I think of my Sri Radha in my deepest inmost thoughts.
I know she is there, unmoving, forever mine ~
I am conscious of her presence...
Beautiful one, your face is lovely as the moon,
and the nightingales singing in wild abandon
wrench at my heart and are driving me distracted!
Speak to me, my love, speak such words to me
that I shall be anointed by them; as a king is anointed
by sacred holy oil, let me be anointed by the honeyed
sweetness of your words.
My love, my love, you are my all -
my secret wealth, my jewel, my gem
in a vast ocean that contains all loveliness.
My Radha, there is in my heart one idea,
in my mind one thought ~ My love,
it is you held by my encircling love.
~ Gita Govind ~
In the Grace, ever since merging in the ecstasy of the uttermost Grace of Divinity, the silent communication of the heart is inscrutable as He Himself and His Lila.
On the occasion of Sri Radha Ashtami we visit Sri Barsana, the blissful realm of Sri Radha. All devotees gather at Sri Ji's Mandir at the break of dawn to witness the Mangala Arti then kirtan, and the Samaj continues singing throughout the night, to the Abhishek, the auspicious bathing of Sri Radha with curds and milk. The sacred Samaj of Sri Radha's Advent is sung with great devotion as the sun rises over Sri Ji's Dham.
Each day following Radha Ashtami special Raslilas are performed at the sacred sites where Sri Thakurji and His Beloved perform even to this day, their Lilas. At Sri Prem Srovar, a sacred tank filled with the tears of the Divine Couple Sri Gopal Chandra Dev is taken out on a gorgeously decorated barge and afterward He and Sri Ji watch fireworks from a beautiful throne in front of their temple. At Mur Kuti, site of the Peacock Dance this Lila is performed. Jhulan (swing) Lila is done at Vilas Ghar, where Sri Ji and Shyam Sunder pass their time in Divine Love Dalliance and again repeat their Lila in the forest of Ghaverban. At Priya Kund the deities of Jaipur Raj Mandir also go boating to the delight of all, and a glorious samaj is sung while carrying the Divinities back to the temple, and end at Sri Ji's Temple. At Sankrikor, the narrow ravine where Sri Thakurji demanded a 'tax' of curd and milk from Sri Radha and the Gopis going to market, the Lila and Samaj are re-enacted. The ecstasy of these occasions cannot be easily communicated!
Kadam Kandi is a very beautiful green forest between dry brown hills, where Sri Naga Baba did his sadhana. Once while walking in the forest his long hair was caught in a tree and he refused to allow anyone to disentangle it. He wanted the Jugal Kishore (Sri Radha and Krishna) to free him. When Sri Thakurji Himself appeared, Naga Baba told Him to go away and come back with Sri Radhika - and he did so to free His bhakta! A grand mela (festival) and Lila happens in this holy place in the valley and atop the hill at the Samadhi of Sri Naga Baba. All the Gopis of the very caste who once played with Sri Gopal come in the same colorful dress they have worn for centuries - filling the lovely tree-shaded kund amidst the forest with a flood of orange, red, gold and green, as well as old traditional kirtans. Thence all the devotees go on to Kama for darshan. Kama is a 'second Vrindavan', a city of many, many temples... There is also an ancient ruined temple atop the hill with 84 mystic pillars, one for every 'kos' (2 miles) of the 84 kos of Vraj Dham, (the 84 sacred sites of Vraj).
From Kama the Mela moves to Karehla, where Maha Ras Lila is performed but once a year, on Purnima (full-moon). Here, at the site of the original Ras Lila, a masterly crafted golden mukhet (crown) 500 years old, is worn by Thakurji, a once a year darshan. One then proceeds to Pashia, a supremely holy forest, unchanged from the time of the Mahabharat, when Sri Krishna graced this earth. Ashwatthama, son of Dronacharya, killed the children of the Pandavas by treachery. Arjuna did not kill him because he was the son of his Guru, but shaved his head and beard, a sign of disgrace. Ashwatthama retired to Pashia, where he did great penance to please Lord Shankara. The inhabitants of the surrounding villages believe he still dwells in this woods and it has not been touched by profane hands. Only sadhus living within the forest will take the dead wood to burn, within the forest itself, otherwise each tree, plant and animal lives and dies according to its Karma in its own place. Each Saturday the people of the neighboring villages do parikrama of the forest to obtain the blessings of Ashwatthama, who is very kind, they say, who cures illnesses and grants boons. The forest remains today just as the woods and hermitages, which Sri Ram Chandra passed through when He was exiled, are discribed by Goswami Tulsidasji in his Ram Charitmanasa.
Since then, Shanji has been going on in Vraj. Shanjis are mystical diagrams of sacred places in Vraj. Just as they were made by Sri Radhika and Her Sakhis, the girls of Vraj make them today at their homes, on the walls, with cow dung and flowers. At Sri Ji Mandir the Samaj of how Sri Radhika and Her friends made Shanjis is sung daily, and a beautiful Shanji, made with colored sand is prepared. Uchogam, the village of Lalita Sakhi, was made showing the temples, sacred kund, Gopis and Gopas, animals; then Prem Sarover, Sanket (where Radha and Krishna met for the first time), Nandagaon, Kokilban, and Sheshshai - the bed of the snake Shesha, on which Sri Narayan lies on the ocean of milk (khir, according to Vrajavasis...), served by Sri Lakshmi, with the Lotus of the 14 worlds, the seat of Brahma, sprouting from His Naval.
How to describe the eternal bliss of Sri Vraj Dham? ☆°•. ★¸.•*¨
☆°•. ★¸.•*¨An unsigned letter written in the handwriting of Baba Asim Krishna Das in 1972, and addressed to me in the handwriting of Baba Sripadji.
☆°•. ★¸.•*¨ Jai Jai Sri Radhey! ☆°•. ★¸.•*¨