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Visit to Vrinda Kunda

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Vrinda Kunda is a favorite place of pilgrimage for all Vrajavasis. Vrinda-devi herself is one of the 5 divine personalities who grant eternal residence in Vrindavan Dhama. Understanding these transcendental realities our parikrama party of nearly 500 devotees relished a day at Vrinda Kunda; hearing, chanting and enjoying each others association.

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A Visit to the Kingdom of Bharatpur

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Kartika Parikrama in Bharatpur

Our Kartika parikrama took us to Bharatpur, a town within the sacred boundaries of Vraja Mandala, that is rich in the history of Vaisnava culture. A former king, Maharaj Suraj Mal, protected Bharatpur from foreign invaders, while at the same time inspiring his subjects in their spiritual lives. There are a number of beautiful temples of Radha and Krsna in Bharatpur. Our parikrama party of 420 devotees performed harinam throughout the city, much to the delight of the citizens.

Another angle of our amazing parikrama to Bharatpur, which was the kingdom of the famous Krsna conscious king, Suraj Mall. The palace, the temples, the deities and the people of Bharatpur were all amazing. Our harinama through the streets was especially blissful.

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The Beginning!

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Our Kartika parikrama started early yesterday morning at the Radha Vallabha temple in downtown Vrindavan. Most of our 400 devotees had never seen that most beautiful deity with His dark black eyes!

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Preparing for Kartik / Приготовление к карттике

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For the past fews days I have been going around Vraja-mandala with a small group of devotees scouting out places to take our larger parikrama party of 350 devotees during the month of Kartika. As always, we’ve met with so many wonderful transcendental adventures. The people and places of Sri Vrindavan Dhama are superior to any other holy places in the universe. All holy places find their origin in Vrindavan. In fact, Srila Rupa Goswami writes that anyone who leaves Vrindavan to go to other holy places achieves nothing but the trouble it takes to get there. All glories to Sri Vrindavan Dhama!

A short look into life in Vrindavan as we make final preparations for our upcoming Kartika parikrama. Yesterday in the morning we visited Radha Vallabha and Gopiswara Mahadeva temples. Then we offered prayers at the samadhi’s of Srinivasa Acaraya, Ramchandra Kaviraja and Hemlata Goswami, asking for their blessings as we traverse the land of Krsna.

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Back Home

Today I arrived back in Vrindavan after 8 long months away. I immediately went to Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi and gave him a
first-hand report of my preaching throughout the year in Australia, Russia, Poland and most recently the USA. After taking darshan of Radhe Syama myself and a small group of devotees went to the Radha Raman Temple in downtown Vrindavan. I was fortunate to be asked to lead kirtan for the Lord there! Finally we went to to the nearby samadhi of Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami where I met my old friend, Jnana-Syama das babjaji, the caretaker of that most sacred place. Many thanks to Ananta Vrindavan dasa for so nicely capturing in photos our first day back home. Jaya Srila Prabhupada!

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From Brhat-Bhagavatamrta / Из “Брихат-Бхагаватамриты”

“Мне не по сердцу, если преданные, безразличные к иным духовным практикам и реализациям и желающие лишь личного служения Шримати Радхике, постоянно воспевающие Ее славу и поглощенные любовью к Ней, достигают той же самой Вайкунтхи, что и многие другие преданные. Это так печально! Как же смириться с тем, что это место назначения и для таких преданных, как Шри Нандарайа и Шри Яшода. Все же должна существовать более подходящая для них обитель, выше Вайкунтхи. Если есть такое место, пожалуйста, опиши его – развей мои сомнения”.

[ Уттара – своему сыну, Парикшиту Махараджу, “Брихат-Бхагаватамрита”, 2.121-22,24 ]

 

“My heart cannot be satisfied if those devotees who, being indifferent to any other spiritual practice and spiritual attainment, desire only the personal service of Srimati Radhika, and who perpetually sing Her glories and are immersed in love for Her, attain residence in merely the same Vaikuntha as so many other devotees do. This is a matter of great sorrow! And I cannot tolerate that this must be the final destination for devotees like Sri Nandaraya and Sri Yasoda. There must certainly be a suitable abode for them that is superior to Vaikuntha. If there is such a place, then please describe and deliver me from doubt.”

