sarvaṁ cet syāt kuṭumbaṁ kim iva mama tato durdaśāḥ syus tataḥ kim |
sevādhīśasya na syād yadi kim iva tataḥ śrīla-vṛndāvane’haṁ
sthāsyāmy āsthāya dhairye mama nija-paramābhīṣṭa-siddhir bhavitrī ||
If the people here should freely condemn and criticize me, why should that bother me? And if my family and kinsman should become poverty stricken and for that reason I should fall into a completely perilous situation, why should I let it affect me? Even if I should fail to attain the service to the Lord, I will remain here in Vrindavan, fixed in determination, and it will give me the perfection of life that I seek. (1.63)
I have no ambition for riches or fame.
Nor comfort, nor good food.
Just let me roll in the dust of Vrindavan.
Let me sit on Vrindavan’s pathways and watch the pilgrims pass.
Let me call out Radhe Shyam! Radhe Shyam!
as I watch the scruffy sadhus and sannyasis,
crowding the road with their stainless steel pots
as they head to their scheduled chatri for kitchrie.
Let me have darshan of the babas
busy with their beads,
buzzing forward on the parikrama path on their daily circuit.
Let me see the tea drinkers read their papers
and the hookah smokers and card players immobile in the heat,
the young pundits walking in groups from their daily classes,
their Bhagavatas still wrapped in orange cloth,
dressed in colorful loincloths orange and yellow and sometimes blue,
and long kurtas, white and decorated with designs,
their identity sparkling in their vivacious conversing.
Let me be insulted by the children
who mock the foreigners with gusto and call them dirty names.
Let me bake under the unbearable sun in the summer,
and chatter in the cold of the Vrindavan winter.
Let me walk on the Parikrama Marg at midnight
and be growled at and nipped by the street gang dogs.
Let my glasses be stolen again and again by the bitter monkeys.
Let me stop in Tatia Sthan and sit under the trees
and listen to the parrots chattering Radha’s glories.
Let me hear the sounds of Ramcharit Manas droning in the night
from the little Ramanandi ashrams,
and Hare Krishna kirtan from the Bengalis,
and Radhe Krishna Radhe Shyam from the Nimbarkis.
Let me be pained by the changing town and times
and the changing mood and the cars and the crowded buses
and the secular Delhi tourists
with their spoiled children gawking and complaining.
And let me marvel at the crowds of Gujarati and Rajasthani villagers
in confused groups following their tirtha guru to the Nanda Bhavans
still wearing their traditional dress,
with infinite red and orange turbans rolling on their mustached heads
and their own ways of tying dhotis and saris.
Let me pass by Prabodhananda’s samadhi at Kaliya Ghat
and Dwadashaditya and Madan Mohan,
where Boro Prabhu Sanatan watches the world
coming at his beck and call to Vrindavan’s door.
And walk past Imli Tala and Gopinath Bhavan and Yamuna Kunj
and fall to the ground in obeisance at the first breath
of the vision of Mother Yamuna,
and past Cheer Ghat and Bhramar Ghat
and through the narrow gate and mysterious passageways
that lead to Keshi Ghat, where Chandi’s monkey acolytes
sit comfortably on the chatris waiting for a lunch bag to steal.
Let me walk in the crowded alleyways
past the temples to all the palaces,
Let me recite the litany of their names,
the bazaars, the temples.
Let me go in, let me see Radha Raman, and Radha Gopinath.
Let me struggle past the crowds in Banke Bihari
and Radha Vallabh and Ath Khamba.
Let me stop and ask for a rare Sanskrit book at Khandelwal’s.
Let me go into Radha Damodar and see Prabhupada
and Sri Jiva and Kaviraj Prabhu and do my ashtanga dandavats
to them and all the samadhis of the saints,
to Sri Rupa, Hey Sri Rupa! I fall at your feet!
Let me sit here and just remember you,
just let me sit here and remember you
and beg for your mercy. Give me just a drop
and let me live in Vrindavan.
Jai Radhe Jai Radhe Jai Radhe.
See previous 1.62