Vrindavan, 2018.02.24 (VT) Being one of the spiritual centers of the world, Vrindavan Dham has tremendous power to create changes in our thinking and in our lives.
Perhaps what unites spiritualists is the idea that the point of life is to make spiritual progress – those mental and physical changes that bring us closer to God. What most people who have ever spent any time in Vrindavan will tell you is that spiritual progress seems to happen quicker in the Dham.
As Shri Krishna tells Arjuna:
I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed. Bhagavad Gita 9.18
Even the weather in Vrindavan is spiritual. The summer is approaching and, in such hot weather it is difficult to survive. As every movement becomes painful in the intense heat, no one is going to forget the problems of having a material body.To survive in the Vrindavan summer requires mental and physical strength. The heat can cause organ failure, caution is required, but subtle changes in attitude can also make a big difference.
One devotee said, “At first I tried defiance – this heat is not hurting me. This works for some time, but then at some point you have to admit defeat. A subtle change in attitude has helped – now I face it with the attitude: “this is a challenging situation, but Krishna will give me the strength to deal with it”.
Sometimes, devotees lament over the changes we see happening here as Vrindavan becomes less and less like a ‘van’ (forest) and more and more like a city every day – If you did Vrindavan parikrama when the Parikrama Marg was a dirt road through fields and forests with a few ashrams in between, you may not be interested in walking on the tarred road past hotels and apartments.
The positive side is that the numbers of people who are being attracted to Vrindavan these days has increased manifold, and the Dham will leave its impression on each. The Dham is like a fire that burns off the wrong thinking and actions that hamper our spiritual progress.
As the blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities. Bhagavad gita 4.37
Some people are afraid to enter Vrindavan because they fear that Shri Krishna will punish them. This is increasingly the case even among Indians, who, despite being God fearing Hindus, get into the habit of eating meat. Perhaps their fear of entering the Dham is even justified in some ways, because people who enter Vrindavan are asking to be cleansed – hence the tradition of bathing in the Yamuna at the beginning of a pilgrimage to Vrindavan.