Vrindavan, 2017.04.01 (VT): The print edition of Amar Ujala on March 31 reported that the Vrindavan traffic police are reconsidering the frequently raised proposal of keeping vehicles from outside the city outside the city on weekends.
When this was previously tested in January of 2016, the effect on traffic problems in the town was dramatic. Protests by the Tirth Purohits, temple priests and other businessmen resulted in the experiment having a very short life.
However, since the problem of increasing traffic is becoming more acute day by day, the plan is being revived. Cars from outside Vrindavan will be stopped at the entry points to the town and told to park there, i.e., the Dhanuka parking near Mayawati’s hospital and the multileveled parking lot in Rukmani Vihar. Shuttle vehicles will then take pilgrims and tourists to their destinations in town.
No date has yet been set for reinstating the plan.
According to one person interviewed, a big source of the problem is that on weekends, devotees who have easy access to Vrindavan by car wish to get a quick darshan of Bihariji before continuing on their way to Delhi or Agra. want to be able to drive as close as possible to the temple and then leave as quickly as possible. Since these visitors take the Parikrama Marg up to Madan Mohan, they cause a great deal of traffic disturbance.
Needless to say, these visitors are not contributing a great deal economically, if that is a consideration. But spiritually also, one must question the benefits of such a cheap and easy darshan of the Lord.
The Banke Bihari Merchants Association has also been trying to stop e-rickshaws in the Banke Bihari neighborhood. It is true that Banke Bihari Road and the Dussayat Road are often jammed by e-rickshaws turning around or dropping and picking up passengers. This is not even to mention the commotion that goes on at Vidyapeeth corner.
Ideally, in our view, Vrindavan should be recognized as a place where people walk as much as possible. We have for all intents and purposes destroyed the Parikrama culture by opening the Parikrama Marg to automobiles and other vehicles. It may be impossible to completely stop all traffic on the Parikrama Marg, but at least certain parts of it should be made into the most ideal and natural environment that is possible for the benefit of the devotees doing the parikrama.
Actually, Vrindavan is meant for a spiritual experience. And I have no doubt that Vrindavan’s spiritual power far exceeds anything the Kali Yuga can throw at it. But for those who are “selling” Vrindavan, it should be known where its real power of attraction lies. It lies in the very real potential for spiritual experience, if one can be open to it by visiting temples and through seeing and hearing sadhus of all kinds. There is no point in talking about spiritual experience if the atmosphere is too polluted with the rajo-guna.
The more Vrindavan resembles the ideal Vrindavan — with green spaces, a crystal clear Yamuna, gardens, beautiful temples in traditional and modern architectural styles — the better it is for Vrindavan’s true purpose to be realized. And of course, a sane and healthy, a sustainable economic development will follow.
In the current atmosphere, it is almost impossible to imagine a return to the sattva-guna in India. In Vrindavan we sit in one of the most vital corridors of Indian economic development, within the easy reach of Delhi, a giant pole of energy in this nation. Vrindavan sits in that political and economic zone as its spiritual center. It has to resist that tourbillon of rajas and tamas and radiate as much sattva as it can.
It might mean a reduction in the number of visitors, but we should consider the “product” that is being sold: It is relief from the anxiety and pointlessness of material existence. If we can “sell” that, then imagine the benefits that not only India but the entire world could reap.
So let us conceive of Vrindavan in a way that lets people get here by car, but once here, experience Vrindavan as Vrindavan itself wants it to be experienced. As much of the old town as possible should be closed to vehicle traffic and strict controls should be placed on motorcycle drivers who speed.