Vrindavan, 2017.11.22 (VT): Next on our parikrama we visit Jharu Mandal.
For lovers of Shri Radha and Krishna, it the greatest honor to sweep Vrindavan’s sacred groves. Whenever they found time between their other practices, the great saints of Vrindavan’s history used to sweep the holy dust. Most of these saints were renounced; they did not own any posessions. Jharu Mandal is the place where the saints kept brooms, which remained available for anyone to come and use them.
Today, sweeping or “Sohni Seva” as it is known in Braj, is still one of the most cherished services one can do. A strong tradition of Sohni Seva is still maintained in places like Tatiya Sthan, Nidhi Van and other temples and shrines. It was by sweeping Vrindavan that Shyamananda Prabhu found the anklet of Radharani and received her special grace.
In later times, Jharu Mandal became a place where various saints lived. One such saint was a woman named Radha Dasi. Radha Dasi was completely absorbed in her devotions. Due to her intense schedule of spiritual practices, money became a problem. In addition to her own needs, she had deities of serve, and that too required money.
Unable to find time in her schedule for work, Radha Dasi used to wake up before 3am to grind wheat, which she got by begging, and make flour. She would then sell the flour for a few paise, or use it herself.
One day Shri Krishna came while Radha Dasi was grinding flour and said, “Ma, it’s the middle of the night! Why aren’t you sleeping?”
“Lala,” said Radha Dasi, “I don’t have time to work during the day, so I have to get up very early.”
Shri Krishna then placed his lotus foot on the grinding-stone. His touch left a beautiful footprint.
“See, Ma!” Krishna said. “Now devotees will come to see my footprint, and they will give donations. You don’t have to strain yourself anymore.”
Siddha Balram Das Babaji’s samadhi is also located on the premises.