 2017.06.23 (VT): As the first monsoon clouds sprinkle Vrindavan with their soothing showers, Shri Radharaman Dev’s 475th summer mahotsav continues. Each morning is filled with special poojas and scriptural readings, and in the evenings, devotees soak in the extremely sweet, close-up darshans that Radharamanji gives from his nikunj (flower palace). These darshans are the highlight of everyone’s summer in Vrindavan.

By the inspiration of nitya lila pravisht Jagadguru Shri Purushottam Goswami Ji Maharaj, Radharamanji is enjoying some very special kunj (flower palaces) every day, each with a unique theme. Shri Shrivatsa Goswami Maharaj explains the significance of the beautiful kunjas offered on June 20th and 21st.

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Shakti Kunj

Tuesday’s kunj was called Shakti Kunj. This kunj is made up of three archways, each of which represents a particular shakti or divine energy of Shri Krishna. The right side represents samvit shakti, the left side sandhini shakti and the center, hladini shakti embodied by Shri Radharani Herself. The kunja’s structure is created from intricately carved slices of banana tree trunks, with a broad latticework of fragrant flowers like jasmine and rose.

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Sacchidanand Kunj

On Wednesday, another three-arched kunj was offered, but with much more intricate flower lattices featuring complex tesselations (special geometric patterns). This kunj, called Sacchidanand Kunj, symbolizes the pairing of sandhini with sat (being), samvit with chit (consciousness), and hladini with anand (bliss).

On the evening of the 22nd, Radharamanji enjoyed a very special Raag Seva by the renowned rasacharya Shri Fateh Krishna Swami Ji and bhagwatacharya Shri Harekrishna “Sharad” Ji. Both are long-time associates and musical geniuses in their own right.

Devotees drowned in the flood of their blissful music as they sang, “Shyamaju ko raaj hamaare maai”, “Hamari albeli Radhe, hamare albele Thakur”, “Moye chhail ne maari nazariyaa re”, “Dhan-dhan Radhika ke charan,” and other bhajans.

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Shri Fateh Krishna Swami and Shri Harekrishna “Sharad” Ji

 

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Vrindavan, 2017.06.23 (VT): On June 15th, Marie Avgeropoulos, a renowned actress and one of the stars of the popular Emmy-nominated sci-fi series “The 100” hosted an event to benefit Food for Life Vrindavan in Los Angeles.

The event featured six short films about the charity by Avgeropoulos’ “Without Exception Films.” During the event, Ms. Avgeropoulos shared about her recent trip to Vrindavan, and took questions from the audience about her experience.

Here are the six short documentaries filmed by Avgeropolous onsite in Vrindavan:

 

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Cook poisons sadhus to loot ashram

19402600_1707764355931178_1791659527_o-780x439.jpgVrindavan, 2017.06.23 (VT): Police are looking for a man accused of poisoning the mahant and twelve other sadhus at an ashram near Vrindavan’s Varah Ghat.

According to neighborhood residents the man, who goes by the name “Bharat”, was going from ashram to ashram last week asking to serve as a cook. The mahant of Varah Adyapeeth accepted his offer and Bharat started living in the ashram. It was Bharat who cooked and personally served prasad on the day in question.

That day every member of the ashram collapsed and fell unconscious shortly after taking prasad. It was only when somone came to visit the ashram in the evening that the shocking scene was discovered and the sadhus were taken to Ramkrishna Mission Hospital. Several of them are currently in ICU.

The mahant of the ashram Shri Rampravesh Dasji regained consciousness yesterday and sent his disciple Shri Shyamdasji with keys to check on the ashram. There it was discovered that the mahant’s almirah had been compromised. A large amount of cash and valuables were missing, and the cook, “Bharat”, had absconded.

Amongst the stolen items are four lakhs of rupees in cash, a large silver lota, eight gold rings, a gold chain, and a kanthi mala set in gold. Thakurji’s flute and ankle bells, two large silver bowls and seven small ones, and twelve silver crowns were also stolen.

According to the mahant, “Bharat” approached the ashram on June 18th looking for work, and began living in the ashram from that day. He said he was from Jajau village near Kagarol in Agra District, and he appears to be about thirty years of age.

 

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sant-food-poisoning-780x439.jpg Vrindavan, 2017.06.22 (VT): A group of sadhus have fallen ill after taking prasad at Varah Ghat on Vrindavan’s Parikrama Marg. Three are in serious condition, and have been admitted to Ramkrishna Mission Hospital for treatment.

Sant Rasiya Baba says that the sadhus became ill immediately after taking prasad, and several even fell unconscious. The ill include the ashram’s Mahant, Shri Rampravesh Das, Brahmachari Maharaj, Sarveshwar Das and Ramveer Das.

It is feared that someone may have poisoned the prasad purposefully.

 

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Shri-Roop-Sanatan-780x377.jpgVrindavan, 2017.06.20 (VT): The upcoming festival of Mudiya Puno celebrates the life of Shri Sanatan Goswami, a saint of the Gaudiya Sampradaya who lived in Braj almost 500 years ago. Last week we published a story about Mudiya Puno and Sanatan Goswami’s love for Madanmohan. 

The following excerpt from Bhakti Ratnakar shows Sanatan Goswami’s great love for the Brajwasis (the people of Braj-Vrindavan) and the Brajwasis’ love for him.

“Whenever Sanatan Goswami moved from one village to another, all the villagers would run behind him. All the people, young and old alike, were overwhelmed with feelings of separation from him. They cried, and tears fell from Sanatan Goswami’s eyes too, as he asked them to go back to their houses. As the villagers walked home, weeping, Sanatan Goswami would hurry off to the next village. And when the villagers from the new village saw him coming, all the people would say with delight, ‘Look! It’s Roop-Sanatan!” (1346-1351)

The great saint Shri Roop Goswami was Sanatan Goswami’s younger brother. They were so spiritually connected, that the Brajwasis called Sanatan Goswami ‘Roop-Sanatan”

“When they saw only Roop Goswami, the Brajwasis would also call him “Roop-Sanatan.” Such a wonderful love they had! When they saw Sanatan coming, they would run to greet him, like a poor man who had found a treasure of jewels. The old ladies and men cuddled him like a child, and asked, ‘Oh my son! For so long you have forgotten us. But how did you pass your days without our love and care? We die to think of it!’ Speaking thus, they would look at Sanatan’s face in joy, considering themselves blessed. (1352-1357)

The young adults, men and women alike, thought of Sanatan Goswami as their brother. Some would tease, with tears flowing from their eyes, “How have you been, brother? I can understand you never think of us! That’s why we have not seen you in so long! Why are you so merciless towards us?” Meanwhile, the little boys and girls would touch his feet. The newly-married young wives of the village would watch him happily from some distance.” (1358-1362)

“When they saw Sanatan, no one thought of bowing to him or acting formal. The villagers would hold his hand and embrace him tightly. They would seat him at the base of a tree, and sit down in a circle around him. They would feed him milk, yoghurt and butter from their homes, and after he had finished eating, they would talk with him in bliss. (1363-1367)

Although Sanatan Goswami was very renounced, his love for the Brajwasis transcended all his rules of renunciation. Out of great love for them ,he would speak about worldly subjects with them all night long.

“With great affection, Sanatan Goswami would ask the Brajwasis about their welfare. ‘How many sons and daughters do you have?’ he would ask. ‘What are their names, and how are they doing? How much harvest have you brought in this year, and how much ploughing have you done? Do you have any health problems? How do you feel mentally?” The Brajwasis felt very happy when Sanatan Goswami asked about their lives, and they answered his questions in detail. Any pain or stress they felt was healed by talking with Sanatan Goswami. Sanatan Goswami and the Brajwasis would pass the whole night talking in this way.” (1368-1373)

“As the sun rose, Sanatan Goswami would quickly go to do his morning practice. After bathing, the villagers fed him a delicious breakfast of homemmade milk products. First they served him, then he made them sit Like before, the Brajwasis were very upset when he left their village. It is impossible to fully describe how much they loved Sanatan Goswami, and Sanatan addressed each one sweetly, according to their relationship.” (1374- 1378)

“The village folk would follow him for a long time, until he promised to return. In this way, Sanatan Goswami wandered from village to village until he arrived at Baithan. Sanatan asked the villagers about their welfare and spent one day and night there with a happy heart. Everyone knew that Sanatan had taken a vow to stay for only one day and night in any place. But still they begged him, ‘Everyone would be so happy if you just stay with us for some days more. Please stay; don’t be cruel. According to your vow you have to go, but please give up your vow to save our lives!’ When the villagers spoke this way and cried, Sanatan Goswami agreed to stay on for some days. All the villagers of Baithan and the surrounding area were always immersed in the glories of Sanatan Goswami.’ (1379-1387)

Read more:

Sanatan Goswami’s love for Madan Mohan, and a special announcement for “Mudiya Puno”

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Vrindavan, 2017.06.19 (VT): Street Cow Seva is a grassroots organization; one of several that helps sick and abandoned cows in Vrindavan. The organization collaborates with other cow-service organizations, vets and gaushalas, in order to provide the best possible service in each circumstance.

Recently Street Cow Seva provided a their list of emergency contact numbers. Please save these to your phone and use them if needed. If you find an orphaned, injured, or sick cow in Vrindavan, please remember to take a photo of the cow and note the exact location.

  • Street Cow Seva: feeding street cows and giving medical assistance on the street, and a space for short-term recovery
    whatsapp: +917060319529 – call 8606131874
    streetcowseva@gmail.com
  • Archak Prabhu – Cow Ambulance Service
    +919997462111 – +919897904111
  •  Savecowslife – Cow Ambulance Service/ Medical treatment
    Vet. Roshan Singh 9783758817 (Vrindavan)
    Vet. Kamal Narayan Singh 8875535993 (Govardhan)
  •  Care for Cows: Goshala at Kiki Nagla Vrindavan
    rehabilitation /shelter/ medical street support +917895002946
  •  Govind Dham Gaushala: Mathura-Vrindavan road
    Rehabilitation, medical treatments, shelter.
    Dr. Hariom +919760287954
  •  Street DOGS:
    Vet. +918859000697 (from Vrindavan)
    Vet. +918791628998 (from Mathura)

COW ORGANIZATIONS OUT OF VRINDAVAN:

  •  Gau Seva Dham (Hodal) Hospital / Cow Ambulance Service, medical treatment, surgery.+919991771111 – Hodal, Haryana, Palwal
  •  Jadkhor Godham Goshala (Rajasthan): rehabilitation / medical treatments / shelter / worship +917742896463 – Bharatpur Rajasthan
  •  Pathmeda Godham (Rajasthan): A place where the cows are worshipped in true accordance with the highest standards of Vedic thought and culture. Cow grazing.+912979287102 – Pathmeda, Sanchore, Rajasthan
  •  ISKCON Belgaum Gokul Dham (Karnataka): Dr. Sree Kumar and Dr. Sree Kala are amazing couple devotees who are working to implement cow care holistic management, homeopathic cow treatments and cow-grazing projects. +919947554677 Om Sri Surabhi campaign.

