Archive for July 11, 2017

Sri Jagdish das babaji Maharaj at Sri Kaliya daha

Posted in Uncategorized on July 11, 2017 by padmanabhdas

Today is the disappearance day of Sri Jagdish Das Babaji.
Jagdish Das Babaji lived at Kaliyadaha, not far from the temple of Shri Radha-Madanmohan Ju. He was born in a respected Brahmin family from Barddhaman in Bengal, and grew up to become a famous doctor. But he left all that behind to live in Vrindavan and dedicate his life to Radha and Krishna as a renounced monk.
His Gurudev was Siddha Bhagavan Das Babaji of Ambika Kalna. He also got the blessings of many great souls in Vrindavan. One of those great souls was Sri Premanand Goswami of Shringar Vat, a descendant of Shri Nityananda Prabhu.
The Magic of Braj Raj
One day Baba was feeling a heavy lack of inspiration in his bhajan. That day when he visited Shringar Vat, Premanand Goswami noticed Baba’s sadness. He told him to roll in the dust of Vrindavan, which he did immediately. At that moment the joy of Radha and Krishna’s love returned to his heart.
After Premanand Goswami passed away, Baba would roll in the dust of Vrindavan in front of Goswami ji’s samadhi (tomb) if he felt disturbed at heart.

Baba’s Brother Visits from Bengal
Once Baba’s brother came from Bengal to visit him. Upon hearing the news that his brother’s wife had died, Baba said, “Oh, that’s wonderful! Now the bondage of family life is broken for you! You can come to Vrindavan and do bhajan.”
After his brother left, Baba realized his mistake. “I must have hurt my brother very badly,” Baba thought. “I should have comforted him instead.”
Baba had no idea where his brother was staying in Vrindavan, and he did not have his address in Bengal either. So Baba made the journey to Hathras train station three days in a row, hoping to meet his brother there. But unfortunately his brother never came.
Baba then wrote a letter to a friend in Barddhaman, asking him to find his brother and ask forgiveness on his behalf.
At last Baba received a reply from his brother that he was not hurt, but that he would not be visiting anymore, because he felt he had distracted Baba from his bhajan. He did not wish to disturb him further.
An Unusual Feast
Every year on the disappearance day of his Gurudev, Baba used to make a mini festival by offering just a few malpowas (sweet pancakes) and distributing pieces of them as prasad.
Then one year, a devotee gave Baba forty rupees to hold a small feast on the occasion. Baba personally went to the market an bought 20 rupees worth of gur (jaggery) for making malpowas.
When Baba returned home, he left the bags of gur in his hut and went to wash his feet by the well. But he forgot to latch the door. When he came back, he found that a gang of monkeys had torn open the bags and were having a grand time feasting on the gur. Baba laughed began to recite the prem dhwani (prayers before a feast).
That evening the devotee who had sponsored the “feast” came to see Baba. Baba told him, “So many Vaishnavs were served today by your mercy!” But there was no sign that a feast had occurred.
When that devotee asked for prasad, Baba said, “I bought twenty rupees worth of gur and the sacred monkeys of Vrindavan blessed me with their presence. They had a grand festival in my hut and left. Their remnants are still there on the floor, you may take some prasad from there. And here is the rest of your money; please use it to serve the Vaishnavs once more.”
The Devotee who Ate Fish

If anyone ever criticized another person or talked about their faults, Baba used to stop them and tell this story.
“Once a devotee said to Shri Bhagavan Das Babaji Mahashay, ‘So-and-so comes here and he talks like some big devotee. But he has not even given up eating fish!’
“Babaji Mahashay asked him, ‘Have you ever eaten fish?’
“‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘But I don’t eat it anymore.’
“’Just like that, he will also quit eating fish one day,’ replied Babaji Mahashay.
“Shri Bhagavan Das Babaji Mahashay did not approve of this kind of talk. He taught that devotee, ‘It’s not ok to find fault with somebody for doing something you used to do yourself. The soul progresses little by little. Do not look upon anyone’s faults.’”

