Devotees of Krishna always want to live in Vrindavan. But what does it mean to live in Vrindavan?
Living in Vrindavan does not mean just being physically present there. If someone is physically staying in Vrindavan but is not practicing devotional life and is engaged in sinful activities, then he is not actually living in Vrindavan. But if someone is physically not in Vrindavan but is always chanting the names of Krishna and is always engaged in various Krishna Conscious activities then he is actually living in Vrindavan.
Srila Prabhupada says that “a pure devotee can live anywhere and create the atmosphere of Vrindavan by his devotional service.” Here Prabhupada want to emphasize the importance of devotional service. If we are constantly engaged in devotional activities, then we are actually living in Vrindavan dham.
Living in Vrindavan means remembering Krishna, serving Krishna, loving Krishna. By these activities we can easily attain Krishna. Krishna confirms this in Bhagavad Gita 8.14 “For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.”
Pure devotee creates Vrindavan atmosphere everywhere
A pure devotee of Krishna does not want anything for himself. He has no self-interest. He does everything to please the Lord and he is always absorbed in “thinking about Krishna without deviation and without considering the time or place.” Bhagavad Gita 8.14 purport.
Srila Prabhupada explains how a pure devotee is able to create Vrindavan atmosphere in any part of the world, “He should be able to carry out his service anywhere and at any time. Some say that the devotee should remain in holy places like Vṛndāvana or some holy town where the Lord lived, but a pure devotee can live anywhere and create the atmosphere of Vṛndāvana by his devotional service.” Bhagavad Gita 8.14 purport.
Lord Chaitanya is Lord Krishna but has a mood of a devotee of Krishna. He came to teach us how to practice devotion to Krishna. By his personal examples he showed that how a devotee should be engaged 24 hours in a day in chanting and hearing about Krishna. Śrī Advaita who was a contemporary of Lord Chaitanya would say, “Wherever You are, O Lord – there is Vṛndāvana.”
If we practice pure devotion then we are already in spiritual world
The purpose of human life is to return back to the spiritual world. In the spiritual world there is no misery, there is no death. There is only happiness. So, devotees are eager to go back to the spiritual world after leaving this world.
Once a devotee who seemed to be very desperate to go back to the spiritual world asked HH Jayadvaita Swami swami Maharaj, a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada, “What are the symptoms by which we can understand that we will be returning back to Godhead in this lifetime only?”
HH Jayadvaita Swami is a very senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada and is respected as a great Vedic scholar.
Maharaj replied, “If we are sincerely chanting the holy names of Krishna, hearing about Krishna, reading about Krishna, following four regulative principles, not indulging in sense gratification, not doing any sinful activities then we are actually living in the spiritual world right now.”
It means if you and I are not experiencing the spiritual happiness now, it means we are not sincere devotees. Pure devotees like Prabhupada is always blissful and fearless even in this world because every moment they experience spiritual bliss.
Srila Prabhupada carried Vrindavan in his heart
By his personal example, Srila Prabhupada taught “what does it mean to live in Vrindavan?”
Before establishing worldwide Krishna Consciousness movement, Srila Prabhupada was physically living in Vrindavan in Radha Damodara temple. But his guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswat Thakura, had asked him to spread Krishna Consciousness movement. So he was eager to go out of Vrindavan to spread the teachings of Lord Krishna. So, he left Vrindavan to fulfill the mission of his guru.
Although Prabhupada left Vrindavan physically, but his purpose was to spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world. And wherever he went he always remained absorbed in Krishna. So, it is said that wherever Prabhupada went, he carried Vrindavan in his heart. He taught us how to create Vrindavan atmosphere in any part of the world.
Devotional life is not much about changing our externals, but it is about purifying our internal consciousness.
Prabhupada wanted that everyone in this world become a devotee of Krishna. But he also knew that it is not possible for everyone to leave their homes and come to Vrindavan.
Srila Prabhupada established temples which are non-different than Vrindavan
This is why he established temples in different parts of the world. In temples he installed the deities of Lord Krishna and Srimati Radharani. And made sure that They are worshipped as per Pāñcarātrika-vidhi.
He gave spiritual programs to follow in the temple – everyone should chant at least 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra, do Mangala arati, Narasimha arati, Tulasi arati, Guru puja, attend Srimad Bhagavatam class, do Gaur arati in the evening, celebrate different festivals and be always engaged in spreading the teachings of Krishna. If these spiritual activities happen in temples daily, then those temples are non-different from Vrindavan.
Srila Prabhupada also asked grihasta (householders) to make their home a temple by keeping Krishna in the center. Also, the grihasta devotees should follow the same program which is followed in the temple. If it happens then our home is also like a temple and non-different than Vrindavan.
Wherever Krishna is worshipped that place is Vrindavan
HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaj was a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada. He was a very prominent leader and played important role in spreading Krishna Consciousness movement. Unfortunately, he got cancer. The doctors said that he will leave his body soon. Maharaj had every opportunity to go to Vrindavan and leave body. But he decided to leave his body in Gita Nagari which is in Pennsylvania, USA.
Maharaj established Krishna community in Gita Nagari as per the desire of Srila Prabhupada. He wanted to show to the world that Gita Nagari is non – different than Vrindavan. It is because in Gita Nagari everyone is always engaged in loving devotional service to Krishna. Maharaj wanted to declare it boldly that wherever Krishna’s name is chanted and wherever Krishna is worshipped that place is Vrindavan.
We can always live in Vrindavan
Srila Prabhupada was a visionary, a great spiritual leader. He taught us how to always remain absorbed in Krishna. He also taught us to convert our home into Vrindavan and how to carry Vrindavan in our hearts. If we live as per the guidelines of Prabhupada we will transform our living place into Vrindavan. And we will then always live in Vrindavan.