Yesterday was an amazing start to parikrama and set the mood for the next day. Despite Guru Maharaj having just arrived in Vrindavana Dham, he gave himself selflessly and took us into Vrindavana Town walking all over and narrating wonderful pastimes. I am not sure about you but most of these pastimes I never heard before. Syamananda Das prabhu has been co-ordinating this entire parikrama and is doing a wonderful job. Today we met early at 6am and 2 buses departed to Unchagaon. During our drive there, Guru Maharaj commented that these are Indian roads and whatever is bigger has the right of way.
Unchagaon is the place of Lalita Devi. We were on the rooftop at Lalitagram and Guru Maharaj did a quick parikrama from there. Across from there is Varsana, the place of Srimati Radharani. Nandagram is 10kms in the opposite direction. When Krishna moved here, all the families of Srimati Radharani and the Gopis also moved here. The villages of the 8 Astasakhis surround this area. Lalita is 28 days older than Srimati Radharani and she is the closest of Srimati Radharani’s friends, then Vishaka and so on. Srimati Radharani accepts Lalita as her guru and Lalita accepts this position and acts on that authority saying things like “don’t speak to that rascal”. Their mood is one of deep transcendental love and it heightens the loving exchanges ecstacy. Lalita’s expertise lies in expressing herself with words. Each of the gopis have some of Srimati Radharani’s qualities. Lalita has what we call a “sharp tongue” and when Krishna gets chastised He does not say “I am God, how dare you speak to me like that?” He counters what Lalita says and it goes back and forth like that and Lalita usually wins. Krishna becomes bewildered. Once Krishna and the cowherd boys were
herding the cows. Krishna was tired and wanted to rest so he rested his head on the lap of one of the cowherd boys and fell asleep. He dreamt he was meeting the Gopis who were picking flowers. Krishna confronted them – Srimati Radharani, you are stealing my flowers! Lalita stepped in – don’t you speak to my Radharani like this and what do you mean Your flowers – Vrindavana forest belongs to – Vrindavaneshwari! So what are you doing in her forest? Madhu mangal came beside Krishna saying – vaishyas are not so
intelligent, you need the help of a brahmana. They regularly practiced debate and argument. Madhu Mangal said: the Vedas say Vrindavanam Krsnavan therefore Vrindavana is Krishnas. Lalita said: look, the word Krishna has many meanings. It means dark. In the forest it is very dark. Then Madhu Mangal asked Krishna what he should say next. Lalita said: the puranas say Vrindavana Radhikavan. This verse is more clear than your verse. Radhika is Radharani and cannot be interpreted in any other way. Madhu Mangal: The Vedas are original, the puranas came later therefore it is more authoritative. Madhu Mangal seemed happy with that. Lalita: when the meaning of the Vedas is unclear, we take guidance from the puranas. Suddenly Madhu Mangal had an urgent appointment to go to and he left. The Gopis chastised Krishna when he left. Krishna said: I am sure it is my forest. It is Vrinda Devi’s. she is my wife. Lalita said: we didn’t know she was your wife. Where is she? If she is here we can ask her. Krishna called Vrinda Devi and the Gopis asked her. Vrinda Devi said: I wouldn’t marry such a rascal. Krishna could not do anything else. He got up from his sleep.
Srimati Radharani was crowned the queen of Vrindavana. Then Lalita announced, now the queen will form a government and we are taking applications for positions. Sudevi is an expert garland maker – minister of
garlands. So Krishna came and said: I want to volunteer. Lalita asked him what position would he volunteer for. Krishna said: chief of police! Lalita said: you can’t be, u are a criminal. You steal butter, clothes, hearts – you are a crook. Krishna: No, no, no – I will be good. I know all the criminal acts. Lalita still asked Krishna to fill out an application. He handed it in but it was blank. But Krishna wrote a very beautiful description of Srimati Radharani and gave it to Lalita. She studied it and said: not bad, we will give you a trial. Krishna was feeling good and he told the Gopis: You watch out, selling dairy products on the black market – now I am the chief of police and your days of crime are over. In the meanwhile, Lalita had stolen Krishna’s flute and asked Him where it was. Lalita said: you cannot look after your own flute and you want to be chief of police.
Guru Maharaj then read some very beautiful prayers written by Srila Rupa Goswami entitled Sri Lalita Pranam Stotra. After reading, Guru Maharaj said that Srimati Radharani lovingly accepts the person who hears or reads these verses describing the charming virtues of Srimati Lalita Devi.
