Vishrama Ghat

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Now we have come to Puncari. This place is part of the area where Krishna performed his rasa dance with the gopis. Just look around you, see how beautiful this place is. You can imagine how beautiful it must have been back during Krishna’s times. So many different groves filled with blossoming flowers. The air filled with the scents of wonderful fragrances and the sound of sweetly singing birds.

I remember coming to this place forty years ago with my most beloved spiritual master, Srila Bhakti prajnana Kesava Maharaja. Many of you were not even born yet. At that time this place was even more beautiful. This whole place was overflowing with kadamba trees in full blossom. In this beautiful and romantic place Lord Krishna performed his rasa dance and this place where we are standing right now is also part of that place. If you look over there you can see a tamal tree next to a kadamba tree. The tamal tree signifies Krishna and the kadamba tree signifies Srimati Radharani. Krishna always only wears yellow dhoti which is the colour of Srimati Radharani and what colour does Srimati Radharani wear? She puts on dark bluish coloured saris, the colour of Krishna. Hari! Haribol!

Shyam Dhak

This place is known as Shyam Dhak and as you can see it is filled with thousands and thousands of kadamba trees and there are also some very beautiful ponds in the vicinity. When Lord Krishna at the age of seven had totally broken Indra’s pride and humbled him. Indra came to this particular forest to beg for forgiveness. From here he proceeded on to Govinda kunda where Indra performed Lord Krishna’s abhiseka and received forgiveness of his heinous offense by the mercy of Surabhi. Here also there is a seat for Indra and also a very peculiar thing. The leaves of the kadamba trees in this forest are shaped like cups and Lord Krishna and his cowherd friends use to drink buttermilk and eat curd out of these leaf cups. Even to this day you can take the leaves from these trees and fill them with any liquid and drink from them. They are naturally made this way. So they are trees of Dhak and therefore this forest is called Shyam Dhak. Now we will hear a very nice lecture about vipralambha.

All the Goswamis that came to Vrindavan came in the state of vipralambha, intense separation from Sri Sri Radha Krishna Sri Madhavendra Puri also came here in this state. Lord Caitanya .Mahaprabhu also came here exhibiting this state of consciousness. And in this mood feeling great ecstasy and love of Godhead they visited these holy places of pilgrimage in Vraja Mandala. Nothing could pacify or relieve this mood of intense separation.

Therefore following in their footsteps the mood of the Gaudiya vaisnavas is to cry in intense separation and that crying is nectarean. When Krishna left the company of the gopis, Srimati Radhika and Lalita and Vishaka began to desperately search for him in one forest grove after another, crying bitter tears of intense separation. Those who have the proper understanding of what is love in separation, they in actuality are the only ones who can understand this mood. In this intense mood Srimati Radharani spoke to the kadamba tree saying, where is that sweetness? You are so sweet. Where is that sweetness now? O where is my sweeter than the sweetest, Supreme Lord Shyamasundara, with the blackish complexion, who use to always brush and braid my hair, who use to always wear a gunja mala around his neck and a peacock feather in his crown. O where is He? Where is He? Finally after wandering for some time she came upon Govardhana hill and she prayed to him. O Govardhanji, I remember you, you are that friend from Gokula, and now you are here in this form almost piercing the sky. You know where my beloved is. Please tell me where he is hiding. O Lalita, Vishaka I have looked for him everywhere I went to Shyama kunda, I went to Radha kunda, I went to Govinda kunda. I searched for him everywhere but I was not able to get even the faintest whiff of his scent. I could not even catch the slightest glimpse of my beloved. like this Srimati Radharani was crying like a mad woman; but if we simply hear this and then repeat it to others will this give us the eternal shelter of devotional service to Sri Sri Radha and Krishna? I do not think so. We can take shelter of their lotus feet only by the causeless mercy of Sri Gurudeva. Only by the divine blessings and grace of the Vaisnavas and guru can we achieve this, and this is because the guru’s words never fail. Just take the example of Nalakuvara and Manigriva. They did not perform any tapasya or devotional service to Krishna; but because Krishna wanted to honour the words of his pure devotee Narada muni, Krishna delivered them.

Srimati Radharani continued in her mood telling her intimate girlfriends Lalita and Vishaka, I can not understand what is happening to me. Why is this happening to me? Where is that wonderful love of mine, Govinda? Where is that sweeter than the sweetest, blackish cloud complexioned Shyamasundara? He why is more dear to me than all my life. Where did he go? Without finding Him, my life is useless. I don’t even know how I am still alive. I don’t even know how I am still continuing to breathe. Be cause without Shyamasundara I am already dead. Wailing like this and acting in an extremely mad way Srimati Radharani was even falling into the arms of Lord Balaram so delirious was she in not being able to find Krishna.

So this is the condition of vipralambha and all these pastimes of Radha and Krishna were performed in the places we are visiting. But by just visiting these places, will that give us the mood of intense separation from Sri Sri Radha Krishna? What can we do? We are just conditioned souls. We don’t have any real taste for these pastimes. We are just stuck in this material world in complete ignorance. But after everything is said and done there is no other way out, we have no choice. Where can we go without them? How can we live without them? We must take shelter o their lotus feet lifetime after lifetime and they must take care c their fully surrendered devotees and this is all achieved by the mercy and grace of Sri Gurudeva.

After some time when Krishna finally appeared before Srimati Radharani, she related everything that happened to her since the time he had disappeared. Krishna said, o my most beautiful one o most illustrious shining and brilliant jewel of the night. I am extremely pleased with you, kindly tell me what you desire. At that time Srimati Radharani asked for three wishes. She said, "O Shyama please promise me that you will remain here in Vraja for all times; but without being seen by those whose eyes are not anointed by the salve of devotional service to you." The second wish was, "please Shyamasundara never disappoint all the devotees who are somehow residing in Vraja, hoping to attain your lotus feet, never leaving, sustaining their lives by their love for you alone." And the third wish she asked of Krishna was that He always gives his devotees the shelter of His lotus feet, showering them constantly with his mercy." Now if you noticed Srimati Radharani had just been feeling intense separation from Krishna and yet even though she had just been feeling extremely depressed and despondent, when Krishna asked her what did she desire, she did not think of herself. She thought of the suffering devotees of the Lord. This is a symptom of the mood of vipralambha. No matter how unfortunate or grief-stricken the devotee feels A true devotee is still always more concerned with the welfare of other devotees.

Where is our intense yearning for Krishna? When will we in total desperation and utter despondency cry and lament with intense separation of love for Krishna? We don’t have even a single drop of it in our hearts. If we did how could we bear to stay alive What allure could life hold for us if we felt like this? Actually if we do have any hope or yearning to one day feel like this, then let that hope and yearning be for the shelter of the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika. And surely by Guru’s grace if one does have that sincere hope and yearning, maybe not now, but at least some time in a far, distant future lifetime, Srimati Radharani and Krishna will fulfil this desire. This is the desire that we should always have within our hearts.

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