Traditional Values Revived
Brijwasan village – now a place for spiritual wisdom
The traditional Brijwasan village is now transformed into a mystic abode of the Gods that is sanctified by many ashramas and beautiful temples that lend a spiritual colour to the quietude of the rural backdrop. From time immemorial, this village was known as ‘Bijwasan’ and the name stayed on as long as the jat populace addressed in their local dialect. The baptism of the village has since been done a number of times. Finally, the name “Brijwasan” was conceived by the Founder / Peethadheeshwar of Shri Golok Dham Ashram ‘Dharamratan’ Swami Shri Gopal Sharan Devacharya Ji Maharaj when he heard about the village.
In fact, Rev’d Sadhgurudev Swami Shri Gopal Sharan Ji was searching for a lonely place and he visualized the place as an ideal setting for constructing his dream temple that spiritually related to Brijdham, the land of Krishna. The place away from the urban life and noise pollution fulfilled the requirements for construction of an ashram and a temple with lot of greenery and a little pond in the surrounding vicinity. Selection of site and examination of the soil were elaborately treated in the Vaastu Shastras from time immemorial, since they were regarded as important preliminaries to actual construction of temples. Hindu temples are constructed on sites, which satisfy the canons of beauty, religious sanctity, convenience and architectural stability. Brihat Samhita says that the gods always play where the groves are near rivers, mountains and springs and in towns with pleasure gardens. Tantrasamuchchaya reveals that the site, for the purpose of installing the deity should be chosen in a sacred place, on the bank of a river, the shore of sea, forest, grove or garden, in a village. The Agamas and Vaastu Shastras, Hinduism’s scriptural authorities on temple architecture, give precise details and formulas prescribing how to design, carve and assemble a temple.
The present marvelous Temple of Thakur Shri Radhagolok Vihari Ji Maharaj in the Golok Dham Ashram in Brijwasan was born out of Swamiji’s strong resolve that constantly persisted with his mind. The temple architecture and the entire paraphernalia are designed to the liking of the Swamiji whose ultimate resolve to build a temple on the concept of Vaastu Shastra, Vedas, Puranas and Smritis has been finally achieved with the admirable support of the devotees. Swamiji has vowed to build at least 108 temples around the world and more than half of the task has already been accomplished.
The initiation of the project began in 1990 with a small piece of land and with the gradual support of the enormous devotees from home and abroad, land was acquired in fragments from the local people who later on generously contributed to the noble cause. It took 14 laborious years for the entire project to complete.
Ashram houses a unique temple assimilating the traditional and modern architectural elements
The entire ashram covers up an area of four acres. The elegant temple inside the ashram is spread in an area of 25000 sq. ft. with the worship hall consuming 15000 sq. ft. and congregation hall taking up 10000 sq. ft. on a combined basis. The front of the temple accommodates a spacious garden, a beautiful fountain made of Bharatpur stone and white marble. The adjoining garden and Hari Goshala provide vegetables and milk for the “satvik bhojana” prepared in the ashrama’s ‘Vaishnava’ kitchen. With the Yagyashala on the left and Bhakt Niwas on the right of the temple with modern facilities make the stay of visiting devotees comfortable. The bramhamcharis or the young learners stay in Chatravas that has been specially erected to facilitate their study of scriptures within the sublime environment of the ashram.
In fact, this adheres to the age-old tradition where the temple was more popular resort for rest and entertainment than merely a heaven for peace and tranquility. From ancient times, the temple has been a great religious as well as an educational institution. Recitation of vedic mantras, study of scriptures, puranas was the basic strategy to promote the Hindu doctrine and philosophy among the literates and illiterates that still continues to be a special feature of temple activities. The temple built according to the instructions of the Shastras has channeled the darshan of the deities in a powerful way, which radiates with myriad mystical and metaphysical qualities that make them so special.
The splendid temple face the east and this is the direction preferred mostly as the rays of the rising sun illuminate the image of worship. The eastern facet of the temple both in plan and elevation gets a full and direct exposure to the solar radiation drawn on the concept of Vaastu Shastra. The entire structure of the temple and other significant buildings are made of brick and red stone brought from Bharatpur and white marble from Makrana, Rajasthan. The temple bespeaks of high degree of excellence in the technique and art of building characterized by breadth of vision and superior craftsmanship that is an amalgamation of both Hindu and Islamic architecture. The entrance is marked by beautifully designed tornas (gateways) in red stone that have been a recurrent feature in the Buddhist shrines. The latest addition that gives way for spiritual entertainment is the beautifully carved gateway that has completely transformed the atmosphere.
