Okay, so now you will think what is this all about? A Scam? That too in such a famous and religious place where Lord Krishna spent his youth? Yes, you read it right. I am talking about the very same town – which is famous for adventures and mischievous stories of Lord Krishna! I believe, we all have been listening to the enchanting tales of little Krishna since our childhood sharing an undefinable connection with Him. The Kalia Dance, sneaking butter and milk, Gopi –Krishna Rasleela and many more stories kept us glued to the TV. So when I got an opportunity to visit the land of these stories, I grabbed it.
It was almost mid-afternoon when I reached Vrindavan. I had made a list of places which I planned to see and enquired with the local people about the temples I can visit. They suggested that I can go to Kesi Ghat or to the famous Krishna Nandlal temple- famous as in, this the only temple which is open throughout the day for devotees. There are 1000’s of temples in Vrindavan and the prominent ones which have been listed on the internet are the private temples which are closed in the afternoon. I also came to know about an interesting fact that the temples which are run by Government and by the private authorities are open at two different timings to avoid any conflict. This is irrational for any visitors who travel all the way to the Vrindavan just to experience the spirituality of this place. So basically, you need to know at what time you are reaching to Vrindavan and which temples are open at that particular time.
I decided to visit Krishna Nandlal temple. It is very typical in its architecture with the Hinduism influence and the floor is made up of marble with some names written on it. I stepped inside the main mandpa of the temple with lot of gratitude. I felt great. Finally I was going to see Lord Krishna in his own town. I saw one Panditji sitting next to the arch covered by beautiful bluish-green colored curtain with golden embroidery on it. I assumed that idols are behind the curtain.
Panditji told me to sit down and very politely asked me my name, from where I have come and then he started telling the importance of this temple and how all my problems will be solved here. I was impressed with the information he was giving. I thought he was so generous and kind. But soon, the bubble busted with his sudden question “Toh deviji, boliye! Aap kitne ka bhog chadhayengi? Ma ke naam? Ya pita ke naam? ya apne liye? (How much money you will donate and for whom? Your mom, dad or for yourself?)
He kept talking… for parents it is Rs.2000 Rs, for you Rs.1000.
“I am zapped with disbelief!” I was not here to do all this! I was here simply to get a glimpse of Lord Krishna. However the Panditji was not giving me a chance to talk, rather he insisted me to donate the money on the name of my parents or give shidha (the portion of grains which he said will be fed to the cows from the town).
Further he said – “Do you see these tiles? We make a marble tile with your name carved in it mentioning when you donated the money and then we fix it on the floor.” Aha! Now I know where these marble tiles are coming from!
The moment I said I don’t have that much money; the smart Panditji started bargaining on the amount, “Okay fine beta, give only 500 or 250 or whatever you wish!”
To be very honest I was very embarrassed as I had never faced such situation until now. I did not know what to say. I had specially come to see Lord Krishna and did not want to go back without his darshan. I got emotional… Finally Panditji wins here! I gave him Rs.100 and then he opened those curtains.
The idol of Lord Krishna was supremely beautiful and serene. I felt peaceful and all that anxiety vanished away in a second. I prayed to God for the wonderful life He has given me. I wondered if these people are afraid of being watched by God! Like that cat who drinks milk with closed eyes, these people think that if they put curtains on the idols God cannot see them troubling His devotees.
I came across such incidences at many temples, especially in Nandgaon- they won’t open curtains till you give some money. Some agreed on Rs. 100 while some for Rs. 50. This experience certainly taught me how not to fall prey of such emotional traps in future. I prepared myself to say “NO”- bold and loud enough to clear my message that I am here to be in presence of God and not because I have problems in life. And I must tell you IT WORKED!
Please note: If you come across such traps then be clear about what’s best for you. The ultimate choice is yours. This was my personal experience and my thought process. Everyone has their own views and perception towards things and I respect it.
(Image credit to Internet)