Vrindaban We pick up the

January 22nd, 2001

Vrindaban

We pick up the pace of our parikrama. We walk on the scenic cowherd trail to Kaliya-ghata, Madan Mohan, Imli Tal and Radha Damodar. As I had guessed, I need to put some energy into keeping the devotees absorbed and engaged.

One of the best parikrama devotees today is Rasa-parayana, the three-year old son of Rasaraja and Prema-bhakti Marg. Generally, a young child would distract the parikrama?especially for the parents?but Rasa-parayana is not at all a distraction. He is absorbed in the sights of the dhama and very enthusiastic for kirtan. He is doing so well that Rasaraja joked to me, “Wait until I tell Narottama [his individualistic god uncle] that he’s joining the movement!”

Prema-bhakti Marg is a thoughtful person, and from seeing how her son is developing so far, she seems to have thought a lot about how to bring her child up practically in Krishna consciousness. I did not ask her, but I assume that one significant reason for their pilgrimage is that it is part of her vision of how her son will practically be nurtured in Krishna consciousness. It’s a good idea. He will never forget his experience.

Perhaps previously a parent did not have to be as thoughtful to rear a child. They lived in cultures that had rich and spiritually intact traditions. The psychology of childrearing was thus imbibed naturally from their own upbringing. It was also naturally imbibed by observing a society that was consistent its behavior and values and thus consistent in appropriately responding to children in their various stages of development. Things are quite different today. We not only live in a society divorced from spiritual values, but our children, by necessity, have to be somewhat integrated with it as it is the one they live in. To guide the child to interact with society without being over-influenced by its values is a very thoughtful task and becomes increasingly difficult as the child matures.

By the time the parikrama reaches Kaliya-ghata we have shed the layers of ignorance from yesterday?s dirty trip down the Grand Trunk Highway. By the time we are sitting at Imli Tal, we are engrossed. We sit under the tamarind tree where Lord Krishna sat in separation from Srimati Radharani and later returned as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in the complexion and mood of Srimati Radharani, and sat in separation of Himself. We sit and chant, rapt in the sweetness of Vraja-dhama. I am beginning to gain hope that our stay in Vrindaban will be as equally rewarding as our stay in Gaura-dhama.

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