Notes from a weekend at Barsana

Afternoon class cancelled, so I escaped to Barsana for two days. I love Braj.

Looking out onto Shriji Road, one of the main entry points into Barsana, watching the daily traffic... here the cows and buffalo are not so free range, but always seem to be driven by old turbaned men in dhotis and carrying a long stick. Or an ox cart with an old Brijbasi and his wife, conversing, the only cargo a small pile of cow manure. Crowds of girls going to the school next door, sadhus galore, mostly of the serious looking variety. Less of the type that goes from bhandara to bhandara. The Brijbasi women still keep their ghumta here, and the more modern ones have to have a strong sense of defiance. And there are religious tourists, not much of the other kind.

The Barsana Ladiliji temple is magic. I was walking on my way to Priya Kund and there is one spot where one gets a particularly good view of it. It is the jewel in the lotus of Braj.

There are no doubt more spectacular temples and other places of worship in India and outside, but Shriji temple does seem to incarnate, somehow, inexplicably, in its feminine curves, the charms of prema.

Yesterday, soon after arriving, I walked up the steps to the top. No wonder they built temples on the tops of hills. It is such good penance to walk those 300 steps. Pretending I am still young, I try to keep a steady pace and watch my breath. By the time I get to the top I am both exhilarated and heavy of breath. One walks across the lower balcony until one reaches that final steep staircase to the top. People are photographing themselves against the backdrop of the temple.

Inside, it is magic. The difference between Vrindavan and Barsana is not only in size, but in the dominance of a single temple. Even Bihariji in Vrindavan cannot be compared, because of the multi-sampradaya nature of the town. Here, there is no sampradaya in Shriji temple. All the sadhus all sit in the darbar of the Queen of Braja.

And the families. And the other, more local visitors. Yesterday, a group of devotees sat for an hour singing Radhe Govinda with great force. The atmosphere is ebullient. The whole town rotates around Shriji. Everyone is her devotee.

I turned around to see Binode Baba paying his shirtless obeisances on a covered piece of the marble floor. I stand and watch, thinking that I have put on too many warm clothes, it is not that cold, and marveling at Babaji's routine. The "naga" mood of his little group gives me a kick. It feels so normal to be with them, somehow. The beauty of their vairagya...

The bell rings and everyone more or less surges to their darshan spots, to engage their eyes in unblinking devotion to the Thakur. It is mesmerization. There are no prayers for anything, the mind goes silent and simply watches the flames circle around the deity, in a powerful act of joyful, bell-ridden group silence.

Arati comes to an end with a loud sigh, and a group of about ten young men dive into their energetic mangalacharan and Kripa Kataksha Stotra, concluding with a kirtan prayer for grace.

I went late to Ladliji's temple again last night. I sat for a while. The Thakurji was out on the Jagamohan with Lalita and Vishakha. A small group of city pilgrims picked a spot on the veranda and chanted Radha's names enthusiastically. They were with a Gosai who explained the songs they sang.

From down the hill came the sounds of a Rasa Lila. It sounded pretty good, so I decided to make my day by visiting the Ras.

It was quite a different experience from Ras in Vrindavan. The audience was nearly all children, all from the local community. The troupe was also local. When I walked in, intending to sit among the children, a young man invited me onto the stage and first asked me to do puja to the Divine Couple on the simhasan.

I had to stand on one of the steps to put garlands on them. Radharani was unbelievably pretty, with such big eyes. I didn't think it was a boy for a moment. She smiled at me and then held up her hand in abhaya mudra. I took her hand and put it on my head, and she laughed. She was pleased.

I was sitting on the stage watching the swaroops dancing and watching the people around. Sitting right next to me was a baby, about one or a bit more. With the big kajol eyes, just staring wondrously, mesmerized by the dancers.

It was so villagey. A little kid about two, clueless, walks across the stage while the performance is going on. So rustic, but so charming.

The singing was actually pretty good. And the troupe was a little rough as a coordinated group, but not too bad. Swirling in their sequined costumes. I gotta pick up more of these Brajabasi gopi moves. Radharani's swaroop and one other little sakhi - a new recruit it seemed - looked like they were really having a lot of fun.

There is something about a society that has lots of children. Playing in the narrow streets. There were so many babies. We just don't see so many babies in the West.

In the tempo coming up, there was a Brijbasi couple with a beautiful big-eyed baby who just kept staring at me. And I stared right back. This looking into a baby's eyes is a darshan also. Who was the genius who saw that all babies are Bal Gopal?

I thought that when you commune with a baby this way, you are actually participating in society. We are all the protectors of the babies. The feeling of mamatA arises spontaneously.

This is something that seemingly can't go on. We need to stop making babies because of global overpopulation and the strains it is placing on our global home, and yet what social cohesion is lost due to the stressing of individualism and consumerist and materialistic ambitions?


Dear J.D.,

"Donald in Mathmagic Land" (Walt Disney 1959) Run-time: 27 minutes

Distributed by Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., Inc.

