How to see Vrindavan?

Vrindavan

दिव्यद्वृन्दारण्य कल्पद्रुमाधः
श्रीमदरत्नागार सिंहासनस्थौ |
श्रीमद् राधा श्रीलगोविन्ददेवौ
प्रेष्ठालीभिः सेव्यमानौ स्मरामि || 

dīvyad-vṛndāraṇya-kalpa-drumādhah-
śrīmad-ratnāgāra-siṁhāsana-sthau
śrīmad-rādhā-śrīla-govinda-devau
preṣṭālībhiḥ sevyamānau smarāmi

“In a temple of jewels in Vṛndāvana, underneath a desire tree, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit upon an effulgent throne. I offer my humble obeisances unto Them.”

So description of Vrindavan, Vrindavan and Radhā and Krishna situated there. The  Vrindavan … Vana means forest, and vṛnda means tulasī. Mostly there are tulasī plants and other trees also, but all the trees are living desire trees, spiritual. They can serve Krishna in any way, desire. They have become trees by their voluntary desire. They’re all spiritual beings—there is no force—but everyone has got a particular tendency to serve  Krishna in a different way.

So these trees and plants, they are also living beings. They are not ordinary living beings, but they have decided to serve  Krishna by supplying fruits and flowers. They want that service. Everyone has got his particular propensity. So someone is serving as the land there, someone is serving as the throne, someone is serving as the supplying agent of fruits and flowers, someone is engaged in His service as the gopis, confidential servitors. The cows, calves, everything—they are all different living entities. They are not made of these material things, material body. 

Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhis tābhir yaeva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ [Bs. 5.37]. They are all also expansion of Krishna’s pleasure potency. In one sense they are also  Krishna; they are not different from  Krishna. Śakti-śaktimatayor abheda: “The power and the powerful, they are not different, identical.” Just like the sun and the sunshine. So in the sun globe there is heat and light, and the sunshine, there is heat and light. So, so far heat and light is concerned, they are one. Similarly,  Krishna and Krishna’s pleasure potency, ānanda-cinmaya, ahlādinī… It is already described, rādhākṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktir asmāt.

So whatever description is there of Vrindavan, that is expansion of Krishna’s pleasure potency. They are not different. Therefore in the beginning it is said, dīvyad, “shining,” or “divine,” “transcendental.” So we should not consider Vrindavan ordinary forest. Here we have got Vrindavan on this planet. That is also not ordinary forest. The exactly the same Vrindavan as it is Goloka  Vrindavan … There is no difference. Therefore Narottama dasa Thakura says that

viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha ‘be mana
kabe hāma herabo, śrī-vṛndāvana

Viṣaya chāḍiyā. Our present position is that we are materially diseased, so we have to become free from the material disease. Material disease means sense gratification, and the most formidable disease is sex. This is called material disease. So viṣaya chāḍiyā. We have to be, become free from the contamination of viṣaya, material enjoyment. This is the statement of Narottama dasa Thakura.

viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha ‘be mana
kabe hāma herabo śrī-vṛndāvana

When my mind will be cleansed of all material desires, then I shall be able to see what is  Vrindavan.” It is very difficult to see  Vrindavan with material desires. Bhakti means the first qualification is to become free from all material desires. (Then we will be able to see Vrindavan)

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 9th April, 1975, Mayapur)

Why has Krishna allowed His dham to deteriorate, Srila Prabhupada?” Gurudas asks.
“It has not deteriorated,” he replies.
“Well, you just said that the Goswami temples were neglected.”
“That’s a fact. But Vrindavan has not deteriorated.”
“Most Americans would be shocked to see what I saw this morning,” I say.
“How’s that?” Prabhupada asks.
“Well, for one, they’d consider it unhygienic.”
“Just see. For a materialist, everything is topsy-turvy because his vision is perverted. Beauty and ugliness are in the eye of the seer.”
“But what’s this veneer covering the holy dham?”
The ugliness that you see here is yoga-maya,” Prabhupada says. “It’s Krishna’s covering. Vrindavan appears this way to drive away the atheists and impersonalists, just as New York attracts them. For a devotee, this Vrindavan is as good as Krishna’s transcendental abode in the spiritual sky-Goloka Vrindavan. But you must have the eyes to see.”

(Vrindavan Days, Chapter 5)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Falling in love.. again and again…

Hare Krishna.

14 Nov, 2014. Gurgaon.

jaya jaya śrī-caitanya svayaṁ bhagavān
jaya jaya gauracandra bhakta-gaṇa-prāṇa

(All glories to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead! All glories to Lord Gauracandra, the life and soul of His devotees, CC Antya 14.2)

Quotes-by-Srila-Prabhupada-on-Effect-of-Loving-God

Some weeks back, in an emotional state of mind, I, foolishly, sent the below SMS to Guru Maharaj.

`Guru Maharaj, I wanted to share that that I am having extra marital affair and that too with not one but many. I have fallen in love with Krishna, with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, with Nityananad Prabhu, with Lord Jagannath, with you and with devotees like Shyamsundar Prabhuji and I have to only thank you for helping me establish this unique sambandh jnana with Lord, guru and devotees. I am most blessed to to have taken shelter in ISKCON and I promise that I will try my best to spread this love around.’

Reading it today I feel quite embarrassed at my childish attempt to use humour to drive home a simple point that inspite of my long list of disqualification, I am receiving a whole lot of unproportionally large volume of Love from so many channels around me.

