CROSS THAT VALLEY By Gaurasakti dasa (from Oct. 1978 Issue of B.S.)

2007-01-18-entering-vrindaban-road.JPG 2007-01-03-pusya-abhiseka.JPG 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.

Information and Links

Join the fray by commenting, tracking what others have to say, or linking to it from your blog.

Reader Comments

[…] found! Ya know, this is the first time I have ever read one of the “Cross That Valley” articles. I guess it’s true, time heals all […]