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Shri Vraja Dhama

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Sheela_Mata_Temple_Agroha.jpgBraj (Devanagari: ब्रज), also known as Brij or Brijbhoomi, is a region in Uttar Pradesh of India, around Mathura-Vrindavan. Brij, though never a clearly defined political region in India, is very well demarcated culturally. The area stretches from Mathura, Jalesar, Agra, Hathras and Aligarh right up to Etah, Auraiya and Farrukhabad districts. It is believed to be the land of Krishna and is derived from the Sanskrit word vraja. The main cities in the region are Mathura, Jalesar, Bharatpur, Agra, Hathras, Dholpur, Aligarh, Etawah, Auraiya, Mainpuri, Etah, Kasganj and Firozabad. The term "Braj" means "Pasture", and a settlement of herders and cattle breeders or Abode of Yadavs/Aheers or yaduvanshsthali. The residents or natives of Braj are called Brijwasi. Braj bhasha or Brij bhasha, closely related to spoken Hindi with a soft accent, is spoken throughout the region.

Брадж или Вра́джа (хинди ब्रज), также Бра́джбуми, Враджабху́ми — исторический регион в индийских штатах Уттар-Прадеш, Раджастхан и Харьяна. Является священным местом паломничества для вайшнавов, так как согласно Пуранам и другим текстам индуизма, в этом месте родился и провёл свою юность Кришна. Самые крупные города на территории Враджа — это Матхура, Агра, Алигарх и Майнпури. Географически и культурно Врадж расположен в самом центре доаба Ганги-Ямуны, который с древности являлся центром развития индийской культуры. Врадж занимает территорию в 3800 км² и располагается в "золотом треугольнике" Дели-Джайпур-Агра. Врадж можно разделить на два региона — восточную часть, в которой расположены такие места, как Гокула, Махаван, Балдео, Мат и Баджна; и западную часть, где находится округ Матхура с такими местами паломничества, как Вриндаван, Говардхан, Кусум-саровара, Варшана и Нандаграм. Врадж расположен на территории современных округов Матхура (Уттар-Прадеш), Бхаратпур (Раджастхан) и Палвал (Харьяна). Регион Враджа простирается от местечка Котбан в 95 км от Дели до Рунакты в районе Агры — места, получившего известность в связи с великим поэтом Сурдасом. Жителей региона называют "бриджбаси" или "враджабаси". Население Враджа разговаривает на диалекте хинди браджбхаша.

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imageproxy.jpg29.04.2019, Vrindavan

The banks of Yamuna in Vrindavan that were once the dotted by sacred groves have been transformed into a garbage dump because of the incompetence and nonchalant attitude of civic authorities.

Despite the state government and NGT’s stringent guidelines, construction debris and solid waste is being plonked on the river banks, particularly the area near Jugal Ghat. Devotees are deeply distressed to see the sanctity of the revered goddess being violated in such a manner.

Religious gatherings that are organised on the river bank without permission and approval of concerned authorities also add to the garbage overload as no one is held accountable for the consequences. Blaring loudspeakers further vitiate the atmosphere with noise pollution.

NGT lawyer Akash Vashistha expressed concern about the situation after examining the site on Wednesday. He said that around five years back NGT had imposed a fine of Rs 20 lakh on the Municipal Corporation and District administration for similar offences in response to a petition filed by activist and social worker Mahant Madhumangal Sharan Das. However, even this hasn’t been able to shake the authorities out of their laxity.

He said that if the municipal corporation doesn’t act on the issue soon, the matter will have to be brought to the notice of NGT again.

It will be naive to assume that the menace is limited to Jugal Ghat alone. The heavy rain and windstorm that wrecked Braj a fortnight back exposed the failure of development and sanitation efforts in the Dham. Tones of garbage and debris were washed ashore on Ram Ghat and Krishna Ghat due to the flood.

Locals said that they hadn’t seen so much dirt being accumulated in the Yamuna in 12 years. Even after cleaning the garbage for two days, 25% was still remaining.

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Kusum Sarovar, which means a lake of flowers, is also known as Sumana Sarovar. It is believed that long back a beautiful forest once ran all around the kund, which was filled with sweet-smelling flowering trees.

Standing near the two well-known pilgrimage towns of Mathura and Vrindavan, this place is located on the holy Govardhana hill that is famously associated with Shri Krishna.

Among the lesser known historical monuments in the state of Uttar Pradesh are a group of 18th century memorial chattris or cenotaphs with a pretty water-body or kund in the foreground, known as Kusum Sarovar. Standing near the two well-known pilgrimage towns of Mathura and Vrindavan, this place is located on the holy Govardhana hill that is famously associated with Sri Krishna. Near this group of monuments also stand the Radha kund and Narada Kund, the latter being the place where it is believed that Bhakti Sutra was written by Narada.

The recently renovated Kusum Sarovar group of chattris was built as a memorial for Maharaja Suraj Mal and his wife Kishori Rani in 1764 by his son Maharaja Jawahar Singh, the Jat ruler of Bharatpur, who reigned the region from 1707 to 1763. The central structure of the memorial is a large square with a high stone terrace, prettily carved domed bastions at corners, and lateral bays. The main chattris are built at the centre of a raised, ornamented high platform with two staircases to reach the top.

Maharaja Suraj Mal, in whose name the chattris were built, was the famous Jat king who had successfully defeated the Mughal army stationed at Agra, causing much damage thereafter. According to some historians, Suraj Mal was later killed in Delhi in 1763 in a Mughal ambush, somewhere near the Hindon River. Later during the colonial era, members from this dynasty died while fighting against the British.

The pretty kund that stands in front of the famous Jat king’s chattris also has an interesting history. The name of this kund is supposedly derived from an episode in the Kilakinchita Lila, where it speaks of Radha and the gopis gathering flowers to offer to Surya in a closely situated Surya Temple. It was on the banks of this sarovar that they would regularly meet Krishna and his friend Madhumangala.

Kusum2-620x413.jpgKusum Sarovar chattri P.C. Monidipa Dey, Financial Express
Kusum Sarovar, which means a lake of flowers, is also known as Sumana Sarovar. It is believed that long back a beautiful forest once ran all around the kund, which was filled with sweet smelling flowering trees such as mallika, chameli, juhi, champaka, bel, among many others. Set beautifully against the exotic sandstone memorial chattris, the 60 feet deep sarovar also holds a replica of Radha and Krishna’s feet in a separate monument. The chattri ceilings hold remnants of beautiful frescoes that depict scenes from various Krishna-gopi leelas.

According to folklore, Muni Ashtavakra had once performed penance on the banks of Kusum Sarovar for a darshan of Sri Radha-Krishna. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is also believed to have visited this sarovar, and taken a dip in the cool waters of this holy kund.

