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Sheela_Mata_Temple_Agroha.jpgBraj (Devanagari: ब्रज), also known as Brij or Brijbhoomi, is a region in Uttar Pradesh of India, around Mathura-Vrindavan. Brij, though never a clearly defined political region in India, is very well demarcated culturally. The area stretches from Mathura, Jalesar, Agra, Hathras and Aligarh right up to Etah, Auraiya and Farrukhabad districts. It is believed to be the land of Krishna and is derived from the Sanskrit word vraja. The main cities in the region are Mathura, Jalesar, Bharatpur, Agra, Hathras, Dholpur, Aligarh, Etawah, Auraiya, Mainpuri, Etah, Kasganj and Firozabad. The term "Braj" means "Pasture", and a settlement of herders and cattle breeders or Abode of Yadavs/Aheers or yaduvanshsthali. The residents or natives of Braj are called Brijwasi. Braj bhasha or Brij bhasha, closely related to spoken Hindi with a soft accent, is spoken throughout the region.

Брадж или Вра́джа (хинди ब्रज), также Бра́джбуми, Враджабху́ми — исторический регион в индийских штатах Уттар-Прадеш, Раджастхан и Харьяна. Является священным местом паломничества для вайшнавов, так как согласно Пуранам и другим текстам индуизма, в этом месте родился и провёл свою юность Кришна. Самые крупные города на территории Враджа — это Матхура, Агра, Алигарх и Майнпури. Географически и культурно Врадж расположен в самом центре доаба Ганги-Ямуны, который с древности являлся центром развития индийской культуры. Врадж занимает территорию в 3800 км² и располагается в "золотом треугольнике" Дели-Джайпур-Агра. Врадж можно разделить на два региона — восточную часть, в которой расположены такие места, как Гокула, Махаван, Балдео, Мат и Баджна; и западную часть, где находится округ Матхура с такими местами паломничества, как Вриндаван, Говардхан, Кусум-саровара, Варшана и Нандаграм. Врадж расположен на территории современных округов Матхура (Уттар-Прадеш), Бхаратпур (Раджастхан) и Палвал (Харьяна). Регион Враджа простирается от местечка Котбан в 95 км от Дели до Рунакты в районе Агры — места, получившего известность в связи с великим поэтом Сурдасом. Жителей региона называют "бриджбаси" или "враджабаси". Население Враджа разговаривает на диалекте хинди браджбхаша.

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A108-AI

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The story has its roots in the Valmiki Ramayan, as well as in the oral history of Mathura’s ancient Bhuteshwar Mahadev Temple.

Mathura, 2022-08-01 (Vrindavan Today News): Situated near Shri Krishna Janmasthan Mathura, the Bhuteshwar Mahadev Temple dates back to Treta Yuga. The ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva without whose blessings, it is believed, the city of Mathura could not have been established. He is therefore known as the ‘kotwal’  or the guardian of the city.

The story has its roots in the Valmiki Ramayan, as well as in the oral history of the temple. As per Valmiki Ramayana’s Uttara Kanda, Lord Shatrughan established Mathurapuri in the month of Shravan after defeating Lavanasura.

Lavanasura was the son of demon Madhu and Kumbhinasi. Madhus’ devotion for dharma earned him an extraordinary boon from Bhagwan Rudra in the form of a radiant trident, which was more powerful than his own. While giving him the divine weapon Mahadev said that as long as he does not act against the gods and brahmanas, and uses it to uphold Dharma, the trident would remain with him, and by virtue of it he will be invincible. However, the boon will be nullified if he acted otherwise, and the trident would return to him.

Madhu offered his respects to Mahadev and requested him to allow the trident to remain in his lineage. Mahadev, the knower of past, present, and future, obliged. “This cannot be. However, because of my auspicious favours, your words cannot be futile either. Therefore, this trident will pass on to one of your sons. As long as he holds it in his hands, he cannot be killed by anyone,” he pronounced.

Before departing from this world, Madhu gave the trident to his son Lavana, who was evil and wicked by nature. The sinful asura misused the boon to torment his subjects, the gods, and the three worlds, especially directing his wrath towards the ascetics. When the aggrieved denizens of Madhupuri, approached Lord Rama in Ayodhya for help, he sent his youngest brother Shatrughan to liberate them from his tyranny.

