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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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The festival commences today with the hoisting of the Garuda Dhwaj on top of the golden pillar or dwaja stambha, colloquially known as Sone ka khamba.

Vrindavan, 2022-03-20 (Vrindavan Today News): Shri Rangji Mandir is celebrating its 10-day annual ‘Brahmotsavam’, popularly known as ‘Rath ka Mela’ among Brajwasis, from 20 to 29 March 2022.

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Brahmotsavam is not just a temple ritual; it involves the whole town. Once the Garuda Dhwaj is hoisted, it is expected that no householder leaves the town or plans any auspicious ceremony at home until the festival ends. The idea is to allow everyone to fully immerse in the celebrations. Even if someone needs to leave the town due to emergency, he is expected to return before the Garuda Dhwaj is brought down. 

The pre-festivities began on 17 March with the pushpa palaki. It was followed by ankurarpanam (initiation ceremony wherein 9 grains or navadhanya were planted in earthen pots) on 18 March, and raksha bandhanam (tying the sacred thread on utsava vigrahas of Lord Goda Rangamannar, chief priest and other priests) and garuda  pratishtha on 19 March.

The main festival will commence today (Sunday, 20 March 2022) with the hoisting of the Garuda Dhwaj on top of the golden pillar, also known as dwaja stambha or sone ka khamba (colloquially), amid chanting of vedic mantras.

The schedule for the 10-day Brahmotsavam is given below:

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The post Rangji Temple celebrates 10-day annual Brahmotsavam from 20 to 29 March appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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Phulera Dooj is being celebrated today (March 4)

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Bhandir Vat: The Great Banyan tree under which Shri Radha and Krishna were tied in a knot

Phulera Dooj celebrated on the second day of the bright fortnight of the month of Phalgun marks an important event in the 40-day Braj Holi calendar. The festival holds special significance in Bhandirvan where Radha and Krishna married each other in Dwapar Yuga on this day. The vedic wedding ceremony was solemnized by the creator, Lord Brahma, himself.  

The endearing story of their wedding is narrated in Gargacharya’s Garga Samhita as well as in the Krishna Janma Kand of the Brahmavaivarta Puran. According to the later, one day Nand Baba decided to take Krishna to Bhandirvan for grazing the cows. Sitting in his father’s lap, the divine child deciding to enact another lila, stirred up a storm in the sky. Lightning and thunder flashed through the black clouds, and soon enough a heavy downpour ensued. Worried about the safety of his little one and the cows Nand Baba asked Krishna to stop the mayhem. Krishna, who was waiting for this opportunity, relented at once.

As soon as the rain stopped, Shri Radha appeared from behind the scattering clouds. Picking up Krishna from Nand Baba’s lap, just as she touched him to her bosom, the child Krishna grew up to become as big as Her. Enchanted by the divine darshan Lord Brhama arrived at the scene, and prayed to Shyama–Shyam to bless him with the great fortune of seeing Them getting married. He also expressed the desire to carry out the ceremony. Radha and Krishna obliged. The vedic ceremony was carried out at Bhandirvan at the place where the Bhandir Bihari Temple stands today on the auspicious day of Phulera Dooj.

Soon after the wedding was over Brahma left for his celestial abode and Shri Krishna came back to his child form, playing in Nand Baba’s lap once again. The story evolved into a tradition as per which people carry out Radha-Krishna Vivaah Manorath at Bhandir Bihari Temple on Phulera Dooj every year. Hindus also consider this day auspicious for marriages in general.

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The Divine Couple of Bhandir van

Phulera Dooj also marks the day when the Lordships get into the Holi mood with full vigour. While the spirit of Holi takes over Braj from Basant Panchami, the main festivities commence today, especially in Vrindavan’s Radhavallabh Temple. Every year on this day, Radhavallabh is dressed in a white ‘poshak’. A white ‘phenta’ (cummerbund/girdle) with a pouch of ‘gulal’ (coloured powder) is tied around his waist to indicate that he all set for ‘the big event’ – the five-day Holi from Rangbharani Ekadashi to Phalgun Purnima.

Thereafter, the ‘phenta’ and ‘gulcha gulaal’ (dab of colour on the cheeks and chin) become a regular feature of His daily ‘shringaar’. Interestingly, during the Lathmaar Holi played in Barsana and Nandagaon, men tie a similar girdle with a ‘gulal’ pouch attached to it around their waists. The ‘phenta’ and huge turbans form a dress code of sorts for their Holi play.

