Before leaving India for Nepal, we traveled to the ancient sacred city of Krishna, where we were fortunate to discover some of the Hindu traditions and beliefs.
This happened last year (2015), in march.
This was a good opportunity for us to sleep outside, on the roof of a tiny ashram!
Sanskrit is the most ancient (somewhat) modern language, and has left its mark in several modern languages. The original Vedas were written in Sanskrit, making them the oldest sacred texts in the world, with some writings as old as 5000 years, and an oral tradition pre-dating this by a few thousand years.
Thanks to our friend Luis yes, the very same we met for the first time in Rishikesh , we got introduced to Corinne, in Radha Kund.
It’s been three decades since she decided, like Luis,to take the first steps towards the path of a simpler life. She embraced her spirituality through Bhakti, serving through love, or devotion. In this case, her Bhakti is called Vaishnavism (or Vishnuism) and is devoted to Krishna. It is a Hindu tradition considering Krishna as the Supreme Lord, also known in some texts as Vishnu or Rama.
To develop her Bhakti, which according to the masters resides in everyone, Corinne received her initiation, and her spiritual name: Krishna Bhakti Devi Dasi. Just like Luis, who is also known (as we learnt there) as Labanga Sakha Das.
She still keeps learning from the teachings of a master, said to not only be a famed scholar in the original Vedic scriptures written in Sanskrit, but also to have lived them, following their teachings every single day.
The rituals often take the shape of sung prayers, going crescendo, and finishing with colorful offerings and a vegetarian meal.
There are a few different schools of thoughts interpreting Vedas in as many different ways. The one we’re talking about here supposedly comes from Sri Krishna Daitanya, an avatar of Krishna appearing in Bengal during the 16th century.
Vaishnavism is a monotheistic religion, its Supreme Lord and creator of all things being Krishna.
Besides the spiritual part, Vedas contain a vast amount of both practical and philosophical knowledges.
Several years and an authentic master are needed to achieve the spiritual elevation and accomplishment one’s soul.
According to Vaishnavism tradition, Krishna manifested himself under another avatar (Vyasadeva), in order to compile Vedic wisdom, its very essence found in the Srimad Bhagavatam (PDF free download link) .
He dictated his wisdom to Ganesh, the elephant headed god, who in turn gave it to Mankind.
The Bhakti tradition supposedly originates from a long line of master that could be traced back to Krishna himself.
Srila Prabhupad (1896-1977) was one of these great masters, famous for his translation in English of the ancient Vedic texts, opening the teachings to the modern world. The translations were his life’s work, along with the creation of the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness).
For us it is also the best place worldwide to have good vegan or vegetarian food, mindfully made with love, and known as sacred : "prasadam"!
Krishna Bhakti (Corinne)’s spiritual master was Swami Bhaktivedanta Narayan (1921-2010) who, following Srila Prabhupada’s footsteps, took upon himself to spread the teachings in numerous countries across the planet, covering a distance as big as 33 trips around the world! Far behind you might see the TATUP project !
Radha is Krishna’s beloved. He may mesmerise the entire Universe, but she captivates him, thanks to the wondrous qualities she’s blessed with.
Painting by Syamarani Dasi
He is the sum of all power or energies. She personifies his bliss, energy of complete love and happiness.
Krishna is surrounded by many Gopis, young women, cow herders, devoted to him, expressions of Radha herself.
Pour augmenter la douceur transcendantale des divertissements ou activités de Krishna, d’apparence humaine.
Painting by Syamarani Dasi
Perfect embodiment of human qualities, be it moral or physical, they fill Radha with divine jealousy, while they flutter around Krishna like so many perfect butterflies.
Radha Kund ("Radha’s pond) is as important to Krishna as Radha herself. The water of the lake is a liquid representation of Radha’s and Krishna’s love for each other.
According to ancient texts, Radha Kund is the most sacred place in the Universe. The village is said to exist out of time.
According to scriptures, Krishna appears at various moment under various forms, as seen in the Bhagavad Gita (sacred text for all of India), where he is said to take shape at all the stages of human life.
He first is seen as the loved son of Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja, a couple of cow herders from the village of Gokula on the banks of the Yamuna river.
He plays the role of an unruly child, naughty yet blessed with an extraordinary power the villagers compare to an almighty grace. At the age of 7, he performs the Govardhan miracle, lifting a mountain to protect the inhabitants in Vrindavan again the torrential rains sent by the ire of the king of Edenic planets, Indra. The inhabitants had neglected to pay their respects to Indra, worshiping the land instead.
Indeed, Indra was the god responsible for the rain, and as thus received offerings from the farmers and cow herders.
Krishna wanted to prove the land was rich on its own, whilst giving Indra a lesson in humility.
The Govardhan hill is considered sacred and is said to makes wishes come true. Pilgrims walk around it (23km) to purify themselves, and obtain spiritual favours. The most fervent amongst them get on their knees after each step, slowing them yet showing strong asceticism and abnegation.
Vrindavan, Krishna’s city boasts 63 000 inhabitants, and is place of high spiritual importance, presumably the cradle of all sacred energies.
There, it’s custom to greet each other with a "Hare Krishna" (Glory to Krishna), to say both "hello" and "goodbye", instead of the "Namaste" usually used across all of India.
"Thank you" is replaced by "Radhe Radhe", as a tribute to Radha. These divine names echo like beneficent mantras, supposedly soothing and and changing all beings with their energy, opening their consciousness to the precepts of the divine.
We ended our visit of the place on the banks of Yamuna( sacred river, witness of all the mythology on Earth surrounding Krishna) with Corinne and a very rewarding meeting with her spiritual guide, Prem Prayojan Das: a soul radiating peace, without any trace of judgement, we were extremely lucky to meet.