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  1. Yesterday
  2. "Longing itself is the flow of love. Don't push it away. That missing fills us so completely and that's what it's all about." - Krishna Das
  3. Impressions from the fourth night of #Navaratri with Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda. More →
  4. Vrindavan, 2017.09.25 (VT): Yesterday was the disappearance day of Siddha Krishna Das Babaji of Govardhan. Krishna Das was from a wealthy family in Orissa. When his father died, his mother committed Sati. Just as she was about to climb on the funearal pyre, she blessed Krishna Das that he would become a great devotee of Radha and Krishna. This made a great impression upon him, and he left home for Vrindavan at the young age of sixteen. There he studied for two years before proceeding to Jaipur, hoping to serve Govinda Dev on the altar. The King of Jaipur granted his permission, and Krishna Das spent about ten years serving Govinda Dev. However, although Krishna Das was always absorbed in serving Radha and Krishna, he still had physical desires. From time to time, these desires distracted him from his seva, which hurt his heart greatly. He felt that this was happening because the prasad he ate was funded by the Maharajah. And so he left Jaipur for Vrindavan. In Vrindavan, Krishna Das took to a life of intense vairagya (renunciation). He lived in a dilapidated hut in the forest. He used to beg for flour and mix it with neem leaves. Sometimes he made dough out of this mixture and cooked flatbreads, and sometimes he ate it raw. Due to lack of nutrition, Baba became very week and eventually went blind. When his vision left him, he could no longer go to the village to beg. He only drank water from a nearby pond, until he became too weak even to leave his hut. Seeing his sorry state, Radharani felt compassion for him and sent her sakhi Lalita with a plate of her prasad. After feeding Baba the prasad, Lalita said, “Baba, why don’t you go for begging?” “Lali (little girl), I am blind! How can I go?” “If you could see, would you beg then?” “Of course I would, Lali. Why wouldn’t I?” “My father has a magic ointment. If I put it on your eyes, you will see again.” Lalita Sakhi touched Baba’s eyes and his sight immediately returned. But Lalita had disappeared. Baba immediately understood that something divine had just happened. Who was that little girl, and why had she left him alone? How did she disappear so suddenly? Would he ever meet her again? Baba was so distraught with separation and overwhelmed with thoughts like these, he simply remained laying in one place without moving for three days. On the third day, Radharani herself came and granted Baba her darshan. She instructed him to go to Govardhan and reside at Chakleshwar near the bhajan sthali of Sanatan Goswami on the bank of Mansi Ganga. Once Baba went to take a bath in Mansi Ganga and did not come back. Everyone was afraid he had drowned. But in reality he was lost in the jal keli lila of Radha and Krishna. After seven days, Baba was seen coming out of Mansi Ganga. When people expressed surprise, Baba said, “Why are you so shocked? I just went for a bath and now I am coming back! What is so unusual about that?” Shri Lalita Sakhi At Chakleshwar, Baba started learning Sanskrit because he wanted to read the books of the six Goswamis in the original language. But he found that he was unable to perform his devotional practice and study Sanskrit properly. There just wasn’t enough time in the day. He could not abandon his worship, yet his longing to read the six Goswamis’ books extremely intense. Unable to find a solution, Baba decided to drown himself in Mansi Ganga. At dawn, just as Baba was about to drown himself, Sanatan Goswami and Lalita sakhi appeared to him. They blessed him that all the knowledge of the scriptures would be manifest within him spontaneously. They also forbade him to ever contemplate suicide again and placed their feet on his head as a blessing. Krishna Das Baba became one of the greatest scholars of Braj and wrote many books, which served as a guideline for meditation on Radha and Krishna’s lilas. The most famous of these books is the Gutika. Siddha Baba’s festival is celebrated every year at Chakleshwar in Govardhan. Excerpts from Siddha Krishna Das Babaji’s Gutika: How Shri Krishna celebrates his birthday in Eternal Vrindavan The Yoghurt Fight: Part 2 of Shri Krishna’s Birthday Celebrations How Shri Radha celebrates her birthday in Eternal Vrindavan You can also read a more detailed biography of Siddha Krishnadas Baba of Govardhan here.