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This is where we come across two versions of the story. The Valmiki Ramayan tells us that it was Chyavan Muni who told Shatrughan about Lavanasur’s nature and deeds, and the mighty trident of Rudra which made him invincible. The sage instructed him to accost the demon in the morning when he went out hunting for meat without the trident.

According to the legend associated with Bhuteshwar Mahadev, it was He who granted the trident to Madhu, and He only revealed this strategy to Shatrughan. Having failed to defeat Lavanasura in the first attempt, when Shatrughan approached Shri Rama for advice, he enjoined him to worship Bhuteshwar Mahadev. Pleased with his devotion, Mahadev disclosed the secret to him.

Following the advice, Shatrughan challenged Lavanasura when he was in the forest, hunting. As instructed, he did not even give him the scope to get his trident from the palace. A fierce fight ensued in which the demon was eventually killed. As soon as he fell on the ground dead, Rudra’s trident came back to Him.

People rejoiced and chanted victory to Shatrughan. With the blessings of Shri Rama and Bhuteshwar Mahadev, He established the ancient town of Mathura where Dharma reigned supreme, and which later became the stage for Shri Krishna’s Dwapar Lilas. Shatrughan and his wife Shrutikirti’s temple is situated in Chobiya Pada area of the town. 

Bhuteshwar Mahadev is revered as the ‘kotwal’ or guardian of Mathura. Many people, even today, begin their day and Braj yatras after seeking his blessings. Sharvan here is most special.

The post How Ancient Mathura Was Established in Shravan By the Blessings of Bhuteshwar Mahadev appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

A108-AI

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By Kapil Dev Upadhyaya

O Parikshit, anguished thus by Krishna’s sudden disappearance from the Raaslila, the bewildered Gopis searched for Him in all directions, asking the trees, creepers, birds and cows for His whereabouts. The painful pursuit drove them into a state of delirium, entering which they became ‘Krishnamayi’. Thinking of themselves as Krishna, they began imitating His lilas.

‘Raso Vai Sah’; The shrutis (scriptures) state that the supreme is ‘Rasa’, whether as the formless absolute or in the supreme form as Shri Krishna. ‘Rasa’ is that indescribable emotion which is felt when one becomes ‘Rasa’ itself. Because knowing ‘that’ is becoming ‘that’, Goswami Tulsidas also says, ‘सोई जानहुँ जेहि देऊ जनाई, जानत तुमहिं तुमहिं होइ जाई।’ – One who knows Ram, becomes Ram. ‘Rasa’ is therefore our true nature as bliss knowing itself. It is indeed an ineffable state of ecstasy, awareness and consciousness which is unattainable without the complete dissolution of the ego, just as the Gopis became Krishna by constantly meditating on him in the mood of conjugal love. Only a divine awareness remained to relish itself.

मंडलेन च स्त्रीणां, नृत्यं हल्लीसकं सुतत्। नेता तत्रमवदेको, गोपी स्त्रीणां यथा हरिः।।

The scriptures accept Shri Krishna as the origin of ‘Rasa’, but to experience this state He had to double up as the Gopis, chief among whom is Radha. The Gopis thus effectively became the ‘first acharyas of Raas’.  As the ‘aaradhya’ or the object of Krishna’s worship and His numinous desire, they directed the ‘Maharaas’, embellishing it with all the myriad ‘bhavas’ and ‘mahabhavas’ – the highest expression of ecstatic love experienced by none but Radha. This was possible only with intense meditation on Krishna. So as to facilitate the attainment of this contemplative state, He disappeared from the midst of the Gopis who had entered a mood of divine arrogance, perhaps deliberately, while enjoying and being enjoyed by Him during the ‘Raaslila’.

Realising Krishna had gone, the Gopis, bereft of all pride, began to lament and look for him. Their delirium grew to a point where they started asking all things, animate and inanimate, of His whereabouts. The rapture reached its crescendo when the Gopis, pained by intense love, longing and ‘viraha’ (separation), lost all sense of individuality and became Krishna. Some went after the butter pot, others chased the demons away. Elsewhere they balanced their unfurled ‘odhanis’ in the air to symbolise Krishna’s lifting of Govardhan. Kaliya was subdued once again as the delicate Vrajanganas imitated the lilas of their dark lord.