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Gulal Kund: Where Holi Never Ends


Shri Vraja Dhama

481181f8-651d-463d-90a5-747f8c21465d.jpgGulal Kund: Where Holi Never Ends

Nowhere in India is the celebration of Holi as vibrant as it is in Braj. Beginning on Basant Panchami, the first day of Spring, first tiny dots of coloured powder (gulcha Gulal) are offered to Shri Radha-Krishna, then lightly sprinkled on Their devotees as prasad. From that moment on, the game builds and builds in a constant crescendo until the end of Phalgun Purnima when the entire town erupts in colours.

Going beyond the revelry, the festival in Braj-Vrindavan becomes a metaphor for the transcendental lilas of Shri Radha-Krishna expressed through the myriad Holi plays. How can then ‘just two months’ be enough for Brajwasis whose yearning to relish this rasa is endless!

So they request the beloveds to continue Their Holi play at the quaint Gulal Kund forever, whatever the time or season.

The sacred lake of Gulal Kund is snuggled in a sea of yellow mustard flowers in the lap of Shri Giriraj Govardhan. It is easy to reach from the Govardhan Parikrama path. When coming from Poonchari, take a left near Rudra Kund, at the corner where the auto rickshaws linger. Bear right, then left, then it’s pretty much a straight shot.

As soon as one makes the turn down the lane towards the village, the hustle and bustle of Jatipura is snuffed out by an extreme sense of peace that blankets the entire area just beyond the Parikramapath.

It is a smooth ride on a motorbike over a pavement of white bricks which seem like they have been laid with special care. The farther one drives, the more the pukka (concrete) buildings get replaced with kuccha houses made of Vrindavan’s earth and cowdung, the combined aura and fragrance of which is extremely intoxicating.

After driving for about ten minutes there’s an elegant pink sandstone gateway on the left marking the entrance to Gulal Kund.

Entering inside one sees the entire courtyard is stained pink from Holi colors. A large, beautiful tree shades the area and the several large Govardhan Shilas. At the back is Gulal Kund. Unfortunately, the Kund is nearly dry, but the ambience is still incredible; very serene, with many green parrots chattering in the trees.

There is a plaque commemorating the renovation of the Kund which mentiones Teerth Vikas Trust, Shri Ramesh Baba of Barsana and the names of several devotees. A scene of Shri Radha and Krishna playing Holi is depicted in bas relief on sandstone, and on the right side of the courtyard is a small temple with a baithak (sitting-place) of Shri Vallabhacharya.

A nitya-lila sthali

It is said that once Shri Krishna was playing Holi in Barsana with Shri Radharani and other gopis. Although Shri Radha is His dearmost Beloved during this Holi game, Krishna was giving His time to all the gopis equally. Feeling that Krishna was not doing justice to the festival, Radharani and Her friends became upset.

Unless Krishna played with Radha with full abandon, the true bliss of Holi could never be attained. By the time the game was over; Shri Radha fell into a sulk and began to cry. So to please Her, Shri Krishna brought only Radharani and Her close friends (sakhis) to this kund to play Holi to their hearts’ content. Since then this place became known as Gulal Kund.

Shri Radha and Krishna are offered Holi colours every day at this place, and the devotees are adorned with Their prasad. Every day, Vaishnavs visit and play colours here in remembrance of that beautiful lila.

Holi is a nitya lila in both itihaas and lok lila. Gulal Kund is a neutral place; it’s neither Radha’s Barsana nor Krishna’s Nandgaon. There’s no losing or winning here, only eternal play. Here the divine beloveds play sajal holi (holi with colors), They tease each other, and it is here that They are made fun of as they sit down to play with colours.

Gulal Kund is also known by another name – Gantholi (Gantholi for ganth or knot). As per the folk tale, when Shri Radha-Krishna sat close to each other while playing Holi, the sakhis tied their upper garments in a knot (stoles) like it’s done for the bride and bridegroom in a marriage ceremony, and prayed/wished that They be together always.

A continuing tradition

Gulal Kund is well-known for its relation with Shrinathji. It is said that He comes here often to play Holi. Even today, when the festival is celebrated in Nathdwara, a replica of the Kund is made in front of Him and filled with flowers and colours. This is done to ensure Shrinathji doesn’t miss His favourite place. This tradition is followed in other temples and even in homes.