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VERSE 69:

yeṣāṁ cāru taleṣu śīta niviḍa cchāyeṣu rātrindivaṁ
puṣpāṇāṁ vigalat parāga vilasat talpeṣu klṛptāśrayam
prītyā snigdha madhu-vratair madhukaṇaiḥ saṁsevitaṁ tannavaṁ
yūnor yugmataraṁ mudā viharate te pāntu māṁ bhūruhāḥ

May the trees of Braj protect me, in whose deep, cool shade the Divine Couple blissfully lie upon a bed of flowers day and night, sprinkled by the sweet pollen and drops of honey from their flowers, which are kissed by humming bees.

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: After describing the sweet kunjas that are made of trees and vines, Raghunath Das Goswami now praises the trees and vines separately in the following two verses.

In this verse he praises the trees. All the trees of Vrindavan are the divine playmates of Shri Radha and Krishna.

drumāś ca kalpa pūrvā ye nānāmoda vidhāyakāḥ.
vṛndāvanāsthās tān viddhi balabhadrāṁśa sambhavān
(Krishna Yāmala Tantra)

“The wish-yielding trees in Vrindavan give all kinds of transcendental happiness, and they are all (viśuddha sattvamaya) expansions of Lord Baldev.”

Therefore there is not even the slightest element of material nature in them –

kecit pīyūṣa sārottama pariṇatayaḥ kecana kṣīra sārair
divyaiḥ sannirmitāḥ ke’pyatula mada-kṛtām āsavānāṁ ghanāṅgāḥ
kecit saitopalāḥ ke’pyati himakarakāḥ kalpa rūpā iti śrī
vṛndāraṇye drumendrā dadhati bahuvidhā rādhikā kṛṣṇa tuṣṭyai
(Vrindavan Mahimamrita 10.77)

“For the pleasure of Shri Radha and Krishna, the trees of Vrindavan have taken many different forms. Some of them are like crystalized essence of nectar, some of them are like the essence of divine milk, some of are like condensed nectar, some of them are like crystal, and some of them appear to be dusted with camphor.” In Sri Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.5.255) it is written:

yasyaika vṛkṣo’pi nijena kenācid dravyeṇa kāmāṁs tanute’rthino’khilān
tathāpi tat tan na sadā prakāśayed aiśvaryam īśaḥ svavihāra vighnataḥ

“Although all the trees in Braj, and even their leaves and flowers, are able to give anything to one who asks, and thus fulfill all his desires, still they do not always display this prowess and opulence, afraid that it will disturb the enjoyments of their Lord. Sometimes, when it suits the Lord’s pastimes, they may manifest such power!”

Sri Sri Radha and Krishna’s service is the greatest treasure for the trees of Vrindavan. After Sri Krishna disappeared from the Raas Lila, the gopis inquired from Vrindavan’s trees about him:

cūta priyāla panasāsana kovidāra jambvarka bilva bakulāmra kadamba-nīpāḥ
ye’nye parārtha-bhavakā yamunopakūlāḥ śaṁsantu kṛṣṇa-padavīṁ rahitātmanāṁ naḥ(Bhāgavata 10.30.9)

“O Cūta, Priyāla, Panasa, Asana, Kovidāra, Jambu, Arka, Bilva, Bakul, mango, Kadamb, Nīpa and other trees that are standing on the bank of the Yamuna for the welfare of others! O coconut and betel trees! Please show us empty-hearted Braj girls the way to attain Krishna!”

Some explain the word parārtha-bhavakā as follows: parā ca paraś ca parau śrī rādhā-kṛṣṇau tayor arthe tayoḥ sevārthaṁ bhavaḥ utpattir yeṣāṁ te parārtha-bhavakāḥpara means the Supreme Lord, ie. Shri Krishna and parā means the Supreme Goddess, Sri Radha. The auspicious advent of Sri Vrindavan’s trees took place for the sake of their service”.

Hence, Raghunath Das Goswami says: “May the trees of Braj protect me, in whose deep, cool shade the Divine Couple blissfully lie upon a bed of flowers day and night, sprinkled by the sweet pollen and drops of honey from their flowers, which are kissed by humming bees.”. Virahī Raghunath Das Goswami yearns for the grace of these trees, so that he can behold the honey-sweet pastimes of the playful Śrī-Sri Yugala Kiśora and engage in Their service.

ye tarura śītala chāy, suvicitra śobhā pāy,
vigalita parāga śayyāy
bhṛṅga madhu kaṇā lobhe, dale dale anurāge,
paḍiteche yāhādera gāy
puṣpa hāsya vikasita, gandhe dik āmodita,
sadā kore līlā uddīpane
navīna kiśora dvaya, hṛṣṭa-citte atiśaya
sukhe vihariche rātri dine
sei vṛkṣa parivāra, rakṣā koru bār bār,
vṛndāvane yāhāra janam
yoto muni ṛṣi-vare, vṛkṣa hoiyā sevā kore
kṛṣṇa līlā kore daraśan

“May the trees that took birth in Vrindavan protect me, in whose cool shade beautiful beds of flowers sprinkled with pollen give shelter to the Divine Couple, whose whose bodies (trunks) are covered by swarms of bees, greedy for drops of honey, whose flowers smile and constantly give inspiration for amorous pastimes by filling Vrindavan with their fragrance, and who are actually all great sages and saints who have taken birth as trees to witness Krishna’s pastimes.”

 

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This year, it’s going to be special “Mudiya Puno” at Madan Mohan Temple in Vrindavan. A deity of Sanatan Goswami will be installed at his samadhi mandir (tomb).

The present Acharya of Madan Mohan Temple, Shri Sanatan Kishor Goswami (Panchu Ji) says that the new deity of Sanatan Goswami will be brought from Jaipur. The celebration will include Adhivas Kirtan the evening before, Suchak Kirtan (a biography of Sanatan Goswami in the form of a kirtan) on the morning of Mudiya Puno, and a bhandara (prasad distribution).

What is Mudiya Puno?

In Braj, Guru Purnima (the full moon day when spiritual teachers are worshiped) is known as “Mudiya Puno”. This year it falls on July 9th.

“Mudiya” is derived from the word mundan or shaven head, and it is a loving local nickname for the great Gaudiya Vaishnava saint, Shri Sanatan Goswami, and “Mudiya Puno” is Sanatan Goswami’s tirobhav tithi (disappearance day). On this day, huge crowds of devotees flock to Govardhan to perform Govardhan Parikrama. A large number of devotees visit the Shri Madanmohan Temple in Vrindavan to pay their respects at Sanatan Goswami’s samadhi.

Who was Sanatan Goswami?

Shri Sanatan Goswami was a follower of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who renounced worldly life and lived in Vrindavan about 500 years ago. He used to perform intense spiritual practice and write books, which became part of the foundation of Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy. According to Gaudiya Vaishnava literature, Sanatan Goswami is the incarnation of Shri Radha’s maidservant, Shri Lavang Manjari.

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Sanatan Goswami’s Samadhi

Sanatan Goswami and Madan Mohan

Every day, Sanatan Goswami used to go for madhukari (collecting alms) from house to house. One day he came to the house of a Chaube (Chaturvedi Brahmin) in Mathura. The Chaube had an extremely attractive deity of Shri Krishna named Madan Mohan. Sanatan Goswami was entranced by his beauty. But he was sad to see that the children of the Chaube’s family were playing with Madan Mohan just like a doll. Then he noticed that the mother was making khichdi for Madan Mohan whilst brushing her teeth with a daatun (neem twig).

Sanatan Goswami became very upset, and had a word with the Chaube. The Chaube felt very embarassed and said to Sanatan Goswami, “Please excuse us. We do not know how to love Madan Mohan. Madan Mohan is an ancient deity, installed five thousand years ago by Shri Krishna’s grandson Vajranabh. How can we possibly worship him properly?”

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Shri Madan Mohan (Karauli)

“You should worship him according to the rules and regulations laid out in the scriptures,” said Sanatan Goswami.

From that day forward, the Chaube and his family became very strict with Madan Mohan. He was awakened, fed, and so forth at all the right times and with all the rules of cleanliness. Fearful of making a mistake, all the family members kept a respectful distance.

That night, Madan Mohan appeared in Sanatan Goswami’s dream and said, “Why did you ruin everything? These people treated me like their own family. The children were my real brothers and sisters. I loved so much to play with them! And Maiya used to brush her teeth while cooking, because she knows I am very hungry in the morning. She would multi-task just so I don’t have to bear the pain of hunger for one more moment. But now I have to wait forever for my breakfast. Look, rules and regulations have their place, but these are not ordinary people. They are Brajwasis and they truly love me. You only have to look into their hearts.”

“O Lala, I am very sorry,” said Sanatan Goswami, wiping away his tears. “What should I do?”

Madan Mohan smiled and replied. “Come tomorrow and take me away from here. Now I want to enjoy that kind of love from you.”

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Shri Madan Mohan (Vrindavan)

Sanatan Goswami smiled too, and said, “If that is what you want, I accept. But I have to warn you: I am a renounced man. I don’t have any posessions. The only home I have to offer you are the trees of Vrindavan, and the only feast I can give you is the bread I get from begging, and the water of the Yamuna River.”

“That sounds like a wonderful feast!” said Madan Mohan.

“For me it is,” said Sanatan Goswami. “But you are used to the finer things in life. I wonder if you will be able to manage.”

“I will manage,” said Madan Mohan.

And so Madan Mohan came to live with Sanatan Goswami.

The first day, Sanatan Goswami went for madhukari as usual, and received just a little bit of wheat flour (atta). He mixed the flour with water from the Yamuna river and made a dish called baati, by forming the dough into balls and cooking it in the coals of a fire. He served the baati to Madan Mohan with Yamuna water in an earthen pot. Madan Mohan ate it and smiled.

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Madan Mohan eats Sanatan Goswami’s baati

Usually, Sanatan Goswami got only wheat flour for madhukari and made baati with it. After a few days of this diet, Madan Mohan very sweetly said:

“May I please have some salt? I am finding it difficult to swallow your dry chunks of bread.”

