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
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14th of December, 2004 - 20:01
A crash and Radha-Krishna katha
13th of December, 2004 - 18:14
A fairly uneventful day
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Publicity in the whole universe
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On bad deeds and good character
10th of December, 2004 - 16:50
Disappearances and instructions
9th of December, 2004 - 16:59
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Festival of Narahari Sarakara
7th of December, 2004 - 17:54
Back to Radha-kunda
6th of December, 2004 - 21:42
Visiting Vrindavan
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Half-way around Govardhan
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Electric outage
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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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Siddha Madhusudan Das Baba's festival at Surya-kunda
Posted: 19th of December, 2004 - 18:38

Siddha Baba's samadhi-mandir.
In the morning, we leave with Bul Bul and family for Surya-kunda. Today is the festival of Siddha Sri Madhusudan Das Babaji Maharaja, and Vaishnavas from all around the 84 krosh Vraja-mandal gather to commemorate his disappearance. A contemporary of Siddha Krishna Das Baba of Govardhan, and according to some, the vesh-guru of Jagannath Das Babaji, he became renown as a siddha due to some extraordinary events taking place in the course of his bhajan.

Madhusudan Das was born in Kulina brahmin family. In his youth, his parents arranged a marriage against his wishes. On the night of his wedding, he escaped for Vrindavan, leaving behind his bride and family. Wishing to not be detected by anyone, he lived in secluded places. One day, as he sat on the banks of Yamuna, contemplating on the need to receive mantra-diksha, he met a mahanta from the lineage of Gangamata. The mahanta instructed Madhusudan Das to take bath in Yamuna, after which he would be initiated. Having bathed, the mahant bestowed him the ten-letter Krishna-mantra, explaining its import.

A view of the serene atmosphere of Surya-kunda.
Lost in joy, Madhusudan sank into a trance, only to discover that his guru was nowhere to be found as he eventually regained external consciousness.

Desiring to learn more on the mysteries of raganuga-sadhana, he sought shelter of Siddha Krishnadas Baba of Govardhan. Siddha Baba inquired about his guru-pranali, or succession of teachers. The customary method of worshiping Radha-Krishna on raga-marga is to conduct the service in allegiance to one's succession of gurus in their siddha-svarupas. This channel, through which the divine moods of Vraja flow down to the sadhaka-bhakta, is commonly known as the siddha-pranali. One is to know the divine characteristics of the siddha-rupas of his guru and the entire succession of gurus traced back to the associates of Sri Chaitanya, contemplating on oneself as one among the manjaris, serving under the guidance and command of guru-manjari and the group of manjaris in one's pranali. Such guru-pranalis are often called parivars, or families. The siddha-pranali is truly our family forever. Each pranali has their individual characteristics and methods of bhajan to be observed.

Vaishnavas assembling at Surya-kunda.
Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding his diksha, Madhusudan Das was unable to say anything of his pranali. Regretting this, Siddha Krishnadas Baba said that he would be unable to teach him the worship of raga-marga according to the customary methods, and directed him to Siddha Jayakrishna Baba of Kamyavana, hoping that he might perhaps be of assistance. There was a great predicament there. Madhusudan Das could not take initiation again, since he had already received the mantra. Jayakrishna Das Babaji directed him to seek shelter of harinama, praying earnestly and awaiting what Sriman Mahaprabhu and Sri Radha would arrange for him.

Feeling despondent, he left for Radha-kunda and thought of leaving his body in the waters of the sacred pond, as what good would maintaining it be if he could not learn the true methods of bhajana. One night, he tied himself to a big Govardhan-shila and thrust himself into Radha-kunda. All of a sudden, someone grasped him, took the stone off his neck, placing a palm-leaf into his hand and throwing him to the bank of the kunda. On the palm leaf was written all he needed for commencing his bhajan. After consulting the two aforementioned Siddha Babas of Vraja, he again returned for Radha-kunda, receiving the darshan of Sri Radha. In this vision, he was directed to go to Surya-kunda and spend the remainder of his life there, steeped in bhajan.

Samadhi-mandir of Manipuri Gopal Das Baba.
Towards the end of his life, on one day he narrated the glories of Sri Yogapitha to a sadhaka who came to consult him on the matter. Amidst the explanation, Siddha Baba fell into samadhi, to never awaken again for our vision. Baba had joined Radha-Shyama in their yogapitha-milana.

Returning to the festival... Every year, many sadhakas walk to Surya-kunda from their respective bhajana-sthalis. However, since we were offered a car drive, we took the easy route. Last year we walked the route from Radha-kunda to Surya-kunda, it is a beautiful and scenic walk there. As we reach Surya-kunda, the kirtana is already in progress. Hundreds of devotees have gathered for the festival, there are even a number of buses parked around the location. Surya-kunda is truly a charming place, still fairly untouched by urbanization, unlike many other places around Vraja-mandala.

Suryadeva in the mandir.
Briefly walking around and taking darshan of the thakurjis, Nitai-Gaura, and the samadhi of Siddha Baba, we head for the parikrama of Surya-kunda with Bul Bul and the family. On the other side of Surya-kunda, you'll find the bhajan-sthali and samadhi of Gopal Das Baba from Manipur, who stayed there for four decades. He, too, is told to have received the darshan of Radharani in the course of his bhajan. Completing the parikrama, we reach the temple of Surya-deva.

In the afternoon, Sri Radha and her sakhis walk from Radha-kunda to worship Surya in this temple, and of course, to meet her priyatama. Krishna, posing as a brahmin youngster, his disguise undetected by Jatila who has come to spy on Radha and to ensure she will not meet Krishna, engages Radha in the worship of Surya, having her chant mantras with varieties of clever double-meanings. These nectarine pastimes are narrated in rasika-texts such as Krishna-bhavanamrita and Govinda-lilamrita that describe the asta-kaliya-lila, or the eight-fold daily pastimes of Radha and Krishna.

A lila-kirtan in progress.
After the kirtan in the yard of the ashram of Siddha Baba on the opposite side of the kunda from the temple concludes, another roaring kirtan begins in the kirtan-hall. The kirtan-party dances out and along the streets, reaching the mandir of Surya-deva, where kirtan describing the madhyahna-lila (mid-day pastimes) is sung. As the kirtan-party returns to the ashram, prasada-seva begins. Causathi-mahanta-bhoga has been offered. In the kirtan-hall of the ashram, a plate was prepared for each of the 64 main associates of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a name written next to each of them. This is commonly done in various major festivals.

People sit in rows, and sumptuous prasad is being served.

Causathi-mahanta-bhoga, Gaura-Nitai on the background.
Remembering my latest feast experience and considering the fact that my tummy is still a bit upside down, I just squat at the end of the line without a plate and pick up a sweet to simultaneously honor the prasad and to save myself from the unpleasant consequences of taking anything in bigger quantities. As people are still taking prasad and we have to wait for the others, we do another parikrama of Surya-kunda. Now the parikrama-marga is much more peaceful. We shoot the entire parikrama on video. Expect to see views of the parikrama, as well as of the festival, soon in the media-section.

Reaching Radha-kunda in the evening, we cook the dinner in candle-light, as the electricity is out for change. Satisfied yet exhausted, we call it a day and take rest.
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