Vrindavan on Sharad Purnima 2008
I found the trees in Nidhivan in bloom. Light, four-petalled white blossoms fell on the ground and buds waited their turn to bloom at night.
October 14th, 2008
At Devraha Baba ghat, Vrindavan
Yamuna ji had been flowing much beyond her banks in Vrindavan this monsoon. As a result green grass claimed the land as the water subsided. No vegetables, no crops so far, but now the farmers are ready to till the sandy banks and plant vegetables, said a man from Devraha Baba’s ashram as he accompanied us on the boat-ride to the other bank.
We could plainly see that the water had just come down from the circular Samadhi tower at Devraha Baba’s ashram. The river has been meandering over Vraj for many years now, shifting its sandy banks, creating land where there was water earlier and vice versa. Some land deals have also turned invalid because of the shifting river.
Yamuna ji seemed quite oblivious to the impact of her frolic, considering the quick waters crowded with eddies and mud suds whirling in them. The high waters had submerged the Parikrama marg at Kesi ghat, attracting the attention of Chief Minister Mayawati who has announced a bridge to be built alongside Kesi ghat as a parallel to the Parikrama marg here, the boatman informed, as I watched villagers cross the river with their cycles, scooters and motorbikes aboard.
The temporary bridge which is functional beyond the monsoons will soon be up again after Diwali, the boatman said.
Tatiya Sthan, Vrindavan
This Sharad Purnima, I saw a green Vrindavan. Tatiya shtan where Swami Haridas ji’s followers take care of Sri Mohini Vihari ji, the deity here. The lord was dressed in white and silver; the prasad of chandan and tulsi water was supplemented by hot halwa cooked in desi ghee, and a bowl full of pakoras per person. As a devotee signaled us to take the Prasad behind the temple, the gaiety of people eating the delicious Prasad replaced the calm atmosphere in front of the temple.
In front of Thakurji, was a large assembly of devotees in this lineage, and visitors like us. The guru ji sat on his sandy throne with strings of tulsi beads to distribute to those who needed them. Hand held fans made of palm leaves and covered by a light cotton fabric in yellow or magenta added a gentle breeze to the crisp October morning that was dotted by sunshine streaming from gnarled but tall trees overhead.
The place is ancient and looks it. No electricity, no light bulbs, no fans, no gas…yet the inhabitant devotees looked so much at peace even without these. It is a boys’ only ashram. Teenaged boys, faces smeared in chandan, were as calm and focused on their respective duties as the older men. Some people including the guru ji had almost luminescent faces – glowing with calm and inner joy.
The assembly was not talking. Everyone was either singing the verses handed down by Swami Haridas ji, or listening meditatively. Monkeys did not attack people here, but peeped idly from tree tops.
For the first time I found the trees in Nidhivan in bloom. Light, four-petalled white blossoms fell on the ground and buds waited their turn to bloom at night. The night of Sharad Purnima is very sacred here in particular. Sri Banke Bihari had shown himself here to Swami Haridas and later emerged as the deity now worshipped as Sri banke Bihari ji Maharaj in the busy bazaar. Sharad Purnima is the night when the devotee is invited by the Lord for unison.
Sharad Purnima, the full moon night of Kartik month is a Vaishnav’s delight. This is the day, Sri Krishna welcomed one and all to his dance of oneness, the Maharaas, which is a noted theme in miniature paintings of Moghul, Rajasthani and Kangra schools of art.
On Sharad Purnima night the request of the Vedas, Asato Ma Sadgamay to be led from the darkness of ignorance to the light of Truth is answered.
Krishna being Truth is repeatedly addressed by names such as Satyam Param Dhimahi and Sachidanand Rupay in the Srimad Bhagwatam, the ace epic of the Vaishnavas. The Vishnu Sahastranam also has names such as Satyay, Satya-Sandhay for the lord.
Devotee saints say that Krishna being the Lord of love is charmed by love and devotion. It doesn’t matter what the devotee offers to the Lord as long as it’s wrapped in oodles of love. ‘Patram Pushpam Phalam Toyam Yo Mam Bhaktya Prayachati…’ Krishna accepts leaves, flowers, fruit, water…anything that the devotee wants to offer him with love. Kheer is a special offering that devotees lovingly offer on Sharad Purnima.
Sharad Purnima is a night to remember one’s relationship with God who loves unconditionally and provides with essentials for life and the very life itself.
It was a privilege to be in Vrindavan on this special day this year.