“That’s impossible” said Sanatan Goswami. “If I give you salt one day, the next day you will ask for ghee. And if I give you ghee, you will ask for rabri. And if I give you rabri, you will ask for a whole feast. Your desires will be the end of me. I will have to give up the mission Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given me, leave my renounced life and get a job to buy whatever you wish. I want you to be happy, my darling, but I cannot do this for you. If you want salt, you will have to get it yourself.”

Madan Mohan was speechless. He smiled, and the wheels in his naughty mind started turning.

Later that afternoon, a ship washed ashore on the riverbank near Sanatan Goswami’s camp. Back then, the Yamuna River flowed right next to where the Madan Mohan Temple stands today – just at the foot of the hill, where the Parikrama Marg is now.

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Shri Sanatan Kishor Goswami offers aarti to Madanmohan

The captain of the ship was a Punjabi merchant named Ramdas Kapoor. He was very upset, because he could not get his ship unstuck. No matter how he tried, there was no movement at all. The Brajwasis noticed, and some came to help. But even the strong young farmers and cowherd boys could not free the boat. The Brajwasis asked Kapoor to visit Sanatan Goswami and ask for his blessings. Surely the great saint’s blessings could free his boat!

Ramdas Kapoor bowed to Sanatan Goswami and told him his problem.

“My boat is carrying an important shipment bound for Agra,” he said, “and if I cannot deliver, I am financially dead! Please give me your blessings, o Sage!”

Sanatan Goswami was silent. He did not like to get involved in worldly affairs. But something in his heart made him inquire further.

“What exactly is inside your boat?” asked Sanatan Goswami.

“The entire boat is packed with salt,” replied Ramdas Kapoor.

Sanatan Goswami smiled and said, “I think I know how we can free your boat.”

Kapoor was overjoyed to hear this news. Sanatan Goswami instructed him to offer a little salt to Madan Mohan with his evening meal. He did so, and immediately, at the moment the bhog (meal) was offered, the boat came unstuck.

Ramdas Kapoor was so overwhelmed by the grace of Sanatan Goswami and Shri Madan Mohan, that he donated a huge sum of money to build a temple for Madan Mohan.

The temple of Madan Mohan remains today as the oldest and most iconic landmark of Vrindavan. It is one of the famous sapta devalays and is fully protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

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Shri Madanmohan Temple, Vrindavan

 

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Vrindavan, 2017.06.13 (VT): In the previous post, Shyamananda Prabhu received a new tilak and name from Radharani Herself (or, according to the Shyamananda Prakash, from Lalita Sakhi). But Lalita Sakhi warned him not to tell anyone about what had happened. The only person he was allowed to tell was his shiksha guru, Shri Jeev Goswami. But in the absence of any explanation for the new tilak and name, rumors spread that Shyamananda had rejected his diksha guru, Shri Hriday Chaitanya, who lived in Bengal.

When the news reached Shri Hriday Chaitanya, he was extremely upset. He sent a letter to Shri Jeev Goswami, asking him to explain what had happened. Shri Jeev sent the reply: “I have not re-initiated Shyamananda. Shyamananda told me that you yourself have given him the new tilak and name.”

Shri Hriday Chaitanya was extremely confused. “Did I come in Shyamananda’s dream? No, I did not. Perhaps my disciple is lying just to save himself.”

Feeling extremely irritated, Shri Hriday Chaitanya requested all the main Bengali saints of his sampradaya to accompany him to Vrindavan to settle the matter. After a long journey, the saints took rest at Dheer Sameer. Shri Hriday Chaitanya then invited all the mahants of Vrindavan to participate in Shyamananda’s trial.

Shyamananda was brought before the assembly of saints. He bowed down in front of them with great humility.

The saints asked, “Who is your Guru? Who gave you your name and tilak?”

“My guru is Shri Hriday Chaitanya. My name and tilak were given by him.”

“Tell the truth, Krishnadas. If you received this name and tilak in a dream, then say so plainly. Or if you received them from another guru, you should admit that. If you lie and are found guilty, then you will lose the association of devotees, Shri Vrindavan Dham, and everything you hold dear. But if you tell the truth, we all are ready to forgive you.”

Shyamananda said, “Please give me a day to think about my answer.”

Leaving the assembly, Shyamananda sat down and began to meditate on the lotus feet of Shri Radha. In his female gopi form as Kanak Manjari, he entered the lila of Eternal Vrindavan. Kanak Manjari went to Radharani’s house in Barsana. Sitting at her doorstep, she began to cry.

Some sakhis came and asked, “Who are you? Why are you crying?”

“I am Brajwasi named Kanak Manjari. I am Shri Lalitaju’s maidservant. Yesterday I spent all day and night serving my beloved Lalita Sakhi, but when I went home my husband tried to beat me. So I have come here. Please ask Shri Lalita to give me her darshan and save my life!”

The sakhis immediately brought Kanak Manjari (Shyamananda) to Lalita Sakhi, who was at that time feeding paan to Radharani. Shri Roop Manjari was massaging Radharani’s lotus feet as Champaklata sakhi fanned her with a chamar.

Kanak Manjari bowed down at Shri Radha’s lotus feet, and Lalita Sakhi embraced her. She brought Kanak Manjari close to Radharani’s lotus feet, and Radharani placed those beautiful feet upon Kanak Manjari’s head.

Kanak Manjari told Radharani the entire story about her other life as Shyamananda; how she had received the new tilak and name by the grace of Shri Lalita, and how his Gurudev Shri Hriday Chaitanya along with all the saints of Vrindavan and Bengal were upset with him.

Radharani called Subal Sakha (who had incarnated as Shyamananda’s param-gurudev Shri Gauridas Pandit).

Shri Radha said to Subal, “This Kanak Manjari is Shyamananda, the disciple of your disciple. Shyamananda has my full mercy. Please save him from his distress.”

Subal Sakha drew the new tilak on Kanak Manjari (Shyamananda)’s forehead and gave her his blessings.

Meanwhile the saints in Vrindavan found Shyamananda unconscious. It looked as if he was dead. They were very upset, thinking that Shyamananda had died of sorrow. But Shri Jeev Goswami told them to do kirtan. When they sang kirtan, Shyamananda awoke from his trance.

When he came before the assembly of saints, Shri Hriday Chaitanya tried to wash the tilak off with water. But when he did so, Shyamananda meditated on the lotus feet of Shri Subal Sakha and Shri Lalita Sakhi. Instead of washing away, the tilak began to glow with a divine light.

Shyamananda’s Gurudev and all the saints then realized that Shyamananda was the recipient of special grace. His test of faith was over. His Gurudev and all the saints embraced him and gave him their full blessings.

The mahant of the Shri Radha-Shyamsundar temple, Sri Krishnagopalanand Dev Goswami Prabhupad explains that Shyamananda is an eternal associate of the Lord, meaning he was always there with Radha and Krishna in Eternal Vrindavan. He only came to this world to show the common person how to attain Radharani’s grace. If we sweep Vrindavan – if we serve Vrindavan with humility – then one day perhaps we too will find the anklet of Radharani that will lead us to her lotus feet.

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Shyamananda Prabhu’s Samadhi Mandir, Vrindavan

 

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0a.jpgVrindavan, 2017.06.12 (VT): Vrindavan’s beloved Shri Radharamanji gave His amazing darshan on Saturday in His “puspha vrishti nikunj.” On the occasion, nritya seva was offered by the famous Bharatanatyam dancer, Padmashree Gita Chandran along with her daughter Sharanya Chandran and other artists.

In the morning, auspicious texts were chanted and Rajopachar puja was offered to Radharamanji. Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami ji explained the bhav behind the Puspha Vrishti Kunj. Once the flowers of Shri Vrindavan Dham desired to sprinkle themselves over Thakurji’s enchanting form. The sakhis understood their desires, and so they created a nikunj (a palace of flowers) and, seating Him inside of it, showered him with fragrant blossoms. Radharamanji’s exquisite darshan attracted the hearts of all.

Bharatnatyam master Gita Chandran performed for Radharamanji with her dance troupe Natya Vriksha, including her daughter Sharanya Chandran and dancers Amrita, Shreya, Nandini and Anjana. They presented several compositions by Meerabai in the Bharatanatyam style. The songs included Sundar Shyam Sakha, Prabhu Aavan Ki Hai, Ali Mhane Lage Vrindavan Neeko, and others.

 

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Vrindavan, 2017.06.10 (VT): Today is the disappearance day of Shri Shyamananda Prabhu, a member of the third generation of saints in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lineage. The Shri Radha-Shyamsundar temple near Seva Kunj is celebrating his life today with special pooja, kirtan, prasad distribution and other festivities.

Shyamananda could be called the patron saint of sohni seva – serving the dust of Vrindavan by sweeping. By sweeping Vrindavan, he got the full kripa of Shri Radharani.

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Shyamananda Prabhu’s Samadhi

Shyamananda was the disciple of Shri Hriday Chaitanya, and the grand-disciple of Gauridas Pandit, who was an incarnation of Shri Krishna’s playmate, Subal Sakha. He was from Bengal, but his guru sent him to Vrindavan to study under Shri Jeev Goswami. After studying all the scriptures in great detail, Shyamananda decided that the best seva he could do was to sweep the dust of Vrindavan where Radha and Krishna dance the Raas Lila.

As he swept, Shyamananda would chant the Holy Name and meditate on Shri Radha and Krishna’s lilas. He was so lost in the ocean of bliss that he would forget his physical body.

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Nupur Prapti Sthan and Shyamananda Prabhu’s Samadhi – View from the road

Today, the street on which Shyamsundar Temple resides is the border between Seva Kunj and Nidhivan. Originally Nidhivan reached all the way to this street, although now it is covered wilth concrete and buildings. Shyamananda used to sweep this part of Nidhivan every day.

One day while sweeping, Shyamananda found a golden anklet (nupur). The anklet was so beautiful, it felt as if the sun had fallen from the sky and was sitting in the dust of Vrindavan. The aura of the anklet was so overwhelming that as soon as Shyamananda touched it, he began to feel he was going mad with love. He started to cry, and soon he fainted in bliss.

It was a long time before Shyamananda became conscious again. Shyamananda felt that the anklet must belong to some divine personality, so he tied it around his neck, over his heart.

After some time, an old Brajwasi Brahmin lady came up to Shyamananda. The lady said, “My name is Radha Dasi. My child, have you seen a golden anklet? I am looking for it everywhere. The anklet belongs to my daughter-in-law. She came to bring water from the Shri Yamuna River and dropped it somewhere. The anklet is very expensive. Please give it to me, if you know where it is.”

“I did see an anklet, but how do I know it is yours? Take me to your village with you. I want to show the anklet to your friends and neighbors. If they confirm the anklet belongs to you, then I will give it to you.”

