12.12.17 (VT) The good intentions of the BTVP to reduce the pressure from crowds has backfired as devotees and temple Goswamis are united in their opposition to the plan. The Braj Tirtha Vikas Parishad (BTVP) has been responsible for the beautification and promotion of many important pilgrimage places in Braj, however, their suggestion to improve visitor access to Bihariji by changing darshan timings has fallen flat.
During a meeting with Bihariji management, the CEO of BVTP, Nagendra Pratap Singh, requested the Goswamis to extend darshan timings and consider bringing Bihariji out from the inner sanctum for more days of the year. In reaction to the suggestion, daily temple goer, Giriraj Das said, “People wait to see Bihariji up-close on the special days like Hariyali Teej and Holi. If he is brought out permanently, the attraction of the special days will suffer.”
Any mention of changes in the routine of Bihariji is a sensitive issue, as devotees say that the temple timings were determined in accordance with the deep bhav (devotional feeling) of Swami Haridasji. Swami Haridasjis’ love for Radha and Krishna was so intense that Bihariji self-manifested in order to fulfill his desire that the eternal couple allow more people to witness Their glories.
Those in favour of the extended darshan timings say that it is practical for crowd control. A civil court judge also recently wrote to the temple goswamis about the issue. But, despite pressure from the authorities to increase Bihariji’s visiting hours from eight to twelve, the Goswamis are sticking to their decision to keep darshan timings as per tradition.
Speaking to Vrindavan Today on condition of anonymity, a prominent Goswami of the Banke Bihari temple said, “Can you ask your own young son to stand and greet people for twelve hours a day? Of course people want Bihariji to spend more time with them. But there are many things devotees want. I am sure thousands of people would love to take Banke Bihari home with them to Delhi. Must people have their way all the time?”
Another Brajwasi said, “Bihariji’s schedule is according to his nitya lila (eternal pastimes). In Vrindavan, Bihariji is our family member, not a God who is just there to grant our wishes. If people forget this, the special mood of the temple will be lost in our ocean of desires.”
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