Vrindavan, 2018.01.27 (VT) On Friday, devotees celebrated the 476th appearance anniversary of Shri Shri Radha Damodar. The temple holds a special place among Vrindavan’s temples, and is no doubt one of the most merciful.
Shri Radha Damodar Temple has an elaborate tradition of worship. Yesterday, in celebration of Radha Damodar’s appearance day, as per tradition: Shri Shri Radha Damodar were given a sandal oil massage. After the massage the deities were bathed with panchamrita (milk, curd, sweetened water, ghee and honey) and panchagavya (5 cow products). The deities were then bathed with exotic fruit juices and water mixed with herbal extracts.
The deities were offered chhappan Bhog (56 kinds of foods), and a feast was organized, after which mahaprasadam was distributed among the devotees.
Know why Radha Damodar is considered one of Vrindavan’s most merciful temples:
1) While most of the deities who were taken to Jaipur during the Mughal attacks stayed in Jaipur, Radha Damodar returned to Vrindavan. There is now a pratibhu deity in the temple in Jaipur where Radha Damodar were worshiped. The original deities made the journey back to Vrindavan almost 200 years later, in 1739 C.E. Sri Radha Chailachikan Ji who stand on the altar with Sri Sri Radha Damodar, didn’t leave Vrindavan, even during the Moghul assult of temples in 1542.
2) The temple is home to the Govardhan Shila that Sri Krishna personally gave to Sri Sanatan Goswami when he became too old to do daily parikrama of Goverdhan. Lord Krishna told Sanatan Goswami to take rest and not try to do Goverdhan Parikrama daily, and bestowed the amazing shila with his footprint embedded in the stone. Lord Krishna told Sanatan Goswami that if he does parikrama of the shila four times, he will get the same benefit as doing a whole Goverdhan parikrama. Because of Sri Krishna’s mercy on His great devotee, we can all get the same benefit.
3) Shri Shri Radha Damodar even gave a place on the altar for other Thakurji’s including Sri Radha Vrindavanchandra Ji, the deities of the author of Sri Chitanya Caritamrita, Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami and Sri Radha Chailachikan Ji, the deities of Srila Bhugarbha Goswami who came to Vrindavan even before the six goswamis. According to the temple’s website: Both of these sets of deities were not being served properly, so, for proper service, they were brought to Shri Radha Damodar Temple.
Even Sri Damodar’s form pays tribute to the other Thakurjis of Vrindvan: While Srila Rupa Goswami was manifesting Sri Damodar’s face he was seeing Shri Govind Dev Ji; while manifesting His chest, Shri Gopinath Ji & while manifesting His feet, Shri Madan Mohan Ji
4) Two rooms were reserved for A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who, after taking shelter in the temple, gathered enough strength to embark on a worldwide preaching mission at age 69 in which he inspired thousands of Westerners to take up a devotional way of life and established ISKCON temples in India and around the world.
5) With hundreds of flower samadhi memorials on the temple’s parikrama route, everyone can pay pranams to the Sants and Sadhus from whom they receive inspiration.
6) The history of the temple (as well as the experience of many frequent temple goers) is that Radha Damodar has a special power of bringing out people’s potential, showing them strengths that they never knew they had.
According to the temple’s history, Sri Krishna appeared to Shrila Rupa Goswami in a dream and asked him to carve a deity out of stone. Shrila Rupa Goswami had never done a carving but, miraculously, he was able to produce the beautiful
Damodar deity from a stone he found in the Yamuna. Shrila Rupa Goswami was a virakta vaishnava (serving the holy name without any attachments), so, he gave the full responsibility for Damodar’s service to his nephew Srila Jiva Goswami, who was in so much longing to have a deity to serve that he would cry for days on end.
More about the temple:
Shri Radha Damodar Temple is one of the “Sapta Devalay” temples of Vrindavan. It was established by Srila Jiva Goswami in the year 1542 C.D. The deities were served by Srila Jiva Goswami himself. This temple attracts thousands of devotees in Kartik, as the holy month is named after Damodar.
For a comprehensive description of the names and history of the Thakurjis on the altar at Radha Damodar temple see here.
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