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.
As we walked around Govardhan Hill, a 21 Km trek, we sang kirtan. Radhanath Swami danced all the way. Stopping at holy spots, bathing at holy kunds, it took us sixteen hours to complete the circumambulation: from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Whatever meager luggage we carried grew in weight with every kilometer, and each tried to push it on to another’s shoulder. “You please carry my luggage. Please…..”
A year later, we visited Vrindavan with Radhanath Swami for the second time and went on a circumambulation of Govardhan once again. This time we found ourselves less inclined to push our luggage on to others.
And on our third visit to Vrindavan, the mantra during the circumambulation had changed to, “Please allow me to carry your luggage. Please….”
Who can deny the transformative potency of spirituality?