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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Influx of outsiders ruining Vrindavan

Influx of outsiders ruining Vrindavan
by Jagannath Poddar


on February 2, 2011

Recently we heard of a demonstration in Vrindavan where some local sadhus and politicians burned foreigners in effigy. Certainly things have changed in Vrindavan since the Sahebs came. But as much if not more damage is being done to the Dham by spiritual “outsiders” who have invaded the Dham.

The influence of outsides force in Braja-Vrindavan is solely responsible for the destruction of its culture and ecology.

Vrindavan used to be a heaven for widows, but with the time passing, the number of child widows has been declining. Now women from other parts of the country are coming here with their husbands to earn their livelihood. They pretend to be widows when they go to the Bhajan Ashrams.

These people eat non-vegetarian food here and spoil the sanctity. Why should Vrindavan bear this unnecessary pressure?

The number of outsiders has doubled here in Vrindavan and most of them are not here out of devotion, but to profit from the commercial uses of Krishna Consciousness.

Even swamis who have no affinity for the devotional path come here from outside and buy large plots of agricultural land at a very high rate in the name of building temples. Do we need more temples in Vrindavan? These so called ashrams are really being used only for commercial purposes.

The heritage buildings where people had easy access for hundreds of years are also being bought and sold easily for the money by the outsiders and the locals can’t even go there.

Vrindavan is now divided in two parts: old Vrindavan and new Vrindavan. Why is there a partition of the holy dham?

If we hire a rickshaw for a kilometer or two, the minimum we have to pay is Rs. 50. Why so much? The rickshaw wallahs have come here just to earn money. They eat fish in their rented houses. This is against the Vrindavan mood.

There is no soil left in Vrindavan. So where do we get the dust of Vrindavan? Even the potters can hardly find any clay for their own business.

Big outside force are involved in the real estate business. Everything is business here, and the most profitable business of all is selling Krishna’s name.

Ultimately people like me will have to leave our mother land of Vrindavan, the place where we took birth, where outsiders will rule on their terms.

This is inevitable once you commercialise spiritualism and faith, as has happened in Braj bhoomi. I get angry when I see pandas genuflecting and begging the filthy rich for favours.

Simple Brajwasis are now becoming crooks coming in contact with outsiders. But the process cannot be reversed unless the conscious and concerned citizens of Vrindavan get together and draw a line.

The ambience of the original Vrindavan has vanished, replaced by a spurious urban culture The chaos and rot has already set in. The “instant bhakti” seekers and syndrome will spell the doom of the pristine glory of the holy land of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

May the self realized souls see Vrindavan from a distance without having desire to stay here in this Vrindavan. Once they get the desire to stay here they are prompted to buy properties to facilitate their stay and it is just the real estate agents who are benefitted and encouraged to build more flats and houses.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }
nishant Vashisht February 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

This is blunt, but quite true.

It is not so easy though to ascertain whom to blame. And even if one could, there seems to be no solution. We are all in this soup. And still not too many seem to be bothered, neither the so called inhabitant Brijbasis nor the intruding wanna-be Brijbasis.

One party is happy selling and the other party is happy buying .And the govt is on its own trip (which is quite usual ). it is we who are stuck….. wondering and watching the sands sinking .

Katie Jo Walter February 6, 2011 at 11:11 am

This IS quite true, but it is also nothing new at all- from the earliest memoirs in which people have commented on Vrindavan, it has been said that there are scoundrels there to make money off of the pilgrims and that the pandas swarm pilgrims as they arrive and often swindle them.
Even Dhan Gopal Mukerji, one of the first Indians to communicate his culture in English to a broad foreign audience had this to say in his famous 1923 book Caste and Outcaste:

“All kinds of people come to Brindaban – holy men and rascals. If you go to a holy place in India, you will find two kinds of people: The holiest and the most unholy. Holy men give salvation and unholy men take away your purse.”

I hope that someday people can get past the divisive mindset this produces and simply work together before Vrindavan is uninhabitable for anyone (it could happen sooner than you think!).

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