Travelogues of life in Vraja, ponderings on life in general, miscellaneous streams of thought, sort of blogs, and whatever else you may have.
Radha-kunda - Short and sweet - Story of my pilgrimage to Radha-kunda
Rasesh - Wed, 03 Dec 2003 12:24:42 +0530
I just wanted to describe my pilgrimage to Radha-kunda in 1979.
I flew out of Chicago going through New York to London, Kuwait and then to New Delhi. I stayed one day at the temple in New Delhi and visited with Lokanatha Maharaja briefly before taking the bus to Mathura and the tunga to Vrindavan. It was the greatest adventure of my life. I was travelling alone.
I rented a room at the Krishna-Balarama Mandira and enjoyed the freedom of guest status. I toured Vrindavan for a couple of days and then took the riksha to Radha-kunda. Yes, the riksha! I was wanting to take a cab but the riksha walla pleaded with me to acquire his services. He was the only riksha walla who could speak English at that time. Everyday at Krishna-Balarama Mandir he would be waiting outside for me, battling off his competition who were all so aggressively canvassing me that it sacred me little bit. I was always glad when he would push through the throng and grab my arm and lead me to his riksha. This kid was getting rich off of me. I was paying him the equivalant of about $12 american everyday to drive me around Vrindavan and see the temples, Yamuna etc.
Then it was off to Radha-kunda. It was over a hundred degrees that day.
We passed maybe two or three people on the way.
When I got to Radha-kunda, I really didn't know what to do. I was just going to kinda mill around and check out everything. The riksha walla just kinda left me to myself. He was not going to be my guide at Radha-kunda. He was just laying low. I really lost track of him right after we got there. He was around, waiting to take me back to Vrindavan, but I didn't know exactly where.
I started walking up to the kunda, not really knowing what to do when all of the sudden a young Indian boy wearing western style clothes appeared out of nowhere and was standing there next to me. He introduced himself and asked about my name and where I was from. He told me that he would be happy to show me around and point out the different places of interest. It has been a long time, I don't really remember exactly all the things he showed me. He took me to a staircase that led down to the Kunda. I was ready to jump in or do whatever I was told to do. He told just me to take a palmful of water and poor it over my head.
The whole tour didn't last more than a half hour. He seemed to be encouraging me not to loiter. He was very cautious to let me hang around. I was going to stay a while and chant some japa, but I could sense that he really didn't think it was a good idea. He was a local boy and he knew a lot more than I did. He just rushed me through and then clearly ushered me back to the riksha walla for the ride back to Vrindavan.
After the whirlwind tour of the kunda, the young man told me that he was just getting ready to start college and he needed some help buying books. I gladly offered him several hundred rupees. His eyes got real wide and a big smile came on his face and he said "with this I can buy all the books I need for college". He was very happy. I saw him as the representative of my spiritual master and took his guidance very seriously. He set the tone for my whole visit at Radha-kunda. I have never felt any regret that I humbly accepted his guidance and made a quick tour through Radha-kunda without loitering and commiting offenses. I am sure there were many reasons that he did not want to leave me unattended in that place. I took his lead and followed his direction very submissively. To this day, I consider him to have been somebody very special, who was my guide and master at Radha-kunda.
He was a nice young man. I think he did the right thing for me and I have no regrets. How could I?
Just as I was getting ready to go back to Vrindavan the riksha walla noticed he had a flat. There was a little shop right on the road where we stopped and got it repaired. while I was waiting there, some young man dressed in babaji cloth came up and started talking to me. I think I have already mentioned him in this forum.
It was a long hot ride back to Vrindavan. It was the adventure of a lifetime.
After a few days in Vrindavan, I went on to Bombay to continue the rest of my journey around India.
Mina - Sun, 07 Dec 2003 03:39:41 +0530
That is a nice little anecdote. However, there are missed opportunities when someone gets shuffled in and out of the Kund. There are various devotees with which to associate, plus it is advantageous to spend some time there meditating and chanting. Being paranoid about committing too many offenses is not exactly in order for persons that understand the sanctity of the holy dhAma. I think part of the problem is that when they see some Westerner coming, it spells potential trouble or some sort of disturbance on the horizon should they be allowed to linger. That is not altogether unwarranted, if you consider the track record.
