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Sheela_Mata_Temple_Agroha.jpgBraj (Devanagari: ब्रज), also known as Brij or Brijbhoomi, is a region in Uttar Pradesh of India, around Mathura-Vrindavan. Brij, though never a clearly defined political region in India, is very well demarcated culturally. The area stretches from Mathura, Jalesar, Agra, Hathras and Aligarh right up to Etah, Auraiya and Farrukhabad districts. It is believed to be the land of Krishna and is derived from the Sanskrit word vraja. The main cities in the region are Mathura, Jalesar, Bharatpur, Agra, Hathras, Dholpur, Aligarh, Etawah, Auraiya, Mainpuri, Etah, Kasganj and Firozabad. The term "Braj" means "Pasture", and a settlement of herders and cattle breeders or Abode of Yadavs/Aheers or yaduvanshsthali. The residents or natives of Braj are called Brijwasi. Braj bhasha or Brij bhasha, closely related to spoken Hindi with a soft accent, is spoken throughout the region.

Брадж или Вра́джа (хинди ब्रज), также Бра́джбуми, Враджабху́ми — исторический регион в индийских штатах Уттар-Прадеш, Раджастхан и Харьяна. Является священным местом паломничества для вайшнавов, так как согласно Пуранам и другим текстам индуизма, в этом месте родился и провёл свою юность Кришна. Самые крупные города на территории Враджа — это Матхура, Агра, Алигарх и Майнпури. Географически и культурно Врадж расположен в самом центре доаба Ганги-Ямуны, который с древности являлся центром развития индийской культуры. Врадж занимает территорию в 3800 км² и располагается в "золотом треугольнике" Дели-Джайпур-Агра. Врадж можно разделить на два региона — восточную часть, в которой расположены такие места, как Гокула, Махаван, Балдео, Мат и Баджна; и западную часть, где находится округ Матхура с такими местами паломничества, как Вриндаван, Говардхан, Кусум-саровара, Варшана и Нандаграм. Врадж расположен на территории современных округов Матхура (Уттар-Прадеш), Бхаратпур (Раджастхан) и Палвал (Харьяна). Регион Враджа простирается от местечка Котбан в 95 км от Дели до Рунакты в районе Агры — места, получившего известность в связи с великим поэтом Сурдасом. Жителей региона называют "бриджбаси" или "враджабаси". Население Враджа разговаривает на диалекте хинди браджбхаша.

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Vrindavan, 2019. 03.15

Throughout the  “Hindu” world the Spring Festival of Holi festival is celebrated for a few exciting days, but in The Vraja Realm, Shri Yugala Kishor’s own Playground, it is so enjoyable that it lasts for a full 40 days, starting on 10th February 2019 and not concluding until 21st March! Thus it is known as Hora; the”Vast Hori”. We have already been playing since Vasanta Pancami, through Jaya Ekadashi, Hori Dandaropana, Ropani ko Utsava and Shri Nathaji ko Patotsava and Vijaya Ekadashi.

On Thursday 14th March 2019, we arrive at: Phalgun Shukla, Holiashtakarambha. On this day begins the lead up of 8 days to the culmination of the play with the lighting of the Holika Fire.

Since the play is at its most vigorous at this time, during these 8 days weddings and other auspicious social rituals are not performed.

 

Dhamar ko Pada

Raga Saranga, Poet Rasakhan

[The Gopis address the Enchanting Shri Krishna]

 “O, Enchanter! Hohohoho, It is Hori!! Yesterday You came into our realm and unleashed some fresh insults upon us !! ||1||

Today, although You are the Lord Who sports in the Forest Bowers, why are avoiding us and sitting so close to Your mum? The lasses whom You insulted on that day have very enthusiastically come over here to Your  Gokul! ||2||

Then those Cowherd maidens challenge Him and,dying of thirst for the Nectar of His beauty, kidnap Him from there! Their beauty is effulgent as they embrace that Lord Who is as beautifully dark as a rain-filled cloud. ||3||

The Vraja lasses put collyrium into His eyes and make Him run and dance like a jester, laughing to see this scene!! Says the poet Rasakhan, “One insult is worth more than a hundred words of respect!!”||4||

Friday 15th March


Phalgun shukla 9 – varshane ki holi

Socially, Hori is a festival of fun and outspokeness. Songs full of insults are sung to the Lord. Men and women gather at the shrines and sing and dance to the seasonal rhythms. This is followed by the ‘horanga play’ which has a slightly varying character in each of the Vraja Villages. In several of these, the ladies dress up in their finery for battle and the young men of the village have to escape lashes from the ladies’sticks [lathmar holi].

The most famous Lathmar Holi takes place in and around Rangili Galli  [“The Colourful Alleyway”] in Shri Varsana Dham. This occurs on the ninth day of the bright half of the month of Phagun. Men from Nandagaon [Krishna’s village, about 8 kilometres distance] come in a musically charged procession to Varsana.