“My daughter-in-law is a princess,” said Radha Dasi. “I cannot possibly allow you to see her.”

“Then I cannot give you the anklet,” said Shyamananda, smiling.

The old lady remained silent for some time. Then she smiled and said, “Alright, then come with me.”

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Nupur prapti sthan: the place where Shyamananda found the anklet

Taking Shyamananda’s hand, the old lady led him under the bending branches of Nidhivan’s beautiful trees. Shyamananda had to bend down to pass through them. Finally they reached a clearing.

In the clearing, Shyamananda saw Shri Radha sitting there along with her closest sakhis and manjaris. Overwhelmed, he looked at his friend, the old woman, but the old woman was not an old woman… she was Lalita Sakhi. Shyamananda then realized that he, too, had taken on a female form like theirs.

Lalita Sakhi brought Shyamananda to the lotus feet of Shri Radha. She said, “This is your maidservant Kanak Manjari. She has found the anklet that you lost while you were dancing in the Raas Lila last night. Please grant her your mercy.

Radharani took the anklet from Shyamananda’s hand and touched it to his (her) head. The touch of the anklet created a new tilak. Before this day, Shyamananda’s was called Duhkhi Krishnadas (sad Krishnadas) because he always cried in separation. The name Shyamananda was given to him on this day by Shri Radharani.

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Shri Lalaji (P.C. Shri Radha-Shyamsundar Temple)

From her heart, Radharani manifested a deity of Shri Krishna and gave him to Shyamananda. This deity became known as “Shri Lalaji” and he is still worshipped to this day in the Shri Radha-Shyamsundar temple in Vrindavan.

Overwhelmed with Shri Radha’s love and blessings, Shyamananda bowed at her feet, and she asked him to place the anklet back on her ankle.

Shri Lalita Sakhi warned Shyamananda not to tell anyone about what had just happened, except his shiksha guru, Shri Jeev Goswami. Then Shyamananda returned to external consciousness.

Shyamananda told Shri Jeev Goswami everything. Shri Jeev’s eyes flowed with tears of love as he embraced Shyamananda.

But the Brajwasis, seeing Shyamananda’s new tilak and hearing his new name, thought that Shri Jeev Goswami had re-initiated Shyamananda. The news passed from the Brajwasis to the Bengali Vaishnav community and eventually got back to Shyamananda’s guru in Bengal.

Shyamananda’s guru, Shri Hriday Chaitanya, was extremely upset to hear that Shyamananda had rejected him as a Guru. He discussed with other saints of the Gaudiya Sampradaya about what was to be done.

To be continued…

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Shyamananda as Kanak Manjari receives the new tilak from Shri Radha

 

The post Shyamananda Prabhu receives Radharani’s grace by sweeping Vrindavan (Part 1) appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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Vrindavan, 2017.06.06 (VT): The following traditional Braj Bhasha prayers describe the glories of Shri Vrindavan. These centuries-old verses are still popular amongst the Brajwasis. The translations are by Krishnaa Kinkari Dasi, published in her book Dhanya Dhanya Vrishabhanu Dulhari.

वृन्दावन धाम नीको ब्रज कौ विश्राम नीको
श्यामा श्याम नाम नीको मंदिर आनंद को
कालीदह न्हान नीको यमुना पयपान नीको
रेणुका को खान नीको स्वाद मानो कंद कौ
राधाकृष्ण कुंड नीको संतन को संग निको
गौरश्याम रंग नीको अंग जुग चंद को
नील पीतपट नीको बंसीवट तट नीको
ललित किशोरी नीको नट नीको नन्द को

vrindavan dhaam neeko brij kau vishram neeko
shyaamaa shyam naam neeko mandir aanand ko
kalideh nhaan neeko yamunaa pay-paan neeko
renuka ko khaan neeko swaad maano kand ko
radha-krishn kund neeko santan ko sang neeko
gaur-shyam rang neeko ang jug chand ko
neel peet-pat neeko bansivat tat neeko
lalit kishori neeko nat neeko nand ko

Shri Vrindavan Dham is most charming, and spending time there is delightful! The amazing Names of the Divine Couple Shri Shyama-Shyam are bring bliss in all the temples. It is so good to bathe at the place where Sri Krishna pacified the black snake Kaliya, and how lovely it is to sip the waters of the Sri Yamuna River. Braj is a splendid treasure trove of dust and each grain of it tastes like a sugar lump! Radhakund and Shyamkund are stunningly beautiful, and the company of saints is very gratifying. The contrast of the Divine Couple’s fair and dark forms is most beautiful; together they look like two resplendent moons. Their blue and yellow contrasting dress is very attractive and wonderful is the Bansivat tree near the Sri Yamuna River where Shri Krishna sits and plays the flute. The poet Lalit Kishori sings, “How magnificent is Sri Krishna’s form as he plays as the Very Best Divine Dancer!”

एक रज रेणुका पै चिंतामणि वारि डारौं
वारि डारौं विश्व सेवाकुंज के विहार पै
लतान की पतान पै कोटि कल्प वारि डारौ
रंभा हू कौ वारि डारौ गोपिन के द्वार पै
बृज की पनिहारिन पै रती सची वारि डारौ
वैकुण्ठ हू वारि डारों कालिंदी की धार पै
कहै अभे राम एक राधा जू को जानत हैं
देवन कौ वारि डारो नन्द के कुमार पै

ek raj renuka pai chintamani vaari daro
vaari daro vishwa sevakunj ke vihar pe
lataan ki pataan pe koti kalp vaari daro
rambha hu ko vaari daro gopin ke dwaar pe
brij ki panihaarin pe rati sachi vaari daro
vaikunth hu vaari daro kalindi ki dhaar pe
kahe abhay ram ek radha ju ko jaanat hai
devan ko vaari daro nand ke kumar pe

The wish-giving Chintamani gem bows down to one grain of Braj’s sand. The whole wide world takes shelter of Shri Krishna’s pastimes in the Seva Kunj garden. The heavenly Kalpa Vriksh tree that grants so many favours surrenders itself to the twining creepers whilst the heavenly damsel Rambha remains humbly surrendered at the doors of the Gopis’ homes. Rati, the wife of the love-god, and Sachi, wife of Indra, humble themselves before the Braj girls as they carry their water from the river, and the whole of the heavenly realm of Vaikuntha pays respect to the River Yamunaji. The poet Abhay Ram says, “I know none other than Shri Radhaji, and every single god bows down in submission to the son of Nand, Shri Krishna.”

कीरत सुता के पग-पग पै प्रयाग यहाँ
केशव की कुँज केलि कोटि कोटि काशी हैं
यमुना में जगन्नाथ रेणुका में रामेश्वर
तरु तरु तरे यहाँ अयोध्या निवासी हैं
गोपिन के द्वार-द्वार हरिद्वार बसत यहाँ
बदरी केदार यहाँ फिरत दास दासी हैं
स्वर्ग अपवर्ग बृथा ही लै करेंगे कहा
जानि लेहु हमें हम वृन्दावन वासी हैं

keerat sutaa ke pag-pag pe prayaag yaha
keshav ki kunj keli koti koti kaashi hai
yamuna mein jagannath renuka mein rameshwar
taru taru tare yahan ayodhya niwasi hai
gopin ke dwar dwar haridwar basat yahan
badari kedar yahan phirat das dasi hai
swarg apavarg brithaa hi lai karenge kaha
jani lehu hame ham vrindavan vasi hai

The holy pilgrimage spot Prayag takes shelter of every single footstep of Shri Kirti’s daughter, Radhaji, whilst thousands of the holy city Varanasi cannot equal the forest groves where Shri Krishna plays. Shri Jagannathji resides within the Yamuna River and Rameshwarji can be found in every single grain of sand of Braj. Haridwaar stands humbly at the door of every Gopi’s home, and Badrinath and Kedarnath wander around in Braj as male and female servants. The rewards of heaven and liberation are useless compared to life here. Know that what I say is true, for I am a Brajwasi.

बृज ही में मोरन के पच्छन कौ मुकुट धार्यो
बृज ही में रस केलि करन हुलासते
बृज ही में जूरा दै बनायौ नटवर वेष
बृज ही के लोगन कूँ बाँधे प्रेम पासते
बृज ही के फूलनि सिंगारे रहत द्यौस निसि
बृज ही के नागर कहावै गुन रासते
बृज संबंधी रूप लीला सब जग गाई
पाई परमेसुर हू शोभा बृज वासते

brij hi mein moran ke pachhan ko mukut dhaaryo
brij hi mein ras keli karan hulaaste
brij hi mein joora dai banayo natavar vesh
brij hi ke logan ku bandhe prem paas te
brij hi ke phoolani singare rahat dhyos nisi
brij hi ke naagar kahavai gun raas te
brij sambandhi roop leela sab jag gaai
paai paramesur hu shobha brajvaas te

Only in Braj, Shri Krishna wears a crown of peacock feathers and here alone He enjoys the Raas Lila. Only here in Braj does he play as the best of dancers, and it is here alone that he ties everyone up with the bonds of love. It is with the flowers of Braj that He decorates himself day and night, and here he manifests a treasure store of fine qualities. The whole world sings about his form and pastimes as they are in Braj, and it is through connection to this magnificent Braj land that our Shri Krishna is famed as the most beautiful One.

छबि थी छबि रासि के सन्मुख जो वह दीखती है छबि आज यहाँ
बन बीथिया वृक्षलता द्रुम है सब सुन्दर साज समाज यहाँ
अति पावन प्रेम का भाव लिए रहता नित ही रसराज यहाँ
बहती रस की सरिता बृज में रहते अब भी बृजराज यहाँ

chhabi thi chhabi ke sanmukh jo vah deekhti hai chhabi aaj yaha
ban beethiya vriksh-lata drum hai sab sundar saaj samaaj yaha
ati paavan prem ka bhaav liye rahataa nit hi rasaraaj yaha
bahati ras ki saritaa brij mein rahate ab bhi brijraaj yaha

The beauty of Braj Dham is far beyond any other beauty. All the narrow paths and lanes here are decorated with gorgeous trees and creeping vines. The Lord of all divine loving pastimes always resides here in Braj, generating the most pure mood of heartfelt love. The River of Nectar flows here and Shri Krishna has his home here.

