Our first pilgrimage to Vrindavan was in the winter of 1986; we numbered 22, all novices, and Radhanath Swami was our transcendental tour guide. It was a three day tour. We visited temples on the first day, circumambulated Govardhan Hill on the second, and visited Barsana and Nandagaon on the third.
Months of contemplation shyly hides behind this once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am going to narrate. The photograph that plays the lead-role in this narrative is the sole witness that caught me everyday in those thoughtful moments, sometimes minutes and sometimes hours.
A blessed photographer had captured this image—the smiling faces of the deities of Radha and Gopinath ( Krishna, the enchanter of the cowherd girls of Vrindavan ) —and had gifted me a copy. Gopinath’s moon like face tilted beneath a sky-blue turban and Radha compassionately smiled in her dark blue sari. Even one with an iota of devotion would be endeared by this photo; what to speak of Radhanath Swami for whom, I had heard, these deities were ‘life and soul.’ Therefore an idea of gifting it to Radhanath Swami had sprouted in my mind
Chiksoli is a remote village thirty kilometers from Vrindavan–externally a sprawling mass of poverty, but internally a treasure-house of pure devotion. It is the birth place of Chitra Sakhi, one of the eight confidential associates of the divine couple Radha-Krishna. In November 2008, during a pilgrimage to Vrindavan, I was at this place with Radhanath Swami.
Back in 1971, Radhanath Swami had first visited these holy villages surrounding Vrindavan during his spiritual quest.
This happened in 2008, during our pilgrimage to Vrindavan. Around 3000 devotees from around the world were participating, and my service was handling the sound system. During these pilgrimages, we carry special mikes and mike stands for Radhanath Swami; the mike stands are flexible, lightweight, and easy to handle.
It was 22 November 2004, Vrindavan, India. The Fogla Ashram Guesthouse, where I stayed, had swarmed with Radhanath Swami’s followers for the past two weeks. Now the pilgrimage was over and only Radhanath Swami and his personal entourage—Nityananda, Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Vasudev and I—stayed back. Radhanath Swami was now recovering from his extreme exhaustion; being the pilgrimage guide for four thousand,