In Vrindavan...

I would rise before the sun at 5 am to make the two-hour walk around the village, called pakriti, with a young Peruvian monk.  This is what I saw.



In Vrindavan the sand sparkles like stardust,


Naked children tug at the hem of your shirt, their hair matted by

            The grief of years far beyond their own


            Passerby’s are greeted with the name of Rada Rani,

                        The name of the divine feminine


In Vrindavan faces on the street look at you with eyes that See, gleaming with

                        The glint of kindness from

behind bushy beards


We suffocate from the stench of human waste running in

open channels along the street and

              Trash clutters the dirt roadside beside the homeless



The sacred cows roam the street and

            Krishna’s devious monkeys fly in troops over rooftops and

                        Through the trees


In Vrindavan each of the five thousand temples is honored and tended to



            Plastered posters for this guru or that guru form

            A faded wallpaper on the decrepit, crumbling concrete


            Vegetarianism is enforced by law because life is sacred


In Vrindavan, the painted Deva statues stand with a rigidity that has upheld

                        A culture for millennia


            The uniform of the town mandated, perhaps, by Krishna or

Or, perhaps, by structural poverty

     is bare feet and dirty robes


            The faithful from young children to elderly dadus perform

                        Highest form of worship

            Dragging themselves for miles through the dirt in           repeated   prostration


BY: Tomás Quiñonez-Riegos