Govardhana Sadhus of Vrindaban I

December 8th, 2002


Sadhus of Vrindaban I

Whenever I go out on Govardhana parikrama, I see a very peaceful and slightly built old sadhu doing dandavat parikrama, but bowing many times in one place before he proceeds. Rather than count the number of prostrated obeisances by using a cumbersome pile of small stones as most sadhus do, this particularly sadhu uses a huge five-foot tulasi-mala counter of 250 large beads to count his dandavats. Evidently that’s the number of times he bows in one place. He has a small sign in Hindi which I cannot fully read, but I can read the date he started: January 1, 1994.

I have been told by many experienced Vrindaban devotees that prostrated obeisances around Govardhana takes about 50 hours, or seven hours a day for a week. Most people, however, do fewer hours every day and complete it in over two weeks. For those who do 108 prostrated obeisances in one place, it takes at least four years to complete–even at a pace of three to four hours everyday without fail. I estimate that that our sadhu friend, who is doing 250 flat obeisances, will need at least ten years to complete his vow. And that’s if he pays his full obeisances in one place for four hours everyday for ten years without respite–a daunting physical task even for a younger, trained athlete.

Today I brought a translator to speak to him. I found out that he is a disciple of a Godbrother of Srila Prabhupada named Parvat Maharaja. After chatting for a minute he very humbly pointed to the last line of his sign for my friend to read:

“Please don’t bother me now and may God bless you.”

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