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20 ways to love Krishna

Shri KrishnaScriptures describe twenty topmost amazing and intimate ways to express your devotion, dependence and attachment to your Priya Thakurji, i.e. beloved transcendental murti form of Bhagavan Shri Krishna. Of Shri Rupa Goswamipada’s sixty-four limbs of bhakti-sadhana, ten forms of bhakti (#23-42) directly involve Shri Thakurji and His worshipers - us!

Upon reading this description you will discover that our beautiful, sweet, charming and playful master, Shri Krishna, not only likes formal worship, but Shyama also likes the wild frantic dancing of His bhaktas.

The term Shri-Thakurji means one’s favorite and beloved murti or Deity of Shri Krishna i.e. Bankebihari, Radha-Vallabha, Radha-Shyama or Radharamana.

By citing Shrimad Bhagavatam and other Puranas, Shri Rupa Goswamipada reveals twenty different ways to please and personally interact with Radha and Krishna in their most beautiful, merciful, and accessible transcendental forms.

After listing each item, Shri Rupa mentions the benefits attained by these loving exchanges with Bhagavan Shri Krishna. Their sources from Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu are in brackets.

By engaging in these ways with Shri Thakurji, you will: conquer maya, and become free from disease, sin and rebirth (1.2.125-6, 129); attain liberation to Vaikuntha (1.2.139); and fulfil all your desires (1.2.165).

20 ways to love Krishna

  1. Accept Shri Thakurji’s Nirmalya (1.2.125) (Eating, smelling, touching and wearing Krishna’s divine food, perfumes, flower malas and celestial clothing.)
  2. Agre-Tandavam – Dance Frantically Before Shri Thakurji (1.2.128)
  3. Dandavats to Shri Thakurji (1.2.129)
  4. Stand Up to greet Shri Thakurji (1.2.130)
  5. Follow Shri Thakurji In Procession (1.2.131)
  6. Visit Shri Thakurji’s Sacred Places (1.2.132) (i.e. temple, Vrndavana, Navadvipa etc.)
  7. Parikrama (1.2.135) (Shri Thakurji’s murti or temple four times
  8. Worship Shri Thakurji “Deity Worship” (1.2.137) (bathing, dressing, feeding)
  9. ‘Paricarya Seva’ to Shri Thakurji (1.2.140) (wave camara, ring bell, blow conch)
  10. Solo singing Bhajans or Gita for Shri Thakurji (1.2.144)
  11. Sankirtana, Singing Loudly (1.2.145) (Krishna’s names, qualities, pastimes)
  12. Japa, Silently Utter Diksa Mantras (1.2.149) (before Shri Thakurji)
  13. Vijnapti, Submissive Prayers (1.2.151) (express your worthlessness, and submit your inner feelings towards Shri Thakurji while ever yearning for His personal service)
  14. Stava-Patha (1.2.157-9) (before Shri Thakurji, recite Bhagavad-gita; prayers of acaryas and mahajanas; and your spontaneous outpourings and heart’s compositions)
  15. Naivedyam-Svado, Relish Maha -Prasada (1.2.160) (honoring Shri Thakurji’s tulasi, grains, fruits etc.)
  16. Padya-Svado (Drink Shri -Thakurji’s Caranamrta (1.2.161)
  17. Dhupa-Saurabhyam (1.2.162) (smelling Shri -Thakurji’s incense, flowers, malas, perfumes)
  18. Shri-Murti-Sparsanam (1.2.165) (touching Shri Thakurji – if one is qualified)
  19. Shri-Murti-Darsanam (1.2.166) (looking at your Priya-Shri-Thakurji, and being overwhelmed by feelings of love)
  20. Aratrika-Darsanam (1.2.167) (seeing Shri Thakurji’s arati, festivals, and puja—bathing, dressing etc.)
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Mathura, 2019.04.11

Given the significance of Yamuna as ‘jeevan’ and ‘mokshdayani’ (giver of life and liberation), and as one of the ‘Ashtabharyas’ of Shri Krishna (as Kalindi), Yamuna Chhath is one of the most important festivals in Braj.

The divinity of Yamuna is well established in Puranic and Bhakti Literature, the latter belonging to the middle ages. She is at the center of worship in the Pushti Marga Sampradya. Besides, her role as enabler to the flourishing of life and civilization has been well-acknowledged in Braj for centuries now.

According to Laxmi Narayan Tiwari, founder-secretary of Braj Culture Research Institute, there is evidence of the tradition of Yamuna worship as far back as the first century BC, around which time Mathura was ruled by the Mitravanshi Kings.

imageproxy.jpgGomitra was an early King of the Mitravanshi dynasty. Several coins and other artefacts belonging to his period have been found during excavations in Mathura and nearby areas (particularly the Sonkh Tila and Gosana village hill area). Based on the inscriptions from coinage and a broken slab excavated in Vrindavan few years back, it is speculated that Gomitra was a follower of Bhagavat Dharma.

One such coin, which is conserved along with other artefacts and written records from this period at the Braj Culture Research Institute in Goda Vihar, Vrindavan, is shown in the adjoining picture. The institute has also published information on this subject under the title “Braj ke Abhilekh –Bhaag 1”.

While numismatists say that the female figure seen on the coin is Goddess Lakshmi, Tiwari believes that she is Yamuna for two reasons – the Lotus flower in one hand, and wave-like parallel lines below her feet which suggest she is a river goddess. Aquatic life forms (fish and turtles) are carved out between these two lines, further hinting at her being Yamuna as the river is particularly associated with Turtles.

According to Tiwari, the Gomitra coin is the most ancient depiction of Yamuna in human form, which also establishes the antiquity of her worship in Braj.

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646913003244c1631e26ffdf015c2f32-back-to-godhead-dr-obl-kapoor.jpg
Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor
(1909-2001)

The siddha babas of Braj are not easily recognizable, and rightly so, as they shun name and fame, giving their devotion and precepts only to the qualified. OBL Kapoor personally met and collected information about hundreds of siddha devotees of Braj – persons whose attachment to the Supreme far outweighs any lingering attachment to the body, to the extent that it is often difficult for them to survive in this world. Hearing about their pastimes is awe-inspiring and might even help us to recognize the rare soul who is siddha.

For the modern striving devotee, the stories of the devotees of the modern age is very useful. For this reason, the stories of the lives of the devotees of approximately the last two hundred years have been collected."

(Extract from the Preface to Braj ke bhakt, Translated from the Hindi by J.K. Brzezinski)

Kapoor later released an English edition of Braj ke bhakt, called "The saints of Braj". In the chapter on Shri Gauranga Dasa Babaj, Kapoor describes how he used to come to Vrindavan in search of a siddha Mahatma – a great soul who is directly in touch with the Supreme.

"After my spiritual master Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj had passed away, I was in great distress. Though I knew that his benedictory hand was still on me, I felt that without his living presence, I was like an orphan.

There was no one to whom I could go to for succour, guidance or inspiration. My wife was in greater distress because she had only received Harinama from him. She was to be given proper initiation on some auspicious day later. But he passed away before that auspicious day came.

