My Deities, Sri-Sri Radha Madanmohan

I remember when I asked my boyfriend if he would buy Radha-Krishna Deities for me while he was in Mayapur for the installation of Sri Pancha-tattva. I made it clear that I didn’t want anything more than four inches because I was concerned that I wont be able to care for Them very well and I thought having some small Deities would be easier to take care of and seem less formal. At the time I was studying at North Dakota State University and one night he called me, “Did you buy my Deities?” I asked excitedly.
“Well I had to choose between these beautiful ten inch ones and some okay looking four inch ones. So I picked the ten inch ones.”
“You did WHAT?! How will I take care of ten inch Deities?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll love Them, I know you will take good care of Them.”

When he returned to the US he encouraged me to name Them even though I hadn’t seen Them. I wrote down a list of names and tried them out singing for example “Jaya Radha-Govinda, Radha-Govinda, Raaaaadhe!” Eventually I picked the name Radha-Madanmohan, it had the best ring to it and if They truly are as beautiful as my boyfriend said Then “He who attracts even Cupid” will suit Them. My boyfriend thought it was a great name since anyone who had ever seen Them thought They were so beautiful. He sent me an outline of Their bodies so that I could make a new outfit for Them that somehow miraculously fit perfectly. He was right, They were so beautiful, that when he gave Them to me that summer of 2004, I never let Them go.

Once a good friend and godsister of mine and I had a chance to spend some time together. She told me about Guru Maharaj’s project in Ujjain. He was building a big beautiful temple there and she was missing his association. She gave me a picture of the Deities there and when I asked the name of the Deities she replied “Sri-Sri Radha Madanmohan”. She felt very happy staying with me since my Deities were also Radha Madanmohan. It was quite a wonderful coincidence, at the time I wasn’t aspiring for HH BhaktiCharu Swami but I could see that Madanmohan certainly had a plan.

Deity Dressing 3/14/10

Eventually my boyfriend and I got married and I moved to Orlando, Florida. We began to worship Sri-Sri Radha Madanmohan regularly. I noticed in his bookcase was the only volume he owned of Sri Caitanya Cariamrta. It was about the pastime of Srila Sanatana Goswami. What is wonderful about being married to my husband is that through him I began to have a deeper appreciation for Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and an understanding of the acaryas in our parampara. I read that volume with great interest.

The pastime of Srila Sanatana Goswami is pretty amazing. He was put in jail because he no longer wanted to serve the government. He got a letter from his brother Rupa saying “Hey! Lord Caitanya is coming to Benares! Anupama and I are going! Wish you were here!” Sanatan Goswami bribed the guard to let him out. He fled to see Lord Caitanya in Benares and despite his wealthy background, he gave it all up and wore a simple torn quilt and a woolen blanket- he eventually gave up the blanket. So he’s sitting outside the home of where Lord Caitanya was staying and Lord Caitanya was like “Candrasekhara, there’s a devotee at your door, bring him in.” And Candrasekhara  looks outside and says, “Theres no one there except a poor Muslim guy.” And Lord Caitanya was like “Yep, let him in.” And then they were so happy to see each other they hugged super tight but Sanatan Goswami felt super embarrassed but Lord Caitanya didn’t mind. So then Sanatan Goswami got all shaved up and accepted some torn clothes from Tapan Misra which made Lord Caitanya happy, and he gave up the fancy blanket that I mentioned earlier which made Lord Caitanya even more happy. And then he decided to become a beggar and that made Lord Caitanya super happy. So then Lord Caitanya revealed a lot of very deep philosophy to Sanatan Goswami and Sanatan Goswami tried to get Lord Caitanya to admit that He is Krishna but Lord Caitanya didn’t fall for it. Lord Caitanya instructed Sanatan Goswami to find all the places in Vrindavan that Krishna performed His pastimes, because when Krishna left, they all became hidden. And he was also instructed to write books about bhakti yoga, establish temples of Krishna in Vrindavan and to write a book about proper Vaisnava behavior. More devotees need to read that book. Seriously.

So the Sri-Sri Radha-Madanmohan Mandir is actually the first temple erected in Vrindavan, which was erected by Sanatana Goswami. And it is said that for anyone who is sincere in devotional service, they must first approach Krishna in His Madanmohan form, who is very merciful. Im a knucklehead, so this is good news for me. Its wonderful when Krishna creates coincidences in life, isn’t it? Its His sense of humor, I think that’s how I know when He’s got His hand in it.

Imagine how wonderful it was to see this beautiful temple twice during my weeklong stay in Vrindavan! The first time I went was with my husband and his father and brother while we went on Vrindavan Parikrama (advice: wear comfy shoes…seriously…don’t get humble about this) and the second time I went was with my family and husband and my father-in-law on Janamastmi. My Dad got yelled at by the pujari because he was holding a video camera and that is a no-no in all temples in India. But the way the temple is built, you don’t go inside the temple. You just climb a long set of stairs and the Deities are there in all Their shining mercy so he didn’t realize that we’d get to the Deities so soon and that They would be all out in the open like that. Not exactly out in the open, but you know, not inside the building.

I used to wonder why people aren’t allowed to take pictures or videotape inside the temples. I thought that maybe it was superstition. But standing in front of Sri-Sri Radha-Madanmohan in Vrindavan. I realized that this is an experience that shouldn’t be captured in a picture but in your heart. Visiting these temples are supposed to give you a deep spiritual experience, if you’re so focused on taking pictures you miss the whole thing. Or maybe cameras steal your soul, I dunno.

To learn more about Sanatan Goswami click here