ASHTASAKHI’S ROLE IN RASALILA

While Radha is chief among the Gopis, her sakhis, eight of them, play an important part in the ‘Raaslila’. Beginning with setting up the pretext for the meeting of priya-priyatam, they arrange for every other element of it, such as the venue and ambience, raag, bhog, shringaar, and the play itself. Each of the ashtasakhis is adorned with specific features, qualities and responsibilities, as described below.

Lalita Sakhi: She is the most clever of Radha’s ashtasakhis, and also the most easily irked. Her angry disposition belies her sweetly radiant form of a fourteen-year-old (fourteen years, eight months and twenty-seven days precisely), embellished with yellow drapes. Lalita is the daughter of Sarada Devi and Vishoka, and the wife of Bhairava. ‘Unchagaon’ is her home. Ever residing by Radha’s side, she is an expert in organising various playful activities for the beloveds such as ‘nauka vihar’, ‘jhulan lila’ and others.

Vishakha Sakhi: Being an expert storyteller, the golden-hued Vishakha is assigned the role of Radha and Krishna’s messenger. One of her other sevas include applying scented ointments to the divine forms of priya-priyatam. She is the daughter of Paaval and Daakshina, and the wife of Vaahika. Her home is in Kamai village. Vishaka is fourteen years, two months and fifteen days old.

Champaklata: The third sakhi Champaklata is known for her argumentative yet emotional nature. Fresh like a flower blooming in the rainy season, she is skilled in the art of cooking for priya-piyatam, and hence Their rasoi seva is entrusted to her. She hails from Karhela. Champaklata is the daughter of Arma and Vatika, and the wife of Kaidaksh. Her age is fourteen years, two months and three days.

Chitrasakhi: Adored by all for her gentle nature, Chitrasakhi is also an adept at cooking, though she is particularly known for her skill of preparing various kinds of ambrosial drinks for the divine couple. She belongs to the village Chiksoli. Chitrasakhi is the daughter of Katura and Karnika, and the wife of Peethra. She is fourteen years, seven months and fourteen days of age.

Tungvidya: She is the famed musician, singer, and veena-player of the ashtasakhi mandal, who also dances for the pleasure of priya-priyatam. Tungvidya was born in Damro (Damala), as the daughter of Purudhar and Megha. Her husband’s name is Valesha. She is fourteen years, two months and twenty-two days of age.

Indulekha: Indulekha sakhi is an expert palmist and fortune-teller. Her resourceful nature sets her apart from the rest. She is known to figure a way out of every tricky situation. Indulekha belongs to Agnonkh village. She is the daughter of Saagar and Bela and the wife of Durbala. Her age is fourteen years, two months and ten days.

Rang Devi: This fourteen years, two months and four days old tender beauty is adept at applying collyrium in Radha’s eyes and adorning Her with various kinds of shringaar comprising precious jewels, ornaments, garments, and flowers for the ‘Raas’.

Sudevi: She is the youngest of the ashtasakhis hailing from Bajreha village. Sudevi is the daughter of Rangasara and Karuna. Forever engaged in lovingly braiding Radha’s hair and serving Her lotus feet, she offers sweet drinks to priya-priyatam while they are engaged in Their love play.

Having described their features and skills, it is redundant to say that the ashtasakhis play a vital role in the ‘Raaslila’. Their transcendental skills and loving devotional services bring forth and accentuate the ‘rasa’ in the ‘Raaslila’.

The post "Gopis Were the First Acharyas of Raaslila" appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

A108-AI

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The 33 day-long observance (7 June to 11 July 2022) was dedicated to Thakur Shri Radharaman under the guidance of Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami ji Maharaj and Acharya Venu Gopal ji Maharaj.

The nectar-drenched ‘Nikunj Seva Mahotsava’ at Shri Radharaman Temple began on 7 June. The 33-day-long observance (7 June to 11 July 2022) is dedicated to Thakur Shri Radharaman under the guidance of Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami ji Maharaj and Acharya Venu Gopal ji Maharaj. Shri Abhinav Goswami and Shri Suvarna Goswami ji performed the seva from Mangala Aarti in the early morning to Shayan Aarti at night.