We used to go to Vrindavan in search of a siddha Mahatma, whom we could accept as a spiritual guide or guardian. Once I asked an old saint in Vrindavan, "Is there any siddha saint in Vrindavan at present, a spiritual dynamo, to whom one could go to charge his battery whenever it became weak or discharged?"

"Of course he replied, Have you not met Sri Gauranga Das Baba ji Maharaj of Ramanreti?"

"No"

"Then what have you been coming to Vrindavan for? He is the only siddha saint in Vrindavan at present. He is most unostentatious and humble. But the spiritual treasure behind his simplicity can hardly escape the eyes of a discerning sadhaka. You must go and see him."

My wife and I went to see him the same evening. We saw a fair coloured, attractive looking sadhu of about sixty, sitting all alone in his room and doing japa.  His eyes were wet, his face was radiant and a heavenly peace seemed to reign on and around him. It appeared from his eyes that love, which filled his heart up to the brim was spilling out through the eyes.

He cast a tender look at us, as if to draw us close to his heart and give us a loving embrace. We felt that we had found the guardian, the great saint we were looking for. Our hearts melted and tears began to stream from out of our eyes."

Baba could understand that we were in distress. He said affectionately, "If there is anything that afflicts you, do not worry. Go and tell your tale to a kalpataru over there (he pointed out the Neem trees in the ashram). Every tree in Vrindavan is a kalpataru (desire tree). If you embrace it and speak out your heart to it, it listens and helps. There is nothing it cannot help you with. It can even present to you the most cherished objects of your heart – Radha and Krishna, if you so desire."

My wife said, "Baba, if I go to a kalpataru, there is only one thing I shall pray for. I will say – Give me the guru I want. But since I have found in you the guru that I want, why should I go to the kalpataru and not pray to you directly? Would you not kindly give me diksa and accept me as your sisya?"

"Lali, you are mine," replied Baba affectionately.

"And what about me Baba?" I asked excitedly.

"You are both mine," said Baba, looking at me with deep affection.

"But Baba, I am already initiated by Shri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja."

"So what? He is your diksha guru, I am your siksa guru. You should regard the diksa guru and siksa guru as one.

My problem was solved. Baba gave me the best of his love and blessings and in the few remaining years of his life I remained in close contact with him."

The descriptions of the ‘devotees of Braj’ in OBL Kapoor’s work certainly sets the standard and gives us an inkling about why ‘siddha mahatmas’ are not easy to find or recognize. OBL Kapoor’s siksha gura, Shri Gauranga Das, also came to Vrindavan in search of a siddha baba. Once, when on the train on the way to Sanskrit College, he met a Vaishnava and asked him…

"Have you come across a siddha vaisnava saint?"

"Yes I have. Have you not heard of Sri Rama Dasa Baba ji Maharaj? He is the only siddha vaisnava I have known. I have seen such asta satvika bhavas appear on his body at the time of kirtana as I have never seen or heard anywhere else. Rama Dasa Babaji is the disciple of Sri Radharamana Charana Dasa Baba ji Maharaj, whose miracles, like making a tree dance in Sankirtana, bringing back to life a corpse ready to be burnt on the funeral pyre, granting Krishna-prema to people by his mere embrace and many others, are well known all over Bengal and Orissa."

So Shri Gauranga Dasa (who was then known as Dhirendra) took initiation from Rama Dasa Baba. After some time, with permission of his guru, he went to Vrindavan to practice lila smaran under the guidance of Shri Jagadisa Baba of Kalidah who affectionately called him ‘Gopal’. To outsiders, Dhirendra seemed to be loitering around the banks of the Yamuna, which caused people to complain to Jagadish baba saying,

"Your Gopala does not do any bhajana. He only loiters around like a lunatic." Jagadisa Dasa replied, "What Gopala does is the bhajana of the highest order. He cannot do anything except bhajana."

Jagadisa Baba sent Dhirendra to study the shastras and Braj Bhasha literature under the guidance of Pandit Ramakrishna Dasa Baba, the sent him back to his Diksha guru in Calcutta, who gave him Sanyasa Diksha. After this time he was called Gauranga Baba.

Gauranga Baba lived very simply by begging in a village in Bengal. One day he had a dream that Giriraj was calling him and saying "Take me to your Kuti. I long for your service." The next day, a Deity came out of the ground where some people were digging a well so Gauranga Baba started serving the Deity in his hut.

Gaurange Baba had to spend all his time in serving Giridhari, so he had hardly any time left for lila smarana. He then returned to Vrindavan to ask Jagadisa Baba what he should do.

Jagadisa Baba advised him, "With folded hands you express to Giridhari your inability to serve Him and leave him on the Govardhan hill. You should yourself follow the path of abstinence and bhajan shown by Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan". As Kapoor explains,

"A lower end has sometimes to be sacrificed for the higher. Sanatan Goswami and Gauranga Dasa Baba ji sacrificed lower service of the Deity with the physical body and meterials on the mundane plane, to a higher service with spiritual body (siddha deha) and materials on the transcendental plane in smarana."

The most merciful Supreme Lord instructs all as they are qualified to hear. Sometimes we imagine ourselves to be qualified for a level of service that we really don’t understand. Just as it is not easy to see Krishna’s lilas, it is also not easy to see those siddha babas who can see. And even if we meet them, will we recognize them? The following example from the chapter on "Krsnachaitanya Dasa Baba" shows what happens when devotees try to jump to a level that they are not ready for:

5b0b1c1c308a1_ChandraSarovara.jpg.a314ab24c528fb78f9106e37fc4ebddb.jpg
Chandrasarovar, Govardhan

"Vrajamohana Dasa Ji of Yasohara, who, after taking vesa from [Sri Krishnacaitanya Dasa] Baba, lived in Chandrasarovar and served him, once asked for instruction in lila smarana. Baba expressed in this connection the views of two great saints of his time who had become siddha  through lila smarana. He said, when Pandita Ramakrishna Dasa Baba lived in Balapokhara in Govardhan, I went to him and asked for instruction in lila smarana. He replied, ‘If anyone else had asked me to give him instruction in lila smarana,  I would have given him a slap on the cheek.’ I understood what he meant and did not have the courage to say anything. Lila smarana is not easy."

Once two devotees went to Jagadisa Dasa Baba of Kalidah and requested him to give them instruction in lila smarana. Baba talked about other things, but did not say a word about  lila smarana. They went again after a few days and made the same request. Again they returned disappointed, because Baba parried all questions regarding lila smarana.

Then they began to practice lila smarana  after taking instruction from another mahatma. Next time when they went to Baba, they found that he knew everything about their bhajana without their telling him anything about it. He asked with a smile, "How is your smarana going on?"

"It is going on, but not very satisfactorily", replied the devotees.

