sri sri guru gauranga jayatah
Our pranam to you.
On 23 April 2015, Shanti didi, Madhusmita didi, Anupama prabhu, Jayasri dasi and I took five boxes of Srila Gurudeva’s books (Hindi books, as well as some colouring books), as donated by the GVP sponsorship program, to Varsana for the newly established Gurukula of the renowned Sri Ramesh Baba of Man Garh, Varsana.
Ramesh Baba has been residing in Varsana for more than six decades and has been active in working toward preserving the heritage of Vraja. Our Srila Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, greatly appreciated his efforts, and in turn, Sri Ramesh Baba held in high esteem Srila Gurudeva’s worldwide preaching of vraja-bhakti and also the books he authored about the significance of Vraja.
Some of Ramesh Baba’s notable accomplishments have been putting a stop to the excavation of the sacred hills of Kamyavana, which contain the footprints of Krsna and which were places of His pastimes. Ramesh Baba raised a commotion in public and among the political leaders by strongly expressing his ideas in the Rajasthan and UP and central governmentat a time when rocks were being taken from the hills for various construction purposes elsewhere.
Another service to Vraja performed by him and his followers was to bring back, after several years, the flow of Yamuna in Vraja. Ramesh Baba and his people were active in bringing awareness of this to the people living in Vraja’s villages, especially those along the Yamuna, to the farmers, and to all the religious groups in Vraja and elsewhere, thus instigating a campaign that lasted for years and that is gradually becoming successful.
A few years ago, Ramesh Baba also started a project of protecting the cows of Vraja and nearby areas. His gaushala in Varsana now gives shelter to no less than 35 thousand cows, providing pure milk to various temples in the area and other places. Some of these cows have been abandoned or would have been sent for slaughter (to places outside Vraja).
The people in the area now happily give their non-milk producing cows to this gaushala, the staff of which numbers 1000. Acompetent staff of women help looking after ailing cows and their new born calves that they are unable to feed.
Also noteworthy is Ramesh Baba’s service to Vraja by leading a forty day parikrama of 15 thousand pilgrims each Kartika, free of charge, as they circumambulate the entire Vraja-mandala barefoot. One traveling from Govardhan to Vrindavan in the second half of Kartika can observe this never-ending line of devotees.
In 2011, Ramesh Baba started a gurukula in Varsana to give free spiritual education to children from early ages to their teens. At present the gurukula has about 300 students from Varsana, nearby areas and different states. Radha-kanta Prabhu, a disciple of our Srila Gurudeva and the gurukula headmaster wanted to have a set of Srila Gurudeva’s books for the gurukula library. He approached our publications devotees expressing his desire. One year ago, a set of Srila Gurudeva books was presented to Sri Ramesh Baba. He so appreciated Srila Gurudeva’s literary contribution, which is rich with descriptions of the importance of Vraja, that he expressed a desire for Srila Gurudeva’s books to be taught in the gurukula. Having noted the teachings contained within the book Bhakta Prahlada, he told the students that they must read it.
When the devotees serving in GVP heard about this from Radha-kanta Prabhu, they felt inspired to assist by making a contribution of Srila Gurudeva books to this free spiritual education programme.We made the necessary arrangements with Radha-kanta Prabhu and informed him that we would be coming to Varsana in the hope of giving the books directly to Sri Ramesh Baba.
We started our day by first going to Ter Kadamba, the place of Srila Rupa Gosvami. Since Kartika last year, the large kunda has been further excavated and lined on two sides with steps, and scores of peacocks and peahens now roam this holy site. A peacock danced in full splendour on the bank of the kund.
After this we went to Paurnamasi’s cave (now just a small brick hut bearing a painting of Paurnamasi devi), just past Uddhava-kyari.
We had heard about this place for years but never had the good fortune to go there. It was not easy to find, and the extremely undulating inland track made our journey to it feel more like a boat ride than a car ride. Shanti didi recalls Srila Gurudeva once saying at Uddhava-kyari one Kartika, that he was now going to Purnamasi-cave and he will pray for us all there.
Although our visit to Ter Kadamba and Paurnamasi-cave was not part of our book sponsorship excursion to Varsana, it was such a special part of our day that I could not help but mention them.
So, at Maan-garh, the famous temple atop one of the Varsana hills on the Gahavara-vana parikrama performed during Kartika month, is the rooftop dwelling of Ramesh Baba. When we arrived, the boys helped us unload the books.
Ramesh Baba was giving class,after which he went to his room. We followed behind, led by Radha-kantaPrabhu, who was overjoyed to receive the books for the children. We then presented the books to Ramesh Baba.
We gave a full set of books to the Gurukula library and then books for sloka and philosophy classes, as well as colouring books and simple story books likeBhakta Prahald, Sri Jagannatha Rathayatra and Durvasa Muni. When we mentioned to Ramesh Baba that we really appreciated his significant contribution to Vraja, he simply said, “I have done nothing.”
We then went to the temporary gurukula quarters, where many boys were peacefully gathered, and presented the books to the boys, also. The proper gurukula buildings are currently being constructed.
The boys were curious to know what we had brought for them and happily posed for photos.
From here we went to the gaushala, where we received as many glasses as we wanted of indescribably tasty milk and butter-milk, and then had darshan of some of the massive herd. Radha-kanta Prabhu told us at this point that his wife was the headmistress of the girl’s gurukula and that some of the books we brought will go there, which made everything seem quite complete. In appreciation for the books sponsored, he gave us a box of dhoop and a large, laminated painting of Radharani’s lotus feet.
We sincerely thank those kind devotees who donate to GVP Sponsorship program.
Srila Gurudeva’s publications ki jaya!
Varsana-dhama ki jaya!
GVP sponsorship programme ki jaya!
Aspiring to serve Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas
Vaijayanti mala dasi