Begging for Jiva Goswami's mercy

So I took a major step today. In my strategic program of concerted efforts to tie myself down to this place called Vrindavan, I went to the Sri Sri Radha Damodar temple and begged the sevayat, Sri Balaram Goswami, for the privilege of giving daily readings from the Bhagavata Tenth Canto or Gopala Champu in front of Srila Rupa Goswami's samadhi.

He has shown favor to the idea and we are to finalize tomorrow the times and so on. When a starting day has been fixed, I will invite all of you, my dear readers, to come and join me in a little, inostentatious ceremony there worshiping the Bhagavatam and for you to give me your blessings.

Holi has passed and the hot season is coming. The mood usually changes abruptly after Holi. But Vrindavan’s sustained, increasing energy is observable, as clearly as the scientists are able to observe the rise of the global temperature.

Here it was a Friday, which explains in part why the streets are as crowded as on any weekend or holiday. Ammachi is coming to Vrindavan in a few days and this will definitely mean a major influx of people at the Fogla ashram, you can be sure. Hundreds of thousands of people attended Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s event in Delhi, and many of those visitors -- some of whom came from around the world -- naturally overflowed into Vrindavan.

Every temple is brimming with life, it seems. But none more so than Radha Damodar. Of all the temples in the old town, Radha Damodar is the most international, mainly because of the presence of Srila Prabhupada’s quarters.

I came in the evening and a Tirtha Brahmin was sitting with a small group of middle-class Indians and telling them about Prabhupada. He wryly noted that there were three white-skinned people sitting in the room with us. I complimented him in Hindi to thank him for putting Srila Prabhupada on his “tour” as it were. I appreciated his awareness of the history of Vrindavan and Srila Prabhupada’s place in it, which is just as a religious tour guide should.

Balaram Goswami had seen the brief resume of Nirmal Chandra Goswami’s life written by Hari Bhakta Das that we published when his father left the world of mortals not so long ago. We spoke of his father and what had been written there ( Following that, I explained to him a little of what I had written in my article about the three Vrindavans.

He understood perfectly what I was saying about the three Vrindavans.

I think he himself looked a little amazed at what is happening. Radha Damodar vibrates the best of Vrindavan energy. Either it is because the Yoga Peeth is so close, perhaps like the magnetic north pole and the geographical north pole, differently empowered, it does indeed vibrate.

The deities themselves sparkle in the electric light bouncing from their silver thrones to the constant sound of kirtan. Pairs of Radhas and Krishnas, all bigger than life, yet looking mesmerizing with their unblinking eyes, giving the same loving expression, their faces painted so as to turn them into mandalas, pools into which you can sink into a kind of aesthetic simplicity and ethereal calm.

And then there is the parikrama of the temple and the samadhis. This is much favored by people of all kinds. One woman, otherwise unremarkable, went streaming past me (I was admittedly looking this way and that, drinking it all in) with a strong and steady, determined Radhe Radhe! Another young father was holding his five-year-old’s hand and telling him to repeat the name of Radha. There were gaggles of colorful blond Russian girls seriously sitting in front of Jiva Goswami’s samadhi, but talking animatedly. One was showing another the samadhis of Siddhanta Saraswati and Narayan Maharaj.

My own eye was first drawn to the samadhi of Ananta Vasudeva Puri Das, who somewhat fittingly for me, stands first in this parade of Gaudiya Math presences in front of Kaviraj Goswami.

There was a young boy I first noticed praying before the Yogamaya temple, whose presence there drew my attention to that shrine. Then again I saw him stand extremely reverently behind the samadhi of Rupa Goswami, his head touching the wall. And again once bowing on his knees. He did not look physically particularly well or clean, an older street urchin or beggar, perhaps someone who had labored all day in the heat, but his devotional mood felt genuine and strong. He had no awareness of anything but his prayers, and yet there was no anxiety of a prayer coming from worries or material concerns.

I never cared much for the enclosing of the entire parikrama with a low ceiling. It felt to me like the hallways in a subway station or something. Which may for all I know to have been the intention, for it is always well frequented. Seven times, they say, is equal to once around Govardhan. Frankly I must be honest and say that despite the good intentions, it has to be one of the worst architectural errors I could possibly imagine.