"Baba said, "You don’t know. There is no smarana without marana (death). One has to conquer the body and forget all about it before doing lila smarana. One has for all practical purposes to die as far as the world is concerned

Sri Krishnachaitanya Baba himself tried to leave the body so as to be able to remain constantly in remembrance of Krishna Lila. He arranged for a Bhagavata Saptaha. On the last day, after a grand feast, he breathed his last. Kapoor describes the incident:

"On the tenth day all the Vrajabasis and Mahatmas, who lived within fourteen miles of Chandrasarovara, were invited to a grand feast. All arrangements for the feast were completed. Then suddenly Baba breathed his last. Festivity was over and dark clouds of grief and dismay cast their shadow over the scene. People waited in vain for a long time for the reappearance of some sign of life in Baba’s body. At last, arrangements were made for the funeral. His body was carried to the cremation ground for burning. As soon as the body reached there, he was heard saying, in a lean voice, "Where are you carrying me? Take me back to my place."

After that Baba became famous but he moved to a secluded place. Many people requested him to give them initiation but he only gave initiation to a few, after the insistence of his guru, Shri Haricharana Das Babaji, disciple of Shri Gaurkishora Shiromani.

One day, one of Krishnachaitanya Baba’s disciples suspected that something had happened to Baba because when he used to say Jai Radhe everyday after paying pranam at Baba’s cottage near Chandrasarovar, but, on that day there was no reply.

He consulted a Mahatma, who told him, "Absence of any response from Baba is not a cause for anxiety because Baba is so absorbed in Lila that he often goes into Samadhi and remains unconscious for house. But I saw one extraordinary thing happen this morning. I saw that Baba’s hut was aglow with a supernatural light such as I had never seen before. I do not know what kind of light it was. I never saw a lamp in Baba’s cottage."

The villagers found Baba in an unconscious state. They held kirtan in an attempt to revive him but his state remained the same. Just then a pandit from Barsana came running with paan saying that Radha Rani has sent it for the Bengali Baba who is dying.

As soon as the paan was placed in his mouth, Baba said, "Jai Radhe"  and sat up but remained in a state of ‘divyonmada’ (divine madness) for several months.

"He would in a fit of emotion sometimes laugh, sometimes weep and sometimes fall unsconscious on the ground.

People thought he had gone mad. They took him to the Gwalior temple in Kusum Sarovar for treatment. In Gwalior temple, food used to be served on behalf of the Raja of Gwalior. As soon as Baba reached there he said, "I will not eat Raja’s food. Take me back from here."

He was brought back to Chandrasarovara. Gradually his divyonmada subsided. Radharani had once again foiled his attempt to leave the body, because she wanted to keep him alive for some more time to serve as a beacon light to the fallen souls and show them the path of bhakti by example and precept

At last the time came when Radharani wanted to accept him in Her service. Baba came to know about it. He thought he should go and meet all the people, who were dear to him. So he went to Sesayi, Vansi and other villages, stayed there for some time and came back. On returning he said to Vrajamohana Dasa, "This time I told everyone while coming back that this was my last meeting with them. They were very much aggrieved. But what could I do?

In the year 1940 on Kartik Krsna Astami, Baba left the body finally to take shelter under the lotus-feet of Radharani. His Samadhi was laid in Chandrasarovar.

Saints of Braj ki Jai!

Radharani ji Jai!

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Verse 11: Whoever faithfully recites this prayer, indicating vows written by some insignificant wretch will attain blissful residence in Vraja and, lovingly offering his mind to Radha and Krishna, he will be able to serve Them along with Shri Rūpa.

kṛtaṁ kenāpy etan nija-niyama-śaṁsi stavam imaṁ
paṭhed yo visrabdhaḥ priya-yugala-rūpe’rpita-manāḥ
dṛḍhaṁ goṣṭhe hṛṣṭo vasati vasatiṁ prāpya samaye
mudā rādhā-kṛṣṇau bhajati sa hi tenaiva sahitaḥ

<b>Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā</b>: Very humbly Shri Raghunath describes the benediction offered here to the reciters of this Sva Niyama Daśakam, which indicates his own vows in bhajana.

This prayer describes both his rigid discipline and his tender devotion, and the blend of this culminates into a holy meeting place (bhajana tīrtha) for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, like the confluence of the Gangā and the Yamunā, serving as a perfect example.

Although Shri Raghunath Das always dwells in the kingdom of ecstatic love, he still mercifully kept all his matchless treasures of love for all the rāgānuga-practitioners. For those who desire to cross over the ocean of material existence and engage in Shri Radha Madhava’s loving service in the play-forests of Vraja in a spiritual love-body (bhāva deha), this Sva Niyama Daśakam is beneficial and like a reviving elixir.

What to speak of those who follow the examples given in this prayer, those who just faithfully recite these vows, thinking: “It is not otherwise than is described by the mahājanas in their benedictions!” will be blessed with blissful residence in Shri Vrindavan and will be able to lovingly offer their minds to the worship of the adolescent Couple Radha Madhava.

The purport is that if one lives in Vraja while cherishing other desires one will be guilty of offending the holy dhāma and the holy name, and as a result will be deprived of the loving service of Radha and Madhava’s lotus feet.

There is such an inconceivable potency in these perfect words of the Goswamis that hearing and chanting of their prayers frees the practising devotee from all desires other than Krishna and blesses them with firmness and safekeeping of the treasure of worship of the Divine Couple.

kona akiñcana jane,e saṅkalpa kori mone,
vāsa kore rādhākuṇḍa tīre.
sva niyama daśa ratna,  hṛdaye koriyā yatna
pāṭha kore parama ādare

     “If a renounced person vows within his mind, “I will live on the bank of Radha Kund” and carefully takes these ten jewel-like resolutions in his heart, reciting them with great respect…”

bhāgyavān sei jane,  sukhamaya vṛndāvane,
rādhā-pada dāsī abhimāne
premāspada kṛṣṇa pade,  cittārpana kori tāte,
bhaje nitya śrī rūpera sane

          “….that person in blissful Vrindavan is fortunate if he fixes his mind on the lotus feet of Krishna, which are the abode of love, and considers himself to be a maidservant of Shri Radha’s lotus feet, always worshiping them together with Shri Rūpa.” 

kuṇḍa tīre kuṭirete,   mora dāsa raghunāthe,
ḍubi kṛṣṇa bhajana samudre
sva niyama daśa ratna,tulilo koriyā yatna,
bheṭa dilo sādhaka jagate

          “My Dāsa Raghunath is immersed in the ocean of Krishna-bhajana in a cottage on the bank of Radha Kund, but still he carefully hands the society of practising devotees these ten jewel-like vows.”

Thus ends Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami ‘s Sva Niyama Daśakam

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sphural-lakṣmī-lakṣmī-vraja-vijayi-lakṣmī-bhara-lasad-
vapuḥ-śrī-gāndharvā-smara-nikara-divyad-giribhṛtoḥ
vidhāsye kuñjādau vividha-varivasyāḥ sarabhasaṁ
rahaḥ śrī-rupākhya-priyatama-janasyaiva caramaḥ

Following in the footsteps of Shri Rūpa I yearn for the different kinds of confidential nikuñja-services of Shri Gāndharvā, who defeats the beauty of all the Vraja-gopīs, who are themselves more beautiful than all the goddesses of fortune, and Giridhārī, who defeats the beauty of all Cupids!

