Visiting Vrindavan

Shyam Gopal Das - December 19, 2004 8:24 pm

The following is a non-comprehensive account of my journey to Vrindavan from 18 october till 6 november this year. I had wanted to post this ages ago to share with those interested. But here you go.



The flight to Delhi was quite comfortable. The surprise came when I waiting in line together with my travel partners for customs. It appeared that they were flying back one day earlier as me. Nobody had noticed that before. It was interesting to think about the return flight when the journey hadn’t fully started yet. After waiting for one hour to get through customs, we found the cab that would take us to Vrinda Kunja in Vrindavan. After about three hours, we arrived safely into the land of service as we were soon to discover. Tired as we were we preferred to go to sleep at 3.30am. After blinking our eyes, we see a sannyas carrying our bed stuff to wooden tables that appear to be our beds. Paramahamsa Maharaj is his name and he is the temple president. Without thinking we accept his service and find our way into bed. Two minutes later the morning programs start all over Vrindavan, but we were to tired to get up again. It is hard to describe what we did from day to day during our 3 week stay in Vrindavan, but I will try to give some highlights.

Apart from seeing a lot of monkeys, cows, parrots, dogs and hogs and plain dirt, I tried looking for the spiritual Vrindavan by digging through its maya covering which was not an easy task. We did a number of things, One of them was a parikrama around Vrindavana on Ekadasi. One morning we also went on a short parikrama with Aranya Maharaja and other (sannyas) disciples of Srila BV Narayan Maharaja. This was very sweet and Aranya Maharaj's short lectures at Gopal Bhatta Gosvami's samadhi, Sri Sri Radha Ramanji temple, Niddhuvana and Seva Kunja were very special. I felt sad for not taking the chance of going on a parikrama two days earlier with this company. Visiting the Radha Damodar temple was also very nice. It was very special to see Srila Prabhupada's rooms there and the samadhis of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami and Krishnadas Kaviraja. Also the puspa samadhis of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur and Srila BP Puri Gosvami. The Krishna-Balaram mandir of Srila Prabhupada and his samadhi were also impressive, and the deities were spectacular.

When Srila BA Paramadvaiti Maharaja came after 1,5 week for his kartik stay and parikram, he took us to the Krishna Balaram temple too and we had a lecture in the garden of Srila Prabhupada's house. This was once again very special. He told me to sit up front and talked about Srila Prabhupada and the service mood he inspired in his disciples. As an example he talked about Guru Maharaj. He was with Guru Maharaj in England and GM was chanting his gayatri mantras on the street while walking. Paramadvaiti Maharaj had never seen that before and asked GM why? GM replied we have no time to waste in distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books. That was the service mood. (I hope I remember this correctly)

The last week I got pretty sick and had to slow down, I missed a lot of chances of seeing temples, one of the last places I got to see was Vamsi Vatta. Other places I saw were Kesi ghat, the Imlitala tree, Yamuna Kunja. Paramadvaiti Maharaj also took us twice on a boatride on the Yamuna. One time with a bamboo flute player, which was really sweet. Another time, we encountered Srila BV Puri Maharaj and offered our obeisances, later on we went to his temple were one of his sannyas disciples was giving a nice lecture. I was given a mrdanga to take care off, and no I cant play, and while getting up to leave the temple, the mrdanga drops because the cord around my shoulders breaks. I get scared for a second and luckily find out it's a metal mrdanga. On my way back to the temple I see many brajabasis looking at me in wonder, this tall European guy dressed in Indian clothes, jamming on a mrdanga (he obviously can't play) and holding it the wrong way. Inside I have to laugh. Just as when I fall out of my bed a few days later in the middle of the night. I fall in a small space between the wall and my bed, all caught up in my mosquito net. My roommate has to laugh hard when he sees me, but is so kind to untangle me. It's only possible in Vrindavan, all these weird things come out.

On my extra day in Vrindavan, I still have to take things slowly as I still don't really feel completely energized again. While leaving Vrindavan in the taxi, I'm suddenly convinced that I will be able to take some of its spirit home. Now let's hope I managed to. The travel back took me ages, and at London Heathrow the cold feels freezing. When I finally walk out of the plane in Amsterdam, I'm surprised to see everything has been changed into Christmas style. Lights, trees everywhere. So much for renunciation. Western wealth all over the place once again. I just hope I will be able to cope somewhat and keep that Vrindavan spirit alive. Even though I came as a guest to Vrindavan and everybody served me, I hope to be somewhat of a servant in the future. That’s what Vrindavan taught me.

Shyam Gopal Das - December 19, 2004 8:28 pm

And some pictures...







Bhrigu - December 19, 2004 9:11 pm

Thanks for posting your story and the pictures! Such a pity we didn't meet in Vrindavan; I was there at the same time as you. If I had known you were staying at Vrindakunja I would certainly have sought out your company!


Your servant,



Shyam Gopal Das - December 20, 2004 9:00 am

Yes, Madhai Jivana told me you were in Vrindavan too. I met him three times of which two times were a total coincidence, but I sadly never met you. Well, we'll meet again pretty soon!