Vanity thought #585. Yamuna

The problem with Yamuna has been bothering me for a while now. It used to be a nice little river, not particularly clean but very usable. Maybe it’s not the right way to talk about this most sacred river but if we talk about rivers we assume we can take a bath in them, pollution might not touch their spiritual powers but after a bath we are expected to be visibly clean, not covered in unidentifiable oily muck.

In case you don’t know what the current problem is – Yamuna starts high in the Himalayas but when it reaches the plains it gets all diverted to serve towns and factories and there’s literally nothing left of it. These towns and factories return the water in the form of sewage and the river gets reassembled again a couple of hundred kilometers down it’s usual course. That’s how it reaches Vrindavana.

If I were to go there now I wouldn’t know what to do about it. Should I take a shower with lots of soap after talking a bath in Yamuna? Should I even bother with taking a bath there? Maybe offering obeisances on the shore is enough. What if she feels offended that I refused to fully utilize her offerings? It is possible to take a bath in her waters after all.

I guess it’s the same problem as with the rest of Vrindavana – you need to completely forgo all material considerations in order to worship it properly, and I mean all of it must go, even the most basic instinct of self preservation. If you have any concerns about the condition of your body at all you are not fit to enter.

I’m not talking about setting a nice materialistic life in Vrindavana, that has been proven to be quite possible, but I have a feeling that if you accept that option you’ll never be allowed into the spiritual Vrindavana, ever. It’s your choice – having a comfortable life in one of the numerous condos with deeply satisfying knowledge that you made it into a Brijabasi or take baths in Yamuna without any care for skin cancer, rashes and whatever diseased you will certainly get there.

I guess a real inhabitant of Vrindavana wouldn’t even consider taking a bath anywhere but in Yamuna. Of course there’s also Radha Kund and others but our acharyas warned us of using their waters for something as mundane as cleansing our bodies.

Maybe these doubts are the real reason I don’t go to Vrindavana anymore, I’m not ready to deal with it, not ready to live up to the expected standards and cannot afford to compromise anymore. Once you know your behavior is offensive you cannot continue with it. In that sense my earlier ignorance was my bliss, and now it’s gone.

Besides, I don’t want to go there and see monkeys, open sewage and half burnt bodies floating around, as long as my eyes see these things there’s no use of taking them to Vrindavana.

I feel deeply apologetic towards Mother Yamuna but I’m afraid I’ll have to wait with going to pay her tributes in person.


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