As I take some baby steps in my spiritual journey, I find myself falling in love with an increasing number of devotees. And strangely, I observe that more the number of devotees I fall in love with, the more my love for Krishna increases automatically. When I make space for one more devotee in my heart, the heart acts on its own to make more space for Krishna and vice versa. Somehow the same very heart which could hardly accommodate only a few persons from family and friends circle ( looking back I think it only had one person in it, myself), now it seems be be getting bigger and bigger to make room for a large number of devotees, the quality of bonding and the intensity too has increased many times than what I ever increased in my material life.

In the past there was always a conscious and subconscious `give and take’ feeling, even with close friends. In fact the closer a person the higher used to be my expectations from him. Now, with devotees just the reverse is true. I don’t have any expectations from most of them and the only thing I long is to be in their association and, if possible, they speak about Krishna, but most of the time I am in a blissful state by just being near them.

Being a very introvert and dry person my list is still quite short and many a times the love is just one sided as the other devotee does not now how much love and respect I have for him. I wish I could name all but to name a few HH Gopala Krishna Goswami Maharaj, HG Rukmini Krishna Prabhu, HH Sacinanadan Maharaj, HG Karuna Prabhuji, Subir Prabhu, my dear friend Shyamsundar Prabhuji, HG Prasanto Mataji (what I would not give to have her as my mother), HH Giriraj Maharaj, HH Radha Govind Maharaj, HH Bhakti Vijnana Maharaj ( without even meeting Maharaj I feel so much connected to him), HG Radheshyam Prabhuji. I have fallen head over heels over HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj. And then all previous acharays, six Goswamis, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Nityanand, Sri Mayapur Dham, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Lord Balram and Sri Radha & Krishna and Their associates, Tulasi Maharani ( another case of head over heels), ISKCON Punjabi Bagh temple, in fact all ISKCON temples, Vrindavan Deities, Damodar Lila, Govardhan Lila, Bhagavad Gita, Vaishnava bhajans, MVT, deep soulful kirtans, ISKCON, preaching,….. the list gets longer by each passing month.

Three special names I would like to mention in the end are hearing Krishna katha (how I wish if somehow I could dedicate my one ear 24 hours a day plugged in listening it), Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (completely and madly head over heels) and Srila Prabhupada. I don’t know how and when my respect for Srila Prabhupada turned into love. It has primarily happened due to the causeless mercy of Guru Maharaj.

I fell in love with Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta after hearing it the first time itself, while not even knowing who is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu! I still remember that it was during my initial days at Punjabi Bagh temple, speaker was HG Swargapati Prabhuji. What he was reading and reciting was beyond any definition of sweetness known to me before. After prabhuji’s lecture got over I collected some courage and approached him and asked from which book he was reading these verses. Prabhuji replied me he was reading from Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. I immediately went to the book store and asked for it. The Prabhuji in charge of the store Looked at me from head to toe and then politely advised me to buy the condensed version first. I brought it home and after few days I went to Sri Vrindavan Dhama, checked into the guest for the first time and finished more than quarter of the book, but somehow I never completed it. Then few months back after hearing `Rupa Siksha’ lecture recording by HH Radha Govind Maharaj I felt inspired to read it and from that day onwards I read a few verses almost daily. I love all three from the core of my heart.

I am copying the song `Thakura Vaisnava Pada by Srila Narottama Das Thakura below. Although I still remain judgmental about devotees and do not have any such feeling in my heart yet I pray to our guru parampara to kindly bless me that one day such feelings about devotees can blossom in my dry, and stone like hard, heart.

ṭhākura vaiṣṇava pada, avanīra susampada,
śuno bhāi hoiyā eka mana
āśraya loiyā bhaje, tāre kṛṣṇa nāhi tyaje,
āra saba more akāraṇa
(O brother, please hear my words with rapt attention. The lotus feet of the Vaisnavas are the most valuable treasure of this world. These Vaisnavas continually take shelter of Lord Krsna and worship Him. They never abandon their Lord. They are liberated. They are free from the cycle of birth and death.)

vaiṣṇava caraṇa jala, prema bhakti dite bol,
āra keho nahe balavanta
vaiṣṇava caraṇa reṇu, mastake bhūṣaṇa vinu,
āra nāhi bhūṣaṇera anta
(The water that has washed the lotus feet of the Vaisnavas bestows devotional service in pure love of God. Nothing else is as effective for attaining this divine love. I place dust from the lotus feet of the Vaisnavas upon my head. I wear no other ornament.)

tīrtha jala pavitra guṇe, likhiyāche purāṇe,
se saba bhaktira pravañcana
vaiṣṇavera pādodaka, sama nahe ei saba,
yāte hoy vāñchita pūraṇa
(The purifying power of the waters at the various holy places of pilgrimage is described in the Puranas, although this is something of a deceptive trick. Actually there is not anything as purifying as the water that has washed the lotus feet of the Vaisnavas. This water fulfills all desires.)

vaiṣṇava sańgete mana, ānandita anukṣaṇa,
sadā hoy kṛṣṇa parasańga
dīna narottama kānde, hiyā dhairya nāhi bāndhe
mora daśā keno hoilo bhańga
(Moment after moment my mind finds pleasure in the association of the Vaisnavas. I always seek out the company of those who are devoted to Lord Krsna. Poor-hearted Narottama dasa breaks down and cries. How has this fallen condition come upon me?)

I beg devotees to kindly share their experience on falling in love with devotees.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.