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29020109_2092430990797844_1320612939_n.jpg?oh=52e82abd419d3cb98862ab72c43502b5&oe=5AB70804Vrindavan, 2018.08.23

During Chaitra Navaratri, ‘Vrindavan Today’ is introducing you to the different  Devi temples of Vraja Vrindavan. Today, we take you for darshan of ‘Maa Yogmaya’ of Goma Teela (the mound upon which Govind Dev temple is built).

Among Brajwasis, Goma Teela  Yogamaya  is also known as ‘Patal Devi’. Yogamaya’s nickname ‘Patal Devi’ may refer to her position under the ground, as Patal Lok is the lowest of the three worlds. The name also indicates Durga Maya’s ability to subdue demons from the underworld.

The entrance to Yogmaya temple  is adjacent to the main alter of the iconic old red sandstone building that is Radha Govinda Temple. On the Southern side of the temple, built into the overall design, there is a raised entranceway that leads into an underground chamber. This chamber is generally accepted as the place where the original Govinda ji deity appeared, and supposedly once served as a subterranean bhajan kutir for Roop Goswami. Patal Devi is installed in the underground chamber.


Govind Dev temple →

The deity is very small and delicately beautiful. Yogamaya temple only opens a couple of times in a year, during Navaratri. On other days, special permission has to be requested from the priest on the altar.

Before Govinda Dev was moved to Jaipur, He was seated on the main altar with Vrinda Devi on the left and Yogamaya on the right. Now Vrinda Devi has been moved to Kama and Yogamaya has moved to Roop Goswami’s bhajan kutir, next to the temple.

Patal Devi temple is closed for the entire year except on Navaratri. It is not easy to have darshan of Yogmaya Devi. On request, the temple priest at Govind Dev temple can open the door to allow visitors to enter the basement chamber where the deity of goddess Yogamaya is installed. There is an inner passage from Sanctum Sanctorum of the main alter, from where the priests have direct access to the ‘Yog-peeth’.





Govardhan, 2018.03.23

Today is the second day of the hearing of the petition against government construction activities on Govardhan’s inner Parikrama Marg. On Wednesday, National Green Tribunal (NGT) officials visited Govardhan to inspect the site where a signboard welcoming people to Rajasthan was installed. The tribunal has expressed displeasure with the action of the Bharatpur Government.

Any further construction, including the huge welcome gate that the Bharatpur Government was planning to build has been stopped. The Tribunal has also ordered that the Govardhan Shilas which were dug out of the ground to make the pits for the signboard and gate must be installed at the bottom of Govardhan Hill. Meanwhile, Sadhus are demanding an apology to Govardhan.


Ganga Das Babaji and others making offerings to Shri Govardhan, P.C. Patrika

Construction on Govardhan’s inner Parikrama Marg has been outlawed since an NGT ruling in 2015, and other sign boards that were too close to Shri Govardhan have been removed previously. Despite this, and despite knowing the religious significance of Shri Govardhan, the Bharatpur Government hired a contractor to use heavy machinery to install a tourists-welcome-sign withing the perimeter of Govardhan reserve.

Ganga Das Baba witnessed the digging on the side of Govardhan. He said that they worship Govardhan as a child, and, when the digging was going on, he saw that Govardhan had become red with anger. He was moved to tears and started the protest that led to the hearing in the NGT.

Babaji contacted several NGOs who tried to stop the construction, but the Bharatpur administration was not ready to stop the work until Satyaprakash Mangal from the National Krishna Circuit Committee, filed a petition in the NGT on Tuesday. The NGT worked quickly by ordering a stay on all construction activities that very day and summoning the officials and contractors involved to appear before the tribunal on Wednesday.

Poor construction on Giriraj ji stopped, NGT summoned Bharatpur officials

Making amends to Shri Govardhan: Fresh soil and cleaning on the inner Parikrama Marg on Thursday, P.C. Patrika




Braj, 2018.03.23

In a press release yesterday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced the new status for Govardhan and 4 other towns of Braj. When the CM visited Barsana so promote Braj’s famous Lathmar Holi, he mentioned that other towns in Braj will soon receive the official pilgrimage site status that locals had been demanding.

The towns to be included on the list of official pilgrimage places are: Govardhan, Radhakund, Gokul, Nandagaon and Baldev.

The announcement means that restrictions on selling of meat and liquor will be strictly enforced in the towns, pleasing many residents. The official status also means that extra funds will be allocated to improve the cleanliness, infrastructure and visitor services in the towns.

Minister for culture, Lakshmi Narayan Chaudhary, said that extra attention will also be paid to education, health services, sewage treatment plants in the towns.

After the announcement of Vrindavan and Barsana as official pilgrimage sites in October last year, there was a crackdown on meat sellers in Vrindavan.  The ban on selling in Hindu pilgrimage sites is an impediment to Mathura becoming an Official Pilgrimage Site as there is a large Muslim population in the town.



Widow repatriation movement: Sending them home


Braj: 2018.03.22

At the Government’s instruction, the Chaitanya Vihar Widows’ Ashram is making arrangements to send widows back to their homes wherever possible. Several families have been contacted and some have made the trip to Vrindavan to take their mother home.

While many widows come to Braj after being mistreated, abused and accused of being a burden, others come by choice. Many are happy to do bhajan in Braj and have formed close friendships with the other widows in the ashram.

Now, the widows in the Government ashram are being encouraged to return to their relatives. Gita Dikshit, Superintendent of the Government Women’s Shelter in Chaitanya Vihar, said that, on the instructions of the government, the work of rehabilitation of mothers in the house has started.

Sushma Mandal’s son,  Sivananda Hari, never married and has an ashram in Muzaffarnagar, UP. On Tuesday he came to the shelter to pick up his 80 year old mother. Sushma has been in Vrindavan for 11 years, after travelling here from Bengal.

The widows in the ashram are in an extremely vulnerable position. It is unlikely that anyone will check on their welfare after they return to their family, so, they can only hope that they will be treated with love and respect. If they suffer ill treatment once again, it will be extremely difficult for them to make the journey to the shelter of Braj for a second time.

Many of the widows who are being sent home, have been in Vrindavan for many years, so they are older and weaker than when they first came to Braj. Many made the journey alone after being unable to physically or mentally suffer the abuse from callous family members and some were dropped here by relatives.

Even when widows agree to go back to their families, they are sad to be separated from those they have spent many years of their life with in the shelter. Those who came to Braj looking for spiritual as well as material shelter are also being deprived of the chance to live and die in the Holy Dham.

Widows come to Braj for a variety of reasons. Here are some of their stories:

Lakshmi Upadhaya, 50 Years – From Tragedy to Violence

“My parents married me off when I was very young and had my first child at age 15. My husband was a daily wage laborer and an alcoholic. Our family was very poor and my husband died early. After my sons got married, they and their families did not treat me well and I was often left to starve.

I suffered many indignities because of my situation, most of which were by my very own family. When they started beating me, I left my home because I could not bear the dishonor shown towards me by my own sons and my daughter-in-laws. Family is supposed to help and support one another, but my family saw me as a grave burden. I came to Vrindavan 4 years ago and have stayed in dilapidated hovels ever since. To survive, I worked as a domestic help and am forced  to beg at times for food. I do not have my family’s contact details and do not want to be in touch with them after how they treated me when I needed them most.”

Lakshmi’s testimony shows how family can become disdainful and even violent towards widows after their husbands’ passing. Rather than help the widow through this life-changing event, often the family treats the widow as a burden. Unfortunately, this attitude can lead to violence and abuse, and cuts off a widow from her once close family. For Lakshmi, she fled and cut ties with her abusive family, and has to support herself.

