3 Arp 2015, Friday, Uttara Phalguni day
Around 2 PM, or so we start from Hari Baba baandh… To return to Brindavan…
Bobby, our Guide, has updated his mind’s road encyclopedia with the vagaries of the day, and has suggested a slightly different route for the return trip… And we are on our way….
Sometime around 4 pm or so, Bobby gets a call on his cell. He speaks excitedly, and after the call is done, he tells us that there is a terrific hailstorm in progress in Brindavan…. He says the whole courtyard of the Asram is under ice… It’s a white carpet, he says….
Where we are, there is no rain….We drive on, unconcerned.
About half an hour later, Bobby gets one more call. Its is Shyamji from Brindavan, asking whether we are all ok. He is concerned about the Swami-s… He says he hail has been severe, and he asks if we are stranded, do we need any help, should he send any vehicle to fetch us etc etc… Well, we were perfectly fine…. No problems at all…. We were maybe 20 or 30 kms from Brindavan.. And we had experienced no rain… What were these people talking about….
And then, around 5 30 pm. when we entered Brindavan… The deluge… Water, water everywhere… Rains has stopped… But we could see hailstones all over the place… We stopped the car, got down, to check out.. Huge hailstones, the size and weight of golf balls… And it was at least half an hour since rain had stopped.. Yet, the place was a lattice of white hailstones… As we made our way to the Ananda Vrindavana Asrama, we noticed the damage. Cars with windshields broken. Houses with windows damaged…
See for yourself…. (The damaged car was parked in Ananda Vrindavana Asrama… The other pics were shared by my good friend Sanjay, who got it from his Brindavan brotherhood).
Click on any picture, and browse… Have a look….
When we entered the Asrama, we found most people to be appearing shell shocked. They had never seen anything like this… Everyone had a war story to tell… It was as if the God’s had singled out Brindavan for this aerial bombardment…
A news article in a local Vrindavan news site reported “It was around 3.30 p.m on Friday, the sky became dark then the hailstorm began with thunder. The base ball sized hail pounded on the roof, roads and fields of Vrindavan for two hours. The glasses of many vehicles were broken. The plastic water tanks out on the roofs were not spared either. It made holes in the water tanks….”
“The hailstorm was so severe that it killed four persons including a woman, while 150 others were injured. Hundreds of pigeons and other birds were also killed, which also included three peacocks….”
“The majority of crops were destroyed in the hailstorm. The actual loss of the farmers couldn’t be ascertained….”
Vrindavan Experience, a Facebook page, mentioned “Heavily beaten monkeys, dead birds, shattered windows and car wind shields, a cover of green leaves that got all shaved off of the trees and shredded, all in just 5 minutes. Wires ripped apart, no electricity at some parts, internet cables torn apart. And no, things like this doesn’t happen regularly…”
Here is a video clip of the hailstorm shared in Facebook page of Vrindavan Experience.
No, thing like this don’t happen even remotely rarely….
When we were in the shelter of the main building in Ananda Vrindavana Ashram, an elderly devotee came to pay his respects to Swami G. His car had been damaged severely by the hail. He looked a bit shaken, but was was floating with the lightness of being that comes to one when one has seen an ‘act of God’, which demonstrates how powerless one really is… And talking to Swami G, he mentioned that they had escaped lightly. He wondered, how it would have been, few thousands of years ago, when Indra had unleashed his fury on Brindavana by a dam-burst from the sky…. And how, by an act of supreme mercy, Krishna, the boy, had lifted Govardhana hill and held it up like an umbrella, under which the all creatures could take shelter…. Swami G blessed him profusely for reminding us of this divine incident….He praised the Bhakti of this devotee, that he had remembered something that had occurred to none of us… Overcome with emotion, in extreme humility, the devotee just fell on Swami G’s feet and wet it with his tears….
Around 7 pm or so, we left Brindavan, to return to Delhi…. We decided to take the Yamuna Express Highway route for our return trip…. Inching our way out through the heavy traffic (many cars with broken glasses, bonnets with crater depressions), we made our way to the highway, after which it was a smooth drive….
An hour or so later, when we stopped at one of the highway toll-booths…
“Radhey, Radhey” said the boy in the toll booth… “Heavy damage in Brindavan, huh?” he asked… Ah yes, the word had traveled….
After reaching Delhi, I spent a few days there. When I showed some friends the pictures, they could not believe what they saw…. No newspaper, TV, had mentioned anything about this hailstorm. Who cares about what happens in a small town in UP, especially one that is an ancient center of Hindu reverence.
We had started off the morning (refer the first blog post of this series) by whatsapping a picture of Krishna holding up the Govardhana Giri… Krishna Leela it is, that we ended the day, with a small experience of what it might have been on that day of storms….
Signing off this post, and series, with the same picture…. Govardhana Giri Govinda!
Bolo Brindavan Dhaam ki…… Jai!
Krishna Kanhaiyaa Laal ki… Jai!
Bankey Bihaari Bhagavan ki… Jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhey!