by Bimbadhara dasa (from the Aug. 1978 Issue of B.S.)
Everyone in New Vrindaban knows that when a brahmacari speaks of “walking that road” he means the one from Ba­hulaban to the Vrindaban brahmacari ashrama. Now it looks just like a plain old dusty dirt road with a stream run­ning next to it that crosses over in a few places. Trees cover it over so that it is actually more like a tube, or lotus flow­er stem, permeated with the maha-mantra. Sri Sri Radha-Vrndavana Candra guard it at one end and Sri Sri Radha Vrndavana Natha guard the other. By means of this road twenty or so brahma-caris’ make the daily transition from the urgency of Bahulaban to the cool spir­itual solitude of Vrindaban, which is a place of pilgrimage even for the Brijabasis.
Ever since taking the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada on its head, the Vrin­daban road has served faithfully, trans­porting cows, devotees and pilgrims on foot, Deity bhoga on ox carts and Maha­raja and special guests in his jeep. Every year Mother Earth tries to absorb the form of the road back into its tangle of forest and streams and every year the road is built up again out of Vrindaban tilaka.
We were walking up one afternoon with Atmabhu, the temple president of Vrindaban. He told me, “This road is far out. I’ve seen some people completely lose it, just fall down in the mud and cry. Most of the time you aren’t con­fronted with total surrender, but every step in this mud forces you to surrender to Krsna right now.”
The road is sometimes so rough that there is only a little path in the middle which -is walk able and sometimes there is no path whatsoever, only Krsna’s mer­cy.
No one complains much. The most commonly heard words on the road are Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. You can chant about eight rounds, depending on condition, while making the walk. Jalakolahali says some of his best and loudest rounds were chanted when he hurried through the dark silence to get up top in time for mahgala aratrika. (He was working the night shift down at Bahulaban for acouple of months.) In the dark it’s hard to tell people who look like trees from the trees that look like people.
Once Tapanacarya cooked a prepara­tion for Radha-Vrndavana Candra which had to be down to Bahutaban in time for Their Lordships morning offering. It was a dark moon summer night. The sky was cloudy and you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. The road felt familiar under his feet until it started to rain. The path became slippery and he fell off the path into the bushes. He began crawling around on his hands and knees, trying to find the road, but all he could feel was tree trunks.
Eventually he came across the stream and decided to follow that. Somehow or other he went the wrong way and finally he had no idea where he was. So he just sat down tight and waited for the sun to come up.
Finally, two and a half hours after he’d left, he came splashing into Bahula­ban with the offering still in his hands. How fortunate it is to get to the end of the road with something nice to offer to Radha and Krsna.

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I remember it being called the “Aghasura Road” in the mid 70’s

[…] I used to live in the ashram at the original Vrindaban farm in New Vrindaban. It was a 2 mile walk down to Bahulaban every morning to go to work, then two miles back up in the evening. It took about 40 minutes. This is a famous walk, well remembered by the early members of NV. One day I stayed up to help prepare a feast for some festival or other. Radhanath and Candramauli were there doing the cooking and Parambrahman (PB), the ashram head at the time, was overseeing and doing whatever. Suddenly they realized they were going to be short of sugar, and would fall short of their 108 preparations goal because of this lack. The deadline for the offering was looming, and it was looking grim for the home team. […]

This reminds me of one trip I made on the road to Vrindaban.


