September 2020
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 11.01. 2014, morning, Sofia)
(continues from the previous Monday)
Point number nine: “One must circumambulate the temple building at least three times. In every temple there is an arrangement to go around the temple at lest three times. Some devotees go circumambulate the temple more than three times – ten or fifteen times, according to their vows. The Goswamis used to circumambulate Govardhana Hill. And one should also circumambulate the whole Vrindavana area.”[1] This is also like a procession. Practically every day you will see pilgrims and visitors in Vrindavana on the parikrama-marga[2], parikram road. I don’t know how long this path is, but it takes two – two and a half hours to cover the whole distance. There are different spots of lilas and temples to visit, places to remember Krishna’s pastimes and Mahaprabhu’s pastimes. And especially on Ekadashi days a lot of devotees take this walk around the city. Today this is Ekadashi. So you can have your meditation tour in Vrindavana. And usually when you go around the altar inside the temple, at the back of the altar you can touch your forehead to the wall and there you can tell your prayers. It’s the same in Padua in Italy, where the sarcophagus of Saint Anton is. At the back people go, touch, pray – it’s the same. 
And it was mentioned the parikram around Govardhana Hill also. The minimum trip is twenty – twenty some kilometers, but you can expand it to double, visiting other places also. To do it by walking – that’s demanding enough. Once we started on an Ekadashi day to do this – full Govardhana parikram. But Aditi, who is a dancer, had an appointment for a dance show in the afternoon. So we started, but you know, the distance didn’t diminish, it started to grow, while time started to run like anything. In holy places sometimes these dimensions are messed up. We could hardly cover one third of the distance when we realized: we shall not reach, it’s impossible! Then we were deliberating: whether we should turn back – but to turn back is not very nice; whether we should go on – but then we shall not reach. So what to do? Finally we decided to take a riksha. But then again this was another disaster. Because devotees around started to point finger on us: “What are you doing? On a riksha – what is this? You, lazy guys!” Ah, God!
So, if you start your Govardhana parikram, think twice. Therefore there is an escape: if you visit the Radha-Damodar temple and you go around the yard and the temple complex four times – that equals one Govardhana parikrama. So, it’s an escape. And that temple is very important, by the way. This was the place where Shrila Prabhupada was residing in his Vrindavana period. There is this little room and the kitchen that he used. On the altar many main deities of the goswamis are coming together, there is a footprint of Krishna on one slab of stone; and in the yard you will find the samadhi and the bhajana-kutir of Rupa Goswami. In the other yard there is the samadhi of Jiva Goswami. So it’s a very-very condensed place. If you happen to be in Vrindavana, this temple is a must! 
(to be continued)
1. Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 6
2. Pilgrimage circumambulating


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