KÄRTIKA VÅNDÄVANA TRIP
dvädaçäsv api mäseñu kärtikaù kåñëa-vallabhaù
From amongst the twelve months of the year, the month of Kärtika is the dearmost to the Lord Kåñëa, for this is the month of Queen Çré Rädhikä.
The month of Kärtika holds so much importance, devotees beg for their Queen, Våndävaneçvaré’s sidelong glance. The devotees of the Lord await this month, when the atmosphere turns so auspicious and overwhelming, that one just cannot wait going to Våndävana and having rendezvous with Their beloved Rädhä Kåñëa.
The Divine month of Kärtika becomes all the more Auspicious, Merciful and Glorious when devotees are blessed to go to Dhäma together, under the shelter of an Äcärya. At KARM, the blessings of Çrématé Rädhikä overflowed, as they were blessed with the rarest Opportunity of Våndävana Dhäma Yäträ and Darçana in Çré Gurudeva’s Divine Association.
It was a sunny yet slightly cold morning. Eager Devotees started leaving their places to meet and hence depart for All Glorious, All Opulent Vraja Dhäma. The enthusiasm, the service attitude, the care within each, made them bring the multifarious things from food items to woollens and medicines. Thus overflowed Gurudeva’s love and mercy, which is always present in His teachings. Driven with the desires divine, as we reached our destination – Çré Våndävana Dhäma, the lotuses of our hearts bloomed with the divine sight of Darçana of Çré Gurudeva, assuring us Çrématé Rädhikä’s tender care. Devotees, with awe and reverence, paid obeisances and offered Garland.
In the love filled sight, our yäträ commenced, with the festival of eyes, on the Yamunä pulina itself. Having Darçana of Çré Rädhä Dämodara, made peacocks of our hearts dance in jubiliation. And then the circumambulation- unprecedented, in the divine Footsteps of Çré Gurudeva, which is always dreamt.
Following Çré Gurudeva’s Teachings, we could attain the vision with which to pay obeisances and have Darçana of Çré Rüpa Maïjaré, i.e., in our own Guru pradatta Maïjaré Svarüpa, praying to Her for engaging us in eternal service of Çrématé Rädhäräné and to have the readiness and eagerness to serve always. Then from Çré Rädhä Dämodara, we left for Çré Rädhä Çyämasundara, the most beautiful and unique Deity, who manifested from Çrématé Rädhäräné’s heart and are dressed in different manners daily.
We could also behold Çré Çyämänanda Jé’s bhajana place, in the form of a secluded cave, which exemplifies the way how bhajana is performed, cutting oneself from material attachments and thoughts.
Passing from Vraja’s narrow lanes, devotees were blessed being sheltered in Gurudeva’s care. Moving ahead and getting purified with the touch of Dhäma Raja, we reached Nidhivana, also known as Madhuvana. The Divine place, landscaped with shrub like trees, Lord Bänkey Bihäré appeared here, pleased with Saint Haridäsa’s services. After having Darçana of the Samädhi of Svämé Haridäsa, we could view awe inspiring sights of the glorious Rädhä Räné Temple, Rädhä Räné’s well, The Govindasthalé, Lord Bänkey Bihäré’s Place of appearance, filling our minds with Yogapéöha meditation.
Going further from ‘i’ to ‘we’, devotees were immersed in Çyämä-Çyäma kértana, yet never losing the sight of each other. Thereupon collecting the glorious Rädhäräné’s Lotusfeet raja, Gurudeva blessed us with the instruction to observe the place and while chanting, meditate being there.
Then we headed towards Çré Rädhä Ramaëa Jé, the Temple established by Çréla Gopäla Bhaööa Gosvämé. Their smile mystic, captivates the hearts and is mind’s treat. From there, we went to Çréla Gopäla Bhaööa Gosvämé Samädhi Mandira, where our fortune raised as we were blessed again by having Darçana of and praçäda from a Siddha Mahätmä. Though hot in the afternoon, the devotees didn’t felt any need of water, for their eternal thirst of the heart for Kåpä was getting quenched.
From children to the aged, all were relishing in the narrow lanes, without any fatigue. Then we crossed from Céra Ghäöa and had the astonishing view of the Kadamba tree, standing from the time of Kåñëa’s manifest pastimes. Then as we proceeded from the Céra Ghäöa to Yamunä Jé, we were blessed to perform äraté and püjä of Yamunä Jé. Though standing on the shores of Yamunä Jé and physically untouched by its waters, our ears, hearts and all the senses got treat of Gurudeva’s mesmerising Kértana -‘Yamunä Rasaräné’.
Following Çré Gurudeva, we found ourselves in the place with enchanting nitya lélä paintings on the walls, the Nikuïja Mandira decorated for Kiçoré Kiçora, having all the necessary items placed for Night pastimes. Listening its glories, we were more and more amazed as Lord of the Lords performs personal services for Rädhäräné here, hence known as Sevä Kuïja. Making offerings for Their Çayyä sevä and having Darçana of Lalitä Kuëòa, we proceeded to Çré Rädhä Gokulänanda.
The historical place has magnificent tradition to behold, with prominent Gauòéya Äcäryas’ Deities and their samädhis, the place where the magnificence of Gauräìga’s lélä unfolds. Then our eyes rolled in ecstasy seeing Gokulänanda Jé’s Madhyähna Äraté.
Then we did parikramä of Gosvämés Samädhis and prayed for their mercy as they are the eternal maïjarés, making us feel the bhajana strength of the Gosvämés.
It was afternoon time, and the hunger of heart rose more for diving into Gurudeva’s väëé’s nectarine flows. As ‘Jayo Rädhe Jayo Kåñëa Jayo Våndävana’ Kértana was sung, it made hairs stand on end.
Through the Lecture ‘meri (my) Sväminé’, Gurudeva took us closer to Çrématé Rädhäräné, instilling the feeling of ‘mineness’ for Her, making us realise our glorious position as the dearmost maïjaré. Unattained even by Lakñméjé, the Gokulapati begs from us for the Darçana of Sväminéjé. Enlivened with the Hari kathä, devotees began serving offerings, so as to beg for the blessings for the month of Kärtika.
Now was the time for honouring the merciful prasädam prepared all by devotees in Delhi and Våndävana. The day had passed with the ecstatic moments, blissful and divine. And with all the more dreamy euphoric moments, the evening arrived. Wicks and lamps were ready and Çré Gurudeva began the lamp offering.
Lightened lamps in everybody’s hands,
to offer to Païca tattva and Çyämä Çyäma.
The melodies of añöakams, Rädhästrotras and Kåpä kaöäkña,
all glowing in their eternal positions as sakhé däsés and kiçora Brähmaëa.
And this was for our yäträ, the last part, as the time arrived, not wished or desired by anyone,
that is, to depart with Gurudeva’s blessings and instructions, to stay always with mind, in Sevä kuïja and Nidhivana.
It was not an end but a new beginning since Çré Gurudeva gave us new vision for how to worship Çrématé Rädhäräné – as ‘my ‘Sväminé.’ The 24 hour day passed with the blink of eye, leaving all memories alive in devotees mind.