Last Saturday was Krsna Rasayatra and the last day of Kartik. I was remembering the first day of Kartik, and the amazing experience I had that first night in Vrindavan.
Many of us had heard that there was to be a special ‘moonlit’ darshan of Sri Radha Raman that evening, so piling into an auto rickshaw, we bumped and bounced all the way there, barreling down the dark alleyways, finally pulling up outside the temple gate.
The temple room was an amazing sight. I had been to the Radha Raman temple two days previously, but now it was completely transformed.The altar, walls and ceiling were covered in white silk; incense filled the air and lamps burned all around.
On the altar, the beautiful deity of Sri Krsna stood, surrounded by a giant white moon and gopis on either side, offering flowers and other items of worship.
At his feet sat silver cows, elephants and peacocks.
Bright garlands of marigolds hung from above and were entwined around pillars.
The temple room was practically empty and from the back of the temple room, one of the goswamis sang sweetly, his voice infusing the room with devotion.
Even standing far away, you could see the lotus eyes of Lord Krsna – in that moment he was there, surrounded by the gopis in the moonlight, his crown tilted to one side, jewelled necklaces hanging to his waist.
The entire effect was totally overwhelming. As soon as I got back that night I wrote in my diary:
‘Even as I try to remember the feeling from only an hour ago, I find it impossible to describe. I felt so blessed to be there and have such an intimate darshan – it was amazing. We sat in front of the altar chanting our rounds and after a while I went right up to the front and stood there for a long time. I could hardly formulate a prayer, just gaze into the beautiful eyes of Sri Krsna and pray to be blessed with this vision forever. I don’t want Lord Krsna to ever leave my sight. I began to understand tonight what it means to see the deity and understand it to really be Krsna standing there for real! I feel at a loss to describe it. My heart fluttered with happiness. Krsna is so merciful. I feel like I saw the spiritual world tonight! I pray to never forget this. Oh Krsna! I am so fortunate to be here. Please let me come back! Please let me never leave the safety of your merciful glance and please guide me always.’
That night was also Krsna Saradiya Rasayatra, the night of the autumnal rasa dance. When we got home from the temple, we cooked sweet rice for Krsna and the gopis to eat later on, stirring for and hour as the milk lowered and thickened.
We wrote prayers on a pot and put it outside (with a monkey proof brick on top). This Saturday, now far from Vraja, I returned home late from a wedding and again made sweet rice, remembering that wonderful night and thanking Krsna for the amazing experiences I had this Kartik, as it now drew to a close.