Vrindavan is the launchpad of what we can call the ‘Krishna Consciousness’, spreaded into this world through various institutions, rituals and individuals. A strong spiritual façade which is the lifeline of many people living in India and world over, drawing its power from this majestic town which is echoed with the voice of ‘Radhe Radhe’ in a certain symphonic tone, silencing our unsettling minds and immediately you get this urge to throw these two enchanting words back at the locales. You shout these words again and again, getting aligned to the custom, feeling a certain belongingness with the crowd. You get institutionalized so to speak! The atmosphere of Vrindavan is energizing, the roads hustle bustle with tourists buying prayer material while they line up for temple visitations, locales are mostly smiling, enjoying their daily chores be it road side vendors or big store operators, the temples are vintage, architecturally flawless, and give vibrations of joy with their artistic carvings, clean surroundings and disciplined visitation procedures and last but not the least those mouth-watering sweet shops are highly distracting, especially in the market area of popular Banke Bihari temple. Vrindavan is not a conventional religious place which takes footage just on few temples and their historic relevance, it also hypnotizes you with lot other extra ordinary scenes and rituals which transports you to divine dimensions of exhilaration, the feeling which is omnipresent at every corner of the place. Krishna, 8th incarnation of lord Vishnu as per Hindu mythology was believed to be present on earth 5000+ years ago. There is practically no documented texts, artifacts either dug from the graves or recovered from some timeless library that can claim 100% accuracy of this information, but only speculations based on popular Hindu epic stories like Mahabharata, or artifacts/writings from other Hindu, Greek, Buddhist or Jain explorers, or quotes from Indian soldiers during the Alexander – Porus war era in the northwest Indian subcontinent, saying that they saw the Alexander army carrying image of ‘Herakles’ (greek god who Indian army said looks like Krishna). Now all of this knowledge can be debated and speculated on, but I happened to experience a part of history of my own when I went to Vrindavan this summer with my friend Rahul Khera, who was equally interested in a quick ‘express in and out’ visit to the place, and explore the unknowns on the most revered Hindu gods of all times ‘Krishna’, plus of course relish other sightings that the place.
And not just another ‘run of the mill’ line, this one is iterated by many who have left their homes and taken shelter at Vrindavan, linking their calling with the most popular talked about temples Banke Bihari. The temple talks about love and ecstasy outright, through the dancing bent posture of Krishna’s magnificent statue. A true representation of Krishna’s ideology which is to celebrate, dance to this beautiful gift called life. The message is so loud and clear that not only it shines inside the temple through Krishna’s eyes, but also resonates in the long slender corridors of the surrounding market, which is practically filled with chirpy households, active retail stores, persistent vegetable vendors, delightful and aromatic sweet shops, playful children, and the infamous nuisance creating beings called ‘monkeys’. If someone is looking for love and compassion in his life, pahla bulawa toh bihariji se hi aayega *which means ‘the first call would come from Banke Bihari’ …and I am not exaggerating. the people who live there are the proof, where almost everyone looks as if this is the first and last place on earth they want to be, carrying a sense of pride on their faces. Here’s the real charmer and something to look forward to at this temple (and the ‘being careful’ part I will come to later), the Holi week is super fantabulous here with an explosion of colors in the air, complimented with consumption of ‘bhaang’ and girls doing two essential things, one is worship and attain a meditative flamboyance inside the temple on the onset of Krishna’s eyes (which is shown momentarily and then covered), and the other is extremely opposite act of hardcore and daredevilry, which is beating boys up with wooden logs, and making them run for their lives.