All round the year Vaishnavs belonging to the Pushtimarg Sampradaya come to Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya ji’s baithak here in large numbers. Their Braj yatra is considered complete only when they bring their Thakurji to the Kund to play Holi.

Gulal Kund is also a popular Sanjhi motif. During the Shraddh Paksh, young girls depict Shri Radha-Krishna playing Holi in the Kund in their Sanjhi – a Braj folk art dedicated to the goddess Sanjhi who is considered an emanation of Devi Parvati.

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by Manali Deshpande

Like every year, a priest in a village of Mathura will again walk through the fire on the eve of Holi.  Monu Panda, 28, a local priest will jump into a 15-foot high bonfire again this year. It will be the third time that Monu will walk on fire this year.

For over 500 years, pandas have walked through fire in the village Falen of Mathura, and people here claim that no one has ever been injured in the ritual. The pandas don’t wear anything to protect them from the fire. This is being done by the Panda families over the years and Monu will continue the tradition this year too.

This tradition denotes the age-old story of Bhakt Prahlad and his aunt, Holika. As per mythology, Bhakt Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu was saved from the flames by the grace and blessing of Lord Vishnu Himself. His Aunt Holika tried to immolate Bhakt Prahlad by placing him on her lap on a burning pyre.

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Monu Panda walking on fire

Falen is a remote village located in the interior of Mathura district. Located at a distance of 40 kilometers from the district headquarters in Mathura, this village has maintained the age-old tradition of walking through the bonfire on every Holi.

To know more about the ritual and understand the practices of the festivities associated with the Panda Mela, our team reached Falen on 16th February, on a Full Moon day (Purnima). This is the day when Panda sits on the month-long meditation and the pole is placed to mark the beginning of the festival.

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Monu Panda, who will walk on fire this year, spoke in detail. According to Monu, his village is the actual place where ‘Holika’ was burnt. Mythology has it that Prahlad had defied his father and insisted on worshipping Lord Vishnu. His father, the demon king Hiranyakashipu, asked Holika to sit in a pyre with Prahlad, knowing that Holika had a magical shawl that was used to protect her from the fire. She wore the shawl and took her nephew in her lap as the pyre was burnt. With the mercy of Lord Vishnu, the shawl flew off her shoulders and wrapped itself around Prahlad, saving the boy by reducing Holika to cinders.

At Falen, the preparations for the Holi Festival have already started. On 16th February, the Pole was erected in the temple grounds, to mark the beginning of the month-long festival. It is celebrated like the Diwali Festival in the village. For this festival, people color and decorate their homes. Villagers invite their relatives and friends to join the celebrations. Villagers cook savories to treat their guests.

All the villagers gather at one place with drums and sing folk songs of Holi like Rasiya, Chaupai, Ghamar etc. Women of the village dance and sing devotional songs. The full village is devoted to Lord Krishna during the period. The priest who walks through the fire is considered as Bhakt Prahlad, it is because of his blessings, the pandas walking on the pyre don’t get hurt.

Satish Fauji, a resident of the village said, “Like last year Pandaji will not disappoint the thousands who converge here to watch the spectacle. He will accomplish the feat for the third consecutive year, taking on the task; he has inherited from his grandfather.”

A few of his uncles, too, have tried their hands at it in the past, with varying levels of success. The fire jump has made holi celebrations of their village in Kosi Kala famous in the entire region. By 4 am on the day of the festivity, thousands of people gather at the village to see Panda’s walk through the raging flames, which flickered up to more than 35 feet. The bonfire is prepared out of cow dung cakes and the prickly stems of berr, the Indian plum. Villagers claim that this tradition is kept alive for 500 years.

Wood is not used in the bonfire, which, after it is set alight, is as tall as it is wide. At the predetermined auspicious moment, Monu Panda will walk into the pyre, taking 15 steps in to cross the blaze. The ritual symbolizes, according to the locals, the triumph of good over evil. The crowd chants mantras to boost his morale.

Monu Panda said, “It is not easy to keep the tradition going. It requires a lot of meditation and strengthening of body and mind. For 40 days, I lived in the Prahlad temple, located in the village. I can’t leave its premises till the time I perform the task of Holi, be there a marriage or death in the family.”

“No food grain is allowed and one is required to survive on fruits and milk. Most of the days and nights, I spend in meditation and, before the final task, I bathe in the Prahlad Kund and perform Puja as part of sacred ritual, before walking through the fire”, said Monu.