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The celebration this year was accentuated with the delight of the 100th birth anniversary of ‘Nityalila Pravishta’ Jagatguru Shri Purushottam Goswami ji Maharaj.

For the Pleasure of Shri Radharaman

During the Mahotsav Shri Radharaman’s day begins at 4.30am with the early morning aarti and a complete reading of Shrimad Bhagavatam performed by 24 Sanskrit scholars. It was followed by renditions of Shri Chaitanya Bhagvatam and ‘sankirtan’ by Bengali Vaishnavas. Stotras such as Gopal Sahasranam and Narayan Kavach were then chanted to bestow auspiciousness on all.

Dhata, Mitra, Aryaman, Tvastra, Varuna, Bhaga, Savitra, Vivasvat, Amsa, Pusan, Vishnu, and Indra (Sakra) are the 12 Adityas, Dhar, Dhruv, Soma, Aapah, Anil, Anal, Pratyusha, and Prabhasa -the eight Vasus and Hara, Bahurup, Triyambak, Aparajita, Vrishakapi, Shambhu, Kapardi, Revat, Mrigvyaadh, Sharva and Kapaali – 11 Rudras. Together with the two Ashwini Kumaras they make the Hindu pantheon of deities.

Every day for 33 days, Shri Radharaman gave darshan from a new ‘Kunj’ made with flowers, leaves, fruits and other plant material. The idea behind these kunjs was that the service was being performed by the 33 koti (categories) of demigods (12 Adityas, 8 Vasus, 11 Rudras and 2 Ashwini Kumaras),  one for each of the 33 days. While someone pleased Radharaman with a mansion of delicious mangoes, others shielded Him from the summer heat with water fountains, hand fans and water pitchers.

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Shri Radharaman ji seated in a Phool Bangla

फूल महल बैठे नंद नंदन, फूलन तन सोभित सिंगार l फूलन की पाग फूलन की बागो, फूलन पटुका सरस सम्हार l फूलन के नख सिखलौं गहने, पहनें लालन मदन मुरार l फूलन कौ सिर पेंच वन्यौ हैं, फूलन कौ कटि बन्यौ इजार l तैंसी बनी राधिका प्यारी, फूलन झलकति सारी l तैसईं बने नंद नंदन प्रभु ‘सूरदास’ बलिहारी ll

A special ceremony called ‘Rajopachar Seva’ is offered to the Lord twice a day during Shringar Aarati and Sandhya Aarati. Devotees held flags and other sacred insignia during the aartis as a mark of respect for the deity. People often comment that when Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami ji and his sons are in charge of the seva, Radharaman Lal looks like a young prince. Befittingly, Radharaman ji wore gorgeous new outfits specially woven by the family of Mahahraj ji every day. New ornaments and special bhog were offered to Him.

It would be of interest here to note that His Holiness Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami Maharaj is one of the seniormost Acharya of Shri Radharaman Temple and an internationally acclaimed personality. He is also the founding trustee of ‘Vrindavan Today News’, and the founder of environmental group ‘Friends of Vrindavan’.

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The post Shri Radharaman’s Nikunj Seva Mahotsav appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

A108-AI

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The beginning of the nectar drenched ‘Nikunj Seva Mahotsava’ at Shri Radharaman Temple takes place today . The 33 days long seva will be dedicated to Thakur Shri Radharaman ji under the guidance of Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami ji Maharaj & Acharya Venu Gopal ji Maharaj. Acharya Shri Abhinav Goswami and Acharya Shri Suvarna Goswami ji will perform the Seva from Mangala Aarati in the early morning and Shyan Aarati in the night. The celebration is added with the delight of the 100th birth anniversary of ‘Nityalila Pravishtha’ Jagatguru Shri Purushottam Goswami ji Maharaj.

