Vrindavan, 2015.08.29 (VT): A book on the Vraj Yatra was released on Wednesday by the leading media house Amar Ujala at the Ram Krishna Mission Auditorium. The book was jointly released with the hands of Cine star and Member of Parliament Smt. Hema Malini, Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami, Sevait of Shri Radha Raman Temple and sant Ramesh Baba of Barsana, Goswami Pankaj Baba of Gokul, and Swami Suprakashananda, Secretary of Ramkrishna Mission, Vrindavan.
The book is named Ras Braj Raj Ko, a collection of articles written by Ms. Raina Paliwal describing the temples, shrines, water bodies and places related to Krishna Lila in Vraja. These descriptions were serialized over 378 days in the daily newspaper Amar Ujala last year and later compiled into book form.
Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami glorified the holy dust of Vraja in his inaugural speech. “Once mother Yashoda scolded Krishna for eating the mud. Krishna denied that he had eaten it. Then Krishna’s mother asked if all the boys had been telling lies about him. But the reality was something different here. Krishna didn’t tell a lie, as he didn’t eat the mud, but he relished the holy dust of Vraja, which was nurtured with the nectar of the dust of the Vraja Gopis’ feet,” he said.
He bestowed the honorific “the Geographical Bhagavat of Vraja” on Ms. Paliwal’s book. He said Vraja Bhumi is the witness of the appearance of Shri Krishna. The Lord performed His childhood pastimes here. “With the influence of time, many of the places related to Krishna’s pastimes have been lost. The Acharyas rediscovered Vraja in 16th century: Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ballabhacharya, Narayan Bhatt, and others all contributed to restoring the lost glory of Vraja at that time. This book has revived the effort of the Acharyas again in 21st century,” said Goswami ji.
Expressing deep anguish on the current state of Vraja, Acharya Shrivatsa ji said, “The governments of Centre and State, the NGO’s, the civil society everyone is keen for the development of Vraja. But this development shouldn’t become the cause of destruction. The Parikrama Marg of Vrindavan should never have been paved with concrete. Walking for parikrama is like sitting in samadhi. One shouldn’t be disturbed by cars, noise and traffic when doing so. The trees of Vraja shouldn’t been cut in the name of development. He demanded that the Brajwasis should be involved in the planning process of Vraja development. It was due to the efforts of the Brajawasis the actual ‘swaroop’ of Vraja can be seen even today.
Hema Malini, who was the Chief Guest of the book release event, described the book as very useful guide for the devotees, who wish to do the Vraja Yatra. She said that the devotees will find it easier to visit the places of pastimes of Krishna after studying this book. She suggested organizing cultural events in the less-visited smaller pilgrimage spots to attract the tourists. She said that people were always interested to know the places of Vraja, but didn’t have proper information about them. This book will serve as a guide for them.
“This book elaborates about the places beautifully. Of them, I have only seen Vanshi Vat. I want to visit the other places too. I have a desire to organize cultural event events in all these places. I am pained to see the physical condition of Vraja, which has changed a lot since I visited for the first time. Krishna resides in every particle of Vraja. If our efforts can even revive the ethos of some parts of Vraja, it will a great achievement,” said the Member of Parliament from Mathura.
Saint Ramesh Baba appreciated the Amar Ujala initiative. He said that the publication of this book again proved that this media house’s faith lies in the root of the Indian culture. It published the stories of the different places of Vraj in the series of 378 days daily publication. This book is historic because it presents a snapshot of all these sites as they are today in the present. He also appreciated the local daily’s contribution in the battle for the Yamuna.
Pushtimargiya saint Pankaj Baba said that Amar Ujala has proved that it is the responsibility of the media houses to restore the cultural heritage of Vraja. Those who come here from outside appreciate the effort of Amar Ujala. They simply followed the newspaper articles and visit the places described in it. Pankaj Baba also advocated for the participation of Brajwasis in assuring the development of Vraja.
Many other saints and dignitaries addressed the event. Hundreds of the copies of the book were sold on the first day. The publishers kept the price at a concessional rate of Rs. 400 on this day, while the actual printed price of the book is Rs. 800.
Shri Rajendra Tripathi, the Chief Editor of Amar Ujala’s Agra Edition thanked everyone. He said that the inputs given by various saints and acharyas were helpful to compile the book. He further said that Amar Ujala will keep it focus on preserving the culture of Vraja.
Shri Nagendra Pratap, Vice Chairman Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority, Shri Mukesh Gautam, Chairman of Vrindavan Municipality, A.C. Varshney, Chancellor of Veterinary College Mathura, Swami Maheshananda Saraswati, Tamal Krishna Das, Krishna Kanhai etc. and many other dignitaries were present during the event.