  5. Last week
  6. ghaṭṭa-krīḍā-kutukita manā nāgarendro navīno dānī bhūtvā madana-nṛpater gavya-dāna-cchalena yatra prātaḥ sakhibhir abhito veṣṭitaḥ saṁrurodha śrī-gāndharvāṁ nija-gaṇa-vṛtāṁ naumi tāṁ kṛṣṇa-vedīm I offer my obeisances unto the Krishna-vedī, the place where the youthful amorous hero Sri Krishna, surrounded by his friends, became a toll-collector for King Cupid one morning and jubilantly played the dāna-pastime by obstructing Sri Gāndharvikā and her girlfriends on the pretext of collecting tax from them on their dairy products. Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises the Krishna-vedī, the place at the Dāna-ghāṭī of Govardhana hill. It was here that the crown-jewel of amorous heroes Sri Krishna had a lot of fun by dressingHimself wonderfully as a toll-collector and stopping Sri Radharani and her girlfriends on the road on the pretext of collecting tax from them. For the welfare of Sri Krishna-Baladeva Vasudeva had engaged Bhāgurī Rṣi to commence a great sacrifice near Govinda Kund, at the base of Govardhana hill. It was announced all over Vraja that any gopī who would personally take a jug of ghee on her head and donate it to the sacrifice would certainly have all of her desires fulfilled. Sri Radharani and her girlfriends took golden jugs with fresh and fragrant ghī on their heads and headed towards Govardhana. Hearing this news from a parrot, Sri Krishna and his dearmost friends went to the peak of Govardhana hill and erected a peerless Dāna Ghāṭī (toll-station) there on a large platform called Śyāma Vedī. jñatvā tāsāṁ gamanam aciraṁ kīra-varyasya vaktrād smitvā narma priya sakhagaṇair āvṛtaḥ sāvadhānaḥ śailendrasyopari parilasann udbhaṭa śyāmavedyāṁ ghaṭṭīpaṭṭaṁ vidadhad atulaṁ ballabādhīśa sūnuḥ Seeing Sri Radha walking with the charming gait of a swan, decorated with different garments and ornaments, holding a golden jug with ghī on her head, and being surrounded by her girlfriends, Śyāmasundara became enchanted and thought: phulla campaka vallikāvalir iyaṁ kiṁ no na sā jaṅgamā kiṁ vidyul latikā-tatir nahi ghane sa khe kṣaṇa dyotinī kiṁ jyotir laharī sarin nahi na sā mūrtiṁ vahet tad dhruvaṁ jñātaṁ jñātam asau sakhīkula vṛtā rādhā sphuṭaṁ prāñcati Is this a blooming Campaka vine? No, because that does not move! Then is it a lightning strike? No, that also not, because the lightning rests in a cloud in the sky! Then is it a riverstream of effulgence? No, that is also not possible, because that has no form! Then I know for sure that it is Radha coming this way, surrounded by her girlfriends!” Seeing Sri Krishna, premamayī Sri Radha was also astonished and told her girlfriends – kiṁ navyāmbuda eṣa bhavya-vadanāḥ kiṁ nīla ratnāṅkuraḥ kiṁ nīlotpala navya mūrtir api kiṁ kastūrikā vibhramaḥ āsteṣv eṣa na ko’pi hanta yad ayaṁ nastāpaye nirbharaṁ tasmād gokulacandra eva bhavitā śyāmo’dbhuta kṣmādhare O fair-faced girlfriends! Is this a fresh raincloud, a fresh sprout of sapphire, a new kind of blue lotus or a musk perfume? No, it is none of these things, because they do not give us so much pain! It must be wonderful Śyāma, the moon of Gokula, there on the hill! (Dāna-keli-cintāmaṇi, 18-20) Seeing Sri Krishna, Sri Radha, who was overwhelmed by mindstealing feelings of ecstasy, walked on slowly with her girlfriends. Then suddenly Subala came running up to them, stood before them and loudly exclaimed: “O hey you milkmaids! Why are you avoiding this toll-station? Come here and pay your dues!” The proud girls on the road proudly shrugged their shoulders and walked on without even blinking an eye in his direction. At each and every step Srimati extended a net of very powerful influence over Śyāma Nāgara’s mind. Nāgara was enchanted by the sounds of her ornaments! As if bewitched by a mantra, the enchanting toll-collector came running – flute in his hand, a smile