Family Gita Class a huge success in Pasadena and upcoming programs in New York (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Universality of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj [Original Article] - (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Radha Govind Dham New York prepares for special Guru Poornima 2014 satsang and 'The Divine Flute' lectures (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A Guru Poornima Tale for 2014 - Meeting Kripalu Ji Maharaj in Mussoorie (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rath Yatra at Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram makes devotees dance and hop till they drop! (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Radha Madhav Dham Intensive 2014 Enthralls Devotees (Days 1 - 4) (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Worldwide attention drawn to Radha Madhav Dham intensive (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ‘Alcoholism’ or the effect of Rath Yatra at the US ashram of Kripalu Ji Maharaj? (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         New York gearing up for Ram Katha by Swami Maheshwaranand, disciple of Kripaluji Maharaj (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Radha Madhav Dham Rath Yatra, July 6th 2014: Na Bhuta Na Bhavyashati (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Remembering Mahaprabhu: Selfless sacrifice and night-time Divine walks of Kripaluji Maharaj (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         JKP & Radha Madhav Dham winning the prestigious Nelson Mandela Peace Award has made the front page of India Herald (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         JKP Radha Madhav Dham's Educational Arm gets Nelson Mandela Peace Award (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat presents Bhagavad Gita lectures at Satyanarayana Swamy Devasthanam, California (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Radha Madhav Dham gets a blanket of spring bluebonnets! (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Full transcripts of Main Kaun? Mera Kaun? have been released (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Final speech by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj (Watch)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Radha Madhav Dham's Braj style Holi 2014 attracts 4500 people! (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Swami Nikhilanand Ji to lead Gita Saptah Series at Radha Madhav Dham (March 16 - 23 2014) (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Radha Madhav Dham Austin's Brass Band rehearses before Holi 2014 on March 15th! (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Radha Madhav Dham Austin presents "Holi Hai", festival of colors 2014 + Special Holi 2014 promotion (March 15th 2014)(Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Holi 2014 at Bhakti Dham, Mangarh and Radha Madhav Dham, USA (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Last rights of Shree Maharaj Ji at Rameshwaram, Nasik & Dwarka (Read More)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Shree Maharajji's discourses broadcast every day on Sahara Samay, Aastha and Sadhna channels in India and USA (Learn more)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Have you set-up your mobile phone or tablet to listen to Radio, JKP Radha Madhav Dham yet? New 24-hour radio station by JKP: Don't miss out! (Learn More)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Family Gita Class a huge success in Pasadena and upcoming programs in New York

Bhagavad Gita class led by Jagadguru Kripalu ji Maharaj disciple at Pasadena Hindu Temple

From Swami Nikhilanand Blog and Vrindavan Times News

The Family Gita Class led by Swami Nikhilanand Ji, sanyasi disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, was a huge success in Pasadena California.

Here are some more upcoming events with Swamiji:
Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, leads Family Gita Class at Pasada Hindu Temple

Each day of the Family Gita Class with Swami Nikhilanand Ji at Pasaden Hindu Temple, children and their parents received the wealth of true Hinduism through the Gita.Namsankirtan began every evening at 7:00pm. Then Swami Nikhilanand delivered fun, interactive talks on the Gita where kids and parents had the opportunity to ask questions. Following the lesson, devotional Jeopardy was played every day; kids vs. parents! Finally, arti was performed at the end of every evening. 

Before the devotional Jeopardy game on the last day, each kid received a beautiful picture of Radha Krishna from Swamiji, to help with their devotional remembrance. Overall, children and adults discovered their heritage, gained understanding of practical concepts for daily living, and had lots of fun! Dinner Prasad was served daily around 6:30

Here are some quotes from the children about Gita Family Class with Swami Nikhilanand Ji at Pasaden Hindu Temple

An older kid: "The cool thing is, he presents his messages and lessons in a way which the younger generation especially can connect to...and it's very easy to understand and we can relate to them ourselves. So, coming here, it's eye-opening to all of us and it's a great way to be connected to our culture in this busy American society." 

A younger kid: "We got to learn new things by also interacting with Swamijji, asking him questions, and I had fun that way! Usually kids in America don't get an opportunity to learn about things like the Gita, and I'm very glad that we got to have the opportunity. I would also recommend this class to your friend, because, they would learn a lot about their religion. ...You couldn't actually Goggle it out, that much information."

