From RKM Vrindavan:
Sri Ramakrishna visited Vrindaban towards the end of February 1868. He was 32 years of age at the time. He came to Vrindaban via Deoghar, Kashi & Prayag (Allahabad). Mathur Babu arranged his stay at Fouzdar Kunj in Retia Bazar. Sri Ramakrishna was accompanied by his sevak Hriday Ram. Mathur Babu and the rest of the party stayed at a different place in Vrindaban and not with Sri Ramakrishna in Fouzdar Kunj.
Presently Fouzdar Kunj is maintained by the Mukherji brothers, who own an optometrist shop in front of it. The fouzdar name used to describe the officer posted to act as the administrator of the government during Akbar’s times. Sri Chaitanya Das ji, a brahmin from Birbhum district in West Bengal, was a fouzdar (security guard) at the famous Govindaji temple of Vrindaban. And this Chaitanya Das ji stayed in Kunj hence the name became famous as ‘Fouzdar Kunj’.
Chaitanya Das ji took initiation from Sri Kriparam, Fouzdar Kunj, a Vaishnava saint who found the image of Gopal under a creeper called Mukta Lata. This deity is currently still worshiped here.
Sri Ramakrishna stayed in the upper room which has semicircular varandah. It has staircase from inside to reach the room. No changes have been made in the building, main gate, etc., to this today. The building remains exactly as it was during Sri Thakur’s time (as of 2016).
Sri Ramakrishna was shown around Vrindavan by Sri Ishandas ji Maharaj who was then staying at Fouzdar Kunj. When Sri and Ishan Das ji used to take Sri Thakur to prominent temples, Mathur Babu would offer gold coins to the deity.
From here at Fouzdar Kunj, Sri Ramakrishna visited Govardhan, Kusum Sarovar, etc., traveling in a palanquin with Hridayram. Throughout his journey he shed tears unceasingly due to his extreme ecstatic yearning for Sri Krishna. Mathur Babu had arranged few coins (Rs. 150/-) for donation in the palanquin of Thakur. As Thakur could not touch kanchana (gold)He used to topple down the coins with the help of the cloth whenever he encountered a daridra Narayana on his way to Govardhan.
Sri Thakur visited Nidhivan (Nidhuvan) which is located just few yards away from this ‘Fouzdar Kunj’. He met Ganga Mata, an old Vaishnav sadhika staying in Nidhivan. Ganga Maata’s kutiya was on the left side of the Nidhivan on the way towards Radha Raman Mandir. Now on that ground stands the Kanpurwali Dharam Shala of Batala Ashram. She recognized Sri Thakur as an incarnation and used to call Him “Dulali.” Sri Thakur had decided to stay with her in her kutiya (a small thatched hut) and wanted to spend rest of his days in holy Vrindaban.
On one side, Hridayram was pulling Sri Ramakrishna to take him back to Dakshineshwar and from the other side Ganga Mata was insisting that he continue his stay in Vrindaban. Ultimately Hridayram pleaded with Sri Thakur “Mama, who will pay attention to your food as your stomach is so delicate? Apart from this, your old mother is at Dakshineshwar, who will look after her?’ And so Thakur was persuaded to change his mind and left aside his plan to stay in Vrindaban.
Sri Ramakrishna went to take darshan at Banke Behari and went into samadhi where he experienced that Banke Behari was merging into him.
Sri Thakur took Holy Raj (Holy Dust) from Nidhivan and spread in the Panchabati at Dakshineshwar in Kolkata, declaring that “from today onwards, this place has become Vrindaban!” Sri Thakur also collected a small branch of Madhavi Lata from Vrindaban,a creeper with scented flowers, and planted in Dakshineshwar.
From the Gospel of Ramkrishna:
There are two classes of. yogis: the bahudakas and the kutichakas. The bahudakas roam about visiting various holy places and have not yet found peace of mind. But the kutichakas, having visited all the sacred places, have quieted their minds. Feeling serene and peaceful, they settle down in one place and no longer move about. In that one place they are happy; they don’t feel the need of going to any sacred place. If one of them ever visits a place of pilgrimage, it is only for the purpose of new inspiration.
I had to practise each religion for a time – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Saktas, Vaishnavas, and Vedantists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are travelling; but the paths are different.
While visiting the holy places, I would sometimes suffer great agony. Once I went with Mathur to Raja Babu’s drawing-room in Benares. I found that they talked there only of worldly matters – money, real estate, and the like. At this I burst into tears. I said to the Divine Mother, weeping: ‘Mother! Where hast Thou brought me? I was much better off at Dakshineswar.’ In Allahabad I noticed the same things that I saw elsewhere – the same ponds, the same grass, the same trees, the same tamarind-leaves.
But one undoubtedly finds inspiration in a holy place. I accompanied Mathur Babu to Vrindavan. Hriday and the ladies of Mathur’s family were in our party. No sooner did I see the Kaliyadaman Ghat than a divine emotion surged up within me. I was completely overwhelmed. Hriday used to bathe me there as if I were a small child.
In the dusk I would walk on the bank of the Jamuna when the cattle returned along the sandy banks from their pastures. At the very sight of those cows the thought of Krishna would flash in my mind. I would run along like a madman, crying: ‘Oh, where is Krishna? Where is my Krishna?’
I went to Syamakunda and Radhakunda in a palanquin and got out to visit the holy Mount Govardhan. At the very sight of the mount I was overpowered with divine emotion and ran to the top. I lost all consciousness of the world around me. The residents of the place helped me to come down. On my way to the sacred pools of Syamakunda and Radhakunda, when I saw the meadows, the trees, the shrubs, the birds, and the deer, I was overcome with ecstasy. My clothes became wet with tears.
I said: ‘O Krishna! Everything here is as it was in the olden days. You alone are absent.’ Seated inside the palanquin I lost all power of speech. Hriday followed the palanquin. He had warned the bearers to be careful about me.
Gangamayi became very fond of me in Vrindavan. She was an old woman who lived all alone in a hut near the Nidhuvan. Referring to my spiritual condition and ecstasy, she said, ‘He is the very embodiment of Radha.’ She addressed me as ‘Dulali’. When with her, I used to forget my food and drink, my bath, and all thought of going home. On some days Hriday used to bring food from home and feed me. Gangamayi also would serve me with food prepared by her own hands.
Gangamayi used to experience trances. At such times a great crowd would come to see her. One day, in a state of ecstasy, she climbed on Hriday’s shoulders.
I didn’t want to leave her and return to Calcutta. Everything was arranged for me to stay with her. I was to eat double-boiled rice, and we were to have our beds on either side of the cottage. All the arrangements had been made, when Hriday said: ‘You have such a weak stomach. Who will look after you?’ ‘Why,’ said Gangamayi, ‘I shall look after him. I’ll nurse him.’ As Hriday dragged me by one hand and she by the other, I remembered my mother, who was then living alone here in the nahabat of temple garden. I found it impossible to stay away from her, and said to Gangamayi, ‘No, I must go.’ I loved the atmosphere of Vrindavan.
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