Baba’s Soft Heart
Baba was always careful to avoid offending anyone. He never used to attend any kirtans or spiritual discources, because he worried he might find fault with the kirtaniyas or the speakers.
Many sadhus prefer to remain absorbed in their own private worship and not to speak with anyone, but Jagdish Das Babaji was not like that. He felt that if someone came to him for advice, it was because Mahaprabhu had sent him, and it was his duty to answer their questions and offer advice. Baba also never hosted any discourses at his place, because he was concerned that if any visitors came during the program, they might not get a chance to meet him and ask their questions.
Whenever a group of devotees came to speak with Baba, Baba would usually ask the questions and answer them himself. He preferred to offer his answers first, and let others express their thoughts afterwards. Otherwise, Baba might have to contradict someone’s opinion, and he preferred not to do so, fearing someone might feel hurt.
Once someone asked Baba, “How can I attain prem? Please instruct me.”
“Would you be able to live here in Vrindavan?” asked Baba.
“No Baba, I wouldn’t be able to do it,” replied the devotee.
“Then take two rupees and buy Srila Narottam Das Thakur Mahashay’s Prarthana and Prem Bhakti Chandrika. Read them all the time and worship according to their teachings. Then you will attain prem.”
Baba used to say, “Shri Gauranga, who came to this world to distribute prem and the Holy Name, mercifully gave us this teaching:তৃণাদপি সুনীচেন তরোরিব সহিষ্ণুনা
অমানিনা মানদেন কীর্তনিযঃ সদা হরিঃ
तृणादपि सुनीचेन तरोरिव सहिष्णुना
अमानिना मानदेन कीर्तनीयः सदा हरिः
trinadapi sunichena taroriva sahishnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

One who is humbler than a blade of grass and as tolerant as a tree, who does not expect respect for himself or herself, but who always gives respect to others, can chant Harinaam endlessly.
“As long as you are unable to embody the heart of this verse, you will not attain prem. And however much you are able to follow it, that much closer you will get to prem. The day you perfect your following of this instruction, that day you will attain prem, and you receive the supreme blessing of Sri Krishna’s darshan.”
On June 30th, 1915 AD (ashadh shukla shashti of Bangabda 1322) Sri Jagadish Baba left this world at Kaliyadaha, at about 100 years of age.


Banamali Raibahadur and the Hookah-Smoking Radhavinod

Posted in Uncategorized on July 11, 2017 by padmanabhdas

Rajarshi Banamali Raibahadur’s deities of Sri Radhavinod (better known as “Jamai Vinod”) reside in Tarash Mandir near Ramkrishna Mission hospital in Vrindavan.

Appearance of Radhavinod
Radhavinod ju was found in the river Padma in modern-day Bangladesh by a man named Vancharam. Vancharam was the manager of the Tarash estate. That day as he was taking his morning bath, he heard a voice saying, “Take me out of the water and bring me home!”
Vancharam looked around to see if perhaps a child had fallen into the water. Then suddenly, he felt a hand tugging at his leg. He reached down and grabbed the hand, and pulled out the deity of Radhavinod. He took the deity home and began to serve him with great care and love.

Unexpected Guests
But Radhavinod was very demanding. Whenever he wanted something, he would come to Vancharam, or someone else, in a dream.
On one occasion, the naughty Radhavinod came in a wealthy devotee’s dream and asked him for a hookah. The devotee brought a very expensive silver hookah. Vancharam started offering the hookah every day after Radhavinod’s meals.
On another occasion, some guests came to Vancharam’s house at night while Vancharam and his wife were sleeping. Not wanting to disturb his sleep, Radhavinod took the form of alittle boy and began to entertain the guests himself.
He told the guests, “My father is sleeping right now… but I can wake him up if you want!”
“No, no!” replied the guests, “Please don’t disturb him. We will cook for ourselves.”
Radhavinod went to the market to buy groceries for his guests. But he didn’t have any money. The shopkeeper was very reluctant to give this little boy groceries on credit, so Radhavinod gave him his golden bangles. “Hold on to these until my father pays you tomorrow,” said Radhavinod.
The next day Vancharam asked his guests with surprise, “When did you come? Who let you in?”
They replied, “We came late last night but your son let us in. What a good boy he is! He made all the arrangements for our supper.”
Vancharam was speechless. His suspicions were confirmed when the shopkeeper came to his house next day with Radhavinod’s bangles, asking for the payment.