Bhagavad Gita class led by Jagadguru Kripalu ji Maharaj disciple at Pasadena Hindu Temple

Bhagavad Gita class led by Jagadguru Kripalu ji Maharaj disciple at Pasadena Hindu Temple

Bhagavad Gita class led by Jagadguru Kripalu ji Maharaj disciple at Pasadena Hindu Temple

Bhagavad Gita class led by Jagadguru Kripalu ji Maharaj disciple at Pasadena Hindu Temple

Bhagavad Gita class led by Jagadguru Kripalu ji Maharaj disciple at Pasadena Hindu Temple

Monday, July 28, 2014

Universality of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj (Original Article)

[An original Vrindavan Times article describing just some of the many aspects of the Universality of Jagadguru Kripalu and His teachings. The contents expressed herein are the opinion and experience of the author, an Irish Catholic]

Kripalum Vande Jagadgurum - All glories to supreme master Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj
Kripalum Vande Jagadgurum - All glories to supreme master Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj

July 28th 2014 - (The Vrindavan Times): As the Jagadguru, Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj revealed himself as the foremost Saint of all the religions, not only for the Hindus.

Muhammad Rūmī and Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's teachings were the same
Muhammad Rūmī
In the line of Sufi Islamic Saints, his transcendental love poetry far surpassed that of even the great historical Sufi Islamic masters of Persia, Iran, India and Pakistan like Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī. As with Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, Rumi's importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders. Iranians, Turks, Afghans, Tajiks, and other Central Asian Muslims as well as the Muslims of South Asia have greatly appreciated his spiritual legacy in the past seven centuries and he has been described as the "most popular poet in America" and the "best selling poet in the US".

In His Radha Govind Geet too, Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj has revealed some doha directly in Persian language, a language he had never studied.

Qawalli, mehfil in the courtyard of Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj

Grand, stately and lively mehfil sessions would be held daily in the courtyard of the Jagadguru, where Shree Maharaj ji would astound, entertain, amuse and inspire his devotees and guests with the most eloquent and potent spiritual poetic expositions ever uttered. The mehfil sessions originally took place outdoors in the old courtyard and were some of the most precious, nectar filled memories in the lives of many. Later, they were held inside the palace courtyard and also replicated wherever and whenever Shree Maharaj ji travelled.

It was a tradition in these sher-o-shayari sessions that guests would also recite their self-composed poetry to Shree Maharaj ji, a perfect opportunity to convey their true, inner feelings to the Lord. Often, Shree Maharaj ji and a devotee would engage in a playful tête-à-tête, each challenging the other in a poetic debate of love. On winning the debate, Shree Maharaj ji would give a sweet signal of victory in the form of shābāsh. During the mehfil sessions, a feast of sumptuous food, sweets and sweet chai was served to every guest.

Devotees would also sing heart-felt ghazals, thumri or old film songs which Maharaj ji would enjoy a lot. Maharaj ji would regularly tease the devotees’ singing style or make fun of the singer in some way. One foreign boy started singing “Ehsaan tera hoga mujh par…”, to which Maharaj ji interrupted (in Hindi) with a serious face, “What’s wrong? Did you not get enough to eat?” which made the assemblage and the singer burst out laughing. Other times, he would tell someone else to start singing while another person was in the middle of their song; encouraging each of them to sing louder and louder, to outdo the other one.

A sample of some of Shree Maharaj ji’s sher-o-shayari is given below:

Mere dil mein rehta hai, to phir kyon jalaata hai?
Aray dushman akal ke, Apna Bhi Koi Ghar Jalaata Hai?

Meri Aakhon Mein rehta hai, to phir kyon rulaata hai?
Aray dushman akal ke, apna bhi koi ghar dubaata hai?

You live in my heart, then why are you burning it in the fire of separation? Are you crazy? Does anyone burn their own house?
You live in my eyes, then why are you making me cry? Are your crazy? Does anyone drown their own house?

Teri tasveer mein tujhse bhi ek baat nirali hai.
Kitna bhi chiptao na shokhi hai.. Na gali hai

There is some thing special in your photo as compared to you.
However, and upto whatever extent I hug it.. It doesn't resist or blame.

He has adopted the qawwali style for many of his kirtan compositions, some of which are most beloved of many devotees. Sample below for illustrative purposes:

Ik nazar unko dekha gazab ho gaya,
hale dil ab to mera ajab ho gaya.

A devotee says, “I looked at Krishna once and a sweet, loving disaster happened. I lost my heart to Him with that glance. Now my heart and mind are acting very strangely.”

Deeno duniya ki daulat sanjoi thee jo,
lut gayi pal mein ya rab gazab ho gaya.

“One more strange thing has happened. The effects of whatever actions I performed and whatever worldly attachments I had all vanished in one moment.”

Tan gaya man gaya akla hairan hai,
darde dil badh raha hai gazab ho gaya.

“My brain is perplexed because my body and mind are no longer under my control. Another disaster is that the pain of my separation from Krishna is always increasing.”

Ve taras bhi na khaye mere hal par,
phir na aye dubara gazab ho gaya.

