I always enjoy going back through our collection of Back to Godhead Magazines and re-reading some of the old articles. We share with you the original article with photos just as it appeared in BTG in 1974.
Vrndavana, Krsna’s Transcendental Abode
by Visakha-devi dasi
Ninety miles southeast of New Delhi, India, is a railway station known as Mathura. From Mathura, a bumpy seven-mile ride by horse-cart brings one to a unique town called Vrndavana. This simple village is unlike all other places in the world, for when Lord Krsna, the Supreme Godhead, comes to earth with His associates to display His pastimes, He comes only to Vrndavana. Indeed, Krsna never leaves Vrndavana-and, by His grace, pure devotees can appreciate the Lord’s presence in Vrndavana even today.
After the onset of Kali-yuga, the present Age of Quarrel, the importance of Vrndavana was forgotten until 450 years ago, when Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the original father of the Krsna consciousness movement, sent two of His chief disciples, Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami, to excavate the sites in Vrndavana where Krsna had performed His pastimes. These Gosvamis, assisted by Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, established important temples in Vrndavana and wrote books to explain the science of devotional service. They scrutinizingly studied all the revealed scriptures with the aim of establishing eternal religious principles for the benefit of all human beings. The Gosvamis not only explained devotional service but also taught by their own example how to develop pure love for Krsna.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that the purpose of going to a holy place like Vrndavana is to learn how to love Krsna. Love for Krsna is dormant within every living being, but in material consciousness one forgets Krsna and thus misdirects one’s love. Therefore the Vedic literature Rukmini that one approach a spiritual master and learn from him how to revive one’s Krsna consciousness.
Nature’s greatest gift to a living being is the human form of life, for only in the human form is one able to inquire about the Absolute Truth and thus attain true happiness. Human intelligence is meant for such inquiry. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, therefore, “A human being who goes to a sacred place simply to bathe in a holy river and not to meet men of spiritual wisdom should be considered no better than a cow or an ass.”
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has therefore built an International Center in Vrndavana so that people from all over the world may come to Vrndavana to learn how to love Krsna and thus fulfill the purpose of human life.
In The Nectar of Devotion, a summary study of Srila Rupa Gosvamis Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Prabhupada writes: “Rupa Gosvami has stated that. . . five kinds of devotional activities-namely, residing in Vrndavana, worshiping the Deity of the Lord, reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam, serving a devotee, and chanting the Hare Krsna mantra-are so potent that a small attachment for any one of these five items can arouse devotional ecstasy even in a neophyte.” Krsna consciousness, therefore, offers a scientific program for reviving one’s original blissful nature. We humbly request our readers to understand and adopt this program and thus learn how to love Krsna, the Supreme Lord. One who follows this path can purify his vision. Thus he will be able to see Lord Krsna in Vrndavana, and see Vrndavana everywhere.
Visakha-devi dasi graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1970 and then wrote a technical book on the art of close-up photography. She and Yaduvara dasa, her husband, also a professional photographer joined ISKCON in 1971 while shooting assignments in India. They are now traveling around the world making documentary films about the Krsna consciousness movement.
Text and images courtesy – The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc., Rights and Permissions, [email protected], www.bbti.org