DhanwantiDhanwanti – at last she found happiness 

Dhanwanti was a bride at fifteen and a widow at eighteen years of age. After three years of their marriage, her husband succumbed to malaria leaving behind Dhanwanti and their two- year-old daughter and four-month-old son.

Illiterate and unskilled, Dhanwanti was economically dependent on her husband. After her husband’s death, she had no other choice but to return to her parents along with her two children.

Dhanwanti’s life revolved around raising her two children. Her only goal in life was to see her children married and settled. She placed their happiness above her own. Her family was very accommodating and supported Dhanwanti in every possible way.

Finally, when her children came of age, Dhanwanti managed to choose suitable partners for them and funded both the weddings. Once her children had left the nest, she found herself lonely and purposeless.

Fifteen years back, she decided to come to Vrindavan and devote rest of her life in pursuit of spirituality and peace. In Vrindavan, she rented a small room for a minimal amount and spent most of her time visiting temples in Vrindavan and singing devotional songs.

However, as years passed by the room rent kept increasing beyond her means. Thankfully, in 2013, Maitri India welcomed her to Maitri Ghar , a home for elderly and widow women in Radha Kund. “This is a home for me where I can rest, keep my belongings safely, avail facilities like clean bed covers, fan, filter water, hot water, clean bathroom etc. which otherwise I couldn’t afford.

Dhanwanti and hundred other widows living in the home also are provided with nutritious mid-day-meal, cotton sarees, and regular health check up.

Today, at the age of sixty-five, Dhanwantifinally lives for her own happiness. She chooses to live in Vrindavan as she draws immense joy and happiness in visiting temples and singing bhajans (devotional songs). Maitri Ghar has made it possible for her to continue to enjoy her stay in Varindavan and live comfortably, for which she is very grateful.

Parvathi Rani, 78 Years – Becoming a Burden

“I was married at the young age of 11.  My husband was an alcoholic, a gambler and a womanizer. He did not support us financially. Life was very difficult with him, but was bad without him as well. When my husband died, he left me with the responsibility of taking care of our children. When my son got married, he and my daughter-in-law treated me with the utmost disrespect, beat me, and gave me no food. I feared for my life. Hence, with great difficulty I left to find somewhere where I could find safety.”

As her life unraveled, Parvathi continued to care for her children after her husband’s death, but once they found spouses of their own, she had outlived her usefulness in their eyes and had become a burden. The fear of violence by one’s own children, even after having raised them and cared for them, becomes a tragic reality for many widows.

Widows stories courtesy: Maitri Ghar




Yamuna, 2018.03.22

People around Braj are gearing up to honour and celebrate the birth anniversary of Goddess Yamuna. Popularly known as Yamuna Chhath or Yamuna Jayanti, the festival is an important event on the Hindu calendar which is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. It is observed on Sashthi (6th day) of the Shukla Paksha or the waxing phase of the moon during the Hindu month of Chaitra. Every year, it falls during the month of February and March. This year, the auspicious day is on March 23. The festival is mostly celebrated in the north Indian states, especially Uttar Pradesh.

Yamuna Chhath attracts a lot of tourists. Every year, millions of people gather on the ghats of the Yamuna to offer prayers to the rising and the setting sun. With great devotion, individuals worship Goddess Yamuna and seek for happiness and success in their lives. Goddess Yamuna is known to be the companion of Lord Krishna. Hence, the day is also an occasion on which people remember to seek His blessings.

Significance of Yamuna Chhath

Yamuna Jayanti is celebrated with immense zeal, especially in Vrindavan and Mathura. In India, river Yamuna is considered to be a sacred river along with Ganga, Godavari, Brahmaputra and Saraswati. According to legend, River Yamuna descended on Earth during the Sashthi of the Chaitra month. Since then, this day is celebrated every year as the appearance anniversary of Shrimati Yamuna Devi.

Yamuna Chhath Celebrations

On this auspicious day, devotees get up early (before dawn) to take a spiritual bath in the Yamuna river. It is widely believed that taking a holy dip into the Yamuna river purifies the soul, enabling us to attain eternal joy and love.  Some also observe a fast during Yamuna Chhath, breaking it the next morning after completing puja rituals.

On the occasion of Yamuna Jayanti, individuals prepare special food known as Naivedyam and offer it to the Goddess. Once the puja ceremony is done, the food is donated first to the Brahmins then distributed among friends and relatives as prasad. The festival is celebrated with immense fervour and enthusiasm, attracting visitors from every corner of the world.




Vrindavan, 2018.03.22

On the fifth day of Chaitra Navaratri, we take you for darshan of ‘Maa Chamunda Devi’, another of the important and historical Devi temples of Braj. The temple falls on the Jugal Jodi Parikrama Marg in Vrindavan. One famous story related to this temple is also told about Katyayani temple:

According to legend, when Shri Roop and Sanatan Goswami came to Braj about 500 years ago, they wanted to find the places of Shri Krishna’s pastimes (lila) that had been lost over time, according to the order of their Guru, Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. But they didn’t know where to begin; they were not even sure where Vrindavan was.

Ma-Chamundar-Devi-Temple2-300x225.jpgThe Divine Mother appeared to them in the form of a lali (a young Brajwasi girl) and told them that the land embraced on three sides by the Yamuna is indeed Vrindavan, thereby giving them the direction and inspiration to move forward with their mission.

The connection of the Divine Mother with Shri Krishna and his lila is a deep one, and this article merely skims the surface. But, we hope that, by her blessings, you may relish deeper and deeper realization of this sacred land of Vrindavan.





Mahavidya Devi: Nanda Baba’s family deity


Mathura, 2018.03.20

29511443_2089324154441861_3073475040784678912_n.jpgOn the fourth day of Navaratri, we take you to Mahavidya Devi in Mathura, who is said to be the Kul Devi (family deity) of Nanda Baba. The deity of Mahavidya Devi is highly decorated, and her beautiful, yet fearsome, eyes are so splendid that they attract the attention of all those who are lucky enough to have her darshan.

It is believed that the Pandavas stayed here during their vanavas (exile) and worshiped the Goddess.

This present temple was built by the Marathas and renovated by the Tantrik saint Sheelchandra in 1907.

This temple is situated half a mile from the back of Shri Krishna Janmabhumi. The temple building is topped by a  single plain dome and is of fairly recent construction, having been built in the late 18th century by a Peshwa. The ancient Deity, however, is said to have been installed by the Pandavas or their descendants.

The temple sits atop a lonely hillock. An eight minute walk must be undertaken to reach the temple.

vidyadhara.gifSome sources name this as Ambikavana, the place where Nanda Maharaja and the cowherds came to observe the Shivaratri celebration out of curiosity. In the Shrimad Bhagvatam, Ambikavana is described as being located near the bank of the River Saraswati. The presence of several tirtha (pilgrimage sites) in the area, including Saraswati Temple, Saraswati Nala (bridge), Saraswati Kunda, and Saraswati Sangama make this statement very plausible, although the Saraswati river is no longer visible here.

There is another Mahavidya Devi Tirtha in Saurashtra Province of Gujrat State and the Saraswati River also flows there. The Saraswati flows sometimes as a visible river and sometimes secretely or gupta (as at Prayaga).

Mahavidya Devi (or Durga) is worshiped as Krishna’s sister, especially here in Mathura. She is pure devotee of the Lord and, remembering this, we are duty bound to respect her. Her name Mahavidya Devi indicates “great spiritual knowledge” such as the science that Krishna’s son Pradyumna used to defeat demon Shambara, who was a master of all vidya (knowledge) except Mahavidya.

Some scholars claim that this is a Shakti Peeth marking the site where Sati’s hair fell to earth. Other Shakti Peeths are said to be at to Pataleshwari Devi at Bhuteshwar, Chamunda Devi opposite the Gayatri Tapobhumi on the Mathura Vrindavan Road and Vrindavan’s Katyanani Devi temple.

