VMA 1.13 : Offenses to the residents of the Dham break my heart

śrī-vṛndāvana-vāsini sthira-care doṣān mama śrāvayed
yo’sau kiṁ śatadhā chinatti nahi māṁ śastrair athāstraiḥ śitaiḥ |
sarvādhīśitur eva jīvana-vane dveṣan ca mātraṁ cared
ekasyāpi tṛṇasya ghora-narakāt taṁ kaḥ kadā voddharet ||

Do those who recount to me the flaws
of the residents of Vrindavan, whether mobile or still,
not realize that they cut me into a hundred pieces,
as if with sharpened knives and arrows?

If one should create enmity
with even the tiniest blade of grass
in this beloved abode of the Supreme Lord,
there is no one, no one who could ever lift him
out of the darkest reaches of hell. (1.13)


One of the features of Prabodhananda Saraswati’s writing is that he does not mince words, and often says that people will suffer hellish existence if they commit offenses to the Holy Dham. If the creator god Lord Brahma himself prayed to become a blade of grass in Vrindavan, thereby showing the very purpose of the creation itself, then is not speaking ill of a blade of grass there an offense to him, indeed to the entire creation?

It must be remembered that for Prabodha, as for any devotee who is attached to the madhura-rasa-vigraha Divine Couple, even the life of opulence of the heavenly domain is hell if one is forgetful of them, even for a moment.

Since such forgetfulness is impossible for them, he projects the pain of that possibility outwards. “Even if they do not know it, those who have no love for the Dham or for Radha and Krishna are suffering. They chew the already chewed of material sense gratification, repeating the same psychological patterns, falling into the same whirlpool of momentary pleasures and sufferings. And there is no surer way of being deprived of love for the Dham than to offend those who make their home there, especially those who do so consciously out of love for the Divine Couple. How unfortunate they are!”

We ourselves live in doubt of Vrindavan’s glories and so we sometimes look out and wonder whether the fulfillment people find in the “heavenly delights” of wealth and other ways of life is real… but the moment quickly passes. The world is a kalpa-vriksha tree of infinite possibilities created in response to the jiva’s desire for enjoyment. But for a devotee, it is an empty place without prema, without the thought and memory of tht Divine Youthful Couple of Braj..

(2018) My bearings are clear. I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing left in life for me other than to be a humble bhakta engaged in bhajan of Krishna and Radha in the Dham. I have no faith in the world any more. I simply want to become totally interiorized in the world of Radha and Krishna.

I don't care any more about the flaws in Vrindavan, whatever they are. I don't care. Corrupt police, garbage in the streets. And if you see injustice, wrong or even evil, until you are immune from excommunication, you have to tolerate it because there is nothing worse than being kicked out of Vrindavan. Nothing.

That is how I feel. If someone tells me something is wrong in Vrindavan, call me an ostrich if you will, I will not wish to contemplate it.

If you want to live in Braj, it will take a lot of faith and a lot of serious bhajan, or at least a good protective covering. Watch out for your karma in Vrindavan. You want to keep your head down. Let those who are responsible for good government give it to the best of their ability. Give them credit, trust that in Vrindavan they are always doing the work of Radha and Krishna. So the most important instruction of all is to come with humility. If you have to have dealings with authorities, this will be the big test of your Vaishnava qualiites. The Brijbasis know if you have the humility to be in the Dham.

If you come to Braj, come to do bhajan and seva. Come with a spirit of renunciation. Don't think "I am going to Vrindavan and I will have my bhoga and I will have my Krishna bhakti, too." Vrindavan is where you come when you really have nowhere else to go.

tavāsmīti vadan vācā tathaiva manasā vidan |
tat-sthānam āśritas tanvā modate śaraṇāgataḥ ||

One who has taken shelter (śaraṇāgati) leads a life of happiness, for with his words says, "I am yours, O Lord." In his mind he so thinks. And with his body, he resorts to the Lord's own abode. (HBV 11.677)

Don't come here with Western ego or anger. You need to be humble like the straw in the street or you will end up paying the price.

Happy Karttik and Niyam Seva, wherever you are. This is the most important month of the year for Gaudiya Vaishnavas, and it seems to me it is the most serious month of the year. The other months have festivals and so on, but Niyama Seva is, as its name suggests, a serious attempt to keep a fixed rule for the entire month.

It is the happy confluence of sacred time and sacred space. In fact, wherever we celebrate sacred time, we create sacred space. And sacred space is enhanced by worship. So if you are in a home or in a temple, remember that it becomes the real Vrindavan, the inner Vrindavan, if you just remember Radha and Krishna and chant their names. But those who are blessed to have residence in the Holy Dham at the time when Sacred Time descends are the most fortunate bhakti-yogis of all.

This has always been one of my favorite verses, and I can feel it surging up in me at the beginning of this holy month.

namas te’stu dāmne sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne
tvadīyodarāyātha viśvasya dhāmne |
namo rādhikāyai tvadīya-priyāyai
namo’nanta-līlāya devāya tubhyam ||206||

Jai Radhe! Have a good Niyam Seva everyone. May Urjeshwari Radha be merciful to us all and grant us service to her lotus feet in her eternal kunj.

Jai Sri Radhe! Jai Sri Vrindavan Dham! Jai Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati!

Previous posts

VMA 1.12 : The Upanishads take birth as cows in Braj
VMA 1.11 : The defects we see in the Dham are not real.
VMA 1.10 : More glories of Radharani's kunj
VMA 1.9 : Radhika's cottage in the kunj
VMA 1.8 : Vrindavan contains all the Dhams
VMA 1.7 : Vrindavan includes all of Braj
VMA 1.6 : What is it to me if you cannot see Vrindavan's glories?
VMA 1.5 : Take shelter of Vrindavan with all your being
VMA 1.4 : Where all the relishable relationships are found


Anonymous said…

शरण (śaraṇá):


शरण (śaraṇá) from √ श्रि śṛ for śri:


र 3. Ra mfn. (√ rā):


रा (rā):


गत (gatá):


√ गम् (gam):




See also क्षि (kṣi) 1, 2 and 3:



शरण śaraṇa

1 m. ( for 2. p. 1057, col. 1 ) one of the arrows of Kāma-dev cf. Cat.
n. falling asunder, bursting, falling in cf. Vop
killing, slaying cf. L.
what slays or injures cf. MW.

शरण śaraṇá

2 mfn. ( fr. √ śṛ for śri ; for 1. p. 1056 ) protecting, guarding, defending cf. RV. cf. AV.
m. N. of a serpent-demon cf. MBh.
of a poet cf. Gīt. ( cf. -deva )
of a king cf. Buddh.
( ā and ī ), f. N. of various plants etc. ( prob. w.r. for saraṇā, °ṇī, q.v. )
n. ( Ifc f. ā ), shelter, place of shelter or refuge or rest, hut, house, habitation, abode, lair ( of an animal ), home , asylum cf. RV. etc.
refuge, protection, refuge with ( śaraṇaṃ √ gam or yā or i etc., ' to go to any one for protection, seek refuge with ' [ acc. or gen. ] ; often ifc. ) cf. Mn. cf. MBh. etc.
water cf. L.

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