Day 1/12 | Holi Pilgrimage has begun!
Following the Master | Holi Pilgrimage Vrindavan 2019
16 March 2019
Yesterday was the first day of the Holi pilgrimage in Vrindavan, and by the end of the day our group size had reached over 500 pilgrims!
The day began with Guruji performing abhishek to Giridhari and offering prayers to Lord Narasimha by chanting His sahasranama while offering akshatam (turmeric rice). At the end, Guruji distributed the rice to the devotees present, around 200 at this stage, explaining that the devotees should take two grains of rice a day and place one in their mouths and one on their heads. The one in the mouth is to preserve good health, whilst the one placed on the head is to protect us from negative influences as well as fulfilling our beneficial wishes.
After this, the devotees had a quick lunch before an organisational meeting was held with an ever-increasing number of pilgrims arriving. Parallel to this, Guruji went to visit His dear friend, Sadhu Maharaj, at Munger Mandir. There He was very well received, as always, and spent just over an hour sharing stories, partaking of the prasad and singing Radharani’s name with all Maharaj’s devotees.
At around 6 pm the ‘real’ pilgrimage began. With a now complete pilgrim group of over 500 people, we all went marching to see the Prince of Vrindavan, Banke Bihari! It was immensely crowded even before we got there, so you can only imagine what it was like once we added another 500 people to the mix - chaotic bliss! After a short but sweet darshan of Bihariji, we headed on to Radha Vallabha, where we were all drenched in our first dose of Holi colours. In truth the colours were only supposed to be thrown in a few days time, but Vrindavan isn’t known for sticking to protocol - after all, spontaneous bhakti is the best bhakti! The devotees left the temple a fun mix of pink, blue and yellow as we headed on to Dhan Bihari, a small temple located at the site at which Krishna used to collect makhan donations from the residents of Vraj. We then headed on to Nidhivan and Seva Kunj, where the Raas Lila happens continuously to this day, but we had to be quick as it was nearly closing time! It is strictly observed that no living being, human or animal, is to remain inside the premises at night, as the many trees there transform into Krishna and His gopis to perform their most intimate leela. One of the local Brajvasis told the story of how Krishna and Radha prepared for the Raas with the aide of Lalita and Vishaka, while Guruji sat and listened sweetly with His eyes closed in contemplation of the leela. After arati there, the group walked back home to Giridhar Dham for a quick dinner and to wash off all the colours!
The day concluded with a short talk from Guruji, where He spoke of the need to view Vrindavan through the spiritual eyes, to see beyond the ‘surface’. He said that the physical Vrindavan is a reminder of the transcendental Vrindavan, and that we are able to connect the two only through our Love. For that we must have a deep, intense longing to see Krishna. Guruji shared the story of Rasikananda Prabhu, who had an incredible longing to meet His Guru, Shyamananda Prabhu, simply by receiving an inner call. He went on to have dreams of Shyamananda despite never meeting him, and His longing was such that Krishna arranged it so that the two would meet. Their embrace was so loving and sincere as each had been anxiously awaiting the other. Our relationship with God is no different and Guruji blessed all the pilgrims so that they may advance closer to this reality during this pilgrimage.
Stay tuned for more posts as we ‘Follow the Master’ on a pilgrimage to the Divine!