नेम करो तुम कोटिन हू पै प्रेम बिना नहि काज सरैगो
बारिद कोटिन बूँद परौ बिन महन सूखौ ताल भरैगो
प्रियदास जु ज्ञानरु योग करौ बिनु राधिका नाम न दुख टरैगो
याते प्रपंच कौ दूर करौ बसौ बृजवास तौ पूरौ परैगो

nem karo tum kotin hu pai prem binaa nahi kaaj sarego
baarid kotin boond paro bin mahan sookho taal bharego
priya daas ju gyaan aru yog karo binu radhika naam na dukh tarego
yaate prapanch ko door karo baso brajwaas to puro parego

You can perform many types of spiritual practices, but without love in your heart they will never bring the reward you seek. From a moving cloud may fall millions of droplets, but until there is a concentrated rainfall, the parched lake cannot be restored. The poet Priya Das says, “No matter how much knowledge you acquire, or how much yoga you practise, none of it will truly deliver you from grief until they are linked to Sri Radha’s Name. If you wish to remain far from the wranglings of the world, then you must truly live in the heart of Braj.

जाति के है हम तो बृजवासी सु नहि और जात की बाधा
देश है घोषन चाहत मौख कौं तीरथ श्री यमुना सुख साधा
संतन कौ सत्संग आजीविका कुंजबिहार अहार अगाधा
नगर के कुलदेव गोवर्धन मोहन मंत्ररु इष्ट है राधा

jaati ke hai ham to brajwasi su nahi aur jaat ki badha
desh hai ghoshan chaahat maukh ko teerath shri yamunaa sukh sadha
santan ko satsang aajeevikaa kunj-bihaar ahaar agaadhaa
nagar ke kuldev govardhan mohan mantr aru isht hai radha

My only true identity is that I am a Brajwasi; the obstacles associated with birth or caste cannot restrict me. This land is a place where we live with the cows, not a spot for seeking liberation. All the acts of pilgrimage are satisfied just by being in the presence of Shri Yamuna River. For souls on the path of love, it is a land where they can have saintly company for the rest of their lives, have darshan of Shri Krishna’s divine lilas, and survive exclusively on prasad (blessed food). The poet Nagari Das says, “My Lord is Shri Govardhan, my mantra is Shri Krishna’s Name, and my Divine Heroine is Shri Radha.”

 

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Shri Radha and Krishna enjoy their romance in the cooling shade of Braj’s trees by day, and at night they rest on beauiful beds made from their flowers, kissed by honeybees, dusted by golden pollen and dotted with drops of honey. May those beautiful trees of Braj protect me.

VERSE 69:

yeṣāṁ cāru taleṣu śīta niviḍa cchāyeṣu rātrim divam
puṣpāṇāṁ vigalat parāga vilasat talpeṣu klṛptāśrayam
prītyā snigdha madhu-vratair madhukaṇaiḥ saṁsevitaṁ tannavaṁ
yūnor yugmataraṁ mudā viharate te pāntu māṁ bhūruhāḥ

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: After describing the sweet forest hideaways, expertly crafted out of living trees and vines, Shri Raghunath Das Goswami now praises the trees and vines individually in the following two verses. In this verse he praises the trees.

All the trees of Vrindavan are the playmates of the Divine Couple.

drumāś ca kalpa pūrvā ye nānāmoda vidhāyakāḥ. vṛndāvanāsthās tān viddhi balabhadrāṁśa sambhavān (Krishna Yāmala Tantra)

“The wish-giving trees of Vrindavan bestow all kinds of divine joys, and they are all (viśuddha sattvamay) expansions of Shri Balram.” Therefore there is not even the slightest touch of material matter in them:

kecit pīyūṣa sārottama pariṇatayaḥ kecana kṣīra sārair
divyaiḥ sannirmitāḥ ke’pyatula mada-kṛtām āsavānāṁ ghanāṅgāḥ
kecit saitopalāḥ ke’pyati himakarakāḥ kalpa rūpā iti śrī
vṛndāraṇye drumendrā dadhati bahuvidhā rādhikā kṛṣṇa tuṣṭyai
(Vrindavan Mahimāmṛta 10.77)

“For Radha and Krishna’s pleasure, the trees of Vrindavan have many different forms. Some are like solid nectar, and some are like condensed milk. Some of them are like crystal, and some are enveloped in camphor.”

In Sri Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.5.255) it is said:

yasyaika vṛkṣo’pi nijena kenācid dravyeṇa kāmāṁs tanute’rthino’khilān
tathāpi tat tan na sadā prakāśayed aiśvaryam īśaḥ svavihāra vighnataḥ

“Although all the trees in Braj can fulfill any wish, they do not always show this power lett it disturb the Lord’s enjoyments. But even the leaves and flowers of Braj’s trees hold this power, and when it suits the Lord’s lilas, they manifest this ability.”

Shri Radha and Krishna’s seva is the greatest treasure for the trees of Vrindavan. After Sri Krishna disappeared from the Raas Lila the Braj devis inquired from Vrindavan’s trees about him:

cūta priyāla panasāsana kovidāra jambvarka bilva bakulāmra kadamba-nīpāḥ
ye’nye parārtha-bhavakā yamunopakūlāḥ śaṁsantu kṛṣṇa-padavīṁ rahitātmanāṁ naḥ

(Bhāgavata 10.30.9)

“O Cūta, Priyāla, Panasa, Asana, Kovidāra, Jambu, Arka, Bilva, Bakula, mango, Kadamba, o Nīpa! All you trees, standing on the bank of the Yamuna for the welfare of others! O coconut and betel trees! Please show us the way to find Krishna!”

Some explain the word parārtha-bhavakā as follows: parā ca paraś ca parau śrī rādhā-kṛṣṇau tayor arthe tayoḥ sevārthaṁ bhavaḥ utpattir yeṣāṁ te parārtha-bhavakāḥpara means the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna, and parā means the Supreme Goddess Sri Radha. The auspicious advent of Shri Vrindavan’s trees took place for the sake of Their service”.

Hence, Raghunath Das Goswami says: “Shri Radha and Krishna enjoy their romance in the cooling shade of Braj’s trees by day, and at night they rest on beauiful beds made from their flowers, kissed by honeybees, dusted by golden pollen and dotted with drops of honey. May those beautiful trees of Braj protect me.”

In separation Shri Raghunath Das Goswami yearns for the grace of these trees, so that he can see the honey-sweet pastimes of the playful Divine Couple and serve Them.

ye tarura śītala chāy, suvicitra śobhā pāy,
vigalita parāga śayyāya
bhṛṅga madhu kaṇā lobhe, dale dale anurāge,
paḍiteche yāhādera gāy

puṣpa hāsya vikasita, gandhe dik āmodita,
sadā kore līlā uddīpane
navīna kiśora dvaya, hṛṣṭa-citte atiśaya
sukhe vihariche rātri dine

sei vṛkṣa parivāra, rakṣā koru bāra bāra,
vṛndāvane yāhāra janama
yoto muni ṛṣi-vare, vṛkṣa hoiyā sevā kore
kṛṣṇa līlā kore daraśana

May I be protected by the trees of Vrindavan, in whose cool shade the Divine Couple looks so beautiful as they enjoy with jubilant hearts day and night on a bed of flowers sprinkled with their (the trees’) pollen, their bodies (trunks) kissed by swarms of bees, greedy for drops of honey, whose flowers smile and constantly inspire romance by filling all the directions with their fragrance, and who are actually all great sages and saints who have taken birth as trees to witness Krishna’s pastimes.”

 

A108-AI

In the fragrant arbours (kunjas) of Braj, decorated with blossoming flowers kissed by sweetly humming bees, Shri Radha-Krishna enjoy their romance, dancing on the waves of love. I wish to open my hair and use it as a broom, to sweep the precious earth of those bowers.

VERSE 68:

guñjad bhṛṅga kulena juṣṭa kusumaiḥ saṁlabdha mañju-śriyāṁ
kuñjānāṁ nikareṣu yeṣu ramate saurabhya vistāriṇām

udyat kāma taraṅga raṅgita manaḥ tad navya yūnoḥ yugaṁ
teṣāṁ vistṛta keśa-pāśa-nikaraiḥ kuryāmaho mārjanam

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse, Das Goswami praises the sweet groves that are the secret playground for Sri Radha and Krishna’s romantic pastimes. For Their pleasure, the groves have beautiful cottages surrounded by flowering trees.

The natural beauty of Their forest retreat is far more enchanting than the most expensive temple. Many kinds of flowers adorn each grove of the woodland, and in each grove there are swarms of humming bees drinking nectar.

Forest nymphs have decorated the beautiful cottages with gorgeous pictures, showing the Divine Couple’s lilas. Each grove also has bejewelled beds with mattresses stuffed with stemless, fragrant flowers. The gates are decorated with enticing pictures made with red powder.

The bees are the guardians of this palace of love. They will not let anyone in who is not chosen by the Divine Couple. Their humming is like beating drums on the battlefield of love.

All six seasons eternally serve this place, and time is their obedient servant. The sky, the air, the moon and the sun are also servants of this divine lila, who move only to give Them joy. There is nothing in all creation like the beautiful love-bowers of Shri Radha and Krishna.

Accomplished devotees see all of this with the eyes of love.

In these groves, scented by many kinds of blooming flowers, the young couple perform Their wonderful pastimes, Their hearts dancing on waves of love.

tat saundaryaṁ kim api kalayat sannavāṇī maranda-
syandaiḥ sāndra prasṛmara mahā candrikāsyāravinde;
sarvāṅgeṣu prakaṭa pulakānaṅga vaivaśya lolad
gaura śyāmāṅgakamavirahaṁ yatra bhāti dvidhām
yatrānyonya praṇaya sarasāveśa pūrṇāyitāṅgaṁ
hāsaṁ hāsaṁ rucira kalayānyonya saṅghaṭṭitāṅgam;
bāraṁ bāraṁ surasa samarotsāha sannaddha mūrti-
jyotir dvandvaṁ viśati sahasā mañju kuñjājireṣu
(Sri Vrindavan Mahimāmṛtam 6.72-73)

“In Vrindavan, a certain dark and golden pair are eternally restless with passion. Their bodies get covered with goosebumps just by looking at each other’s lotus faces. Their eyes are like sweet moonlight and their trembling words of love are an endless stream of honey. They laugh and embrace each other, and enter the sweet forest bower of Vrindavan, eager to engage each other on the battlefield of love.”

