What is the first thing that you consider when buying a gift? For many, it is utility— will the receiver find it useful? In a way, utility is very closely related to the personality of the one for whom you are buying the gift. In other words, if you know the person really well, you can buy something that he or she will like and hence find useful.
According to a study by Jeff Galak and Julian Givi of Carnegie Mellon University, and Elanor F. Williams of Indiana University, thinking long-term is the way to go when you are selecting gifts.
How does 25 years of vacation sound? Incredible, right?
Imagine gifting just that to a loved one! They can travel the world, enjoy family time, and make memories in some of the most exotic locations in the world!
That’s exactly what you can gift to someone close to you when you buy them a Krishna Bhumi Holydays membership.
Who should you buy it for?
A Krishna Bhumi Holydays membership would make a lovely gift for anyone close to you.
For a Krishna devotee:
A Holydays membership seeks to transform the way one experiences Vrindavan. You can spend 7 blissful days in Sri Krishna’s land in Vrindavan’s grand township called Krishna Bhumi that’s taking shape close to the proposed Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir. All members can access the same amenities like a Krishna Bhumi resident apart from enjoying putting up in a luxury apartment throughout their week-long stay in Vrindavan. What’s more, there will also be a concierge service available on request so that members can enjoy pre-arranged pujas, parikramas, and darshans for a hassle-free experience.
For a traveller:
If you are looking for the perfect gift for someone driven by wanderlust, consider a Krishna Bhumi Holydays membership. Each membership comes with a free RCI Platinum membership privilege which opens your doors to 4,000 plus exotic destinations worldwide. Members can holiday in more than 100 countries by exchanging their Vrindavan stay with any other destination of their choice.
For a solo traveller, couple, or a family:
A Holydays membership gives you the option to choose the apartment size based on the number of people in your family/ group. There are studio, 1BHK, and 2BHK apartments to choose from depending on the needs of the person you have in mind.
Is Holydays membership an affordable option?
Gifting usually means working within a budget. You will be happy to know that a Holydays membership comes with an easy instalment plan spread across 18 months and one reasonable down payment.
As an introductory offer, the membership is free from any Annual Service Charges (used for the upkeep of all the luxurious amenities) for the first five years.
Memories are one of the best things that you can gift anyone. A Krishna Bhumi Holydays membership lets you do just that. Be it a wedding or a birthday or a gift for any special occasion, a Holydays membership makes an excellent choice. Expand their horizon and enrich their lives. Initiate them on the path of a spiritually elevating journey in the land of Sri Krishna.
The relationship between Yashoda and Sri Krishna is one of the most celebrated mother-son relationships of all time. Yashoda’s unfathomable love for Krishna has inspired many works of art. She is an integral part of Krishna’s childhood lilas. Once, when sage Narada visited Nanda’s house, he was greeted with one of the most divine sights. Narada watched on as Mother Yashoda punished her mischievous little boy Krishna by tying him with a grinding stone. Seeing this, Narada said, “Enna Thavam Saidhanai, Yashoda” which translates as “What penance have You (Mother Yashoda) undertaken to be bestowed with the powers to punish the supreme (Narayana)”. Because here was the Supreme Godhead— “the beginning and the end and also the middle” who let Himself being chastised by a mere mortal!
So, why was Yashoda chosen to be Sri Krishna’s foster mother?
Sri Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudeva. But as fate would have it, it was Yashoda and Nanda who brought Him up. So, it was not Devaki but Yashoda who could witness all the beautiful lilas of Sri Krishna as He turned into a magnificent youth who mesmerised everyone who came in contact with Him.
Legend has it that one day little Krishna was playing in the sand and put it into His mouth. Mother Yashoda was concerned and asked her son to open His mouth. However, she was not ready for what happened next. She saw the entire universe inside that little mouth. There were the seven oceans and also Narayana resting on Adishesha (the Divine Snake) with his consort Mahalakshmi.