on his face, casting sidelong glances. Obstructing the way for Srimati our hero stood there and said: “Pay me my toll!” How beautiful Svāminī looked! How wonderfully she manifested her kilakiñcita-bhāva! antaḥ smeratayojjvalā jalakaṇā vyākīrṇa pakṣmāṅkurā kiñcit pāṭalitāñcalā rasikatotsiktā puraḥ kuñcati ruddhāyāḥ pathi mādhavena madhura vyābhugnatārottarā rādhāyāḥ kila kiñcita stavakinī dṛṣṭiḥ śriyaṁ vaḥ kriyāt When Sri Radha is obstructed by Sri Krishna on the road to the Dāna Ghāṭī her glance attains some brightness because of her slight smile, which is caused by her inner joy, her eyelashes are studded with teardrops, the corners of her eyes look ruddy, her glances are sprinkled with lusciousness, but become crooked when she faces Sri Krishna, and the pupils of her eyes are crooked in a sweet mood and thus carry an extraordinary beauty. May this kilakiñcita-bhāva in Sri Radha’s eyes, which is like a bouquet of flowers, bestow all auspiciousness on you! (Dāna-keli-kaumudī, 1) kila-kiñcita-bhāva bhūṣāra śuno vivaraṇa; ye bhūṣāya bhūṣita rādhā hare kṛṣṇa-mana rādhā dekhi kṛṣṇa yadi chuite kore mana; dāna-ghāṭī pathe yabe varjena gamana yabe āsi mānā kore puṣpa uṭhāite; sakhī āge cāhe yadi aṅge hasta dite ei sab sthane ‘kila kiñcita’ udgama; prathamei harṣa sañcārī mūla kāraṇa āra sāta bhāva āsi sahaje milaya; aṣṭa bhāva sammilane mahābhāva hoy garva, abhilāṣa, bhaya, śuṣka rudita; krodha asūyā saha āra manda smita nānā svādu aṣṭabhāve ekatra milana; yāhāra āsvāde tṛpta hoy kṛṣṇa mana dadhi khaṇḍa ghṛta madhu marica karpūra; elāci milane yaiche ‘rasālā’ madhura ei bhāva yukta dekhi rādhāsya nayana; saṅgama hoite sukha pāya koṭi guṇa Listen to the description of the emotional ornamentation named kilakiñcita-bhāva. When Sri Radha is decorated with these ornaments she steals Krishna’s heart. When Krishna sees Radha and wants to touch her he goes to the Dāna Ghāṭī and tries to stop her there on the road, and when she comes to pick flowers Krishna tries to lay his hands on her in front of her girlfriends. At all these places the kila kiñcita bhāva awakens in her, starting with joy, which is the primal cause of infused emotions (sañcārī bhāvas). The other seven ecstasies naturally meet with the first one, and when all the eight ecstasies are found together we have mahābhāva. When these eight different delectable ecstasies, like pride, desire, fear, dry weeping, anger, envy and mild smiling come together, the relish satisfies Krishna’s mind. It is as sweet as Rasālā, which contains yoghurt, rock candy, ghī, honey, black pepper, camphor and cardamom. When Krishna sees Sri Radha’s face and eyes endowed with these feelings it makes him millions of times happier than when he directly unites with her. (CC 2.14.169-174) Because he hankers for the indescribably sweet relish of Sri Radha’s emotional displays like kilakiñcita Sri Krishna initiates humorous pastimes like the Dāna-līlā. Śyāmasundara speaks with the sakhīs, while Svāminī remains silent. The sakhīs say: “We never heard of a toll station near Govardhana hill before!” Śyāma says: “How amazing! They have never heard yet of the king of toll-collectors named Madana (Cupid)! Don’t speak like that again! If King Madana hears it you will have to suffer a great royal punishment!” How many hundreds of memories are awakened of the wonderful erotic flavours of laughing and joking of the enchanting tollcollector with Sri Gāndharvikā and her girlfriends, when seeing Krishna Vedī in this way. Das Goswami says: “I offer my obeisances unto this Krishna Vedī.” rasikendra cūḍāmaṇi,hoiyā yethā mahādānī, dāna līlāya kutukita manā. prātaḥ kāle sakhā saṅge,dāna māge mahāraṅge, yathā rādhā saṅge vrajāṅganā madana rājera ājñāte,dāna dāo e ghāṭete, loiyā yāo dadhi, ghṛta yoto. eto boli nāgarendra,hāsya kori mṛdu manda, avarodha koilo gopī patha. vandi ‘kṛṣṇa vedī’ seho,yathā kṛṣṇa sakhā saha, nitya raṅge korena vihāra śrī rādhikā sakhī saṅge,kobe sethā yābe raṅge, heno dina ki hoibe āmāya? I praise the Krishna-Vedī, where the crownjewel of relishers becomes a great taxcollector, eagerly desiring to play the Dāna-līlā, and where he always comes in the morning with his friends and has great fun in levying tax from Radha and the Vraja-gopīs. Slightly smiling and saying “Pay me tax of all your yoghurt and ghī on the order of King Cupid, here at this toll-station!”, Nāgarendra stopped the gopīs on the road. When will the day be mine when I can go there with Sri Radhika and her sakhīs?
  7. Snippets of nectar

    Śrīmat Dāsa Gosvāmī described in his ‘Muktā Caritra’ how Kṛṣṇa anxiously lamented about Śrī Rādhā’s absence to His own Queen Satyabhāmā in Dvārakā after describing His Vraja-līlā to her: mad vaksaḥ sthala campakāvalir iyam man netra padma dvayī saudhā siktir iyaṁ mad eka vilasat sarvāṅga lakṣmīr iyam mat prāṇoru vihaṅga vallarir iyam mat kāmita śrīr … Continue reading Snippets of nectar View the full article
  8. Thanks to Sri araiyar Balamukundachar ஸ்ரீவில்லிபுத்தூர் ஸ்ரீ வடபெருங்கோயிலுடையான் வார்ஷிக ப்ரஹ்மோற்ஸவ முதல் நாள் இரவு புறப்பாடு…….23rd September ’17….. ஸ்ரீ பட்டநாத ஸூரீந்த்ர மாநஸாம்போஜ வாஸிநே !!!! ஸ்ரீமத் வடமஹாதாம ஸ்வாமிநே நித்ய மங்களம் !!!!! View the full article
  9. Bihariji and his jewel

    Story by Vijay Kumar Sharma. Published in Banke Bihariji ke chamatkar (“Miraculous stories about Banke Bihariji), Vol II, ed. Acharya Vilas Chandra Goswami. This is a story from about 100 years ago. In those days, Vrindavan was still a pretty small town. Running through the middle of it was a dirt road, joining Banke Bihari to the Mathura Road, cutting across the rail line, now known as Gandhi Road. The area surrounding the rail-crossing, covering present-day Davanala Kund, Kaimar Van and Motijheel, was undeveloped scrub and forest land. There were many ber (Indian jujube), neem, kaith (wood apple) and kareel (caper) trees spread throughout the area. Jaipur Mandir, Exterior (P.C. radha.name) The king of Jaipur had a part of this jungle cleared away in order to build the famous Jaipur mandir. It is said that the railway line itself was built in order to transport the sandstone slabs for the temple from Rajasthan. Because the forest was thick and there was no people living there, not too many people venture in this direction except to go to and from Mathura. Still, there were a few hermits who had built huts near Davanala Kund. Other than going into the village to beg for a few pieces of bread to stave off their hunger, these hermits would stay in their huts and do their bhajan. And of course, in they would go to Vrindavan for darshan of Bihariji. One day a group of nomads from Rajasthan set up camp by the side of the railway crossing, in the place where the long wall of Shrauta Muni Nivas ashram is now standing. Among the 25 or so men, women and children of the group was a woman named Mani, “jewel.” She was short in stature, dark and somewhat weathered, with ordinary features, with hair unkempt and tangled. Who knows when she had last combed them. She had big silver rings in her nose and ears, and wore a heavy silver chain around her neck. She wore a dirty, torn bodice that barely covered her drooping breasts. She was probably about 50 years old. That’s what Mani looked like. One day Mani went to take darshan of Bihariji. Just on seeing him, something overcame her. She became perfectly still and seemed to lose all connection with the world around her. Bihariji’s large eyes shone like a beam of light at her and she became completely mesmerized by them. When she returned to the encampment, she came physically, but her mind and soul had been left behind with Bihariji. From then on, waking or sleeping, sitting or moving or doing her daily