The metaphorical search of the impassioned soul for union with Lord Krishna is centered within earthly Vrindavana or perhaps that region in the heart wherein god is ultimately found. The truth revealed in ancient scriptures by Valmiki and Vyasadeva to help the seeker's quest for Krishna is not easily accepted by us in the new millennium.
Ardent devotees have been born from time to time in the history of Krishna worship. The lives of bhaktas, their perspectives, thoughts, voice as expressed in the thousands of padas in common daily and festive use, stutis (hymns of praise or eulogies), stotras and sermons, throw light on the prestigious Vaishnava world and simultaneously inflame the desire of the individuated soul for union with god.
The energy, joyous abandon and love of rasikas(persons moved by ardent religious devotion esp for Krishna)is known to passionately draw Krishna, the beautiful dark-skinned cowherd to Vrindavana, hungry for the fulfilment of his love. The very foundation of a religion of union is that the individual, partial and manifest self must ultimately be joined with the universal, whole and un-manifest Self.
Devotion to Lord Krishna is the pride of Vraja. For us in the Indian tradition shringara rasa is considered the peak of human emotions, taking us to the very heart of the love of Radha and Krishna. Clearly bhakti shringara or a certain spirituality that can only arise by indulging in love sees the love of Shyama-Shyam and the gopis (considered kaya vyuhas or replications of Shri Radha) as transcendental love of the highest order. Attaining the constant, clearly evident kripa or grace of Radha-Krishna there is no need of any other medium to become one with the divine.
'In Braj Vaibhav Ki Apoorv Shri Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji' the pivotal concept of madhurya or sweet love which defines the love of Krishna and is an important Vaishnava concept of shringara bhakti evolves. He richly shares madhurya with Ushaji his hungering devotee and it unfolds in idyllic Vrindavana Krishna is the repository of madhurya and Bobo is seen to be equally tender in expressing and experiencing her love for Krishna. Whether it is in the pleasure of belonging or the pathos of longing, participating in the innocent lilas of Krishna or being charmed by his flute, she in equal measure reflects the madhurya of Krishna.
She becomes a paradigm of the perennial quest of mankind for a divine and transcendental love. This intense attraction to Vrindavana is apparent by Bobo as she was fondly called. Bhaktimati Shri Usha Bahenji lived in Vrindavana for over half a century, inspiring educated youth to live lives of celibacy and tapa. Shunning self-publicity, she led a life of stern simplicity and attained great heights of spiritual realization. The readers will gain in-depth spiritual faith by simply reading this book.
Ushaji was born in the city of Ambala on 30th of July, 1925. Her parents Shri Manamohan and Syama brought her up with loving care. Educated in a reputed school, she went on to take up the job of teaching and subsequently became principal of a certain school in the city. But these felicities did not bind her down to Ambala. Right from the start she intensely felt as if she belonged to Vrindavana and by a matter of chance she was born elsewhere.
In the course of passionately being drawn to Vrindavan an interesting incident took place on 30th July 1954, on her thirtieth birthday. While she was wondering over the meaning of nila parivestita, a saintly figure dropped in all of a sudden, uttering jaya jaya radhika madhava, creating a peculiar vibration in the room. On being asked the siddha replied mystically that he was Charan Sakha (friend of the feet) and that he lived at Kusuma Sarovara in Vraja where Uddhava also lived. It was by the bidding of Lord Krishna that he had come to Ambala.
He narrated various lilas or divine plays of Lord Krishna and kept them spell-bound. He visited Ushaji's house for years and his mystic revelations had a tremendous impact on her. Deciding to leave for Vrindavan her chosen destination permanently on 17th November,1959, Ushaji left behind her parents, friends, students institution and job. She soon became a paradigm of the seeker for ultimate reality.
We will be coming out with the English version of 'Braj Vaibhab Ki Apoorv Shri Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji (Poojya Bobo)' on this site. Her seva to thakurji or the Lord's svarupa makes her assume a particular relationship with the Lord. She attends selflessly without expectation of rewards to the needs of thakurji or the living presence of Lord Krishna and soon enough developes an all-consuming intimacy with Him.
Her devotional practices require the devotee to savour the shringara rasa of Radha by smarana or a concentrated internal practice of imaginative recollection by living through the countless legends of the playful dalliance of Radha and Krishna. For both the bhakta and the rasika, madhurya is the key to understanding and celebrating the love of Radha and Krishna and in so doing get a glimpse of one's transcendent self. As madhurya translates into ananda comes the realization that everyone is ultimately a nayika searching for Krishna and worshippers come to find the god within themselves.