Leaving Vrindavan

Vrindavan, India 9:25 a.m.

Now this is an unusual and wonderful farewell from Maha Vraja: a major thunder and lightning storm sweeping over Vrindavan right now as I write on our last morning. Not sure I’ve ever really seen anything like this here in the Jan-April months—a refreshing change of pace from the dust and swelter I’ve been slowly acclimating to.


It’s true I want to stay here in India and enjoy the incomparable devotional lusciousness that is still so alive here even in this ever-modernizing culture, but one thing I will clearly relish being home is the cool clean air that surrounds my sweet country home. No more relentless dust and diesel, that will be a boon to my lungs.

But meanwhile, it is truly amazing here! Wandering around the sacred Govardhan Hill near Jatipura over the last several afternoons with Shyamdas (and whomever else is drawn into the lila) reveals little gems every day. Two nights ago, it was a ramble along the inner path with a young and sparkling-voiced young singer from Nathdwara, Coco Pandit, who sang along much of the walk with us, including a luscious half hour within an ancient small temple on top of the Hill. The natural resonance in that small stone space enveloped our tiny satsang in reverberant rapture, while pilgrims occasionally wandered in and prostrated themselves before the resident deity.

Last night, it was Panditji (Shyamdas’ old Sanskrit pandit buddy) meeting, engaging in friendly discourse and ultimately bursting into spontaneous song with an ancient sadhu who has been living in a tiny stone room just off the Govardhan Hill for who knows how long, maybe 40-50 years. Different schools and practices, but as Shyamdas said, their respective journeys into their own sadhanas have opened their minds and allowed them to meet on a high and sweet level. A treat to witness, in the sunset gloaming of the Govardhan Hill.

And now, the morning of my last day in Vrindavan is here, and within 8 hours, I will be in car rattling my way back into Delhi. One more very full day of sourcing a few straggler items and gifts for friends will be followed by an attempt to find Neem Karoli Baba’s elusive North Delhi temple, which I’ve never been to. Then its time for the midnight flyer back to New York.

Sigh. Another journey draws to a close…