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Youth Drowns in Mansi Ganga While Diving For Coins
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaGoverdhan, 2014.10.06 (VT): In a tragic incident in Goverdhan, a youth drowned in Mansi Ganga while searching the coins from the lake. Ram Kishan (15), S/o Girdhari Lal Saini of the Chakleshwar Mohalla, went to take bath in the Mansi Ganga with his friends. He was a good diver. While taking bath in the holy lake he started looking for the coins that are thrown into the lake by the devotees as an offering. When he didn’t find many coins near the banks of the lake he dived into the deeper water, from where he never surfaced. His friends also dived into the water to rescue him, but their efforts went in vain. It is said that the boy might have drowned due to the attack of epilepsy, which he suffered from according to his family. The family of Ram Kishan informed the police about it, which also sent the divers, but could not find the body of the deceased. Several such cases occurred in time to time in the Yamuna, Radha Kund and Mansi Ganga, but the administration has failed to prevent the boys to go in the water to searching for the coins.
The Excellences of Hari, Part XIII
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaWhile Balaram and Krishna wandered through The forest pastures with their retinue, Another fiend came in a fair disguise, So no one could the demon recognize. Wicked Pralamba, for that was his name, To kidnap the two brothers thither came; But Krishna his disguise could penetrate, The demon’s confidence did cultivate, Still pondering what means he might employ, The pernicious Pralamba to destroy. So Hari, the past master of all games, With feigning friendship Pralamba detains; His comrades in two parties did divide, Rama lead one, and he the other side. In a mock battle all the boys did play; The vanquished on their shoulders must convey The victors to a certain spot, and then Begin the playful mock combat again. And so it chanced that Rama’s party won The victory, which meant Yashoda’s son Must Sridama upon his shoulders bear, But mighty Musali, who mocked at fear, Mounted Pralamba’s back, quite unaware Of what the wicked demon thought to dare. Now when Pralamba ran beyond the bound Where he should put him down, Haladhar found The demon did his monstrous form resume; At first Rama was wonderstruck, but soon With his clenched fist he smote him on the head, And crushed Pralamba’s skull, who then fell dead. Rohini’s dear son did Pralamba kill, Like Indra smashing down a mighty hill. Thus, Rama having this great triumph won, The cowherds all exclaimed, “Bravo! Well done!” The gods in heaven also raised the cry, “Well done!” and showered flowers from the sky.
The Benefits Of Karttik Niyam Seva in The Dham
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaKarttik is a special month to collect lots of mercy and blessings from Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Before citing the super benefits of observing the Karttik Vrata, we will quote Srila Prabhupada’s translation of one verse of Satyavrata Muni’s Dāmodarāṣṭakam which is chanted daily in the Karttik month. Srila Prabhupada said, “In this prayer, one passage says, ‘My dear Lord Damodar, once when you were playing as a naughty boy in the house of Nanda Maharaj, you broke the box containing yogurt. Because of that, mother Yashoda considered you an offender and tied you with a rope to the household grinding mortar. At that time, you delivered the two sons of Kuvera, Nalakuvara and Manigriva, who were staying there as two arjuna trees in the yard of Nanda Maharaj. My only request is that by your merciful pastimes you may similarly deliver me.’” (Nectar of Devotion, chapter 4) In his teachings to Srila Sanatan Goswamipada (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.22), Gauranga Mahaprabhu explained the 64 limbs of devotion by which one can attain the most valuable treasure of love for Krishna (päi kṛṣṇa-prema-mahä-dhana). At that time, Mahaprabhu said, “In all respects, one of the most important limbs is to observe special vows in the month of Karttik, (karttikädi-vrata, parama-parama-mahattva). Srila Rupa Goswami extols the Damodar (Karttik) month in his Mathurä Mähätmyam: “To those who worship Krishna in Vrindavan, Lord Krishna gives their original spiritual forms. The perfect atonement to purify the sins of a lifetime is to worship Lord Damodara in Vrindavan during Karttik. The month of Karttik spent in Vrindavan takes one to the spiritual world.” The Hari-bhakti-viläsa proclaims, “O learned brähmaëas! Lord Damodar becomes very pleased if one worships a deity of Radhika during the month of Karttik solely for her pleasure.” (16.95) In Jaiva Dharma, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur writes, “Another name for Karttik is ürja. Devotees take special vows of renunciation and increase their devotional activities of hearing, chanting, remembering, circumambulation, etc., to celebrate the pastimes of Sri Krishna.” In his Nectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada said, “One of the most important functions is called ürja-vrata, observed in the month of Karttik. The execution of devotional service during ürja-vrata in the month of Karttik is especially recommended to be performed at Mathura. This system is still followed by many devotees. They go to Mathura or Vrindavan and stay there during the month of Karttik. Even unserious persons who execute devotional service according to the regulative principles during the month of Karttik within the jurisdiction of Mathura in India are very easily awarded Sri Krishna’s personal service.” Srila Prabhupadaki jai!Karttik Super Benefits ki jai!Jai Jai Sri Radhe!
