Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

It is very common experience of anyone visiting Vrindavana to become enchanted and irresistibly attracted upon seeing the sweet and beautiful divine faces of the popular Thakurajis—Radha-Shyamasundara, Banke Bihari, Radha-Ramana and Radha-Damodara. What is the special quality, that magnetic mysticism, of the faces of Rai and Kanu? Their beautiful faces take over our minds, and haunt our hearts with a sweetness that forcefully compels us to take Their amazing darshana whenever we can for as long as we can. O the magic of Vraja!

But how to describe that experience? How can one explain the wonderful relish of peace, joy and happiness he feels upon seeing the contented, smiling, bewitching and mischievous faces of Radha and Krishna in Their various Deity forms playing in Vrindavana?

Indeed, many Vraja saints of yore have gone mad after relishing the incredible sweetness of Radha Govinda Yugala in their trances of meditation, sphurtis or samadhi. And when they returned to external consciousness they recorded their visions in the most incredible rasika poetry of Sanskrit, Hindi or Vrajabhasa.

When writing about beholding the bewitching faces of Radha-Krishna in their eyes, dreams, visions and meditations, the saints describe the Divine Couple with phrases like moonlike faces and lotus feet. Of course, they are just trying to gives us some vague idea of their indescribable divine experiences. In reality there is absolutely no object in the material world to compare with the matchless transcendental beauty of Radha-Shyamasundara!

What is the value of the material moon to match the endlessly beautiful faces of Radha and Krishna? Kavi Bilvamangala Thakura says, “O Krishna Deva! Seeing the splendid full moon of Your face, the moon admits his defeat and takes shelter of Your feet after dividing itself into ten parts to serve Your toenails.” Further on the Kavi admits, “O my Lord! The brilliantly shining full moon in the sky, which has spots, is only useful as a lamp to worship the flawless full moon of beautiful Your face.”

And what about the “moonlike face” of Madhura-mukhi Radha? A drop of the heart-melting nectar of Radhika’s splendidly gorgeous face is glorified in Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi (126): “O Radha! If millions of simultaneously rising magnificent full moons were to flood countless millions of universes with the waves of the nectar moonlight of pure love, then that might give a slight hint of the incredible beauty of Your face visible in the land of Vrindavana!”

Darshana of the delightfully beautiful and deliciously satisfying faces of Radha-Krishna in Vrindavana is the daily fortune for a few, and an occasional treasure for most. Nevertheless, when we are away from Vrindavana, we can intensely hanker and fervently pray to see Vraja Yugala in our vision, dreams and meditations.

After once seeing Radha-Govinda in a sphurti, the great Gaudiya Vaisnava rasika-acharya, Srila Rupa Goswamipada, lamented severely in separation and penned a most inspiring verse in Utkalika-vallarih (36). May this prayer shape our cherished aspiration:

O Radha and Krishna, best of all the dancers in Vraja! Ahaha! When will that blessed day come when I can see Your gorgeous moon-like faces, overflowing with the radiant nectar of compassion, which astound the chakora-like hearts of Your sakhis?”

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

The Brahma Vaivarta Purana and other Puranas contain stories about Vrinda-devi and other transcendental associates of Sri Krishna being cursed and descending to the material world. Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not reject these stories because they are in the shastras. However, we do not preach or write about this because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Gosvamis did not present these ideas. The six Gosvamis distilled all the shastras and presented the essential truth for all the Gaudiya Vaisnavas to understand and follow.

According to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Gosvami and Raghunatha Das Gosvami, Vrinda-devi is a nitya sakhi of Shrimati Radharani engaged in the eternal loving service of Radha and Krishna in the spiritual world and in the material world when the Divine Couple descend. Vrinda devi exhibits two forms; one as a sakhi named Vrinda-devi and another form as a beautiful bush named Tulasi devi replete with beautiful leaves and fragrant flowers called manjaris. Any other conception about Vrinda-devi is not endorsed by Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

Srimati Vrnda-devi, Tulasi Maharani ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

1. Sweep, wash and clean the footpaths of kunda steps, parikrama paths, lilasthalis and old temples.

2. Donate money to repair and maintain old temples especially at specific lilasthalis.

3. Visit each holy place with great respect, eagerness and enthusiasm to hear its glories and also give donations to the temple pujaris and pandas (brahmana guides).

4. Show the utmost respect to Vrajavasis, temple pujaris and pandas (brahmana guides) at each holy place.

5. Give donations of food (sweets, fruits, juices, grains etc), cloth and money to children and needy Vrajavasis.

6. Wherever possible plant fragrant flowering trees, creepers and plants to beautify lilasthalis, temples and other open areas of the holy dhama.

7. Don’t pollute Vrajadhama with plastic bags, bottles, containers and other non-biodegradable articles.

8. Regularly and respectfully bathe in sacred waters and worship them. And also worship all the Deities with at least a ghee lamp and some incense.

9. Help the Vrajavasis who are performing Nama and Dhama seva.

10. Offer dandavats and roll in the dust of all lilasthalis.

11. Glorify the presiding Deities at each temple and lilasthalis with sweet kirtana and bhajanas.

12. Hear or read about Krsna’s lilas at every holy place you visit.

13. Also ask the pujari or panda to tell you some transcendental pastimes of Krsna.

14. Never visit Vraja without hearing Hari-katha from devotional Vrajavasis.

15. Inspire and help others to visit or live in Vraja dhama.

16. Speak, write, make videos and print books about the glories of Vraja dhama.

17. Every day in Vraja rise early and chant, sing, hear and read the glories of Radha-Govinda with a fixed vow.

18. Never ever think, hear or speak, criticism or gossip about any Vrajavasis.

19. When not in Vraja dhama, try to remember the Vraja deities, lilasthalis, pastimes, Hari-katha and devotees you experienced there.

Sridhama Vrindavana ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Goswamipada glorifies the BIG FIVE most amazingly powerful forms of Krishna bhakti, namely Vraja vasa, sadhu sanga, Thakuraji seva, hearing Srimad Bhagavatam and chanting Sri Krishna’s Holy Names. He says, “If one only slightly practices these items of panch anga bhakti, or even does them without faith, they will immediately create ecstatic love for Krishna, pachake svalpo bhava janmane.

Throughout the ages, both ordinary devotees and siddha saints have had phenomenal transcendental experiences just by LIVING IN SRIDHAMA VRINDAVANA! Vraja is packed with divine power. Why is that? It is because Radha and Krishna, the gopis and gopas and all Their companions live here in Vrindavana eternally enjoying sweet pastimes of love.

The Puranas use present tense verbs when describing Sri Krishna’s Vraja lilas to convey the truth that Sri Krishna eternally delights here. Padma Purana emphatically states that Nandanandana Sri Krishna never takes even one step out of this holiest of Holy Lands, vrindavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati.

By Their permanent presence here, Priya-Priyatama, and all their blissful loving friends are forever blessing and saturating Vraja Dhama with Their prema, purity, mercy, auspiciousness and fulfillment. Vraja vasa sadhakas of the present and past have directly experienced the wonderful mercy and power of living in Vrindavana. Wisdom teachers of devotion have recorded their divine visions and written about them in their books.

Vrindavana is so kind and compassionate that She overlooks one’s shortcomings, and just keeps nourishing and encouraging even the most wretched and fallen. Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada addresses Vrindavana as Vrindatavi mata because he sees Her like compassionate mother who always helps and supports her children no matter what happens to them.

To encourage our friends to live in Sridhama Vrindavana, here are some quotes from our Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas.

1. “O Radha-Govinda! I don’t have a drop of the prema that one needs to attain Your eternal loving service. Yet living in Vraja fills me with hope that someday I will.”

2. “O Krishna! Although my background is very low, somehow You mercifully gave me the fortune of living in Vraja!” (UtkalikaVallari 65-6, Sri Rupa Goswami)

3. O Sri Govardhana! By staying near You, all these creepers of desires for Radha’s eternal service have sprung up from my stone-like heart. O Radha Kunda! By living on Your banks and drinking Your water all these desires for Radha-Govinda’s prema seva have appeared. (Sankalpa Kalpa Druma, Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada)

Jaya Radhe! Jaya Krishna! Jaya Vrindavana!

Sri Govinda, Gopinatha, Madana Mohana!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

The magnetic enchantment of Vraja Dhama first captivated my heart in 1977, when good fortune brought Her most rare and auspicious darshana. After lacs and lacs of births my undeserving eyes were blessed with the vision of the mind-stealing Thakuraji’s Radha-ramanji, Bihariji, Damodarji, Govindaji, Shyamasundaraji, and the enchanting vanas, kunjas and lila-shalis of Yugala Kishora. My useless hands attained worth touching the amazing ecstasy-twisted trees of Vrindavana. My feet found fulfillment in parikrama of Vrindavana and Giriraja Govardhana. Hearing the joyous parrots and midnight cries of the peacocks attracted my ears. Smelling Vraja’s exotic fragrant flowers of juhi, mogra, kadamba, kunda, parijata and rose gave purpose to my nose. The amazing remnants of the Goswami’s Thakurajis, and the cool Shyama-blue water of Yamunaji fully satiated and satisfied my sense of taste.

During that visit in 1977, I visited Radha Kunda and had a mystical experience. While gazing at the peaceful prema-filled waters and feeling the intense spiritual ambience of the place, a prayer spontaneously arose from my heart: “O Sri Radha! I don’t when or how it will be possible, but please Radharani let me live on Your banks and attain the service of Your lotus feet.”

The magic, the sweet attraction and the indescribable enchantment of Vrindavana had somehow captured my heart. The next ten years I spent traveling back and forth between America and Vrindavana, where I would pass the month of Karttika feeling, “Yes, Vrindavana is my home, now and forever!”

Finally in 1987—my feelings, my attraction, my attachment and my enchantment with Vrindavana fused into one sankalpa. I vowed before the Lord in my heart: “O Krishna, I want to go to Vrindavana and never, ever return to America again!” With this sankalpa as my only possession and a one way ticket, I came to Vrindavana.