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Temple of Bhakt Prahlad

The Holika pyre is built with a diameter of 35-40 Ft and a height of 15 Ft.  Crossing the 35 Ft flames seems to be an impossible task. However, Monu believes that after taking bath in holy Prahlad Kund, he is blessed by Lord Narsimha, who gives him the courage to cross these flames unhurt. He said that when he is in the middle of the Holika fire, some divine force helps him to come out of it.

Villagers believe that the priest who walks through the fire gets the energy from Bhakt Prahlad. It is because of his blessing that we don’t get hurt.’ the priest said.

Till eight years ago, members of 14 adjoining villages used to appoint the person to cross the bonfire. Now the tradition is observed within four families who take their turn after mutual agreement to perform the ritual.

Falen stares up at a dried and dug up Prahlad Kund, ahead of the Panda Mela

The villagers are concerned about the condition of the pond where the panda takes bath, before walking on the burning pyre. The work on the renovation of the Prahlad Kund has been started very recently. Due to this all the water from the holy Kund has been drained.  Currently, there is no water in the Prahlad Kund due to the restoration. The villagers have dug up a small portion of the kund and filled it with some water, so that the Panda can take a bath every day in it, as a part of the tradition.

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Prahlad Kund being excavated

Villagers pointed out the negligence towards the area surrounding the holy Prahlad Kund. They requested the concerned authorities to develop the area with greenery. They also showed concerns towards the pathetic situation of the road connecting Falen village with other towns. This makes it very difficult for the relatives and tourists to come to reach their village to take part in the age-old Mela.

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The foundation stone for the new goshala was laid on Saturday by Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Shri Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala and Sirsa MP Sunita Duggal. The ministers also unveiled the calendar of an upcoming film based on Sudevi’s life.

After years of struggle, German ‘gobhakt’ and Padma Shri Awardee (2019) Sudevi’s selfless efforts were rewarded with a sprawling new shelter for her cows in Mukhrai village. 

The foundation stone for the new 12.5-acre (20 bigha) ‘goshala’ was laid on Saturday by Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala and Sirsa MP Sunita Duggal. Village head Jagdish Singh was also present. During the ‘bhumi pujan’ and ‘shilanyas’ ceremonies, Rupala extolled Sudevi’s efforts and her dedication to serve helpless cattle in Braj despite the many challenges.  

The ministers also unveiled the calendar of an upcoming film based on Sudevi’s life.

The 63-yr-old Padma awardee Friederike Irina Bruning (fondly known as Sudevi Mataji) established the Shri Radha Surbhi Goshala in Radhakund in 1996. Since its inception, she has provided shelter, food, medical care and funeral services for nearly 20000 cattle. On an average, her 2-acre set up receives 10 sick, injured, homeless/abandoned and rescued cows and bulls daily.

With nearly 2000 cattle being served at present, the goshala was facing an abject space crunch. Intermittent concerns regarding Sudevi’s Visa and ownership dispute involving the existing set-up were further complicating matters. In June last year, Bruning had requested the UP Government to provide her adequate land for relocating the cattle. She was supported by several local activists and ‘gosevaks’.

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Fruit of diksha & gopi-bhava


Shri Vraja Dhama

By Shri Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Dasa Babaji
Mahaprabhu exclusively accepted the mood of the gopis who considered Vrajendranandan their lover.

gopi-bhava -yate -prabhu, dhariyache ekanta
vrajendra-nandane -mane -apanara -kanta

(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.17.277)

Sri Gaura Raya Mahaprabhu was always relishing gopi-bhava in His heart, gopi -bhava -hrdaye, and lamenting in separation, “Alas, O Krishna! Where have You gone? Govinda! Damodara! Madhaveti!” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.19.53)

As Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu Himself personally accepted and relished gopi-bhava, He also requested all His followers to accept it too, ataeva -gopi-bhava -kari -angikara. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.8.228)

After accepting gopi-bhava, what should one do? Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu instructs us: “Day and night you should think of the pleasure pastimes of Radha-Krishna, ratri-dina -cinte -radha -krishnera -vihara.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.8.228)

If one meditates on Radha-Krishna’s asta-kaliya-lila day and night, what result will one receive? Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu answers, “You will attain the lotus feet of Radha-Krishna, paya- radha -krishnera -charana!” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.8.228)

To follow the path of raganuga-bhakti summarized above by Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, one should take proper initiation and chant one’s diksha mantras. The shastras explain the astonishing power of our diksha mantras.