Kind regards,


Anonymous said…
My person was revisiting the following beautiful verse from the Gorakṣaśa-śataka today:

tad uktaṁ yogasāre:

Stretching and extending straight rigid out in union (as one), she cried out from his mouth.

yā mūlādhāragā śaktiḥ kuṇḍalī bindurūpiṇī |
mastake maṇivad bimbaṁ yo jānāti sa yogavit || iti |

Who so ever is able to raise the procreative life-force energy (śaktiḥ) that rises up from the Mūlādhāra to the point upon the head, manifesting her in transcendental form, [as the] sparkling (Gem Stone) [of the] deity, [she who] speaks out (the long, wide open mouthed call of the vowel “O”) [from inside the temple of man] [when] (the disc of the sun and the disc of the moon are reflecting each other as one round image, knows both yoga and (is) the knower.

And in the course of retranslating and unfolding the compound word "śaktiḥ" wrote these following notes here so readers may also get a sense of such practice:

"śa" - desire, to move, to well up, to boil [up, over], hump (a height, mound), to sweat, to anoint, anointed). "Sa" is also the sound made when the breath starts again when one re-enters the body after returning (re-born) from the (great) light back into the physical body.

"ak" - (to see, white, bright, shine, shining). Readers may wish to pronounce the work "ak" and observe where the energy is felt (yes, one will feel it) to rise to... It would be interesting to receive a reply from a reader whom also feels such energy when pronouncing this word.

"tiḥ" - (thirty, or literally "three [times] two (raised) hands(= 10 fingers) which denotes 30 (which is another way of saying "to raise up both hands in praise [towards the light] three times" or in other word, to (die and) enter the (great) light three times). tiḥ also alludes to the word ऋष्टिः ‎(ṛṣṭiḥ‎) and cognates with the Proto-Indo-European word h₁r̥stís "a spear, sword or lance"

tihan तिहन् a bow (which represents the bow of the breath, being drawn back and held under tension (breath retention) when aiming the arrow (of procreative life-force energy [which moves up the spine and is released up above the skull when bending back the bow of the breath {breath retension}).


Anonymous said…

J.D. said: "Notes from a weekend at Barsana"

M.N. replied: Here are a few notes from 1975 for readers and yogi's to get up and dance to, “Thank God I'm a Country Boy”:



Well, life's on a farm is kinda laid back
Ain't much an old country boy like me can't hack
It's early to rise, early in the sack, thank God I'm a country boy
Well, a simple kind of life never did me no harm
Raising me a family and working on the farm
My days are all filled with an easy country charm, thank God I'm a country boy

Well, I got me a fine wife, I got me old fiddle
When the sun's coming up, I got cakes on the griddle
And life ain't nothing but a funny, funny riddle, thank God I'm a country boy

When the work's all done and the sun's setting low
I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow
The kids are asleep so I keep it kinda low, thank God I'm a country boy

I'd play "Sally Goodin'" all day if I could
But the Lord and my wife wouldn't take it very good
So I fiddle when I can and I work when I should, thank God I'm a country boy

Well, I got me a fine wife, I got me old fiddle
When the sun's coming up, I got cakes on the griddle
And life ain't nothing but a funny, funny riddle, thank God I'm a country boy (whoo hoo!)

Well, I wouldn't trade my life for diamonds or jewels
I never was one of them money hungry fools
I'd rather have my fiddle and my farming tools, thank God I'm a country boy
Yeah, city folk driving in a black limousine
A lot of sad people thinking that's-a mighty keen
Son, let me tell you now exactly what I mean, thank God I'm a country boy

Well, I got me a fine wife, I got me old fiddle
When the sun's coming up, I got cakes on the griddle
And life ain't nothing but a funny, funny riddle, thank God I'm a country boy (yes sir!)

Well, my fiddle was my daddy's till the day he died
And he took me by the hand and held me close to his side
He said, "Live a good life and play my fiddle with pride
And thank God you're a country boy."

My Daddy taught me young how to hunt and how to whittle
He taught me how to work and play a tune on the fiddle
He taught me how to love and how to give just a little
Thank God I'm a country boy

Well, I got me a fine wife, I got me old fiddle
When the sun's coming up, I got cakes on the griddle
And life ain't nothing but a funny, funny riddle, (whooow!) thank God I'm a country boy
Anonymous said…
Thank you Jagadananda Das for publishing this.

In regard to Barsana, and the four heads of brahma; it is good to remember that:

Your mid-day is someone else’s mid-night, and your sun-set is someone else’s sun-rise. Think of time as a stationary “4 corner” square within which the Earth rotates, a simultaneous 4 (cornered) time of day cube within one – twenty four hour rotation of Earth; nature’s 4 day time cube.

In one rotation of Earth, there are always:

24 hours of sunrise
24 hours of midday
24 hours of midnight
24 hours of sunset


The rotation of the North Pole (head) is counter clockwise to the rotation of the South Pole (feet).
Anonymous said…
“Due east of Mount Meru, an abode of Indra known as Devadhani is located upon Mount Manasottara. Similarly, the abode of Yamaraja called Samyamani is located due south- the abode of Varuna named Nimlochani is due west- and the abode of Soma called Vibhavari is in the north. Sunrise, midday, sunset and midnight occur at these four places, whereas those who reside on Sumeru Mountain find that the sun is always overhead.”