It is believed that Yashoda and Nanda performed great penance in their previous birth. Lord Vishnu was happy with their prayers and appeared in front of them. He asked the couple what they wanted and the couple said that they wanted to treat Lord Vishnu as their son. Lord Vishnu was amused because He is the Creator of the whole universe. However, He never knew what a mother’s love is and that is why conceded to the request and granted them this boon. Hence when Lord Vishnu appeared on the earth in His Krishna avatar, it was Yashoda who brought him up despite not being the biological mother of Sri Krishna.
How did Yashoda become Sri Krishna’s mother for the second time?
Yashoda did not meet Krishna ever since He left Mathura. However, when on her deathbed, Krishna came to meet His mother. She was happy but her only regret was that she could never see any of Krishna’s marriages. Sri Krishna understood His mother’s pain and said that her wish would be fulfilled in her next birth when He would be born as Venkateshwara and Mother Yashoda as Vakula Devi.
Mother Yashoda as Vakula Devi
In the Kali Yuga, Lord Vishnu appeared as Lord Venkateswara. This time too, Yashoda was His foster mother. Her name was Vakula Devi. She played a crucial role in arranging His wedding with King Akasa Raja’s daughter Padmavati. And this time, Mother Yashoda as Vakula Devi, fulfilled her wishes to see her son’s marriage.
Roughly 300 years back, a temple dedicated to Vakula Devi was constructed on Perurubanda hillock surrounding the picturesque Perur village. The idol of Vakula Devi looks towards the Seven Hills, the abode of her son Lord Venkateswara.
The relationship between Yashoda and Sri Krishna is not just a bond between a mother and her son. In a way, Mother Yashoda is also one of the most ardent devotees of Sri Krishna. What begins as ‘Vatsalya Prem’ (love for her son) evolves into ‘Vatsalya Bhakti’ (devotion of a mother).
What better way to feel Yasoda’s love for Krishna than to be in the place where Krishna spent His time as a child and a youth. Visit Braj and soak in the divinity of the holiest 84 kos on earth. Experience Vrindavan like never before through a Krishna Bhumi Holydays membership.
Every season has its special significance in Vrindavan, and summer is no exception. As the season arrives in holy Braj, juhi, bela, ratrani, motia and other summer flowers rise to the occasion of serving Bihariji and welcoming His devotees with the sweetest fragrance in the world. From Chaitra Shukla Ekadashi (March)to Shravan Krishna Amavasya (August), Bihariji enjoys the Phool Bangla, meaning the house of flowers.
It is believed that the tradition of Phool Bangla can be traced back to the gifted poet Surdas, a disciple of Shri Ballabhacharya. Although he was blind, Surdas could ‘see’ lord Srinathji. So deep was his devotion that Surdas could have divine darshans of the Lord. He composed many songs eulogizing the Lord’s beauty and grace. In fact, he used to sing compositions every day detailing Srinathji’s appearance. So vivid were his descriptions that everyone would be amazed. It is said that although Surdas could not see with his eyes, his mind’s eye was so powerful that he could even describe the colors of the Lord’s attire.
One day, with the intention of demonstrating Surdas’s divine power, his guru Ballabhacharya adorned the Lord with flowers only. On that day, Srinathji wore no clothes but only attire made out of flowers intertwined together. So dense was the flower weavings that no devotee could understand that the Lord was wearing only flowers. The only exception was Surdas. On that magical summer evening, the blind poet sand, “Aaj Hari dekhe nangam nanga” which translates as “Today I saw Hari naked”.
Phool Bangla Decorations
Almost all the evenings of the four-and-a-half-month-long Phool Bangla festival witness enthralling flower decorations that in a way reflect the profound devotion with which the Goswamis have been doing this for ages. Thakurji comes to the Jagmohan where the phool bungalow is erected with wooden frames of various shapes and sizes. Next, the wooden frames are covered with strings of flowers woven so intricately that they resemble the ‘jali’ pattern that one usually witnesses in Rajasthani palaces. The decorated frames are then arranged in such a way that they give the impression of a house or bungalow. The panels create a main room, canopy, side rooms, staircases, and pinnacle.
