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Mādhurya Upāsanā: The Divine Quality of Vraja Dham Part 2


When Radha and Krishna appear on earth to manifest Their Prakat Lila, the divine Goloka Dham appears along with them. At that time, the divine quality of the Drishyamana Vrindavan (Vraja) is unveiled by Yogamaya. This divine abode of Radha and Krishna, which is the platform on which They manifest Their Lilas or pastimes, is made of the Chinmayi Shakti or Swarupa Shakti (internal potency of Krishna, Yogamaya). From the leaves, flowers, trees, etc to people, houses and the ghats around the lakes, everything is made of Chinmayi Shakti. It is untouched by external Maya and its three modes and imperceptible by material senses. When Radha and Krishna disappear from the earth, the divine quality of earthly Vraja Dham gets veiled gradually. The Vraja Dham is the same as that at the time of Krishna’s appearance, but due to the influence of Kaliyuga, Yogamaya veils its divine quality.

With the material eyes, people see that this Vraja Dham looks no different from any other place. The people staying here also don’t seem any different from the materialistic people all over the world. There is no hint of any divine quality of the Vraja Dham. Instead of divine trees and vines, thorny bushes and trees are rampant in Vraja Dham now.

But this is not the true form of Vraja Dham. (As explained in previous articles,) when the sadhak of Bhakti path attains Prema Netra, he is able to see the divine quality of Vraja Dham. Let me tell you about a sadhu who once came to Prema Sarovar while I lived there. At night, he said to me, “Baba, please give me a jute sack. I will sleep outside.” At that time, Prema Sarovar was not renovated and the steps around it were dilapidated. There were hardly any Sadhus living there (even the current Sudama Kuti was not yet built) and the place was surrounded by wilderness. I said, “Baba, why must you sleep outside in the jungle? Please sleep in my Kutir.” But he insisted on sleeping outside. I thought that I must not force a sadhu. If he insists on sleeping outside, so be it. So, I gave him a jute sack to sleep on.

The next morning, he came to return the jute sack. I asked him, “Baba, why did you insist so much on sleeping outside last night? Please tell me the true reason behind this.” He was a very dear sadhu to me. He too considered me a dear friend. He said, “Baba, to tell the truth, last year during the Holi festival, I was sitting near the steps of Prema Sarovar. At night, I fell asleep there. In that half-conscious state, I heard the sounds of groups of Gopis walking past me laughing and giggling, their anklets ringing in their lotus feet. Chhum Chhum Chhum Chhum, their anklets rang around me as if the Gopis were very near and passing by me. Sometimes I woke up from my slumber but could not see anything. As I went back to my sleepy, half-conscious state, I heard them deliberately striking their wrists full of bangles together near my ears. Chhun Chhun Chhun Chhun Chhun, their bangles rang near my ears. I woke up from my slumber again and again but saw nothing. Occasionally, a Gopi let her Odhni (thin veil or drape) fall on my face while passing by. I could feel its touch but see nothing on waking up. This continued all night. And a divine fragrance permeated the place. It filled me with indescribable bliss. I had this divine experience last year and came here this year too with the hope of experiencing something again.”

I asked him if he experienced something this time. “No, baba,” he said. “This year I didn’t experience anything.” Such divine experiences are special and the sadhak can experience them only when Radha and Krishna want him to. Nobody can say when Their causeless mercy befalls a sadhak. Only by Their causeless mercy, can one relish the divine pastimes of Madhurya Rasa. No amount of sadhana can enable the sadhak to experience this.

This is the true form of Vraja Dham. This (the experience of the said baba and many other devotees) is not an imagination of the mind. The dust of Vraja Dham is divine. Although the external appearance of Vraja Dham (including its trees, buildings, streets, etc) has changed, the dust of Vraja is still the same dust on which Radha, Krishna, Gopas and Gopis walked in the Dvapara Yuga.

Forty or forty-five years before (this is a satsanga of 2018), the appearance of Barsana was very different from its current form. Nearby there is Duman Van. Before, when I went to Duman Van for the first time, I was surprised and thought to myself, ‘Is there still such a beautiful and divine forest existing in this material world?’ The forest floor was covered with lush green velvety grass. Then there were big trees like Kadamba and Dungar. There were no thorny bushes at that time. It was resplendent with lush greenery till as far as the eyes could see.

As I ventured deeper into the forest, I reached a Kunda (small lake). Nobody lived there at all (Sadhus generally lived near Kundas or rivers because there was no other water source for daily needs). It was absolute solitude in that divine forest. And there were so many kinds of birds in the forest that I had never seen before in my life! Red, green, blue, yellow, white – all colours of birds. They continuously called, chittered, twittered and cawed while I sat on the lush green grass to do bhajan. I used to live in Prema Sarovar and often went to Duman Van to do bhajan sitting on the grass. There were no Brajawasis or Sadhus living there and the forest was filled with divine bliss and serenity.

But a few years back, when someone took me to Duman Van again in their car, there was not even a shred of that forest or its divine beauty. Now it is just a ‘forest’ in name but is abound with crop fields and houses of people. The Kunda has gone dry (which was filled with pure freshwater before) and instead of Kadamba trees, non-native Acacia trees (Prosopis juliflora, planted by colonial British before Independence) and other thorn bushes permeate the place. There is not a sign of any velvety grass now. It has become like a cemetery. I refused to believe that this was the same Duman Van where I did bhajan before. The Lila Shakti (Yogamaya) has veiled the divine beauty of the place.

