March 1, 2013
My first trip to Vṛndāvana in 5 years, though I have been travelling to Rādhākund every year since. It is surrealistic to see the skylline of Vṛnḍāvana dotted with skyscrapers now as I have the usual birds eye view of Vṛndāvana from Dvādaśāditya tīlā. There is Hartal for Yamunā Ko Bāchāo but I manage my shopping still easily.
I take darśan of Bihārījī, who blesses me with a prasādī mālā.
Then I go down to Advaita Vat, which has become very opulent with even a luxury glass mandir for Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī and Yogamāyā Mātā,
Kālidaha is now walled and surrounded by buildings. Still Vṛndāvan remains sweet and divine, as always.
March 4, 2013
My first Girirāja Parikrama, without blisters or sore feet, the weather is still okay at noontime. Not too hot yet. At the end I got dugdha mādhukari [milk alms] which I offer to Giridhari, hot.
March 8, 2013
On Ekādaśī I get dugdha mādhukarī again. It is not that devotees with money cannot do mādhukarī (though I really don't have a cash surplus). mādhukarī has nothing to do with economics. One can also save cash by going to the many feasts that are always held in Vraja, but Sādhu Bābā forbade me to go there. Instead, mādhukarī nourishes humility and also bestows vairāgya rasa, the divine flavour of renunciation. Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī said in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (6) - vairāgya-yug bhakti rasaṁ - bhakti can be enriched by the flavour of renunciation. The Goswāmīs were rich, but they gave it all up to do mādhukarī. They could have kept their cash too if they wanted it, and they even kept a quarter of it, but still they went on mādhukari - vipra gṛhe sthūla bhikṣā kāhā mādhukarī - They begged from brahmins houses. One of Raghunāth Dās Goswāmīs vows in Swaniyam Daśakam was 'vrajotpanna kṣīrāśana' - "I will drink milk produced in Vraja."
(That's one for the vegans!)
I can understand why some bābājīs have separate pots for cooking on Ekādaśī - it was almost impossible to wash all the small grain particles out of the bowl I use to knead āṭā in, for cooking the milk in today.