To get up to the temple, they must climb up the steep pathway of that Rangili Galli where beautifully dressed  and adorned Vrajavasin ladies emerge fully veiled from their houses wielding long sticks with which they beat the shield bearing men over the head as they dance in a squatting stance.

When they finally manage to reach the top of the path, at Shri Radharaniji’s temple, an exciting festival of wet and dry colours overtakes everyone and all of this is accompanied by the seasonal music focusing on the drumbeats- often ‘nagadas’ – huge drums played by four or more men at the same time, that are so big they need to be on wheels to move.

Thus signifying that the climb up to total bliss, at the Lotus-Feet of Shri Radharani, the Queen absolute of Joy, can be fraught with divinely imposed danger – but that one must be willing to humble oneself and dance to the divine tune before one attains the state of actually playing within the Lords own Realm.

Before any of this can occur the  “Hori ko Nyoto” (invitation to the Holi Play) must be given. How they are exchanged is fully described in 2 long songs called “ Dhamar Pande ke Pada” where the Pande is the Brahmin responsible for delivering the invite. One goes from Nandagaon to Varsana and one from Varsana to Nandagaon, and these invitations are the precursors of the most prestigious event in the Vraja Holi Calendar.

The beats are infectious and the whole area turns into a dancing crowd, coloured from head to toe in fragrant wet and dry colours. The sky fills with clouds of colour and the music never stops.

 

Dhamar ko Pada:

Raga Vilavala

 “Pande ko Dhamar, Nandagaon to Varsana”

Poet Jana Hariya [possibly Sri Harirayji]

The Brahmin Pandit goes to Varasana from Nandagaom. Shri Vrishabhanu is most generous and respectfully welcomes him. ||1||

He smilingly bows his head to him, bathing his feet and feeding him. ||2||

When the Vraja Ladies hear of his arrival they all come crowding into Vrishabhanuji’s home in order to play Holi. ||3||

They apply mustard oil to his head and then flower oil to his limbs which become shiny, just as if they were rubbing oil onto an image of Sri Hanumanji. ||4||

They put a black collyrium in his eyes and a big red dot on his face forehead which looks like a patch stuck onto a leaking black pot to seal it. ||5||

Then the ladies, who all walk as gracefully as she-elephants, rub sticky glue into his moustache in order to shape it up. It’s as if the month of Phagun has personified and come to Vraja in order to join in the Holi Play. ||6||

One of them anoints him with light sandal paste, bows to him and then add dark sandal paste which make him look like the fresh flowers that appear on the Palasa tree in this Spring Season. ||7||

One of them puts a string of small beads made from cowdung around his neck and another dresses him up in a loose shirt. These look like bells painted with alligator designs on them, tied around an elephants neck ||8||

They smother him with so many handfuls of colour that he begins to yawn, making him look like a priest wearing necklaces of gunja beads. ||9||

One lovely lady pours a pot full of buttermilk over his head. It looks like the sacred Mount Govardhan is being bathed in raw milk ||10||

He runs away like a thief when dawn comes, only to have Ganga water poured all over him, like the water that has washed the Lords Feet breaking out of Lord Shivas locks. ||11||

His teeth begin to chatter noisily as his body begins to shiver. They sound like nice musical rhythms being played! ||12||

Then he calls out, “O,Radhe,O,Sri Radhe! O,Daughter of Sri Vrishabhanuji, I surrender to you!.||13||

Hearing these words spoken so lovingly Sri Radha approaches, full of sympathy. |She brings a padded jacket that belongs to her father and helps the Purohitji to put it on. ||14||

He goes to Shri Kiratiji and bows at her feet, she then gives him some hot milk to drink. As he does so, Shri Krishna, Who has been playing Holi, comes there dressed as a bridegroom ||15||

Everyone gathers together, in all shapes and sizes,to stage a wedding procession.Rishi Vyasa is there with his avadhuta son Sukadev. ||16||

Also there are the four Brahman boys, Sanaka etc.who enjoy their renunciate status. As he circumambulates the globe, Indra also stops there and the Gopis make him dance madly! ||17||

Then they make him roll in the mud of Holi colours in the narrow pathways of Vraja. Also brought to this stage is the curiously four faced Brahma. ||18||

Ganesh with five faces sings with all five of his mouths. Narad who had been rendered crazy by Shri Hari comes there dancing. ||19||

Seeing Nanda’s Son, he puts a conch to his mouth and sounds it. Mahadevji takes off his tiger skin garments and gives them to Shri Thakurji Who very much likes them. ||20||

Lord Krishna Who disperses all sorrows laughingly shouts, “ho ho ho Hori”, and everyone else laughs too. The Lord’s potency Maya casts her net of magic and Narad happily spreads the joy to the scene. ||21||

All became full of Love as Cupid’s army stole all their hearts. Lalita ties together Shri Radhaji’s and Shri Krishna’s upper garments with a knot to simulate Their wedding. ||22||

