Land of My Heart
Diary entry dated 10th November 2019:
This morning’s class at the Manor covered a series of verses from Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. In one of those verses, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, “Where is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose form is curved in three places? Where is the sweet song of His flute, and where is the bank of the Yamunā? Where is the rāsa dance? Where is that dancing, singing and laughing? Where is My Lord, Madana-mohana, the enchanter of Cupid?” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 2.56)
Here, Caitanya Mahāprabhu is lamenting due to feelings of intense separation from Kṛṣṇa and the land of Vṛndāvana. It is mentioned elsewhere that He sometimes mistook the Ganges for the river Yamunā or mistook sand dunes for Govardhana Hill, and as a result became completely absorbed in devotional ecstasy.
On Sundays, a lot of guests come to the Manor, so the usual car park fills up quickly and the majority of cars are parked on the field nearest to the temple. Devotees are required to manage the field to make sure space is used optimally. Whilst doing that service earlier today, I saw a small stretch of water at the edge of the road and was reminded of the river Yamunā. For a fleeting moment, something stirred deep in my heart; as tears threatened to fall from my eyes, I thought to myself, where is He who wanders in the forests along the banks of the Yamunā?
Caitanya Mahāprabhu outlines the incomparable importance of the Yamunā in the following prayer: “O river Yamunā, you are the blissful spiritual water that gives love to the son of Nanda Mahārāja. You are the same as the water of the spiritual world, for you can vanquish all our offenses and the sinful reactions incurred in life. You are the creator of all auspicious things for the world. O daughter of the sun-god, kindly purify us by your pious activities.” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 3.28)
Turning my attention to the nearby fields at the goshala, my eyes fell upon a grassy mound of earth which the cows sometimes enjoy climbing on. Seeing this, I was reminded of Govardhana Hill, where Kṛṣṇa performed countless pastimes with His devotees.
And in the evening, thoughts of Vṛndāvana entered my mind once again, as one devotee kindly gave me some precious dust from that holy land. Continuing this theme, I submit the following prayer to the spiritual capital of the universe:
O Vṛndāvana, land of my heart! It is said that a single grain of your dust is greater in value than all the wealth of the Vaikuṇṭha planets. When will I again feel the warmth of that dust under my feet?
The auspicious markings on Kṛṣṇa’s feet create impressions in the dust that remain there eternally. Seeing those impressions, the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana are reminded of their beloved and His sweet pastimes, and thus they become absorbed in ecstatic love. When will I also be granted the vision to see those all-auspicious footprints?