Saints’ Lives in Danger As Land Mafias Eye Ashrams
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaVrindavan, 2014.10.05 (VT): It may be called the effect of Kaliyuga when even the saints of Braj are not spared kidnapped by criminals who want to take possession of their ashrams. Many such properties have already been grabbed by the so-called land mafias, organized gangs who use force and intimidation to take advantage of skyrocketing real estate prices. The saints build ashrams to facilitate disciples and followers to have a peaceful and divine stay in the Dham. But this spiritual cause is all too often turning into a business with unsavory karmic consequences. Most ashrams are governed by trusts and the Mahants are usually the presidents of those trusts. Mahants are not usually removed from this post, but other office bearers may be changed from time to time. Sometimes people with ulterior motives become disciples of an ashram mahant and get close to him or make friends to someone who is next in the hierarchy. They plot against the mahant, conspiring with other insiders to either dispossess him from the property using crooked means, or even going so far as to get him killed. Too many incidents Not so long ago, saint Govindananda Tirtha was kidnapped by his driver Heera Singh and his wife with the help of other accomplices. The kidnappers thrashed Govindananda and kept him hostage until they had extorted Rupees eight millions from him. They also tried to grab his ashram in an unsuccessful bid. An old lady who was the caretaker of Shri Krishna Gaushala was arrested and sent to jail on charges of throwing acid. She got arrested in the fake case, in which she was proved innocent. It seems that the police and land mafias had worked hand in gloves in this case. But through the intervention of some social workers, she was released from prison. Abduction in Govardhan In another recent case, a saint was abducted and taken hostage over a property. Shivananda Das, disciple of Bhakti Advaita Madhav Goswami Maharaj of the Gaudiya Math situated at Dasbisa, Goverdhan on the Radha Kund road, was kidnapped by miscreants. He was going to his farm on scooter through Mukhrai Road. Four persons stopped him on the way and forcefully put him in a car. They had kept him gagged and blindfolded in a moving car for a whole night. He was taken to an unknown destination the next day and his abductors forced him to sign stamped legal papers at gun point. After that he was dropped near Kusum Sarovar, on the condition that he not disclose anything to the police or anyone. The culprits threatened to kill him if he opened his mouth. The Mahant fell ill after this incident. Well aware that his signature on official stamped (notarized) paper could be used to appropriate the ashram properties, Shivananda Das filed a complaint with the police against Rohan Singh S/o Gulab Singh R/o Bhavan Pura, Goverdhan, Kanhaiya Pehalwan S/o Puran Jaat R/o Ummed ki Nagaria Mogarra, Than Singh and Mahesh Pahalwan from Mogarra. There are already many cases registered with police against Rohit in Jaipur (Rajasthan), Thana Goverdhan and Thana Sadar Bazar in relation to various criminal activities. Ashram land in Vrindavan claimed using a fake death certificate In another case, a disciple produced a fake death certificate of his Guru to claim the ashram land. The name of Radha Govind Das, disciple of Murali Manohar Das from Kaimar Van in Sant Colony, was struck from the register as he was shown to be deceased in the death certificate emitted by Hathras Municipality. Prabhu Das was made the new owner of the property after a will paper with his Guru’s fake signature was produced in the office of the Sub-divisional Magistrate. When Govind Das came to know about it, he informed his other disciples about this conspiracy. Pradeep Mishra, another disciple of the Mahant, has lodged a complaint under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code against Prabhu Das.