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this final verse of Sva-niyama-daśakam Raghunath reveals his ultimate desire. The ultimate goal of all the Gaudiya Vaishnavas’ sādhanā is to attain the confidential nikuñja-sevā of Radha Madhava. Although the ācāryas are eternal maidservants in the Vraja-nikuñjas they have descended along with Shriman Mahaprabhu to teach the world how to perform rāga-bhajana.

By giving a perfect example they have made the practising devotees in this world greedy after the nikuñja-rasa and are thus taking them along to the transcendental groves of Vraja. Without this, the advent of Shriman Mahaprabhu could not have reached perfection, because the mañjarī service of Shri Radha is Shriman Mahaprabhu’s ultimate and unprecedented merciful gift.

Six Goswamis, Utah KrishnaThrough the ācāryas, headed by Shri Rūpa and Raghunath Das Goswami, the Lord had this message preached. Although they are eternal associates of the Lord in Vraja, āpane nā koile dharma śikhāno nā yāya (CC) “If they had not practised it, it could not be preached.” Following this principle, the Goswamis also desire this service in the kuñjas, as if they are ordinary neophytes.

In this verse, Srila Raghunath Das prays that he may serve in the Vraja-nikuñja in allegiance to Shri Rūpa. Without this allegiance, Vraja-worship cannot reach perfection. Srila Rupa Goswami writes in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.295):

sevā sādhaka-rūpeṇa siddha-rūpeṇa cātra hi
tad-bhāva-lipsunā kāryā vraja lokānusārataḥ

“A practising devotee who desires the feelings of the Vraja-people serves in allegiance to them, both in the present physical body as well as in the (mentally conceived) spiritual body.”

Shri Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments: sādhaka rūpeṇa kāyikyādi sevā tu śrī rūpa sanātanādi vrajavāsi-janānām anusārena tathā ca siddha-rūpeṇa mānasī-sevāśrī rādhā lalitā viśākhāśrī rūpa mañjaryādīnām anusārena kartavyety arthaḥ “In his physical body, a worshiper of the Vraja-mood follows in the footsteps of Vraja-people like Shri Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami and in his spiritual body he renders mental service in allegiance to Shri Radha, Lalitā, Viśākhā and Shri Rūpa Mañjarī”.

nijābhīṣṭa kṛṣṇa preṣṭha pāche to lāgiyā
nirantara sevā kore antarmanā hoiyā

“Following one’s favorite beloved devotee of Krishna one constantly serves him within the mind.” (CC)

For Shri Raghunath Das that favorite devotee is Shri Rupa Goswami in the physical, outer world, and Shrimatī Rūpa Mañjarī in the spiritual, inner world. In this way Shripāda, who desires Yugala-sevā in allegiance to Shri Rūpa, teaches all the Gaudiya Vaishnava aspirants also to worship in allegiance to Shri Rūpa (Goswami and/or Mañjarī).

Radha Rani, AaradhanaShri Raghunath Das says, “The Vraja-gopīs are more beautiful than all the goddesses of fortune, and Shri Radharani defeats even them in beauty! A consort of the Lord is considered beautiful according to her love for him, and not according to her physical, cosmetic beauty. Krishna can never be captured by beauty or attributes that do not arise from pure love. In Srila Rupa Goswami’s Lalita Madhava-play (5.29) it is seen that when Lord Shri Dwarkanātha mounted his eagle Garuḍa to fly to the town of Kuṇḍina to kidnap Rukmiṇī, Garuḍa was so much enchanted by the beauty of Rukmiṇī that he told Dwarkanātha:

saundaryāmbunidher vidhāya mathanaṁ dambhena dugdhāmbudher
gīrbāṇair udahāri cāru caritā yā sāra sampan-mayī
sā lakṣmīr api cakṣuṣāṁ cira camatkāra kriyā cāturīṁ
dhatte hanta tathā na kāntibhir ayaṁ rājñaḥ kumārī yathā

“When the demigods churned the Milk-ocean they also churned the ocean of beauty and thus attained the beautiful goddess of fortune. Aho! This princess (Rukmiṇī) causes such astonishment to the eyes! Even the goddess of fortune could not delight the eyes like that!”

Immediately after hearing Garuḍa’s words, Dwarkanātha replied: sakhe bhavatu! kim etena yad eṣa rūpa mātrena na hāryo hariḥ “O friend! Let it be! What’s it to Me? I am the world-enchanting Hari Myself! Mere bodily beauty can’t enchant Me (rather, tell Me how much she loves Me!).”

Vraja damsels, RS Dhanjal

All the Vraja Lakṣmīs (gopīs) are endowed with mahā-bhāva, which is the quintessence of prema. This is only known to the Vraja-devīs. Not one of the goddesses of fortune have this mahā-bhāva. The beauty of the Vraja-sundarīs is caused by their mahā-bhāva, and therefore they are more beautiful than all the Ramās and Kamalās (goddesses of fortune). Shrimatī Radharani defeats the beauty of all these Vraja-gopīs, because her beauty is caused by the quintessence of mahā-bhāva, called mādanākhya mahā-bhāva. Indeed, she’s the embodiment of mahā-bhāva, therefore her beauty and sweetness are incomparable.

Shripāda Raghunath says, “I desire the confidential nikuñja-service of this Radharani and Shri Giridhārī, who is victorious over all Cupids.” Just as Radharani defeats the beauty of all the Vraja-gopīs, who are again more beautiful than all the goddesses of fortune, similarly Shri Giridhārī defeats the beauty of all Cupids. He is the transcendental youthful Cupid of Vrindavan, the fountainhead of all mundane and spiritual Cupids, whose worship is described by the Vedas in the Kāma-Gāyatrī and the Kāma-bīja. He enchants millions of Cupids and everyone else as well, and he is the turbulent ocean of sweet nectarean elegance. Such sweetness can only be truly experienced through mahā-bhāva. Seeing his sweet form, the mahā-bhāvavatī Vrajasundarīs can say:

sajani! yab dhari pekhaluṁ kāna
tab dhari jaga-bhari,
bharalo kusuma-śara,
nayane nā heriye āna

“O sakhi! When I saw Krishna, the world was filled with flower-archers (Cupids)! My eyes didn’t see anything else!” (Pada Kalpataru)

Shri Raghunath prays for the confidential nikuñja-service of this transcendental youthful Cupid Shri Giridhārī, who enchants millions of Cupids, and Shri Radharani, who enchants millions of goddesses of fortune.