Fruit of Chanting Gopal (Krishna) Mantra

Gautamiya -Tantra (cited Krama Sandarbha 3.4.29) says:

ahar-nisham -japen -mantram
mantri -niyata -manasah
sa -pashyati -na -sandeho
gopa-rupa-dharam -harim

“A person who controls the mind and chants the Krishna -mantra day and night will surely see Sri Hari in His gopa form.”

Fruit of Chanting Kama Gayatri

Sanat-Kumara-Samhita says:

japed -yah -kama-gayatrim
kama-bija-samanvitam
tasya -siddhir -bhavet -prema
radha -krishna-sthalam -vrajet
etam -panca-padim -japtva
shraddhaya -shraddhaya -sakrt
vrndavane -tayor -dasyam
gacchaty -eva -na -samshayah

“Whoever chants the kama-bija combined with the kama-gayatri attains prema-siddhi and goes to the abode of Radha-Krishna.

“Whoever with faith or without faith chants japa of kama-gayatri will obtain the service of Radha-Krishna in Vrindavan without a doubt!”

What better fruits could any raganuga-sadhaka desire! So, we humbly ask everyone to keep these fruits in mind while chanting your diksha mantras, and meditating upon the beautiful meanings given by your beloved masters.

Diksha mantras ki jai! Gurudeva ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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Grand celebrations for Holi are starting from Saturday in all temples of Vrindavan. On the first day, in Varshana, the pole for Holi will be dug in Laadli ji temple. Whereas in Vrindavan’s Banke Bihari temple, devotees will offer abeer gulaal to Lord Krishna.With this, the 40 days long celebration will begin in Braj Bhoomi. All temples and homes alike will be wrapped in the festive colours of Holi. Huriyaris will liven the festival by thrashing the Huriyaras out of love.

The festivities of Vasant Panchami, which falls on February 5, will start with a splash of colours, “abeer gulaal ”, offered to lord Shri Krishna. Especially in all the temples of lord Krishna, fondly referred to as Thakur Ji by devotees in Vrindavan, Abeer gulaal will be offered at His feet. Whereas in Varshana, devotees will offer gulaal in Ladilauji temple at the feet of Radha Rani. After these rituals, the enthusiasm of devotees will reach its peak. To enjoy and witness these unique celebrations, customs and traditions, tourists and devotees from all over India and many parts of the world flock to Vrindavan in huge numbers. With Vasant Panchami marking the onset of spring, the month of February will be brimming with the vibrant colours of flowers and happiness alike.

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Lathamar Holi of Varshana

These colourful celebrations will gear up from the 1st of March, with holy processions “pratham chaupai” from the Varshana Laadli ji temple. While on one hand, the temples are occupied with the preparation of Holi festivities, on the other hand, many artists are composing heartfelt songs to reach out to Lord Krishna for this auspicious occasion. To present the local folk songs in the most culturally authentic way possible, artists are also honing their skills on traditional and ancient musical instruments. These efforts are made by the devoted artists to make this festival as colourful as possible. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there have been strict restrictions on these cultural programmes, hindering the talent of these artists to be showcased. However, this year, with the ease of restrictions after the receding third wave, they are enthusiastically taking part in the festivities.

Dwarkadhish darshan by 8 processions: The media spokesperson of Dwarkadhish temple, Rakesh Tiwari stated that Lord Krishna will give darshan to the devotees through 8 different processions starting from Vasant Panchami. Due to the ongoing scare of the spread of coronavirus, devotees are requested to exit the temple immediately after darshan. On February 16, the auspicious pole for Holi will be dug in the temple premises. From this date, abeer gulaal will be offered at the feet of Lord Krishna. From the next day, i.e. February 17, traditional “dhap” instrumental music and “faag” music will be performed by the local talent.

Huranga festival of Dauji on Mar 19: The receiver of Dauji Mandir, Ram Kator Pandey, has announced that the Huranga festival will be held on Saturday, March 19. On this day, ladies, who are referred to as Huriyaris, tear the clothes of the men, referred to as Huriyaras, cover them with colours and thrash them with sticks. The practice is considered to be a way for women to take revenge on men for teasing them and playing pranks on them. The temple premises will be alive with the colours and fragrance of “tesu/palash” flowers.