Sanket Bihari Reinstallation Ceremony
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaNanda Gaon, 2014.10.05 (VT): As reported on Oct. 1, the deities stolen from Sanket Sthali were recovered by the police. After going through the bureaucratic procedures, the deities were returned to the sevaits in Sanket. Yesterday, entire village celebrated the return. Ramesh Babaji Maharaj went to Sanket for the abhishek and reinstallation ceremony of Shri Shri Radha Sanket Bihariji. He was very moved as the pouring of the abhishek liquids cooled their Lordships, who have been without worship for the last year. Rajendra Dasji, the mahant of Maluk Peeth in Vanshi Bat Vrindavan, and Ramaraj Maharaj, also from the Ramanandi sampradaya, Suthset Maharaj, the acharya of the Narayana Bhatta sampradaya, spoke briefly after Baba Shri to the enthusiastic Brijwasi residents of Sanket. The reunion with their Lordships united all the villagers. Today Sanket was in full celebration.
The Excellences Of Hari, Part XII
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaThen all the Vraja-people homeward came, And praised Krishna, and lauded his high fame. Now summer came to parch the thirsty ground, But still the signs of springtime did abound; The crickets’ and the grasshoppers’ shrill calls Were drowned out by cascading water falls, The spray from which was carried by the breeze, Which kept the verdure of the shady trees. While Ram and Krishna in the forest strayed, The usual sports and games of cowherds played; The boys blew horns, and pipes, and close pressed reeds, Adorned with peacock plumes and gunja beads. Sometimes they danced, sometimes they capered round, In bouts of wrestling, rolled upon the ground. Sometimes Krishna would dance, while others sang; Their sweet music through all the forest rang. Some boys extolled the lord for his great skill, How he did dance, and sing, and demons kill. At other times they threw and caught with glee, Big fruits like bilva and amalaki; And then again in boxing bouts engaged, Sometimes he roared as if he were enraged; The gentle deer were startled by that roar; And now he held a stately king’s durbar. Sometimes they climb’d the branches of the trees, From bough to bough leapt with the wild monkeys. And thus the brothers twain roved o’er the hills, Through valleys, bowery groves, and bubbling rills, And sported with their dear friends every day, And played the games that boys would always play.