A Love Affair with the Raja’s Daughter
Around this time the head of Tarash estate, Raja Banwari Lal, started coming for darshan of Vancharam’s now-famous deity. He also brought his wife and his daughter, Radha.
Radha loved Radhavinod, and Radhavinod loved her too. He used to flirt with Radha and pinch her to tease her. Radha saw this naughtiness clearly but her mother and father could not perceive it.
One night Radhavinod said to Vancharam in a dream, “Let me go and live with the Raja. I am pleased with your seva, but now I want to accept his seva. Don’t be sad, for you will soon realize me.”
Thus Radhavinod went to live with the Raja, and Radha served Radhavinod with all her heart. She decided what he would wear each day and what he would eat, and prepared flower ornaments for her Beloved. Her expertise in seva seemed impossible for such a young girl.
Radhavinod was very pleased with her, and showed it by teasing her even more than before. One day while Radha was offering Binod Ji a garland, he grabbed the corner of her saree and said, “You must marry me.” She told her mother what Radhavinod had done, but of course she didn’t believe her.

Radhavinod becomes “Jamai Vinod”
Soon after Radha became very ill. Radhavinod appeared to Radha’s mother in a dream and told her, “Radha will not remain in this world much longer. I can no longer live without her direct seva, so I will take her home as my bride. Make a murti of Radharani from the dried-up devadaru tree in the courtyard. Your daughter will also merge with that deity and thus attain me. When the murti is ready, you must peform our wedding.”
When Radha’s mother told Raja Banwari Lal about the dream, they both wept. But their tears were of a mixture of joy and sorrow, because they had faith that their daughter would soon attain Radhavinod’s lotus feet, and that both of them would live in their house as a married couple, in the form of the deities.
The devdaru tree was cut down and work on the murti started immediately. As soon as the murtiwas ready, Radha left her body.
Arrangements for her funeral and her marriage in the form of the murti were made simultaneously. After the wedding ceremony, Radhavinod became known as “Jamai Vinod” (Vinod, the son-in-law).

Banamali Raibahadur meets his Beloved
When Raja Banwari Lal died, his adopted son Banamali took over his position as head of the estate.

Banamali Raibahadur was a British-educated barrister (lawyer). His family was very aristocratic, and during the British Raj they had British guards to protect their more than 52 bighas (32 acres) of property. Banamali Rai was a great advocate of women’s rights including a widow’s right to marry. He was friends with Raja Rammohan Roy.
But at that time, Banamali was a member of the bramho-samaj. Because he did not have much faith in deities, he neglected Radhavinod altogether. He hired a pujari to continue the worship as a matter of mere routine.

Banamali meets Jagadbandhu
Then an amazing thing happened to Banamali. One day he was travelling down the highway towards Pabana on the back of an elephant, surrounded by attendants and royal guards armed with guns. Suddenly Prabhu Jagadbandhu came with a huge kirtan party. Hundreds of devotees sang with khol and kartal, with Jagadbandhu dancing at the head of the procession.
Banamali could not tear his ears and eyes away from the sound of the Holy Name and the beauty of the saint’s dancing. It was something totally new for him and it was completely irresistible. He did not know why he jumped down from the elephant, kicked off his royal slippers and started dancing in the midst of the kirtan.
Banamali danced and danced until the kirtan party reached its destination. There he bowed low before Jagadbandhu Prabhu, and requested him to come to visit his royal villa. Jagadbandhu accepted the invitation came and showered his blessings upon Banamali. He stayed in the palace for a number of days explaining Bhakti yoga to him and instilling love for the Divine Couple in his heart.

The Fight for the Hookah
After that, Banamali Ray became enthusiastic about Radhavinod’s seva. But he stopped the hookah offering, for he felt it was against the scriptures.
But Radhabinod made his own arrangements. During this period, a siddha-mahatma named Sri Krishnasundara Ray used to live with Banamali. He was completely absorbed, meditating on Radha and Krishna day and night while externally he would smoke a hookah mechanically, out of mere habit. Whenever Krishnasundar Ray lost external consciousness, which was quite often, Radhavinod would steal the hookah from his hand and smoke.
But after Krishnasundara Ray left the material realm, Radhavinod began to lament the loss of his hookah seva. He came in the pujari’s dream and said,
“Give me back my hookah! I used to smoke secretly with Ray Prabhu. But now that he is gone I have not smoked for four days!”
When Banamali Rai was informed of the dream, he made arrangements for the hookah seva to be restored. But in his heart he doubted whether Radhavinod ju really smoked.