Nikunjas of Seva KunjEven the dearmost girlfriends like Shri Lalitā and Viśākhā do not have access to these confidential nikuñja-pastimes of Radha Madhava, only Shrimatī’s most intimate maidservants or mañjarīs, who are as if non-different from her, are blessed with this confidential service. They can walk in and out of the nikuñja at will whenever their service is required, and then they can witness the sweetest pastimes of the Adolescent Pair. Shri Raghunath is very eager to attain this confidential nikuñja-service.

yāra aṅga sulāvaṇi, dedīpyamāna śobhā-śreṇī,
jaya kore vraje jaya-śrī
sei Srila gāndharvikā,
mad īśvarīśrī rādhikā,
pada-nakha maṇi mañju-śrī

“Srila Gāndharvikā, my mistress Shri Radhika, whose bodily beauty shines brilliantly, defeats the goddess of victory Jaya-Shri in Vraja. How lovely (mañju-śrī) are her jewel-like toenails!”

saundarya guṇete yini,nikhila kandarpa jini,
śrī govinda nāma giridhārī
nibhṛta nikuñjavane,
śrī rūpa gosvāmī sane,
kuñje yini śrī rūpa mañjarī

“I desire to serve her in the solitary nikuñja-forests along with Shri Govinda, who is also named Giridhārī, and whose attribute of beauty defeats all Cupids, in the company of Shri Rupa Goswami , who is known as Shri Rūpa Mañjarī in the transcendental kuñjas.”

tāhāra paścāte thāki,
yugala mādhurya dekhi,
anurāge koribo sevana
e saṅkalpa kori mone,
bando guru śrī-caraṇe,
yāra kṛpāya vāñchita pūraṇa

“I will stay behind her/him, beholding the sweetness of the Divine Pair and serving Them with great devotional attachment. Taking this vow within my mind I praise the lotus feet of my guru, by whose grace all these desires are fulfilled!”

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Vrindavan, 2019. 03.15

Throughout the  “Hindu” world the Spring Festival of Holi festival is celebrated for a few exciting days, but in The Vraja Realm, Shri Yugala Kishor’s own Playground, it is so enjoyable that it lasts for a full 40 days, starting on 10th February 2019 and not concluding until 21st March! Thus it is known as Hora; the”Vast Hori”. We have already been playing since Vasanta Pancami, through Jaya Ekadashi, Hori Dandaropana, Ropani ko Utsava and Shri Nathaji ko Patotsava and Vijaya Ekadashi.

On Thursday 14th March 2019, we arrive at: Phalgun Shukla, Holiashtakarambha. On this day begins the lead up of 8 days to the culmination of the play with the lighting of the Holika Fire.

Since the play is at its most vigorous at this time, during these 8 days weddings and other auspicious social rituals are not performed.

 

Dhamar ko Pada

Raga Saranga, Poet Rasakhan

[The Gopis address the Enchanting Shri Krishna]

 “O, Enchanter! Hohohoho, It is Hori!! Yesterday You came into our realm and unleashed some fresh insults upon us !! ||1||

Today, although You are the Lord Who sports in the Forest Bowers, why are avoiding us and sitting so close to Your mum? The lasses whom You insulted on that day have very enthusiastically come over here to Your  Gokul! ||2||

Then those Cowherd maidens challenge Him and,dying of thirst for the Nectar of His beauty, kidnap Him from there! Their beauty is effulgent as they embrace that Lord Who is as beautifully dark as a rain-filled cloud. ||3||

The Vraja lasses put collyrium into His eyes and make Him run and dance like a jester, laughing to see this scene!! Says the poet Rasakhan, “One insult is worth more than a hundred words of respect!!”||4||

Friday 15th March


Phalgun shukla 9 – varshane ki holi

Socially, Hori is a festival of fun and outspokeness. Songs full of insults are sung to the Lord. Men and women gather at the shrines and sing and dance to the seasonal rhythms. This is followed by the ‘horanga play’ which has a slightly varying character in each of the Vraja Villages. In several of these, the ladies dress up in their finery for battle and the young men of the village have to escape lashes from the ladies’sticks [lathmar holi].

The most famous Lathmar Holi takes place in and around Rangili Galli  [“The Colourful Alleyway”] in Shri Varsana Dham. This occurs on the ninth day of the bright half of the month of Phagun. Men from Nandagaon [Krishna’s village, about 8 kilometres distance] come in a musically charged procession to Varsana.

To get up to the temple, they must climb up the steep pathway of that Rangili Galli where beautifully dressed  and adorned Vrajavasin ladies emerge fully veiled from their houses wielding long sticks with which they beat the shield bearing men over the head as they dance in a squatting stance.

When they finally manage to reach the top of the path, at Shri Radharaniji’s temple, an exciting festival of wet and dry colours overtakes everyone and all of this is accompanied by the seasonal music focusing on the drumbeats- often ‘nagadas’ – huge drums played by four or more men at the same time, that are so big they need to be on wheels to move.

Thus signifying that the climb up to total bliss, at the Lotus-Feet of Shri Radharani, the Queen absolute of Joy, can be fraught with divinely imposed danger – but that one must be willing to humble oneself and dance to the divine tune before one attains the state of actually playing within the Lords own Realm.

Before any of this can occur the  “Hori ko Nyoto” (invitation to the Holi Play) must be given. How they are exchanged is fully described in 2 long songs called “ Dhamar Pande ke Pada” where the Pande is the Brahmin responsible for delivering the invite. One goes from Nandagaon to Varsana and one from Varsana to Nandagaon, and these invitations are the precursors of the most prestigious event in the Vraja Holi Calendar.

The beats are infectious and the whole area turns into a dancing crowd, coloured from head to toe in fragrant wet and dry colours. The sky fills with clouds of colour and the music never stops.

 

Dhamar ko Pada:

Raga Vilavala

 “Pande ko Dhamar, Nandagaon to Varsana”

Poet Jana Hariya [possibly Sri Harirayji]

The Brahmin Pandit goes to Varasana from Nandagaom. Shri Vrishabhanu is most generous and respectfully welcomes him. ||1||

He smilingly bows his head to him, bathing his feet and feeding him. ||2||

When the Vraja Ladies hear of his arrival they all come crowding into Vrishabhanuji’s home in order to play Holi. ||3||

They apply mustard oil to his head and then flower oil to his limbs which become shiny, just as if they were rubbing oil onto an image of Sri Hanumanji. ||4||

They put a black collyrium in his eyes and a big red dot on his face forehead which looks like a patch stuck onto a leaking black pot to seal it. ||5||

Then the ladies, who all walk as gracefully as she-elephants, rub sticky glue into his moustache in order to shape it up. It’s as if the month of Phagun has personified and come to Vraja in order to join in the Holi Play. ||6||

One of them anoints him with light sandal paste, bows to him and then add dark sandal paste which make him look like the fresh flowers that appear on the Palasa tree in this Spring Season. ||7||

One of them puts a string of small beads made from cowdung around his neck and another dresses him up in a loose shirt. These look like bells painted with alligator designs on them, tied around an elephants neck ||8||

They smother him with so many handfuls of colour that he begins to yawn, making him look like a priest wearing necklaces of gunja beads. ||9||

