This is why it is necessary for governments to subsidize the tapo-vana or human sanctuary concept, where the art of living in harmony with nature and higher spiritual culture can be nurtured.
The waters flowing from the springs are pure and very sweet tasting
and one can drink them to one’s heart’s content;
one can eat all one desires of the delicious dry leaves
that fall from each and every tree.
One can take up residence in the spotless caves
of the mountains where cool winds freely blow.
Vrindavan is like this, so should I ever wish to leave it,
Alas alas! I would be ruined. (1.16)
It is hard not to read this last verse without being provoked into deep reflection about the changing times. It is clear that Prabodhananda is an extremely renounced sadhu. Again and again he expresses pleasure in the life of renunciation and austerity. Living in caves? Dry leaves? Not so appealing to us today. But the evocation of plentiful sweet water gives pause. The availability of sweet water is one of the great problems facing Vrindavan today.
Even so, the idea of a forested area, with plenty of open space, easy access to water, is not only a sign of a place suitable for the renunciate, but for any kind of human life. This is why it is necessary for governments to subsidize the tapo-vana or human sanctuary concept, where the art of living in harmony with nature and higher spiritual culture can be nurtured.
Of all the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, it is Narottam Das who has the most similarities to Prabodhananda. Narottam’s songs about rolling in the Vrindavan dust, bathing in the Yamuna, sleeping under the trees, drinking the Vrindavan waters… all these things seem to be directly following in the ascetic mood expressed in Prabodhananda’s Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛtam. We hear of the same thing in the Goswamis’ practice, but the expression found in so many of Prabodhananda’s verses is closest to that found in Narottam.
Will that situation ever arise
when I renounce this material world, and immerse myself in the supreme joy?
And when will I ever go to the land of Vrindavan?
When will I see Vrindavan, the land of pure joy?And when will I rub its dust into my body.Unable to speak from feelings of love, taking the names of Radha and Krishnawhen will I shed tears and wander in every direction.
Going to the secret bowers and prostrating myself there in obeisance
when will I call out your name, Ha Radhanath!
When will I stand on the Yamuna banks, touch the water,
and then drink it from my cupped hands?
And when will I have the good fortune to see the Rasa Mandal
and to roll in the dust there
in the shade of the Vamshi Vat, feeling great joy
I will rest there in the shade.
When will I fill my eyes to satisfaction with the sight of Govardhan hill,
When will I live in Radha Kund?
When will I, Narottam Das, leave my body
while wandering from place to place in Braj?
Like Narottam, Prabodhananda switches back and forth from sādhaka consciousness to sphürtis of the nitya-līlā with ease, blending the two so that they become one. The distinctions between that world and this one are blurred until they become meaningless.
VMA 1.15 : A prayer for the siddha Vrindavan to manifest
VMA 1.14 : Rolling in the dust of Vrindavan
VMA 1.13 : Offenses to the residents of the Dham break my heart
VMA 1.12 : The Upanishads take birth as cows in Braj
VMA 1.11 : The defects we see in the Dham are not real.
VMA 1.10 : More glories of Radharani’s kunj
VMA 1.9 : Radhika’s cottage in the kunj
VMA 1.8 : Vrindavan contains all the Dhams
VMA 1.7 : Vrindavan includes all of Braj
VMA 1.6 : What is it to me if you cannot see Vrindavan’s glories?