The city of Jaipur in Rajasthan is a popular tourist destination because of it’s colorful cultural heritage. It is even more fascinating for vaisnava devotees of the Lord, however, because many of the original Vrindavan deities reside there. This 1st of 3 Jaipur photo albums centers around our parikrama party’s visit to the temple of Radha Gopinatha, the beloved deities of Madhu Pandit, a close associate of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
In this album our parikrama party visits the most popular temple in Jaipur where Radha Govinda, the beloved deities of Srila Rupa Goswami, are worshipped. The outstanding feature of this temple is that each day tens of thousands of people visit to have the Lord’s darshan.
One afternnon while in Jaipur we held an initiation for two young Ukrainian girls; Taralaksi dasi and Madhavi-lata dasi. The auspicious ceremony was made even more auspicious by the fact that it was held in the temple of Radha Gopinatha. Certainly an occasion the young ladies will never forget.
Dear disciples: “Lord Of The Gopis,” our most recent Kartika parikrama class, is now up on www.narottam.com. We discuss the pastime of the gopis praying to the goddess Katyayani to have Krsna as their husband.
“Is it a new moon or Her brilliant form? Is it a golden lotus or Her brilliant face? Are these Her two eyes or are they two cakora birds? Is this Her glance or is it a wave of nectar?” Such questions cannot be asked about Sri Radha. Her beauty exceeds that of any beautiful object, so how can any such comparison be considered?
[ Srila Jiva Goswami, Gopala-purva-campu,15th Purana ]
[ Painting of Srimati Radharani worshipping Surya, the Sun God ]
The final album of our parikrama to Jaipur takes us to various spots throughout the city; the famous Amber Palace on a mountain overlooking the city, to Kanak Vrindavan where Radha Madhava, the original deities of Jayadeva Goswami, are worshipped and to a house program at a devotee’s home. Everywhere we continued kirtan and katha as we explored the “City of Victory” and it’s historical and devotional significance.
The pristine beauty of Saubhari Muni’s ashram in the countryside, just on the banks of the Yamuna river, is a perfect replica of what all of Vrindavan must have looked like hundreds, or even thousands, of years ago. We relished hearing and chanting in the sanctified atmosphere of that holy place realizing that our Kartika parikrama is almost over. We are all wondering how we will ever leave Vrindavan! But we know must, if only to share our good fortune with others.
Dear Disciples: “A Miracle!” a Kartika parikrama class about the life and teachings of Jayadeva Goswami, author of Gita Govinda, is now available on
As the auspicious month of Kartika drew to a close, our parikrama party choose to circumambulate sacred Govardhan Hill one more time. We knew well that Giriraja is very merciful to those who pray for eternal residence in Sri Vrindavan dhama.
On the final day of our Kartika parikrama we visited Varsana, the home of Srimati Radharani when she was a young girl. We spent hours traversing the beautiful area, sometimes stopping to have kirtan and katha. All along the way we prayed for service to the Divine Couple.
The day after our last Kartika parikrama we all assembled at the Radha Gokulananda temple to share our memories and realizations. There was laughter, joy, amazement… and a touch of sadness as well. Sadness with the realization that a month spent in each other’s loving association, hearing the pastimes of the Lord, chanting His glories and seeing His transcendental forms in so many temples was finally over ….
This morning I went to Radha Kunda to offer my respects and say goodbye, for now, to Sri Vrindavan Dhama. It was a wonderful and most memorable Kartika being in the association of 350 blissful devotees visiting so many holy places in this sacred dhama. It’s going to be difficult to leave tomorrow. I will keep the instructions of Srila Prabodhananda Saravasti close to my heart: “The wise man who yearns to attain the sweetness of pure love in Vrindavan, but by destiny is forced to live elsewhere, laments and always remembers Vrindavan, with it’s beautiful splendid groves where Sri Sri Radha and Krsna enjoy pastimes. He meditates on entering Vrindavan and thinks, ‘Now I am serving the Divine Couple.’ ” [ Vrindavan Mahimamrta, Sataka One, verse 75 ]
A photo from 1880 taken somewhere in Vrindavan. Lot’s of offerings for the Lord!
India, in days gone by ….