Lathamaar Holi at the birthplace of Shri Radha on Mar 13: The evening of March 13 will witness the famous Lathamaar Holi at Rawal gaon, the birthplace of Radharani. The temple authorities spokesperson, Rahul Kalla, informed that the pole for Holi will be dug in on Vasant Panchami. Temple sevak, Balbir Saraswat, said that skilled Huriyaris and Huriyaras will demonstrate a live performance of Lathamaar Holi. Thousands of devotees will enjoy these festivities with colour and pomp. On this occasion, the idol of Radha will be placed at the main gate of Vigriha temple of Lord Krishna Chhadimaar holi of Gokul on Mar 15: Chairman of Gokul Nagar Panchayat, Sanjay Dixit, informed that the famous Chhadimaar Holi of Lord Krishna will be organised on Tuesday, March 15. On this day, the locals, tourists and thousands of devotees will be drenched in colour from morning 10am till evening 6pm. It is believed that on this day, the Lord will enjoy these celebrations with his beloved.

Lathamaar Holi of Nandgaon on Mar 12: Lathamaar Holi will be celebrated in Nandgaon, established by Lord Krishna’s adopted father, Nandbaba. Devotees are waiting for this joyous occasion in earnest. From Vasant Panchami, the atmosphere will be aplomb with devotion and joy. The whole city will be generously donating for Holi from Vasant Panchami.

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Holi of Nandgaon

Important days of Holi festival celebrated during the 40 day period:

  • February 5 (Vasant Panchami) – Auspicious pole to be dug in Laadli ji temple, Varshana
  • March 1 – First procession to start from Laadli ji temple
  • March 10 – Second procession for “Lahu” Holi and Holi to start from Laadli ji temple
  • March 11 – Lathamaar Holi in Varshana
  • March 12 – Lathamaar Holi in Nandgaon
  • March 14 – Holi at Lord Krishna Janmabhoomi
  • March 14 – Holi of Dwarkadhish
  • March 14 – Holi of Vrindavan Bankebihari
  • March 16 – Chhadimaar Holi of Gokul
  • March 18 – Holika dahan
  • March 19 – Dhulendi, Darshan of Lord Krishna in white “chhatri”
  • March 20 – Huranga in Baldev, Dauji temple
  • March 20 – Huranga of Nandgaon
  • March 20 – Huranga of Jaav
  • March 20 – Traditional dance performance of Mukhrayi
  • March 21 – Bathain Huranga
  • March 21 – Gidoh Huranga
  • March 23 – Rangpanchami, Khaira Huranga
  • March 25 – Vrindavan Holi
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How to Live in Vrindavan?


Shri Vraja Dhama

87445405_10222416651223772_1252385821831462912_n-683x1024.jpgby Vaishnavacharya Shri Chandan Goswami

Many devotees long to live in Vrindavan, but without the association of the rasiks – saints who have a relationship of loving service for Radha and Krishna, and for whom Radha and Krishna are everything – we cannot understand what Vrindavan really is. Without their grace, we cannot know the significance of Braj dust, which is eternally decorated with Radha and Krishna’s footprints, or the nature of pure love for them, which we are trying to attain. Reading books about devotion is good, and also recommended, but it is even more important to spend time with people who truly understand their teachings and live their lives by them. Without such association, the devotional practice of living in Vrindavan is very difficult. We may think we can attain our spiritual goals by sitting alone and immersing ourselves in chanting and meditation, but this is not practical for many people.


In the Shrimad Bhagwatam, Bharat Muni also worshipped in isolation, and for a long time, he progressed very well. He even reached a high level of devotion called bhav bhakti. Bharat Muni’s devotional ecstasy was so deep that he was able to serve Krishna all the time. But one day, he found a baby deer that had lost its mother. As he started taking care of the deer, his mind was diverted, and the deer slowly replaced Krishna in his heart. Why did this happen when Bharat Muni was such an accomplished devotee? It happened because he did not have the association of rasik saints, nor did he have a guru in his life. If he did, his guru could have told him, “Bharat, your care for the baby deer is commendable, but don’t let this situation distract you from your goal of one-pointed and loving service for Krishna.” Without association, there was no one to correct him, and he had to take two more births before attaining his Beloved. We are not nearly as advanced as Bharat was, so to think we can live without association is a great mistake.