In all of these bowers, the sakhis and manjaris are blessed with the most precious vision of Shri Radha and Krishna’s romantic lila. They are wealthy with the great treasure of Their seva.

veṇī-cūḍā tilaka racanair gandha tāmbūla mālyair
divyaiḥ sūkṣmojjvala vara paṭair divya divyānna pānaiḥ
samyak samvījana mṛdu padāmbhoja samvāhanādyaiḥ
sakhyo rādhā muralīdharaṇau yan nikuñje bhajanti
kāścit kuñjān niravadhi pariṣkurvate śrī vibhedair
granthatyanyā vividha kusumair divya mālyādikāni
kāścid yuktyā vidadhati mudā divya gandha prakārān
kāścit kuñcantyati varapaṭaṁ yatra rādhā sudāsyaḥ
(Vrindavan Mahimāmṛtam 6.74-75)

The sakhis serve Radha and Krishna by dressing Their hair, painting their faces with tilak and making beautiful headdresses for Them. They perfume their bodies, decorate Them with garlands and beautiful clothes, then feed Them delicious food, drinks and paan. They gently fan them and massage Their feet. Some sakhis clean the bower, and some make flower garlands, and some prepare delightful perfumes whilst others arrange Their garments.”

Raghunath Das Goswami is Radha’s dear maidservant, a most respectful maidservant, so he prays that he/she may sweep the play-grove of her mistress with her long, unbound hair.

alikula guñjarita kusuma nikare;
parama surabhi ye sab kuñjera bhitore
āhā! sei suvikhyāta navīna yugala;
madana taraṅgāveśe ho’ye suvihvala
unmatta hṛdaye nitya korena vihāra;
se sakala kuñja āmi haraṣe apāra
nija dīrgha keśa pāśe koribo mārjana;
e vāsanā mone mora jāge anukṣaṇa

“With greatest bliss I always long to sweep with my hair those fragrant groves, where the bees hum sweetly as they kiss the flowers, and where my beloved Couple dances on the waves of love.”

 

A108-AI

When they hear Sri Radhika playing her Kacchapī vīṇā and Sri Krishna playing his beautiful Muralikā flute, the deer become ecstatic and the bunches of grass fall half from their mouths before they remain stunned. May these charming best of deer, who then surround Śrī-Sri Radha and Mādhava in a mood of friendship, delight me.

yeṣaṁ kacchapikā-lasan-muralika-nādena harṣotkaraiḥ
srastārddhas tṛṇa-guccha eṣa nitarāṁ vaktreṣu saṁstambhate
sakhyenāpi tayoḥ paraṁ parivṛta-rādhā-bakadveṣiṇos
te hṛdyā mṛga-yuthapāḥ prati dinaṁ māṁ toṣayantu sphuṭam

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse, deer like the Krishnasaras are praised. Even the deer in Vraja, the loving playground of Śrī-Sri Radha and Krishna, are most blessed and praiseworthy. How can there by any doubt about this when even Lord Brahmā and Uddhava are among those great souls who yearn to take birth here, desiring to become even immobile entities like the grass and bushes?

In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam we can find the fortune of Vrindavan’s deer and does being praised by the pūrva-rāgavatī Vrajasundarīs, the gopīs who had just fallen in love with Krishna:

dhanyāḥ sma mūḍha-matayo.api hariṇya etā
yā nandanandanam upātta-vicitra-veṣam
ākarṇya veṇu-raṇitaṁ saha kṛṣṇa-sārāḥ
pūjāṁ dadhur viracitāṁ praṇayāvalokaiḥ

The purport of this verse is that one Vrajasundarī once spoke to the other Vraja-devīs: “Ohe Sakhīs! Blessed are the does of Vrindavan! There is no comparison to their love! They are born as dumb animals and they have no intelligence whatsoever. They cannot distinguish right from wrong, but their hearts are filled with love. They love this beautiful Śyāma-form even more than their life airs! As soon as he enters into the woods they come running. What to speak of when he starts playing his flute! When they hear his flute, they flock to him even from afar and surround him on all sides, taking their husbands, the black bucks, along with them.

In this way both husband and wife are blessed by seeing Krishna. Just as a guest is heartily welcomed and lovingly given entry into the house when he comes to the door of a gṛhastha, similarly when the beloved guest Sri Govinda comes to the gate of the does’ abode they heartily welcome him and offer him love-arghya or water to wash the hands with their restless eyes. They cannot speak, but their heart’s love is expressed through the eyes.

Blessed are the lives of these deer! They know very well how to worship the god of love (Krishna). And blessed are their husbands too, for they do not obstruct their service to Krishna, but act in a favorable way. They are justly called Krishna-sāra, for the essence of their lives is Krishna! We are unfortunate girls, for although we attained gopī bodies in Vrindavan, we have not been able to worship Gopīnātha. It would have been better if we had taken birth as does!” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.21.11)

Raghunath Das Goswami is Sri Radharani’s maidservant, so he knows how fortunate the does of Vrindavan are. Once he was absorbed in the taste of bhajan on the bank of Radha Kund when he suddenly perceived a honey sweet pastime of Sri Sri Radha-Mādhava.

Sri Sri Radha Giridhārī are seated on a jeweled platform under a wish-yielding tree, illuminating the bank of the kuṇḍa with their golden and bluish splendor. There are no sakhīs around, but Das Goswami, as an antaraṅgā sevādhikāriṇī kiṅkarī, a maidservant who is eligible to render intimate services, is fanning the Divine Pair, who are absorbed in various rasika conversations. Suddenly Krishna lifts his enchanting flute to his lips and starts to play, while Sri Radharani picks up her Kacchapī vīṇā and begins plucking at its strings.

The mobile and immobile beings are enchanted by the charming melody. The sweetness that Srimati’s vīṇā playing reveals stifles even the sweetness of Sri Krishna’s flute. Seeing this, the grazing deer and does, their mouths full of bunches of grass,  come to surround Śyāma and Svāminī as if they are bewitched by a mantra. The grass falls half from their mouths, but remain stuck there. What sweet feelings are revealed in their eyes! They are just like the Divine Pair’s dearmost girlfriends, the priya-narma-sakhīs. Their hearts are filled with the sweetness of the flute and the vīṇā. With their eyes they offer flowers of love to the lotus feet of the Divine Couple, to whose sweetness they are so attracted.

Remembering his vision of that day and taking that remembrance in his heart Das Goswami says: “May those charming best of deer always delight me!” In other words, “May I relish the enchanting sweetness of Śyāma and Svāminī and attain their service together with them, this is my prayer!”

rādhā-kare śobhe yini, se kacchapī vīṇā dhvani,
āra kṛṣṇa muralīra tāne.
śravaṇete kṛṣṇa sāra, mantra mugdha bhāva yāra,
preme stabdha hoy toto-kṣaṇe

When the Krishnasāra-deer hear the sound of the Kacchapī vīṇā, that looks so beautiful in Radha’s hands, and the sound of Krishna’s muralī-flute, they become stunned of ecstatic love as if they are bewitched by a mantra.”

arddha guccha tṛṇa mukhe, eka diṭhe ceye thāke,
avicala dāḍāye royeche
rādhā-kṛṣṇe sakhya-bhāve, antarera anurāge,
citravat yeno virājiche

“Half-chewed bunches of grass hang in their mouths and they stand there staring, motionless like pictures, their hearts filled with passionate fraternal love for Radha and Krishna.

kṛṣṇa anurāgī yoto, sei mṛgapati yūtha,
ei bhikṣā māge akiñcane
tāhādera bhāva-rāji, kṛpāya arpiyā āji,
santuṣṭa koruna anukṣaṇe

“I humbly beg this alm from these best of deer, that are so deeply in love with Krishna: May they give me the treasure of their ecstatic love today and thus delight me at every moment.”

A108-AI

Vrindavan, 05.21.2017 (Kusha Devi Dasi): It is with our whole heart that we humbly invite all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples to Sri Vrindavan Dham, in honor of the solemn and auspicious occasion of the 40th Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s Tirobhava on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th of October 2017.

In these three days, our sole focus will be to embrace every opportunity to extol Srila Prabhupada’s glories and to express our profound gratitude for his teachings, his books, and his extensive accomplishments. In this way, we hope to deepen our realizations of his immense transformative influence within our lives, both personally and collectively.

A committee is being formed to organize the festival, and we would love to receive input from you with ideas on how you think we can best honor our beloved Srila Prabhupada.

This is the 40th Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s glorious departure. With deep honor and affection, we beseech you to consider reuniting with your Godbrothers and Godsisters in this most holy of places, to bask in Srila Prabhupada’s endless glories.

We look forward to receiving news of your arrival. Please feel free to write with any questions regarding the occasion, along with any input you can offer regarding organization.

Forty years have passed since Srila Prabhupada graced us with his physical presence, yet in accordance with his all-merciful nature, his impact upon our lives endures. Srila Prabhupada’s sainthood and domain of blessed inspiration continues to grow and expand over the decades, his glories glowing as brightly as ever!

On behalf of our GBC, His Holiness Gopal Krishna Maharaj, our Vrindavan Executive Board, our Temple President, His Grace Pancagauda, our Vrindavan Management Committee and the 40th Anniversary Planning Committee,

Kusha devi dasi.

A108-AI

Radha Baba (1913-1992) was a devotee of Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krishna who lived in Gorakhpur. Born in a Vaishnav Brahmin family in Gaya, he became an Advaitin sannyasi, but later took the path of Braj devotion. Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar, the founder of Gita Press, was his inseparable spiritual companion.  It is said that Radha Baba spent fourteen years performing a very strict maun vrat, during which he kept complete silence, without even using gestures to communicate. During this period he was completely absorbed in Braj Lila. Several beautiful books were written by him, including Keli Kunj, Satsang Sudha and Mahabhaga Brajdeviyan. The following excerpt is taken from his book Easy Steps to Eternal Vrindavan, translated into English by Lakhpat Rai, M.A. It appears to be out of print, but the original Hindi edition, Prem Satsang Sudha Mala, is still available from Gita Press, as are his other works.


The only source of all the lilas of the Lord is Shri Radhikaji alone. She is the enrapturing energy of Shri Krishna. She is His very Self. Assuming unlimited forms, She sees to the propriety of Shri Krishna’s lilas. The prem lila of Shri Radhaji is so exalted that, really speaking, he alone can see it, to whom She wishes to show it through Her Grace; there is no other way at all.

She exists even today and whatever you desire, She can fulfill at that very moment and in that very manner. What Shri Krishna is, the same is Shri Radha. Between them there is not the very least difference of any kind whatsoever.

I will tell you a true incident that happened in Braj.

Three high-souled men were roaming about. While doing so, one of them, who was somewhat advanced in age, got tired and said, ‘Dear brothers, you may proceed; I shall, however, rest here only.’ All the three of them had taken no food at all throughout the day. So one of them stayed behind and the other two proceeded on.

Barsana was approaching. Both of them were full of faith. After consulting each other, both of them decided that they should be the guests of Shriji (Shri Radhaji) for the day. As the above conversation had taken place in a humorous mood, they never thought of it again.

Later they thought to themselves – night has now fallen, where shall we go to beg for food? After partaking of whatever prasad (food offered to the Deity) we may get in the temple tonight, let us drink our fill of water.

