Land of milk and music – 2…

The date with Yamuna at Brindavan seemed quite different from what one has experienced with Ganga at places like Haridwar, Gharmukteshwar, Shivpuri….For one, Ganga is sheer “energy” – more volumes of water, swift flowing, quite formidable….And again, Ganga evokes deep veneration…it is not uncommon to see pilgrims standing, waist deep in the waters of Ganges, hands folded, meditating, or in prayer…

Yamuna at Brindavana seemed much more homely. One boated across, sported around in the waters, saw the sun rise…and there was the childlike joy that brooks no ritual or ceremony.

After the morning dip, one went back to RK Mission…7 am breakfast….moori (puffed rice) and channa curry…simple, filling, healthy.

We set off at 8:30 am, once again, in the cycle rickshaw. First stop was Katyayani temple. One of the Shakti peethas spread across the subcontinent, this is said to be the place where tresses of Sati fell. Nice, airy temple. Two stone lions guarded the top of the temple entrance. Half a dozen devotees were sitting in the courtyard, reading Durga Saptashati….The idol of Goddess Katyayani was exuding power…Someone chanted Durga Suktam from the Vedas….some ladies were chanting Hindi verses of worship…some went around the sanctum sanctorum, ringing all the bells that hung there…Dong! Dong! Dong!

After Katyayani temple, one went to Ranga Mandir. A temple built completely in Dravidian architecture. Massive. Beautiful. Tall Gopurams, so distinctively South Indian. For 5 Rs fee, a young man offered to guide us….took us to each sub-shrine….there were several shrines…one of Sri Ranganatha, lying on the serpent Adi Sesha…one of Lord Rama and family…many more….the main sanctum was of Lord Vishnu, standing. A young man was singing Hindi songs of prayer…Very melodious…. Someone chanted Purusha Sukta. The priest sang the Tamil verses from Divya Prabanda, which had been sung by Azhwaars (Vaishnava Saints) at Brindavana. The priests in this temple were from Tamil Nadu. The temple itself was said to have been built by a North Indian merchant…

Thereafter, we went to Gopeshwar temple. Lord Siva is said to have taken the form of a Gopi to enjoy the company of Lord Krishna in Brindavana…. Gopeshwara Linga was in a set at ground level…an elderly priest, and perhaps his son, officiated, guiding pilgrims to perform abhisheka…

From here, we went to Anand Vrindavana, the Ashrama of Swami Akhandananda Saraswathi….A colossus of Sanatana Dharma, he has spoken and written extensively on ever so many aspects of religion and philosophy…

And then we went to the temple, which the Rickshaw man referred to as “Angrej Mandir” – or, “The Englishman’s temple”….

This was ISKCON temple…One of the most famous landmarks of this temple town…Right on the main road….Abuzz with devotees and actvities…Many white folks there…all in traditional Vaishnava attire and adornments…Tuft adorned heads, vaishnava marks on the forehead, dressed in simple Indian dresses…. Chants of Hare Krishna flowed constantly, like the currents of yamuna. Many devotees were crushing sandalwood paste….bhajans were in progress….Mahaprasad was being given to one and all….this was a vibrant hive of Bhakti….

Bowing to local wisdom, one had taken off one’s spectacles when on the road. The spectacles grabbing monkeys were not known to listen to reason, and it is better to be safe than sorry….

Time was past noon.

One had managed to have a glimpse of a few of the several thousand temples of Brindavana….If one really wanted to visit the related places of pilgrimage – Govardhan, Nandgaon, Barsana and Mathura – one would need at least a few days more…..We shall come back some other time for those…

For now, Radhe Krishna! 


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