Day 4 – 15 November 2018
Written by Rukmini dd
On the banks of Sri Radha-kund we gather.
“Let us sit down and hear about what we are really seeing. There is another reality here that is available to those who are absorbed. Since we do not have spiritual vision, Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami opens our darkened eyes in the Govinda-lilamrta and shows us…”
“Krsna arrived at Radha-kund. The jewelled staircases lead to pavilions encrusted with precious stones.”
We sit on the hard stone steps, looking out at the dark waters glistening in the sun, punctuated by withered marigolds.
“There are four pavilions on the corners, each with swings of a specific grove of campak, kadamba or mango. In the yellow campak grove is a golden swing and when Srimati Radharani sits there with her golden hue, it appears as if Krsna is alone.”
All I see are odd-shaped walls of odd colours and a Facebook advertisement for “Love Radha.” An aged pilgrim offers the holy water out of a spouted jug back into the kund.
“A golden bridge leads to a golden jewelled palace in the centre of the kund where the maid servants of Vrinda devi prepare for the divine couple. A gopi sweeps the floor with her hair.”
Nothing but flies buzz persistently around our hair and skin.
“The waters of these kunds are the liquid love of Radha and Krsna. Who are we to go deep into it?” Maharaja questions. Indeed our vision stays shallow but we see through hearing.
“Among the gopis, Srimati Radharani is the most dear to Krsna. Her kund is as profoundly dear to Lord Krsna as this most beloved of the gopis. Who then will not reside in Radha-kund and, in a spiritual body surcharged with ecstatic devotional feelings, render loving service to the divine couple? Such persons are the most fortunate in the universe.”
Tempted to dip in?
“I am not going to say jump in today. I am not sure if my seniors will smile upon me if I did. But think of how spiritual this place is and the depth of the conjugal pastimes of Radha and Krsna that occur here. Then think of yourself. Are we pure? Are we following everything all the time? Even if we are, what garbage are we bringing from within the cemeteries of our minds into the waters? I will not tell you not to bathe but think if you are qualified.”
Maharaja quotes Satsvarupa Das Goswami that actually the most sacred places in Vrndavana are Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi and his rooms in Krsna Balarama mandir. “Sick or not, I will be at the samadhi mangal arati. That is my connection. That is where I plug in. This morning I went there to refresh my connection with Srila Prabhupada and then I can come here to see a golden bridge with a palace in the centre.”
I did not see a golden palace. Poor connection? We search for the mercy of the vaisnavas.
We circumambulate the sitting place of Jahnava mata who was given a prominent position at Radha-kund as she led the vaisnava society after Lord Nityananda. Maharaja is cajoled into a puja for Radha-kund by a persistent panda who knows him well. We bow down at the samadhis of Raghunatha Das Goswami and Krsna Das Kaviraja Goswami. The bhajan kutir of Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami is where the Caitanya Caritamrta was written. Maharaja prayed that he may also write a book on the Caitanya Caritamrta. The book is a lifetime’s endeavour. We visit the sitting places of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda and float back to the bus on the beautiful kirtan led by Advaita Simha Prabhu.
Maharaja stops for a quiet moment at Mukarai, the home of Srimati Radharani’s grandmother-in-law. The parikrama has been busy, noisy and intense and he seeks a moment of reflection and escape from the external covering.
“In Krsna’s pastimes, Radha-kund is a private place and going there is meant to be an internal situation. Not to just discuss Radha-Krsna pastimes but to meditate on how far away we are (from that reality) and how the sankirtan movement is actually able to take us there, just as it has brought us here now.”