Rasesh - Sun, 07 Dec 2003 06:37:54 +0530
I knew a guy who went to Radha-kunda with a group of ISKCON devotees and he was really excited. When he got there he just took off running to the kunda and jumped in. He broke both ankles. I guess he really got the mercy, huh?
braja - Sun, 07 Dec 2003 07:36:44 +0530
OK, I have to confess. The best meal I have ever had was at Radha-kunda. In Ayurveda I think it is called prajnaparadha, going against common sense, and it is also probably rasabasa (both in the mix of items and the enjoying mood) but in the cold of Winter I had an incredible meal of cold lassi and hot jalebis while waiting for the bus. It was perfect in its decadence and simplicity.
Another fond recollection is sitting on that small stone wall by Lalita-kunda watching all the different kirtana parties go by on Bahulastami night. The melodious, the cacophonous, the serene, the animated--a whole range of sadhus worshipping Radha. And me, a spectator.
Rasaraja dasa - Sun, 07 Dec 2003 10:46:41 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.
I last visited Radha Kunda on my final day in India with my wife, a friend and my 3 year old son Rasaparayana dasa. We were supposed to leave for Delhi in a few hours but at the last minute we decided we needed to visit both the devotees at Svananda Sukhada Kunj to give them a donation of equipment and money to help with their service, and to have one final moment at Radha Kunda.
When we arrived we went straight to Svananda Sukhada Kunj and gave a donation of lamps, blankets and money to the elderly devotees that take care of the property. We had visited this special place a few times during our two weeks in Vrndavan and were allowed to render service to the rooms of Bhaktivinod Thakur and the humble devotees that lived there.
After our visit at Svananda Sukhada Kunj we went quickly to Radha Kunda. At this point my wife and her friend split up from my son and I. My son and I made our way down to the edge of Radha Kunda as I wanted to sprinkle some water onto his head (during our stay it was too cold for a three year old boy to bathe there but he always asked for me to sprinkle the water on his head). When we got one step from the edge I went to bend down to take some water into my hands and I looked up to see a very old, and saintly looking, Vaisnava smiling at us. He stepped forward and took some of the water from Radha Kunda into his hands and sprinkled it onto my sons head. He was looking at my son in a very sweet manner and he put his hands on his head and chanted Jai Radha Jai Radha Jai Radha. He then bent over again and repeated the same to me. His face and his voice were so soft and sweet and when he touched me I truly felt cared for and loved by a resident of Radha Kunda.
I asked for his blessings that my family and I would again be fortunate enough to visit Radha Kunda and he smiled from ear to ear and swayed his head from side to side and said “yes, yes, you will return; in your heart you will never leave”. With that he turned and walked away.
As my son and I went to the cab we saw this elderly sadhu and we both paid our obeisances to him and gave him, through some protest on his part, the remaining money that we had.
Aspiring to be a servant of the Vaisnavas,
RADDD - Thu, 11 Dec 2003 18:47:29 +0530
Rasesh, I was very pleased with what you did at Radha Kunda. I hope I do the same when I get there. Vrinda dharma is very merciful. As soon as you get there she takes care of you and guides you automatically. It is my experience also. No need for speculation or to impose personal programs. I am very fortunate to hear from all of you who went there and very much appreciated and served her ressidents with humility and much respect. Tears came to my eyes just reading about your devotion and service there. Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful experience. I saw this verse in Vrindavan Mahamrita by Prabodananda Sarasvati approving of your behaviour there. Here it is:
"I pray that I may engage in the service of the moving and non-moving residents of vrindavana. What are Brahma and the other demigods in comparison to them? The residents of Vrindavan are more glorious. They are very dear to vraja's king. Their forms are eternal,spiritual and full of nectar. Their glories are limitless. They are the root that sprouts into bliss of the Upanishads"