There was a special meeting of the BVHA yesterday at Kishor Van. Kishor Van is the place of Hariram Vyasa, a direct disciple of Madhavendra Puri. He was one of the significant figures on the Vrindavan in the early 16th century and many of his songs mention gosthis of Prabodhananda, Rupa, Sanatan, Haridas Swami and Hari Vyas and other important pioneers of the rasika bhakti movement of the time. Hariram Vyasa was very close to Hit Harivams, and Kishore Van was originally an extension of Seva Kunj, but at some point was separated from it by a wall on the north side. I believe that the Rasa Mandal here was one of the first if not the very first in Vrindavan.

I could not get a very good photo of Hariram Vyasji’s Yugal Kishor deities because of lighting.

Here is his samadhi. Because of monkey problems, everything is covered with layers of grilling.
Here you can see out the back into the garden area. Now just over the wall on the left is Seva Kunj. Seva Kunj, Nidhivan and Kishore Van are the only three “green” garden areas left in Vrindavan, but all of them are very dry and rather uninviting. Kishore Van is the smallest of the three. As you can see from this and the picture below, some effort has been made to plant trees, but there is difficulty getting water into the vana (there is a dry well on the grounds), and the monkeys are a huge problem here.
Here is a picture of the meeting, which was basically called simply to announce the project of restoring Kishore Van. Jagannath Poddar of Friends of Vrindavan resuscitated one of many previously proposed projects in the hope that the BVHA can demonstrate some accomplishments and build credibility in that way. We will have occasion to comment later.
The project proposes covering the entire ground with some kind of grill to prevent monkeys from coming in. And of course, planting trees and flower bushes, etc.
Unfortunately I did not get everyone’s name and many of the faces were new. It seems that the BVHA group is getting larger, and new people are coming, but many of the old faces were absent. Jagannath Poddar and Madhumangal Shukla are the most prominent individuals who have remained consistently present and they may be the greatest hope for the BVHA. This meeting was attended by representatives of several important groups–the RSS, the Brahman Mahasabha, the Brajavasi Panda Sabha, the town council, and others.
On the right above is Acharya Naresh Narayan, who took a prominent role at the meeting. He is the editor and publisher of a small weekly newspaper in Hindi called Vrindavan Insaf, which has been publishing stories related to BVHA activities and some other environment related issues.
It is good that more people are coming. The local press and TV were there and took pictures and will write something up in tomorrow’s papers. So at least that much is being done. It is a beginning. Everybody seems to be most concerned about the monkeys and even as we did the tour of Kishor Van, one former town councillor, Pratibha Sharma, had her glasses stolen. I didn’t see it, coz my glasses were in my pocket and I am blind as a bat without them. But we have to look into a sterilization program. Katie says she knows some people… Let’s see.
Latest news of the bridge and courtcases will be coming tomorrow.

Minutes of the meeting of Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance (BVHA)

Place: Kishor Van
Date: 5th May 2010

Present: Shri Bal Krishna Goutam, Shri Govind Kishor Goswami, Dr. Devendra Chaitanya Brahmachari, Ms. Nirguna Dasi, Shri Jagadananda Das, Ms. Katie Walter, Acharya Naresh Narain, Shri Arup Govinda Das, Shri Indra Pahuja, Shri Krishna Gopal Gupta, Jagannath Poddar, Ms. Pratibha Sharma, Ms. Sita Agrawal, Shri Ram Narayan Brajwasi, Dr. Chandra Prakash Sharma, Shri Damodar Sharma, Shri Suresh Vedpathi, Shri Gopal Ji, Shri Suresh Chandra Sharma, Shri Jagadananda Das, Shri Madhumangal Shukla, Shri Ravindra Kulshreshtha, Shri Satyamurti Saraswat

Chair: Thakur Shri Jugal Kishor through His servant Shri Govind Kishor Goswami. The following topics were discussed in the meeting & unanimously resolved:

Vrindavan is the holy abode of the Divine Couple of Shri Radha and Krishna. Vrindavan itself is a temple and swarup of the Lord, hence it is adorable. We being the citizens of the town and the devotee of Shri Krishna have the prime responsibility of maintaining the sanctity of this holy town and decorate it by planting trees.

Though Vrindavan is being turned into a concrete jungle, the Alliance will try to revive its symbolic sacred groves and gardens. The Kishor Van will be developed as a model sacred grove which will remind visitors and pilgrims how Vrindavan was in Krishna’s time. The linkages with Forestry, Horticultural and Agriculture Departments will be set up to take their technical advice. Typical trees of Kadamba, Tamal, Peelu, Piyabansa, Kareel, Paras Peepal will be planted in Kishor Van.

The Alliance intends, for various reasons, to focus more on private rather than public land to develop the greenery.