Somehow by the causeless mercy of Srimati Radhika, Sri Krishna, the Thakurajis of Vraja, Giridhari Shyama, Vrnda-devi, Yogamaya Yamunaji, Gopishvara Mahadeva, Sri Guru, the Vaisnavas, the Vrajavasis, and the sacred dust of Vrindavana I was able to settle in Sridhama Vrindavana. By their mercy I received Indian citizenship in 1998, and have lived continuously in Vrindavana for the last twenty-seven years.

From 1987 until 2012 I lived in various places in Vrindavana. As per my guru’s order to his sannyasis, I lived three years (1989-1992) in Srila Prabhupada’s bhajana kutira at the Radha Damodara Mandir in Seva Kunja. Inspired by Srila Prabhupada and the divine presence of Srila Rupa Goswamipada and Sri Jiva Goswamipada, I started writing spiritual books. To date we have published twenty-six books glorifying Radha-Krishna; the most famous being Appreciating Sri Vrindavana Dhama, Art of Chanting Hare Krishna and Gaudiya Vaisnava Samadhis. All books are available as E-books on Amazon.

In 2012, Srimati Radhika answered the prayer I offered to Her in 1977 while sitting on the banks of Radha Kunda. By Radha’s mercy, I moved from Vrindavana to Radha Kunda and remain here engaged in bhajana and writing. Our latest publication is titled Radha-Krishna Pastimes at Radha Kunda.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

In Vraja Dhama, everyone chants “Radhe Radhe” from the time they wake up until the time they take rest. For Vrajavasis, the name of Radha is inseparable from their breathing. They are born with the name of Radha in their ears; they move with the name of Radha in their lives; they dream with the name of Radha in their minds; and they die with the name of Radha on their tongues.

This is Radha-bhava or gopi-bhava, which is the goal that Gaudiya Vaisnavas hope to attain by living in Vrndavana. In the earthly realm of Vrndavana and in the spiritual sky, Radharani is known as Vrndavaneshvari, “Queen of Vrndavana”, which means Sri Radha is the one and only controller of everything, including the heart of Sri Krishna. In Vraja Gokula, there are two instances wherein Radha’s sakhis will sometimes chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra: to nourish Radhika’s taste in sambhoga-vilasa when She meets with Krishna, or to soothe Radha’s searing heart in times of separation from Her beloved Syama. At other times, the sakhis will sweetly sing, “Radhe, Radhe!” as they serve Sri Radha throughout the day.

Now let’s consider the reality of the present day Vrndavana where I have been living for the last 27 years. In Vraja Dhama, everyone chants “Radhe Radhe” from the time they wake up until the time they take rest. For Vrajavasis, the name of Radha is inseparable from their breathing. They hear the name of Radha in the wombs of their mothers; they’re born with the name of Radha in their ears; they move with the name of Radha in their lives; they dream with the name of Radha in their minds; and they die with the name of Radha on their tongues. By continually hearing and chanting “Radhe, Radhe” in this way, every Vrajavasi automatically becomes full of

Radha-bhava or gopi-bhava. And this is the goal that all Gaudiya Vaisnavas hope to attain, especially by residing in Vrndavana.

In Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi verses 95-97, Gaudiya rasika acarya Srila Prabhodhananda Sarasavati glorifies Radha’s completely pure and ecstatic Holy Name thus: “The name of Radha is the liquid rasa of blissful love (premananda rasam). Radha’s name gives the greatest joy when chanted with tender loving affection (maha-sukha karam uccaritam prematah). The two syllables Ra, Dha contain all divine knowledge (vidya para dva akshara). Sri Krishna becomes supremely pleased whenever He hears someone chanting “Radhe, Radhe”(japa muda gayati).

Even once chanting of Radha nama will immediately attract Sri Krishna (japa sakrd gokulapati akarshaka). Lord Madhava Himself lovingly chants Radha nama (mantra japa priti svayam madhava). Sometimes Hari sits with the sakhis and chants Radha nama until tears run down His lotus face (ali svayam jalpa ashru mukho hari).

“Sometimes Krishna goes along the banks of the Yamuna and enters a bower house alone (kalindi tate kunja mandira gato). Syama sits down like the king of yogis to meditate on the radiance of Radhika’s sweet lotus feet (pada jyotir dhyana). Krishna starts chanting Radha nama, and soon becomes drenched in tears of love (sada japa prema-ashru purno hari) as He relishes the amazing blossoming mellows of Radha’s blissful loving enchantment (adbhutam ullasad rati rasananda sammohitah).

“May the most amazing two syllables “Ra” and “Dha” become manifest to me forever (tad adbhutam me radheti varna dvayam). The ambrosial elixir “Radha” is my life and soul (tad amrtam radheti me jivanam).”

In this regard, Srila Prabhupada once said, “There is no harm chanting “Radhe.” (750408)

Jai jai sri radhe!