The same has happened with Prema Sarovar. When I lived there, there were no thorn bushes or Acacia trees. The Sarovar was surrounded by green grass. In the rainy season, bushes of beautiful wildflowers filled the place (these bushes grow in the rainy season and die with winter, their seeds remaining dormant until the next rainy season). I used to go into the surrounding forest after lunch and chant Harinaam in solitude. Sometimes, rabbits would play fearlessly in front of me. Even when they saw me moving or making noise, they would come near me without any hesitation and look at me curiously! And now, the place is permeated by thorn bushes and Acacia trees. There is no sign of the former divine beauty. It seems like it is a place of ghosts now. The water of Prema Sarovar was pure and sweet. Now, it has become bitter.

Due to the influence of the people of Kali Yuga who are devoid of Bhakti and Dharma, Lila Shakti veils the divine beauty of the forests of Vraja. It is hard for today’s people to believe how beautiful Vraja was before. The Kundas and Sarovars were filled with pure freshwater. We used to use the water of Radhakunda (while living there) for cooking. There was no electricity or water supply. The Kundas were the source of water for Sadhus. There were some wells where there was a village and we used to bring drinking water from such wells in big earthen pots, even for Bhandaras (feasts for Sadhus, albeit the number of Sadhus was quite less). And now, the water of Radhakunda looks yellow and cloudy like buttermilk. Its taste has also become bitter.

Q: Please tell us about your experience in Duman Van. I have heard that you had some divine experience while doing bhajan there. (Baba refuses to describe his personal experience in front of others) This is very inspirational for sadhaks like us. And for you, such experiences are only normal. Please tell us a little about your divine experience.

A: While I was in Duman Van, I wanted to go to Nandagaon from there. But there were no roads. I would have to cross the dense forest to reach Nandagaon. Out of nowhere came three young Brajawasi girls in that dense forest. Two of them were fair and beautiful while one of them was dark-skinned. There was not a soul in that whole forest for miles. On one end of the forest is Nandagaon and on the other end is Sanket. I thought, ‘Where did these girls come from? Why would such young girls roam around in the dense forest miles away from any village?’ But those girls were not ordinary. I could understand by their behaviour that they were divine. Anyway, I asked them about the way to Nandagaon. They took me through that dense forest devoid of any paths to Nandagaon (near Paurnamasi Gufa).

A similar incident happened with Abhiram Baba (an acquaintance of Baba). He was going to some place and couldn’t find his way through the wilderness. Suddenly, he saw 3-4 little girls sitting on a thorny Acacia tree, swinging their legs. “O Baba, where are you going?” one of them asked him. “I am going to Duman Van,” said Abhiram Baba. “Ha, that is not the way! See, this is the way,” said the girl pointing towards the right direction. Abhiram Baba proceeded towards the direction she showed for a little distance when it dawned on him that it was impossible for someone (much less some little girls) to climb on top of an Acacia tree and sit there comfortably. Its branches were full of long and sharp needle-like thorns! He returned to check what he saw but could not find any girl anywhere.

Many Sadhus had such experiences before. Those who were very fortunate had divine experiences in Vraja Dham. But now, the time has changed. Now such experiences are laughed off as made-up stories. The forests have disappeared or become like cemeteries where ghosts live. [The lack of faith in Dham’s divine quality is a Dham Aparadha and the main reason why most sadhaks don’t have such experiences anymore.]

There is another place near Barsana called Pisai Jhari. Before, it was such a beautiful place! Now it too is full of thorny Acacia trees. When I was a young Sadhu (in his initial years of renunciate life), I heard that one can still hear the tune of Krishna’s flute in Pisai Jhari at night. I was very enthusiastic! I decided to stay the night in Pisai Jhari along with another Sadhu. We remained there in absolute darkness in the forest. But after a certain time, we were very annoyed by the mosquitoes and had to light a fire. We weren’t fortunate enough to hear any flute tunes though. The next day, we came back. Nonetheless, the forest was very beautiful at that time. Now, it is full of thorns and looks like a cemetery! This is the work of Lila Shakti.

A sadhak must avoid Dham Aparadha and Nama Aparadhas to be able to witness the divine quality of Vraja Dham. One should not hurt physically, verbally or mentally any Brajawasi or devotees. He must not cut the trees, vines, etc of Vraja Dham as they are all devotees of Radha Krishna. He must not consider the people, trees and animals of Vraja Dham as ordinary as those outside of Vraja. He must not consciously hurt any living being in any way. If the sadhak can stay in Vraja Dham in this way and have firm faith that this is the divine abode of Radha Krishna where Their divine pastimes of Madhurya Rasa manifest continuously, then even if he is not able to do a lot of bhajan, the dust of Vraja will deliver him to divine Prema Bhakti. Such is the glory of the dust of Vraja Dham! The sadhak should take shelter of the dust of Vraja Dham. Then he will be able to receive the mercy of Radharani very soon and attain divine Prema.


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