06/26/2014. Mathura (DJ): It is the season when pilgrimage reaches its heights in Braj. Wherever you go, there is a temple throughout this region, where 12 forests and 24 gardens are strung across the 84 kos land as if strung together on a garland. The sweet smell of flowers wafts over the colorful arbors and bright bowers; all these secret places are filled with the intoxicated harmonies of the birds. Dancing in circles with their miauling song are the peacocks. And here one sees the Yamuna gurgling and Giriraj rising to the peaks of living faith.
Where all this comes into sight ? In one of the most exceptional sites in the three worlds, Braj Dham. And over the next few months of the monsoon, there will be a downpour of devotion there, in which not only people from all over this world are desperate to drench themselves , but even the gods also aspire to such good fortune.
It is common in Braj to do parikrama on every special occasion, whether it is a festival, a celebration, or just a certain day of the lunar cycle. Indeed, the Parikrama is one of the most important symbol of the religious life of Braj, and those who wander through the Dham become inspired to seek a higher state of consciousness, religious contemplation, entering more deeply into the spiritual culture of Krishna bhakti. What could be more fundamental and auspicious than this?
For the two months of Sawan and Bhadon, i.e., from July 13 to September 19, there will be a continual influx of pilgrims in Braj. Many thousands will take the 40 days to walk the 84 kos parikrama round Braj.
This transcendent state of consciousness begins on July 12, when the sea of faith really overflows on Guru Purnima. In fact, for a week preceding the full moon, disciples from around the world will throng to the Braj region, where so many spiritual guides have their ashrams, maths and temples. In all of them, these acharyas will be giving special teachings and initiations to those who come for their blessings.
The entire month of Sawan in Braj is amazing. Sawan starts on Monday, July 14 with puja at the four Shiva temples, the guardians of Mathura’s four corners — Rangeshwar, Bhuteshwar, Glteshwar and Gokarnanath. In all temples there will be decorated swings for the Deities. On the 15th, the gold and silver hindolas will be taken out of the Dwarkadhish temple and the Lord will sit on his colorful swing while throngs of devotees compete to get a glance of his smiling face.
August 13 is Hariyali Teej when Banke Bihari sits in his golden throne and gives continuous darshan to his bhaktas. In order to get the opportunity for this darshan, the faithful flock to Vrindavan, some camping out in expectation for days ahead of time.
Krishna Janmashtami this year is on August 18. In order to participate in celebrating it, seems as if the whole world overflows into Krishna’s Janmasthan in Mathura. When the bells ring at midnight to herald Kanha’s birth, then bhaktas everywhere are filled with happiness.
Two weeks later, on September 2, comes Radhashtami, when the faithful become Radharani’s sakhis and wander through the village and temple in Barsana, which is specially dressed and decorated for the occasion.
Diwali comes on October 23 and and Govardhan Puja with the Annakut festival on the 24th. These are more opportunities for the devotees to demonstrate their love for Lord Krishna.
The importance of the parikrama
- In the Vedas and Puranas, it is said there are 66 billion pilgrimage places on earth, and all of them come to reside in Braj for Chaturmasya.
- The shastras talk about the Brij 84 Kos parikrama. Even before Krishna came and engaged in his childhood sports, in the Satya Yuga Dhruva Maharaj came here to perform austerities after being initiated by Narada.
- In the Treta Yuga, Shatrughna, Lord Rama’s younger brother came to do the Braj Parikrama after killing the demon Lavanasura, the son of the Madhu demon. There is a Shatrughna temple in Gali Bari in Mathura commemorating this occasion, which is considered an important stop on the 84-kos circuit.
- Then in the Dvapara age, Uddhava engaged in Parikrama with the Gopis of Braj.
- In the Kaliyuga, various Jain and Buddhist stupas point to a Parikrama tradition at that time also.
- The 14th century Jain acharya Prabhu Shuri mentions the Parikrama in his writings.
- In the 15th century, Madhavendra Puri is said to have engaged in Parikrama.
- But the real custom began in the 16th century, with Vallabhacharya, Goswami Vitthalnath, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Chaitanya, Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Narayan Bhatta, etc., and various Nimbarkis like Sri Bhatta.
Latest posts by admin (see all)
- Krishna Theme Park in Braj :: Fossilizing a Living Tradition? - October 19, 2015
- Did Hema’s Mahotsav recast Krishna lila in promiscuity? - October 7, 2015
- Petition to UP CM opposing Vrindavan-Mathura merger - October 19, 2014