Tour Report with photos
Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha
October 2006

In the morning, Srila Narayana Maharaja spoke on the fourth verse of Sri Damodarastakam. He explained that the pure devotee does not want liberation or attainment of the spiritual sphere of Vaikuntha, what to speak of any material benefits. He only wants to see the sweet pastimes of Sri Krsna in Vrndavana. After the morning class, the international pilgrims wandered through the narrow lanes of Vrndavana, to the place where even the wind stood still as it witnessed the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. The name of this holy place is Dhira-Samira, which means "gentle wind." The devotees sang the song "Dhira-samire yamuna-tire vasati vane vanamali" from Sri Gita Govinda, and discussed the purport of the song as well as the life history of Sri Gauridasa Pandita, whose samadhi-mandira and worshipable Deities (Sri Shyama-Raya) are situated.

Inside the original Radha Govindaji Temple

The next place visited was the temple of Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva, by whose blessings the pilgrims were able to proceed to Vamsi-vata. At Vamsi-vata the devotees chanted and heard about the rasa-lila of Sri Radha-Krsna, after which they visited the temple of Govindadeva. This temple is one of the most famous and ancient temple of Vrndavana and the pratibhu-murti (duplicate form) of the original Sri Radha-Govinda established by Sri Rupa Gosvami is worshiped here. The speaker explained that Sri Rupa Gosvami himself composed a verse saying that if one goes to Kesi-ghat in Vrndavana and sees the flute-layer Govinda, his (or her) desires to be happy with friends and family will be ruined.

As usual, in the evening Srila Narayana Maharaja gave a lecture on Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's Sri Madhurya-Kadambini. His Hindi class was translated by Sripad Damodara Maharaja.

October 15, 2006

The devotees boarded the buses early in the morning and started the day by visiting Sri Rama-Ghata, where Lord Baladeva danced His rasa-lila with the gopis of Vrndavana. They heard at that place that after Baladeva assisted Krsna in His pastimes in Mathura and Dvaraka, He came back to Vraja and tried pacifying the residents of Vraja and especially the gopis.

From Rama-Ghata, the devotees went to Viharvana, where many confidential pastimes took place. Here it was proved that Sri Radha was indeed the most chaste lady in Vraja, as only She could carry water in a pot that had many holes in it. At this place grows many fair kadamba trees and dark tamal-trees.

At Cira-ghata, the pilgrims joyfully took bath in the Yamuna, and remembered the pastimes in which Sri Krsna stole the clothes of the gopis who were taking bath in the river as part of their Katyayani-vrata. They heard that here the gopis had been praying to have Sri Krsna as their lover, and now those gopis' desires would be fulfilled.

Temple in Vatsavana

After delicious lunch prasadam, the devotees continued on to Vatsavana and Garuda-Govinda. They sat and head the harikatha there, and learned that Vatsavana is the place where Brahmaji stole Krsna's calves and cowherd friends. They saw that at Garuda-Govinda, there is a beautiful temple with Deities of Govindaji with Sridama as Garuda. They heard that there, Sri Krsna was playing with the cowherd boys and boasted that He was actually the Supreme Lord and the origin of all incarnations. At this claim, the boys just laughed and asked Krsna that if this was true, then where was His eagle-carrier Garuda? There and then, Sridama assumed the form of Garuda and flew up in the sky carrying Sri Krsna on his back. Even when the sakhas saw this astonishing incident they still didn't believe that their friend was the Supreme Lord Himself. In Vraja there is more opulence than in all the Vaikuntha-planets put together, but the opulence is so covered by sweet, human-like relationships with Krsna (madhurya), that although the residents of Vrndavana see evidence of Krsna being the Supreme Lord, they believe it to be only some kind of magic or one of Krsna's tricks.

Every evening and morning during the Kartika parikrama, Srila Narayana Maharaja said, "'We' will be going here today", or, "'We' went there today --thus indicating that, although physically not present with them at most of the holy places, he was with them in reality.