Vraja-mandala Darsana: A 30 day parikrama experience
Vraja-mandala Darsana has thirty chapters, one for each day of the parikrama. It will take you on the month-long journey with the parikrama party, giving you a feel for what it’s like to walk the pace, the sights, the sounds, and the smells of Vraja.
His Holiness Lokanath Swami’s long cherished desire of an authoritative book on the glories of Vraja-mandla parikrama became a reality when his new book Vraja-mandala Darsana, after an effort of five and a half years, was ceremoniously offered at the lotus hands of Srila Prabhupada on his 119th Vyasapuja celebrations at Sri Sri Krsna Balaram Mandir, Vrindavan on September 6, 2015.
ISKCON’S very first literature on Vraja Mandala Parikrama, the book promises its readers a walkthrough of Vraja through its 608 colorful pages and poetically gives one the immersion experience of the sights and the smells of the twelve forests of Vrindavan. It contains 30 chapters each for a day of parikrama with 246 photographs, 107 paintings and 28 precise route maps obtained from Google Earth. The presentation of the book is unique and one of its own which beautifully intertwines text of the book with pictures. The color scheme changes after every two pages and is rarely repeated in the book. Thus, the readers don’t just read the book, but actually experience the parikrama in their houses even when thousands of miles away from Vraja.
In the evening an interactive session was organized at the Balaram Hall where Mahant from Sri Sri Radha Raman temple, Sri Padhmalochan Goswami was present to grace the occasion, along with senior vaisnavas from ISKCON Vrindavan community and the members of local media fraternity. Vaikuntha Murti Das from Mauritius, who helped with the research of the book delivered a concise powerpoint presentation, iterating the deep connection of the Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas with Vraja Mandala. Sri Padmalochan Goswami also shared his realizations of ISKCON’s annual vraja mandala parikrama which takes place in Kartik every year. He stressed, “As a young boy I had the fortune to attend ISKCON’s Vraja-mandala Parikrama. I have vivid memories of my father holding my hand and taking me to the parikrama with ISKCON devotees”. “I thank Lokanath Swami on reaching this milestone. I hope this book will serve as guidebook for spiritual enthusiasts for many generations to come”, he added.
Lokanath Swami Maharaja concluded the programme with his address. He spoke, “Many devotees say they could never go to Vraja-mandala parikrama because of their services and commitments. So, now have this book. You can now mentally go on a parikrama while at your home and temples. This year commemorates the 500th anniversary of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Vrindavan yatra and our book is thus an offering to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission. Also this year ISKCON will celebrate its 29th annual Vraja-mandala parikrama. I urge you all to participate. I strongly recommend you to read a chapter of the book every day in the month of Damodar. This way, you can also go your parikrama for thirty days and thus develop your connection with the Vraja-mandala.”