Govardhana adharam madhuram vadanam madhuram

October 29th, 2000


adharam madhuram vadanam madhuram nayanam madhuram hastitam madhuram
hrdayam madhuram gamanam madhuram madhuradhi pater akhilam madhuram

?His lips are sweet, His face is sweet, His eyes are sweet, His smile is sweet, His heart is sweet, His gait is sweet. Everything is sweet about the Emperor of Sweetness!?

Bhinatvam nama maminoh. Krishna and His name are nondifferent. The holy name is therefore a very sweet person. We have a loving relationship with that sweet person who is unlimitedly kind to us. Chanting in that mood invokes the sentiment and devotion that maintains dynamism in chanting.

Hundreds of devotees siege the ashram throughout the day, at different times, for Govardhana parikrama. It is nice to see His Holiness Bhakti Caru Maharja and His Holiness Gopal Krishna Maharaja. The atmosphere at Bhaktivedanta Sadhana Ashram (our ashram) is sublime, but with so many people coming, it is also a bit distracting. My rounds suffer and there is not much time for reading.

Good news! I left five of my books at Rasabihari Lal’s, the bookstore at Loi Bazaar, and all are sold in two days. I need to find a way to get more of these books to India.

We should be careful about associating with the local residents of Vrindaban. Real brijabasis have svabhavika-bhakti, natural love for Krishna, but externally they may even lead ordinary lives. They are difficult to understand and dealing with them can be confusing. There are, however, a few simple hearted brijabasis that I got to know and love in the course in living in Vrindaban for more than twenty years. At Bhaktivedanta Ashram all the devotees have deep affection for Nanuram. Nanuram is a relatively tall, aging-but-ageless?is he 50 or 75??simple-hearted Govardhana-basi (resident of Govardhana) who visits the ashram regularly at prasadam time. When asked for his age, his reply is always the same: ?Younger than you.? When pressed further, he sincerely says he has to ask his mother. Nanu means child. His mother still calls him Nanu, so he feels young.

He often goes to Kesava Bharati’s room for animated conversations that sometimes last almost half an hour. There are lots of joking and other affectionate exchanges. The amazing thing is that Nanuram only speaks and understands the local vernacular, brajabhasa, and Kesava Bharati doesn’t understand a word of it. This has been going on for two years. Nanurama has yet to figure out that Kesava Bharati doesn’t understand what he is saying, but they still seem to bond. It’s an amazing thing to watch. All I can figure out is that they are both so much from the heart that despite a lack of verbal communication they still achieve a high level of mutual understanding.

Unfortunately, Nanuram’s wife died and left him no children and he has to take care of his old and sickly mother. Nanuram, however, seems to have no worries?or at least there are no overt symptoms of anxiety. He does Govardhana parikrama everyday as far as he needs to go to be invited for prasadam. He generally eats at several places a day. He is on the thin side, but his face is bright with color?the emblem of health.

The custom for rich men visiting Govardhana is to feed the brahmanas and sadhus living in the dhama and give them a small donation for coming. Nanuram has been known to take a full feast at one place, and two hours later, at the next feast, eat three kilos of rabri (cooked down milk with sugar). He remains, however, after a small nap on his left side, energetic and hungry. I have seen this personally during the feast days at our ashram.

Govardhana is the place where Krishna ate unlimited foodstuffs while simultaneously retaining a voracious hunger. It seems a benediction must have even been passed down to the residents of Govardhana. Nanuram now also comes to talk to me. I enjoy it, although I can’t understand a word he says.

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