“But Krishna had no sympathy for my pitiable condition. He did not give me His vision a second time. This is like a calamity for me”.

Darde dil mein magar aisa paya maja,
ab kahenge ‘Kripalu’ gazab ho gaya.

Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj says in the words of a devotee, “In spite of all this, the pain of separation from Krishna is so sweet that now I will tell everyone about my condition and that something wonderfully unusual has happened to me.”

Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj explains the world religions

Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj would regularly quote Islamic Sufi Saints in his lectures, as well as give discourses on the real meaning of celebrations such as the real meaning of Eid. An excerpt is given below for illustrative purposes:

There are two types of Eid. One is idulphitar and the other is idul jaha. Idulphitar is what is celebrated in the month of ramadan. There is a story behind idul jaha. There was one paigambar (prophet) named Hazrat Ibrahim, like Prophet Mohammed. Haztrat Ibrahim was a great saint. Paigambar (prophet) means the saints who have been sent by God. God decided to test Ibrahim and so God sent a message to Ibrahim in his dream and said that now you leave your wife and son in a dessert where water will also not be available to them. Ibrahim took their wife and small child Ijrael to the dessert. But God serves those who completely surrender to him. Hence, God had made all the arrangements for the upbringing of the child.

Then again God came in Ibrahim’s dream and said that now you sacrifice your son to me by cutting his head and offering it to me. Then Ibrahim inquired about where his son is and found him. Ibrahim told his son that God has told me to sacrifice you, so will you follow my advice? His son said that if this is the wish of God then why wouldn’t I support it? So Ibrahim now prepared himself to cut the head of his son. Ibrahim covered his eyes with a cloth because if his eyes were open then he would not be able to cut the head of his own son. So Ibrahim covered his eyes and sacrificed and cut the head of his son. When Ibrahim opened his eyes he saw a sheep was there which had been sacrificed. God saved his child, and Ibrahim cleared the test of God.

This is the real meaning of Eid, to sacrifice yourself completely to God or in other words surrender yourself to God, but due to ignorance, people are doing violence and slaughtering sheep in the name of religion and naming it “Bakri Eid”.

The Real Significance of Eid is:

Idurjaha hai aaj Govind Radhey,
Dil ke gunaho se tauba kara de.
La illahi lilillaha Govind Radhe,
Mohamaddarsul allah dil me bitha de.

Revelations of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj in English

Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj leads kirtan in Bhakti Bhavan, Mangarh
Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj leads kirtan in Bhakti
Bhavan, Mangarh
Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj also revealed a kirtan in English, such that even English-speakers may find a place in his world.

Once Shree Maharajji led singing of the following devotional lines in English and soon the entire Bhakti Bhavan resounded in singing of these sacred words:

Give me Divine Love,
My dear Krishna
Give me Divine Love,
O my dear Krishna
Take my life Krishna,
You are welcome.

Religion of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj adoptable by all

Although thousands of people of all religions have adopted the philosophy of Shree Maharaj ji, yet no one has ever claimed, or thought of himself, as a convert. Shree Maharaj ji, having adopted many of the traditions such as qawwali, mehfil, sher-o-shayari and having reconciled various philosophies has shown a religion which is virtually indistinguishable from mystical Islam. Indeed, the mood of his philosophy is indistinguishable from the mystical streams of all the world religions as revealed by the original masters of those religions. Furthermore, anyone of any religion, or branch of a religion, can see their own religion in a perfected, more beautiful, more understandable, more practical and more relevant form. A Catholic may come across the religion of Shree Maharaj ji and see their own religion reframed in a new light, then adopt that religion. Yet, it never seems to anyone that they have adopted anything new; just a more perfected form of their original belief. Same for Muslims, Christians, Hindus etc.

What to speak of followers of the world religions, when even avowed atheists have found their truth in him. Acclaimed writer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Khushwant Singh once famously declared:

Of the two dozen men and women who appear regularly on TV channels to give discourses on spiritual matters I find what Kripaluji has to say makes more sense to a non-believer like me. All of them have the gift of the gab but he is more forthright, logical, lucid and gives chapter and verse of the sacred texts he quotes from…

In this way, Shree Maharaj ji became known for revealing the true path to God adoptable by anyone in the world. For this reason, he was awarded the title Nikhildarshansamanvayacharya by the Kashi Vidvat Parishat. There are literally thousands of lectures or devotional songs which reveal the Divine aspect of all the worlds’ holy days and celebrations of all religions. In his inimitable way, Shree Maharaj ji even revealed the following doha for Saint Patrick’s Day, a day in honour of the 5th-century Irish Catholic Saint (Green is the traditional colour of Ireland and associated with Saint Patrick):

आज संत पैट्रिक डे है गोविन्द राधे
इस दिल के मरुस्थल को प्रेम से हरा बना दे ।

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day.
Make the desert of my heart green with Divine Love.