This year the ‘Nikunj Seva Mahotsava’ will be held from 7th June to 11 July 2022. Each morning during the ‘Nikunj Seva Mahotsava’, a complete reading of Shrimad Bhagvatam will be performed by 26 Sanskrit scholars. Rendition of Shri Chaitanya Bhagvatam will be performed by the Bengali Vaishnavas. In addition to this, the auspicious prayers of Gopal Sahasranam and Narayan Kavach will also be chanted by the Brahmins during the ‘seva’. Each day Shri Radharaman will give darshan from a new ‘Kunj’ to be decorated with the flowers for the pleasure of His devotees.

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In 16 CE during the Bhakti movement, with the arrival of various saints from all over the country, Braj became instrumental in re-establishing the Krishna Bhava again in the then existing political and social condition. These saints wholeheartedly accepted nature’s abundance of Braj in the form of groves. They made the surrounding nature an important part of their daily rituals known as ‘seva’.

In 16 CE texts we find words like Phool Mahal, Phool Kunj, Phool Bhawan. Medieval texts like Haribhaktivilas, Kelimal, Hit Chaturasi, Sursagar, etc. talks extensively of the Phool Bangla as a form of seva. The present day tradition of Vrindavan is a continuation of the same age old ritualistic tradition. It is made and celebrated all over the Braj. Though, it has a special reverence in Vrindavan due to diversity in the tradition present here.

These Kunj will be decorated according to the different ‘rasa’ required for performing the devotional services, as suggested by Shri Rupa Goswami Pada.  Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya, Madhurya are some of the 12 ‘rasas’ for performing the devotional service. Each ‘Jhanki’ i.e portrayal will be accompanied by the appropriate music and songs describing Radharaman’s lila at that moment.

The daily raag seva will be brought to life by different vocalists. A special ceremony called Rajopachar Seva will be offered to the Lord twice a day during Shringar Aarati and Sandhya Aarati. The devotees will hold flags and other sacred symbols during the Aaratis. Radharaman ji will wear gorgeous new outfits specially woven by the family of Mahahraj ji. New jewelries will also be offered to Him.

Different delicacies will be offered to Shri Radharaman Lal on this day. It should be noted that His Holiness Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami Maharaj is one of the seniormost Acharya of Shri Radharaman Temple and Internationally acclaimed personality. He is the Founding Trustee of ‘Vrindavan Today News’.  Maharaj ji is also founder of the environmental group of ‘Friends of Vrindavan’.

The post Nikunj Seva Mahotsava at Shri Radharaman Mandir begins appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

A108-AI

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Dirgha Vishnu ji Mathura

The two-day patosav is observed amidst rituals and festivities on vaishakh shukla ekadashi and dwadasi every year.

17102021045758-768x745.jpgMathura, 2022-05-12: The appearance day (patotsav) of Shri Deergh Vishnu and Padmalayi Mahalakshmi was celebrated today at Mathura’s ancient Deergh Vishnu temple. The two-day patosav is observed amidst elaborate rituals and grand festivities on vaishakh shukla ekadashi and dwadasi every year.

According to temple sevayat Kantanath Chaturvedi, on the day of Ekadashi (May 12) devotees get darshans of eight jhankis of Thakurji. The day begins with recitation of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. It is followed by chanting of vedic mantras and hymns such as Shri Suktam, Purusha Suktam, Vishnu, Gopala and Lakshmi Sahasranams by qualified brahmins. Special pushpa shringaar darshans are given in the evening, amid singing of ‘mangal geet’ by women.

On the following day, that is dwadashi, maha abhishek is performed with panchamrut after the morning mangala aarti. Various vedic rituals are organised throughout the day. In the evening the deities give darshans from the plush and fragrant ‘phool bangla’.

The 4500-year-old Deergh Vishnu Temple is among the oldest of temples in Mathura, belonging to Shri Krishna’s time. The glories of Shri Deergh Vishnu and Padmalayi Mahalakshmi are mentioned in the Vishnu Purana, Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garga Samhita as well as in the Shrimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. 

The post Shri Deergh Vishnu and Padmalayi Mahalakshmi’s appearance day celebrated today appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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A108-AI

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The lilas are enlisted on the basis of Krishna’s age, and the location where they were enacted.

Vrindavan, 2022-05-02 (Acharya Shri Kumudesh Bhat): The vivid descriptions of Shri Krishna’s superhuman, yet playfully accomplished feats makes everyone wonder about the age at which they were performed. The center stage for Krishna lilas kept shifting from Gokul and Vrindavan where he played as a divine child and then a young cowherd, to Mathura and Dwarka where he was in the role of a diplomatic, and detached king.