Further, Shodash Granth says that performing devotion in isolation can lead to pride. If we forget that the ability to perform worship is itself a gift of divine grace, we may start to feel self- satisfied, thinking, I serve so many saints, I chant so many Holy Names, and so forth. In contrast, good association keeps us humble and focussed. The Chaitanya Charitamrita (2.22.54) says that even a moment of association with rasik saints can grant all perfection: in other words, the ultimate goal of prem (sacred love) for Radha and Krishna. If we keep good association, one day, Radha and Krishna will give us eternal association by allowing us to serve them in eternal Vrindavan, under the guidance of the greatest of all devotees, the gopis.

About the Author

A prolific spiritual teacher and author, Gaudiya Peethadhishwar Shri Chandan Goswami Maharaj is 14th in the guru lineage of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself. He belongs to the ancient Shri Radharaman Temple in the holy town of Vrindavan. Following Mahaprabhu’s example, he shows unwavering dedication to Mahaprabhu’s mission of sacred love. Chandan Maharaj’s teachings are simple and full of the sweetness and purity of Braj, like that of the gopis’ love for Shri Krishn. He travels extensively, delivering talks on spirituality and he has created many devotional communities worldwide. He has also written many books and articles on the subject of Bhakti Yog.

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cc538d4c-8ad6-496a-b83b-ae95a3533baa-edited.jpgBy Smt. Radhika Goswami

Vijaylaxmi is in her 70s. She came to Vrindavan, alone, when she was very young. She mainly serves in the kitchen of the Radharaman Temple, which used to be the original temple.

Vijaylaxmi used to live in Odissa where she did service at the Jagannath Temple, Puri, under the instruction of her late Guru. Her family tried to call her back but she didn’t want to leave her seva. Vijaylaxmi’s Guru asked her to go to the Radharaman Temple in the event that he should leave this world. When the time came, she left without anything and made her way through dense forests barefoot. She had so many incredible encounters along the way.

Food was always taken care of some how; she was always fed. At one point, she became so weak and frail that she fell unconscious under a tree, believing she was going to die. After some time, the sound of trains woke her and she asked someone, “Where am I?” She was informed by a passer by, “Mathura train station.” Vijaylaxmi had no idea how she got there or even who brought her there. She walked from Odissa to Vrindavan which is a distance of 1300km!That evening, she made it to the Radharaman Temple for the last darshan (Shyan Aarti). Her Guru had reassured her that Radharaman will take care of all of her needs. He is not a Deity, He is Radharaman Himself, the Supreme Being. The Goswami serving at the temple had two garlands to give away at the end. Exhausted and weak, Vijaylaxmi was looking for a sign.

Usually, these garlands are given to a disciple or a family member. For 15 minutes nothing happened. Periodically, she would look at Radharaman Lal, then at the garlands, and then back at Him. Suddenly, the Goswami came to her and gave her both garlands! Since then, she has tirelessly and beautifully served Shri Radharaman Lal. She was unable to express how blessed she felt but her tears revealed her innermost sentiments. All she wants to do is hear about Shri Radharaman, talk about Him and serve Him in any and every possible way. I am really unable to articulate how special she is. For those of you who attend Mangla Aarti of Radharaman Lal, she is the devotee who sings Geet Govind at the end.

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A108-AI

avatars-000211408697-ouagbe-t500x500.jpgby Shri Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das Babaji Maharaj

Shrimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Shrimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Shri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Shri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions. To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Shri Chaitanya Caritamrta. 

This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Shri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.

Tolerate Everything and Attain Krishna 

In the beautiful Bhagavat (10.4.80, Shri Brahmaji said:

tat -te -‘nukampam -su-samiksamano
bhunjano -evatma-krtam -vipakam
hrd-vag -vapurbhir -vidadhan -namas -te
jiveta -yo -mukti -pade -sa -daya -bhak

Shri Brahmaji said, “O Krishna! One who patiently waits for You to bestow Your mercy while tolerating the reactions of one’s past misdeeds, and continues to serve You with body, mind, words, and obeisances is certainly a bona-fide candidate for liberation.” (10.4.8)

Shridhar Swamicharan tika:

 The gist of this verse is: One should serve Bhagavan Shri Krishna no matter what happens. The word su-samikshamanah means, thinking when will Shri Krishna be merciful to me?

 A devotee patiently accepts what destiny gives one because of past karma, and does not try to counteract it by performing severe austerities or other actions. By passing life in this way one attains Krishna and goes to the spiritual world.

Shri Sanatana Goswami tika:

 The word samikshamanah means “fully expecting”. One must experience the results of past karma. That is unavoidable. Therefore, one should not be concerned about the happiness and distress that comes in this way.