Religion of Divine Love

To quote Rumi:

ملت عشق از همه دین‌ها جداست — عاشقان را ملت و مذهب خداست

The nation of Love has a different religion of all religions — For lovers, God alone is their religion.

Thus, the Religion of Love is the religion of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, which is the same Religion as the Master's of all the world religions. To this end, Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj has established the very embodiment of Divine Love, Prem Mandir, in Vrindavan.

Rumi and Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj revealed many universal Divine truths via their writings and poetry, but the glaring difference is that the reach of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj's revelations were on a much larger scale, while also revealing the practical aspect of the spiritual path (sadhana) so that others could know exactly what to do, with no equivocation, follow the instructions, and reach the Divine.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Radha Govind Dham New York prepares for special Guru Poornima 2014 satsang and 'The Divine Flute' lectures

Disciple of Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj gives Guru Poornima 2014 satsang at New York Hindu Temple
Radha Govind Dham New York prepares for special
Guru Poornima 2014 satsang and 'The Divine Flute' lectures by
preacher of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj

Note: As this event is a last minute grace of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, please inform all your contacts in New York and request them to attend this special satsang and lecture series.

Queens, New York - (The Vrindavan Times News): Queens New York is gearing up for Guest International Speaker, H.H. Gopeshwari Devi who is coming to Radha Govind Dham New York, the New York Hindu Temple, for a special Guru Poornima 2014 satsang tomorrow evening, Sunday July 13th. The special Guru Poornima 2014 satsang will be followed by a week of inspirational lectures on the subject of Bhagwan Shankar ‘The Divine Flute’.

Times: Sunday 13th July 2014 – 5PM to 7PM
Monday 14th to Thursday 17th July 2014: 7PM – 8:30PM

Venue: Radha Govind Dham New York,
260-01 Hillside Avenue,
Glen Oaks,
New York 11004

The Significance and Incarnation of Shree Krishna’s divine flute will be explained by special guest instructor Gopeshwari Devi (Didiji), an inspirational and motivational spiritual speaker and leader.

Preacher of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj at New York Hindu Temple, Radha Govind Dham

H.H. Gopeshwari Devi is an eminent preacher of India’s most revered Saint, His Divine Excellency Bhakti-Yog-Rasavatar Shree 1008 Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Having spent her formative years in New Zealand, Didi Ji graduated in India with a BA, LLB and MA. A vibrant and passionate speaker, Didi Ji combines deep knowledge of the Holy texts with simple analogies and humorous anecdote, bringing clarity and understanding to the most extraordinary of subjects.

Contact: Jyoti / Vikesh on 1-917-362-3548

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Guru Poornima Tale for 2014 - Meeting Kripalu Ji Maharaj in Mussoorie

Happy Guru Poornima 2014 story with Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj
Happy Guru Poornima 2014 to all devotees of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj

A Guru Poornima Tale - Meeting Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj in Mussoorie

It was a last minute decision in Summer 2008. I was in a heartbroken state for several months, and needed a break from life, so I thought "Why not go to Musoorie!" For some completely unknown reason, I made no plans, told no one I was coming, had no idea where Mussoorie was or how I would make it. All I did was book a flight to Delhi airport and had no idea what was happening beyond that. I arrived at Delhi airport as planned, but after that, all my dreams turned into a nightmare, but looking back, it all seems like a divine dream.

By coincidence, an Indian devotee of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj from USA happened to be on the same flight as me and when he saw me at Delhi airport, he recommended me to get a bus to Mussoorie. I was slightly apprehensive, but he assured me that Indian tourist buses were very comfortable and brought me to a Taxi, asked the Taxi driver to take me to an upmarket bus stop, and even gave him extra money to wait until I got on the bus. But, instead of doing that, the taxi driver brought me to a India tour company and tried to pressure me to buy a package tour to South India! I told their staff that I just wanted to go to Mussoorie. After much argument, the taxi driver got in a huff and I knew he didn't have good intentions. He proceeded to drive me away, throw me out at the side of the road next to some common bus stop, and drove away! I had no idea about the bus schedule or where I was or what to do. Some ruffian looking boys started ganging around me, making jokes and pulling at me. After a few hours, a bus arrived and it was the worst possible bus I could have ever imagined. It was the kind with metal bars instead of glass and and people crowded on the roof. I learned it was going to Dehradun. The next 20 or 30 hour journey, with many stops, was hell itself. I was baking alive the entire journey.

