Shrivatsa Goswami, Sri Caitanya Prema Samsthana, Vrindavan
Bhakti and Vrindavan: Actor and Theatre
What is Vrindavan? What is its main identity? The question looks frivolous. Who can question its deepest association with Krishna. Vrindavan as Krishna’s playgrounds, most famous for being the theatre of his Rasalila. The Bhagavata Mahatmya has a different point of view: “blessed is Vrindavan where bhakti dances”. Bhakti is the actor and Vrindavan its theatre.
The paper will try to re-view the bhakti-lila at Vrindavan, specially after the remanifestation of modern Vrindavan in 1515 by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Bhaktilila is not a mono-play of literary, religious, artistic or political actors. Its essentially a dialogical play where politics and religion come together in one act. In another art and economy interact. How did music and rituals performed together. There is also the dialogue of the classical and folk/vernacular traditions. What was the floor of understanding upon which the seemingly opposite players acted and danced together?
Bio: Sri Shrivatsa Goswami is a member of an eminent family of spiritual leaders and scholars at Sri Radharamana Mandir, Vrindaban. He has toured extensively to participate in conferences on philosophy and religion and lecture in major universities around the world. The University presses of Princeton, Berkeley and others have published his writings. Goswami is Founder-Director of Sri Caitanya Prema Samsthana, which had been an academic home to scholars from around the world, especially in the fields related to bhakti. He is also the Director of Vraja Prakalpa, a multi-disciplinary, multi-scholar on going research project. Nine volumes on various facets of Vraja culture are already published.