chores, on her lips was only one prayer, “Hear my plea, Banke Bihariji, hear my plea. (merī suna lo araja śrī bihārījī)” These few words reverberated throughout the nomads’ camp. This song was her bhajan, this was her worship. Days went by and Mani’s bhajan became stronger. Her thoughts of Bihariji became more intense and her interest in the daily life of the group and conversations with the other women correspondingly decreased. Mani’s husband was not in good health. She had to take care of him day and night. But throughout it all she never stopped chanting her refrain, “Hear my plea, Banke Bihariji, hear my plea.” (meri sun lo araj shri-banke bihari!) It was winter. The day had broken, but the morning fog was still so thick that Surya Narayan had not made an appearance. Some of the people in the nomad tribe had gotten up and quietly started their daily routine. Then out of the fog came voices singing, breaking the fog-bound stillness. “Banke Bihari ! jai ho tihari!” Slowly piercing the misty curtain came the shadowy forms of several men moving slowly closer to the camp. The kirtan they were singing also got louder and louder. Mani followed along and began singing with them, “Banke Bihari ! jai ho tihari!” It was the sadhus from those cottages by the Davanala Kund. They had completed their morning ablutions and gone for the darshan of their life and soul, Bihariji. Mani had watched them go and come for many days now. It had been some time since she herself could go for darshan because of her husband’s illness. As the kirtan approached, she could not keep her feet still and she ran towards the doorway of her hut to watch the singers come closer. As soon as they came into sight it seemed they were already disappearing back into the fog, leaving behind only the sounds of the kirtan ringing in her ears. Who knows how long Mani stood in the doorway, motionless? Mani had seen them coming and going before, but on this day, just as the group of sadhus was about to disappear into the mist, she suddenly stopped them. “Baba!” she called out. “What is it, Maiya?” asked the leader of the sadhus. “Where are you coming from, Baba?” she asked him. “Why, we’ve just come back from seeing Bihariji’s shringar arati.” “Oh wonderful! Can you describe him for me? Can you tell me what color dress he was wearing today?” She asked eagerly, “What was his shringar like?” “What was he wearing?” The babaji was a bit taken aback. “What color?” The sadhus thought a bit, but no one was able to say anything. Finally one of them said, “Well, we did go for darshan, but we don’t remember what he was wearing.” They looked at each other, frowning, hoping someone would be able to answer her question, but no one came forward. They had no answer. “We went for darshan, but we don’t remember anything about the color of the dress, or the way he was dressed,” they admitted again. Mani laughed and said, “So did you go for darshan or just for a stroll to the temple and back? Today Bihariji wore yellow. It was bordered with red and had silver sequins on it. He was wearing a yellow turban! Around his neck he had a Chandrasaini necklace. Go back again and take darshan a second time. Then come back and tell me if I am right or not.” The men were astonished. She seemed so sure of herself. They talked to each other and decided to test her by going back and seeing for themselves what Bihariji was wearing. As they turned around, she called to them again, “And yes, ask the Gosai why he did not offer my Ladli laddus when he woke him up this morning. He really loves those motichur laddus made with besan and ghee.” The group returned silently to Bihariji’s temple and were astonished to see that Mani had been right. Bihariji was dressed exactly as she had described him. The sadhus were amazed at the mercy Bihariji had shown her. They went up the