Surprising Guests – Pilgrims and Indian Customs – 4 Sep 08


Radhashtami, the  birthday of Radha is getting close and in Vrindavan they celebrate this day even more than Krishna’s birthday. From all over India pilgrims come to the town, some making the journey by foot, others by train and many of them take one of the popular coaches which make the journey especially for this day. They arrive here and stay wherever they find a place.

This afternoon Ramona was in the office together with me and wanted to get some water. She went out of the room and was surprised: about ten people she had never seen before were sitting in the entrance hall and, of course, were all looking at her when she came out of the office. It is not unusual though to meet a stranger in the Ashram.

You know that our Ashram is open for everybody who comes with devotion. It lies on the main path of pilgrimage in Vrindavan, the Parikrama Marg and this is how the pilgrims came in and asked if they could stay for a few nights. These pilgrims have very little requirement, just a place to lie down, preferably under the open sky, and some food. During daytime they visit the places of their pilgrimage and in the night they sleep in our courtyard. It is a nice part of the Indian culture to open your heart and your home even for unknown guests. You provide them and welcome them with everything they need without making prior arrangements. 

2 Replies to “Surprising Guests – Pilgrims and Indian Customs – 4 Sep 08”

  1. I cannot imagine this happening in my own town. I am not from India. I feel a great joy when I look at this picture and read this story. Caring for strangers at the Ashram or strangers anywhere seems to be a very natural thing. To feed someone who asks for food is a very simple action and it is alignment with life.