25th of December, 2004 - 6:31
Meeting Govardhan
24th of December, 2004 - 16:27
Festival of Sri Kunjabihari Das Babaji Maharaja
23rd of December, 2004 - 17:36
22nd of December, 2004 - 20:08
A foggy day at Yamuna
21st of December, 2004 - 20:21
The garden of rasa
20th of December, 2004 - 17:25
Siddha Madhusudan Das Baba's festival at Surya-kunda
19th of December, 2004 - 18:38
The lake of Sri Chaitanya
18th of December, 2004 - 18:44
In Vrindavan
17th of December, 2004 - 16:58
At Radha-Roman's house
16th of December, 2004 - 16:09
Today Delhi going
15th of December, 2004 - 17:30
Inquiries on bhajana
14th of December, 2004 - 20:01
A crash and Radha-Krishna katha
13th of December, 2004 - 18:14
A fairly uneventful day
12th of December, 2004 - 19:31
Publicity in the whole universe
11th of December, 2004 - 18:05
On bad deeds and good character
10th of December, 2004 - 16:50
Disappearances and instructions
9th of December, 2004 - 16:59
8th of December, 2004 - 17:49
Festival of Narahari Sarakara
7th of December, 2004 - 17:54
Back to Radha-kunda
6th of December, 2004 - 21:42
Visiting Vrindavan
6th of December, 2004 - 15:49
Half-way around Govardhan
5th of December, 2004 - 16:09
Electric outage
5th of December, 2004 - 15:04
Vrindavan Art
4th of December, 2004 - 17:17
Thoughts on our bhajana-marga
3rd of December, 2004 - 17:32
Meeting friends all day long
2nd of December, 2004 - 23:51
The second day in Vraja
2nd of December, 2004 - 17:39
Meeting Baba
2nd of December, 2004 - 0:20
From New Delhi to Vraja
1st of December, 2004 - 19:33
Giridhari's flute busted!
1st of December, 2004 - 7:30

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Posted: 8th of December, 2004 - 17:49
It seems like a typical Ekadasi in progress. I try to do something online, but the connection is jammed like the queue at Mathura train station ticket office. Malati is cursing the electricity and the lack of water. So much time wasted on things you would usually do in a snap. Anyhow, that is a part of the practical realities of living in rural India. Somehow on Ekadasis this effect becomes pronounced, and even in the West a bit of India comes in to your day. We can generally recognize Ekadasi from the very fact that everything becomes messed up and nothing seems to work, even if we haven't looked it up in the calendar.

A rosefinch resting on our roof
They say it is an auspicious day. Certainly it serves to remind us of the inherent frustration built into all mundane pursuits.

We spot a tiny reddish bird relaxing on the roof, likely a Rosefinch. She is so calm and still that we begin to worry whether she might have injured herself. However, it seems she is just not afraid of us. (See a picture in Views for a good look at her.) She looks like someone has painted gopi-dots all over her. Roses and chandan-dots, what a sweet little being. However she flies away as we try to serve her sesame seeds just a bit too fast. We spend some more time engaged in japa in the pleasantly warming sunshine.

In the afternoon, we visit Baba and deliver letters from Jagadananda and Rasaraja. "Such a long letter", says Baba of the former. There have been some misunderstandings about Jagat's views on scriptures and the writings of the Goswamis which he wishes to clarify. We leave Baba in peace to read the letters and do his bhajan.

The place of the mid-day swing-pastimes
On the way back, we note that someone has built a boundary around the place of Radha-Syama's swing pastimes on the banks of Radha-kunda. A platform has been built around a tree next to the location, and the monument that denotes the place of the pastime — rather unnoticable at first, granted — has been converted into a doorway to the area surrounding the tree. Now that I look at the source of the swing-pastime narration, though, I see that there are swings all around the place. Govinda-lilamritam, chapter seven:

parito maNi-sopAnAvalibhiH pariveSTitam |
caturbhir maNi-sambaddha-tIrthair dikSu suzobhitam ||2||
tIrthoparisphurad-ratna-maNDapaiH sAGganair yutam |
tat-tIrthobhaya-pArzvastha-maNi-kuTTima-maNDitam || 3 ||
prati-maNDapa-pArzvastha-taru-zAkhAvalambanaiH |
yutaM nAnA-puSpa-vAsaz citrair-dolA-catuSTayaiH ||4||
yAmye campakayoH pUrve nIpayor AmrayoH pare |
saumye bakulayor baddha-ratna-hindolikAnvitam ||5||
pUrvAgneya-dizor madhye priya-kuNDena saGgatam |
tatrordhve stambhakAlambi citra-setu-samanvitam ||6||

"Radha-kunda is beautifully surrounded by jeweled steps and jewelled bathing places. On these bathing places are jeweled platforms with a jeweled dais on each side of each bathing platform. On each side of these platforms are two trees on whose flower laden branches wonderful swings covered with various sheets are hanging. On the southern side of each platform, jeweled swings hang on the branches of two Campaka trees, on the eastern side from two Kadamba trees, on the north from two mango trees, and on the west from two Bakula trees. Between the eastern and the south eastern side is a wonderful bridge on pillars, under which the waters of Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda meet."

This swing is located on the Western bank of Radha-kunda, in Tungavidya Sakhi's ruby-laden crimson kunja called Tungavidyanandada. Tungavidya is the pandit among the sakhis. She is dressed in white or light yellow clothes, forming a beautiful contrast with her kunkuma-coloured skin. Tungavidya, more mellow in her nature than Lalita and some others, is expert in singing and dancing for the pleasure of Yugala-kishora.

We buy some potatoes from the bazaar and boil them in the evening. That's one of the rare things you can eat on Ekadasi. Anyhow, eating on Ekadasi 's a whole other story, then.
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