Vrindaban – Ekadasi I went

October 9th, 2000

Vrindaban – Ekadasi

I went to visit Bhaktivedanta Ashram in Govardhana. On my way, I stopped briefly for a sacred bath. As always, it was a very purifying experience.

The potency of the dhama is not just subjective, it is inherent in the place. To realize that potency, however, consciousness is the primary factor. Narottama dasa Thakur therefore says ?when my mind is peaceful and I am free from the desire for sense gratification, then I will actually see Vrindaban!? I have come to Vrindaban this time relatively free of other distractions and I hope that will help me reap the benefit of residing in a holy place.

The mind is a repository of desires. When we try to focus on Krishna, often those desires act like static interference. Respectfully bathing in Radha-kunda seems to have the power to clear the mind of the whirlpool of those impulsive thoughts. It allows one to focus one’s consciousness on Krishna in a way that was probably not possible before. After taking many devotees on pilgrimage there, I’ve witnessed that many have had this experience when they approach Radha-kunda in the most humble and respectful manner. It is mystical.

I waded in Radha-kunda for just a few minutes, thankful to Srila Prabhupada for the gift of Vrindaban. I prayed that my stay would be spiritually fruitful.

At Bhaktivedanta Ashram in Govardhana, I gave copies of Waves of Devotion to Kesava Bharati and Jayadvaita Swami. Jayadvaita Swami immediately immersed himself silently in the book for some time, checking all the details. I was a little nervous, but the longer he looked, the more he appreciated the book?from the font that was used for the print to the logic of the layout. He finally said, ?To understand Nectar of Devotion people will have to get your book!?

A younger devotee and resident of Vrindaban came to visit me. He was feeling the purification of his prolonged stay in the dhama. I know the feeling. He revealed his mind.

This devotee had become somewhat known for his renunciation, but has now realized that his renunciation had a lot to do with a neglected and bitter childhood that soured him to relationships. His renunciation was therefore somewhat of a psychological reaction, a passion, and not fully an internal and natural detachment. He realized that marriage was necessary and that Krishna consciousness would have to be practiced from a more honest platform.

As I listened he poured out his heart.

I very much admired this devotee. His ability to open his heart at the risk of vulnerability before a senior devotee was certainly a sign of dependence on Krishna. I didn’t agree that his renunciation was purely superficial, but I did agree that his present level of renunciation exceeded his realization and wasn’t indicative of a fully integrated person. What amazed me was the astuteness of his self-analysis. This astute analysis also indicated to me that, by his sincerity, he had broken through the defense mechanism and rationalization that prevent most individuals from seeing themselves and becoming whole persons. It was also noteworthy that this was achieved solely by his sincere practice of Krishna consciousness, which is consistent with how the process of Krishna consciousness ideally works as described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17).

In all of my dealings with many devotees, only one other time did I see a devotee with the intelligence and sincerity to so quickly and independently identify and confront their deepest conditioning, their passions, without a prolonged process of spiritual or psychological counseling.

There are a lot of interesting books in Vrindaban. I read this statement about the protection of women in a relatively obscure book by an Indian intellectual. It may not be politically correct, but it made sense, especially along the lines of the culture and tradition of India:

?By nature women are soft-hearted, kind, tolerant, and affectionate. The human brain has basically two aspects: the logical and analytical aspect, and the emotive, affectionate side. The general tendency is that men are more logical and women more affectionate. God has designed women like this so they will be able to care for their children.

?The father only gives the seed, but the mother has to carry, nurture, and raise the child. If women were ruled strictly by logic, they would not be able to perform that tremendous task properly. They would think, ?What is the use of carrying this burden? What will I gain from this for myself?? and probably decide not to have children. Thus women are naturally ruled more by affection so they can tolerate the burden of child rearing. The word ?mother? signifies loving sentiment. It is a very difficult task for a man to raise children because they generally do not possess this deeply affectionate nature.?

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