That day there was a festival in the temple and they absorbed themselves in it. When the festival was over, the crowd of devotees dispersed. At about 11 o’clock in the night, the temple priest began to call aloud repeatedly. ‘Where are the two guests of Shriji?’

The two men heard this, and remembered their humorous conversation.

Soon they became submerged in love and they answered, ‘Perhaps it is us?’ After that, the preist took them along with him and, with great affection, fed them to their fill with the most delicious prasad. Filled with love, they partook of the prasad with great delight and feeling fully satisfied, they left the temple and took rest in a pavillion nearby.

After they had gone to sleep, both of them had a similar dream at the same time.

Both of them saw that an extremely lovely young girl had come and was asking, “I hope you had a full meal. You are my guests, is it not?”

They replied, in the dream itself, “Oh yes! We had a very hearty meal!”

The girl said, “But in the prasad tonight there were very nice betel leaves (paan). The priest forgot to give them to you. I have come with those very betel leaves.” Saying so, she placed a pair of betel leaves seasoned with lime and catechu, etc., near each one of them.

Just then the two of them woke up and, getting up, they saw that there were actually two betel leaves near each of their heads. Both of them started shedding tears and became agnonized with love. Placing the betel leaves in their mouths, they became beside themselves with love.

Each of them related his dream to the other. Both of them had one and the same dream at the same time.

This is a true incident, and the individuals who had this experience are perhaps still alive. [Editor’s note: I have heard in Vrindavan that this incident refers to Radha Baba himself, and his spiritual companion Shri Hanumanprasad Poddar] Shri Radha Rani and Shri Krishna looked to their faith alone, and then giving them food to their fill, They accepted them in the form of guests. Similarly, They can offer Their hospitality to a person, making him Their guest, who wishes to have Their blessed sight with a real faith, and who wishes to be blessed by seeing Their lila.

Radha-Baba-and-Hanumanprasad-Poddar.jpg

Radha Baba and Hanumanprasad Poddar

To Them, all are equal and there is no partiality towards anybody. Therefore, if you pray to Shri Krishna and Shri Radha Rani with an exclusive and impatient mind, ‘May I constantly think of You. May I be able to listen to Your lilas all the time – that is all,’ take it as true that there will be no delay in it. They will surely listen to this prayer, but only when the prayer is sincere.

So long as your prayer is not sincere, till then go on repeating it even with an insincere mind. They can convert even an insincere prayer into a real one in due course.

Your desire that you should be able to have a constant remembrance of Shri Krishna and to listen to the lilas is an excellent one. This is the very best desire. Just go on desiring, be it sincere or insincere, go on desiring alone.

If the desire persists, eventually it will become real too, and some day or the other, full grace will surely manifest.

A108-AI

Vrindavan, 2017.05.14 (Shri Binod Bihari Das Babaji Maharaj): There are two ways in front of the jeevatma (soul): one towards samsaar and another towards God. This is why the jeev is called tatastha-shakti, meaning the power situated in between two ways – on the shoreline.

On one side there is the infinite Ocean, and on the other side is the land. If you want to keep on taking births one after the other, as insects, birds, animals and humans, then follow the path of samsaar. If you want to become free from this vicious endless cycle, then take the path to God.

If you go towards samsaar, you will receive only sadness, because that’s all that there is in samsaar. There is no shanti here, no peace here. No one here is experiencing shanti, has ever experienced shanti, nor will they ever experience shanti here. This is because shanti is related to the soul alone. But we have forgotten that and accepted that there is shanti in this chaotic samsaar, in this body and things related to the body – in shabd (sound), sparsh (touch), roop (appearance), ras (flavor) and gandh (smell) – and we are running behind these?

Run as much as you want! There is infinite time to run! The Time Cycle (kaal chakra) does not rotate beyond this universe. Here, when sun rises we say it is day, and when  the sun sets we say it’s night. When we go beyond this universe, the Time Cycle is stationary there; there is no day and no night. Run as much as you want, but shanti is not here in samsaar! Here there is only infinite sadness is search of shanti.

And where there is shanti, it passes away unnoticed from us; we don't even try to accept that there is shanti only in God.

Our relationship with god has always been there, is still there and will always be there. There is no doubt about that! What new relationship you will establish with God? He was never a stranger! You have to correct your mistake, and the mistake is that you have forgotten your relationship with God. Correcting this mistake itself is sadhana (spiritual practice). You must offer yourself at the feet of God.

What sadhana will you do? You don't have much capacity to do sadhana so that you can reach God by your own strength. God has not given such power to the jeev.

In the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna says, “Arjun! God resides in every creature, and through Maya, He makes every creature dance like a puppet.”

So what should we do?

The Bhagwad Gita says, just become samarpit (surrendered). Take His shelter. Then with his kripa you will receive the supreme shanti. But what is samarpan (surrender)?

Suppose you have sold your cow to someone. Now you cannot direct that person on how he must look after the cow. You cannot tell him, you don't give the cow water and food at the right time. This is very wrong. You must do like this and like that. No, you cannot say that because you have sold your cow and now you have no right over her.

Similarly, when we offer ourselves at the feet of God, our desires and thoughts have no place there. We have to destroy all our desires even become a drashta (a mere observer) and watch what He wants to do – what is His desire. Whatever is happening is happening by His desire.

What shall we do? We must only see if we have any independent desire that indicates we still make way for new karma. We have to stop being doers and make god the doer. We are servants of god. Whatever is happening, we are acting as You want us to act. We don't want anything back as its result. We are Your slaves and we want nothing back. Now your karmas have finished! Any karma. How will we understand if our karmas have finished?

There are symptoms indicating that.

‘Yadicchalaabhsantushtodwandhatitvimatsara’

As you receive, as is happening, be happy in that. ‘Dwandhateet’ means being unaffected by happiness and sadness, honor and dishonor, cold and warm, profit and loss. These are laws of samsaar. They will keep happening and have occurred in everyone’s life. If there is happiness, then there is unhappiness also. If there is profit, then there is loss also. If there is cold, then there is warmth also. If there is honor, along comes dishonor too. We must not be affected by these. We must weigh them as equal.

Dukheshusnudwignamanah sukheshuvigataspriha,
veetraagbhayakrodh sthitadhiramuniruchyate’ (Bhagwad Gita)

When unhappiness comes, don’t be disappointed or worried, and when happiness comes, don’t become elated by that either. Because that happiness will not remain for long. Tt is very short-lived. Worldly happiness is in fact an illusion. We think we will receive happiness just now… just now… but no-one has ever really received happiness in samsaar.

Suppose you think you have received happiness. Don’t become engrossed in it, because it is a fraud. There’s no telling when it will throw you in the ocean of unhappiness.

Veetraagbhayakrodha’ – ‘Veetraag’ means unattached to samsaar, ‘bhay’ means the fear of losing materialistic things and ‘krodh’ means when we face an obstacle in achieving something we desire, anger arises. These three things when destroyed in a person, such a person is called ‘sthir buddhi’, one whose mind is unmoved. Only then there can be samarpan. Then Radha Rani will automatically start looking after you.

Just like a mother always looks after her child, the child need not say, “Mother please look after me. Mother, please give me some food,” because the child is dear to the mother. The child doesn’t know anything other than her; she is dependent on her mother. Similarly, when we become samarpit, Radha Rani thinks that this child knows nothing other than Me. So she looks after the sadhak every second of his life.

‘Kaunteyapratijanihina me bhaktahpranashyati’
(Bhagwad Gita)

God promises that his bhakta is never destroyed. He promises himself! This is samarpan. Accept whatever is happening as the desire of God. Be unaffected in all situations. If an unfavorable situation comes, accept that too because who knows how God is showering kripa (mercy) on you?

There are two types of kripa. One is anukul kripa and the other is pratikul kripa. Anukul kripa means mercy which can be easily recognized as mercy. For example, when we encounter no obstacles in doing bhajan, our mind gets absorbed in bhajan, we feel bliss when meditating on the Lord, and so forth. These are favorable, or anukul kripa.

The other kind of mercy, pratikul kripa, is mercy that does not seem to be mercy but afterwards, we realize that it was mercy alone.

Suppose there is great restlessness; chaos, war within your heart. Then it is impossible to stay as you are. Then you become afraid of samsaar as a place of unhappiness. Then  you try your best to become free from samsaar and offer yourself at God’s feet, saying, “Now I’m in Your shelter, please protect me.” This thought of offering yourself to God came due to all the unkind events you experienced. If you had experienced good fortune at that time, you wouldn’t have decided to take his shelter, Because the jeev is habituated to like this samsaar and be fooled by Maya. It is a habit from time unknown.

For a little materialistic pleasure, the jeev forgets all about God. If your son, daughter, wife, husband, and so on, all behave well with you and love you, you wouldn’t be able to do bhajan really. You will chant ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna’ only for name’s sake. Your mind will roam only in materialistic thoughts. And as they start behaving unfavorably with you, you will try becoming free from all them as soon as you can.

Who is your son, daughter, wife, husband, etc. here? All are Maya, an illusion. Leave them from your heart. So ‘Pratikul Kripa’ causes vairagya (renunciation) and makes you anxious to reach God. The sadhak becomes samarpit fast and whenever Maya attacks he or she becomes careful, thinking this is unpleasing samsaar. I have already experienced that. It is very unpleasing. This is pratikul kripa. Only afterwards we come to know, oh! It was actually kripa! If all this had not happened, I would not have become samarpit. Oh Lord, you are so kind! You shower so muc kripa!

I was not a sadhu from childhood. In childhood, I was so badly hurt by samsaar. When I was 7 years old, my father died. When I was 10 years old, my mother died. Then my brother went away and everyone else left me. At the age of 10!

Life became full of unhappiness. Whenever I went I was only hurt. Nobody to look after me. Nobody to guide me in proper direction. I was roaming on the roads, no guarantee of getting the next meal, no place to sleep at night. Everyone thought of me as a great problem. If I lived at their house, they would have to take care of me, give me place to sleep. Wherever I went, I was only hurt!

Today, I have not really become a sadhu, but whatever I have is due to Radharani’s pratikul kripa at that time. Now no samsaaric love can be fool me into its trap. It is the fruit of the tree that was planted at that time. Now see how much peace there is.

The world is short-lived, prone to be destroyed. No one belongs to me here. Let’s do bhajan. It’s all a fraud and we have nothing to do with it.

‘Na Lena, Na Dena, Magan Rehna’

“We have nothing to do here, except being constantly connected to God.”

