Recreating Vrindavan at GEV
for Vrindaban Behari & His devotees
Lord is unlimited and is incomprehensible in words and intelligence; that’s what makes Him God in the first place. Nevertheless to identify, address and reciprocate, He is addressed by names denoting His qualities and activities. Krishna means ‘the all-attractive,’ Giridhari means ‘the lifter of Govardhan hill.’ Similarly, the special flavor of Lord Krishna in Govardhan Eco Village is imminent by His name of Vrindaban Behari, meaning ‘He who wanders through the forest of Vrindavan’. Although most people hail God as the creator and destiny-maker, in His truest role He is free to play, to wander, to perform pastimes or lilas.
To facilitate our Vrindaban Behari’s pastimes, development of a replica of Vrindavan town (Mathura) is underway at GEV. In tune with the founder’s vision, ISKCON is committed to establish holy places of pilgrimage to benefit the members and society at large. This is exactly the purpose of GEV while also exemplifying a simpler, more natural way of life.
The Vrindavan forest at GEV will have replicas of – the 12 forests of Vrindavan, the prominent temples, lakes, trees and also the river Yamuna. To complete and compliment Vrindavan will be the Govardhan Hill with the supremely sacred Radha Kund and Shayam Kund and other blessed sites. There will also be Barsana and Nandagaon – homes of Srimati Radharani and Krishna-Balarama respectively. There will be walkways leading the pilgrims into the picturesque forests where they could see dioramas of Krishna’s pastimes specific to that place. They may assemble in the adjoining gardens to discuss that pastime or some might prefer to choose a cave close by to perform bhajan.
In past, Srila Rupa Goswami, a prominent Acarya in Gaudiya Vaishnava lineage, had built a replica of Vrindavan in his native place Ramakeli. Similarly, Srila Bhakti Siddhanata Saraswati Thakur had built the replica of Shyama kunda and Radha kunda in the Gaudiya Math.
Forest of GRACE
The divine land of Vrindavan and its associated grace cannot be confined to the physical location of Mathura only to be demarcated, traded and polluted by the greed of the faithless entrepreneurs. The most potent and generous process of Bhakti yoga allows a sincere practitioner to recreate a holy place by the process of devotional service, wherever they might be.
The Vrindavan forest at GEV will provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to have a similar devotional experience as the GRACE of the forest will expand as,
Gazebos to sit in shade and discussing Krishna and Vrindavan pastimes
Replicas of original temples to reminisce the memories of Vrindavan
Activities related to the Vrindavana like aratis, Kirtans, festivals etc.
Camouflage of the original site to enhance the mood of Vrindavan
Exhibits displaying the different pastimes of Krishna in Vrindavana
Gazebo, is an open structure with open sides in the garden especially with one view. Fifteen to twenty people can sit inside it easily. We are creating many such structures so that small groups visiting the forest can sit together and discuss the pastimes of Krishna; thus creating an opportunity not just for association but close-association of devotees.
Replicas, scaled-down structures of seven most important temples for Gaudiya Vaishnavas will be erected in the Vrindavan forest to begin with. This is a difficult task especially to build a replica of Radha-Govind temple which is a grandeur and intricate structure. Other six temples will be Radha Gopinatha, Radha-Gokulananda, Radha-Madanmohan, Radha-Damodar, Radha Raman and Radha Shyamsundar temples. This effort will not only please Krishna but it will influence on the visitors strongly the presence of being in Vrindavan while orators will be easily transported in the actuality of Vrindavan to speak about it.
Activities, related to Vrindavan and Krishna will be celebrated here. Evening aratis will be performed at the Ghats of Yamuna. Sankirtans and other celebrations like Govardhan puja, Jhulan-yatra and Nauka vihar will be performed here. This will ensure a festive mood for residents and devotees and make the site more in accord with mood of Vrindavan.
Camouflage, of the Vrindavan is spawned by planting similar flora and introducing some aspects of fauna like parrots and peacocks. Kadamba trees, Tulsi plants and other flower and fruit trees will be planted to induce a fragrant environment. This will be for the pleasure of Krishna as well as His devotees. Apart from auditory and visual experience, this aspect will emphasize olfactory and tactile experience of Vrindavan.
Exhibits, or dioramas related to the pastimes of Krishna will be displayed with some text in the forest. These exhibits will serve to educate to new visitors about Krishna and Vrindavan while devotees will relish revisiting a pastime visually.
Thus, by creating the different aspects of Vrindavan will provide a stronger engagement for all the senses of a visitor to give them an enlivening experience while devotees will be re-livened with Vrindavan and its memories.
Hopefully, the ‘Forest of Grace’ will bring forth in the life of all the visitors the grace of Krishna by allowing them to embrace the path of Bhakti.