[…] January 23, 2007   Pictures of Sri Sri RADHA VRINDAVAN NATHA (1-3-07)and the beginnings of the “Road to Vrindaban” on left (1-18-07) After reading Bimbadhara’s ” WALK THAT ROAD ”article in the last issue, I couldn’t help but be inspired to try to describe the other side of that transcendental coin, crossing the valley. Everyone in the community is aware of the path  from        Madhuban across Kesi-ghat  to the brahmacari asrama. A good number of devotees have even had the nectarean experience of cross­ing it. But outside of the resident Brijabasis, few have knowledge of it and few­er still have tried to do it. Any guests who can be persuaded to come up top find the road difficult enough. Mostly they are devotees wearing dhotis and sandals or else karmis in blue jeans and cowboy boots. But this is not what is necessary for crossing  the  valley.’ What’s needed is the ability of a moun­tain goat, the grace and balance of a downhill slalom skier, the cool confi­dence of a professional gambler and the stamina of a steam engine.       For those of our readers who have never tasted the thrills of crossing the valley, here it is. Kesi-ghat is located at the bottom of the valley between Mad­huban and Vrindaban, about; a four hun­dred foot descent as the stone falls and a six hundred foot span as the crow flies. In other words, it’s pretty steep. As you leave the road you enter a nice clo­ver field on top of the ridge. Red clover smells real nice and you can pick some to make your Deity garlands with. At the downhill side of the field is a path into the woods that is so hidden from view that even veterans have completely missed it. Once the path is found it’s a nice short trot downhill a few yards till it levels off into an easy walk. The trees give protection from the heat of the sun and the short vegetation leaves you a nice view of the forest area. Many deer live here and their footprints are often visible on the path.      A short walk brings you into the pine forest, the aroma of which is very pleas­ing. In the winter it’s the only place a-round that is still green and is very com­forting to see. But the path starts to drop here and it’s difficult to just walk without trotting. Careful now! If you don’t know the way you’ll just trip over the pine tree that blew down during a storm. Quickly now the path curves and bends around trees and down­hill through bushes. Ahead you see a straightaway and the temptation to run is hard to resist. Suddenly, your arms are flailing backwards as you try to slow down. There’s a couple of skinny trees to grab onto as you stomp on down, and if you hold on tight as your feet run by you can usually manage to stop.     Thrilled by the excitement of it all, you pause for a moment and listen to the water as it falls into Kesi-ghat. You can mentally visualize the location by this sound, about a forty-five degree drop down through the vegetation that blocks the view.      At this point there’s no difficulty dis­tinguishing the veterans from the guests. On your first crossing you become a lit­tle cautious here because the trail drops so sharply. Most of our boys run all the way down. It’s quite a spectacle arms flailing, shouts of “Haribol” and fast-moving feet trying to just stay under­neath the body. You fly down the path, just touching it here and there in strate­gic places to keep your balance on the curves and drops. If you’re fast and con­fident you can make it with no prob­lem. But if you choke and lose your nerve you may go  sailing, head first, right off the path, desperately grabbing the tops of bushes as you fly over them, trying to stop before hitting the really steep part. Actually, Vrndavana Natha is always protecting His devotees and likes to see the fun, so rarely does anyone get hurt. Once at the bottom, the pleasant at­mosphere is very refreshing. You look back uphill, amazed at how steep it is and the fact that you’ve made it down.      The path leading out is a little tricky to find. Sometimes, crossing over in the night, boys have gotten lost and wound up coming up the same side they just  ran down. The path now climbs uphill and very soon you find yourself breathing hard and fast. Your legs get tired but there’s no sign of the top. With your lungs aching, your nose and mouth burning and your mind tell­ing you that you’re crazy you struggle up wards. The steep part behind you,  the climbing gets a little easier and you can see a clearing ahead. As you come out of the woods, just below the temple, you offer obeisances to Sri Sri Radha Vrnda­vana Natha, but the blood rushing to your head and the lack of breath make it difficult to do so. Then it’s through the cow pasture up to the temple, uphill every step of the way. The thought of the approaching cold shower gives you impetus to hurry for then you will be able to see Radha-Vrndavana Natha.   Kirtanananda Maharaja used to walk down to Kesi-ghat every morning to bathe when he stayed up top, a fact that will never cease to amaze me. The boys who “play” (since there’s no work in Krsna Consciousness) at the Palace go this route twice a day, summer and winter. Either way, walking the road or crossing the valley, if you want to exper­ience the Krsna Conscious atmosphere of New Vrindaban’s real country asrama, the brahamacari farm, you have to per­ form a little austerity. But, after all, austerity is the wealth of the brahmanas and helps to make us strong. […]