stairs to the jagamohan where they could get a closer look. The curtain was closed and the Gosai was handing out tulasi garlands to the devotees. One of the babas called out, “Jai Bihari ki!” to attract the Gosai’s attention. “Tell me, Maharaj, did you forget to put motichur laddus in the early morning wake-up bhog offering?” “Of course I didn’t forget,” said the indignant priest. “I do it every day. Why are you asking?” In fact, after seeing that Mani was right about the shringar, they expected her to be right about this too. “Maharaj,” the baba said, “Please just go inside one time and check to see if you made the offering properly. I just need to have my doubt cleared about whether Bihariji got the bhog or not.” “Well, if you insist, I will go and have a look.” With that, the Gosai went into the inner chamber. He had no reason to think that he had not done his duty that morning. But when he uncovered the offering plate, he saw that there were no laddus on it. Beads of perspiration came onto his forehead. He came out and said to the sadhu, “Baba, I have committed a great offense today. It is true that I forgot to offer the laddus.” The sadhus returned to the nomad encampment and praised Mani’s devotion and good fortune. Then they went back to their own kutirs. For the rest of her days, Mani continued to meditate on Bihariji and when her time came the dust of her body mixed with the dust of Vrindavan. She was not only a jewel in name, Mani, but by the grace of Bihariji, she had also become the crown jewel of his devotees.
  10. Vrindavan celebrates Navaratri

    Vrindavan, 2017.09.23 (VT): Navaratri means ‘nine nights spent worshipping shakti’, the female principle of divine energy. The Navaratri festival takes place twice per year and is currently underway. This year the festival falls from 21st to 29th September. Every Navaratri, crowds gather at popular Durga temples, especially Katyayani temple, where the gopis of Vrindavan are said to have prayed to Mother Durga to get Krishna as their husband. Srimad Bhagavatam 10.22 includes this prayer from the gopis of Vrindavan: “Katyayani Mahamaye Mahayoginyadhishwari Nanda Gopa Sutam Devi Patim Me Kuru Te Nama” “O Katyayani! Hey! Hey Mahayogini! Oh, all-powerful goddess! We bow down to you and beg you to make the son of Nand our husband.” The Mother Goddess is also considered to be a Brajwasi herself, as she was born in Gokul as the twin sister of Shri Krishna. The Durga Saptashati 11.42states: “Nanda gopa grihe jaata yashoda garbha sambavaa“ “I will be born in Nanda’s house from the womb of Yashoda.” Yogamaya Devi, Shri Radha-Govinda Dev Temple, Vrindavan Ram lila is also inseparable from Durga lila. Sita and Ram met when Sita was picking flowers for Durga pooja and Sita prayed to Goddess Durga for Sri Ram to become her husband. Sant Tulsidas mentions in Sri Ram Stuti that Sita entered into a state of spiritual ecstasy after worshipping Mother Durga and Sri Ram prayed to Mother Durga for victory before engaging in war with Ravan. Writing for Hindi Vrindavan Today, historian Tarun Sharma describes the importance of Navaratri, which is celebrated in almost every home in Braj. In the tradition exemplified by Sita Ram, devotees pray to Mother Durga for success before undergoing difficult work. During Navaratri, the atmosphere in Braj is festive. On the morning of the 8th and 9th days, people welcome young girls into their homes and honour them with specially-cooked festival food and gifts. There are street parades and kirtans and an evening fair with rides for children at the showground outside Katyayani temple. In almost every neighbourhood, temporary Durga temples are erected and children dance in front of the deity. After nine days, the Navaratri deities are dismantled, which serves as a reminder of the impermanence of everything material.