There are dozens of prominent Shakti Peeths around India, and they are held very sacred to worshipers of goddess Durga. Yet, surprisingly little notice is paid to Braj Shakti peeths, due to the Vrajabasis attachment to Lord Krishna, the Lord of all energies.

Behind the Mahavidya Mandir is the Mathura parikrama Marg. Nearby is a field called the Ramlila Grounds, where Ramchandra Vijayotsava (Dussera) is celebrated. Dussera commemorates Lord Rama’s victory over Ravan and is also connected to Durga Ma as Lord Ram prayed to her before for victory before entering into the battle with Ravan, but, she refused to accept the credit, saying that he won ‘because he is Lord Ram’.

Mahavidya Devi is particularly known to bless women who want to marry or are married but have problems in their lives. Women also seek the blessings of the Mother for husband’s well being.



Mathura, 2018.03.20

Rajasthan officials have been summoned to appear in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for breaking Govardhan Shilas (stones) with heavy construction equipment.

The Giriraj Parikrama Surakshan Sangathan (Giriraj Parikrama Conservation Organization) filed a petition in protest of damage done to Govardhan when government workers placed a signboard on the inner Parikrama Marg welcoming tourists to Rajasthan.


In the ancient Hindu scripture Shrimad Bhagavatam, Shri Krishna declares that the Govardhan Hill is another form of himself. Krishna himself organized the first Govardhan Puja. Now Hindus all over the world worship Govardhan Hill and its stones, especially during the Annakut festival, on the day after Diwali.

Showing complete ignorance of the religious significance of Govardhan Shilas, and a flagrant disregard for Hinduism itself, the contractors hired by the Government used a bulldozer to break Govardhan Shilas when digging the pits for the signboard posts.

Govardhan resident Prakash Shukla said, “Breaking Govardhan Shilas is like smashing the deity of Banke Bihari (Shri Krishna). The men responsible for this are no better than Aurangzeb. Is it a lack of education, or are they demons disguised as Hindus? They should pray to Thakurji (Krishna) and ask for forgiveness. The government must punish them to the fullest extent of the law, and make sure such a thing never, ever happens again.”

The Giriraj Parikrama Protection Organization’s chairman, Anand Gopal Das, filed the petition on Tuesday and, after hearing the plea, the NGT has summoned the District Collector of Bharatpur, Executive Engineer Sanivi, the assistant engineer, Forest Department officials and the Contractor involved.

GovardhanParikrama is 21 kilometers in length. Approximately 1.2 km of the Parikrama falls in the state of Rajasthan. This area is known as “Punchari” – the “tail” of Govardhan. This area is sparsely populated and is traditionally the home of many great and renounced saints who live in small huts or caves doing intense spiritual practice.

On one side of Govardhan is Jatipura with many temples commemorating the festivals of Govardhan Puja and Annakut. On the other side of the hill is the village of Anyor which literary means “bring more” – a reference to how the sacred hill accepted the offerings of the Brajwasis. A little further down is the village of Punchari which marks the extreme edge or the tail of the hill as denoted by its name which means ‘the tail’.

The incident comes in the midst of an intense anti-encroachment drive in Govardhan, aimed at protecting the land that rightfully belongs to the reserved area around this sacred site. Many Brajwasis’ homes have been bulldozed to the ground in the name of preserving Govardhan’s sanctity, making the Rajasthan government’s actions all the more shocking.

The Giriraj Parikrama Conservation Organization has been active in campaigning for the protection of Govardhan for many years. In 2015, the organization filed a petition to have trees planted along the Parikrama Marg to replace those which were cut down in order to widen the road. The organization was also involved in the campaign to create the no-construction zone, which outlaws all construction within 100 metres of Govardhan.



Vrindavan, 2018.03.19

Yesterday we wrote about Adi Katyayani temple of Vraja, which is situated on the bank of Yamuna in the Siyar village 15 kilometers upstream of Yamuna from Vrindavan. Today on the second day of Navratri, we introduce you with the ‘Katyayani Peeth’ or Vrindavan’s Katyayani temple.


Katyayani Temple

There are many Shakti Peeths or Durga temples around the country. But the Shakti Peeths of Vraja are special, as this is the land of Shri Krishna and Goddess Yogmaya is Krishna’s sister. Vrindavan is a temple town and known for the temples of the Divine Couple of Radha and Krishna and their pastimes. The temple of Shakti known as Katyayani Peeth, situated in Vrindavan is unique.

Several references of Katyayani in Vrindavan are found in the Hindu scriptures.
The Shiv Puran mentions that “Dakshprajapati” father of Goddess Sati, (consort of Lord Shiva), organized a big Yagna in which he did not invite Lord Shiva. When Sati learned that Lord Shiva was insulted she jumped into the fire. This enraged Lord Shiva who took the burning body of Sati on his shoulders and performed the Tandav dance (dance of destruction). According to the legend when Lord Vishnu saw mass destruction all around he tried to normalize Lord Shiva and cut the burning body of Sati into pieces with his Chakra (Mace). It is said that the various spots where parts of Devi Sati fell became Shakti Peeth Sthans. There are supposed to be 108 such places, out of which only 51 are known today.

It is stated that the hair of Goddess Sati fell in Vraja and the spot is known as Katyayani Peeth.


Devotees having darshan of the Divine Mother

The Katyayani Peeth

The temple of Katyayani was consecrated on the full moon day of Magh as per Hindu calendar, which falls in February, in the year 1923. The deity of Mother Katyayani, made of ashtadhatu (8 metals) was installed in accordance with the Hindu rites by the learned pundits invited from Bengal, Varanasi and other cities. The main temple has 5 deities corresponding to the five form of worship – Shakt, Shaiv, Vaishnav, Ganapataya and Saurya.

The temple was founded by Swami Keshavananda ji, who spent 40 years traversing the snow clad peaks and dales of the Himalayas meeting the existing masters under directions of his Guru Shir Lahiri Mahashay. There he had the vision and direction of the Divine Mother to proceed to Vrindavan and perform the most important mission of his life by locating the Peethsthan mentioned in the Puranas, install the deity of Goddess Katyayani and start the worship of the Goddess for the benefit of mankind in the present times. Guided by the dictates of the almighty he came to Vrindavan and started living in a small hut on the banks of river Yamuna in Radha Bagh and identified the Shakti Peeth. He gradually acquired the land and built the present temple and an ashram in the year 1923, where he lived the rest of his life until 1942 when attained “Mahasamadhi”.


Samadhi of Swami Keshavananda

Story of Lord Ganesh, who returned from London

One Englishman, Mr.W.R Yule, used to work as Eastern Secretary with M/s Atlas Insurance Co Ltd., situated at 4 Clive Road in Calcutta. In 1911-1912, his wife was going abroad and took with her a statue of Lord Ganesh, purchased from Jaipur. She went to her home in London and placed the statue on the cornice in the living room.

One evening there was a party organized in their house which was attended by her friends, They asked her about the unique statue. Mrs.Yule told them that this was a “Hindu God with an elephant trunk”. Her friends then placed the statue on the centre table and started making fun of the statue. One person even places a spoon near The Lords Ganesha”s mouth and asked where the mouth was.
That night after dinner, Mrs.Yule’s daughter ran a high fever and started shouting that the toy with the elephant trunk was coming to gobble her. The doctors thought that she was disoriented and hence talking like that. But she kept repeating this and was frightened throughout the night. Mrs.Yule wrote everything about this incident to her husband in Calcutta. Her daughter did not respond to any medicine or treatment.