Nevertheless I was very pleased to note that the Braj Vikas Trust has been doing some really quite elegant pink stone work in the haveli style on the inside of the main courtyard. I cannot imagine that Srila Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaj is not involved with this project, since he has (despite the subway halls and all that) been a sincere servant of Radha Damodar for many years and deserves all praise for it. Since the stone work is a little understated as the color is very light, it almost passed me by when I first came into the temple, and only noticed it after talking to Balaram Prabhu, so we did not discuss it and I was unable to ask these questions of him. But anyway, thumbs up as they say for the Braj Vikas Trust and the work they are doing restoring these temples.

You can see the new Govindaji temple here. The Braj Vikas Trust has also done the new Gopinath temple, Madan Mohan temple, and the Kaliya Daha temple. They seem to have no consideration of whether they are being profited on or not. At any rate I really liked the way the new Govindaji temple had been tastefully painted. It really brought out its 18th century feel of the building.

So, if everything goes well, I will shortly be taking a major step in my life by committing to a regular teaching activity, nitya patha, at a particularly sacred location with the express purpose of getting the mercy of Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Jiva Goswami, Srila Bhugarbha Goswami and Krishnadas Kaviraj, Bir Ham Bir is also there... and of course the list goes on of our glorious parampara.

And there sits Srila Prabhupada in the procession, in a place of honor in the array. This is where the inspiration came from, I said to Balaram Prabhu. This was the energetic powerhouse that sent Srila Prabhupada outward. Prabhupada never kept his distance from the Goswamis. He had many friends among them and was obviously respected by them, from even before he came back with those dancing white elephants. But Srila Prabhupada must have quite understood that a great symbolic purpose was being arranged in his life, and that Krishna granted that symbolic purpose by giving him residence in the traditional nesting place of this particular breed of birds.

And here am I, one of Prabhupada’s offspring, beckoned from afar to come to serve at the Jiva Institute! Balaram Prabhu immediately asked after Satya Narayan Baba when I told him I stayed in Sheetal Chaya. There is this Jiva connection; Satya Narayan Dasji has also carved out a niche with Jiva Goswami. And it makes me proud to also be able to participate in and serve this tradition. Which is why I will be very pleased if the Lord will let me do this.

Radhe Radhe.


Anonymous said…
One listened to the beautiful words of your discourse:

“The main authority is experience; there is no higher authority than your own experience.”


Jagadananda das - Spiritual Experience is Most Important:

Authority (to nourish, increase and enlarge) in practice is first initiated by repeated inhalation and breath retention, this causes the life-force to rise and flow; thereafter, by continuously filling with Shakti from the nostrils does one go on to experience the true authority you speak of.


Authority from the Latin word auctor:

Auctor (“to increase, nourish, enlarge”):
Anonymous said…
Thanks a lot, your article reminded me of Vrindanan. Now for the doubts and questions. You ask for the mercy of the Gosvamis. But what does that really mean? If they show mercy to you, why wouldn't they shower the same on everyone else ? Why would anyone God or saint who has the power to help someone not help? I think the idea that one can teach/serve in Vrindavana or wherever because of Krishnas mercy is pure imagination. How do we know that its Krishnas will? Unless you give the generic answer that everything happens by His will. In that case why ask for mercy, etc? Different people have different response to the bhagvatam reading. One end we have Sri Caitanya, Gosvamis, etc, other end objective academicians. Do you think it's possible to cultivate an understanding of the bgagvatam the way the Gosvamis understood it? And give such an understanding to others as well?
Anonymous said…
May one also add, the "ever new beauty" of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa's prem is the "ever new light" experienced in samādhi.


Beauty from the Latin bellus:

Bellus (beautiful, pretty, sheen):

Sheen from the Middle English shene, from Old English scīene ‎(“beautiful, fair, bright, brilliant, light”):

Anonymous said…
Dearest brother Jagadananda Das,

When next the opportunity arises for one to see ripe Mango fruits, find one Mango amongst them that has the resin exuding out from around the base of the pedicel with the sticky resin oozing down the sides of the pericarp.

Like the ripe Mango, the yogi's head containing the philosopher's stone also exudes amṛta which oozes down the sides of the skull.

The ripe fruit (the skull) must be attached to the tree (the spine) for the sap (Shakti) to exude resin (amṛta).

Gorakhnāth was able to put the ripe Mango's back on the tree by teaching the true practice of yoga...

Jagadananda Das said…
Of course, devotees ask for mercy as a matter of habit and as their natural relation to God as servant, or as anugrAhya. It is a matter of attitude rather than tattva.