Eventually I reached Dehradun, in the middle of the night, not knowing where to go or what to do. I found some taxis but they wouldn't drive to Mussoorie so late at night. Then I started going to all the hotels, to see if they could get someone to drive me to Mussoorie and fortunately one of them did.

Next stop was Mussoorie. I had only seen Seva Kunj Ashram in pictures, and when I saw it, I knew it was the place. It is built into the side of a mountain with many steps. But, I had no idea where the entrance was. The driver drove off into the distance, and my only guess was to begin the monumental task of climbing the steps and hope it led somewhere. Eventually I arrived at a door. I made my presence known with thunderous knocks but there was no response.

Afterwards, I just lay on the ground. There was a beautiful thunder and lightening storm echoing through the valley. It was the most peaceful moment of my entire life, just laying there on the cold concrete. There was some warmth coming from the lightening, and I was shaking with a combination of excitement, relief, happiness and anticipation. Somehow I drifted off to sleep.

After some time, I heard a deep, divine familiar voice and my eyes began to wake from the morning rays. I heard the sound of the door open - the door I had been trying to enter. When I looked up, I saw devotees and Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj standing there. A devotee of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj came over and picked me up off the ground and brought me to Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj. It so happened that my mother had been calling incessantly and bawling on the phone, as I had phoned her from the bus stop at the side of the road, and my phone cut off just as I was explaining the situation. Devotees told Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj about her calling.

Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj came over to me, and threw his arms around me and said "I am so so sorry!". He asked "How did your head not get sore from lying on the ground?" I said, "Maharajji, I used a t-shirt as a pillow" and he started laughing.

For the entire few months I was there, leading up to Guru Poornima and afterwards, ashram devotees treated me like a son, in every possible way. When I got sick, they made all arrangements for me. They did the same for all the foreigners who were there - fed us, looked after everything, told us how to act, when to wash. Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj also treated us like his family. It was a divine dream in every possible way and those who saw that aspect of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj are the luckiest! Happy Guru Poornima 2014!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Rath Yatra at Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram makes devotees dance and hop till they drop!

Radha Rani Rath Yatra 2014 at Radha Madhav Dham America

(VRINDAVAN TIMES NEWS): The Radha Rani Rath Yatra 2014 celebration which took place just a few hours ago at Radha Madhav Dham, the US ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, was almost too wonderful for words. Shree Radha arrived, early morning, on the chariot at the front of the temple around 7am. Not one person wasn’t smiling when they saw her. Everyone was beaming ear to ear and the excitement was almost uncontainable. From the temple roofs, devotees released all their pent up feelings of love and anticipation in the form of a torrential shower of marigolds over the chariot, which devotees had been picking and preparing from the Radha Madhav Dham flower garden for weeks. 

Petal shower for Shree Radha at Radha Madhav Dham
Petal shower for Shree Radha at Radha Madhav Dham

Petal shower for Shree Radha at Radha Madhav Dham
Petal shower for Shree Radha at Radha Madhav Dham

Voice of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj

Everyone stood in absolute stillness as “Radheeeeeey”, in the powerful voice of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, was broadcast over microphones and pierced the entire Dham with the Divine effects. Afterwards, Shree Krishna paid homage to Shree Radha in the form of a very beautiful dance which touched the heart and soul of the assemblage at Radha Madhav Dham.

Krishna dances for Radha Rani at Radha Madhav Dham
Krishna dances for Radha Rani at Radha Madhav Dham

Meaning of Radha Rani Rath Yatra at Radha Madhav Dham

Before the procession began, Swami Nikhilanand Ji gave a brief overview of the meaning of Radha Rani Rath Yatra 2014 at Radha Madhav Dham. It comes from a tradition in Braj, where the Brajwasis used to take Radha Rani on a yatra to various holy places. It was intended to showcase Radha Rani, the queen of Braj. He announced that Sushree Siddheshvari Didi would give a more fuller lecture later on.

The Rath Yatra 2014 began at Radha Madhav Dham, as hundreds of devotees danced and chanted along the procession route. An amazing journey was to be ahead, as it was not just a procession; but in addition, grand, thrilling and magnificent leela jhankis were to be shown at various beautiful holy spots along the procession route. At each stop, devotees would perform arti to Shree Radha.

The first stop for the Rath was Kaliya Naag cove. Elaborate arrangements had been made so devotees had places to sit, and watch a divine play depicting the intense separation and meeting of Shree Radha, Gopis and Krishna.

Radha Krishna leela in a boat used by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj
Radha Krishna leela in a boat used by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj

Radha Krishna leela in a boat used by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj
Radha Krishna leela in a boat used by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj

The next stop was Govardhan Hill and Prem Sarovar. At Prem Sarovar, another leela jhanki awaited. All of the leela jhankis were performed by Radha Madhav Dham devotee youth, and had been specially choreographed by a teacher of Shiksha, School of Indian Arts & Culture, a popular new school at Radha Madha Dham.