Prabhupada’s Amazing Teachings about Karttik
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaIn Karttika 1972, in his “eternal residence” at the Radha-Damodara Mandir, Srila Prabhupada had the most amazing conversation full of realizations and Vraja illuminations. Present there at that most auspicious time were his fortunate disciples Shyamasundara, Gurudasa, Hayagriva, and his gurubhai, Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor. We hope all our devoted friends will increase their understanding and love for Radha-Krishna, the Vrajavasis and Sridham Vrindavan by reading the following entries which we have categorized by topic. The Vrajavasis “The Vrajavasis prefer to die rather than give up their Krishna. Throughout India you’ll find that some of the lower castes—the shudras, or vaishyas, or harijans—will convert to Mohammedanism or Christianity, but in Vrindavan not even the shudra will give up Krishna, not even for all the gold in the world.” “A devotee knows that this Vrindavan right here is Vrindavan. Even if the people living in Vrindavan do not appear to be very pious, they are most fortunate because they live in the land of Krishna. Jaya jaya vrindavana-vasi yata jana, all glories to all the inhabitants of Vrindavan ! It is not said that only the devotees here are glorified. Everyone! Even the pigs. It is more fortunate to be born in Vrindavan than in a rich or aristocratic family, because in the next life, one will go back to Godhead.” Animals in Vrindavan “No one born in Vrindavan is ordinary. It may not be very palatable to hear, but those who live in Vrindavan and commit sinful activities take birth as dogs, monkeys, and hogs here. In this way, by eating the dust of Vrindavan, they become purified, liberated.” Disciple: “Gurudeva, how does one get these different bodies?” “If a person in Vrindavan engages in too much sex indulgence, he will get the body of a dog, a monkey, a pigeon, or even the body of a tree. The pig body is there for one who overeats or eats prohibited food.” Disciple: “Gurudeva, what about those guys down by the Yamuna that smoke ganja all day?” In a very sweet, humorous way with a slight laugh, Srila Prabhupada replied: “They get hippy bodies with big beards and long hair. And they have to take birth in San Francisco, U.S.A.” The Power of Vraja Vasa “The effect of living in Vrindavan cannot be overestimated. At every turn, you are reminded of Krishna here, and your spiritual strength increases due to that contact. For instance, from ’62 to ’65, I would sit in these rooms and chant Hare Krishna and see the samadhis of Jiva and Rupa Goswamis. Just by thinking of how they wrote, I got the courage to write. I would type and cook a little. I lived very simply, content to be in Rupa Goswami’s presence. These samadhis are the best in Gaudiya Vaishnavism. They actually inspired me to go to the West.” Dirt and Deterioration Disciple: “Prabhupada, it appears that the Dham is deteriorated and unclean.” “Vrindavan has not deteriorated! Just see. For a materialist, everything is topsy-turvy because his vision is perverted. Beauty and ugliness are in the eye of the seer. The ugliness that you see here is yoga-maya, Krishna’s covering. Vrindavan appears dirty and deteriorated to drive away the atheists and impersonalists. 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 hides her self from the materialist. “Vrindavan is so potent that even the dogs and pigs here are going to be liberated. Life here is not polluted because even the most polluted are being purified. So it is not deteriorating. If even the dogs are going to be liberated, how has Vrindavan deteriorated?” Personal Vrindavan Disciple: Prabhupada, why did you just speak of Vrindavan as a person [hiding herself]? “In spiritual consciousness, everything is personal. In Ramayana, we find that even the city of Ravana appeared before Hanuman as a gigantic person, a rakshashi, and Hanuman knocked her down because she challenged him.” Liberation in Vrindavan “Both the pigs and devotees here in Vrindavan are liberated, indiscriminately. Unless one is a devotee in a previous life, he cannot take birth here. He may take a pig’s or dog’s body for a few years, but that’s no impediment. He is simply getting rid of sinful reactions. Disciple: “Are people in Vrindavan liberated even if they don’t have a bona fide spiritual master?” “Yes, because Vrindavan is directly under Krishna’s supervision. Krishna is their spiritual master.” All Be Messengers “Living eternally in Vrindavan engaged in the loving personal service of Srimati Radharani is the goal of all Gaudiya Vaishnavas. In our hearts, in our minds and with our lives we all try to live moment by moment in Vrindavan . We meditate on Vrindavan , dream of Vrindavan , and try our best to tell everyone about the sweet glories of Vraja Dham. Every Gaudiya is a messenger of Vrindavan , carrying the good news of Radha-Govinda’s pure loving service to one and all.” In closing his wonderful teachings at this time, Srila Prabhupada humbly said, “I am simply Vrindavan ’s messenger.” Taken from Vrindaban Days, chapter 5. Srila Prabhupada ki jai!KartikaVratosava ki jai!Jai Jai Sri Radhe Shyam!