A Divine Sound
Dr. OBL Kapoor writes in The Saints of Vraj, “Once Jagadbandhu Prabhu was staying in Banamali Ray’s palace in a room adjacent to the temple of Radhavinod. After rajbhog he called Banamali Ray and said, “Today let us enjoy the hookah-smokinglila of Lilamay (the playful Lord). He took Banamali Ray with him and sat in the verandah of the temple.
“After some time he said, ‘See, Vinod Ji is smoking. Listen to the hubble-bubble of the hookah.’ Simultaneously, Jagadbandhu granted Banamali spiritual ears to hear the sound of the hookah. As he was listening to the sound, he went into bhav-samadhi and tears began to trickle from his eyes.”
In 1897, Banamali Raibahadur went to Vrindavan and received diksha at the lotus feet of Prabhupad Sri Radhika Nath Gosvami, a direct descendent of Sri Advaita Prabhu. After that he began to serve Radhavinod directly. He became so absorbed in seva that he had little time for anything else. So he entrusted his estate to a manager and moved to Vrindavan permanently.
In Braj, Banamali constructed two buildings; Tarash Mandir in Vrindavan, and Rajbari in Radhakund. He and Radhavinod divided their time between both places.
The Legacy of Banamali Raibahadur
Banamali Raibahadur was at the centre of the Vaishnav community in Braj.
Many mahatmas graced his house with their presence, and he always made arrangements for Hari Katha, kirtan and other religious festivals. His estate included a large amount of land, part of which was later given to Ramkrishna Mission to build their famous hospital in Vrindavan.
Banamali Raibahadur directed all the resources of his estate towards the service of the Vaishnavs. He built a charitable hospital and a school for teaching the bhakti scriptures, which provided free room and board for its students. He also started a press which printed Srimad Bhagavatam with eight commentaries and other bhakti literature, all of which he distributed free of cost amongst the sadhus.
He received the blessings of all the siddha-mahatmas of his day, but some particularly showered their mercy on him. They were Sri Radhikanath Goswami, Jagadbandhu Prabhu, Sri Radharaman Charan Das Babajii Maharaj, Sri Vijaykrishna Gosvami, Sri Gaurakishor Shiromani, Sri Ramhari Das Babaji, Sri Krishnasundar Ray, Sri Harisundar Bhaumik Bhuiyan, Sri Jagadish Das Babaji and Sri Ramakrishna Das Pandit Baba.
With the blessings of these mahatmas, Banamali Raibahadur easily attained the lotus feet and eternal loving seva of Sri Radhvinod in Eternal Vrindavan.
(This story is based on the accounts presented in The Saints of Vraj by Dr. OBL Kapoor, Gaudiya Vaishnav Jeevan by Shri Haridas Das Babaji and an interview with Udayan Sharma of Tarash Estate)

Why hear shastra from a Deovtee

Posted in Uncategorized on July 11, 2017 by padmanabhdas

Smt. Ramaa Bandhopadhyay was a female saint of the Gaudiya Sampraday. She was a direct disciple of Shri Ramdas Babaji Maharaj. A learned scholar and professor, she travelled throughout India giving discourses on bhakti-yoga. She also wrote a number of books including a commentary on Chapter 14 of the Shrimad Bhagwatam, the Brahma Stuti.
In this portion of the commentary, Prof. Bandhyopadhyay dicusses the following verse of the Brahma Stuti:jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṃ bhavadīya-vārtām |
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṃ tanu-vāg-manobhir
ye prāyaśo ‘jita jito’py asi tais tri-lokyām
||SB 10.14.3||