One day Mrs.Yule, saw in her dreams that she was sitting in her garden guest house. The sun was setting down in the evening. Suddenly, a gentle and kind person having curly hair, flaring red eyes, carrying a lancet in his hand, riding a bull was coming towards her from the darkness. He was saying “ Send my son, the God with the elephant trunk, immediately to India, otherwise I will destroy your family”. She woke up terrified next morning, immediately made a parcel of the toy (Lord Ganesh’s idol) and sent it by post to her husband in India.


Statue of Lion in the temple

In India, the deity of Lord Ganesh remained in the office Garden Henderson for a few days. Soon men and women from Calcutta started flocking to the office for having a darshan of the Lord Siddh Ganesh. All office work stopped because of the rush of people. Mr. Yule asked his subordinate Insurance agent, Shri Kedar Babu, what should be done about the idol. Shri Kedar babu then took the idol to his house at 7 Abhay Charan Mitra Street and started worshiping him. The devotes then started coming to Kedar Babu;s house for having a glimpse of Lord Ganesh.

At Vrindaban, during those days, Swami Keshvanandji Maharaj was in the process of getting idols made of five primary deities of the Hindu Sanatam Dharma in accordance with the “ Panchaytan” principles of worship. Shri Katyayani Devi’s “ashtdhaatu” (8 metal mix) idol was being made in Calcutta and Sri Bhairav Chandrashekhar’s (Lord Shiva) idol was being made in Jaipur. While Swami Keshavanadji Maharaj was contemplating where to get the idol of Lord Ganesh made, Mother Goddes Katyayani Devi told Him that one idol of Lord Ganesh was with Shri Keadr Babu at his house. The Mother said that when you bring me from Calcutta you also bring my son along.

When Swami Keshvanandji went to Calcutta to bring the idol of Katyayani Devi, Kedar Babu went to see Him and said “ Gurudev, I am in a fix. I was planning to come to Vrindaban to meet you. I have an idol of Lord Ganesh. Every night in my dreams He tells me that when Shri Katyayani Devi’s idol goes to Vrindaban, you send me with Her.” Kedar Babu requested Swami Keshvanandji to take the idol of Lord Ganesh from him. “ All right you bring the idol to the railway station, I will take the ‘Toofan’ to Vrindaban. When Mother goes, Her Son will also go”

Thus the deity of Shri Siddh Ganesh (Lord Ganesh) was installed by the great yogi Swami Keshvanandji Maharaj in the temple of Sri Katyayani Devi at Radha Bagh at Vrindaban.



Govardhan, 2018.03.19

The Rajasthan Govermnent is being blamed for the callous act of breaking most worshipable Govardhan Shilas for the non-essential purpose of erecting a sign board welcoming tourists to the state.

The work was carried out by a contractor last week and has attracted anger of residents and sadhus, who are expressing their disgust at the callous act. One sadhu began to weep as told media about the bulldozers that came and smashed the shilas.

The signboard has been placed on Govardhan’s inner parikrama, some distance away from the road. The inner Parikrama Marg is supposed to be a sanctuary, were people can be close to Govardhan, but, this spiritual sanctuary is being put under threat by callous Government policies that are designed and acted on without consulting residents.




Deity of Katyayani made by the Gopis

Vrindavan, 2018.03.18

We introduce you to ‘Adi Katyayani’ temple, situated 14 kilometers north of Vrindavan on the bank of Yamuna at Cheer Ghat. This Cheer Ghat is different from the Cheer ghat of Vrindavan. It is situated in the village called Siyar on the way to Shergarh.


Colorful clothes tied on the Kadamba to get the wishes fulfilled

Although there are many Shakti temples in Vraja, but the Katyayani temple of Siyar village has the historical significance since Krishna’s time. The temple enshrines the beautiful deity of Goddess Katyayani Devi, which is 2.5 feet high. The gopis made the deity of Katyayani with their own hand with sand.

According to Shrimad Bhagvatam, the Vraja gopis, having lost their hearts to Krishna, had prayed to the goddess Katyayani and worshipped her. They wanted to have Krishna as their husband. They continued their worship for one month with great steadfastness, and on the final day of this month of vows their most coveted Shri Krishna fulfilled their desires by stealing their clothes and making nectarine jokes about them, all in accordance with their feelings for him. Finally Krishna performed Maharasa with the gopis on Sharad Purnima.

This is a very confidential pastime of the Lord and it must not be confused with the mundane lust. The gopis are the greatest devotees of the Lord, higher than any karmi, jnani or yogi.


Picture taken today at Cheer Ghat

One must learn that the goal of life is to approach the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna out of the innocence of spontaneous love. This is the great lesson taught to each of us by Krishna and the gopis at Chira Ghat.

Shri Raghunath Das Goswami praises Cheer Ghat, the place where Shri Krishna made wonderful nectarine jokes with the maidens of Vraja that were engaged in worship of the goddess Katyayani.

Cheer Ghat is just few steps away from the Adi Katyayani Temple. There is a huge Kadamba Tree at Cheer ghat on which people tie colorful clothes to fulfill their wishes. There ‘Vastra haran’ pastime of the Lord is depicted on the walls around Cheer ghat.

There is a huge banyan tree near the Katyayani temple, under which a Shiva linga is established. It is said that the Shiv linga is self manifested and the gopis offered water on it.
The new temple of Katyayani was built by Braj Vikas Trust in 2003. Before the temple was built the deity was established in a hut nearby. Devotees visit this Katyayani Temple and Cheer Ghat during the Vraja Yatra only. No crowd can be seen during the peak season of Navdurga festival, whereas the Devi temples in other places are overcrowded during this time.


Vraja Vilasa 95: Sarpa Sthali



May Sarpasthalī, where the powerful conqueror of Mura rushed angrily into the sinful demon Aghasur’s belly to save his friends, who are dearer to him than life itself, who had entered into this severe poison that burned like a forest fire, protect me.

prāṇa-preṣṭha-vayasya-vargam udare pāpīyaso’ghāsura-
syāraṇyodbhaṭa-pāvakotkaṭa-viṣair duṣṭe praviṣṭaṁ puraḥ
vyagraḥ prekṣya ruṣā praviśya sahasā hatvā khalaṁ taṁ balī
yatrainaṁ nijam ārarakṣa murajit sā pātu sarpa-sthalī

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Sarpasthalī, the place where Sri Krishna entered into the mouth of Aghasur, who had assumed the mountainous form of a snake, to kill him and thus save his cowherdboyfriends, his cows and calves.

aghāsura vadhe kṛṣṇa – ei sarpasthalī;aghavana nāma loke kohoye ‘sapaulī’
ethā puṣpa varṣe deva jaya-dhvani kore;e hetu jayeta grāma kohoye ihāre
sabe kohe -aghāsura vadhe e ‘siyāna’;tei e soyāno grāma – sehonā ākhyāna

“At this Sarpasthalī Krishna killed Aghasur, but the people call this Aghavana also Sapaulī or Pasauli. Here the demigods showered flowers and sang Krishna’s glories, therefore this village is called Jayeta. Everyone says: “Aghasur was killed here, therefore this Soyāno-village is known as Sehonā.” (Bhakti Ratnākara)

After the Yadu dynasty vanished from the earth, Maharaj Yudhisthira installed Sri Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha on the throne of the Surasena kingdom or Mathura mandala. Once this had been done, the sages ordered him to recover and rename the lost holy places that were connected with Sri Krishna’s pastimes. Even now the places are named in the way Vajranabha did, according to the pastimes that took place there.

