Vrindavan, 2017.10.28 (VT): A few days ago, foreign devotees living in Vrindavan were requested to make their suggestions known for the development of the Dham. Adityanath Yogi, the CM of Uttar Pradesh, and Mr. Mishra have both promised that the development of Braj will take place according to the will of the people of Braj and in keeping with the mission of Braj as a spiritual center or tirth. Now that the government has officially declared that Vrindavan is a tirth or holy site, let us examine that proposal.
Drawings and paintings from the past, such as this one from 1789, show that the river Yamuna used to flow right past Madan Mohan. Exactly what year the river changed course I do not know, but the current river flows about 500 meters or more to the north of the Madan Mohan temple.
Needless to say, the Madan Mohan temple is one of the grand attractions of Vrindavan. It is under the auspices of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), which is doing a creditable job of preserving this important heritage.
I wanted to take pictures from the lookout point was to show the “view” from Madan Mohan or Dwadashaditya Tila. This is the area that is currently under dispute. Numerous buildings have already been knocked down in this area, but several large buildings, like the Russki Dom in the upper left side of the featured image behind the parking lot have received stay orders and are not under the wrecking ball quite yet.
Let the demolition work continue. Let’s find a solution for the Parikrama Marg that includes daily no-traffic times and no-traffic days when the crowds are greatest. In my view, every visitor to Vrindavan should be made to leave their vehicle outside the Parikrama Marg, including bus passengers and to walk to Bihariji and the other temples for darshan.
What is a visit to the holy place without some sacrifice or tapasya. In other days, visiting Vrindavan required taking days out of one’s life. Now one can breeze in for a drive, see Bihariji and go. The spiritual benefit of such actions is minimal.
If Braj is to be developed as a pilgrimage center rather than a purely tourist hub like Agra with the Taj, then some demands have to be made on the pilgrim, for the sake of the Dham itself, in order that its spiritual power is most effectively experienced. That is the magic of the Dham and that is where its real potential lies.
Vrindavan is about spirituality and nature. Without the Yamuna and without an attempt to make the land as lush and green in the current environment as is possible, should be taken as essential elements in any concept of the Dham that is sustainable for the long term.