Guru Maharaj continued his rooftop parikrama pointing out deha kund (where Srimati Radharani and Srimati Lalita Devi offered all to Krishna including their bodies), where Srimati Radharani’s veil fell and melted the rock, bhajan kutir and Samadhi of Narayana Bhatta Goswami (responsible for locating pastime places in Vraja), trivenikup (the well which Krishna dug with his flute and where the waters of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet). Guru Maharaj joked that Krishna’s flute is multi-purpose – used to call Gopis, calls cows, digs wells). On a full moon night the water in this well turns to milk. We took breakfast on the rooftop after which we set of for Varsana.
We went to Varsana Dham. There are 5 hills, 4 being the heads of Lord Brahma and the 5th being the head of Visnu. At the beginning of creation Lord Brahma went to Krishna 4 service in Vrindavana. Lord Krishna agreed and asked them to take the form of hills. We climbed to the top and had breakfast on one of these hills – called Vilas Ghar (place of pastimes). Guru Maharaj almost sprinted up this hill – He seems more fit than the entire group put together! Srila Visvanatha Chakravati Thakur describes a pastime. Once Srimati Radharani was transcendentally angry with Krishna and she wouldn’t talk to Him. Krishna did not know how to pacify her and get her mercy. Srimati Radharani and the Gopis were here on Vilas Ghar and Krishna disguised himself as a gopi and came dressed very beautifully. He went to Srimati Radharani and Lalita Devi saying that he is a singer from the heavenly planets and would like to sing for Srimati Radharani. He started singing. They could understand that this was Krishna as His flute was showing. At the end Srimati Radharani said he sings so beautifully and now she has to give a reward. A new set of Srimati Radharani’s cloth was brought and they insisted that this singer change clothes right there! Krishna said that He was just singing as a service and no reward is necessary as it will then result in a material act and He wants to do pure devotional service for Srimati Radharani. But Srimati Radharani wants to express her gratitude otherwise this will result in material consciousness for her. Srimati Radharani told the Gopis to grab her and change her and Krishna could then not stop them. They took out the top and 2 mangoes fell out. The gopis screamed with laughter! Krishna acted like nothing happened. Krishna went to Jatila and started to cry in the voice of a girl saying that he was singing and no-one would acknowledge Him saying that the gopis had a hard heart. Jatila told Srimati Radharani to be grateful and give this girl a big hug. Srimati Radharani thought that by Jatila’s order I am hugging Krishna and she is the one who is always trying to stop her
from seeing Krishna. She offered her thanks to providence. There is a big swing at the top of this hill where Radha and Krishna used to swing. The original Jhulan Yatra is here at Vilas Ghar. Up on this hill is quiet,
there are no monkeys and no people.
We climbed down this hill and sat at the entrance of Sankari Kor – a narrow gulley. Srila Prabhupada brought his disciples here and went to the main temple. He said here Radha and Krishna would meet. Radharani used to be on one side of the hill with Krishna on the other side of the hill and they would run down and meet in the middle. This place is saturated with transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Pastime: the Gopis were carrying dairy products on their heads. Krishna and the cowherd boys would meet them and try to charge them tax. Usually there would be a dispute – all in the mood of happy transcendental pastimes. On the other side there is a village of Chitra Devi, Chiksoli Gram. One day Radharani came from
that village in the direction of Sankari Kor. This gulley is so narrow so the Gopis would have to walk one at a time to pass by. Krishna was standing on the “throne” (Guru Maharaj pointed out where that was) and he threw a rock at the pot of yogurt, knocking it off Srimati Radharani’s head. The pot fell and smashed on the rocks (flowers are offered to that very spot even now). The mark on that rock is the stain from Radharani’s yogurt. The Gopis had to take revenge. 200 gopis came with pots of yogurt. The cowherd boys thought this was their chance to have more fun. But more and more gopis came. All the gopis surrounded the boys and poured the yogurt all over them. The previous time Madhu Mangal had laughed and mocked the girls
saying “you stupid gopis, you are weak and useless” so they surrounded Madhu Mangal and poured the yogurt all over him. Madhu Mangal cried and said this was Brahmin aparadha. The boys wanted revenge. The Gopis were about the enter Chiksoli Gram and even though the boys sneaked into the village the
girls saw them and they locked the boys inside the butter storehouse. The boys were trapped but they climbed out through a window and escaped, all except one. The last one to try to get out was Madhu Mangal. He climbed up – his head came out, his shoulders came out, his chest came out but his stomach wouldn’t come out. It was too fatiand the boys had run off. Radharani and the gopis came here and opened to door – the boys were not there. They looked up and saw this round thing with two things flapping stuck in the opening. They figured it was Madhu Mangals backside and they took turns to hit him and each time Madhu Mangal cried “Krishna Help!!”ibut Krishna was gone far away. The Gopis arrested him and took him to a nearby kund. The gopis had Madhu Mangal tied up. They brought him to Radha Sarovara. They tied a string to his sikha, threw it over the tree and pulled on the string. Each time he called out to Krishna to help. Krishna came and told them that they committed big Brahmin aparadha. He told them this was serious and as a result each of them will be the 99th wife of an old man. The gopis were shocked. They asked Krishna what they could do. He told them to beg forgiveness from Madhu Mangal and do whatever he wants. They asked him what they could do to get his mercy. He requested 1 000 000 laddus. They put him on throne and fed him. Madhu Mangal has requested laddus as he knew that this was Krishna prasadam and wanted as much mercy as possible. Then he got into blessings mode and asked the gopi what she wanted. She asked for Krishna to be her husband. Here we met His Holiness Radhanatha Swami Maharaj and his group of 4000 devotees. There were at least 91 buses used to transport these devotees. Maybe one day soon Guru Maharaj will lead a parikrama group of 4000 devotees. Hint, hint, devotees – make sure you diarise the next parikramai
Along the path there is a lady named Kashmira making cow dung patties. Guru Maharaj said that if we wanted to become Gopis then we would have to learn how to make cowdung patties. Guru Maharaj also spoke about how nicely ladies carry water pots on their heads and said that once in didavalli village ladies were filling their pots with water and they started arguing with each other and there was a battle and even though they hit and slapped each other – not one of them dropped their pots of water!
