Written by Rukmini dd

Kirtan amongst the sages in Vrindavan

Like the forest of Naimisaranya adorned with sages, Vrindavan, in the soft radiance of Kartik, blossoms with an impressive bouquet of saints of international hue. They stoke the yajna of glorifying Krsna and the steady throng of pilgrims flow into its flames like rivers of ghee. Everything is all-auspicious.

At the center of the sacrifice is Sri Sri Krsna Balarama Mandir and on 5th November, Kadamba Kanana Swami sat amongst the sages and spoke from the sacred Bhagavatam (6.2.27). The theme was the life of Ajamila and in the purport, Srila Prabhupada elaborated on the benefits of atonement. Maharaj put things in perspective with the befitting analogy of “walking the tight rope”. The devotee who attempts pure devotional service begins to walk the thin, high rope of bhakti – the path of transcendence. However, the intelligent practitioner will ensure that there is a safety net below. The safety net is the weave of the mode of goodness that will prevent one from crashing to the ground, should he slip on the path. Maharaj mentioned that atonement is one of the principles that form that safety net. To regret our mistakes is healthy, yet it is not our goal nor focus. We try to remain on the tight rope of bhakti, with our eyes focused on the goal, never flinching, for that is the only way one can walk the tight rope! Watch a video of the lecture by clicking here.

The next day, we were all aboard for a parikrama, with Maharaj stationed behind the bus driver. The first stop was Yavat, where Srimati Radharani resided after her marriage. Maharaj shared the pastime of Krsna disguising himself as a celestial maiden who sang with incomparable sweetness. Then we were off to Kokilavana where Krsna imitated the sound of the cuckoos singing in the forests with such beauty and precision that the gopis were immediately attracted. Maharaj described these as the stolen moments of Radha and Krsna. But how could we, with eyes made of flesh and brains of dull matter, imbibe these high pastimes? Instead, Maharaj took the hint from Krsna’s singing that the only way was through the shelter of kirtan. And our parikrama became a wave of kirtan of different moods and mellows in different places, including the bus. As Maharaj led  the worship through sound, our voices rose in service to the holy name. We eventually gathered at Prema-sarovara, a place where Radha and Krsna’s tears of separation, although in each others presence, combined to form a lake. And we sat and chanted in sweet kirtan. Like the sastra says, the best way to see Vrindavan is to hear. Suddenly our intimate kirtan was hijacked by a group of pilgrims who were touched by the sonorous flow of mercy and joined in – each with their own unique dance moves. After a spontaneous harinam, circumambulating the lake of pure love, we left its shores – but the kirtan came with us.

And it continued on Sunday, 8th November, at the grand sankirtan festival on the land where a new gurukula facility is in the making. In truth, we were in the middle of nowhere with barren land as far as I could see. Yet such is India; all you need is a pandal, eager ears and saintly souls, and it is a party. We arrived to welcoming kirtan by little yellow gurukuli boys who led us to the breakfast spot and served us with heart warming sincerity. And then the eight hour kirtan mela took over with Sacinandan Swami and Madhava Prabhu. Maharaj arrived to up-the-tempo just before lunch. The evening played host do kirtan giants such as Lokanatha Swami amongst others.

And the holy name remains the lens through which one may get a glimpse of Vrindavan!

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