Krishna Kunda and Prema sarovara
Day 11 welcomes new family members to the growing Kadamba Kanana Swami with initiations at Prema sarovara and Krishna kundar.
Written by Rukmiṇī Devī Dāsī
A moment pregnant with expectation. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, reeling from the emotional roller-coaster of the day’s obstacles, finally finds Herself face-to-face with Kṛṣṇa. Before cognizance of Their union fully settles in, a blur of yellowish black crosses her vision with a gentle buzz. Unwilling to be distracted by the bumblebee, she keeps Her eyes fixed on Kṛṣṇa. The buzzing returns, increasing in volume till it was inches from Their faces. She shifted the bee off course with her sari, but persistent in its parikramā, it veers off only to encircle Them a third time. Madhumaṅgala, seeing the dilemma, and the need for a superhero, raises his stick with ferocious determination and with his ample form gives chase. He returns triumphant!
‘I’ve gotten rid of that Madhusūdana (killer bee)!”
‘Madhusūdana (killer of the demon Madhu)?’ thinks Rādhārāṇī. ‘Kṛṣṇa is gone?’ With that thought, Her eyes immediately flood with tears such that She cannot see Kṛṣṇa, sitting right in front of Her. And not seeing Him, Her love-laden tears gush in greater tides. Kṛṣṇa, observing the depth of Her affection, is moved to tears Himself. Their tears of separation unite to form a lake of liquid love: Prema-sarovara.
“Although many of us have come here many times, still Prema-sarovara is such a beautiful place. It’s peaceful and so significant. Here we learn how Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are all-inclusive,” says Mahārāja.
They are inclusive because even the king bee was buzzing in ecstasy. He goes back to tell his subjects of his up-close encounter with the divine couple. ‘After all, Kṛṣṇa is blackish. He wears a yellow dhoti and He likes music just like us. Therefore He must be the Bee-God.’
On the banks of this sacred kuṇḍa with its unique octagonal ghāṭa, two devotees prepare to accept the vows of initiation. In a corner a fire sacrifice slowly manifests.
“It’s easy to take the vows. It takes only two to five minutes but we will have to follow them for a lifetime. It is only by Kṛṣṇa’s personal intervention (yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham, Bhagavad-gītā 9.22) that we can keep them. All we can do is take shelter and have faith in the words of the spiritual master. Be respectful to the Vaiṣṇavas, scriptures and the holy name. Adhere to principles of purity. Chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa is the most powerful way to develop love for Kṛṣṇa. Therefore of all our activities chanting is the priority.”
Rooshay (Mumbai) became Rūpa Kiśora Dāsa and Komal (UK) became Kāruṇika Devī Dāsī. “I have faith in them,” said Mahārāja, “and I ask you as Vaiṣṇavas to bless them.” The Prema-sarovara parikramā ended with little Dauji’s birthday and a huge mahā-cake from Rādhā-Śyāmasundara. Fresh cream and jam tastes all the better on leaf plates.
When visiting Varṣāṇā, the village of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, our parikramā moved by kīrtana. Kīrtana carried us through the little bazaar, onto the dusty (now paved) road to Sankari-kor. It is a sharp juncture of two hills where Kṛṣṇa would demand tax from the gopīs. Some devotees tried to negotiate with their feet through the awkward crossing while others climbed higher and simply slid down the smooth, flat rocks.
The kīrtana lifted us up the never-ending staircase to Mor-kuṭīr. And while some of of us (me especially) arrived breathless, dragging our bodies up, Mahārāja just floated on the kīrtana, investing more energy in each mantra as the climb steepened. Mor-kuṭīr is where Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa dance like peacocks. I didn’t see any peacocks but Mahārāja asserted that he saw many (dancing devotees) whom he appreciated very much.
The kīrtana then carried us along the last, flat stretch past the Rajapur temple (then closed) and finally to Śrīji temple with just minutes of the darśana remaining. There Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī had already arranged for a loudspeaker, many instruments and groups of dancing devotees who simply handed the microphone over to Mahārāja, and there the kīrtana exploded. In the panoramic balcony of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s Śrīji temple, towering over all the villages of the aṣṭa-sakhīs, shrouded in a hazy mist, we made the most valuable offering possible: Kṛṣṇa’s holy name. And the kīrtana flowed in full force down the steps of Śrīji temple, overpowering the locals in a wave of mantra. Some just danced forgetting to ask for donations.
“Why do I do these crazy kīrtanas? ‘ asked Mahārāja, earlier in Prema-sarovara. “I’ve got to do something. These crazy kīrtanas help me rise above craziness, to the transcendental platform.”
And finally the kīrtana came to rest at Kṛṣṇa-kuṇḍa, giving way to kathā.
“We are continuing our journey in search of pure devotional service of which Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the emblem. No one can compare to her level of dedication. Here we see our limitations and are simply praying that we may be given prema. We have made an effort to hear and chant in the holy dhāma in Kārttika and have visited many places. Kārttika is the month of Rādhārāṇī. It comes before the month of Kṛṣṇa because we worship Her first. She has feminine compassion so She brings people to Kṛṣṇa. Being attracted by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Kṛṣṇa is also present in this month, and His presence is His mercy.”
Our time in Vṛndāvana is drawing to a close and as such Mahārāja began consolidating our experiences. “What will we take with us? The importance of the six Gosvāmīs and their Deities, Madana-mohana, Rādhā-Govinda and Rādhā Gopīnātha. For many of us Rādhā-Govinda is the Deity to meditate on. Instead of looking for pleasure elsewhere we turn to Kṛṣṇa for pleasure. Let us experience pleasure with Him. Yet that is not automatic. We have to make an endeavour… I hope there were moments when you forgot yourself and forgot the bodily platform.
Our mind is such that it can turn even transcendental ecstasy into boredom. Even in Vṛndāvana, are our minds here? Where is home? Where have we not taken birth in his planet? Is there an inch that we have not been on before?
It is not that we cannot enjoy the material world. People ask us what we do for fun. We do everything for fun. It just takes a while to figure it out. I think this parikramā was fun. Don’t miss it next time. It’s necessary. It makes a difference. We take it with us. We are making eternal advancement.”
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Initiations at Varsana
Photos by Svasti-Gopinatha, Tamala Krsna, Gauravani, Padmanabha, Zoltan, Gopali, Tamala Krsna, Tattva Darsana and others
Braja Parikrama 2019 Schedule
- 1st Nov – Govinda kund, Tribhuvanatha Samadhi, Nrsimha temple Puncari
- 2nd Nov – Gosvami Temples Vrindavana
- 3-5 Nov – Jaipur
- 6th Nov – Yavat, Vrindakund
- 7th Nov – Sanket, Anjanoka
- 8th Nov – Vrindavan Parikrama
- 9th Nov – Unchagaon
- 10th Nov – Rest
- 11th Nov – Krishna Kund, Prem sarovara, initiations
- 12th Nov – Garuda Govinda, Rama Tala