Gopal Guru advises: bathroom chanting is okay. Today is the disappearance day of Gopal Guru (Makaradhvaja Pandit). It was celebrated at his ashram in the Bamshi Bat area of Vrindavan.
Makaradhvaja was a disciple of Vakreshwar Pandit. When he was just a boy, he saw someone holding his tongue to stop himself chanting while defecating. Makaradhvaja advised him that it is permitted to chant at all times, because the time for leaving the body can come at any moment. When he uttered these words, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recognized his qualification as a guru and gave him the title “Gopal Guru”.
Another story relating to Makaradhvaja Pandit is that after he was given the title, Gopal Guru, Abhiram Thakur decided to come to Puri to test him. Thakur had the reputation of being fearsome and it was said that if a deity was not genuine, the head would smash into pieces when the Thakur came close. Gopal Guru was scared, so he jumped into Mahaprabhu’s lap. Mahaprabhu gave him a blessing, putting his foot on the boy’s head. This gave Gopal Guru the power to withstand the Thakur’s glance and left a permanent mark on his forehead. This is the reason for the unique tilak that is worn by his descendants in Vakreshwar Pandit’s disciplic line. Read more (Hindi)
More women to become Patanjali Yoga Gurus. In the latest initiative from Baba Ramdev, women will be trained to become yoga gurus. From 1st November, a 25-day course will be held at the Patanjali Yoga Center at the Veda Mandir in the Mathura suburb of Masani. The course will be held from 3-5 pm and will cover areas such as Vedic culture, home remedies, use of herbs and moral education. Men are welcome to attend the course; however, it will focus primarily on the health benefits of yoga for women. The camp is free and certification will be given at the end. Read more (Hindi)
Kamsa Vadh Mela Parade. Last night, a huge parade with deities, dancing and an effigy of Kamsa made its way through the streets of Mathura. The parade is the last in a series of cultural programs which were part of the 4-day ‘Kamsa Vadh Mela’ (killing of Kamsa celebratory fair). During the parade, the effigy of Kamsa was beaten with sticks by dozens of people, after which fireworks lit up the sky, in celebration of the victory of good over evil. Read more (English)
500 year old records of pilgrimages. Vrindavan Research Institute (VRI) has in its collections the records of pilgrims kept by the Dham’s tirtha purohits going back 500 years. These include the names of poor and rich people, even kings, who made the pilgrimage to Vrindavan. Whenever kings visited, they put their seals on the documents, thereby verifying the time periods of the signatures of other pilgrims that were collected. The documents record the amount of donation that each pilgrim gave, details about their dress and even poetry that the pilgrims penned down. The records show that as many as 10 generations of the same family made the pilgrimage by horse and cart, through dense forests, in order to reach the temples in which their ancestors had worshiped. Read more (Hindi)
Ganga Canal encroaches on Braj’s farmland. A canal which is being dug to bring Ganga water to Agra is encroaching on Braj’s farm land. Farmers say that they say they are not being properly compensated for the land. There are already several canals bringing water from the Ganga river into Uttar Pradesh. Farmers have pointed out the irony of the Government running tree plantation campaigns and, at the same time, building a canal through farmland; which is causing destruction and damage to hundreds of trees. Read more (Hindi)