Day 5 – 16 November 2018
Written by Vasanti dd
We greeted the beautiful Vrinda Devi deity who was looking out over a small, but powerful, Vrinda Kund (bathing ghat). The green parrots of Vrindavan are said to be the messengers of Vrinda Devi, who debate among themselves whether Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead or whether Srimati Radharani is, in fact, Supreme since She completely controls Krsna.
Vrinda Devi is the stage manager of the Lord’s past times and she makes all arrangements for the lilas (past times) to take place. True to her nature as a past time facilitator, Vrinda Devi seems to be providing beautiful settings for the pilgrims to visit her to hear about and meditate on some of these divine happenings.
The area was welcomingly quiet and secluded. The trees provided shade for some and there was a gentle breeze blowing – a perfect, spacious setting. Devotees offered their respects, bathed their chanting beads in the Kund and then made their way to the soft, clean, gardens for kirtan and a talk from Maharaj followed by breakfast.
“Here in Vrindavan Dham, we are visiting the pleasure groves of Krsna and His associates…”
It was mentioned that in Nanda and Yasoda’s residence, if one entered the middle palace which seemed smaller from the outside, you’d find no limit of space in there. Time and space are only ingredients in facilitating rasa, or taste. In the spiritual world there is no time and the lilas are not following a sequence dictated by it.
There, the sequence of events is dictated by rasa (taste). So as long as Krsna is enjoying breakfast time, it remains breakfast time. When He is ready for the forest, that time arrives. Maharaj said that it is difficult to understand the spiritual reality through thought… he said one cannot capture Krsna by thought.
I was reminded of something I’d recently read by Bhaktivinoda Thakur in his biography The Seventh Goswami where he said, “Rational aspects of man are not capable of approaching the Divine sphere of spirit. Reason is quite incompetent in such a matter. Ruchi [taste]has the power to comprehend it.”
Rasa is the driving force.
It is said that Mother Yasoda is expert at churning butter…
And it is said that Vrinda Devi is expert at churning rasa.
All glories to Vrinda Devi, the expert facilitator of divine past times.
The devotees settled down on or near the big stairs leading down into the Pavan Sarova bathing ghat. It was incredibly soothing to look out over that tranquil body of water. The kirtan seemed to echo and bounce off of the liquid surface.
“When we obtain our spiritual bodies, we also obtain our spiritual families. In this world, gradually our spiritual family becomes more important than the material.”
Maharaj told of his Mexican disciple, a grhasta with something like 13 children who each have various roles such as temple commander, temple treasurer etc. in the family home/temple. A well run spiritual family!
For his daughter Srimati Radharani, Nanda Baba constructed a palace at Pavan Sarova so She always had a place to meet all Her needs when She visited there. Maharaj explained this as a place where everyone would meet with Krsna. Cows drank water there as the cowherd boys played.
The devotees also got into the family spirit at Pavan Sarova.
Some brave devotees from the group had ventured out to sit in the sheltered ‘catris’ that were a little way into the water. It was a thin, slippery, moss-covered slab to walk across to get to the structures and the water was waiting readily on each side of the path to catch anyone who lost their grip with a splash.
Maharaj appreciated that they’d ventured out there in a spirit of transcendental fun and once he had put the spotlight on them, they had the daunting task of making it back to the other side without falling in.
There was a camera recording on standby to catch the excitement and the devotees started cheering and jeering, some hoping the brave ones would make it and some hoping they would fall into the water and add to the excitement to the day. A typical family affair!
There were a few close calls, but they all made it back to the other side safe and dry – much to the relief of some and the disappointment of others.
Reunited once again, we packed our things and moved on to our final destination for the day.
“There once was a time where pearls grew on vines. Now they grow in oysters.”
The scene and mood were nicely set with sand that glistened unusually brightly as if made from layers of crushed pearls. I also noticed a god sister with a pearl hanging off of what looked like a small flute ornament sticking out of her turban.
The last part of the day found the devotees settling down around a shaded tree at Moti Kund to hear Maharaj narrate the story of Krsna (who was described as a very delicate blue lotus which grew from the womb of Mother Yasoda) telling Satyabhama the sweet past time from His childhood where He grew pearls on vines with which to decorate His cows because the gopis, whom Krsna called “hills of pride” for doing so, refused to donate Him even one of their pearls and instead rebuked him with gentle sarcasm.
Krsna then decided to plant some of Mother Yasoda’s finest pearls and grow His own vines. It is said that Krsna watered those pearl vines with the best milk from Nanda Baba’s cows.
Maharaj once again made his famous analogy that at the time of initiation the disciple receives the pearls of vows and instruction from the spiritual master. He said these are gifts we receive which must be nurtured and watered with offerings of devotion.
In order for the initiation vows not to become dry, Maharaj advised watering the pearls with the devotion of our energy, words, wealth, etc. all as offerings toward Krsna.
He said that if this is done, many other pearl bushes will grow, and we might be able to share them with others. The full description of Krsna and Satyabhama discussing the past time can be found in Ragunath Das Goswami’s Sri Mukta Carita.
All glories to the divine pearl-growing past time.