Those who, even while remaining situated in their established social positions, throw away the process of knowledge and with their body, words and mind offer all respects to descriptions of Your personality and activities, dedicating their lives to these narrations, which are spoken by You personally and by Your pure devotees, certainly conquer You, although You are otherwise unconquerable by anyone in the three worlds.
Commentary: “There are some who, without stuggling in gyan-marg, remain in the same order of life in which they were called, spending all their time hearing with great humility descriptions of Your excellences from Your great devotees. All their actions–speech, thought and their every breath is saturated with devotional fervor for You. You, who are unconquerable by anything in the three worlds are certainly conquered by them.”
Hearing the glories of Krishna’s devotee is more helpful to the jeev (soul) than glorification of Krishna Himself. This is the reason that Brahmaji is using the term “bhavadeeya.” Brahma has also has used another term, “san-mukaritaam,” which means the glories of Krishna and His devotee should be san-mukaritaam, or in other words one should hear the glories of Krishna and His devotees from the lips of of a Vaishnav. The effect of hearing Hari-katha from a non-Vaisnava will not be the same. For example we drink milk to attain bodily strength, but if the tongue of a snake contacts that same milk, that milk will become like poison.
Here one can raise the question why it is required to hear the Hari-katha from the mouth of a Vaishnav? A real Vaishnav will just speak from shastra, and I can just read the shastras myself. What is the necessity to listen to the same thing from the mouth of a Vaishnav? This is an improper conclusion. It is true that the Vaishnav would be speaking from shastra, but he would not only be speaking the words from shastra-–as saints follow the words of the scriptures for their own sadhan and bhajan, they actually experience shastra. They directly realize what they are speaking and thus when they mix their own bhajan-realization with the words from the sastra while delivering Hari-katha, their speech becomes extremely powerful and has much more of an impact upon the listener.
With the help of a mundane example this may become clearer. Beneath a banyan tree one can find numerous small banyan fruits, which contain small seeds within. Though all the required ingredients to germinate the seeds like soil, water, air and light are available beneath the banyan tree, we do not see the appearance of new banyan saplings growing beneath the tree. Rather we can find that the saplings of the banyan trees are appearing on the edge of roofs, near houses, on top of walls, etc. The saplings are found to grow where the normal required ingredients for germination are largely absent. How is this possible that they are growing in places where the main ingredient, soil is absent? The reason is that when the fruits of the banyan tree are consumed by birds, these seeds become mixed with the saliva of the birds. When they are digested they are transformed and they are transferred to those remote locations in the stool of those birds. Thus those otherwise dormant seeds grow wonderfully even without the presence of soil which would normally be necessary for sucessful germination. The new saplings are even sometimes seen growing on stone.
Similarily, great Vaishnavs practice the teachings of the words of the sastras in their devotional lives. They digest those words in their hearts and mind and a transformation occurs through their bhajan. When the words of the shastra and bhajan realization are combined and presented in the form of speech eminating from the lotus-lips of a Vaishnav, the power of Bhakti Maharani is manifested and even a greatly fallen person is delivered from ignorance at once by hearing such katha.
Bhagavan Sri Kapil Dev has said that Hari-katha from the mouth of great saints acts like a medicine in the mind and heart of the jiva. It cures the disease and weakness of the mind and ears. An example of a disease of the ears is interest or ruchi in hearing mundane talks about wealth and property. Blaspheming others and having interest in hearing about ones own “glories” is another example. With such weaknesss of the ears one is not able to listen to Hari-katha for any length of time. Just as in the case of a weak patient who is unable to walk for a long period of time, he requires periodic rests during his walks. Likewise, if one is unable to listen to Hari-katha for a long period of time that is a sign of having a weakness of one’s ear.
By hearing Hari-katha from the lips of a Vaishnav, the disease of the ear will be cured. At that time one’s ears will not be interested in hearing talks about mundane wealth or material enjoyment. One can understand that their disease is cured if they could go on listenting to Hari-katha indefinitely. We have been speaking of the ears, but the same is true for the mind as well. The disease of the mind is enjoying thoughts of materialistic topics, and the symptom of its weakness is to be unable to think of Krishna. Hearing the glories of Krishna from the mouth of a Vaisnava will cure one’s mental diseases and strengthen the mind as well. That is why Brahmaji is telling, “san-mukaritaam” – hearing the excellences of Krishna and His devotees from the mouth of saints is understod as the easiest way to sustain their life.
Brahmaji has talked about hearing Hari-katha, but in which way should one hear Hari-katha? Is it dependent on the person who is about to hear Hari Katha? Is that person independent? In other words can he listen to Hari-katha according to his own will? Brahmaji is going to answer that now.
No! The person who wants to hear Hari-katha is not independent. The Goddess of Hari-katha is the controller of this and she is supremely independent. Thus the master of language, the speaker of the Veda, Brahma has used the term “shruti-gataam”. Hari-katha is supremely independent. If Hari-katha mercifully enters into the ears of devotee then he can hear it, otherwise not. Now a question may arise. How is this possible? If I sit near the Vaishnava while he is delivering Hari-katha, why can I not have access to this? Great saints are telling us, in spite of sitting in a place where Hari-katha is taking place, unless and until one receives the mercy of Hari-katha Devi he will still not be able to actually hear it. He would feel sleepy or his mind would wander and think about something else. Eventually the Hari-katha will be finished and he will not be able to taste even a single drop of it.
Then what is the remedy? The solution is that before coming to hear Hari-katha one should pray to Bhakti Maharani. “O! Hey! Goddess of Harikathai! O Bhakti Maharani! Please be merciful to me! Please manifest your presence in my ears!” This is the significance of the usage of term “shruti-gataam.”
In order to attain Hari-katha one should associate with Vaishnavs. Hari-katha is only available near the Vaishnav. Everyone has their own taste. Wealthy people relish talks about money, and the Vaishnav only talks about Krishna. One can find rotten meat where dogs live, while in a lion’s den one can expect to find elephant pearl, “gajamuktaa”, as after killing elephants lions will keep the elephant pearl in their own den. So, as one would find rotten talks of wealth near rich people, precious Hari-katha is only found near the Vaishnav.vaishnav sangete man, aanandita anukshan,
sadaa hoy krishna parasanga
deen narottama kaande, hiyaa dhairya naahi baandhe
mor dashaa keno hoilo bhanga

