July 16, 2021: Album- Sri Radha’s Abode
Dear devotees: Early this morning here in Vrindavan I ventured out to the most sacred of all sacred places: Sri Radha Kunda. I wanted to share my good fortune with all of you, so here are many jewels ( photos! ) depicting the scenery and residents of that place so dear to all Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Tomorrow I will journey to Yavat!
Yesterday we visited one of ISKCON’s larger temples in New Delhi for a morning program. With most of the devotees in the temple vaccinated we felt it was save enough for one of our first preaching ventures out of our comfort zone. It was such an exhilarating experience!
Dear devotees: Tomorrow’s lecture [ Friday, July 23rd ] is entitled, “The Snake Doctor.” It’s one the most famous of Radha and Krsna’s pastimes in Sri Vrindavan. And with this pastime we sadly conclude our mini-series on Yavat. The only consolation is that one day we’ll all go together on parikrama and visit that transcendentally blissful abode! When oh when will that day be ours?!
Dear devotees: Tomorrow’s lecture [ Tuesday, July 27th ] is entitled “Pavana Sarovara Lake.” Situated at the base of Nandisvara Hill in Vrindavan, Pavana Sarovara is rich with the history of Vrindavan 5,000 years ago and 500 years ago as well. Srila Rupa Goswami writes that Krsna visits Pavana Sarovara practically every single day. And it was one of the places that Srila Sanatana Goswami prefered to do bhajan. Some special nectar will be flowing in this lecture!
The other day we had the rare opportunity to have darshan of several sacred items in our Gaudiya Vaisnava history, all connected to Srila Rupa Goswami. A Goswami family living in old Delhi, in a prominent Muslim area, maintains a very small house dating back hundreds of years where they worship their family deities, as well as a special pot used by Srila Rupa Goswami in his service to his beloved deity of Govindaji 500 years ago. The copper pot was given to Srila Rupa Goswami by the Emperor Akbar. Srila Rupa Goswami would offer tambula-biri ( betel nut ) along with 64 small eatable items in the pot to Govindaji 7 times a day after each arotika. In the spiritual world he has a similar service of daily offering betel nut to Srimati Radharani in his spiritual form as Sri Rupa Manjari, through the medium of Lalita Sakhi. Srimati Radharani would then offer the betel nut to Krsna. We also had darshan of a piece of wood from the original tree that Rupa Goswami would do bhajan under while living in seva kunja. Such was our good fortune!
Today we had the extreme good fortune to visit the prestigious Vrindavan Research Institute where there are more than 32,000 Gaudiya Vaisnava scriptures, including many original writings of Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Jiva Goswami, Srila Sanatana Goswami and Srila Narottam das Thakur. In fact, many of their writings are unknown and yet unpublished. A number of these scriptures had been kept for centuries in the Radha Damodar Temple in Vrindavan and were donated to the institute over 60 years ago. I could not believe my eyes when I was shown Srila Rupa Goswami’s original handwritten Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu and Srila Narottam das Thakur’s handwritten Prarthana. Touched by the graciousness of the persons in charge, I offered to help in the restoration and maintenance of these sacred scriptures so dear to our hearts.
Yesterday we went to Syama-dhak, near Govardhan Hill, where Radha and Krsna had many sweet pastimes. The forested area was a beautiful lush green from the monsoon rains that are showering down on Vrindavan now. Even the lakes and streams were bright green from a particular algae that grows in them this time of year! And most relishable was the association of a 98-year-old sadhu who shared with us his realizations on the importance of chanting the holy names of Krsna. I couldn’t stop taking photos of his different moods in Krsna consciousness! Vrindavan is such a wonderful place!