When the calves and cowherd boys saw the mountainous snake demon Aghasur they actually took him to be a mountain and entered into his mouth, that was filled with poisonous fumes that burned like a forest fire and whose severe heat made them faint. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam narrates how Sri Krishna also entered the demon’s mouth and destroyed him –

“Sri Krishna, who bestows fearlessness on all, had lost the cowherdboys, who have him as their sole shelter. When he saw them fallen like dry blades of grass into the gastric fire of Aghasur, who was like death personified, and therefore greatly distressed, he became overwhelmed with compassion and astonished that this was to be their fate. The Original Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna, simply by pronouncing whose name one destroys the reactions to all activities that cannot even be destroyed by brahma-jñāna, was immersed in an ocean of fraternal love for his friends and thus astonished and plunged in an ocean of worries when he saw that they were in trouble, as anyone would be when seeing a beloved in this condition.

“What should I do? How can I kill this wicked Aghasur and save the lives of my calves and cowherdboys?” Thinking like this, the omniscient Sri Hari thought of a way to solve this problem and decided to Personally enter into Aghasur’s gaping mouth. Seeing this, the demigods in the clouds became afraid and exclaimed ‘alas! alas!’, and the demoniac friends of Kaṁṣa rejoiced when they heard the news.

When Lord Sri Krishna heard the lamentations of the demigods and the ecstatic shouts of the demons he proceeded to save his calves and his friends and to crush the demon, who had in the meantime closed his mouth, by expanding his body, thus Choking Aghasur’s throat. When the throat of the mountainous snake-demon Agha was thus Choked, his eyes came bulging out and he began to twist and move his large body here and there until his blocked life-airs suddenly came bursting out through the brahma-randhra-hole in his skull.

As soon as Aghasur’s life-airs had burst out he lost all his sensual power. Then the Lord, the bestower of liberation, revived his stupefied calves and cowherdboyfriends with his nectarean glances and came out of the Aghasur’s wide opened mouth with them. (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.12.27-32)

Of the place where the Lord performed the pastime of killing Aghasur, Raghunath Das Goswami says: “May that Sarpa-sthalī protect me!” In other words, just as Sri Krishna had mercifully saved his calves and cowherd friends from the mouth of Aghasur, may this playground similarly save me from the gaping mouth of the demon of separation from Sri Sri Radha Madhava and show me their divine lotus feet.

pāpiṣṭha aghāsurera udarera madhye;
prāṇa preṣṭha sakhāgaṇe śrī govinda dekhe
dāvāgnira jvālāmaya yāhāra udara;
kālakūṭa viṣa-duṣṭa tāhāra upara
sakhādera duḥka heri atiśaya krodhe;
udare praveśa kori sei khala vadhe
nimeṣete vadha kori ye sthānete khale;
śrī govinda rakṣā koilā vayasya sakale
sei sarpasthalī hoy mahimā apāra
sakhā tulya rakṣā koru āmā sabhākāra

‘When Sri Govinda saw his heart’s friends suffering in the belly of the sinful Aghasur, which was burning like a forestfire and was polluted by burning poison, he became very angry and entered into the demon’s belly to kill the wretCh. May that endlessly glorious Sarpasthalī, where Sri Govinda protected all his friends by instantly killing this demon, protect us all as if we are friends.”




Place where Tulasi Das had Ram Darshan, Gyan Gudri, Vrindavan

Braj, 2018.03.17

Halley Goswami (Kolkata) In the world of sacred art, everything has a purpose and meaning. The deity standing in the temple, the temple where devotees come to pray, the mantras that are chanted, the rituals that are performed -all have inner meanings and symbolism. Sadly, modern devotees are largely unaware and uninterested in making the effort to understand the principals, logic and spiritual science behind religious customs and artifacts. And the ensuing result is catastrophic! Our deities no longer look divine and our temples defy the very spiritual values that they seek to instill among us!

And perhaps, nowhere else is this more noticeable than in Vrindavan, where every religious group is trying to erect the tallest, largest or the most opulent temple. The result is disastrous! The last vestiges of forested wildernesses are disappearing from this already arid and urbanized land!

The picture of vrindavan we get in the Puranas is very charming -dense groves and forests stretching along the pristine Yamuna banks. Unfortunately, a modern day visitor to this region will find it hard, if not altogether impossible, to reconcile his mental imagery with the actuality of this place.


Harappan seal showning rhinoceros

The climate change that happened several millennia’s back over the entire north western India is well documented in history. Harappan seals show rhinoceroses and rhinos do not thrive in arid regions.

It remains to be seen whether this sudden change in climate was a result of the drying up of the legendary Saraswati river or due to some natural phenomenon.  Nonetheless, the sad truth is that the general ecology of the land in modern times is  much different from the recorded evidence in the Puranas.

But despite the climate change, wildernesses did thrive. Peacocks, deer, black antelopes, Neelgai , monkeys and so many other different animals used to call this place their own. Pilgrims to Vraj, even in mid 19th century records seeing flocks of wild deer!

But, even this wildlife was not meant to stay. As urbanization progressed, we mercilessly desecrated our own pilgrimage place… our sanctuary of peace . We cut down the very trees that were believed to be reincarnations of ‘rasik mahatmas’ desirous of witnessing Radha Krishna lila!

Image result for vrindavan kunj

Seva Kunj, Vrindavan, P.C. vrindavanonline.in

Even as little as a century back, our ancestors were not so rude . The old temples of Vrindavan were called ‘kunja’. Since Vrindavan was originally a forest set for the pastimes of Radha and Krishna, the early bhakta temple builders ensured that a little bit of forest continued to thrive within the temple premises. As a result , almost all old temples of Vraj had a dense grove of flowering plants and fruit trees inside their courtyard, which was affectionately called a ‘kunja’ (sacred grove). An example can still be seen in Lala Babu’s kunja in Vrindavan. Man and his religious pursuits were in complete harmony with nature.

Karauli Kunj_Front

Karauli Kunj Madanmohan Ghera, Vrindavan

The temples too were modest and simple. It is from Vrindavan that an entirely new style of temple building emerged, the ‘haveli’ style. Haveli literally translates as ‘home’.

Image result for krishna hidingAs the town emerged under the growing influence of Gaudiya and other Vaishnava paramparas, focus began to be concentrated on the humane and earthly aspect of God. In this land, God is not the ruler, king, or father in heavens. He is a poor cowherd boy next door or a mischievous lover hiding in the woods.

Such a God has no need for gigantic temples befitting a king. So Vraj set a new trend in North Indian temple architecture. The havelis are architecturally no different from an ordinary man’s home and they provided a chance to the bhaktas to interact with their God at a personal level.


Fresco paintings in Karauli Kunj

This is not to suggest that the havelis were not grand. They were grand in their own way and the rich paintings that adorned their walls enabled the seeker to meditate on the divine pastimes of Radha and Krishna, becoming completely lost in the atmosphere.

It is possible that this shift in architecture was also a defensive measure so as not to attract the attention of fanatic Islamic rulers whose sword had been razing to ground Hindu edifices.

In Bengal, the same thing was happening under the influence of Chaitanya Gaudiya Vaishnavism. The traditional art of Bengal was completely extinct by 15th century under the yoke of Islamic rule. And after a prolonged lull, the birth of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu set off an explosion of revivalist movements in Hindu art, architecture  and all other arenas . The temple construction also saw a monumental revival, but on completely new lines.

This time around, the temples began to mimic the earthen thatched roof huts of the Bengali countryside . Instead of attempting to reach the sky , the new temples tried to touch the ground, as if in the mood of Chaitanya’s instruction to be humbler than the blade of grass. Gods left their heavenly abodes to stay in hut-like temples with their human devotees!

Image result for Agra Fort

Agra Fort, P.C. India Heritage Magazine

This peculiar style of architecture would be eventually taken to the Agra Fort by Mughal Emperor Akbar to construct his own palaces , from where it would spread out to all over Northern India and get established as the defining identity of Rajashthani or Rajput architecture . The iconic “jharokha” or “chhatri” motif that you see all over Northen India , is nothing but an adaption of Bengal’s temple style, known locally as the “chaalaa” – the thatched roof .