[ Uttara to her son, Pariksit Maharaja, Brhat Bhagavatamrta, 2.121-22,24 ]

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Beautiful Kamyavan

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Today we went on parikrama to Kamyavan. Kamyavan is fourth among the twelve forests of Vraja-mandala. The word kamya means “extremely beautiful”, “well adorned” or “highly attractive”. Many pleasant lakes, wells, ponds, trees, creepers, flowers, fruits and species of birds contribute to the beauty of this place. Krishna performed many of His childhood pastimes in Kamyavan. According to the Visnu Purana, there are eighty-four sacred ponds, eighty-four temples and eighty-four pillars in Kamyavan. This holy place has countless kundas as well as a parikrama path of fourteen miles. Some of the prominent kundas are Vimala Kunda, Dharma Kunda and Kama Kunda. Dharma kunda is where Maharaja Yudhisthira successfully answered the 100 questions of Yamaraja.

The deity of Kameswar Mahadeva, who resides in Kamyavan, was personally installed by Vajranabh, Krishna’s great-grandson. A most beautiful deity of Vrinda devi resides in Kamyavan as well. Srila Rupa Goswami had installed this deity of Vrinda devi in his Radha Govinda Temple in the forest of Vrindavan 500 years ago. But later on, by Her sweet will, Vrinda devi moved to her temple in Kamyavan.

In the Puranas it is said that the forest of Kamyavan fulfills the innermost desires of the soul.

“In this Kamyavan Krishna performed enchanting pastimes. Here you will be able to take darsana of many Kundas and other holy places. I cannot even describe in writing all the sacred tirthas found at Kamyavan.”

[ Bhakti-ratnakara, Fifth Wave ]

 

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In Bandiravan

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Yesterday on our parikrama with Sri Prahlada dasa we met Jaya Rama das, a well-known and respected sadhu residing in Bandiravan, one the 12 forests of Vrindavan. When we offered our respects to him he smiled and kindly said:

“What your Srila Prabhupada has done for the whole world all the saints in India combined together haven’t done. I am just sitting here taking care of this little parcel of land, but you his disciples, are travelling all over the world preaching the glories of the holy names.”

 

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The Mystical Forest

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Yesterday I took Sri Prahlada, who is visiting Vrindavan, to the Mystical Forest. Not far from Varsana is a forest of 5,000 year-old trees. Local Vrajavasi tradition says that the trees were planted by Srimati Radharani and Her girlfriends as a place of pastimes for Herself and Krsna. They are described as kalpa-vriksa trees – wish-fulfilling trees – able to fulfill all of one’s spiritual desires. As we hugged them I prayed for more service to my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, in fulfilling his wishes that the holy names of the Lord be spread to every town and village in the world. I also whispered in my prayer that one day, when he feels it proper, I might join him in his pastimes in the spiritual world, where all walking is dancing, all talking is singing and there’s a festival every day. From the Mystic Forest we proceeded to nearby Varsana to continue our parikrama. All glories to Sri Vrindavan dhama!

 

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Chandra-sarovara

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Yesterday my good friend Sri Prahlada arrived in Vrindavan. To enter into the mood of Vraja we decided to first do Govardhan parikrama. We began on the ‘outer’ 40-kilometer parikrama road, the path used by Srila Sanatana Goswami 500 years ago. We first visited Chandra-sarovara, a beautiful holy site, where the gopis spoke the famous ‘Gopi Gita’ which make up most of the 31st chapter of the 10th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. There is beautiful lake there, as well as the samadhi of Sura das, the famous blind Vaisnava poet who appeared in 1487. There we chanted and prayed for his mercy that by following in the footsteps of our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, we might enter into the mysteries of pure devotional service. From there we proceeded to the general parikrama path. Along the way we encountered a number of old Vrajavasi friends that I have come to know through the years by wandering in the transcendental land of Sri Vrindavan dhama. We also made some new acquaintances! Hours later we finished our parikrama at Sri Radha Kunda.