Friday, 19 August 2016

Kaliya Ghat - Place where Krishna subdued the kaliya serpent

Kadamba Tree at Kaliya Ghat
This is one of the special and a sacred place in vrindavan, where devotees visit to remind them of the amazing and blissful pastime of Lord Krishna subduing the venomous serpent kaliya.Kaliya Ghat is just at a 3 minutes walking distance from the famous Madanmohan Temple of Srila Sanatana Gosvami.Also,the bhajan kutir and samadhi of Shrila Prabhodananda Sarasvati are close by this place. As a testimony of the Lord's pastime, the place still has the old Kadamba tree which Krishna climbed up, to jump into the waters of the lake where Kaliya was residing.This place actually used to be a small lake that was part of the great river Yamuna.This is the same, same tree upon which Lord Krishna climbed to jump into the lake where Kalia was living. It is said that the poison of Kaliya was so powerful that all the vegetation,grass and trees near the lake died except this tree.It was said that Garuda who envisioned that Lord Krishna will be coming to perform his pastimes, spilled some drops of Amruta (The Nectar of immortality) on this tree and that's how it could sustain the effects of poison of Kaliya.

Kadamba Tree at Kaliya Ghat
Srimad Bhagavatam and also the Krishna Book by Srila Prabhupada, explains the beautiful pastime in details of how Lord Krishna tightening his turban,his belt, hitting his arms like a wrestler jumped into the dangerous, poisonous waters and sported in the water without any fear. Then, after the furious Kaliya attached him, Lord Krishna fought with it, jumped and danced on the several hoods of the wicked snake. Kaliya felt crushed by each step of Krishna and finally vomiting blood, he surrendered to Lord Krishna. Also, the Naga Patnis - the wives of Kaliya have come to his rescue and prayed to Lord Krishna to spare his life.Lord Krishna forgave Kaliya and spared from killed him but, ordered the snake to leave the surrounds of Yamuna immediately with an assurance that Garuda, the mighty King of Birds will not kill or eat him, because the hoods of Kaliya got the imprints of marking of Lord Krishna's lots footprints.

A Babaji at Kaliya Ghat
It is believed that the snake left Vrindavan to the sea and made Fiji as its home.In Fiji folkfore traditional stories, you can hear numerous stories of a great snake living in one of its caves. Many people believe that Kaliya is still living there. Also, Fiji has the Iskcon's famous temple of Shri Krishna Kaliya temple is located in the heart of Lautoka city.
Bhakti Vinod Thakur, A great Acharya of Gaudiya Vaishnavism writes that,Kaliya represents cruel tendencies or anarths like Pride, deceit, harming others, cruelty and these are the tendencies one needs to give up.
Kaliya Ghat
Upon my visit to this sacred place I met this Babaji. I forgot his name but, I think it is - Shyam Das.For sometime, he was sitting there observing me and my family.As I started explaining about the Kadamba tree, he came upto us and started talking about the pastime of Kaliya Dhaman - Subdueing the serpent Kaliya by Krishna.He even showed us how, Krishna climbed the tree, where he put his feet etc. I asked about him. He informed that he had been living in Vrindavan since last 15 years.Originally, from Gorakhpur, he came here once as a tourist and stayed back. He gave up his family, friends etc for Krishna.I asked him " Di you ever tried or planned to go back?", and he replied saying that "What can I do, Thakurji Aur Yamunaji (Lord Krishna and Yamuna Devi) would not leave me. I am unable to move away from this place". He showed me a small attic sort of place in a nearby building and told me that, he lives there. Especially in winter, when it gets cold he sleeps there.
This is the specially of the place Vrindavana - if you are lucky and keep your eyes and heart open, you can see so many of great devotees in Vrindavan leading a simple life, meditating on the Lord's pastimes by going to the various places he performed his pastimes, hearing to Harikatha etc.
I remembered a verse spoken by Srila Rupa Gosvami,
"smeram bhangi-traya-paricitam saci-vistirna-drstim
 vamsi-nyastadhara-kisalayam ujjvalam candrakena
 govindakhyam hari-tanum itah kesi-tirthopakanthe
 ma preksisthas tava yadi sakhe bandhu-sange´sti rangah

 My dear friend, if you are indeed attached to your worldly friends, do not look at the smiling face of Lord Govinda as He stands on the banks of the Yamuna at Kesi ghata. Casting sidelong glances, He places His flute to His lips, which seem like newly blossomed twigs. His transcendental body, bending in three places, appears very bright in the moonlight." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.239).
Indeed, very few people have this great fortune of having the darshan of Lord Krishna in Tribhanga Form, body bent in three places and even few develop that great love and devotion that makes them the worldly attachments, family,friends, relations and assets insignificant.
As Lord Krishna himself says in Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7: Knowledge of the Absolute,
"bahunam janmanam ante
 jnanavan mam prapadyate
 vasudevah sarvam iti
 sa mahatma su-durlabhah.
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that  is. Such a great soul is very rare".

Friday, 12 August 2016

Is he the same person ?

This was a comment made on a Facebook post. One of my cousin posted his photo on the Facebook and one of his friends who saw him after a long time was surprised that the person he knew before and now looks so much different. So much so that, he looked  like a completely different person. So, is it a different person?. Yes and notify we ask the person that if he is the same person or different, he will firstly look at us, as if are you gone nuts or something?. Then, he will reply would be something like, ‘ Yes, I am changed over the time.I now have a new body which is different to the one which I had when I was a baby.But, I can still remember some incidents or memories of my childhood’ (generally from 4 to 5 years onwards).I did meet one person who told me that he actually remembers when he was a 1 year baby.
A Baby
Science tells us that, the body is always changing.As per science a human body consists of 50 to 100 trillion cells and each day about 3 billion cells are killed and similarly new ones created.
Bhagavad Gita 2.13 Translation
This verse from Bhagavad Gita succinctly conveys the same message,
"Chapter 2 Text 13
dehino smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati”

So, to come back to the title of the article, "Is he the same person?". The answer depends on what you consider a person to be.If one considers the skin,bones, hair as 'A person' they are no longer the same because they have already been replaced so many times in the life time of a person.So the body is changing every moment manifesting as a child, youth, old man.But,inspite of all these changes, there is somthing that does not change and remains constant.In Bhagavad Gita, that changeless, non material or spiritual spark is called as the spirit soul. What happens at the time of death is that sub-atomic particle called Soul changes its body to that of another.In the saame section of Gita, it is explained that, just like a person changes his clothes and puts on new garments, the soul changes its bodies to various species of life, depending on the fruits of its past karma or actions. This process of changing bodies or transmigration of soul is called as reincarnation.As explained in Bhagavad Gita,just like an air carries the aroma, a living entity carries with it, the different conceptions of life which means, its desires, likes, dislikes, particular nature to different bodies.So when a person dies, his consciousness lives on and carries forward some of the memories, behaviours tendencies, even phobias etc.

This most important message from this section of Bhagavad Gita is about Soul, Reincarnation and transmigration of Soul answers so many questions or connects the dots which don’t normally make sense of. When we start to learn and understand this science of Soul and incarnation, we start to see things from a higher perspective and that empowers our future life. The most important distinction one can make out is that we are all spirit souls and different from the material body.