 

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Vrindavan, 2017.05.14 (VT) Almost 5,000 years ago, Shri Krishna performed the Raas Lila with Shri Radha and the gopis. In the midst of that festival of bliss, he disappeared and took Radha away alone. But even in that secret exchange of love, Krishna disappeared yet again, leaving Radha weeping in separation.

And then, 475 years ago, in the exact same spot where Krishna disappeared from Radha’s sight, he returned in the form of Radharaman.

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Shri Radharaman Lal

May 10th was the 475th anniversary of the day when Shri Radharaman Lal appeared to the great rasik saint Shri Gopal Bhatt Goswami, a disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The answer to his intense loving prayers, Radharaman self-manifested from a Damodar shaligram shila, which Gopal Bhatt worshipped.

The three ancient deities of Vrindavan – Govind, Gopinath and Madanmohan – were made by Krishna’s grandson Vajranabh. Govind Dev’s beautiful, rounded lotus face is known as the perfect representation of Shri Krishna’s face. Gopinath’s wide and handsome chest is just like Shri Krishna’s chest, and Madanmohan’s soft and graceful feet are just like His lotus feet.

But Radharamanji has the lotus face of Govind, the chest of Gopinath and the lotus feet of Madanmohan. In other words he is the exact Form of Shri Krishna. Devotees consider their darshan of Shri Krishna complete if they see Govind, Gopinath and Madanmohan in one day. But when devotees receive darshan of Radharamanji, they feel completely soothed and satsified.

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Lotus face of Shri Radharaman – P.C. Suvarnamanjari

The festival of Radharamanji’s 475th Appearance Day was celebrated as if it were the 500th, with many special events that lasted throughout the week, including a 24-hour kirtan, a shobha yatra (procession), and a live lila performance on the ancient Raas Mandal in front of the temple gate.

The main event, however was a grand maha-abhishek which lasted from about 8am till the early afternoon. The temple was filled beyond capacity, with the crowd spilling out both doors. Devotees braved the extreme heat just to catch a glimpse of their Beloved.

After the abhishek the highly-prized charanamrit was distributed to the devotees. Many gathered charanamrit in bottles to take home to their loved ones. Small strips of the precious cloth that Radharamanji wore during abhishek were also distributed amongst the eager devotees.

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Charanamrit and Prasadi Cloth Distribution

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Goswami Vrind at the Shobha Yatra – P.C. Joy Goswami

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Vrindavan, 2017.05.13 (VT): On May 9, UP Cabinet Minister Shrikant Sharma announced that the merger of Mathura and Vrindavan will take place. This comes as a shock to many in Vrindavan who feel the merger undermines Vrindavan’s unique heritage and importance.

According to various reports, the state government is taking this step in order to increase government revenue and provide more services for pilgrims. They assert that the development of Mathura and Vrindavan will run more smoothly if the two cities are treated as one.

Opponents of the merger say that if the two cities are merged, Vrindavan will become a mere suburb of Mathura. Alcohol, meat and eggs – currently illegal in Vrindavan – will quickly start being sold there with government permission. Development disasters, like deforestation and the approval of construction on the Yamuna floodplain by the MVDA, will merely increase. They fear the unique culture of the town will be lost. Even the name of the town – Vrindavan – will officially cease to be when the two towns are joined and renamed “Mathura-Vrindavan Nagar Nigam”.

We will bring you more news on the Mathura-Vrindavan merger as the story develops.

 

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I always worship all the rivers and lakes of Vraja, in whose waters Krishna plays with his charming friends in the summertime, eager to defeat these friends, that also all desire victory, and with whom he was blissfully herding the cows, by lovingly splashing them with water.


VERSE 66:

sphīte yatra sarit-sarovara-kule gāḥ pālayan nirvṛto
grīṣme vāri-vihāra-keli-nivahair gopendra-divyātmajaḥ
prītyā siñcati mugdha-mitra-nikarān harṣeṇa mugdhaḥ svayaṁ
kāṅkṣan svīya-jayaṁ jayārthina imān nityaṁ tad etad bhaje


Stavāmṛta-kaṇā Vyākhyā: Now Raghunath Das Goswami praises the lakes and rivers of Vraja, like the Yamuna and Mānasa Gaṅgā, on whose banks Śrī Krishna performs his sweet cowherding pastimes with his friends.

nija sama sakhā saṅge, gogaṇa cāraṇa raṅge,
vṛndāvane svacchanda vihāra.
yāra veṇu-dhvani śuni, sthāvara jaṅgama prāṇī,
pulaka kampa aśru bohe dhāra

“Krishna freely plays in Vrindavan with his equal friends, with whom he enjoys herding the cows. When they hear his flutesong, the mobile and immobile beings shed streams of tears, shiver and get goosepimples of ecstasy.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhye 21.108)

Although it is eternally spring in Sri Krishna’s playground Vrindavan, where there is no influence of material time, still the seasons like summer and the monsoon appear to nourish the humors of his divine pastimes. In the hot season Krishna herds the cows, taking them to drink the water of the many rivers and lakes in Braj, and freely playing himself in these water bodies with his friends.

itas tataḥ sañcaratīr gavālīḥ sva veṇu-nādair atha saṅkalayya
jagāma tāḥ pāyayituṁ vayasyaiḥ sañcālayan mānasa jāhnavīṁ saḥ
pāyayitvā jalaṁ gās tāḥ śītaṁ svādu sunirmalam
svayaṁ gopāḥ papuḥ sasnur vijahraḥ salile ciram

Krishna gathered his cows, that were wandering here and there, with the sound of his flute and brought them to the Mānasa Gaṅgā-lake with the cowherdboys to make them drink. Then he made all the cows and cowherdboys drink nice cool and clear water. He himself also drank and spent a lot of time bathing and playing in the water.” (Govinda-līlāmṛta 6.36-37)

In his Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta Sripad Sanatan Goswami gives a delightful description of how Śrī Krishna and his cowherd boyfriends desire to defeat each other during their watersports in the Yamuna:

As Krishna and his friends were splashing each other with water Krishna sometimes defeated his friends and sometimes the boys defeated Vinoda-kovida, Krishna, who is expert in having fun, by splashing him with water to his delight.

Sometimes Śrī Krishna and his friends played sweet music on the water, sometimes they swam along with the stream of the Yamuna and sometimes they swam against the stream. Sometimes Krishna played a joke on the boys by concealing his Śyāma-body in the blue Yamuna water and hiding his face in a cluster of blue lotus flowers, so that nobody could distinguish him anymore.

The boys then began to search for him whose darshan is their very lives, and when they could not find him they began to weep loudly in great anguish. Hearing their weeping, Śrī Krishna, the Joker, laughed and came out of the lotus cluster. Seeing him back, the dearmost friends began to run and jump around in front of him.

After this Śrī Krishna enjoyed different water games with them. He strung wonderful garlands of lotuses on strings of lotus stems and decorated his friends with them, and his friends reciprocated by decorating him likewise. Finally they all came out of the water onto the shore. (Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta 2.7.46-51)

Śrī Hari plays such competitive watersports with his friends in Radhakuṇḍa, Śyāmakuṇḍa, Pāvana Sarovara, Kusuma Sarovara and other large lakes. In this way Śrīpāda Dāsa Goswami reveals these endlessly sweet transcendental pastimes, calling Śrī Krishna gopendra divyātmaja, the divine son of the cowherd king. Das Goswami says: “I always worship all these lakes and rivers!”

sarit sarasī kūle, nitya gocāraṇa kāle,
rādhākuṇḍa kālindīra jale
se gopendra-divyātmaja, mūrtimanta manasija,
jala keli kore grīṣma-kāle

“The divine son of the cowherdking, who is Cupid in very own person, always sports in the waters of Radhakuṇḍa and Yamuna when he herds his cows there in the summer.”

krīḍā-rase preme matta, nija priya sakhā-yūtha,
nitya yārā jalakeli kore.
govinda kautuka bhore, jayākāṅkṣī antare,
jala siñce tādera upore

“Govinda eternally plays in the water with his dearmost friends, intoxicated by the flavours of loving games he plays with them. Desiring victory in these sports, Govinda sprinkles them with water.”

jayārthī vayasya-gaṇa, siñce jala anukṣaṇa,
sadā se sarit sarovare.
bhajana koribo āmi, hoiyā tāra anugāmī,
e vāsanā jāgaye antare

“His friends, who also desire victory, constantly splash him with water. I will worship these lakes and rivers and will become their follower; this desire has awoken in my heart.”

 

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Vrindavan, 2017.05.08 (VT): Preparations for Narsingh Jayanti (The Appearance Day of Narsingh Dev) are in full swing in all the Narsingh temples in Vrindavan.

Masks of the Holy Face of Lord Narsingh Dev are being prepared, along with costumes and props for the performance of Narsingh lila. A traditional bathing ritual or abhishek is being organized in all the temples. Devotees are giving their all in prepartion for the festival.

Central to the tradition is the ancient Narsingh Mandir located in the Athkhambha area of the town. Temple sevayat Shri Dinesh Chandra Sharma said that their festival tradition is centuries old. In addition to lila performance and abhishek, the celebration will include chappan bhog and devotional songs.

Maha abhishek will be held at about 12:30 in the afternoon. In the evening, the lila of Narsingh Dev will be enacted at Athkhambha Chauraha. The event will also feature an exhibition organized by the Braj Culture Research Institute on the Narsingh Lila tradition, which will be held on Wednesday, the day after Narsingh Jayanti.

Brajwasis will be seen performing Narsingh Lila through the streets of Vrindavan in masks and full costumes on the evening of chaturdashi and throughout the following day (Vaishakh Purnima).

The post Vrindavan Prepares for Narsingh Jayanti appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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gallery_1_4_1787.jpgVrindavan, 2017.05.08 (VT): Four hundred and seventy five years ago, Shri Radharaman manifested from a shaligram shila by the love and prayers of the great saint Shri Gopal Bhatt Goswami. This most special occasion will be marked by a grand festival at the Shri Radharaman Temple.

May 10th is the main day of the festival. A grand bathing ritual or maha-abhishek will be offered to Shri Radharaman Lal. The abhishek and related ceremonies will start around 8am and last till after noon. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s wooden seat and prasadi cloth will also be brought out for darshan on this day.

Devotees of Radharamanji from all over India and around the world will fill the temple to witness the divine event. But those who cannot come to Vrindavan are still looking forward to enjoying the festival remotely; Radharamanji has a vast social media following, with well over half a million people following his darshans on Facebook alone.

Celebrations began on May 6th and will last till the 17th. The special festivities include a daily flower-palace (phool bangla) and chappan bhog, congratulatory hymns (badhaai-gaan), 64-mahantas bhog aradhana (13th May), and a boat festival or nauka vihar (15 May).

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