Bengal’s ‘bhaktas’ began to address their abodes of worship as “Thakur bari” – the houses of Thakur or God, rather than the old school abbreviation of ‘mutt’ or ‘mandir’. This reflects not only a dramatic change in architecture but also a shift in the way common men approached God and devotional practice, which had been made more personal and lovable by Shri Chaitanya .

Image result for Ranganath temple of Srirangam

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, P.C. Temple Guide

The havelis and the Bengali chaalaa temples are also opulent, but their grandeur is of a different ‘sattvick’ kind. Their attractiveness arises from simplicity of lines and design . They stand for the ‘madhura bhava’ – the highest expression of divine love , where wealth is a major detrimental factor. ‘aishwarya bhava’ (the mood of opulence) is one of the main barriers to attaining ‘madhura bhava’ .


Madan Mohan temple, Bishnupur

The reflection of these two different moods in connecting with the divine can be easily perceived, for example, in two different temples – The Ranganath Swami temple of Srirangam which with its imposing structure and gilded spires boasts of ‘aishwarya bhava’ . And the simple earthen terracotta temple of Madan Mohan at Bishnupur . Bengal, highlights the closely bonded ‘madhura bhava’ .


Chala style temple: Nandadulal Mandir in Hooghly district, West Bengal, India, P.C. Wikipedia

 Today , modern bhaktas have forgotten and rudely rejected these basic ethics which Gaudiya dharma and Vraj has always stood for. We have rejected the havelis and chaalaa temples for the glitter of gold. Modern temples are swallowing up the natural vrindavan along with its eternal ethos to make way for a rude display of wealth.

The modern gigantic skyscrapers and opulent museum-like temples are paying homage to the very ‘aishwarya bhava’ which ‘sadhaks’ of Vraj are supposed to renounce in their quest for god! As the nation hurtles into a materially promising 21st century, Indians are forgetting and denying their connections to nature and the past. All that matters now is an ugly show of wealth and money, masked as spirituality!



Braj, 2018.03.15

The first day of the Lunar New Year will be celebrated on Sunday, 18th March. After nine days of celebrations, Ram Navami will be celebrated on Sunday 25th March.

Preparations are underway for the ‘mela’ at Nari Semari Devi temple. Millions of people will make their way to the village from the highway at Chatta to Braj’s famous Nari Semari temple.

This year, special buses are being arranged and a temporary train station will also bring passengers close to the temple, so that visitors can have darshan during the auspicious Navaratri period.

Local authorities are also organizing a cultural festival at Jubilee park on 16th and 17th March. Mathura MLA Shrikant Sharma will attend the festival, alongside Minister for Culture, Lakshmi Narayan Chaudhary and Mayor Dr Mukesh Aryabandhu.  At 9pm, an impressive lineup of poets will showcase their latest works. The audience will hear from poets including: Santosh Anand, Dr. Umashankar Rahi, Ramashankar Pandey, Sabaras Murasani, Padam Singh Albeela, Anil Vajpai and Rubya Khan.

The program will be inaugurated by the sadhus and goswamis of Braj and will include folk dance, poetry and rangoli competitions.




Vrindavan, 2018.03.14

At 99 years old, Shri Ramakant Goswami Maharaj was the eldest sevait of Shri Radharaman Temple. He was last of his generation of Goswamis and his dedication to the service of Shri Radha Raman ji was well known among the younger generations. He entered into the Nitya Lila on 9th March 2018.

Ramakant Goswami’s life is an inspiration to all those who aspire to a life of dedicated service. His determination to have daily darshan of Radharaman ji was so strong that he even managed to go to temple the day after having a heart attack, despite still having a drip-bottle attached to his arm.

Just a few months ago, in September of last year, Ramakant Goswami served on Radha Raman ji’s altar. He jokingly remarked that his bones were showing, which doesn’t look good when serving on the altar. But, Ramakant Goswami never complained of ill health, he always looked at the positive side and would say, Radha Raman ji is keeping me alive.

Ramakant Goswami was determined to live in the Radharaman Ghera, in the old house near the temple, even though his children had moved elsewhere. He lived alone and visited the temple every day. He encouraged all those who came to see him, his friends and his relatives, in their devotion to Radharaman.

One of Ramakant Goswami’s most loved qualities was his humility.  Radhika Goswami said, “He would go for katha and pay his dandwat pranams to whoever was on the vyasasan”. He was ready to give guidance and was welcoming to all, but he initiated only a few disciples and later stopped giving initiation. He lived simply and his main concern in life was how to best serve Shri Radharamanji.

One of the miracles of Shri Radharaman, which was published by Dr. OBL Kapoor in Braj ke Bhakt, reveals Ramakant Goswami’s humility. A lady by the name of Girija Devi lived within the Radha Raman Ghera. She rarely went for darshan and Goswamiji suspected that she was not of good character. One day, she arrived at Goswamiji’s house during the night and said that Radharaman ji was calling him.

Radhakant Goswami and his uncle Bihari Lal ji Maharaj went together to the temple and when they opened the doors, they  saw that Radharamanji’s water pot was not next to His bed. Radharamanji himself was completely pale. Ramakant Goswami was shocked that Radharamanji had indeed spoken to Girija Devi.  (Click here to read a full account of the miracle in Ramakant Goswami’s own words)

We are blessed to hear this Lila through the mercy of Ramakant Goswami, who helped so many to understand that Radharamanji goes to great lengths to help those who dedicate themselves to His service – when we are ready to learn, he is ready to teach.

Those who met Ramakant Goswami feel blessed. His was a life of dedicated service, of humility and of optimism.




Vrindavan,  2018.03.12

On Monday, Enthusiastic devotees took part in the colorful Rath Yatra procession of Bhagwan Rangnath ji Maharaj.

Thousands of Brajwasis came out onto the streets to participate in pulling the grand chariot to ‘Bade Bagicha’, the sprawling garden situated 690 yards away from Rang ji temple.

Apart from those who pulled the ‘chariot’ right from the beginning, thousands of devotees stood on the route to touch the rope pulling the chariot. Chants of ‘Rangnath Bhagwan ki jai!’ filled the air as priests sang Vedic mantras, while walking with the ‘Rath’.

Every day there is one festival or the other is celebrated in Vrindavan. But they are mostly confined within temple premises. Some say that the ten day long ‘Rath ka Mela’ is the biggest festival celebrated in Vrindavan. In any case, children and adults alike look forward to this festival in the wake of Holi.

29103424_1973373876314204_2563620211810893824_o.jpgThe mela is organized in the area from the Rangji temple to Bade Bagicha. The ‘mela’ is not only a place for shopping lovers, it has equally interesting choices of entertainment. From fun rides, toy trains, ferris wheels, a wide array of eateries, and cultural shows – Rath ka Mela has something to keep every visitor pleasantly engaged.

Locally known as ‘Rath ka Mela’, the festival is actually the Brahmotsava celebration of Shri Rangji Mandir of Vrindavan. Every day there are processions -one in the morning to take Shri Ranganath to the garden and one in the evening, when He comes back. The Lord appears on different vahans (carriers) each day for ten days. Every vahan of the Lord has its own significance.

Mr. F.S. Growse, the British Collector, who served Mathura for six years from 1862, elaborately wrote about the ‘Rath Ka Mela’ and the construction of the Rangji Mandir in his memoir. About the ‘Chariot festival’ Growse writes:

“A little to one side of the entrance is a detached shed, in which the god’s rath, or carriage, is kept. It is an enormous wooden tower in several stages, with monstrous effigies at the corners, and is brought out only once a year in the month of Chait during the festival of the Brahmotsava.