Thakurji’s attire during Phool Bangla
Flowers not only decorate the ambience but also Thakurji. Leaves, flowers, and buds are woven into beautiful bracelets, armlets, crowns, earrings, and garlands to adorn Thakurji. Apart from flowers and their buds, ornaments are also made with banyan leaves cut-outs.
Words can hardly capture the beauty of Phool Bangla. You need to be in Vrindavan during summer to soak in the beauty that’s all around. Becoming a Krishna Bhumi Holydays member will help you participate in all the Vrindavan festivals. You can stay in your luxury apartment in Krishna Bhumi, just a few minutes from Banke Bihari temple, and spend 7 magical days in Vrindavan every year.
The holy town of Vrindavan is famous for its beautiful festivals and unique traditions. While Vrindavan’s holi is famous all over the world, did you know that Akshay Tritiya too is celebrated in a special way in Vrindavan? Let us read more about it but before that, let’s find out more about the significance of this auspicious day.
What is Akshay Tritiya?
Akshay Tritiya is an important day for both the Hindus and the Jains. It falls during the Shukla Pakshya Tritiya in the Baisakh month. ‘Akshay’ means ‘that which does not diminish.’ It is believed that whatever good deeds one performs on Akshay Tritiya multiples manifold. Many choose to invest in gold, begin an investment, and start a new venture on Akshay Tritiya. It is also a wonderful day for marriage. Each moment of this day is considered to be ‘shubh’ and fit for any auspicious beginning.
What happened on Akshay Tritiya?
Performing an Akshay Tritiya pooja is very popular among Hindu households. However, the significance of this day dates back to centuries. This is one day when history seems to blend with mythology and sometimes form a mystifying blur.
Here are a few things that are believed to have happened on Akshay Tritiya:
Beginning of the Treta Yuga: The yuga that followed the Satya Yuga is believed to have begun on this day.
Scripting of the Mahabharata began: It is believed that Ved Vyas and Lord Ganesha started writing the great epic on this day.
The Ganges descended on the earth: The holy river Ganga descended to the earth on this day.
Goddess Annapurna was born: Goddess Annapurna, the goddess of food, was also born on this day. It was also on Akshay Tritiya that Annapurna fed Shiva disguised as a beggar.
Lord Parashuram was born: The sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu was born on this day.
Yudhishthira received the Akshay Patram: Pleased by Yudhishthira’s prayers, Surya or Sun God blessed him with the Akshay Patram that would supply them with an inexhaustible supply of food for the next 12 years.
Sri Krishna and Akshay Tritiya
Draupadi: Legend has it that once when Sri Krishna visited the Pandavas along with His retinue, the exiled Pandav brothers received Him with all ceremony. However, Draupadi did not come out of her kitchen. Sensing that something was amiss, Sri Krishna entered the kitchen. Inside, a teary-eyed Draupadi showed Him an empty bowl and said that it was all that she had in her kitchen. Sri Krishna, on the other hand, asked His sister, if the bowl was truly empty because there was a single grain of rice stuck to it. Sri Krishna had this single grain and as soon as He did so, the hunger of the entire universe was satiated. This miraculous episode happened on Akshay Tritiya.
Sudama: Krishna and Sudama were the best of friends during their childhood days. However, with time, the two friends parted ways. Sudama pursued the Vedas and Sri Krishna became the king of Dwarka. One day, when Sudama, then a poor Brahman, saw a peacock feather in his son’s hand, he was reminded of his friend Krishna. His wife suggested that he should visit Dwarka to meet his friend and to ask for financial help. Although reluctant at first, Sudama agreed to his wife’s proposal and started his journey to meet his long-lost friend. He carried with him flattened rice or poha since Krishna loved it as a child. When Krishna met Sudama, He was overjoyed. He extended warm hospitality towards His friend and asked Sudama what he had brought for Him. The poor Brahman was embarrassed to give the king of Dwarka the little poha that he was carrying. However, Krishna liked His friend’s thoughtful gift very much. Sudama could not ask for any monetary help and left for his home. However, Sri Krishna understood and blessed Sudama with riches. When Sudama reached home, he found that his humble hut had been replaced by a palatial building overnight! This happened on Akshay Tritiya.