The Opportunity for Seva: Untouched Braja
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaBarsana, 2014.10.05 (Save Braja Forum): Sadly, many major areas in Braja Mandal have today become nothing more that cement habitations, especially catering to the well-to-do and selfish visitors, who bring great material wealth to the area, at the cost of sacrificing the pristine beauty of this land. Trees and sacred grounds have disappeared, being ravaged and ignored amidst the rush of selfish and temporal concerns, while the panoramic history of the Supreme Lord’s prakaṭa (manifest) pastimes 5,000 years ago is we ignored. But are we wholeheartedly aware of the aprakaṭa (unmanifest) pastime presence of the Lord of this very day? If we did, then how would we be able to reside here without a semblance of sensitivity to the supreme feelings (bhāva) as we destroy their domain with indifference? Have we become simpleton armchair philosophers, lamenting, “Oh the age of Kali-yuga is upon us, and so the Dham is depreciating. Nothing can be done to stop it.” Even if this appears to be the case, perhaps we should recognize that the revolving yuga cycle gives us an opportunity for seva, and that we actually can do something about it. The time is now upon us to truly honor the Divine Couple in their abode. After all, are we not being observed? Under the inspiration of Sri Ramesh Babaji Maharaj at Maan Mandir, Gahvarvan, Barsana, a humble effort has begun to protect and preserve the hills of Barsana. After many years of struggle, fighting for the sanctity of this sacred land, these holy grounds have been finally given governmental protection. Just look at the hills of Barsana, especially behind the Jaipur and Shriji mandirs, where a hidden forest of untouched Braja has survived, including 70 foot trees. This garden, unknown even to most locals, is a fitting backdrop and playground for the Lord’s present pastimes. This is just a beginning. What can you do? Touch the Dham in seva and be touched by your Lord as you care, at least enough to secure the holy natural environment in Braj for the future generations. Link: www.facebook.com/brajdhamseva
Civic bodies oppose merger of Vrindavan, Mathura
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaVrindavan, 2014.10.05 IANS, Zee News: Local politicians, activists and numerous heads of ashrams and spiritual centers in the holy town of Sri Sri Radha Krishna have opposed a proposal to merge Vrindavan with Mathura to form a new municipal corporation with a population of more than a million, saying it will affect this town being granted heritage status. The Uttar Pradesh urban development department issued a notification last week allowing district magistrates to directly recommend to the state government any changes in the administrative set-up without the consent of the gram panchayats concerned. The decks are now clear for merging the Vrindavan local body with the proposed Mathura Municipal Corporation. “The two cities have separate identities. Radha is identified with Vrindavan and Krishna with Mathura. Radha never left Vrindavan, which had a dozen dense forests around it through which the Yamuna flowed. Vrindavan was the center of the gopis, while Mathura was a political center of power whose suzerainty extended all the way to Bateshwar south of Agra,” Activist Laxmi Gautam told IANS. She suspected the move was motivated by the lobbies of builders and colonizers who want to develop an urban jungle in this essentially religious and cultural hub. The issue has been hanging in the fire for over a decade and a degree of urgency was injected after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav assured a year-and-a-half ago that both Ayodhya-Faizabad and Vrindavan-Mathura would be upgraded to full corporations. People in Vrindavan are neither happy nor excited about the proposal. They smell a conspiracy to end the long-pending demand for special heritage status. “For a very long time we have been demanding the heritage-town tag for Vrindavan for its special features that need recognition and conservation. Already the Mathura-Vrindavan Development Authority (MVDA) has done enough damage to the ecology and the pristine ambience of Vrindavan by letting land sharks gobble up all green space which was the distinguishing feature of Radha and Krishna’s leela bhoomi,” Jagannath Poddar of the Braj Vrindavan Heritage Alliance told IANS. “The forests have disappeared and have been replaced by concrete structures. Once Vrindavan becomes a part of the bigger administrative set-up, locals will have little say and would be at the receiving end of all predatory governmental acts,” he added. Mathura activist and author Ashok Bansal told IANS: “Instead of merging Vrindavan and Mathura, the right step would have been to integrate Mathura with Agra