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: 25th of December, 2004 - 6:31

Two manjari-baskets.
In the morning, we left for Vrindavan to meet with Rasaraja and Braja along with their families. As a token of gratitude for the varieties of help they had given us, we had prepared small gifts for them. Manjari-baskets, containing varieties of uddipan (stimuli) for the upcoming relationship that was to be forged through the ceremony of diksha on the following day.

Each basket contained two beautiful framed pictures of Radha-Krishna, a container of astagandha-chandan (sandalwood with eight scents), a small vessel for preparing the chandan, a block of colored tilak for decorating faces, hands, feet and so forth, a container with Radha-kunda tilak for marking your head with the foot-dust of our Svamini, a container with a gunja-mala representing Sri Radha, a decorated cloth for various purposes, and a small bottle of saffron-oil especially suitable for the cold season. The basket itself is most suitable for picking flowers, for example at Surya-kunda before the mid-day pastimes at Radha-kunda.

vRndAraNya-mahezvarIM priyatayA yAs toSayanti priyAH |
prANa-preSTha-sakhI-kulAd api kilAsaGkocitA bhUmikAH
kelI-bhUmiSu rUpa-maJjarI-mukhAs tA dAsikAH saMzraye ||

I take shelter of the handmaidens of the Queen of Vrindavan, who are led by Sri Rupa Manjari, and who lovingly satisfy her by offering hazelnuts and other condiments, massaging her feet, bringing fragrant water and arranging trysts with her gallant and have thus become most dear to her. They are thus allowed to enter the scene of the Divine Couple’s most intimate affairs without the slightest discomfiture — a reward not given even to her dearest friends.

Gaurapriya, Rasavati Rai and Braja.
We met with our friends upstairs in the MVT restaurant. They had stopped over for a meal there. We just took a few cups of ginger tea to ward off the cold after the chilly ride to Vrindavan. Many families had gathered there, and the noise level was incredible. It is hard to imagine anyone could actually digest food in such an environment. The MVT folks had a christmas-celebration in progress. The place was decorated with christmas-lights, and the restaurant staff chanted "jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way..." with the accompaniment of karatalas. Had the late Swami Prabhupada been around, I would imagine he would have characterized it as "nonsense".

We headed over to Braja's place with him, Gaura-priya and the kids, soon followed by Rasaraja, giving them the gifts and chatting a while on a number of topics. Leaving towards Radha-kunda, we stop by at a shop just outside the MVT that offers varieties of organic vegetables for sale. This is a most welcome addition to the supplies available in Vrindavan,

A familiar sight — stuck at a railway crossing.
as most regular vegetables come from fields sprayed with DDT. Filling our bags, we take an auto-rickshaw back to Radha-kunda.

After preparing some prasad, we head for Baba's darshan. Since two of our friends are about to get diksha, we spend a moment asking about some related practicalities. Rasaraja in particular is fond of his name, and wonders if Baba might change that. Baba says that since it is a good Vaishnava-name, there is no need for change. However he checks whether Rasa's original name starts with the same letter, as this convention seems to be rather strictly observed.

I ask whether Baba always gives a new name, even to disciples in West Bengal, as I had earlier heard that some Gaudiya-gurus only give new names when someone becomes a renunciate. Baba said that he does always give a new name, if not at the time of diksha, then latest at the time of giving pranali, when one receives both his parshada-name with all related details, and a proper Vaishnava-name in the guru-pranali.

As Baba speaks of the Siddha Baba of Govardhan, I mention that some Gaudiya parivars hold the opinion that the teachings of Siddha Baba on the dual astakaliya-worship of Gaura-lila and Radha-Krishna-lila is a new thing, as the former has not been elaborated on by the six Goswamis of Vraja.

Babaji Maharaja contemplates the matter at hand.
Baba says that it is not a new thing, because Siddha Baba has written on the direct advice of Radharani, who appeared to him and directed him to write of the lila in such a manner so as to make the process of lila-smarana easier for the sadhaka-samaja. Gopala Guru Goswami and Dhyanachandra Goswami have also written of Mahaprabhu's astakala-upasana in their Paddhatis.

Baba explains that the objecting opinion is held by some Goswamis of Advaita-vamsa. The followers of Advaita Prabhu were divided in two over the issue. The followers of Achyutananda accepted the upasana of Mahaprabhu, and the other party did not. Concluding the topic, Baba says that the subject matter of raganuga-bhakti is difficult to understand, and its understanding only becomes possible through bhajana.

Karunamayi Das was also at Baba's place, we walked together the way back to Gaura-dham. His house is rather close to ours. Returning to our house, we chat for a moment with Yugal and Ananda Hari, who has come over for a visit there, and then head upstairs to our room.
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