Performed until the age of three years and two months, the lilas in Gokul include Putana Vadh (six days), Shakat Bhanjan (three months), Naamkaran Sanskaar (hundredth day), Trinavarta Vadh (one year), and Yamala-Arjun Uddhar and Damodar lila at three years and two months old.

Krishna’s lilas in Vrindavan begin at the age of three years and three months with His arrival in the enchanting forest. Proceeding from there, Vatsasur Vadh was performed at three years and four months, Aghasura Vadh and Brahmamohana lila at four years and four months, Gocharan lila at five years and two months, Kaliya Daman and first meeting with Gopis at six years and nine months, Govardhan lila at seven years and two months, Raaslila at eight years and one month, Ambika Van Gaman (rescuing Nand Baba), Shankchuda Vadh and Holi lilas at nine years, Keshi Vadh, Akrura’s coming to Vrindavan and Daan and other raag-anuraag lilas between ten and eleven years.

Krishna’s arrival in Mathura and the killing of Kansa was carried out at eleven years and one month. Other pastimes in Mathura include Yagyopaveet (eleven years and five months), Gurukul Gaman for 64 days (eleven years and seven months), and Kubja Uddhar (fourteen years and two months). Between His 15th and 32nd years Krishna had to face Jarasandha’s attacks, 18 of them every year.

The lilas in Dwarka commence at the age of 32 years with Krishna marrying Rukmini. Pradyumna was born at 33. Krishna married several other princesses between the ages of 34 and 40. During this time He also killed Bhaumasura. Kurukshetra Milan was staged at 45 years-old. When Krishna was 51, Pradyumna returned to Dwarka after 18 years. Baldau was sent to Braj a year later. Krishna’s grandson Aniruddh was born at 53. Rajasuya sacrifice and Shishupal Vadh happened at 72 years. It was followed by Draupadi Cheer Haran at 73, also the year when Krishna’s Braj lilas came to an end. The Pandavas returned from exile when He was 86. The war of Mahabharata took shape in His 87th year, eventually happening for 18 days when He was 89. Shri Krishna returned to his heavenly abode at the age of 125.

The post At what age did Krishna perform His lilas? Acharya Shri Kumudesh Bhatt answers appeared first on Vrindavan Today.
 

 

A108-AI

Why no tears?


Shri Vraja Dhama

By Shri Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Dasa
Devotees often feel frustrated and hopeless with their chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. In humble sadness, they confess, “My heart must be hard as steel because when I chant Hare Krishna, I never cry nor does my hair stand erect.”

This idea of having a heart of steel, despite chanting Hare Krishna, comes from a Srimad Bhagavatam verse (2.3.24), translated by Srila Prabhupada thus: “Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of one’s chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place, tears fill the eyes and the hairs stand on end.”

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Shri Govinda Dev

The prolific translator, Bhanu Swami, gives a slightly different translation to (2.3.24): “That heart which does not transform on hearing the names of the Lord, even though HE SHOWS TEARS in the eyes and hair standing on end, is made of iron.”

Bhanu Swami says the verse describes someone who chants the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, and though feigning symptoms of ecstasy i.e. crying or standing hair, does not experience any real change of heart or consciousness. This phenomena is seen in sahajiya Gaudiyas who, though making a show of tears and transcendental ecstasy, are completely attached to material life.

In his Sarartha Darshini, Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada explains (SB 2.3.24) thus: “A show of tears and erect hairs alone do not prove that a person has a melted heart. Srila Rupa Goswamipada has said that some devotees may have melted hearts and be deeply in Krishna prema, even without showing external tears and hairs standing on end. Therefore this verse means that if someone’s heart does not transform [change or improve] with chanting, yet that person still shows tears in the eyes and hairs standing on end in imitation of bhava, then that means he has an iron heart.”

Basically, the Srimad Bhagavatam verse (2.3.24) above talks about change and transformation by contemplative chanting, hari nama dheyaih vikriyeta vikaro. The ultimate change or purification of heart is elevation to the stage of bhava bhakti, or intense loving feelings for Lord Sri Krishna. The tear-full eyes and erect bodily hairs, which may be present or not, are only the secondary characteristics of bhava.

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Shri Radharani ji

Srila Rupa Goswamipada does not even mention them in his description of the nine symptoms of bhava bhakti. Bhakti-rasamrta sindhu (1.3.25–26) says, “The characteristics of a person who has developed the bud of bhava are as follows: tolerance, not wasting time, detachment from enjoyment, pridelessness, confidence in Krishna, longing for Sri Krishna, taste for chanting Krishna’s name, always describing Krishna’s qualities, and attachment to living in Sri Krishna’s abode [Vrindavana, Navadvipa].”

Bhanu Swami’s translation and Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada’s tika will surely give relief to the many sadhakas who think their chanting is useless. Crying and other symptoms of transcendental bliss are sometimes experienced by a devotee who has attained the rare stage of bhava, intense loving attachment for Bhagavan Sri Krishna. This is the ultimate transformation effected by chanting Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.

True, we may not be in ecstasy when chanting Hare Krishna. But we should be confident that our chanting is definitely improving, changing and transforming us. Ceto darpanam marjanam means our consciousness, mind and heart ARE CHANGING AND BECOMING SPIRITUALIZED.

As we daily chant and progress toward bhava bhakti, bhava bhakti is moving toward us. Way before the stage of bhava, every chanter will experience some portion and degree of the nine symptoms of bhava. Correct and steady chanting is slowly softening our hearts. Don’t be sad, lament or feel that nothing is happening.

Just measure your own progress and see the changes and transformation that chanting has brought you. Yes, you can definitely see and feel that chanting Hare Krishna has made you much more tolerant, peaceful and detached from a lot of Maya. You are somewhat humble and much less proud. You don’t waste time and try to serve Krishna whenever possible.

You feel confident in Krishna’s presence and protection; He’s in every pillar! You have some drops of genuine longing for Sri Krishna too. And at least occasionally you really get a taste from chanting Hare Krishna. What to speak about living in Vrindavana, “O, how I love Vrindavana!”

All this personal experience proves that Sri Krishna’s all-sweet and powerful transcendental names are softening our hearts, purifying our minds, raising our consciousness, delivering us and preparing us to see Sri Krishna face to face.

Radha Govinda Yugala darshana ki jai! Hare Krishna Maha Mantra ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

The post Why no tears? appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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“For him whose knots of heart have been undone, only Vrindavan and nothing else exists.”

Vrindavan, 2022-04-26 (Vrindavan Today News): Shri Maa Anandmayi was a widely revered self-realised seer of India. Following is an excerpt from Maa’s discourse with her disciples where she explains the essence of Vrindavan, and why the formless absolute and its divine form are one and the same. The article concludes with some interesting accounts about her Vrindavan ashram situated on the Mathura-Vrindavan road.

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Maa Anandamayee and Gopal

“When the kingdom of pure consciousness has been attained, form is revealed as the essence itself. What was sorrow from the worldly point of view is now ‘viraha’ – separation from THAT; in other words, the agony of existing in a particular form. This separation is without end, and manifests in ever new ways.

By a mere stroke of God’s imagination this vast universe comes into being. What actually is this creation? He himself, the one.

Why then are there distinctions? Why should there be others? There are no others. The ocean is contained in that form.

How can this be when ‘the one’ reveals itself as a form, a ‘vigraha’, say for instance as Radha-Krishna? This ‘vigraha’ exists eternally. Where? In Vrindavan.

For him whose knots of heart have been undone, only Vrindavan and nothing else exists. What you have thus realised as ‘lila’ is infinite, and this infinity will be known by discarding the world and all that belongs to it.

One who sees Vishnu everywhere is a ‘Vaishnava’. The idea that the world has a boundary is delusive. It is you who have created the distinction between the natural and the supernatural. As a matter of fact all and everything is but his ‘lila’. In the ‘all’ He is to be found. The supernatural is not apart from the rest.

If one remains confined within the boundary, one’s heart cannot become Vrindavan. When realisation has occurred, there is nothing but Vrindavan, nothing but Vrindavan, complete non duality.