The Shikhara also made of red stone atop the Garba-Griha or Sanctum Sanctorum is pyramidical in nature. Garba-Griha literally means the womb of the temple, the inner most chamber of sanctuary containing the image of the main divinity. Underneath the Singhasana of the main deity of Thakur Shri Radha Golok Bihariji – there is a six-feet cellar where an astonishing number of 1.31 crore spiritual mantras has been installed that are hand written by devotees constituting the Golok Parikar from all over the world.
The temple is marked with many symbolic references like chakra, tilaka, shankha, kalasha and more vocal motifs that of mayura, garuda, gaja (elephant), and gau (cow) add to the sublime environment. Another unique feature of this temple is that the main deity of the Radha-Krishna is in the Swati-Mudra (sitting posture) with the Ashtasakhis in an unparalleled and adorable form not to be found in any Hindu temple throughout the world. Then, there is the antarala (or the immediate space before the Garba-Griha) connecting to the mukhamandapa (or the hall before the antarala) followed by the ardhamandapa (or the porch) signifying the covered entrance way. The height of the Shikhara from the ground level is 115 ft. and about 75 ft. from the floor of the temple. The Shikhara is treated with red colour to avoid flaking of salt in the stones. Actually, it was with the advent of Gupta period, that the practice of building with lasting materials especially in dressed stone and brick ushered in a new era of temple architecture.
Besides, there are the three Sri Yantras installed on the top of the temple, a unique addition in the sense that very rarely this symbol is seen atop any other Hindu temple. Basically, the Sri Yantra has the typical tantrik double aspect and signifies Genesis or realization of cosmic energy. Sri Yantra also indicates to the continuous process of creative generation with indwelling Mahavidya devatas in all the triangles and stupa and lingam motifs combining Buddhist and Hindu philosophy in a symbolic manner.
The pyramidical interior of the hall is treated by acoustic sheets to subdue the echo sound, which exemplify the application of the modern technology that finds expression with the tradition. The pat-dwar (doorway) to the Garba-Griha has been given a thin metal covering further embellished with elaborate floral designs in profound relief that adhere to a folk culture. The doorway is a great specimen of workmanship with handcrafted miniature design patterns in brass and silver. Patanga or Urdhvapattika (Lintel) of the doorway contains a tablet profusely carved at the center known as the mangalaphalka (symbol of good omen) adorning the Vinayaka (Ganesha). Very few doorways are without them. This a feature that was prevalent in the Kalyani Chalukyan and Kakatiya temples of Karimnagar district. To the front of the pat-dwar on the left is placed the padma-asana (lotus seat) in marble. The statues of Hindu mythological characters picked from various epics adorn the temple all over. The inside walls of the discouse hall is a perfect example of the religious tolerance that is sanctified with carved relief images on white marble of acharyas belonging to different religious sects.
There is separate abode for the Sharneshwar Mahadeva where the Shiva Lingam is established. The five and half feet black Shiva Lingam was extracted from the Narmada river near Onkareshwar temple in Ujjain.
A Kirti Stambha with Garuda on top has been erected outside the temple as a symbol to mark the dedicated servies of the devotees. Besides, there are eight small bagichis (gardens) in front of the temple named after ashtasakhis (Lalita, Bisakha, Champak Lata, Chitro, Tunga Bidya, Indulekha, Ranga Devi and Sudevika) of Lord Krishna.
This holy temple is an embodiment of universal sentiments dedicated to the advancement of Vedic Sanatan Dharma, Indian culture and service to the nation. The temple, the sublime part of the Golok Dham Ashram is also addressed as the Golok Dham Peeth, a cultural institution based on the Gurukala Vasa structure and Guru-Shishya parampara that adheres to higher learning. The ashram at Vrindavan and Brijwasan provides all basic facilities like free education, food and lodging for the sadhaks and students alike.
The consecration ceremony “Pran Pratistha Mahotsav” of the pious deity of the temple was performed on February 23, 2004 (Phalgun Shukla Tritya Samvat 2060) in the pious presence of Shri ‘Sriji’ Maharaj, head of the Nimbarka Sampradaya with the virtuous anchorite 103 year old Shri Shri 1008 Swami Lalita Sharan Ji lending his gracious presence.
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