There was a lovely feeling at Prem Sarovar of Radha Madhav Dham, as hundreds of devotees watched a beautiful scene of Radha Krishna and gopis in a flower decorated boat. It was the same boat that Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj used to spend time in, during his historic visit to America in 2005 and 2007. Radha Krishna’s boat traversed the Divine pond many times, veering closer and closer to the assemblage, who watched in spell-bound joy. When the boat came close enough, the gopis began to splash water. Later, Shree Krishna splashed water on Shree Radha and all the spectators. It was vivid scene, as though the meditations that had been practiced for years, had come alive, before the very eyes. It was not a dream – but a real opportunity to feel the closeness of Radha Krishna on this special day. Prasad of sweets and bombay mix were liberally distributed among the assemblage.

The excitement was building up more and more as the procession continued back towards the temple. Swami Nikhilanand Ji, sanyasi pracharak of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, led kirtan, as devotees danced and sang with ever more joy. Swami Mukundananda Ji embarked the Rath and soon, Swami Nikhilanand Ji, Swami Mukundananda Ji and Swami Maheshvaranand Ji were dancing with joy on the Rath. The energy began to reach it’s climax as the Rath arrived back at the front of the temple. Swami Mukundananda led “Hari Bol” chanting and beckoned everyone to follow him into the temple.

Devotees of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj dancing in bliss

Devotees of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj dancing in bliss
Devotees of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj dancing in bliss

The full climax was reached inside the temple as devotees and preachers danced, hopped and didn’t stop till they dropped. At the front, there was the amazing scene of Swami Mukundananda Ji, Swami Nikhilanand Ji and Swami Maheshvaranand Ji leaping high into air in the ecstasy of their immeasurable joy, as though having beaten gravity in a transcendental challenge.

Siddheshvari Didi, disciple of Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj, gives Radha Rani Rath Yatra lecture

After a grand arti, Sushree Siddheshvari Didi gave an enthralling discourse on the significance of the occasion.

Devotees of Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj enact leela during Rath Yatra
Devotees of Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj enact leela during Rath Yatra

But that was not the end! A special leela performance was to take place. It depicted the life of a famous saint. He lived in Braj and had asked his guru for some seva and his guru had told him to sweep a certain mandal every day; but that if he finds something, he must return it to the original, verified owner. Radha Krishna and Gopis used to come to that spot every night, to do raas leela.

Devotees of Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj enact leela during Rath Yatra
Devotees of Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj enact leela during Rath Yatra

In one scene, a beautiful dance of Radha Krishna was performed. It so happened that, later on, Shree Radha told one of her sakhis that she had lost an ankle bracelet and asked her to find it. The sakhi went looking for it, met the devotee sweeper and, on knowing that he had found it, asked him to return it. He wouldn’t give it, until he met the original owner, and verified it by seeing the matching ankle bracelet. The original owner, Radha Rani, appeared and lifted her dress slightly ajar, so as to prove that it was indeed her ankle bracelet. The amazing thing was, that the style of Shree Radha’s lifting of her dress, was the same pose as the Shree Radha in the shrine.

Charan Pooja of Shree Radha at US ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj

The most special opportunity was about to be availed of, as it was announced that charan pooja of Radha Rani with flower petals was to take place. All throughout the year, the lotus feet of Radha Rani are covered, but on this day, Shree Radha reveals her lotus feet. Nothing could be said about the joy a devotee experiences from being close to lotus feet of Shree Radha; and at this time, everyone had a chance to get close and offer the pooja of the devotional feelings. There is an amazing feeling in the shrine, when you get closer and closer to Shree Radha. There is a crystal like purity in the air, a sereneness, as with many of the most holy of holy spots.

A grand feast was served afterwards. Everyone is experiencing a lovely combination of tiredness and happiness, but glad to have been part of this amazing day. Those who didn’t make it this year, should make it a priority to come next year. Here is a video mashup of the Radha Madha Dham Intensive 2014. More pictures on Radha Madhav Dham Facebook.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Radha Madhav Dham Intensive 2014 Enthralls Devotees (Days 1 - 4)

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Blissful kirtan at Radha Madhav Dham, US ashram of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj during Intensive 2014

[This is article 2 in the series of the Radha Madhav Dham Intensive 2014. Read part 1 here: Worldwide attention drawn to Radha Madhav Dham intensive]

(VRINDAVAN TIMES NEWS): And so, the Radha Madhav Dham intensive continued throughout the evening of the June 28th, the first day of the intensive. Every day throughout the intensive, various preachers of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj's worldwide mission give lectures on Prem Ras Madira, a series of 1008 devotional songs revealed by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj.