We went to Mor Kutir. Pastime: Srimati Radharani was angry with Krishna. He wanted to please Radharani and wanted to joke with her so he said “your face looks like the moon”. Now Chandravalli is the competitor of Srimati Radharani so she thought that He was comparing her so she told Him to get out! He tried to explain that He was joking but she wouldn’t hear of it. Radharani was chasing and chastising Him and while doing that a snake came. It was a devotee and saw Krishna in difficult and wanted to help Him. Srimati Radharani saw this cobra and panicked and called Krishna to save her. She embraced Krishna. The snake winked at Krishna and Krishna winked at the snake. When Radharani was angry with Krishna on the 2nd ekadasi day of kartik – she went to the kund at Mor Kutir. Krishna came in the form of a peacock. He danced on the hill that we walked up, dancing from side to side, up and down. Radharani saw this and thought it was amazing. She became overwhelmed and assumed the form of a peacock. Radha and Krishna
danced in the form of peacocks. This is the temple of peacocks. The alter has a painting of this pastime. There was a blind devotee who lived here and while he chanted the holy name he had an internal realisation of this pastime. He painted this wonderful picture on the alter.
Then we climbed another steep hill to Maan Garh – deities are Radha Maan Bihari Lal. On our way up we saw the lady from Guru Maharaj’s Varsana dvd – the same lady doing the same thing – sweeping the path. Once Radha and Krishna were in the hills. Krishna wanted to please Srimati Radharani. He said her face was so beautiful like the full moon. Srimati Radharani looked at the moon and saw that it had some spots. She thought Krishna was saying that she had a spotty face. She got really upset. She came to this place. She would not talk to Him even though he pleaded. Krishna then fell on the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani and cried tears on her feet. Guru Maharaj explained that if a person is happy and cries, their tears of cold and when a person is happy and cries, their tears are hot. Srimati Radharani felt Krishna’s tears hot. Lalita Devi came. She took the hands of Krishna and Srimati Radharani and brought them together. Then Guru Maharaj pointed out Dohani Kund – Krishna was hungry and there was only water in this kund that he could have. He turned the water of this kund to yogurt. Guru Maharaj also showed us the place of Tungavidya.
Next stop was Dan Gahr – Dan Bihari temple. There was once a poor Brahmin who had a daughter of marriageable age. That Brahmin was so poor that he had no money to give a suitable dowry for his daughter. Guru Maharaj pointed out that traditionally it is the responsibility of the bride’s parents to bear the costs for the wedding, not the boy’s side. They think that it is a good deal but they have to pay for the girl forever after that, Guru Maharaj joked. The Brahmin approached Krishna for help as He is the protector of the Brahmins. Krishna gave him the most valuable thing that he had – Srimati Radharani. The Brahmin cried and cried and cried – he said up until now he had only 1 daughter to marry, now he has 2 – how will I afford
it. Krishna then arranged for the Brahmin to get golden jewellery equal to the weight of Srimati Radharani.