The phrase hrd-vag-vapurbhir -vidadhan -namah -means that one should be attached to devotional activities and to nothing else.

 Mukti-padam means either personal liberation, love for the lotus feet of Krishna, or the abode of Vaikuntha.

Daya-bhak means one who gives a gift. In other words, such an advanced devotee simply by desiring in the mind can give liberation to others.

Shri Jiva Goswamipada tika:

A devotee does not consider the happiness and distress arising from one’s karma. One offers respect to Krishna with humility and attachment, using mind, body and words in order to develop a taste for Hari-katha.

Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

Someone may ask, “What is a devotee’s outlook on life? How does one act?”

Brahma answers in this verse. A devotee knows that present happiness is a result of past devotional activities, and present suffering is the result of offenses. Thus, a devotee peacefully endures all happiness and suffering while patiently waiting for Krishna’s mercy. A devotee knows that one’s present happiness and suffering is all Krishna’s sweet mercy.

Krishna is like the father who sometimes makes his child drink milk and sometimes makes him drink bitter neem juice. Sometimes the father embraces and kisses His son and other times He beats him. The devotee accepts whatever happens to be the arrangement of Krishna acting for one’s benefit.

The devotee thinks, “Shri Krishna certainly knows what is best for me, even if I don’t know. Karma and time have no effect on a devotee, so this is Krishna personal arrangement for me. Out of His mercy, Krishna   sometimes gives me happiness and sometimes gives me distress, considering how to engage me in His service.”

The person who spends His life offering respects with body, mind and words to the lotus feet of Shri Krishna while tolerating the suffering of austerities or other hardships becomes the recipient (dayabhak) of two results: liberation from material bondage and service to Bhagavan Mukunda Shri (mukti-pada). Thus, while living in this world the devotee remains fixed on the path of devotion.

BBT tika:

Just as a legitimate son has to simply remain alive to gain an inheritance from his father, one who simply remains alive in Krishna consciousness, following the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga, automatically becomes eligible to receive the mercy of the Bhagavan Shri Krishna. In other words, he will be promoted to the kingdom of God.

A devotee earnestly awaits the mercy of Krishna even while suffering the painful effects of previous sinful activities. In his mind a devotee may still maintain the remnants of his previous sinful mentality, so Krishna removes the last vestiges of the enjoying spirit by giving His devotee punishments that may sometimes resemble sinful reactions.

Although a devotee has surrendered to Krishna, until he is completely perfect in Krishna consciousness, he may maintain a slight inclination to enjoy the false happiness of this world. Krishna therefore creates a particular situation to eradicate this remaining enjoying spirit.

This unhappiness suffered by a sincere devotee is not technically a karmic reaction; it is rather Krishna’s special mercy for inducing His devotee to completely let go of the material world and return home, back to Godhead.

Such a bona fide servant of Krishna considers all hardship a small price to pay for gaining the personal association of Krishna. One cannot approach the supreme pure, Bhagavan Shri Krishna, without undergoing a rigid purificatory process, which may appear like suffering but which is in fact a curative treatment administered by the personal hand of Krishna. Jai Shri Krishna!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das comments:

In this verse, Brahmaji describes the actual mood of a fully surrendered, pure devotee of Krishna. Such a devotee does not depend upon the mercy of anyone else, because one knows that only Bhagavan Shri Krishna can make one’s human life successful.

A devotee knows that merciful Shri Krishna is just giving a token of the suffering due to one because of one’s past sinful activities. Even while suffering in this world, a devotee goes on glorifying Shri Krishna with one’s body, mind, and words. By acting in this way, one’s liberation is guaranteed. It is better to be sick and serve Krishna, then to be healthy and serve maya.

Tolerate everything and serve Krishna ki jai! Jai Jai Shri Radhe!

About the author: Mahanidhi Shri Madan Gopal Das is a Gaudiya Vaisnava Babaji (sannyasi), and a teacher of Gaudiya spiritual truths, practices and perfection (siddhanta, sadhana, sadhya) since 1974. He’s authored 25 English & 11 Hindi spiritual books all about Shri Guru, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Radha-Krishna, and the Gaudiya holy places, diksa mantras, bhakti-yoga sadhana, raganuga-bhakti, Gayatris and Vaisnava biographies. He is an Indian citizen living  30 years continually in India at Shri Radha Kunda, Govardhana, Dt. Mathura Uttar Pradesh.

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