January 30, 2018 : Gangadhar’s Most Valuable Possession
Upon returning to Vrindavan from Mumbai Fest, Indradyumna Swami Maharaja visited 76 year old Gangadhar, Vrindavan’s preeminent carpenter. His carpentry shop has been serving the residents of Vrindavan for over 50 years. Now retired, Gangadhar oversees his son’s work. When Maharaja asked him what was the best piece he ever produced he smiled broadly and said, “I made wooden shoes for Srila Prabhupada in 1975!” Then he proudly showed Indradyumna Swami one of the shoes that was later given to him as a gift by one of Srila Prabhupada’s secretaries. He looked at it fondly and said, “This is my most valuable possession.”
January 29, 2018 : Nitai’s Trap of Love
On the occasion of Nityananda Trayodishi, Indradyumna Swami shared the following meditation on Lord Nityananda.
Nitai’s Trap of Love – By the medieval poet Kanudas
1. Oh my dear Lord Nitaichand! He set up traps of kṛṣṇa-prema in each and every home.
2. He sprinkled cooling waters from the corners of his eyes on all those living entities that were burning in the fire of material suffering.
3. He bestowed extreme mercy on Gauda Desh. Overcome with bhāva while dancing, he forgot everything.
4. His body is whitish with a slightly reddish tinge. His hairs stand on end like the filaments of kadamba flowers.
5. His body is decorated with various ornaments. Gathering together various devotees, he sings joyously.
6. How many times does he not stumble while walking? The movement of his lotus feet resembles the movement of a restless khañjana (wag-tail bird).
7. Hearing of his mercy, my hope of getting delivered increases. This Kanudas begs love at Nitai’s feet
[ Translated by Hari Parshad Das from Vaiṣṇava Padāvalī, fourth edition, April 2010. Compiled and edited by Hare Krishna Mukhopadhyay. Published by Shishu Sahitya Sansad Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata. Printed in Krishna Kathamrita Bindu, Issue no: 417 ]
Indradyumna Swami Maharaja gave a stage lecture at the Mumbai Fest and then he did interviews with the press. Later as Maharaja began his journey home to Sri Vrindavan dhama, he was reminded of the following verse:
“My dear friend, now I have met my very old and dear friend Krishna on this field of Kurukshetra. I am the same Radha, and now we are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but still I would like to go to the bank of the Yamuna, beneath the trees of the forest there.”
[ Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila 1.76 ]
Indradyumna Swami Maharaja attended the flower festival in ISKCON’s Chowpatty temple in Mumbai. Each year the temple holds a flower festival where over one ton of flower petals are lovingly poured over the presiding deities of Sri Sri Radha Gopinath. The pujaris then gather the flower petals in baskets which are then poured over the devotees from ramparts above the temple room. Then the fun begins as 1,000 devotees throw handfuls of flowers at each other for over 2 hours.The whole event is accompanied by a rousing kirtan. One can only conclude that Krsna consciousness is simply joyful!
January 25, 2018: A Visit to Advaita-vat
Indradyumna Swami Maharaja celebrated the appearance day of Advaita Acaraya by visiting Advaita-vat in Vrindavan. It is the place where Advaita Acarya discovered the famous deity of Madan Mohan under a banyan tree, 500 years ago. Later, Sanatana Goswami worshipped Madan Mohan and had a beautiful temple built for Him. Presently at Advaita-vat very beautiful old deities of Radha Krsna are being worshipped. They are named Radha Madan Gopal. Maharaja had a nice extended kirtan and then discussion about the pastimes of Advaita Acaraya with devotees. Indradyumna Swami stressed to the devotees how fortunate they were to be in such an historic place on such an historic day. Sri Vrindavan dhama ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
January 22, 2018: The First Day Of Spring In Sri Vrindavan Dham
Indradyumna Swami Maharaj took a small group of devotees to all the main temples for darshan on the first day of Spring in Sri Vrindavan Dham. This year it was celebrated on the 21st of January. Traditionally the deities in all the temples are dressed in yellow on this day. Many Vraja-vasis also wear yellow. There was a wonderful festive atmosphere everywhere Maharaj went. At one point a blissful parade passed by them, winding its way through Vrindavan’s small streets and lanes. Because it was also the appearance day of Srila Raghunath das Goswami, Indradyumna Swami visited his samadhi at Radha Kunda. Maharaj prayed for the spiritual strength to continue his preaching when he returns to the west after Gaura Purnima.
January 21, 2018: Rich in Vaishnava Culture – The Town Of Bharatpur
On January 21st Indradyumna Swami Maharaja visited the town of Bharatpur in Rajasthan, just on the outskirts of Vrindavan. There Maharaja and his associates toured the Lohagarh fort built in the 18th century. Inside the fort are many beautiful old sandstone temples of Radha and Krsna, Ganga devi, Laxman ( the brother of Lord Ramacandra ) and numerous other temples with many ancient deities. The Lohagarh fort was built by a staunch Vaisnava King named Suraj Mal in the early 18th century. It is one of the strongest forts ever built in Indian history. Protected by deep moats on all sides, the fort was built to endure the repetitive invasions of the Mughal and British forces in the mid-1700’s in the region.
King Suraj Mal was a powerful king who ruled over the whole of Vraja and a greater part of North India in the 18th century. He was respected and loved by his subjects and was greatly feared by the Mughals. He was undefeated in battle. Songs and ballads of his chivalry and nobility, as well as his devotion to Radha and Krsna, are sung in different villages in North India. It was he who constructed the beautiful palace at Kusum Sarovara at the foot of Govardhana Hill. His samadhi is there.
