The word bawari (बावरी) means a step well. In around 1825, Bhagavat Rasik established his asan here and did bhajan, attaining siddhi. It lies next to the tract of land, mostly empty, owned by the Gurukula University of the Arya Samaj. That land is lying fallow and mostly covered with small but thorny acacia trees and now, plenty of garbage.
For more pictures, see June 2011.
As a postscript to this gallery I would like to comment on the changes I have seen in the last five years here.
Radha Bawri must be considered a treasure of Vrindavan and given all protection and all facility to preserve its environment in as authentic a fashion as possible. When the Mahanta talks about the necessity for a natural environment for the perfection of the rasika path of bhajan, he is communicating Vrindavan’s essential message, and that is a message that is being increasingly lost in the urbanization and “monetization” of Vrindavan.
For Vrindavan to remain authentic, authentic places of the Vrindavan culture must be protected and nourished.
As I see it, Radha Bawri is able to exist in large part because it is surrounded on two sides by the Gurukul land, on the southern side by an empty field belonging to the ashram and used for the cowshed. On the western side is the encroaching Rajpur village.
Rajpur is not particularly noted as a place for temples or ashrams, and the people living there are still mostly villagers culturally, even though occupationally the percentage of farmers is probably much less than it was a generation ago. I did not ask, but I got the impression that it is largely upper caste.
I also noticed that there are a few new ashrams of the current, low-end, urban style going up. There are still other empty areas on the other side of Rajpur on the way to the Parikrama Marg.
The Gurukula area itself is quite large and it is entirely astonishing that it is still empty, with only a few buildings from the Arya Samaj heyday in the late 19th early 20th century style. Here and there are a few ruins of what were once nice small buildings. The “university” itself is an interesting looking place and I will have to investigate. It is quite a treasure in itself.
The land is being entirely neglected. It is covered with scrub acacia and a few large trees near the pathway going through the property, but it is becoming increasingly used as a dumping ground. In this day and age, unless there is active protection, deterioration sets in very fast. The situation is dire everywhere. The ashram itself is not entirely able to deal with its refuse and that is taking on unsightly proportions, with the expected effects.
So I am calling on all Brajvasis and the government officials and other wellwishers of the community to develop this area as a park of a Tatia Sthan type nature, a place where peacocks can thrive and even monkeys find a natural home. It is difficult to grow things where the water is poor, but trees can be made to grow in Vrindavan. Let’s spread the Tatia Sthan mood instead of killing it.
Jai Sri Radhe!
See revised and updated version of the above here: Creating a human sanctuary in Vrindavan.