“Drawing the air through the left nostril for about sixteen māṭrās and having retained it (within) for about sixty-four māṭrās, one should expel it again through the right nostril for about thirty-two māṭrās. Again fill the right nostril as before (and continue the rest). Practise cessation of breath four times daily (viz.,) at sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight, till eighty (times are reached). By a continual practice for about three months, the purification of the nādis takes place. When the Midis have become purified, certain external signs appear on the body of the yogin. I shall proceed to describe them. (They are) lightness of the body, brilliancy of complexion, increase of the gastric fire, leanness of the body, and along with these, absence of restlessness in the body.”


Anonymous said…
My person came accross the following Blog posting yesterday:

And then, subsequently went on to start reading the rest of Yogi Matsyendranatha's Blog:

This morning my person also watched a YouTube movie entitled "Practice of Dvadashanta explained by Yogi Matsyendranath":

Regular readers will hopefully recall this comment posted on the 12th of September, 2017:

"Wherever the yogi goes, all the wheels turn around him like a swarm of bees around the queen bee." (Tantraloka of Abhinavagupta, Verse 30)


Ciphering the Supreme: Mantric Encoding in Abhinavagupta's Tantrāloka

Pieces of Vāc: A Study of the Letters of the Sanskrit Alphabet and their Metaphysical Role in the Emanation of Manifest Reality as Described in Selected Hindu Tantras

Verse 30 of the Tantraloka of Abhinavagupta

AbhT_5.30a/. cakreṇānena patatā tādātmyaṃ paribhāvayet /
AbhT_5.30b/. anena kramayogena yatra yatra patatyadaḥ // 30

Anonymous said…
My sincere apology, here is a full (Adobe Pdf) copy of the text "Ciphering the Supreme: Mantric Encoding in Abhinavagupta's Tantrāloka"
Anonymous said…

Samdhyabhasha, aka: Sāṃdhyābhāṣā, Sāndhyabhāṣā, Sandha-bhasa:

General definition (in Hinduism)

1) Tantric texts are written in "twilight language" (sandha-bhasa, gongpay-kay), which, as the Hevajra-tantra states, is a "secret language, that great convention of the yoginis, which the shravakas and others cannot unriddle". This means that the texts of Buddhist tantra cannot be understood without the specific oral commentary by authorized Vajrayana teachers.

2) the Vajrayana tradition, now preserved mainly in Tibetan sects, it has long been recognized that certain important teachings are expressed in a form of secret symbolic language known as saṃdhyā-bhāṣā, 'Twilight Language'. Mudrās and mantras, maṇḍalas and cakras, those mysterious devices and diagrams that were so much in vogue in the Buddhist culture of the 1960s, were all examples of Twilight Language

3) "The growth of literature at Sonepur can be traced to Charyapada, to Matsyendranath and Daripada of the Natha cult. They wrote esoteric poetry in language known as Sandhya bhasa. The local idioms they used are still in currency in this area.

Etymology: Twilight language is a rendering of the Sanskrit term sāṃdhyābhāṣā (written also sāndhyābhāṣā, sāṃdhyabhāṣā, sāndhyabhāṣā; Tibetan: དགོངས་པའི་སྐད, Wylie: dgongs-pa'i skad) — or of their modern Indic equivalents (especially in Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Maithili, Hindi, Nepali, Braj Bhasha and Khariboli).

N.B.* Also see relevant definitions (49), and texts (80).

108 = 9 said…
Here is an analogical compendium for budding Vaishnava-Sahajiya's to help light fires in (spiritually) cold rooms:

Danielle ~ The Clay Lady - Throwing a Pot on the Potters Wheel Pt. 1

Danielle ~ The Clay Lady - Throwing a Pot on the Potters Wheel Pt. 2

Primitive Technology: Natural Draft Furnace

Primitive Technology: Termite clay kiln & pottery

Primitive Technology: Pottery and Stove


Primitive Technology: Simplified blower and furnace experiments:

The Theory of the Sun and Moon (and drinking the nectar oozing from the moon)

Read Chapter IX “The Religion of the Nātha Siddhas” (Page 242 to 294).
Especially page 274 onwards (and a nodding acquaintance with the contents of page 222).

Chapter IX (page 242):

Page 222:

Page 274:


See page 26 of the ‘Tantras of the Reverse Current’:
The title of your latest 'post' causes my person smile (in a good way) Jagadananda Das, and here is the reason why:

"Notes from a weekend at Barsana"

"Barsana"(bar + sa + na [bʰerH + seh₁+ néwn̥]) is cognant with the root Proto-Indo-European word bʰerH (to strike, to pierce), Proto-Indo-European seh₁(to impress, insert, to sow, to plant), and Proto-Indo-European néwn̥ (young, youthful, new and the number 9).

Notes (of the flute)




Which cognates with Sanskrit नवन् (návan) via Proto-Indo-European h₁néwn̥:
Anonymous said…
Hi Jagat

This is a wonderful description of indeed a very special place.

Thank you for sharing. I feel as though I have been right there experiencing the energy with you.


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