One lovely lady pours a pot full of buttermilk over his head. It looks like the sacred Mount Govardhan is being bathed in raw milk ||10||

He runs away like a thief when dawn comes, only to have Ganga water poured all over him, like the water that has washed the Lords Feet breaking out of Lord Shivas locks. ||11||

His teeth begin to chatter noisily as his body begins to shiver. They sound like nice musical rhythms being played! ||12||

Then he calls out, “O,Radhe,O,Sri Radhe! O,Daughter of Sri Vrishabhanuji, I surrender to you!.||13||

Hearing these words spoken so lovingly Sri Radha approaches, full of sympathy. |She brings a padded jacket that belongs to her father and helps the Purohitji to put it on. ||14||

He goes to Shri Kiratiji and bows at her feet, she then gives him some hot milk to drink. As he does so, Shri Krishna, Who has been playing Holi, comes there dressed as a bridegroom ||15||

Everyone gathers together, in all shapes and sizes,to stage a wedding procession.Rishi Vyasa is there with his avadhuta son Sukadev. ||16||

Also there are the four Brahman boys, Sanaka etc.who enjoy their renunciate status. As he circumambulates the globe, Indra also stops there and the Gopis make him dance madly! ||17||

Then they make him roll in the mud of Holi colours in the narrow pathways of Vraja. Also brought to this stage is the curiously four faced Brahma. ||18||

Ganesh with five faces sings with all five of his mouths. Narad who had been rendered crazy by Shri Hari comes there dancing. ||19||

Seeing Nanda’s Son, he puts a conch to his mouth and sounds it. Mahadevji takes off his tiger skin garments and gives them to Shri Thakurji Who very much likes them. ||20||

Lord Krishna Who disperses all sorrows laughingly shouts, “ho ho ho Hori”, and everyone else laughs too. The Lord’s potency Maya casts her net of magic and Narad happily spreads the joy to the scene. ||21||

All became full of Love as Cupid’s army stole all their hearts. Lalita ties together Shri Radhaji’s and Shri Krishna’s upper garments with a knot to simulate Their wedding. ||22||

After tying the knot in the Daughter of Vrishabhanu’s garment Lalita they make crowns for Both of Them from peacock feathers and fresh young mango leaves. ||23||

She takes yellow cloth and creates a small wedding pavilion. They use Hori insults in place of the vedic mantras to solemnize the marriage. ||24||

The Holi fire is lit and the Groom makes offerings and offers respect to it [bowing and circumnambulating].Then everyone gets to eat bagfuls of special Holi foodstuffs. ||25||

The Poet Janahariya now sings “anyone who sings this account of Their lovely Holi Play will blossom like the spring. The Lord Who is as dark as a rain-filled cloud takes up His residence in Varsana |26||


Rasiya Song

Poet Ghasiram

 “Phāga khelana Barasāne āye haiṁ
Naṭavara Nãndakiśora|
Ghera laī saba galī rañgīlī,
|Chāya rahī chabi chaṭā rañgīlī,
Ina ḍola mṛdañga bajāye haiṁ,
Banśī kī ghanaghora||1||

Jura milike saba sakhiyāṁ āyī,
Umada ghaṭā aṁbara meṁ chāī,
Jina abīra gulāla uḍāye haiṁ,
Mārata bhara bhara jhora||2||


Lai rahe coṭa gvāla ḍhālana pai,
Keśara kīca maleṁ gālana pai,
Hariyala bāṁsa mañgāye haiṁ,
Calana lage cahuṁ ora||3||

Bhaī abīra ghora añdhiyārī,
Dīkhata nāhīṁ nara aru nārī,
Rādhe saina calāye haiṁ,
Pakare mākhana cora ||4||

Jo lālā ghara jānoṁ cāhau,
Tau horī kau phaguā lāo,
Śyāma ne sakhā bulāye haiṁ,
Bāṁṭata bhara bhara jhor ||5||

Rādhe jū ke hā hā khāo,
Saba sakhiyanan ke ghara pahuñcāo
Ghāsīrāma kathā gāȳe haiṁ,
Lagī śyāma te ḍhora” ||6||

 “The Dancer Supremo, Shri Krishna, Son of Nanda, has come to Varasana to play Hori. He and His sakhas fill “Rangili Gali”. Their colourful beauty shines brightly all around. Their beating of the dol and mridanga drums accompanies His lovely loud playing of the flute ||1||

Then all the Sakhis form a group and arrive there. Through their joyful play, clouds of colour fill the skies. They cover anyone who throws up white, pink or red powders with bagfuls of colour. ||2||

They beat the cowherd lads on the shields that they hold above their heads, rub the kich [the muddy mixed wet and dry colours] into their cheeks and then, gathering more bamboo poles, begin to wield them all around. ||3||

The clouds of powdered colours make the sky grow dark and no-one, neither the ladies nor the lads, can see anything. Shri Radhaji gives the signal to capture the Butter Thief! ||4||

They say, “Well,little boy! If you want us to let You go You must give us our Phaguva reward!” The dark Krishna calls to all His friends and they distribute bagfuls of gifts ||5||

He says “Do whatever Radhaji tells you to and take gifts to all their houses!”

The poet Ghasiram, lovingly attached to the dark and Beautiful Shri Krishna, now sings this tale.”||6||**

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imageproxy.jpgVrindavan, 11.03.2019

While the spirit of Holi takes over Braj from Basant Panchami itself, Phulera Dooj which was celebrated on March 8 this year, marked the beginning of the main festivities in Radhavallabh temple.

Phulera Dooj falls on the second day of the light fortnight in the month of Phalgun. ‘Phulera’ comes from the Hindi word ‘Phool’ (flowers). In North India people celebrate this festival by playing Holi with flowers.

On this day every year, Shri Radhavallabh Lal is dressed in a white ‘poshak’. A white ‘phenta’ (cummerbund/girdle) with a pouch of ‘Gulal’ (coloured powder) is tied around his waist to indicate that he all set for ‘the big event’, the five-day Holi starting on Rangbharani Ekadashi (March 17).

Thereafter, the girdle is regularly tied to Thakurji’s waist and his cheeks are smeared with the colours of Holi. (Here, it is interesting to note that during the Lathmaar Holi played in Barsana and Nandagaon, men tie a similar girdle with ‘Gulal’ pouches around their waists.)

Starting with the ‘Shringaar Aarti’ on March 8, devotees thronged the temple to get drenched in Radhavallabh’s ‘Gulal Prasadi’. Music and colours filled the atmosphere as Rasik saints sang the ‘Rasiya’, ‘Phaag’ and other Holi ‘padas’ in tune with the ‘Daph’ (Indian percussion instrument similar to the tambourine).
 