As Indradyumna Swami’s group walked around the town exploring the different temples, palaces and museums they were warmly greeted by many pious Vaisnavas. Everywhere people would call out, “Jaya Sri Radhe!” just like in Vrindavan. The whole day was a great adventure. As they left, Maharaja was in awe of the town and wondering how it was that in all these years he had never visited Bharatpur, which is so rich in Vaisnava culture and so close to Sri Vrindavan Dhama. Next weekend he plans to go back and take a large harinam party through Bharatpur to reciprocate with the warm welcome the people of Bharatpur extended to them.
January 18, 2018: Goodbye My Friend
Three days ago Indradyumna Swami Maharaja flew to Australia to pay his final respects and say goodbye to his godbrother, Venu Gopal dasa, who is dying of cancer. A senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada, Venu Gopal prabhu has been instrumental in pioneering the Krsna conscious movement in Australia since the early 1970’s. Each day a steady stream of devotees visit his home, situated near the beautiful New Govardhana farming community, to show their love and appreciation for this most wonderful devotee. Everyone remarks how fearless he is in the face of death and how jovial he remains despite the fact that he has only a couple of weeks left to live. He is setting such a wonderful example for all of us. Indradyumna Swami brought him a very special gift from Vrindavan; a beautifully carved Tulasi necklace with numerous transcendental items contained in a box attached to it, including: the 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita, water from 1,108 kundas in Vrindavan, dust from many holy places in Vrindavan, the names of many great devotees of the Lord, remnants of clothes from the dresses of Radharani from all the prominent temples in Vrindavan, maha prasadam from Lord Jagannatha in Puri, clothes from Lord Jagannatha in Puri, the Chatur-slokas of Srimad Bhagavatam, dust from the forest of Naimisaranya and prayers in glorification of Srimati Radharani. The necklace was made by a famous devotee of the Lord who lives at Varsana. Venu Gopal prabhu was so happy to receive the gift. “Venu, we’ll all miss you more than you’ll ever know ….”
January 13, 2018: My Very Best Friend
Today Indradyumna Swami celebrated BB Govinda Maharaja’s Vyasa Puja in Dubai. Several godbrothers attended. His disciples read beautiful offerings and a big delicious feast was offered to Maharaja’s deities and distributed to the devotees. Personally, Indradyumna Swami reflected throughout the day his good fortune in having Govinda Maharaja as his very best friend in Krsna consciousness.
A week of festivities at Radha Raman temple in Vrindavan concluded today. On the invitation of Pundrik Goswami, Indradyumna Swami and BB Govinda Maharaja were able to lead kirtan one evening. They also gave interviews on several prominent TV news channels. Hema Malini danced for the pleasure of Radha Raman one evening and each day pilgrims enjoyed the special darsans of Radha Raman’s transcendental form.
Yesterday Indradyumna Swami Maharaja and his associates participated in one of the biggest parades Vrindavan has ever seen. Over 2,000 performers, devotees and local spiritual leaders wound their way through Vrindavan’s narrow lanes and streets with kirtan parties from Bengal, shehnai bands from South India, Punjabi bagpiper groups, local dance troupes … and Maharaja’s kirtan party representing ISKCON. It was all arranged by Pundrik Goswami in glorification of Radha Raman, on the auspicious occasion of the appearance of Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami. People lined the streets to watch the 6-hour parade and greeted the participants with flowers, garlands and prasadam. It was simply amazing. Special thanks to Ananta Vrindavan for so expertly capturing the moment with his cameras!
On the kind invitation of Pundrik Goswami, of the Radha Raman temple in Vrindavan, Indradyumna Swami and his associates participated in his week long service to the famous deity of Radha Raman. Today Maharaja along with his group participated in a parade through town and many arotikas in the temple. They had the honor to lead kirtan in front of Radha Raman and take full prasadam from His plate. Participating in the seva this week is a unique opportunity, for in the early days of Krishna Consciousness movement Srila Prabhupada often encouraged his disciples to learn deity worship from the Radha Raman temple. One special mercy was that Indradyumna Swami had darshan ( from a distance ) of a Govardhan-sila worshipped by Gopal Bhatta Goswami. Indradyumna Swami thanked his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, for gradually revealing the glories of this transcendental abode.
Recently Pundrik Goswami of the Radha Raman temple in Vrindavan contacted Ananta Vrindavan das, one of ISKCON’s most well-known photographers and videographers and requested him to film a documentary on the worship of the famous Radha Raman deity. Pundrik Goswami will have the service of worshipping Radha Raman from January 2 – 9. Ananta Vrindavan will accompany him everywhere except the altar and the kitchen. Pundrik Goswami is also inviting Indradyumna Swami Maharaja and many other ISKCON devotees to be present for morning and evening programs. In fact, he has asked Maharaja to speak and lead kirtan in the temple on the evening of January 5. This is all an unprecedented opportunity to observe the high standard of deity worship in the temple.
Radha Raman is one of the most beloved forms of Lord Krsna. Radha Raman means ‘one who gives pleasure to Radha.’ The distinctive feature of Radha Raman is that He is a self-manifested form of the Lord who revealed Himself in His threefold bending form to Gopala Bhatta Goswami, one of the famous Six Goswamis of Vrindavan.
While living in Vrindavan before coming to the west, Srila Prabhupada would often visit the Radha Raman temple. For many years he was a close friend of Vishwambar Goswami, an acharya in the line of Gopala Bhatta Goswami. On a number of occasions Srila Prabhupada requested his disciples to learn the high standard of deity worship and vaishnava etiquette from the Radha Raman temple. Maharaja will be sharing photos of all the festivities.