Celebration of Akshay Tritiya in Vrindavan
On Akshay Tritiya, the idols in Vrindavan temples are smeared with sandalwood from head to toe. This is known as Chandan Yatra. Sandalwood is applied to offer the gods some relief from the rising temperature.
Darshan of Bihariji’s feet
It is on Akshay Tritiya that devotees get a darshan of Bihariji’s feet. This is the only time during the whole year when that is possible. Devotees flock to Vrindavan on Akshay Tritiya for this auspicious sight.
Krishna Bhumi is just 10 minutes away from the Banke Bihari temple. When you become a member of Krishna Bhumi Holydays, you can stay in your home in Krishna Bhumi and immerse yourself in the glory of this holy land.
What is the purpose of our life? What do we want to achieve? What is it that we crave for? It is happiness. We may be keen on performing certain actions and indulging in certain activities because those, we think, will make us happy. But, are we aware of the true meaning of happiness? Sri Krishna enlightens us about this elusive concept through his conversation with Arjun in Bhagavad Gita.
What is happiness?
We often associate happiness with a number of external factors. We often spend all our effort in the gratification of our senses. However, the happiness that is derived in this manner is only temporary happiness and becomes intertwined with cycles of sorrow. True happiness can only emanate from a peaceful mind that is not dependent on any external agents and remains unperturbed in every situation.
In Chapter II, Verse 70 of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna says,
samudram apah pravishanti yadvat
tadvat-kama yam pravishanti sarve
sa shantim-apnoti na kama-kaami”
“As the waters (of different rivers) enters the Great Ocean, which though full on all sides remains undisturbed, like wise a person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires – can alone achieve peace, and not the man who runs after these desires & strives to satisfy such desires.”
The three types of happiness
In Chapter 18, Verse 36 Sri Krishna says to Arjun,
“sukhaṁ tv idaniṁ tri-vidhaṁ shrinu me bharatarshabha
abhyasad ramate yatra duhkhantam cha nigachchhati”
“And now hear from me, O Arjun, of the three kinds of happiness in which the embodied soul rejoices, and can even reach the end of all suffering.”
- Satvik or Pure happiness: It is the happiness that arises from the elevation of the soul. However, attaining this is not easy. One pursuing satvik or pure happiness has to practice a lot of discipline. That is why, it feels like poison in the beginning but nectar in the end.
“yat tad agre viham iva pariname mitopamam
tat sukham sattvikam proktam atma-buddhi-prasada-jam”
“That which seems like poison at first, but tastes like nectar in the end, is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. It is generated by the pure intellect that is situated in self-knowledge.”
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 37
- Rajasik or result-oriented happiness: This is the materialistic pleasure that is derived when the senses come in contact with external objects that create a feeling of gratification. However, this kind of happiness is temporary.
“vishayendriya-sanyogad yat tad agre mritopamam
pariname visham iva tat sukham rajasam smritam”
“Happiness is said to be in the mode of passion when it is derived from the contact of the senses with their objects. Such happiness is like nectar at first but poison at the end.”
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 38
- Tamasic or slothful happiness: This is the lowest form of happiness and is derived from sleeping or being lazy. The soul is never nurtured through these practices yet since there is a tiny sense of pleasure associated with it, people wrongfully consider it to be a state of happiness.
“yad agre chanubandhe cha sukham mohanam atmanah
nidralasya-pramadottha tat tamasam udahritam”
“That happiness which covers the nature of the self from beginning to end, and which is derived from sleep, indolence, and negligence, is said to be in the mode of ignorance.”
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 39.
One can derive true happiness only by achieving a peaceful state of mind. Why not come to Vrindavan and immerse yourself in the thoughts of Sri Krishna? There is no greater happiness than the happiness one gets from being at peace with oneself and being one with god.