We will do our best to ooze. Jai Radhe.
Anonymous said…

The mango-inference may be explained in terms of embedded invariable concomitances relying on causality, see:

The Taste of the Mango: A Jaina-Buddhist Controversy on Evidence:

Think "Yoga Bija":
Anonymous said…

Yoga Bija (Sanskrit text encoded by Yoga Nath): Download

Jagadananda Das said…
Maccidananda Nathji, Are you close to Jim Mallinson? I believe he is now teaching at SOAS. I heard from my good friend Vrajavihari Sharanji, who probably has another name I don't know, and has recently been engaged there after finishing his doctorate at Edinburgh.
Anonymous said…

Jagadananda Das said: Are you close to Jim Mallinson? I believe he is now teaching at SOAS. I heard from my good friend Vrajavihari Sharanji, who probably has another name I don't know, and has recently been engaged there after finishing his doctorate at Edinburgh.

Maccidānandanātha replied: Dear Jagadananda Das, My person has not had the pleasure of meeting Jim Mallinson or Vrajavihari Sharanji (by this or any other name). I am not an academic and have no links to any university or other educational establishment.

It is your beautiful book, “Yoga-Taraṅgiṇī: A Rare Commentary on Gorakṣa-śataka” which has brought my person here to your blog (N.B.* Please find time to correct the blurb on the rear dust-jacket to accurately describe the text you have written, as the current blurb is describing your book as ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’, see here for example: )
Anonymous said…

Jaya Radhe!
Nice article Jagatji.
Just for the record, despite the fact that Swami Narasingha has been doing yeoman service at Radha-Damodar Mandir for some years now, he wasn't responsible for the 'Delhi subway" look – the Goswamis there did that on their own accord. I heard that Maharaja was a bit disappointed at that. Anyways, besides that, things look pretty good there nowadays.
Anonymous said…
Been trying to reach you since last week...Sahkicharan passed away last week, the leukemia came back for a 3rd time and took him away fast within two weeks, say a prayer please..

Anonymous said…
Please always bear in mind Jagadananda Das, the tongue of khecarī-mudrā is a tongue of energy, hence the word jihvā जिह्वा (there is also a secondary layer ji+hvā), as in jihvā Gosvāmī (go+sva+mi).
Anonymous said…
"All right me old cock" (greetings in the vernacular from the East end of London). Recently went to Govinda's vegetarian restaurant in Soho (do you know it?), had a lovely little Thali served up by an equally lovely girl from behind the bar, let me get up as many times as I would like for more (but once was enough), she even gave me a wave as I got up to finally leave (if you're reading this my darling, "thank you") - also went upstairs for a wander in the gift shop (: was going to send you a greetings card from Kṛṣṇa West; being in the West-End of London and all that, but it didn't really seem quite right for a true East-Ender to be sending postcards from the West-End to you in Vrindavan up there in Mathura (LOL). Anyway, the gift shop upstairs didn't have any cards or stamps which seemed to conform my thoughts on the card. Love to all from me x

Anonymous said…
[url=]Chapter Nine: The Most Confidential Knowledge[/url]
Anonymous said…

The esoteric art of Dada

/\ /\
( \\ // )
\ \\ // /
\/ _ _ \
\/ | |
___________________\/ \ /
// // |____|
// || / \
//| \| \ 0 0 /
// \ ) V / \____/
// \ / ( /
"" \ /_________| |_/
/ /\ / | ||
/ / / / \ ||
| | | | | ||
| | | | | ||
|_| |_| |_||
\_\ \_\ \_\\

Gorakh Bani – Śábda 49 (GhoTika Bandha)

चालत चंदवा षिसि षिसि पड़ै ।

बैठा ब्रह्म अगनि परजलै ।।

आडै आसणि गोटिका बंध ।

जावत प्रथिमी तावत कंध ।।४९।।
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…

"worshipping the god with bent head, gazed at him, with joined hands"

The word is not bent, it is "stoop(ed)"

See etymology 3:

Anonymous said…
seems that you have obtained the mercy and are now lecturing daily instead of blogging. good time for your shisyas to go over many previous blog posts. namaskar
Anonymous said…

Anonymous said…
There is a parrot in Indra’s tree, who likes to sing to you and me
And all the while in rapturous song, this little parrot is never wrong

A painted fool just like you and me, a three-fold jester, a trimūrti
“Dattātreya” the bird squawks out, “beyond the twelve” without a doubt

It takes one to know one as they say, and so one humbly replies “namaste”
Anonymous said…

The dead Parrot's society:

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