Nandagram It’s the last day

January 31st, 2001


It’s the last day of parikrama. I warn the devotees who are remaining:

“You are feeling at home in Vrindaban because our program engages you fully in devotional service. Our program ends tomorrow. If you relax and give up the mood of full engagement in devotional service there will be trouble. You will not feel comfortable here. Fruitive longing (passion) and lethargy (ignorance) go against the grain of the internal energy and the pressure of being here in material consciousness can be unbearable.”

Srila Prabhupada therefore warned that “one should stay either three days or three years in Vrindaban.” I interpret this to mean that one can come on pilgrimage and focus his consciousness seriously on chanting and hearing as his service for a few days, or weeks at most. If one stays longer he must make a serious commitment to some regular service?otherwise, it is better to leave.

I didn’t feel so prepared this year for the parikramas in terms of preparing all the elaborate lilas of the various places, although from living in Vrindaban so many years, I know basically where those places are, and what pastimes took place there. Therefore from the beginning, although I always spoke something, I concentrated on engaging everyone in kirtan, and in that way, attempted to invoke the mercy of each pastime place. I think by this humble process, we were fairly successful in the imbibing of each place as within the name of Krishna are Krishna’s forms, qualities, and pastimes.

Our first stop today was Javat, the place where Srimati Radharani lives for six months of the year at her in-laws? house. My inspiration here, however, is that on our last day of the tour we should today absorb ourselves in the Radha-Krishna lila that took place here.

Javat is the only temple that has deities of Jatila (Radharani’s mother-in-law), Kutila (Radharani?s sister-in-law), and Abhimanyu (her so-called husband). They are worshipable because Radhika’s in-laws serve the parakiya-rasa (unwedded love) of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, by placing various obstacles in the meeting of Radha and Krishna to increase the risk and flavor of such love.

We sit peacefully before the deities of Radha and Krishna, the main deities here, and I speak extensively from Camutkara-Chandrika (?the moon beam of sheer astonishment”), a wonderful book by Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti where he describes the various pranks that Krishna played on Abhimanyu and his family in Javat to attain the association of Srimati Radharani. The stories are hilarious, very engaging and do give the devotees a special sense of Krishna’s exchanges of love with Srimati Radharani.Chanting the holy name, mixed with remembrance of the appropriate pastimes approached in the proper mood, creates rasa, the flavor of devotion. We visit Nanda Bhavan, Krishna?s home, the center of all Krishna’s pastimes, as all Krishna’s divine lila begins from home and returns there by night. We see Nanda Baba, Yasoda Mayi, Krishna, and Balarama?the stately and sweet deities of Nanda Bhavan?and hear more and more of Radha and Krishna’s lila. We climb to the roof of Nanda Bhavan and gain a spectacular view of all the places of Krishna’s pastimes. We sight the very road where Akrura took Krishna and Balarama to Mathura and recall the gopis? pain of separation as Krishna mounts his chariot. In amusement, our guide points out Moti Kund, the place where Krishna planted pearls as seeds, harvested the jewels, and teased the gopis. We turn a bit to the right and spot Uddhava Kyari, the sanctified field where Uddhava, the topmost devotee of Krishna outside of Vraja, was humbled by witnessing the extraordinary mahabhava of Srimati Radharani and the gopis. We envision Krishna, Balarama, and his cowherd friends descending Nandisvara Hill with Their 108 herds of cows and see their destination?the forests and pastures between Nandagram and Javat. Our panoramic view of the very places of Krishna’s pastimes not only touches our hearts, but bolsters our faith. The activities of Krishna are mapped and we gain a visible sense of its history.

It is noon on our last day of parikrama. Time to visit just one final place of pastimes. Leaving Nandagram we march through it’s pastures for a half-hour trek to a favorite of the devotees, the out-of-the-way but gorgeous forest of Ter Kadamaba, where Krishna tends the cows during the day and meets Radha at night?the most sacrosanct and secluded lila-sthan, chosen by the topmost connoisseur of Vraja, Srila Rupa Goswami, as his bhajan sthali. It was in this place that he chose to compose his two masterpieces, Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani.

We sit at Ter Kadamaba under a striking forest bower by the steps of a beautiful kunda and as rupanugas, followers of Sri Rupa Goswami, we appropriately end our pilgrimage by feeling and chanting a sweet prayer:

sri rupa-manjari pada, sei mora samprada
sei mora bhajana pujana

“The lotus feet of Sri Rupa Manjari are my treasure, my devotional service, my life.”

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