Our last stop for the day was meant to be the Shriji Mandir, the main temple in Varsana. The original deity found by Narayana Bhatta Goswami resides at this temple. This is the palace of Maharaj Vrsabhanu, the father of Srimati Radharani. Many pastimes took place here. Once Krishna was meant to meet Srimati Radharani. She was waiting in a kunj thinking Krishna was coming and that it was going to be wonderful. But Krishna never came and Srimati Radharani wondered what happened. She sent a very young gopi to search and this gopi asked all where Krishna was and that Srimati Radharani was looking
for him and she is getting all upset. One of Chandravalli’s gopis friends who were much older heard this little gopi and decided to play a trick on her. They told this little gopi that Krishna was meeting with Chandravalli and they should not expect him anytime soon. She told Srimati Radharani who became so upset. Then Krishna had arrived. He had not been with Chandravalli, he had been delayed at home. Even though he was so innocent, Lalita and Vishaka chased him away. They told Krishna that Srimati Radharani will never see him again because he was with Chandravalli! He said he was not but they wouldn’t listen. Lalita and Vishaka told Krishna that if he wanted to see her again he has to beg for mercy, he has to cry
for her mercy. Krishna went to Purnamasi who told him to take the form of a sannyasi beggar to beg for her mercy. Radharani was feeling such separation no one knew whether she would live or die. The sannyasi was approached to read her future. When Srimati Radharani and Krishna looked at each other, Krishna assumed the Syamasunder form and Radha and Krishna were reunited.
At this point Guru Maharaj gave us a choice (as this was not part of the days agenda) – we can go back for lunch now or we can get some prema! What would you like to do? It was a tough choice as we had not had lunch as yet and it was already late afternoonibut off we went to Prema Sarovara hoping to get some prema. The atmosphere was very peaceful after very busy Varsana. Guru Maharaj said that this is a very transcendental place. Once Srimati Radharani and Krishna met at this very spot that we were sitting at.
Srimati Radharani was sitting on Krishna’s lap and there was a big bee bothering her. Guru Maharaj demonstrated the bzzzzing soundithis was disturbing Srimati Radharani. Krishna called for Madhu Mangal, his funny Brahmin friend asking him to please chase this bee away. He very dramatically chased the bee away waving his cloth in all directions, etc. Guru Maharaj also demonstrated this. Came back to report to Srimati Radharani that Madhu is gone. Bee in Sanskrit is madhu. There are different meanings with the main one being “sweet”. What is the sweetest of all sweet things? – Krishna! So Srimati Radharani became restless. She asked him “what do you mean?” She took madhu to mean Krishna. He said yes, madhu is gone and is not coming back. Krishna then said – no, I am here. Srimati Radharani looked at him and said no, you are gone. Srimati Radharani said that Krishna was an hallucination. Guru Maharaj explained that this was a special condition of Krishna Prema – prema vaivartha – in the mood of love for Krishna the devotees may go mad. They see a tamal tree and think it is Krishna. They see a monsoon cloud and think it is Krishna. Radharani and Krishna embrace the tree and wonder why His body is so hard like a tree. They think that Krishna is not there when he is. Radharani is sitting of Krishna’s lap crying saying that she will take her life. Krishna cried. Srimati Radharani was crying. They both cried and their tears flowed down into this hollow ground and formed this kund – made of the tears of love of Radha and Krishna. Radha and Krishna’s love in separation is higher than love in meeting – how? In meeting you can speak, embrace, etc. In separation, you cannot stop thinking of the one you love. Guru Maharaj showed us the many parrots that were around and that they belong to Vrindadevi. They always fly around to see what Radha and Krishna are doing and now they are checking us out. They will go to Vrindadevi in Vrinda Kund and tell her that they saw more than 100 international devotees who chose not to return to Vrindavana for lunch but wanted prema instead :
Our last stop (unplanned) was the village of Anjanoka (village of Induleka). They were having a bhagavat saptaha – reciting Srimad Bhagavatam for 7 days. Anja means kajal – for decorating the eyes. One time Srimati Radharani was sitting on the bank decorating herself getting ready to meet Krishna when he suddenly appeared. She was not completely ready and had only put kajal on one eye. The other eye did not have any and Krishna asked her “what happened to you?” Krishna rubbed his finger on the black rock and decorated
her other eye. That rock is still in the temple and if you rub your fingers on it, it does turn black – I tried it myself. Just outside is Kaishori kund. Guru Maharaj said that here we can pray for the mercy of Srimati
Radharani. Nearby, under the tree there are deities from 100 years back. The pujari gave Maharaj a small tub of anja. He wondered how to distribute this. It was decided that he would put some on each persons forehead but he said he couldn’t do it for the matajees. He asked me to take half. I took some and He told me I took more than half. I told Guru Maharaj that prabhus didn’t need so much of anjan : Guru Maharaj distributed to the prabhus and I distributed to the matajees.
This was only the second day and it was a long day with a lot of walking (quite a shock to the body for most) but it was worth every step…tomorrow we are heading for Nandagram.
Syamarani devi dasi