as I mentioned in the post about the adventures in javat, the next and final stop was ter kadamba. after I gave the clothes to the pujari at radha-kanta and took some pictures of the deities, we all walked up to the roof of the temple, where we had a magnificant view of vraj mandal. we could see nanagram and varsana in the distance, as well as our path to ter kadamba. just as we were about to head back downstairs, seva priya pointed down to the temple room (which we could see because it was an open courtyard) and said, "umm, I think those kids are stealing our shoes." indeed, madhavi's hot pink faux crocs were gone (what was I thinking?), but everyone else's shoes were there. afterall, what's a poor indian village kid going to do with a man's size 9 1/2 pair of vans?anywho, so we made our way to the same dirt path that srimati radharani would walk down to go to nandagram each morning to cook for krishna. maharaj told us about how durvasa muni gave srimati radharani the bendiction that whatever she cooked would taste just like nectar and give super-excellent health. when mother yasoda heard this, she begged radharani's mother-in-law, jatila, to let her come cook for krishna daily. somehow she convinced her, and each day srimati radharani would walk from javat to nandagram, past ter kadamba, to cook for krishna.
ter kadamba is special for so many reasons. for one thing, it was the place where krishna would sit in the kadamba trees and call all of his cows, using his 108 jewled mala. it is also the place where rupa goswami had his bhajan kutir, and also wrote his sacred texts.
there is also a very special pastime that occured there with rupa goswami and a mysterious gopi...
when we arrived at ter kadamba, hriskesha maharaj - the resident care taker - greeted us and joined in our kirtan. after kirtan we went out and sat underneath the beautiful trees near the babaji's krishna-balaram deities. my guru maharaj spoke about rupa goswami and the significance of the place. he then began to tell the story of rupa goswami and the mysterious gopi... I saw maharaj look at the baba kind of weird - I actually thought to myself that maybe the babaji was annoying maharaj, because he kept walking around... but I soon found out that they were in cahoots with one another. as maharaj began to tell how rupa goswami was beside himself about cooking sweet rice for guru, sanatana goswami, a mysterious and beautiful young girl came up to him (played by hrisikesa maharaj!). she had brought him sweet rice - but how did she know? he accepted the gift from the girl. when sanatana goswami came and tasted the sweet rice, he inquired from rupa goswami about where he got it. rupa goswami answered that a girl he did not recognize and had never seen before brought it to him. sanatana goswami, after tasting the nectarean sweet rice, realized that this young girl must have been srimati radharani! he wasn't happy, however. he told rupa goswami, "we are only trying to serve radha and krishna, and now you have accepted service directly from srimati radharani!" it was so sweet to see both maharaj's renact the pastime.ter kadamba is a very special place, and it's easy to feel that when you are there. the babaji there takes such good care of the grounds. you can just tell he's meant to be there. he also put these really fragrant yellow flowers in our ears and explained how radha and krishna would do this to send each other signals about up coming meetings. if the flower was placed in the right ear facing forward, it would indicate a time and place...and so on. we were so foruntate to get his association. he also really liked madhavi - insisted that she was "sudevi" - and even gave her a flute to "call the cows".
this was our last parikram in vraj. thinking about it now, it all seems so surreal. I miss vrindavan so much it hurts. and I mean that sincerely, honestly, more than anything.