We are losing the natural beauty of Braja and the Govardhan parikrama experience

31 05 2010

Jai Nitai!

We are all more or less aware of the destruction and insanity that it currently taking place in Brindavan in the name of “development.” Instead of trying to maintain the spiritual and cultural heritage which is the real wealth of India,  the current government is instead simply  interested  in quick money by  exploiting  India’s sacred areas and resources in their rush to fatten their purses and attain  first-world status which they  will never achieve by such careless and destructive behavior.

Jagat Ji informed me yesterday that on the 29th of May bulldozers were sent to Anyour, which is a small village  about four  kilometres south of the town of Govardhan on the parikrama marg and asked if I could get some photos. Grateful for the opportunity to do some seva I packed my camera, jumped on my bicycle, and wondered what I was going to encounter. Before actually arriving in Anyour I saw some buildings destroyed. I was a little confused because what they tore down with the bulldozers didn’t seem to follow any pattern. It looked random to me…as if they just picked and chose whatever they felt like destroying as they went.

The Government wants to install stone walkways on both sides of the marg and from what I have gathered,  anything within 21 meters of the center of the road will be cleared out so the road can be widened and the stone pathways can be installed. It appears that soon you will no longer be able to walk on the natural surface of the sandy ground when doing parikrama. Let’s all hope and pray that they leave the inner margs untouched.

So far the damage from the bulldozers is somewhat minimal, but that is soon about to change. There are literally hundreds of trees that have  the  red and white stripes painted on them which I was told by some managers of Brij Vasundhara luxury cottages means that they are to be cut down. I spoke with one man and his son who lost their entire house which included a puja room for a large Govardhan sila they worshiped. The  walls and ceiling of the puja room were smashed and collapsing. Giriraj was covered in dust and surrounded by broken chips of bricks and cement. The man was squatting on a little section of the roof of his house that was still standing with his chin in his hands contemplating what he should do.  I saw several Shiva-linga shrines, a mandir of Durga Ma, and many other sacred places that will soon be crushed by the bulldozers.

Yesterday they began pouring concrete on parikrama marg from the road leading to the south side of Manasi Ganga heading towards town. The road that runs along with the parikrama marg will all be widened and covered with concrete and both sides of the marg will have those three-sided interlocking stones covering the natural dirt pathways we all so much enjoyed traversing.  Nearly the entire road from Govardhan to Radhakund has been chopped up in preparation for the concrete that will eventually (probably soon)   be  poured and like everywhere else I saw, they are preparing for the stone walking paths to be laid.

I will post some photos that will give an idea what is happening on the parikrama  marg  now from beyond the town of Govardhan up to the area of Govinda Kunda. I hope to return tomorrow when the bulldozers are scheduled to come back and take more photos.





Manasi Devi and Chakalesvara Mahadeva Mandir

21 05 2010

Jai Nitai!

As I was taking photos of the project of cleaning the Manasi Ganga  I also took darshan and photos at a number of other mandirs as well. For now I will post the photos I took at Manasi Devi Mandir and the Chakalesvara Mahadeva Mandir.

Manasi Devi is the the Goddess that supervises and controls the Manasi Ganga area. There are four Devis in Braj Mandal that are considered by many as the most prominent. Manasi Devi on the bank of Brahma Kund  in Govardhan,  Yogamaya Devi (zrI pAtala devI) adjacent to the Govinda Ji Mandir in Brindavan, Paurnamasi Devi near Seva Kunj in Brindavan, and Vrinda Devi in Kamyavan.

The Chakalesvara Mahadeva Mandir and the immediate surrounding area is known as Chakra Tirtha. It is said that Krishna’s Sudarshan Chakra is embedded in the northern bank of Manasi Ganga. The Chakra was being used at the time to protect the Brajabasis from the deluge created by Indra at the time when Krishna was holding up the entire Govardhan Parvat.

Chakalesvara Mahadeva Mandir contains a group of five lingas and a beautiful Sri Murti of Nandi sitting and facing the main shrine. This is one of the main Mahadeva Mandirs that are protecting Braja Mandal. The other ones being, Gopesvara in Brindavan, Kundesvara in Radhakund, Bhutesvara in Mathura, Nandesvara in Nanda Gaon and Kamesvara in Kamyavan.





Cleaning Manasi Ganga

20 04 2010

Recently the cleaning of Manasi Ganga began. I was unaware of it and quite surprised to see the work going on when I went there for a snana. These images are all from March 27th taken from the southern bank. Soon I will return and get some updated photos. By tradition Manasi Ganga is the place where pilgrims begin and end there parikrama of Sri Giriraj Govardhan. Briefly, I will retell the story about the appearance of Manasi Ganga.

Nanda Maharaj, Yasoda Ma, and many others decided to go on pilgrimage to take bath in the Ganga. On the way they stopped to spend the night in Govardhan. Krishna began to think, ” All of the holy rivers are present here in My Braja, but alas the Brajabasis do not understand this. Let me show them.” As soon as Krishna thought in this way Mother Ganga appeared in person before Him and everyone else. The Brajabasis were extremely surprised to see her there. Krishna told them, “All of the holy rivers in the three worlds are present in Brajabhumi because they wish to do the seva of Brajabhumi. Because you were all going to leave Braja to bathe in the Ganga she has mercifully appeared before you, therefore take your bath in her sacred waters. Henceforth this place will be known as Manasi Ganga.” This took place during the night of the new moon in Kartik Masa. Mother Ganga appeared from the mind of Sri Krishna.