The Adi Purana says, “In all the three planetary systems, this earth is especially fortunate for here stands the town of Vrindavana”. But why is it so? What is so special about Vrindavan? Srila Prabhupada offers an answer in the introduction to Srimad Bhagavatam, “Vrindavana dhäma is non-different from Krishna because the name, form, fame, and place where the Lord manifests – are all identical with the Lord as absolute knowledge. Therefore, Vrindavana dhäma is as worshipable as the Lord.”
There is magic in Vrindavan, a magic that has survived thousands of years and has made its way into the modern times. But to experience it, one must come to this blessed land, the land that had once witnessed Sri Krishna’s leelas, felt the touch of His feet, and watched Him kill many demons.
Isn’t it amazing that in Vrindavan, you can actually visit all those places that you have only read about in various mythological texts?
Here are five such mythical places in and around Vrindavan Dham that you should visit:
Bhandirvan: One of the Dwadasha Kanana (12 forests)
Legend has it that there were 12 forests in Braj in the Dwapara Yuga. Bhandirvan is one of the celebrated forests among all 12 because many important events in Sri Krishna’s life took place here. It was here that Krishna and Balaram killed the demons Vatsasura and Pralambhasura. It is also believed that Sri Krishna gathered with His friends under the Bhandirvata and had lunch every day.
The Bhandirvan also has the deities of Shri Shri Radha Bhandirbihari where Sri Krishna is seen putting sindoor (vermillion) on Radharani’s forehead. Legend has it that Sri Krishna married Radharani under the Bhandirvata. Lalitha and the other sakhis made all the arrangements and Brahma acted as the head priest.
Shringar Vat: The place where Sri Krishna adorned Radharani
During Raas Leelas, Sri Krishna danced with every gopi, but He also needed to be alone with Sri Radha for the leela to reach its supreme state. So, Radharani left the place and Sri Krishna followed her. Once alone, He adorned His beloved Radha with flowers and combed her hair at the Sringar Vat.
Years later, when Nityananda Prabhu visited Vrindavan, he chose the Sringar Vat as the place to meditate. Once there was a huge banyan tree at the spot, but now only its stump remains.
Raman Reti: The playground of Sri Krishna
A few kilometres away from Mathura stands Raman Reti, quietly narrating a story of the bygone days. It was here that Sri Krishna played with Balaram and other friends. The sands (reti) of this place stand testimony to the divine plays (raman) of Sri Krishna. It is also believed that Sri Krishna met Radharani at Raman Reti before visiting Vrindavan together.
Many saints chose Raman Reti to meditate and to perform austerities in order to please Sri Krishna. Today, there is a deer sanctuary, small temples, and the Karshni Ashram beside Raman Reti.
Kesi Ghat: Where Sri Krishna took a bath after killing demon Kesi
There is hardly a place in Vrindavan that is not touched by Sri Krishna’s miracles. The Kesi Ghat is no exception. It is believed that Kansa sent Kesi to kill Krishna. Kesi took the form of a fearful horse and started killing innocent Brajwasis. Krishna understood that it was He who could stop the demon. He forced His fist inside the horse’s mouth and killed it because Sri Krishna’s fist felt like a hot iron rod. After killing Kesi, Sri Krishna took a dip in the holy Yamuna at the Kesi Ghat.
Kadamba tree in Chir Ghat: Where Sri Krishna playfully stole the gopis’ clothes
It is believed that the gopis wanted Sri Krishna as their husband and prayed to Mother Katyayani to fulfil their desire. One day, when they were taking a bath in the Yamuna, Sri Krishna stole their clothes and brought it to the holy Kadamba tree that is still there at Chir Ghat.
Radhanath Swami explains the higher significance of Sri Krishna stealing the clothes of the gopis. He says that the act signifies the devotees’ complete surrender to the Supreme Being which necessitates the freedom from all attachments and mundane possessions symbolised by the clothes.
There are many such places in Vrindavana and the Braj that tells the tale of Krishna’s magic. Come, spend a blissful week in Vrindavan. Krishna Bhumi Holydays can make it happen. Radhe Radhe!