Maa Anandmayi and her Vrindavan Ashram

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Deities at Shri Anandamayee Maa Ashram Vrindavan

Maa Anandmayi was born in 1896 in Kheora village of present-day Bangladesh to a pious though impoverished Brahmin couple. Her parents named her Nirmala Sundari Devi. Maa took Samadhi at the age of 86 in the year 1982. Her disciples carry on her unmatched legacy through her many ashrams located all across the country, including in Vrindavan.

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Maa Anandamayee

Shri Haribaba, a well known saint of Vrindavan, had a special desire that there should be an ashram of Maa in Braj Dham. He took the lead to welcome her into the ashram after it was built. Temples gradually came up on the grounds of the Vrindavan Ashram. At first, through the earnest desire of Dr. Panna Lall, the temple of Nitai Gaur was constructed in March 1955. It was followed by a Shiva temple on 10 March, 1956. On 7 September 1966 – the day of Janmashtami, the two supreme deities of Radha and Krishna were installed in the central temple. There’s an interesting account associated with it.

According to information available on the ashram website, Maa had a divine vision of a curly-haired boy of tender age dancing on the banks of Yamuna at the place where the ashram stands today. She also saw someone holding an umbrella for him. Moreover, a mahatma in the form of a stone was also found to bow down at the blessed feet of Maa here. 

To everyone’s amazement, when the plinth was being dug for the construction of the temple, the fact came to be revealed that the Yamuna once flowed at the site and the entire area was in fact a pastoral ground.

The post There is nothing but Vrindavan: Maa Anandmayi appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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Following the inclusion of Govardhan in the TTZ (Taj-Trapezium Zone) by NGT, generators, waste and stubble burning, as well as cutting of trees are prohibited in the region. 

Govardhan, 2022-04-24 (Vrindavan Today News): Despite the order of the National Green Tribunal prohibiting waste and stubble burning in Govardhan forest area, two separate incidents were reported on Friday night. According to the forest department, unidentified persons were responsible for the event. Details will emerge on further enquiry.

Following the inclusion of Govardhan in the TTZ (Taj-Trapezium Zone) by the NGT, generators, waste and stubble burning as well as cutting of trees were prohibited in the region.  Despite these orders, on Friday night two incidents of waste burning came to light in Govardhan foothills. Before the authorities could take any action, the fire claimed many small trees and plants in the vicinity. Parikramarthis had to face inconvenience, as the entire Parikrama Marg from Sant Nivas to Baagdi Pyaau became engulfed in smoke.

On receiving information from officer-in-charge Prabhakant Pandey, forest range officer (Govardhan) Manoj Kumar stepped in to control the situation. The officers seemed to be evading responsibility for the incident. Mostly the forest department employs manual labour to clear up thorny bushes, and plant grass and trees in the area. Instead of taking the waste to the dumping ground, they gather it near the hill and set the dump on fire. The forest officials, however, claim that unidentified miscreants were behind the incident.

The post Two incidents of waste burning reported in Govardhan in defiance of NGT orders appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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The MVDA granted permission for 1180 illegal constructions to be carried out in the ASI protected Madan Mohan Temple premises. On the other hand, only 150 illegal structures were demolished by its order. 

Vrindavan, 2022-04-20 (Vrindavan Today News): Taking cognizance of the petition filed against illegal construction in the protected Madan Mohan Temple zone, the Allahabad High Court has sought explanation from Mathura-Vrindavan Development Authority (MVDA) and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as to why permission was granted for the same.

The 500-yr-old Madan Mohan Temple in Vrindavan is an ASI protected monument, and hence any construction, old or new, in and around the premises (within 200 meters) is restricted by law. Despite the prohibition, the MVDA granted permission for 1180 such illegal constructions to be carried out. On the other hand, only 150 illegal structures were demolished by its order. 

Hearing the case, the two-judge bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal and Piyush Agrawal questioned the MVDA’s involvement in the matter. It has also sought an explanation from the ASI.

The Madan Mohan Temple is an ancient heritage site in Vrindavan. It was built by a merchant named Ramdas Kapur at the behest of Sanatan Goswami in 1580.

The post HC questions MVDA, ASI for permitting illegal construction around Madan Mohan Temple appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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