Article on Vrindavan Yatra
The Bhaktivedanta Youth Club (B.YC) took a group of 50 devotees to Vrindavan for yatra from the 23rd of October to 1st November. Most of them were students from NIT Surat, students and professionals from Mumbai, full time devotees from the temple and congregation devotees. The highlight of the yatra was the association of His Grace Deenabandhu Pr, Prabhupada disciple, who took all of us on parikrama everyday to different places of Lord’s pastimes in Braj, service which he has been doing since his 28 year stay in Vrindavan.
We left on the 23rd via Firozpur Janta express in the morning. Although the train took time to reach, the devotees took full advantage by distributing books, performing kirtan and of course Prasad!!!
On reaching there the following morning, we went to Sri Sri Krishna Balaram Temple(ISKCON), and as always all of us (new devotees or old ones) were stunned on taking darshan of Their Lordships Sri Sri Krishna Balaram, Sri Sri Gaur Nitai and the exquisitely beautiful Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar. The atmosphere in the temple was surcharged with an enchanting melody accompanied by expert mridanga playing by the 24 hour kirtan party. We made it a point to attend the ecstatic kirans in the temple hall every evening.
On the 25th, we went to Bhandirvan where Radha and Krishna were married by with Brahma as the priest, Mansarovar, a lake made of Radharani’s tears and Baelvan where Goddess Laxmi performed tapasya to enter into Raas-lila.
The 26th was the disappearance day of Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami, Srila Raghunath Bhatta Goswami and Srila Raghunath Bhatt Goswami. For the first time, procession of the painting of Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj, the author of Sri Caitanya Caritamrita was carried out wherein devotees did parikrama of Radhakund with the painting along with ecstatic kirtan, this was followed by a talk on the lives of Krishnadas Kaviraj,Srila Raghunath Das Goswami and Srila Raghunath Bhatta Goswami by Deenabandhu Pr. The babaji who takes care of the Samadhi of Krishnadas Kaviraj at Radhakund arranged for a feast for all the devotees and in true Vaishnava style saw to it that each devotee was satisfied.
Next day we visited Ter Kadamb-where Rupa Goswami completed Sri Upadeshamrita(the Nectar of Instruction) and Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu(the Nectar of Devotion). There we heard about the pastimes of Sri Rupa Goswami foremost of the six Goswamis who were the direct disciples of Caitanya
Mahaprabhu. Here little Balaram Das (Sitaram Pr’s younger son) had his anna- prasana ceremony done by the hands of Deenabandhu pr and Ter Kadamb Baba. Then we proceeded to Vrindakund where Vrindadevi eternally resides and plans lilas, in the words of Deenabandhu pr it is the Braj Lila Planning Commission. The beautiful katha there was followed by delicious, Vrindakund-grown organic prasadam.
Next day we went to Kamyavan where we visited and heard pastimes from Deenabandhu pr about Bhojanthali (Krishna Balram’s eating plates), Vyomasur Gufa(the cave where Krishna killed Vyomasur), impressions from Krishna’s necklace and garland on the stones and lastly Krishna-Balaram’s slide where they used to play. It was fun sliding down on a natural slide. It reminded everyone of their childhood. Then we went to Kameshvar Mahadev where we took darshan of Lord Shiva who is the greatest Vaisnava and protector of the Holy Dham. After lunch at Kameshwar Mahadev temple cooked by the pujaris, we returned back tired after the trek at Kamyavan.
On the 29th which happened to be Sharad Poornima, the 1st day of Kartik month, we went to take the darshan of local temples in Vrindavan such as Madan Mohan, Banke Bihari, Radha Damodar, Sevakunj and braced ourselves for an exciting night parikrama of Giriraj that day. We started Giriraj parikrama from Kusum Sarovar at 7:30pm along with 200 devotees from different countries and halted in between to hear katha from Deenabandhu pr about various places of pastimes such as Mansiganga, Govind Kund, Poochri, Govardhan town. Since it was the first day of Kartik, we offered lamp to Govardhan while reciting Damodarashtakam. All of us completed the entire parikrama which is 22 kilometres by foot while contemplating on the Govardhan pastime and while maintaining the etiquette of not stepping on Govardhan hill following in the footsteps of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Although tired, but ecstatic and blissful we completed the parikrama at 4 30 am reaching back at Kusum Sarovar and feeling grateful for the opportunity to do such a special moonlit parikrama.
Next day after taking sufficient rest, we visited the Krishna Balaram temple Goshala, which houses a lot of cows. After feeding them we went for some shopping at the famous Loi Bazaar.
Now the time had come for us to leave but since our train was in the evening , we took advantage of being in Vrindavan Dham and along with Deenabandhu
Pr visited Barsana, where Radharani used to stay. We went to Sankhri Khor(the narrow pass where Krishna used to collect tax from the gopis). The Brajvasis made us pay tax to them and allowed us to pass. We went to Chiksauli where we heard the Madhumangal pastime and then proceeded towards Barsana where we sang the glories of Srimati Radharani. We concluded our trip by visiting Prem Sarovar which was the lake formed due to the tears of Radharani and the gopis in separation of Krishna.
The evening came and we set off for Mathura reluctantly to catch our train. No one wanted to leave Vrindavan Dham and as we were leaving we were able to actually feel that we lost our hearts in Vrindavan. We pray to Srimati Radharani to call us again and again to her Holy Dham.
Sri Vrindavan Dham ki Jay!!
Reavealer of the Holy Dham Srila Prabhupada ki Jay!!!
Jay Jay Sri Radheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeshyam!!!
by Nitai Madhav Das
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