On our way to Australia and then Hong Kong, Bada Haridas and myself have stopped off in Bali, Indonesia for a short break. But we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go on harinam with the local devotees and yesterday joined them for a massive 3-hour kirtan along one of the beautiful beaches than adorn this island. Though Indonesia is typically Muslim, people in Bali are mainly Hindus. So the reception was wonderful. Many tourists also joined in the chanting and dancing!
This evening I am returning to India to attend to some urgent business connected to our upcoming 6-week festival tour there beginning in January. On the way I stopped by our ISKCON temple in Denpasar to get blessings from the deities for a safe journey and a swift return to Bali next week.
“By serving you constantly, one is freed from all material desires and becomes completely pacified. When will I become your permanent, eternal servant and always feel joy to have such a fitting master?” Yamunacarya, Stotraratna, text 43
Yesterday, upon my return to India, I had the good fortune to visit a somewhat unknown, but historically significant, place of worship for followers of Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON. Tucked away in a small corner of Chandni Chowk, the oldest and busiest market in New Delhi, is the temple of Radha Vallabha, where Srila Prabhupada lived off and on from 1959 to 1965. During those years Srila Prabhupada was preparing for his mission in the west. Because the temple is situated square in the middle of the printing district of Chandni Chowk, Srila Prabupada rented a room there and would often come from Vrindavan to oversee the printing of his budding Back to Godhead magazine and Srimad Bhagavatam. It is from his quarters in the Radha Vallabha temple that he would also go out and personally distribute his Back to Godhead magazine and books.
Year’s later, after ISKCON was established in the west, Srila Prabhupada told his disciple Gopal Krsna Maharaja to, “purchase that place.” By Krsna’s grace 4 years ago the owners, appreciating Srila Prabhupada’s service in spreading Krsna consciousness all over the world, donated the entire temple to ISKCON. It now serves as thriving preaching center, as well as a memorial and museum. More than 300 local people visit the temple day each for darsan, kirtan and classes. Because Srila Prabhupada listed it as his “address” in his diary on the Jaladuta,
it is now a “must see” for all devotees who visit Delhi. The address is: 2439 Chhippiwada kala, Delhi.
I have included a number of photos from the old neighborhood where the temple is situated. In order that devotees can appreciate the photos of Srila Prabhupada’s residence in particular, I have included captions to most photos in the album.
I would like to thank the 74 devotees who have so far donated generously to the recovery fund for my brother, Vraja Kumara das. His wife, Rangavali devi, and their children are also touched by the response. As Vraja requires an enormous amount of medical aid in the months to come, I humbly request others who are still considering to help, to please come forward and do so.
Please visit: http://www.gofundme.com/hapj5c
With deep gratitude, Indradyumna Swami
While traveling through Maharashtra, India, to organize our festival tour here early next year, I have taken the opportunity to visit a number of holy places in this western part of the country. There are many sacred rivers, ancient temples and saintly personalities throughout this lush and green part of India. In one temple we visited a deity of Lord Nrsimhadeva deep inside an underground cave. Traveling by bus, car, train ( and elephant! ) I have found the people here courteous and kind, and as always, curious to see and talk to a western devotee of the Lord. I am also pleased to see that ISKCON has a number of successful temples and projects throughout beautiful Maharashtra. [ Photos by Indradyumna Swami and Rupvilas dasa ]
“Please accept my blessings. I am just in receipt of your letter forwarded from New York. Please be happy in separation. I am separated from my Guru Maharaja since 1936 but I am always with him so long I work according to his direction. So we should all work together for satisfying Lord Krishna and in that way the feelings of separation will transform into transcendental bliss.” [ Srila Prabhupada letter to Uddhava dasa, May 3, 1968 ]
“In my horoscope there was written there, ‘After seventieth year this man will go outside India and establish so many temples.’ I could not understand. ‘What is this, that I have to go outside India? That is not…’ And Guru Maharaja foretold. He told my Godbrothers, Sridhara Maharaja and other that, ‘He’ll do the needful when time comes. Nobody requires to help him.’ He told in 1935. And after all, this was true. Guru Maharaja told. And in the beginning, first sight, he told, ‘You have to do this.'”
[ Srila Prabhupada, room conversation, Vrindavan, June 17, 1977 / Photo pre-1965 ]