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Sushree Gopeshwari Didi, disciple of Kripalu Ji Maharaj, leading kirtan at Radha Madhav Dham

The first night, the assemblage sat in rapt attention as Sushree Gopeshwari Didi’s gave a very divinely touching lecture on the pad sankirtan, Jaun Guru Kamal Balihar. She said that all we have to do is take the form of Guru’s lotus feet that we saw in reality or in a picture, in our consciousness, in our mind, in our heart, not our brain area – the effect of the lotus feet will manifest. Even if we just take them with respect, with no love, they will do their own work in our mind. We just have to bring them into our mind. So, the lotus feet of the Guru are everything for a devotee. Afterwards, Swami Nikhilanand Ji gave a brief overview, and set the tone of the intensive. A presiding tone of this intensive is ‘vow of silence’ (maun), which he emphasized over and over again. Before the day was up, one of the youth exclaimed: “Wow, Radha Madhav Dham has the aura of Mangarh [the worldwide center of the bhakti movement today]. This is amazing!”

The second day of the intensive began with early morning 5am yoga postures in the satsang hall. Everyone felt refreshed after the 45 minute gentle stretches. Afterwards, everyone performed a rousing arti. It was amazing to see so many people from all over the world under one roof, clad in orange Radhey Shyamis, offering their hearts and minds to Radha Krishna. After arti, Sushree Siddheshvari Didi led a slow, spell-binding chanting expressing humility of a devotee and describing the greatness of the lotus feet of Radha Rani. When the kirtan session was over, hundreds of devotees made their way out the temple doors, receiving a handful of prasad of nuts and raisins on their way, making their way to the front of the temple to begin parikrama.

Chanting and dancing in front of the deities at US ashram of Kripalu Ji Maharaj during Intensive 2014

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Parikrama at US ashram of Kripalu Ji Maharaj during Intensive 2014

Devotees sang Radhey Radhey Govind with great feeling and enthusiasm, to the sounds of ecstatically played drums and cymbals, as they processioned with raised hands towards Govardhan Hill. On circumambulating the hill, the parikrama continued back to the temple. Back at the temple, devotees danced and danced in joy in front of the deities, singing ever louder and louder and more enthusiastically. It was a beautiful scene, but it had to end as breakfast was being served. Back at the dining hall, everyone was served a sumptuous variety of cereals and fruits. Keeping in mind Swami Nikhilanand’s instructions on maintaining silence from the night before, many devotees chose to maintain maun (vow of silence) during breakfast and instead of chatting, foster the feelings from morning satsang.

A special part of the intensive is ashram seva, which takes place every morning from 8:30 – 9:30 am. Seva is not considered to be a job to be done, but an offering of selfless surrender to Radha Krishna. Another special part of the Radha Madhav Dham Intensive 2014 is devotional picnics, where video clips of lighter moments with Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj are played. Tasty snacks are distributed and Sushree Siddheshvari Didi translates Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj’s casual talks with devotees.

In the evening of the second day of the intensive, Swami Nikhilanand Ji gave his discourse on Prem Ras Madira. Everyone was laughing as Swami Nikhilanand described how Shree Krishna rathers the taunts of the gopis rather than homages paid by Indra etc. Quoting Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, he said its like if you eat sweets all day, you want something salty. So He gets bored of listening to his praises being sung and wants some masala, i.e. gopis’ taunts.

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Evening lecture of Swami Mukundananda, disciple of Kripalu Ji Maharaj, during Radha Madhav Dham Intensive 2014
Day 3 of the Radha Madhav Dham Intensive 2014 brought the arrival of Swami Mukundananda Ji. Earlier in the day, Chirag Bhaiya led chanting of most mellifluous shlokas and kirtans which roused the hearts and souls of all the devotees in the excitement of devotion.

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Morning Arti session at Radha Madhav Dham US ashram of Kripalu Ji Maharaj
The mood for the night program was set during Swami Mukundananda’s stirring lecture on Aho Hari! Kaba Laum Rahihau Duri. “Oh Hari! How much longer will You stay away from me?” Afterwards, Swami Nikhilanand reminded everyone about the importance of vow of silence (maun) during the intensive. He acknowledged that many had taken his call to action seriously, and encouraged everyone to follow along in that vow as it was paramount in gaining maximum benefit during an intensive like this. He also noted that the youth camp participants were following the adults’ lead and were very disciplined during the camp. Swami Nikhilanand announced that there would be a special 2-hour night-time satsang at Govardhan Hill followed by a conference call for all intensive participants with the presidents of JKP, Ms. Vishaka Tripathi, Ms. Shyama Tripathi and Ms. Krishna Tripathi.

