From Springen to Vrindavan

August 2017

By Rashmi Sehgal

Rashme Sehgal meets Swami Vishwananda, a Mauritian born disciple of Mahavatar Babaji, and propounder of bhakti marga, who has opened an ashram in Vrindavan to highlight the cause of decaying river Yamuna

Mauritius born Swami Vishwananda is the founder of an ashram in Springen, Germany where his followers follow Bhakti Marga, the path of love and devotion so that  they may encounter divine love. Swami Vishwananda successfully combines Eastern spirituality with Western spiritual traditions, giving people access to divine experience regardless of their cultural background.

His movement has grown rapidly and he travelled to India in December 2016 with a group of swamis and swaminis to inaugurate his new ashram in Vrindavan. Although small in size, the ashram has a powerful temple dedicated to Yamuna Maharani and Sri Giridhari. A dedicated environmentalist, it is obvious that Swami Vishwananda wants to highlight the cause of Yamuna river which flows past Vrindavan and desperately needs cleaning up.

He spoke at length about his mission and vision in an interview with the author.

You are now opening an ashram in India and that too in Vrindavan. What is the significance of having an ashram in Vrindavan?

Vrindavan is a place where Behari is active. Originally, I did not want an ashram here but the saints and sadhus insisted that I have an ashram in Vrindavan because the energy of Shri Krishna is predominant over here. The city stands as a beacon of devotion and faith.

The ashram is dedicated to Yamuna Maharani and Giridhari. This the first temple in the world which is dedicated to Krishna and his wife Yamunarani. She is one of the main wives of Krishna and had incarnated to marry him.

Is Yamuna Maharani an incarnation of the river Yamuna?

Yes, Yamuna Maharani is the manifestation of river Yamuna. The Yamuna river is one of the deities, one of the wives of Krishna. So the temple is unique because it will have Krishna in the form of Giridhari with Yamuna Maharani next to him.

I hope the worship of Yamunarani will teach us to clean the river and bring down its pollution levels.

When you see Yamuna in Yamunotri, it is flowing powerfully and rapidly. But then barriers are placed and her waters are diverted. The river stops flowing and becomes polluted. People do not realise the importance of a flowing river. The river maintains her balance of
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