November 2011


radha-krishna-pranaya-vikritir hladhini saktir asmad/ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau/caitanyakhyam prakatam adhuna tad-dvayam caikyam aptam/ radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krishna-svarupam

‘The loving affairs of Sri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord’s internal pleasure-giving potency.  Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally.  Now these two transcendental identities have again united in the form of Sri Krishna Caitanya.  I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Srimati Radharani although He is Krishna Himself’ [Caitanya Caritamrita Adi-lila 1.5]

radha – of Srimati Radharani; bhava – mood; dyuti – the lustre; su-valitam – who is adorned with; krishna-svarupam – who is identical with Sri Krishna

‘Radha-Krishna is one.  Radha-Krishna is Krishna and Krishna’s pleasure-giving potency combined.  When Krishna exhibits His pleasure potency, He appears to be two – Radha and Krishna.  Otherwise, Radha and Krishna are one.  This oneness may be perceived by advanced devotees through the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.  This was the case with Ramananda Raya.  One may aspire to attain such a position but one should not try to imitate the maha-bhagavata‘ [CC Madhya-lila 8.282 Purport]

I had a good rest in Braja Mohan’s father’s room.  I bathed, then put my dhoti and t-shirt on.  I had to leave.  Ivor and Nicholas were waiting  for me.

I took breakfast with Braja Mohan.  ‘I have to go now’, I said.  Braja Mohan, his mother and his beautiful two-year old daughter, Gunjin, were waiting at the door.  It was an emotional parting.  When Braja Mohan humbly bowed down from his side of the door, I did the same; without taking my shoes off.  An elderly sadhu by the name of Ghaneshyama saw this and frowned disapprovingly.   Thinking his hospitality was profit-driven, I offered Braja Mohan a hundred rupee note.  What I thought was a reasonable gesture made him almost feverish with embarrassment.  So much so, he couldn’t even verbally reject my offer.  Rather, he seemed to blow the note off with his hands as if it were something he didn’t want to touch.  Ghaneshyama’s second rebuke hit harder.  ‘You cannot purchase bhakti‘, he said.  I was dumfounded. But the dread-locked Ghaneshyama, his belongings tied to the end of the branch of a tree, walked on.   And was gone.  Three small figures waved from the foot of Radharani’s hill until I, too, disappeared from their sight.

We ascended the flight of stairs behind Braja Mohan prabhu’s house for the Sriji Mandir.  We stood on the top of the hill and admired the view of Varsana.  I followed Braja Mohan to the entrance of the Temple.  ‘You can leave your capalas here’, he said.  We took off our shoes and entered the crowded Temple.  I was the only westerner – something you would not find in a cosmopolitan ISKCON Temple.  Had I stepped back in time?  A group of local devotees, some in dhotis and some in western dress, huddled around a harmonium singing songs of praise to the Divine Couple.  Braja Mohan took me by the hand and led me through the crowd.  We wormed our way near to the front of the altar.

The brahmana priests were engaged in concentrated worship of Radha and Krishna.  The bell above the Temple Room door clanged incessantly.  The Deities were brightly dressed and, when the pujari blew the  conch, the restless-looking crowd burst into  rapturous song.  I closed my eyes and lost myself in song.   The assembly had become one mouth in their spirited praise of the ultimate worshipper, Sri Radha.  No hype.  No spiritual celebrity.   Just a heartfelt offering of love from a congregation to their Deities.  When the singing stopped there was a press of devotees towards the altar, where old women and men-with-moustaches-and-pants stretched to reach the sacred ghee-lamps.  By Braja Mohan’s grace, I was able to get a nice view of the Deities and offer prayers to the Divine Couple.  We left the Temple and retraced our way down the ancient stairway.  I bade good night to my friend, and took rest.