Report with photos
The annual Vraja Mandala Parikrama officially started on the seventh day of October, although faithful pilgrims had been performing parikrama in the city of Mathura already for some days. On the morning of this day, many hundreds of enthusiastic devotees gathered in Gopinath Bhavana to hear Srila Narayana Maharaja's glorification of this sacred month. After this all the pilgrims went to take a vow (sankalpa) for the parikrama at Sri Kesi-ghat.
Srila Narayana Maharaja explained that our main prayer during the parikrama is to receive krsna-prema and ultimately radha-dasyam to become a maidservant of Srimati Radhika. This month is also called Urja-vrata, which means that the presiding Deity of this month is Srimati Radhika and that our prayer is to perform our parikrama, as well as our chanting and hearing, for the pleasure of Srimati Radhika.
The first day of Kartika was also the disappearance day of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. Srila Narayana Maharaja spoke of his glories, his character and life-history, and engaged his disciples and followers to discuss and remember him. There was a beautiful noon program at Sri Rupa-Sanatana Gaudiya Matha in honor of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja, after which a sumptuous feast was served to the devotees. Srila Narayana Maharaja indicated that by honoring and remembering Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja, the parikrama would start in an auspicious way and will certainly be blessed by him.
The first places visited were Sri Kaliya-hrada where Krsna danced on the hoods of the serpent Kaliya; the bhajana-kutir of Srila Prabhodananda Sarasvati Thakura; Madana-Mohana temple; Srila Sanatana Gosvami's Samadhi and Sri Advaita-vat, the tree where Advaita Acarya found the Deity Madan-mohana.
At Kaliya-hrada there was an auspicious fire sacrifice. This holy place will be restored in the near future by the Kunda Restoration Group, consisting of devotees and others.
In the evening class, on the 8th
of October, Srila Narayana Maharaja started to speak about Srila
Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's Sri Madhurya Kadambini, in which the
different successive levels of bhakti are described. He said that it is
impossible to progress on the path of bhakti as long as we have anarthas,
even if we do our sadhana. He said it is imperative to study this book
thoroughly, and hearing its glories directly from Sri Guru and
Sri Vraja Mandala Parikrama Tour Report