May 27, 2007
Since I wrote about Van Bihar Parikrama and mentioned how there used to be so many lotus flowers in Rohini Kunda in Nandagram, a few devotees have written asking how they can help. So I walked over to Rohini Kunda to see what has to be done. Although the surrounding farmers have encroached a bit of the land, the kunda was still there and one side was quite deep, but only because someone had dug it out for taking the earth for fill on their land. In Nandagram these days, no one does anything without selfish interest.
So my Vrinda Kunda pujari and I checked out the whole area. He told me how in his childhood he used to come and there was one Ramanandi Sadhu living in a small kutir on a hill in the center of the kunda. There were lots of trees, and of course, lotus flowers. The mud kutir is long gone, but the hill is still there. Even now there are a lot of original trees of Braja, like peelu and heese growing there. But gradually the foreign thorn tree that you see growing out of control along all the roads in Braja is taking over.
We estimated that it would take around Rs.80,000 (US$2000) to excavate and plant lotus flowers in the kunda. Then we would need about Rs.40,000 ($1,000) to clear, level, dig holes, buy trees and plants, transport them there, and plant them. Now so many people plant trees, but never take care of them. Thousands and thousands I’ve seen before my very eyes, and most of them persih. So we would need another Rs.2,000 ($50) a month for a mali, gardener.
Then it would be nice to make a ghat on one side. We decided at least 25 foot ghat with ten steps. We estimated the cost, including using a reasonable stone for the steps and platform with a brick foundation, would come around one lac of rupees ($2,500).
This is the time right now in the hot season to do excavation and we have till the beginning of July when the rainy season will begin. Already we got promises for the excavation, the mali, and part of the gardening work. We immediately approached the Chairman (mayor) and the village elders and they have all given their blessings. All were very happy and the surrounding farmers encouraged us.
So if anyone else is interested to do some seva in Braja, they can please contact me at . This has been a dream for me for a long time ever since I heard about the lotus flowers coming from Rohini Kunda in Nandagram, even before the Vrinda Kunda project. Already we contacted the excavation contractor and purchased the trays neccessary for the laborers to carry the dirt away and we are about to start.
Right now I’m staying at Vrinda Kunda, it is very hot 45+, but somehow very nice here. I have a solar panel, but it doesn’t run my computer, but just barely manages to charge the computer’s battery so I have a little time to read and do email. I also have some card that lets me do wireless email from Vrinda Kunda itself.
Although it is so hot it is very wonderful here. Two kokilas madly in love are darting from tree to tree warbling in their sweet way. The jasmine and mogra flowers are in full bloom and every day Vrinda Devi and Giriraja get lovely fragrant garlands. The last couple of days, the kadamba trees have begun to bloom, one reddish and one yellowish. Iridescent green English Flycathers peform their acrobatics above the kunda. The Kingfisher with his shiny blue neck dives into the kunda in a bright flash of color.
Six or eight khanjanas flit around the yellow karnika flowers iridescent deep blue tiny birds for which Radharani is named Khajanaksa (eyes like khanjana birds) and they flit here and there just like Radharani’s restless eyes looking for Her Shyamsundar. In the morning aratika, the reflections of the kunda play on the carved stone while we sing. In the evening the jal murgis (water chickens) join with us singing Gaura Aratika.
In service of Srimati Vrinda Devi,
Deena Bandhu dasa