Friday, July 10, 2009

The Story of Bhelvan

[After I was transported to Vrindavan from Radhanath Swami’s class this past Sunday, I’ve been reading through my journals from my time in the holy dham, reflecting on my experience and my lessons. I wrote the following after I had been in the holy dham for one week.]

I shall now relate the story of Bhelvan, and the lesson of humility and surrender I learned about the holy land of Sri Vrindavan.

Along with forty other gurukulis on our Kartik Yatra, I jumped in one of three boats to ride and cross the Yamuna River. The sun rose higher and higher and the day got hotter and hotter, with no breeze. It was like getting roasted in an oven for two hours. When we landed on our shore, we trekked through sandy desert in the scalding sun until we reached the edge of the forest.

Man. We were on safari.

We all slowly trickled in to our destination – an ancient Laxmi temple shaded by banyan trees. We sang bhajan and kirtan, but everyone had rather wilted from the trek.

I looked upon the Laxmi deity and did not connect at ALL. I thought, She's just a statue worshiped for some superstitious, archaic reason.

But after kirtan, an elder Vaishnava who was our guide told us the story of this deity and of this temple. Laxmi devi is simply praying to enter the Rasa dance in Vrindavan. She cannot enter because she is the goddess of fortune - the requirement to enter the Rasa dance is simplicity, to abandon the riches of the world; be willing to make cow dung patties with bare hands. To renounce her post as the goddess of fortune was unthinkable for Laxmi devi, so she decided to pray here, at Bhelvan. She prays from this distance, so far away… and after thousands of years, she's still praying.

And I realized that the safari to come here was to impress upon me how far this place really was from Vrindavan… that this was the distance of Laxmi devi’s surrender, and her humility. She didn’t bang down the door of the Rasa dance, demanding entrance. She came here, to this tucked away forest, far across the Yamuna River, to pray.

I want this to be my mood. I cannot demand anything of Vrindavan. I can only simply pray from a distance to enter the holy dham. I can only pray that one day, I will surrender my life to the simplicity of love of God.

And maybe, the perfection is in that prayer.

1 comment:

Damodara das said...

Your blog is so inspiring. Thanks for being on the web.

Jai Jai Shri Vrindavan Daham
A Happy couple from Germany.
your servants
Vrajabhakti d.d. & Radha Damodar das

To write is to dare the soul. So write.