Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Magic Will Follow (Part 4 of 4)

When at last we all met up again, my friends said that they wanted to go to the temple of Radha Raman. Although Radha Raman was on my list of places to go, I hesitated because I still had much more shopping to do. But if I didn't go to Radha Raman today, NOW, I would not go at all.

Krishna first. Put Krishna first. Go with the devotees.

I looked at my binder, saw areas where I could adjust, snapped the binder shut and put it in my bag. "Let's go," I pronounced. 

Darkness had fallen, and our walk to the ancient temple via a shrouded alleyway was fraught with foreboding monkeys and streams of people shouting, their eyes wild and their clothes and faces splashed with crazy colors. 

When we reached the quiet and ancient temple, apprehension ran through my blood. When we approached the actual temple of Radha Raman, we saw that right outside of the temple entrance people were throwing color and immediately we were all like, "No way." Ruining our nice clothes was one thing. Possible assault was another. 

I folded my palms and called out, "I love you Radha Raman, I do, but this isn't going to work,"

I felt some disappointment but also relief that we were unanimous in turning around. But then Veni Madhava said, "Hey, I have a place to show you to get the special mercy,"

"Really? But how?" I said to her retreating back. 

She had turned down another dimly lit pathway. We all followed, dubious. Suddenly I could hear kirtan, and I was amazed. Were we coming into the temple the back way??

But no, we had come to a room that was full of babajis singing kirtan. This was Sri Gopal Bhatta Goswami's samadhi, the saint who had established this temple hundreds of years ago and had worshiped Sri Radha Raman with such love. The kirtan was so soulful, so straight-up Vrindavan. In those moments, I stepped through all of my painful surface notions of Vrindavan and entered deep into sacred Vrindavan. My friends circumambulated the altar. I sat down to absorb the singing.

Although we didn't get to see Sri Radha Raman, we got to offer our respects to His most beloved servant, and that was almost like we had taken darshan of Radha Raman Himself, as He is most pleased when His devotees are glorified.

Then we headed out to catch a rickshaw back to Krishna Balaram. We bartered with some of the wallahs there but they were all too expensive. At last, one younger man stepped forward and said that he would take us for 60 rupees. We agreed, and he lead us to a nice auto rickshaw that sat the four of us. Our driver was this old, old man with a turban on his head and a smile upon his bright and weathered face. Just by looking at him, one could see that he was a gentle, sweethearted Brajabasi.

The most amazing thing? He was taking us back to Krishna Balaram via the parikrama marg. This meant that we would have darshan of the sacred places of Imli Tala, Radha Madan Mohan, Kaliya Ghat, Yamuna devi, and so much more. We were being taken on pilgrimage by a true Brajabasi. All of us were so delighted and amazed at our good fortune. 

The whole way home we exclaimed over the various holy places and offered our respects as we drove by, the temples and the river all silhouettes in the moonlit night.

This was my Vrindavan day. I am still in wonder, total wonder that somehow, SOMEHOW, Krishna answered my prayers to experience the real Vrindavan. I could have never planned such a day in a million years. 

But somehow, each piece of the puzzle fell together, like magic, magic, magic.

I firmly believe, though, that it all began with a drop of sincerity to chant the holy name. Put Krishna first. The magic will follow. 

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