Vrindavan, 2019.02.12 (VT): Here’s presenting the June edition of Vrindavan Today Magazine, a most special issue for us, as it coincides with ‘World Environment Day’ (June 5), one of the most significant occasions for ‘Vrindavan Today Foundation’ and its sister concern and environmental NGO,‘Friends of Vrindavan’.
Those whose hearts ache for the dust of ‘Shri Dham’, know that environmental issues are not just a ‘cause’, but the soul of Braj. Within the natural environment, we come across the demigods and seers who chose to become the hills, trees, soil, birds and animals of Braj to eternally enjoy the entrancing ‘Lilas’ of Shri Radha-Krishna.
To mark the event, Shri Jagannath Poddar (Director of ‘Friends of Vrindavan’ and Managing Editor of Vrindavan Today) organised a ‘Paryavaran Panchayat’ (Green Conclave), a synopsis of which is given in this issue. The conference aimed at identifying issues affecting Vrindavan and deliberating over tentative solutions.
Gracing the cover is acclaimed Bharatanatyam artist, Geeta Chandran, who performed ‘Nritya Seva’ before Shri Radharaman during Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami’s biennial ‘Seva-Mahotsav’ at the temple. The interaction presented here is centred upon her association with Vrindavan and Shri Radharaman Temple. She describes the mystical experience of offering dance as ‘seva’ to Krishna, “the most beautiful and endearing nayaka (hero)”.
With ‘Dwadash Van’ as the theme, the ‘Seva-Mahotsav’,organized by Acharya Shrivatsa Goswamiji and his sons,gave devotees a glimpse of Braj’s vibrant culture. One of the main attractions of the 10-day-long festival was the stupendous ‘Phul-Banglas’ (flower mansions), reminiscent of Vrindavan’s once verdant forests. In this edition, we trace the journey of this traditional craft, through conversations with Gopinath Temple sevaiyat, Shri Raja Goswami and award-winning ‘Phul-Bangla’ artist, Yugal Kishore Sharma.
The ‘Darshan’ section of this issue takes readers on a journey to Tarash Mandir Vrindavan,the abode of Shri Radha-Vinod or Jamai (son-in-law) Vinod. The pampered Deity found in the river Padma, in present-day Bangladesh, expresses love for His devotees by playing pranks and making seemingly outlandish demands, like asking fora Hookah to smoke!
June 5th was also celebrated as the disappearance day of one of the great saints of Braj, Shri Lala Babu, to whom we pay homage in this edition. From being a wealthy landlord, Lala Babu went on to become an itinerant babaji who subsisted only on alms, even while his own temple organized charitable distributions. In 1810, he established the Deities ‘Shri Radha-Krishna Chandra and Lalita Devi’. The Deities are housed in a magnificent stone temple in Vrindavan, which has been known for centuries as ‘Lala Babu temple’.
Keeping up with our promise of informing readers about current developments, in this volume we discuss the emergence of Braj as a popular film-making destination. The Yogi Adityanath-led UP government move to incentivize film production is attracting leading production houses of Hindi and regional language (Braj Bhasha) cinema to the region.
The ‘Maharasa Van’ Project, under which the government plans to develop 35 hectares of land as a lush green forest for promotion of tourism and preservation of Braj’s ancient culture and ecology, is also covered.
Further, the ‘issues’ section draws readers’ attention to the plight of Vrindavan’s historical ‘Sapta Devalaya’ temples. Despite lofty promises by successive governments, these crest jewels of Shri Dham are suffering from neglect.
Last but certainly not least, it was a moment of great pride for us when Vrindavan Today President and Mahant of Vrindavan’s Jiva Institute, Shri Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji addressed the staff at Facebook and Intel head offices in Silicon Valley. Snippets from his talk on Vedic and Ayurvedic wisdom have been presented in this edition.
Once again, we would like to appeal to our readers to support Vrindavan Today by subscribing to the magazine. Details can be found in the forms attached.
Jai Shri Radhe!