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Picnic sessions during Intensive at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's US ashram

Night-time satsang at Govardhan Hill during Radha Madhav Dham Intensive 2014

The satsang at Govardhan Hill was absolutely magical! Hundreds of devotees sat spell-bound, under the darkness of night, pierced to the quick in thoughts of Hari. A mild wind swept by throughout the whole program. For the first hour, Sushree Rameshwari Didi and other chanters led the assemblage in chanting of Bolo Gaur Hari and Hari Hari Bol, Bol Hari Bol. By the time the next hour began, devotees had already lost their senses in chanting the holy names. Swaying, clapping, dancing, drumming, tamborining, cybaling… were what were seen on the outside. The fire of devotion in the hearts of the devotees could be known only to them.

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Satsang at Govardhan Hill, during the Intensive at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's US ashram

As hour two began, Swami Nikhilanand Ji took the lead with necterean chanting of Bhajo Giridhar Govind Gopala. At one point, he stopped and uttered some beautiful instructions to everyone to do roop dhyan (meditation) of Shree Krishna in His full-bloom youthful form of 16 years of age, standing right in front of you, and cry out for His vision – as he continued to lead Hare Ram Hare Krishna mahamantra.

The mood of morning satsang of the 4th day was quiet and reflective to begin with, then got lively and ecstatic later. Swami Maheshvaranand Ji led chanting of Dharu Nandanandana Ko Dhyan Re from Prem Ras Madira. Before the kirtan began, he softly implored devotees to take the meaning to heart and with full attention. Afterwards, he picked up the pace with Hare Ram kirtan which thrilled everyone, as he occasionally verbalized “Hari Bol!” or “Radheeey!”.

After morning arti and kirtan, everyone proceeded to the front of the temple, as every morning, whence Sushree Siddheshvari Didi led the parikrama to Govardhan Hill. The thunderous procession of chanting, drumming and cymbaling was quite a scene, and even peacocks began dancing with full open feathers when the procession reached the maharas shrine.

In the afternoon, Sushree Diwakari Didi, the vice-president of Radha Madhav Dham, gave her discourse on Prem Ras Madira. The theme of her lecture was that humility is the most valuable asset of a devotee. She said that although it is true what God says in the scriptures, that he has neither friend or enemy, but in reality, he does have one friend and one enemy – humility is His friend, and pride is His only enemy. She discussed verse 4 of Shikchastak of Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu which instructs that a devotee must be more humble than a blade of grass and more forbearing than a tree:

Trinad api sunichena
Taror api sahishnuna
Amanina manadena
Kirtaniyah sada harih

Later in the lecture, she began her explanation of a song of humbleness of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj. Although she had gone over her time, everyone wished for Didiji to continue until the end. Tears streamed from the eyes of some devotees as Didiji narrated a beautiful story about a low caste man who had gone to the temple to offer bananas to Shree Krishna. The temple priest readily took them, but when he saw who had given them, he threw them on the ground and scolded the man for being such a low class person and having the audacity to make such an offering. The man left and went home pained, not because of the insults he had received, but because he was unable to give any offerings to Shree Krishna. He couldn’t sleep at night due to his distress. When the temple priests had laid Krishna to bed and went home, Krishna also couldn’t sleep and went to that man’s house to get the bananas. Krishna told the man that it wasn’t him who threw the bananas away and that he would love to have some bananas. Krishna ate some of the bananas and also took some to Rukmini. In the morning, the temple priests saw banana peels strewn all over the shrine – banana peels which looked the same as those offered by the man. They got annoyed, went to his house, and beat him up. When they returned to the mandir, Shree Krishna locked the door from the inside and wouldn’t let them in. It was an example of how Shree Krishna is deen bandhu and also protector of the devotees. Quoting a line of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj’s pad sankirtan, Didiji said (in the words of a devotee) that I feel relieved when I hear the Your title as Deen Bandhu, as I am the most fallen person; but I become afraid at your title of uplifter of devotees, as I don’t consider myself to be a true devotee, and hence unworthy to benefit from the aspect of Your personality

Loud kirtan continues to reverberate throughout Radha Madhav Dham and who knows what spiritual surprises are in store for the evening program and the rest of the Radha Madhav Dham Intensive 2014. Concurrent youth classes continue in a whole variety of subject areas, which will be discussed in the next article, but here are a few glimpses:

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Youth Camp at Radha Madhav Dham 2014

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Youth Camp at Radha Madhav Dham 2014

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Youth Camp at Radha Madhav Dham 2014

Intensive 2014 at Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj's ashram
Youth Camp at Radha Madhav Dham 2014

All are cordially invited to attend the Grand Radha Rani Rath Yatra 2014 – RSVP via the official facebook event page.