Radha Ashtami

Hare Krishna.

I left the evening before for Vrindavan, reaching Vrindavan Dham around 9pm. The temple was closed,  I paid my dandvat pranam inside the courtyard and then had a quick dinner at Govinda.

Got a room in my regular guest house, Sri Krishna Sudama Dham, and slept around 11pm after reading a bit.

Radha Ashtami

I got up early and attended Prabhupada’s Arti in the temple after many months, it was wonderful to be just there.

Then it was 4.30 am and time for Mangal Arti. The doors opened and it was a glorious view of their Lordships. Oh ! What a beautiful altar and my first view was of Sri Sri Krishna and Balaram ji. They looked so handsome, happy, jubilant,  the words fail me to describe Them and enjoying their pastimes at Govardhan hill, which was the back ground. I was in Vrindavan after many months and though I see Them every day via internet still being there is an entirely different experience. I was very emotional meeting Them and paid as many obeisances mentally as I could, begging for Their mercy. And somehow I felt the connection and it was a most wonderful feeling in the heart. Then with so many people I could move some feet to my right and get to see only Radha Rani and Vishakha sakhi. I haven’t seen a more beautiful Radha Rani ever before, she looked gorgeous. I was spell bound by her sheer beauty and dazzling smile. There was a spark in her eyes and she seemed be glowing more by every passing second. I  tried to push more to see the complete altar but could not as there simply too many people. I then moved to Sri Gaur Nitai and took Their darshan and paid mental obeisances. I then came back in the middle for the Arti and kept my eyes firmly fixed on Sri Krishna and Balaram. I left just before the start of the Tulsi arti for Govardhan.

I was about to start Bhagavad Gita Study group from the coming Sunday at my home, my baby step to help our preaching movement,  and I felt inspired to take the blessing of Lord Govardhan before I begin.

I chanted my rounds sitting in the back of the car, admiring the fresh morning scenery outside, all serene and calm.  I reached Govardhan at 6.15 and started the parikarma immediately. Being alone I had my iphone and Mp3 player loaded with many lectures for the trip. There were not too many devotees but as I progressed I could see many devotees doing parikarma.  As I took  left turn from the bus stand towards Govardhan my eye met a pair of very bright eyes. I had never seen a brighter pair of eyes in my life before. He was a very tall, fair and lean person, dressed up in surprisingly neat, and I would add even majestic, clothes, wearing a turban on his head. Our eyes met, he held my gaze and then he crossed. My heart told me that don’t be so surprised as many demi gods come to Govardhan for parikarma every day, Giriraj Maharaj Ki Jai.

The biggest advantage I found doing parikarma in the morning was that there was very less noise pollution from those blaring horns selling some ring, `surma’, etc today. In fact except for some odd TV playing at loud level at tea stalls it was was very peaceful and I heard Maha mantra japa in many temples for the first time. As I completed my rounds I remember I have to do some extra rounds from my past `account’  . Once I completed them I asked myself that do I have no taste at all for the chanting and all I wish to do now is listen to lectures I brought. I decided to chant more. I completed the parikarma in five and a half hours, non stop and chanting all the way through. While taking  parikarma it is difficult not to get distracted by things around but by the mercy of Lord I did the Parikarma pretty much focused on my chanting, paying obeisances to Giriraj Maharaj and soaking in the atmosphere. I tried to keep my heart soft and prayed that I get His blessings to serve Guru Maharaj, Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON and don’t let HG Rukmini Prabhu ji down. I tried to remember all the glories of Giriraj Maharaj explained by HH Sacinandan Maharaj in his Govardhan retreat, I had listened the audio recording some months back.

I was tired when I reached Radha Kund. The dip in the holy water filled me with bliss and gratitude towards the Lord and Srimati Radharani . Taking a dip in Radha Kund is always a unique experience for me.

I have taken bath many times in the past at Radha Kund but today I felt silly taking a bath in my small shorts.  I bought two `gamchas’ for my bath next time.

I came back to the SBI ATM where the driver was waiting for me, paid my obeisances and then left for Krishna Balrama temple for the  Maha Prasad. I was hungry for Their darshan again.

After many months I completed 64 rounds today.

Radha Rani Ki Jai.

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gaurnaga.

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