Out and about in Vrindavan, end of Karttik

I was just out and about in Vrindavan. I ran into Jack Hawley, a great scholar of Surdas who happens to be in Vrindavan doing a research project on the current state of affairs here.

Because of Vrindavan Today, he has already been to see me once. But I have stopped Vrindavan Today for the last two months and practically never go out in the street any more, even to go to the temples. It is too painful for me.

It is Karttik and Purnima is just a couple of days away. The streets are full of people, Traffic jams. Impatient motorists honking incessantly when there is no way to move forward. Crowds of people in front of the banks trying to get their 500 and 1000 rupee notes changed. The town is filled with more garbage than ever. If there is a garbage can, it is empty and surrounded by mountains of styrofoam cups, empty bottles, plastic wrappers and other crap being fed on by cows, monkeys and crows.

It is not a scene from the holiest place on earth.

Every day, the situation in Vrindavan seems to be more frantic, more rajasik, more tamasik. This is what Hawley has come to observe. I have been observing it for years and I cannot see it without feeling distressed. Jack is a kind man with a good heart who loves Braj, and even so, I feel shame from my chosen holy place.

"I lost my heart in Vrindavan" is on the T-shirts. I say, "If it is lost, perhaps it got lost in a pile of garbage."

If this was not endemic to India, would pilgrims come? What happened to Swachch Bharat?

I am beyond trying to explain, or even to try to change, or play any role in what day by day is getting worse.

Now I see what has happened in the USA: Rapacious capitalism, Kaliyuga's engine, which is behind all this, has been given a huge boost. It has put its own avatar in charge. Why should I not call the devotees who think they have chosen an anti-establishment revolution fools?

My heart is heavy.

Vrindavan is one of the filthiest places I have ever been.


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