The mela lasts for ten days, on each of which the God is taken in state from the temple along the road, a distance of 690 yards, to a garden where a pavilion has been erected for his reception. The procession is always attended with torches, music and incense, and some military display contributed by the Raja of Bharatpur. On the day when the rath is used, the image composed of the eight metals, is seated in the center of the car, with attended Brahmans standing on either side to fan it with chauries. Each of the Seths, with the rest of the throng, gives an occasional hand to the ropes by which the ponderous machine is drawn; and by dint of much exertion, the distance is ordinarily accomplished in the space of about two and a half hours.

29103714_1973384662979792_6751326472029339648_o.jpgNineteenth century Rath with its founders

On the evening of the following day there is a grand display of fire –works, to which all the European residents of the station are invited, and which attracts a large crowd of natives from the country round about.
On other days when the rath is not brought out, the god has a wide choice of vehicles, being borne now on a palki, a richly gilt ‘ tabernacle’ , a throne (simhasan), a tree, either the kadamb, or the tree of Paradise (Kalpa vriksha); now on some demi-god, as the sun or the moon, Garura, Hanuman, or Sesha; now again on some animal.

As a horse, an elephant, a lion, a swan, or the fabulous eight footed Sarabha. The ordinary cost of one of these celebrations is about Rs. 5000, while the annual expenses of the whole establishment amount to no less than Rs. 57000, the largest item in that total being Rs. 30,000 for the bhog or food, which after being present to the god is then consumed by the priests or given away in charity. Every day 5000 of the Sri Vaishnava sect is fed at the temple, and every morning up to ten o’clock a dole of flour is given to anyone of any denomination who chooses to apply for it. “

About the history of the building of the temple Mr. Growse writes, “The great temple, founded by Seths Gobind Das and Radha Krishan brothers of the famous millionaire Lakhmi Chand, is dedicated to Rang Ji, or Shri Ranga Nath, that being the special name of Vishnu most affected by Ramanuja, the founder of the Shri Sampradaya. It is built in the Madras style, in accordance with the plans supplied by their guru, the great Sanskrit scholar, Swami Rangacharya, a native of that part of India.

The works were commenced in 1845 and completed in 1851, at a cost of 45 lakhs of rupees. The outer walls measure 773 feet in length by 440 in breadth, and enclose a fine tank and garden in addition to the actual temple court. This latter has lofty gate towers, gopuras, covered with a profusion of coarse sculpture. In front of the god is erected a pillar, or dhvaja stambha of copper gilt, sixty feet in height, and also sunk some twenty four feet more below the surface of the ground. This alone cost. Rs. 10,000. The principal or western entrance of the outer court is surmounted by a pavilion, ninety three feet high, constructed in the Mathura style after the design of a native artist. In its graceful outlines and the elegance of its reticulated tracery, it presents a striking contrast to the heavy and misshapen masses of the Madras Gopura, which raises immediately in front of it.”

Almost 200 years since Growse wrote about the festival, the tradition is being carried on. The chariot still takes two hours to reach the garden and the ‘mela’ still includes a fireworks display. The festival is still well attended by both locals and guests, but, no doubt, the costs involved and the number of visitors have increased manifold since the 19th century. (JP)



Vrindavan, 2018.03.12 (VT) On the occasion of Adinath Jayanti, the Jain community performed abhishek ceremonies and prayed for world peace. On Saturday, devotees flocked to Vrindavan’s Jain temple in Chipi Gali in order to attend the abhishek and prayer ceremonies.  After the abhishek, devotees went on a ‘shobhyatra’ parade to spread auspiciousness through the streets of Vrindavan.

Jinendra Shastri said that Adinath Bhagwan is the premier avatar of this age of Kali. In this age of quarrel, Lord Adinath paved the way for non-violence and renunciation.

About Lord Adinath


Bhagwan Rishabhdev is also called Adinath. He was the first Tirthankara born in the royal family of Ikshvaku clan in  Ayodhya as the son of King Nabhiraja and Queen Maru Devi.

Hindus and Jains agree agree that this country was named Bharatavarsa after the name of Rishabhdev’s eldest son, Bharat. In the Rgveda there are clear references to Rishabhdev, the first Tirthankara.   He was married to Sumangla and Sunanda. Sumangala is described as the mother of his ninety-nine sons (including Bharata) and one daughter, Brahmi. Sunanda is depicted as the mother of Bahubali and Sundari.

The sudden death of Nilanjana, one of the dancers of Indra, reminded him of the world’s transitory nature and he developed a desire for renunciation. After renouncing the world, Jain legends state he wandered without food for a whole year. He is said to have attained liberation on Mount Kailash. The text Adi Purana by Jinasena is an account of the events of his life.





Vrindavan is known for the temples of Krishna and every house of this town is a temple itself. Apart from all other temples, there are some temples which are unique in its type of deities and pattern of worship. Shri Savaman Shaligram is one of these  temples.


Situated across the street from Radha Shyam Sundar Mandir, the temple of Savaman Shaligram is situated. A narrow and steep staircase between the shops of Loi Bazar also leads to this temple.

Inside the temple two gigantic Shaligram Shila’s are worshipped. The weights of the S This temple was built by the King of Rewa and the Jalan family in 1823. Perhaps these Shaligrams are one of the biggest in India. Currently, this temple is worshipped under the direction of Acharya Shri Ram Sharma (Bohare ji) and his sons.


Ram Laxman Sita and Shaligrams

Shaligram accepted as being a transcendental form of the Lord, is obtainable only from Kali Gandaki river at Muktinatha in Nepal. A hike of more than a hundred miles over rough mountainous terrain is required to approach the area called Shaligram Kshetra. Shri Chandrashekhar Acharya says in his song Tulasi Aarati, Worshipable Tulasi Devi you have performed long austerities and have become the offering to the Lord’s Shaligram expansion.” Hence you will notice that Shalagram is always worshipped with Tulasi leaves.




Vrindavan’s Shri Ranganath temple ‘Mela’ is currently being celebrated, with Shri Ranganath being brought out of the temple to sit in His garden in a procession that attracts thousands of devotees daily. Shri Rangji travels from the temple to the garden each morning, after the aarti and returns before sunset. Thakurji sits on a different ‘rath’ (chariot) every day.

After watching Thakurji’s procession from the garden to the temple, visitors and locals enjoy the ‘mela’ (fair) which has amusement park rides and various stalls. The mela lasts for ten days and today is already the fifth day.

Devotees who attend the festival during also the day get the chance to see Rangji’s garden, which is filled with fragrant flowers at this time of year.



main-qimg-42e4700085f73b7f8548abfed822a23d-c.jpgMathura, 2018.03.07

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Vrindaban is organizing Jagannath Ratha Yatra festival on the lines of famous Puri’s Jagannath rath yatra, on March 9.

“Besides Brijwasis and domestic tourists, at least 800 devotees from 200 ISKCON centres are likely to participate in the Rath Yatra,” Panca Gauda Das, the temple president of ISKCON Vrindaban said.  After ‘chappan bhog’ and other religious rituals, the Rath Yatra would start from Bhagat Singh Park and terminate at Mukund Vihar Masani, Das said.

Decorations and preparations are underway across Mathura city to welcome Lord Krishna, he said.



imageprox1y.jpgGovardhan, 2018.03.06

Jashodaben, wife of Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed abhishek of Giriraj today at Danghati temple in Govardhan. Jashodaben told media that she has previously been to Braj but this was the first time she has had the opportunity to worship Giriraj.

The PM’s wife avoided political questions but said that she felt great peace during her visit to the temple. She continued from Govardhan to Hathras to attend the wedding of Brij Mohan Kaushik.

Jashodaben was married to PM Modi by arranged marriage. She was 16 when she came to live at his family home and PM Modi was 18. He left after a few months, saying he was taking sanyasa and disappearing for 3 years into the Himalayas. When he returned, he began his political career, living independently from his wife.

