23 Nov 2015
Following the Master: Vrindavan 2015 – Day 6 (Fun in the Yamuna River)
"Imagine how blessed Yamuna is to receive the Lord every day in Her ever since He was small. The day He was born, She could touch the feet of the Lord!" - Sri Swami Vishwananda
The day fell on Ekadashi, which traditionally involves fasting, visiting temples and performing parikrama around Vrindavan.
The first visit was to Kaliya Ghat Temple, which is associated with a famous story from the Shreemad Bhagavatam.
A poisonous serpent, named Kaliya, lived in the Yamuna river in Krishna's time. His venom had poisoned the waters so neither people or animals were able to approach the Yamuna.
Young Krishna jumped from a tree branch into the river to fight Kaliya by dancing on his multiple heads. The wives of Kaliya begged Krishna not to kill him. Krishna agreed but with one condition, Kaliya had to leave the Yamuna and never return.
Kaliya was afraid to leave the Yamuna river for fear he would be attacked by Garuda, but Krishna promised to protect him and left His footprint on Kaliya's head.
The temple has a statue of Krishna dancing on Kaliya's head, surrounded by his four wives. The temple is also famous for an ancient, giant tree which has Krishna's footprints on it. The tree is where the gopis would hide pots of butter from Krishna.
From the Kaliya Ghat Temple, the group made their way to the Yamuna for a boat ride. On the way, the group stopped at the Gaudi Matha Ashram, which is the only all-woman ashram in Vrindavan. From there, the group reached the banks of the river where Krishna fought the demon Keshi.
Upon the completion of the boat trip, the group divided. Some headed back to Jiva to prepare for the wedding and some went shopping in the Loi Bazaar.
At night, the second part of the three-day wedding ceremony for Swamini VishwaMohini Ma's daughter took place.
Below is a first-hand account of the wedding ceremony:
"The wedding ceremony began with Guru Puja, and then puja to Ganesh. This was followed by the haldi ceremony, where the bride was smeared with turmeric paste to signify internal purification. It also gives a nice golden glow to the skin.
Traditionally, the ceremony would last for up to nine days and the bride would be fully covered in turmeric powder from head to toe, and men would not be allowed to watch the ceremony. In our case, a modern version was used whereby the turmeric was smeared mainly on the bride's face. Guruji bestowed his blessings, and the whole ceremony was very touching.
The official part was followed by a nice dinner outside. The main part of the wedding will follow tomorrow."
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