Day 9 brings us to the home of Lalita Sakhi close to Radharani’s residence in Varsana. Lalita Sakhi is one of Srimati Radharani’s 8 principle girlfriends. And the trip also takes us to Deha Kund; the place where the cowherd boys would have lunch with Krishna.
Written by Amṛtavāṇī Devī Dāsī
Unchagaon – the appearance place of Lalitā Devī, the most intimate associate and first expansion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī – how fortunate that we were able to step into this most holy place!
Lalitā is older than Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and has a strong left-wing nature. As the protector and dedicated servant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, she is always ready to rebuke Kṛṣṇa for His lack of faithfulness. In the temple of Śrī Śrī Lalitā Bihārī, we once again dipped into reservoirs of ancient wisdom as Mahārāja read from the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, where Lord Caitanya expresses the mood of separation of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. He also read from Bhakti-ratnākara and then related the amazing story of the Haṁsadūta by Rūpa Gosvāmī.
This story was especially relevant because Lalitā, acting as guru, picks out a swan to deliver an urgent message to Kṛṣṇa that He should immediately return to dissipate the burning fires of separation of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Mahārāja compares Lalitā to our current gurus, who use various persuasive techniques and incentives to encourage devotees to take seriously to the spiritual path. The story ends without any definite conclusion about whether the swan would go to Kṛṣṇa or not; here Mahārāja emphasizes that in a similar vein, the spiritual master tries to turn crows into swans, but eventually the decision lies with the individual. However, in his usual gentle way, he assured us that we would all reach the ultimate destination, and that being in Vṛndāvana accelerates that process. Time spent in Vṛndāvana helps us connect with the residents of the holy dhāma, where service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is everything!
Service lifts us above all other attachments, and Lalitā is the embodiment of the service attitude. Mahārāja pointed out that it is the servant who becomes the guru. Here in Unchagaon, we are dwarfed, humbled before Lalitā, realizing that we are not qualified to understand the dealings of Kṛṣṇa and His associates, because we don’t have that level of love. As Mahārāja said, we pray to the dust at the feet of the gopīs, “Dear dust, give me this unalloyed service attitude. Somehow or other, let me focus. My mind is spread all over because I have invested in so many things!” We pray that Lalitā may lead us to the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya, and we pray that we may become selfless.
Our next stop was the nearby Deha-kuṇḍa, the auspicious lake where the gopīs surrendered everything, even their bodies, to Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa agreed to reside in their minds. Many water pastimes occurred here. Mahārāja pointed out that surrender does not depend on willpower, but on attachment to Kṛṣṇa. For success in this human life, one should give all one’s energy, words, possessions and intelligence to Kṛṣṇa. Of course, in the beginning, some willpower is required, but as we go deeper, we become swept up by the current and we will become absorbed in glorification of the Lord. After these encouraging words by Mahārāja, we set off on foot to our next stop, at the top of a huge hill where Kṛṣṇa and the cowherd boys would dine.
We scaled what appeared to be a huge mountain, breathlessly holding on to brambles and whatever else we could find, while Mahārāja seemed to simply float up, turning around at intervals to make sure we were fine. As our guide in this transcendental place, he was especially caring throughout the parikramā, knowing that austerity is a foreign concept to most of us.
At the summit, we came upon the magnificent Chapan Katori, where the rock manifested 56 bowls to serve Kṛṣṇa and the cowherd boys during their lunch feasts. Mahārāja mentioned that in the mood of sakhya-rasa, the cowherd boys worship the forest and take their prasādam on bowls from rocks. How inconceivable that for one brief moment we could share in this pastime and touch this very rock that served Kṛṣṇa and His friends so wonderfully!
Here, after sweet kīrtana, Mahārāja spoke about village life which is close to nature and free from anything artificial. He mentioned that when spiritual culture is incorporated into village life, then there is real wealth and variety in the villages.
So we had the great fortune of walking with familiarity in this land of the Supreme Lord, where Mahārāja spoke about lofty, exalted topics in a way that appealed to the heart and made them accessible to us. It is obvious that to the local residents, the Lord and His devotees are very real, living right there in their midst. We left Unchagaon, praying that we may imbibe some of that mood. My special prayer to Deha-kuṇḍa was that the mercy of her waters may wash away the obstacles that hold me back, and that I may soon know the bliss of complete surrender to the Lord. Lofty indeed! But anything is possible in Vṛndāvana!
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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