(17 Prarthana)

“Oh mind! In the association of the Vaishnavs you can constantly and blissfully discuss topics of Krishna! The fallen Narottam weeps: Alas! my heart has become impatient (because I am deprived of such association)! Why have I ended up in this condition?”

Shri Radharaman’s Ghrishm Kalin Nikunj-Sewa comes to an end – courtesy Vrindavantoday. org – Sri Vrindavan Seva

Posted in Uncategorized on July 11, 2017 by padmanabhdas

The rainy season has come. The kadamb flowers are blooming, ghevar is being sold in the sweet shops, and the sky has wrapped her soft blanket of deep blue clouds tightly around Vrindavan.
It is so cool; so fresh and fragrant. The summer scorched us, but it also gave us the most gorgeous jasmine flowers, ripe yellow mangoes and juicy lychees to offer to our Beloved. And best of all, it brought our pran Radharaman out into his jagmohan for this grishm kalin (summer) seva.
By the blessings and inspiration of nitya leela pravisht jagadguru Shri Purushottam Goswami Maharaj, Shri Radharamanji’s nikunjas, also known as phool banglas (flower palaces) have been absolutely spectacular during this summer festival.

Each nikunj has a special theme, for example the shopan (stairway) nikunj which was offered on June 23rd. This kunj is carefully crafted from fragrant flowers and slices of banana tree trunks, which shimmer elegantly like mother-of-pearl. Its five steps represent the five sacred moods devotees offer to the Lord: shant (a peaceful mood), dasya (servanthood), sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (the love of a parent) and madhurya (romantic love).
On June 29th, Radharamanji enjoyed a “peacock-throne” kunj. The banana stems and flowers of this kunj are arranged and sculpted in such a way that Radharamanji appears to be surrounded by a peacock’s tail feathers. The bhav is that the peacocks have offered this special nikunj, endowed with their own beauty,to their Beloved Radharaman, and they are passionately dancing for him.

But the highlight of these days was the Ratha Yatra. On this day, Radharamanji wore a stunning new red dress and sat in a charming chariot made of silver, complete with silver charioteers. Devotees vied with each other to catch a glimpse of the Darling of Vrindavan as he sat on the rath with Radharani. Shaligram shila was taken on a small procession around Radharmaanji’s jagmohan (the outer part of his altar).

July 4th featured a very special kunj made of hundreds of mangoes! And on July 5th, the official final day of the seva’s transition, Radharamanji stunned the devotees in a vibrant sparkling green dress which perfectly evoked the special sweetness of monsoon.

