Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Song of the Gopis

"Tomorrow I will be visiting the holy land of Sri Vrindavan for the very first time," I told Radhanath Swami. We were sitting in his room on a bright morning in Mumbai. 

"The first time?" he inquired. I had grown up as a devotee of Krishna, and I imagine he found it surprising that I was 21 before I had finally come to make this pilgrimage.  

"Yes, Maharaj," I replied. "Would you please offer me some guidance on how I should approach the holy land?"

Radhanath Swami pondered for several long moments. Then his eyes held mine and he said in a deep tone, "Seek out those who live pure lives. You can socialize anywhere in the world, but the holy land is special. So seek the essence in your association." 

The very next day, the romantic vision of the holy land that I had grown up with came crashing all around me in a cold shock. One person who saved me was my friend Manjari. I lived with her for a month and a half, and on that fateful night of arrival, she welcomed me into the heart of Vrindavan.

Manjari is a beautiful young woman who long ago committed to the path of celibacy and has dedicated her entire being to the service of her spiritual master and to God. She is also an artist and a singer.

Many mornings, in the silky quiet, I would wake up to the soft, deep voice of Manjari in the room next to mine. She would be singing Gopi Gita, or "The Song of the Gopis". She would light two or three candles and sing to several sacred pictures. Then when she finished singing the Gopi Gita, she would fall into the resonant tones of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.

During the day she would pour her soul onto canvas. For hours upon hours on end, she would immerse herself in the scene where Krishna comes to beg forgiveness from the gopis after they offer such heartfelt prayers.

I offer my deep gratitude to Manjari. She showed me a glimpse of Vrindavan that I never saw with my material eyes.


Below is a simple video I created that I have been meaning to publish for many months now in her honor.


Rukmini Priya said...

This is so beautiful, thank you for sharing who this wonderful artist is. I saw this painting floating around the internet a while back and fell in love with it, it's been my cell phone background for months now and I've been meditating on it ever since.

I'm not surprised that the artist is an equally amazing person. Seeing such genuine artistry is incredibly inspiring. Thank you again for writing and making that video.

Anonymous said...

How come you didn't acknowledge the name of her spiritual master - her inspiration for her beautiful painting? Give credit where it is due and help facilitate a mood of unity and togetherness amongst Vaishnavas. What you don't write is as important as what you do write. It's nice that you're associating with Narayan Maharaj disciples, but Sri Guru is an integral part of a devotees identity. Please don't omit that.

Deepak said...

truely beautiful

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting my comment. I appreciate your open-mindedness.

To write is to dare the soul. So write.