Reflections on the Demise of Vrindaban, Braj, India 2010

As I read reports of rapid highway infrastructure  development accompanied by destruction of traditional sacred spaces in Vrindaban, Braj, India which leads to ending the traditional lifestyles of many residents, I am saddened for those who live there and are traumatized by all this. I would also be saddened if such changes occurred here in the remote rural area where I live.
I lived in Vrindaban in the early 1970s and laid the foundation for the Krishna Balaram Temple. Gauranga Das Babaji told me, “Never leave Vrindaban.” I considered doing just that. Lalita Prasad Thakur told me, “Go back to the West and preach where you’re needed.” That is the path my life took.
However, I follow both instructions by always keeping a picture of Radha Kund and imagining myself living there in my forest cottage near Lalita’s. I meditate on Braj and Radha-Krishna’s play in my heart making wherever I live a spiritual Braj.
The current situation in the earthly Braj reminds me of when Jerusalem was attacked by the Babylonians. The Jews thought Yahweh would protect them since Jerusalem contained his temple and holy of holies. They were his chosen people. The Babylonians sacked the city and exiled its population to Babylon. The exiles’ prophets told them to work for the good of their captors since their well-being was now intertwined. They rewrote their theology and scriptures as they went from a separatist temple and holy city centered religion to a more universal one.
Perhaps this time of dealing with forced change within the religion of Radha-Krishna devotion is a good time to institute more sweeping voluntary changes in its theology and practice which would be universalizing factors. I have made a first attempt at this.

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