Vishakha Dasi recounts her conversation with Lt. Shri Radharaman Dasji, an apparently ‘ordinary’ fruit seller with extraordinary devotion to Shri Dham Vrindavan! Befittingly, he attained Braj Raj yesterday during the most auspicious Purushottam Maas. He and his small shop were well-known in Vrindavan.
“I have never left Braj in my life”: Lt. Radharaman Das ji
Vrindavan 2020-09-20 (Vishakha Dasi): Radharaman Dasji, a beloved fruit seller of Loi Bazaar, attained the dust of Vrindavan. A couple of years ago, I interviewed him about his life and memories of Vrindavan before development. Here’s what I learned from him...
Yesterday I stopped to drink an orange juice at a fruit shop, and the shopkeeper, Radharaman Dasji, said to me, "You have lived here quite a while. Do you like Vrindavan?" I said yes of course, and he asked me why.
I was just starting to answer when he said, "You know why you like Vrindavan? Because this is Thakurji's own home, and it is full of peace.
“The greatest place in the world is Bharat, and in Bharat the greatest place is Vrindavan. You can live simply and peacefully here. You know, I have never even been to Delhi. I only go to Mathura sometimes for business, but I have never left Braj in my life."
His shop, he said, is about sixty years old, and it was started by his father.
"What did your family do before that?" I asked him.
“Well, my parents were from the place that is now called Pakistan. They were visiting Haridwar when the partition happened. They had to leave everything behind and start a new life, so they chose to do that in Vrindavan. I was born here. You know, even thirty or forty years ago, this place was full of trees. The way Tatiya Sthan is - that's how Vrindavan was not so long ago. It was all forest.
“There were no monkeys in the marketplace. They all lived in the woods by the side of Yamuna Maharani. And the cowherds used to take the cows out to pasture... there was so much pastureland then. In the evening when they would come back, there would be thousands of cows coming in from the pasture around sunset. Thakurji used to bring his cows home at sunset, that's why the Brajwasis did the same.
“Back then, Raman Reti, where ISKCON is now, was all wilderness. Nobody used to go there after 4pm for fear of robbers. At that time there was only one car in town. Everyone travelled by tonga (horse cart). Even if you wanted to go to Mathura, you had to take a tonga only.
“Then rich people came and started building guest houses and apartments. They cut down all the trees and bought all the pasturelands. Where will the monkeys go? What will the cows eat? I feel sad when I think of all this. People have started doing nasty things in Vrindavan, but back then people were afraid of offending the Dham. But you know, I love Vrindavan. I don't want to go anywhere else. There is so much peace here... (he said as horns blared and monkeys banged on the roof overhead)... so much peace here..."