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“Free from pride I will spend the rest of my time at Radha Kund, at the base of Govardhana hill, making a rule to drink milk from Vraja and use clothes, plates and other articles from Vraja. Certainly I will leave my body near my beloved lake in front of Shri Jīva Goswami and others.”

vrajotpanna-kṣīrāśana-vasana-pātrādibhir ahaṁ
padārthair nirvāhya vyavahṛtim adambhaṁ saniyamaḥ
vasāmīśā-kuṇḍe giri-kula-vare caiva samaye
mariṣye tu preṣṭhe sarasi khalu jīvādi-purataḥ

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (Trans: Ananta Das and Adwaita Das): In sādhakāveśa, Shri Raghunath vows allegiance to Vraja with his body and all his senses. In this verse he vows to live in Vraja until death (āmaraṇa) and to surrender exclusively to Vraja Dham. One of the items of surrender is taking exclusive shelter of the Lord’s playground:

tavāsmīti vadan vācā tathaiva manasā vidan;
tat sthānam āśritas tanvā modate śaraṇāgataḥ

“He who says: ‘I am yours!’ and who also thinks like that, blissfully takes shelter of the Lord’s abode and is a surrendered soul.”

In his Bhakti Sandarbha, Shri Jīva Goswami mentions the conditions leading to surrender:

When a person is troubled by fear of material life, which consists of the six enemies of lust, anger and so on; he finds no way out, then he takes full shelter of the Lord.

Another person, who takes shelter of the Lord is someone who desires devotional service and who wants to destroy all obstacles that keep him away from the Lord.

Braj is the kingdom of mahā-bhāva, which leads to surrender. When a devotee reaches the stage of prema bhakti, his surrender is called tadaika-jīvana (‘the Lord is all I have in life’).

A surrendered devotee doesn’t like to have anything to do with dull, material things that are not connected with the Lord. Not only his inner senses, but also his outer senses – in connection with maintaining the body – take shelter of the Lord and his abode.

In this verse, Shri Raghunath vows to maintain his life simply by consuming dairy products from Vraja only and wearing clothes produced in Vraja. Vraja is a transcendental abode and everything that comes from here is also transcendental and therefore greatly nourishes one’s bhajana.

Shri Raghunath Das is an eternal associate of the Lord who is always satisfied with the nectar of Prema – hunger and thirst can never agitate his spiritualised body and senses. In the Bhaktamāla it is written:

śrīmān raghunath das ye gosvāmī; pracaṇḍa vairāgya yāra mahā-bhakta premī
anurāga parākāṣṭha śrī rādhā-govinde; divā niśi nāhi jāne matta premānande

“Srila Raghunath Das Goswami was a greatly renounced, loving devotee. He was attracted to Radha-Govinda to the limit and out of ecstatic love he didn’t know whether it was day or night.”

śrī rādhākuṇḍera tīre korilena vāsa; divā-niśi sadā rādhā-kṛṣṇa premollāsa
rādhā-kṛṣṇa prāpti lāgi sadā utkaṇṭhita; sadā hāhākāra kṣaṇe sthira nahe cita
he he vṛndāvaneśvari he vraja-nāgara; dekhāiyāśrī caraṇa rākho prāṇa mora
nidrāhāra nāhi sadā koroye phutkāra; bāhya sphūrti nāhi sadā mātoyāra

“He lived on the bank of Radha Kund and was absorbed in ecstatic love for Radha-Krishna day and night. He was always very eager to attain Them and he always loudly cried out for Them, without ever calming down. Without eating or sleeping, he constantly exclaimed: “O Queen of Vrindavan! O amorous hero of Vraja (Krishna)! Save my life by showing me your lotus feet!” He was always inebriated by ecstatic love and was always unaware of external affairs.”

Whatever he still accepted to keep himself alive, that little bit of buttermilk had to come from Vraja alone, and not from anywhere outside of Vraja – that was his firm vow. Also the clothes he wore had to be made only in Vraja, and not from anywhere else.

Secondly, he vowed to live forever at the base of Shri Girirāja, at Radha Kund, the best of all places in the 84-Kos circumference of Vraja. In many places in his Stavāvalī Srila Raghunath expresses his firm determination to stay on the bank of Shri Radha Kund. Many great souls have attained perfection by remaining fixed in a certain place. Before attaining perfection, Lord Buddha sat down at the foot of a Bodhi-tree and firmly vowed:

ihāsane śoṣyatu me śarīraṁ tvag asthi māṁsaṁ vilayaṁ ca yātu
aprāpya bodhiṁ bahu kalpa durlabhāṁ naivāsanāt kāyamataś caliṣyate

“My body may parch under this tree and my skin, bones and flesh may dissolve, but, until I reach enlightenment, even if it takes many ages, I will not move my body from this seat!” Shri Raghunath’s vow to remain on the bank of Radha Kund is not even slightly less firm than this!

Samadhis at Radha Kund, P.C. Tripmondo Thirdly, Shri Raghunath Das desires to leave his body in front of great souls like Shri Jīva Goswami. These great souls are in a sense non-different from the Lord; they are the manifest mercy of the Lord and a devotee greatly desires to pass away close to such great saints, as is revealed through this prayer of Shri Raghunath Das Goswami.

 

ahaṅkāra śūnya hoiyā, tṛṇād api nīca hoiyā,
vrajotpanna kṣīrādi bhojane
vrajavāsīra ye vasana, aṅge kori ācchādana,
ānandete yāhā kore dāne

“Free from false pride, feeling lower than a blade of grass I will only use dairy products from Vraja and wear clothes made and blissfully donated by the people of Vraja.”


girirāja govardhane,sannihita sarovare,
rādhākuṇḍa tīre kori vāsa
ei mora abhimata,śuno he bāndhava yoto,
vidhi ki pūrābe mora āśa?

“I will reside on the bank of Radha Kund, near the base of Girirāja Govardhana. This is my wish. Listen, O friends! Will Fate fulfill my desires?”

rādhe rādhe rādhe boli,ḍākibo ki bāhu tuli,
preme kaṇṭha hoibe ye rodha
mad īśvarīśrī rādhikā, saṅge saṅge dibe dekhā,
rākhibe ki ei anurodha?

“Will my voice break with love when I raise my arms and cry out: “Rādhe! Rādhe! Rādhe!?” Will my mistress Shri Radhika then reveal herself to me and thus fulfill my request?”


priya rādhākuṇḍa tīre,yugala darśana kore,
ei deha patana hoibe
prabhura priya pāriṣada, śrī jīva gosvāmī yoto,
se samaya sammukhe thākibe

“Will I see the Yugala Kiśora when I leave my body on the bank of my beloved Radha Kund, and will the Lord’s dearmost associates, like Shri Jīva Goswami, be there also at that time?”


kuṇḍa-tīre Raghunath,e bhāvanāya dina rāta,
pratikṣaṇa koriche yāpana.
jhuriyā jhuriyā kānde, hiyā dhairya nāhi bāndhe,
haripada pābe ki darśana

“Will Haripada Śila ever see Raghunath on the bank of Radha Kund in this way, absorbed day and night in these thoughts, crying streams of tears, unable to keep his heart at ease?”

Verse 8

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