There are three evils in the development of devotion. These are the
- evils of land
- evils of association
- evils of food
What is the evil of land?
A person’s thinking power is generated by the atoms prevailing in the place where he lives. Those who are extrovert to God and full of bad feelings spoil their surroundings by charging these atoms with negative powers. If the people residing in a place are spiritually oriented, then the atomic or subtle atmosphere of their region of residence will be beneficial to others who aspire to advance spiritually. But even in an isolated place like a desert or mountain cave, the atomic atmosphere will not necessarily be favorable for spiritual meditation.
Generally, except for Sri Dham Vrindavan and other places of pilgrimage, almost every other place is impure. In important pilgrimage centers, many saints and great personalities live and purify the atmosphere through their spiritual devotion. Such places are very suitable for cultivating one’s own devotional practice.
Besides this, sacred places are themselves desirable for devotion because there is a spiritual shakti infused in them since time without beginning.
For our devotional love and worship, Sri Vrindavan Dham is the best place for residence. And within Braj-Vrindavan, those places where the eternal activities of the Lord take place, the nitya-lila-sthalis, will be the best. And in those nitya-lila-sthalis, to live in solitude is the best of all.
braja bhūmi bṛndābana yāhā līlā rāsa ||
After renouncing everything, where should one go to live?
To the land of Braj, Vrindavan, where Krishna had his Rasa Lila. (CC 2.8.253)
Gaura Kripa: Our scriptures have instructed 64 types of devotion. Of these, five are the most important.
- Reverent service to the deity form.
- Listening to the preachings of the Srimad Bhagavatam.
- Sri Naam Sankirtan.
- Association of saints.
- Residing in the region of Mathura.
If a devotee follows the above five ways of conduct, he achieves the best result for his devotion.
Vivek Das: Though I am following all these five ways of conduct in my devotional life, I do not feel that I am getting any results. After leaving everything I have come to reside in Sri Dham Vrindavan. I am also chanting Harinaam Sankirtan and listening to Srimad Bhagavatam. I am serving the deity form also and am involved with the association of saints all around. Even then I do not find any good results. Why?
Gaur Kripa: No doubt you are following these five-fold devotional ways, but are you following them strictly, or with flaws? Listen to me very carefully…
The region of Mathura means the Braja Bhumi area of 270 kilometers (84 kos) of land area surrounding Mathura. Merely residing in the region of Mathura Braj Bhumi will not suffice to attain the object of devotion. Though residing there in Braj, one’s mind may be moving about somewhere in a village in Bengal. Such a person is practically-speaking not in devotion.
braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sebā mānase karibe
Do not expect honor, but offer all respect to others. Always chant the holy name of Lord Krishna, and within your mind render service to Radha and Krishna in Vrindavan. (CC 3.6.237)
From this verdict of Sri Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is understood that a devotee should ever attach himself mentally with Vrindavan in the meditation of Sri Yugala Kishora, Radha and Krishna. If one is simply residing physically in Vrindavan but has no eternal reverential feeling for this pious land, in other words, if he finds Vrindavan to be just like any other place and has no special fascination for it, then this shall result in his committing offences to the Dham.
People who find fault in the great souls who are the creatures living in Sri Vrindavan cannot attain devotion to Sri Sri Radha and Madhava.
āropayanti sthira-jaṅgameṣu |
ānanda-mūrtiṣv aparādhinas te
śrī-rādhikā-mādhavayoḥ kathaṁ syuḥ ||
Those who project faults onto the residents of Vrindavan, who are all forms of bliss, whether they are moving or non-moving creatures, they commit offense to them. How can such a person become a servant of Radha and Madhava? (VMA 17.44)
Those ill-fated persons who speak badly of the residents of Vrindavan and never praise them, or who compare Vrindavan to other places and criticize the external status of Sri Vrindavan, such sinister and wretched people should never be seen or associated with.
ślāghante tulayanti ye ca kudhiyo kenāpi vṛndāvanam |
ye vṛndāvanam atra nitya-sukha-cid-rūpaṁ sahante na vā
taiḥ pāpiṣṭha-narādhamair na bhavatu svapne’pi me saṅgatiḥ ||
Those who blaspheme the residents of Vrindavan,
those who do not glorify them or the Dham,
those of corrupt intelligence who consider Vrindavan
to be just a place like any other,
and those who cannot abide Vrindavan,
which is the form of eternal bliss and consciousness:
May I never come into contact with such lowly,
most sinful humans, not even in my dreams. (VMA 17.45)
If someone compares even the trees or insects living in Vrindavan with the creatures living in other places and finds no difference between them, and with such lack of feeling cuts the trees or injures the insects of Vrindavan, he will become the victim of offense.
krīḍā-kānana-vāsiṣu sthira-cara-prāṇiṣv api drohiṣu |
pradveṣaṁ paramāparādham ahaho tyaktvetarair apy aghair
yukto’py āmaraṇānta-labdha-vasatir vṛndāvane syāt kṛtī ||
If one just gives up the great offense of enmity with those
who live in this forest playground of the Divine Couple,
whether animate or inanimate,
a person who is truly fortunate can live until the time of death
in Vrindavan, which is the land of love intoxication
coming from the dust of Radha and Krishna’s lotus feet,
even if he acts sinfully. (VMA 17.52)
This means that all the animals, birds insects, flies, trees, plants and all the creatures residing under the lotus feet sand of Sri Sri Radha Madhava should not be harmed or prejudiced, otherwise there will be serious offense.
Besides these, all offenses are forgiven by residing in Vrindavan.
If the Brajbasis are compared with ordinary human beings living in other places or they are humiliated in any way, it would amount to offence or aparādha.
prasaktaṁ viśveṣām ahaha bahudhā hiṁsakam api |
durācāraṁ lobhādy-upahatam api bhrāta-taruṇaṁ
divāndhas taṁ vṛndāvana-gata-janaṁ nāvagaṇeyaḥ ||
O little brother! Do not think less of a person residing in Vrindavan
even if he is only looking for how to steal other people’s possessions
or is always attached to other women’s wives
of is very envious and even violent to others,
or if he is badly behaved, and afflicted with greed and other flaws (VMA 17.47)
This means that if the Brajbasi person residing in the Braj region is interested in other women and seizes others’ property or adopts violence with others, or is a tyrant, or greedy, even then he should not be neglected. One should rather think, I am like both ways bound real and blind that I could not see his qualities.
Such should be the approach. Residing over Sri Vrindavan Dham means not just living here for some time and then quite often going to other places, then again conveniently coming back to Vrindavan when the weather is more comfortable. This is not the right way.
svayaṁ bahir dṛṣṭim upaitu vā hariḥ |
na deham anyatra kadāpi yātu me ||
Even if I should be tempted with millions of touch stones
or if Krishna should himself appear to me externally
this body, which has been covered in the dust of Vrindavan
must never ever go to any other place. (VMA 17.23)
It means that if I get enormous wealth or if God Hari appears before me outside of Vrindavan, I should rather dwindle to nothingness in the sand of Vrindavan without Hari, but I will not go outside of the Dham.
So it is understood from the above verdict of the saints that we
- have to accept all the animals, creatures, birds, etc., living in Vrindavan Dham with respect
- should not disrespect or criticize any Brajbasi residing in the Dham,
- should not leave Vrindavan until the moment of our last breath,
- and reside here with extreme love and faith, considering Vrindavan as our eternal abode,
then only does residing in the Mathura-Braj region become worthwhile.
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