  11. This is a continuing series on the less-frequented temples of Vrindavan. Read Temples of Chhipi Gali (Part 1) here. Vrindavan, 2017.09.23 (VT): Near the mid-point of Chhipi Gali we found an attractive mandir painted powder blue. The door was locked but we could see a beautiful courtyard inside, with a gorgeous madhu-malati creeper. A shopkeeper nearby told us there was a doorbell and asked us to ring it. Soon a gentleman in an elegant white dhoti appeared to let us in. Shri Radharaman Mandir (Nimbark Kot) 350-400 year old deity of Gopalji at Nimbark Kot The four Kumars The temple, we learned, is Vrindavan’s historic Nimbark Kot. On the temple’s altar reside the sweetly smiling deities of Shri Radharaman Lal and Radharani. Around the Divine Couple are many other beautiful murtis, including the four Kumars, Hans Bhagwan and Nimbarkacharya. But the oldest is a beautiful Deity of Bal Gopal (baby Krishna), who the caretaker says is about 350 or 400 years old. The altar once held a deity of Narad Dev too, but unfortunately the murti was stolen by someone who had come for darshan. Perhaps that is why they keep the front door locked, I thought. Upon request our host Shri Anushuman Gopalji, son of Nimbark Kot’s mahant Shri Vrindavan Bihari Goswami, kindly spoke to us about the temple’s fascinating history. “We have been celebrating Shri Nimbarkacharya’s utsav for the past 174 years. This tradition was started by Shri Gopaldasji Maharaj. “Two centuries ago, Shri Gopaldasji Maharaj was a famous exponent of Shrimad Bhagwatam Katha. He used to travel up and down the Ganga River from Badrinath to Allahabad performing Katha. Shri Gopaldasji Maharaj “Once when he was performing Katha in Haridwar, Shri Ganga Devi (the Goddess of the Holy River Ganges) appeared to him. She told him that the tradition of Shrimad Bhagwat Katha had all but disappeared in Vrindavan. After the Mughal invasion, the Katha tradition suffered a blow under Muslim supression, and many saints of the Gaudiya Sampraday who performed Katha went into hiding and did their spiritual practices in secret. “In order to help revive the tradition, Ganga Devi instructed Shri Gopaldasji to come to Vrindavan and perform Katha. He used to perform Katha at Purani Kunj near Bankhandi, and in other places as well. It became his sole mission, and wherever he found three or four people gathered together, Shri Gopaldasji would sit and perform Katha. ‘The acharyas of Tatiya Sthan requested Shri Gopaldasji to arrange a celebration for Shri Nimbarkacharya Jayanti, which falls in the month of Kartik. As they are followers of Swami Haridas, the saints of Tatiya Sthan focus on the acharyas of their lineage who came after Swami Haridas. As Shri Gopaldasji Maharaj was also a Nimbarki, they thought it fitting that he should arrange for Shri Nimbarkacharya’s festival. “Shi Gopaldasji had the supernatural ability to create gold. He used his powers to make two golden coins and used that wealth to prepare for the celebration. In 1843 AD Shri Gopaldasji Maharaj performed Nimbarkacharya’s utsav for the first time. Shri Hansdasji Maharaj “Shri Gopaldasji Maharaj had a disciple named Baba Hansdasji Maharaj, who lived and performed bhajan (spiritual practice) at Vilasgarh in Barsana. Sri Gopaldasji asked Sri Hansdasji to learn his supernatural method of creating gold. However, Sri Hansdasji declined saying, ‘This is Kaliyug. People will take advantage; they may threaten to kill me and force me to make gold for them. I don’t want this occult knowledge. I will beg for alms instead, and use whatever I receive to arrange for the festival.’ And so he did. “Shri Hansdasji Maharaj left this world about 80 years ago. After him, his disciple Shri Vansidasji Maharaj carried on the tradition, with the help of my Dadaji (grandfather) and his elder brother, who were both his disciples. Shri Vansidasji Maharaj left this world two years ago. “This temple was built in 1926, and we still continue the festival of Shri Nimbarkacharya today. This year marks the 174th utsav. On Kartik Purnima, Shri Nimbark Bhagwan’s abhishek is held in our temple, and the following day a shobha yatra (procession) goes out from the mandir. It is probably the oldest shobha yatra in Vrindavan, as I am not aware of any records that mention an older one. “Another special feature of this temple is that it houses a vial of Shri Tulsi Dasji’s charanamrit.” Shri Ajab Manohar Lal Temple (Rajasthani Mandir) A little further down the lane, walking towards Pratap Bazar, we found another Nimbarki temple which, according to the signage, is under the care of the Government of Rajasthan’s Devasthan Vibhag. Speaking to the caretaker we learned that the temple was founded 180 years ago by Shri Ajab Lalji, the Raja of Bikaner. The temple deity is named Shri Ajab Manohar Lalji Maharaj. The deities were fascinating to behold. A sandstone slab contained more information about the temple, but it was worn down and difficult to read. More research is certainly due. Some other places run in whole or in part by the Rajasthan Devasthan Vibhag in Braj include: Karauli Kunj, Vrindavan Bheem Kunj Vrindavan: This temple was built by the rulers of Kota. Bheem Singh was the disciple of Shri Hit Jugal Dasji Maharaj. The Kunj is situated on the banks of the Yamuna, and the Deity’s name is Radhakanta. Kushal Bihari temple in Barsana. This is a major temple on the hill near the Shriji temple, built by the kings of Jaipur. Madan Mohan. Built by Udaipur rulers. Swami Ghat. Mathura. Chatur Shiromani temple. Built by rulers of the Jaipur Riyasat. Radha-Gokulananda, the responsibility for which was given to the recently departed Sri Purushottam Goswami of Jai Singh Ghera. Bharatpur temple. Badan Singh Ji. Keshi Ghat. Bihariji, Govardhan. Lakshman temple in Govardhan. Built by Bharatpur kings. Bikaner temple, Ajab Manoharji. Vrindavan. Jugal Kishor in Barsana. Kishori Shyam temple (Bharatpur temple) in Radha Kund. Also built by Bharatpur rulers. Kunj Parvati Ji. Vrindavan. Rupa Kishor. Bankhandi. Shri Ajab Manohar Lalji Maharaj
  12. On September 21, 2017 (Hevilambi Purattasi Hastham), Day 2 of the Navarathri Utsavam was celebrated. View the full article
  13. On September 22, 2017 (Hevilambi Purattasi Chittirai), the 750th Thirunakshatra Mahotsavam for Sri Vedanta Desikan commenced. View the full article
  14. “Love is what we are; we don’t get it from somebody, we can’t give it to anybody, we can’t fall in it or fall out of it. Love is our true Being.” - Krishna Das
  15. Photo - The heart is like a mirror

    "The heart is like a mirror. When we dust it off, we're able to see ourselves. The dust is all our stuff – guilt, anger – this stuff is reflected back to us. Practice removes the dust from the mirror of our hearts." - Krishna Das
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