after receiving gopisvara mahadeva's blessings, we hop onto our rickshaw and speed (which is a relative thing in India...) off to vamsivat. it's right around the corner, so it's only moments before we arrive in front of the gate. vamsivat is so far removed from the city of vrindavan that it is practically quiet, with the exception of bird and monkey sounds, and the scurry of children playing in the outside courtyard. it is so serene and peaceful.we enter into the inner courtyard and immediately make our way to the back where the altar stands. it is a big opening and seems vast for the small Radha-Krishna Deities inside. we pay obeisances, take a quick darshan and then circumambulate the small altar and tree in the middle of the courtyard. my husband and daughter have brought their sketchpads and pencils. we decided the evening before that it would be awesome to be able to worshop gopisvara mahadeva in our home. we thought it would be even more awesome if the same vrajabasi who carved our home Deities could make us our gopisvara. so my husband decided to sketch the gopisvara form at vamsivat for the murti wallah to use as a guide. my husband and daughter go to the corner of the courtyard to do their sketching while I go around taking lots of photos. I've been to vamsivat many times and feel like I know it well - but something in me wants to recapture everything again. I must have a million pictures already of the cement painted gopis that line the courtyard tree, but still I take more. the pujari sits by the altar in the middle of the courtyard just observing. a few other pilgrams come and go, stopping to oogle over my husband's sketch as he works. the altar in the middle of the courtyard holds a painting of the maha rasa lila and marble carvings of Radha and Krishna's feet. I decide to start talking to the pujari (why not?). he begins to tell me the pasttime of the maha rasa lila and of how lord shiva heard Krishna's flute and decided he must be involved in this dancing (he is nataraj after all!). he shows me lord shiva dressed as a gopi at the bottom of the painting - I had never noticed before! this pujari speaks english pretty well and I'm enamoured by his retelling of the story. when he's finished I walk around some more, just taking it all in. I notice the pujari get up from his (what seems like eternal) sitting place and walk over to see what my husband is doing. he smiles and nods with approval. he comes back to his sitting place and I notice on the small brass donation tray there are a bunch of small old looking silver flutes - they look like Deity maha. I dont' want to ask - I feel like it would be so rude. but I really want one. then I wonder if they're donations from other pilgrams - vamsi offerings at the place where Krishna played his flute (vamsi). then I'm really self-conscious about asking, so I don't. I start thinking about how maybe if I leave a big donation he will give me one (the absolutel wrong mentality, btw!). I'm mental about it for a minute. I was going to leave a bigger donation anyway, so it doesn't matter. If Krishna wants me to have one, He'll give me one. I can see my husband and daughter are almost finished. I fish in my bag for a 500 rupee note. I place it on the tray. the pujari doesn't even look. I pay obeisances. he still doesn't look. I say, "thank you so much for telling me the story." he looks, does the Indian head nod. still nothing. oh well, I suppose it wasn't meant to be. sadly, our visit it short because we have a date with a pujari at Radha-Govindaji. we make our way back out to our trusty rickshaw driver, Gopal. leaving vamsivat makes me want to cry. I wonder how long it will be before I get to be there again. will it be different? will its special electric energy remain? lamentation!
one of my only regrets from the trip is that I didn't ask the pujari for one of the flutes. oh well!