Sri Mudiya Puno and Abhishek of SriSri Radha Madanmohanji – courtesy

Posted in Uncategorized on July 11, 2017 by padmanabhdas

Braj’s most popular festival, Mudiya Puno (Guru Purnima), was celebrated on Sunday. This year an estimated six and a half million pilgrims attended the festival.
Across India, Guru Purnima is a day for worshipping one’s spiritual teachers. But in Braj this day coincides with the disappearance day of Sanatan Goswami, the seniormost of the famous Six Goswamis who rediscovered the lost holy places of Braj about five hundred years ago. Sanatan Goswami is considered to be the incarnation of a gopi named Lavang Manjari and his temple, the Shri Radha-Madanmohan Temple, is the oldest temple in Vrindavan. The word “mudiya” itself refers to the practice of mundan or shaving ones head, which the devotees perform to mourn Sanatan Goswami’s passing.

Filled with eagerness for Girirajji’s darshan, devotees literally risked their lives to attend the festival. Indian Railways added extra trains in an attempt to meet the demand of pilgrims journeying to Braj, but it was not enough. Devotees held on to the outsides of over-packed trains and busses, and many even rode on the roof shouting Giriraj Maharaj ki Jai!

In Vrindavan, the occasion was celebrated at Shri Radha-Madanmohan Temple where Shri Sanatan Goswami’s samadhi (tomb) is located. A beautiful new deity of Sanatan Goswami was installed this year along with an abhishek or ritual bath, and Sanatan Goswami’s suchak kirtan (a kirtan that tells the story of Sanatan Goswami’s life through song). A twenty-four hour naam sankirtan, chappan-bhog (an offering of 56 types of food) and prasad distribution were also organized by the temple. Devotees also enjoyed a dance drama on Sanatan Goswami’s life.

In Govardhan, the main attraction was the Mudiya Shobhayatra, a procession in honor of Sanatan Goswami. Following a centuries-old tradition, the Gaudiya Vaishnavs shaved their heads in remembrance of Shri Sanatan and paraded through the streets around Mansi Ganga to the beating of drums and small cymbals, as they sang songs of longing for their Guru. The procession began near Sanatan Goswami’s bhajan-sthali at Chakleshwar and continued through Dasbisa, Saunkh Adda, Danghati, Deeg Adda, Bada Bazar, Hathi Darwaza and back. Many of the millions of devotees who were performing Govardhan Parikrama tried to get a glimpse of the beautiful procession, with the chitrapat (picture) of Sanatan Goswami leading the way.
The Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department also chose Mudiya Puno weekend to test their Helicopter Parikrama service. A number of devotees sampled the ten-minute helicopter ride, at a cost of Rs. 2,499.

Abhishek of Madan Mohan on the Eve of Mudiya Puno

On the eve of his disapperance day, which is now known as “Mudiya Puno”, Shri Sanatan Goswami performed the abhishek of Madan Mohan. The tradition continued today as Madan Mohan’s abhishek was performed in a grand way.

The abhishek was administered by Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami of the Shri Radharaman Temple and performed by Shri Sanatan Kishori Goswami of the Shri Radha-Madan Mohan Temple. Vijay Kishor Goswami, Ajay Kishor Goswami, Arun Goswami, Prateek Goswami and other Goswamis also participated.
According to the Goswamis of Shri Madan Mohan Temple, the abhishek was done according to Haribhakti Vilas, Govind Abhishek Paddhati and Bhagwat Bhakti Vilas by Roop Goswami, Sanatan Goswami and Gopal Bhatt Goswami. A small Giriraj Shila which Shri Sanatan Goswami used to keep in his mala jholiwas also offered abhishek.
Celebrations will continue this evening with katha by Shri Premdas Shastri, and kirtan by Madhukar Ji.
The abhishek marks the second day of the festival. Yesterday Adhivas Kirtan was held, and tomorrow a special pooja and suchak kirtan will be held at Sanatan Goswami’s samadhi. A new murti of Sanatan Goswami will also be installed.

Mudiya Puno is Guru Purnima and the disappearance day of Sanatan Goswami. It is by far the largest festival in Braj. Millions of pilgrims are expected to perform Govardhan Parikrama and visit Sanatan Goswami’s bhajan kutir at Chakleshwar and his samadhi at Shri Radha-Madanmohan Temple in Vrindavan.