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Published:December 2nd, 2005 13:09 EST
Vrindavan--and Hindu Mythology

Vrindavan--and Hindu Mythology

By Noopur Shrivastav

Vrindavan holds an important place in the Hindu mythology; it is the place where Lord Krishna spent most of his childhood. The believers and the devotees still see the Lord dancing and playing in the garden of Vrindavan. Today, the traces of this sacred place can be found to the south of the Indian national capital, Delhi. Not much is left in Vrindavan and Mathura today. Many towns and cities with high-rise buildings have left the place behind, in glamour. Still, the music of bell ripping from 4,000 temples fill the air with sacred celebration. The place remains holy for the devotees of lord.

Today, the real Vrindavan has somewhat lost its charm. The river near where the lord performed playful acts has now drifted away, and the woods have disappeared from the land. But a new Vrindavan has come up in the Appalachian Ridge of West Virginia, in United States. Riding down the curves of the ridge and running through the tree capped roads, we reached the New Mathura Vrindavan temple.

The area bustled with the sacred chants of Hare Rama Hare Rama, Hare Krishana hare Krishna " " The music of harmonium, Dholak, Jhaal (traditional Indian musical instruments) and clapping rippled in the serene air. The conical structures of the temple building raised as arms welcomed the devotees. Inside, they are greeted by the holy charm of beautifully adorned deities in traditional Indian costumes. Ornaments glitter in the winter night darkness and the ongoing chants fill the air with life.

Men and women of all ages danced on the beat of Dholak and Jhaal. Kids played their tiny fingers wonderfully on the note of Jhaal. The atmosphere of festivity was bubbling in the air as well as the sound of a conch vibrated in the air. The devotees learned to retire the Lord for the day. Song and music stopped in the temple. After a round of lectures from the Holy book Bhagwat Gita, the devotees went to their rooms and cottages.

Early in the hazy gray morning, the conch blow tore the silent air of the Appalachian Ridge. Birds started chortling, animals were left for the pasture, and the priests were busy performing morning abhisheka and aarti (prayer). The crowd was thin, but the rituals continued regardless.

Devotees thronged the temple at 7 a.m. and the bhajan kirtan (sacred songs) ripped in the hollow of temple and ridge. Children dropped in rubbing their eyes to attend the prayer. They listened to the song, watched seniors dance on the beat of the dholak. Soon, their feet tapped, palm beat the dholak, and heads nodded with the tune of Hare Rama Hare Rama, Hare Krishan Hare Krishan "Children of all races and culture danced and offered themselves in the service of the Lord Krishna by way of dance and song and prayer. Hands joined together by strangers and children alike. Children held the fingers of seniors and pounded their unsteady feet with their elders.

The devotees encircled the statue of lord and danced around him. The lord is among them and like the native gopis doing raasleela (cosmic dance) with the Lord; they danced around him offering themselves to him.

This is the normal routine in the temple, but on special occasions like the birth day of the lord, Janmastmi, there are special prayers and events organized. In some notable events, which include seeing lakes with swan boats in it, the Lord is taken out of the temple for vihar (outing) in the lake as he sails on the special boat.

The dancing statues in the temple premises depict the holy happiness of the gopis of Vrindavan. There are artificial and natural cows and barns to arise the feeling of real Vrindavan in your breast. The cottages and rooms of the temple meant for the visiting devotees are simple and comfortable. The walls are adorned with the pictures of Lord Krishna and scriptures of Gita inscribed on the walls. All efforts have been made to envoke feelings during your stay.

A short distance from the main temple of the Lord Krishna is the Palace of gold, a beautifully constructed palace for the founder of the ISKCON, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. This palace of gold was originally conceptualized as the living place for Sri Swami Prabhupada. Efforts by devotees erected a palace for their spiritual master. This palace has not been designed by any specialist, nor was any architect employed for this work. For devotees, the spiritual master, though is not god but he is like god "we started building a house for our Guru (spiritual master) and gradually, it took this beautiful shape that is why we call it Labour of Love, " explains Vaani, a devotee at the Mathura Vrindavan temple.

If you cannot visit Mathura Vrindavan, the town south to India, Delhi, take a drive to the Mountain state of West Virginia. A new Mathura Vrindavan is here to take you for a holy ride and pious experiences.