as a defined tourist circuit. If you go back into history, Agra from Bateshwar (close to the Chambal river and birth place of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee) was once a part of Mathura.” “The development of the entire Taj Trapezium Zone extending over 10,040 sq. km. needs a coordinated and comprehensive framework which addresses the needs of the tourism sector, the religious segments and the needs of the local population which has so much in common from the language to the eating and cultural habits. What they have done is to create numerous bodies that have conflicting interests and perceptions,” Bansal added. Officials in Mathura said the new municipal corporation can be formed only when the population of the area touches a million figure and this can be done only when new villages are added to the urban body. The proposal, has therefore been made to add 28 villages of the Mathura block, 12 of the Vrindavan block and a dozen odd from the Govardhan block in Mathura city. The gram panchayats of these villages had been blocking the move. “This undoubtedly is a blow to the rights and authority of the gram panchayats which enjoy a special status under the panchayati raj system,” rural development specialist Shravan Kumar Singh, associated with the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, told IANS. During the last few years, in terms of revenue generation from “religious tourism” Vrindavan has surpassed Mathura. The holy town today boasts of more modern townships and multi-storeyed complexes than its bigger brother. Gaurav Kumar of the Braj Foundation told IANS: “Devotees from around the world go to the small villages where Krishna enacted his pastimes. They celebrate Braj Chaurasi Kos Yatra and enjoy the natural beauty of those villages, where some glimpses of wooded land can still be seen.” A highly respected temple head, Shrivatsa Goswami, said: “It is important to preserve the unique identity of Vrindavan to promote Braj culture and the religious beliefs of countless Sri Krishna-Radha bhakts.” “Instead of caring for the Yamuna and conserving the forests of the holy land, they are hell bent on destroying whatever is left,” Madhumangal Shukla, an RTI activist and petitioner in the Allahabad High Court on issues relating to the Yamuna, said. A meeting of the Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance, facilitated by Friends of Vrindavan, was organised at which it was decided to send an appeal to Akhilesh Yadav. The letter said that Vrindavan`s culture has always been different from Mathura`s. Though Mathura is the district headquarters, there is a big cultural gap between the two cities. Vrindavan was declared a dry zone in 1959, where the sale of meat, eggs and liquor was forbidden. There is no such taboo in Mathura, the letter pointed out. Still, the last word is yet to be heard on the issue.
Activists To Hold March Demanding Release Of Yamuna Water
A108.net posted a blog entry in Shri Vraja DhamaVrindavan, 2014.10.04: Hundreds of activists will march from various western UP districts to Hathini Kund starting from November 2 to demand the release of water from the barrage. A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting held at Govind math in Vrindavan on Saturday. The meeting was presided over by Vigyanacharya Maharaj. Jai Krishna Das, convener of the said, “Every year lakhs of pilgrims who visit shrines in Braj Mandal are pained to see the condition of Yamuna worshipped and revered by Hindus all over the world.” “The river water which is held in Hathini Kund needs to be released for downstream cities like Mathura, Vrindavan and Agra. We are planning to launch a satyagrah with the active participation of saints, farmers and river lovers. People from several districts will join the march,” he added. Mahesh Arya, national general secretary of the Bahujan Samaj Party said, “The increasing level of pollution in Yamuna is a matter of serious concern. We support the agitation and assure our party’s full backing.” The meeting was attended by representatives from Kanpur, Jhansi, Hathras, Unnao, and several other districts. River Yamuna has been described as a huge sewage canal as open drains from Haryana, Delhi and other towns along its banks continue to discharge large quantities of industrial effluents, toxins and poisonous waste from sewer lines. BJP leaders from the area including Hema Malini have also taken up the river pollution issue with the prime minister. The Water Resources Minister, who was in Mathura and Vrindavan recently, has promised dredging and desilting of the Yamuna river bed. The long march concluded in New Delhi last year after an agreement between the government representatives and organizers of the movement. But the promises were not fulfilled, claim the Yamuna Rakshak Dal members.