Narendra Modi’s sister has called Jashodaben a “true Indian woman”. In rural India, Jashodaben is seen as the ideal Indian woman because she remains devoted to her husband after almost 50 years of separation.




charkula_nratya_2443831_835x547-m-1-780x511.jpgMukharai, 2018.03.05

Villagers and guests watched in awe as women danced with 108 lamps and pots on their head weighing a total of 51kg  in a program held in Mukharai village, near Radha Kund (see video).

The tradition is said to have started when Radha Rani’s maternal grandmother, Mukhura Devi, was overjoyed at the birth of Radha Rani. Mukhura Devi put 108 lamps on a chariot wheel and lifted them up while dancing.

The Charkula dance is performed during festivals, especially on the third day after Holi. According to the Charkula Dance Academy, the dancer, “cannot bend her body, nor can she move her neck. In spite of these limitations the slim, sturdy and courageous dancer dances, gliding, bending, pirouetting to the tune of the song.”




Vrindavan, 2018.02.28

Everyone knows that ‘gulal’ powder is not really made of roses – it is made with chemicals that cause allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin. Every year on Holi, the media releases reports about the dangers of chemical powders, but, due to being cheap and easily available, the chemical colours are still widely used.


Santosh Mishra presenting herbal gulal powder to Jagannath Poddar

Now there is even more reason to buy herbal gulal powder because, herbal powder is being made from flowers that have been offered to the deities of Vrindavan’s temples. Yellow colour is being made from marigold flowers and rose petals are being turned into pink powder.

At a meeting in January, a partnership between government departments, temples and local NGOs was formed to organize a flower recycling plant in Vrindavan. Friends of Vrindavan has been active in collecting flowers which will soon be processed by the widows of Vrindavan. Widows will separate the flowers and learn how to make products such as incense using the petals of different flowers.

Flower recycling is already being done in Kannauj and, packets of herbal gulal powder which was made from Vrindavan’s flowers and sent to Kannauj for processing reached Vrindavan just in time for Holi.

Yesterday, Shri Santosh Mishra, who is in charge of the Mahila Sadan Widows Ashram in Chaitanya Vihar, presented two packets of the herbal gulal powder to Jagannath Poddar, the Director of Friends of Vrindavan.

Vrindavan’s Flower Recycling plant is expected to become operational in the coming months and the products will be marketed as ‘VrajGandha’.




Delhi, 2018.02.27

The National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi and Haryana governments to identify and address the sources of pollution in river Yamuna. A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim ordered Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to ensure that action is taken against the erring industries responsible for causing pollution. “Though, the issue is with regard to high level of ammonia in the water which is reaching the water reservoir of Delhi Jal Board, if you take the entire river eco-system, the pollution level in the portion of the river passing Delhi also needs to be properly checked.”

“In the circumstances, we direct both, the State of Haryana and NCT of Delhi to ensure that they identify the source of pollution and address it appropriately. CPCB and DJB shall be involved to ensure the erring industry or local bodies and other parties who are causing pollution are dealt with appropriately and check the pollution level,” it said. The tribunal also directed that the report submitted earlier by the CPCB with regard to pollutants needed to be rechecked with regard to pollution levels of ammonia downstream at Khojkipur drain No 2 and Khojkipur drain, as figures appearing in it appear to be incorrect.

The NGT had earlier directed the Delhi and Haryana governments to hold a meeting to resolve the issue of high ammonia content in the water being provided to the national capital. Delhi Jal Board (DJB) had moved a plea in the tribunal plea alleging high ammonia in water being provided by the Haryana government to Delhi. CPCB had submitted its analysis report of ammonia at Tajewala in Haryana, Wazirabad water treatment plant, Okhla and ITO barrage in Delhi.

According to the report, ammonia level at Hathnikund Barrage 0.6 mg per litre, 1.9 mg per litre at Wazirabad, 24.9 at ITO barrage on February 14 while at Okhla water treatment plant it was 0.8 mg per litre on February 15. Acting on concerns over the health of the people of Delhi, the tribunal had directed the CPCB to analyse the samples of Yamuna water at the four points on DJB’s plea alleging high ammonia content in the water being provided by Haryana to Delhi.

While DJB had alleged that Haryana was supplying “poisoned sewage water” to the national capital which had 2.6 parts per million of ammonia, the counsel for Haryana had refuted the contention and said there was no breach of any agreement. DJB, which supplies water to the city, had approached the tribunal demanding that Haryana be asked to take urgent steps to check the “dangerous level of ammonia” in river Yamuna.

Claiming that the water being released by the state was so polluted that it cannot be treated for drinking, the DJB had said it may cause “a huge and irreparable loss to the citizens of Delhi and has a potential for a grave health crisis and water crisis in the National Capital Region (NCR).” The petition also claimed that when the water enters Haryana, the ammonia level is nil and very much treatable, whereas when the water enters Delhi, the level is very high.



Paramhamsa Swami Vishwananda ji presenting Radha Raman to Radhika Ramanujan

Vrindavan, 2018.02.23 (VT): ‘Vrindavan Today’ celebrated the ‘Eternal Friendship of Krishna and Yamuna’ in a cultural event at the stage of Gambhira, Jai Singh Ghera in Vrindavan. ‘Sakhyam’ a Bharatnatyam production was performed by ‘Trayi’, a group made up of three soloist dancers from Bangaluru. The Bharatnatyam depicted the pastime of Krishna’s eternal friendship with Yamuna. The performance exemplified the soul and body- connect of everyone present in the hall.

The 49 minutes performance in presence of the ‘Divine three’ of His Holiness Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami ji, His Holiness Paramhamsa Swami Vishwananda and His Holiness Mahant Satyanarayan Das marked a delightful devotional evening.

The Bharatnatyam was splendidly performed by three artists including Smt. Anuradha Venkatraman, Smt. Ramaa Venugoplan and Smt. Radhika Ramanujan. The entire hall of Gambhira was packed with the audience, who enjoyed the delightful medley of Bharatnatyam moves and captivating expressions.
The artists were deeply immersed in the emotions themselves, as the mystic Bharatnatyam spellbound the devotees of Yamuna.  The entire performance was not only about the speedy works pf the feet and the complexity of technique, but the zest was added with the ravishing light design. All through the performance, the lights played the characters on stage.

The event began with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp by the Chief Guest His Holiness Paramhamsa Swami Vishwananda, and worshiping Shri Radha Raman ji and Vrinda Devi by His Holiness Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami ji and Mahant Satyanarayan Das Babaji.

In his welcome address His Holiness Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami said, “Krishna killed many demons during His pastime. But he didn’t kill Kaliya, only chastised him. Although, he killed Aghasura, a cousin of Kaliya, but a lease of life was given to Kaliya.”“Probably by not killing Kaliya, Shri Krishna wanted to give the message that even being the almighty god, having all the powers he couldn’t decimate pollution. He could merely contain it. Despite all the modern science and technology it is very difficult to decimate the pollution, it can only be contained. After Kaliya left the Yamuna to reside in the ocean, it became the nectar again and Shri Krishna celebrated it,” added Goswami ji.

At the end, the artists were given the photos of Shri Radharaman ji by the Chief Guest Paramhamsa Swami Vishwananda; Mahant Satyanarayan Das ji, the President of Vrindavan Today Foundation and Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami, Patron of Vrindavan Today.

Talking to the Vrindavan Today media, the artists said that it was an honor for them to perform in Vrindavan, as this is Krishna’s land where Yamuna is flowing. They were pained to see the plight of Yamuna in Vrindavan. They made an emotional appeal to the government that it should do some provision which helps an uninterrupted and unpolluted Yamuna to flow on the ghats of Vrindavan.






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