With the departure from this world of Jagadguru Shri Nimbarkacharya peethadhishwar Shri Radha-Sarveshwaracharya Shri Shriji Maharaj, the lovers and servants of Shri Dham Vrindavan are feeling an unsettling emptiness.
Shri Shriji Maharaj had intense love for Shri Vrindavan. Throughout his lifetime, he faithfully served the Holy Name and the holy dham; the two foremost pillars of the bhakti marg. Amongst bhakti’s nine main practices, the Holy Name is given the greatest emphasis because the Name and the “Named” (the Lord) are one. For this reason, devotees immerse themselves in constant chanting of the Holy Name. By the power of the Name, the “Named” – the Divine Couple Shri Radha-Sarveshwar, Radha-Madhav – personally appear and bestow the supreme treasure of Their darshan.
Shri Vrindavan Dham is the sacred home of Shri Priya-Priyatam’s nikunj lila, and the greatness of this land is like Their own. Thus blessed souls crave eternally for the touch of her earth. Not only the great sages, even the Goddess of Devotion herself dances here in blissful abandon.
In the Shrimad Bhagwat Mahatmya it is written:
dhanyam vṛndāvanaṁ tena bhaktir-nṛtyati yatra ca
Blissful is Shri Vrindavan Dham, where bhakti Herself dances
Ovewhelmed by this ecstatic nature of Shri Vrindavan, a great saint of Shri Ramanuj Sampraday, Shri Kuresh Swamiji Maharaj, wrote in his Pancha Stavi:
govardhano girivaro, yamunā nadī sā
vṛndāvana ca mathurā ca purī purāṇī
adyāpi hanta sulabhāḥ kṛtināṁ janānām-
ete bhavac-caraṇacārajuṣaḥ pradeśāḥ
Even today, Shri Govardhan Hill, the Shri Yamuna River, and Shri Vrindavan Dham, blessed by the touch of Your supremely delightful lotus feet, are here to be experienced by virtuous souls. The powerful devotion of the rasik saints towards this divine land of Vrindavan is greatly to be praised, to be observed, and to be lovingly meditated upon.
On the basis of a particular incident, which occurred about twenty years ago, I can say with with full confidence that Anant Shri Vibhushit Jagadguru Shri Nimbarkacharya Peethadhishwar Shri Radha-Sarveshwaracharya Shri Shriji Maharaj’s devotion to Shri Vrindavan Dham was unparalleled.
It was about twelve o’clock in the afternoon when my respected father (Pandit Shri Keshav Devji Shastri, Editor of Anant Sandesh, Vrindavan) came home and announced, “Shriji Maharaj has just entered Vrindavan. It is extremely hot. But he is walking with bare feet from Atalla Chungi to his kunj.” Upon hearing this news from my father, such eagerness overcame my childlike heart that I suddenly ran out of the house at that very moment and started off towards the bazaar to have his darshan.
The beautiful sound of sankirtan made the atmosphere even more delightful as he walked along, inundating all the longing devotees with his divine presence. And then my eyes went to his feet. It was true; his feet, tender like lotus flowers, walked bare upon the ground. But untroubled by the heat, he was experiencing the bliss of Braj raj.
Then I also stood on the ground with bare feet to feel the heat; it was unbearable for me. With that, I bowed my head to him in humility and great respect.
Blessed is Shriji Maharaj’s love for Vrindavan. His divine bhav and devotion for Shri Dham is of the highest order.
In the Shrimad Bhagwat, Shri Shukdevji Maharaj says:
vande nanda-braja-strīṇāṁ pādareṇumabhīkṣṇaśaḥ
yāsāṁ hari-kathodgītaṁ punārati bhuvanatrayam
“I bow to the dust from the feet of Braj gopis, who purify the Universe with their voices as they lift up the songs of Hari’s glorious acts.”
Shriji Maharaj used to say that this shlok was the fulfillment of his life. We Brajwasis are blessed to have had the association of such a dedicated, supremely renounced saint. Despite having every facility, he would always get down from his conveyance at the border of Braj, place Braj raj upon his head, and wander through Braj barefoot and with great devotion.
(Acharya Naresh Narayan is the Chief Editor of the monthly Anant Sandesh Patrika and a founding member of the Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance)