Vrindavan is changing, but so is everything. Change always occurs—in the cells of the body, in our thoughts, and in the world around us. Change is the very nature of manifest things. Only the observer, the core person observing the changes, remains constant: like the fixed center of a rotating wheel.
If not for these visitors, Vrindavan would not change much at all. The change is very dramatic because of the sudden rise of interest in the place, especially from an entirely new demographic: westerners who are relatively affluent and thus accustomed to facilities, shops, apartments, electricity, roads, transportation, etc.
This influx of people causes congestion, pollution, and inconvenience to the humans and animals who live here, and that seems bad. But consider the fact that these people are coming because about 500 years ago, Caitanya Mahāprabhu came. This change started with Him. When He came here, there were no temples. It was all forest. He sent His followers here—Lokanāth Gosvāmī, Bhugarbha Gosvāmī, then Sanātana Gosvāmī and Rūpa Gosvāmī—and asked them to build temples, uncover Kṛṣṇa’s pastime places, and so on. Why did Caitanya Mahāprabhu want temples built—so that no one would come? Was this a bad idea He had? If not, then, since what is happening now is an outcome of that, can we say that the current changes in Vrindavan are entirely bad? Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted people to visit Vrindavan and become devotees of Kṛṣṇa, and now that is happening on a large scale. Should we complain?
Also consider that every manifestation is cyclic. Who knows what Vrindavan will look like a thousand years from now? If it gets too congested, people will stop coming and then the influx will start to slow down. When there are too many people, corruption will increase, problems will multiply and eventually people will stop coming. Change itself brings further change. During Kṛṣṇa’s time, it was a forest, now it is just buildings. So maybe this “bad” change will usher in another change, a “good” change, and it will again change into a forest?
Also, consider that manifestations are tangible representation of deeper essences. The body, for example, changes, but the core person within does not. Similarly, there is an inner Vṛndāvana which does not change. We have to meditate, concentrate, and deliberate on that inner Vṛndāvana, because that unchanging Vṛndāvana is the real one. The outer Vrindavan, like the body, will always change. Nobody can stop it.
To contemplate the inner Vṛndāvana we should begin with some general idea of what it is. It is a place, of course. Different types of places are ideal for different types of experiences. Thus we have different countries, with different nightclubs, temples, parks, playgrounds, and so on. What, then, is the experience especially facilitated by the place called “Vrindavan”? Vrindavan is the place for love.
We should keep the greatness of this in mind. You may find so many places that are more beautiful and wonderful and peaceful than Vrindavan, but the treasure available here is not available anywhere else in the entire universe. Kṛṣṇa lived here when He was manifest, and now that He is unmanifest, He is still here in the unmanifest, inner Vṛndāvana. Many, many wonderful and inspiring devotees have lived here, too. One can feel their energy and their vibration if one has the right mindset.
Some people naturally have a heart and mindset that is sensitive to the energy of love. When they come here, they feel it automatically. If we don’t, we must pray to Kṛṣṇa for that sensitivity.
What is “love”?
If we analyze our “loving relationships” deeply and honestly, most of us will probably have to admit that that they are fundamentally maintained for our own sake, and not primarily for the sake of our loved one. So, what we call “love” is not exactly love. Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vṛndāvana show what pure love is. His devotees don’t love only Him; they also love other devotees. Kṛṣṇa-līlā demonstrates how people around Him love each other. They are like one big family because they all love Kṛṣṇa.
Vrindavan is where Kṛṣṇa appeared and demonstrated how to live in love. That is what we need to contemplate to understand the real, inner, unchanging Vṛndāvan.
Real happiness is found only in love. There is no other real happiness in life. The purest and truest form of love can be found only in Kṛṣṇa’s Vṛndāvana. This is the unchanging greatness of the inner Vṛndāvana. The changing quality of the external Vrindavan is comparatively unimportant.
EDITOR'S NOTE: On account of a japa retreat being held at Jiva Vrindavan, we will not read or post any comments or emails until January 12th! mmdd
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