After tying the knot in the Daughter of Vrishabhanu’s garment Lalita they make crowns for Both of Them from peacock feathers and fresh young mango leaves. ||23||

She takes yellow cloth and creates a small wedding pavilion. They use Hori insults in place of the vedic mantras to solemnize the marriage. ||24||

The Holi fire is lit and the Groom makes offerings and offers respect to it [bowing and circumnambulating].Then everyone gets to eat bagfuls of special Holi foodstuffs. ||25||

The Poet Janahariya now sings “anyone who sings this account of Their lovely Holi Play will blossom like the spring. The Lord Who is as dark as a rain-filled cloud takes up His residence in Varsana |26||


Rasiya Song

Poet Ghasiram

 “Phāga khelana Barasāne āye haiṁ
Naṭavara Nãndakiśora|
Ghera laī saba galī rañgīlī,
|Chāya rahī chabi chaṭā rañgīlī,
Ina ḍola mṛdañga bajāye haiṁ,
Banśī kī ghanaghora||1||

Jura milike saba sakhiyāṁ āyī,
Umada ghaṭā aṁbara meṁ chāī,
Jina abīra gulāla uḍāye haiṁ,
Mārata bhara bhara jhora||2||


Lai rahe coṭa gvāla ḍhālana pai,
Keśara kīca maleṁ gālana pai,
Hariyala bāṁsa mañgāye haiṁ,
Calana lage cahuṁ ora||3||

Bhaī abīra ghora añdhiyārī,
Dīkhata nāhīṁ nara aru nārī,
Rādhe saina calāye haiṁ,
Pakare mākhana cora ||4||

Jo lālā ghara jānoṁ cāhau,
Tau horī kau phaguā lāo,
Śyāma ne sakhā bulāye haiṁ,
Bāṁṭata bhara bhara jhor ||5||

Rādhe jū ke hā hā khāo,
Saba sakhiyanan ke ghara pahuñcāo
Ghāsīrāma kathā gāȳe haiṁ,
Lagī śyāma te ḍhora” ||6||

 “The Dancer Supremo, Shri Krishna, Son of Nanda, has come to Varasana to play Hori. He and His sakhas fill “Rangili Gali”. Their colourful beauty shines brightly all around. Their beating of the dol and mridanga drums accompanies His lovely loud playing of the flute ||1||

Then all the Sakhis form a group and arrive there. Through their joyful play, clouds of colour fill the skies. They cover anyone who throws up white, pink or red powders with bagfuls of colour. ||2||

They beat the cowherd lads on the shields that they hold above their heads, rub the kich [the muddy mixed wet and dry colours] into their cheeks and then, gathering more bamboo poles, begin to wield them all around. ||3||

The clouds of powdered colours make the sky grow dark and no-one, neither the ladies nor the lads, can see anything. Shri Radhaji gives the signal to capture the Butter Thief! ||4||

They say, “Well,little boy! If you want us to let You go You must give us our Phaguva reward!” The dark Krishna calls to all His friends and they distribute bagfuls of gifts ||5||

He says “Do whatever Radhaji tells you to and take gifts to all their houses!”

The poet Ghasiram, lovingly attached to the dark and Beautiful Shri Krishna, now sings this tale.”||6||**

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imageproxy.jpgVrindavan, 11.03.2019

While the spirit of Holi takes over Braj from Basant Panchami itself, Phulera Dooj which was celebrated on March 8 this year, marked the beginning of the main festivities in Radhavallabh temple.

Phulera Dooj falls on the second day of the light fortnight in the month of Phalgun. ‘Phulera’ comes from the Hindi word ‘Phool’ (flowers). In North India people celebrate this festival by playing Holi with flowers.

On this day every year, Shri Radhavallabh Lal is dressed in a white ‘poshak’. A white ‘phenta’ (cummerbund/girdle) with a pouch of ‘Gulal’ (coloured powder) is tied around his waist to indicate that he all set for ‘the big event’, the five-day Holi starting on Rangbharani Ekadashi (March 17).

Thereafter, the girdle is regularly tied to Thakurji’s waist and his cheeks are smeared with the colours of Holi. (Here, it is interesting to note that during the Lathmaar Holi played in Barsana and Nandagaon, men tie a similar girdle with ‘Gulal’ pouches around their waists.)

Starting with the ‘Shringaar Aarti’ on March 8, devotees thronged the temple to get drenched in Radhavallabh’s ‘Gulal Prasadi’. Music and colours filled the atmosphere as Rasik saints sang the ‘Rasiya’, ‘Phaag’ and other Holi ‘padas’ in tune with the ‘Daph’ (Indian percussion instrument similar to the tambourine).
 

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“Free from pride I will spend the rest of my time at Radha Kund, at the base of Govardhana hill, making a rule to drink milk from Vraja and use clothes, plates and other articles from Vraja. Certainly I will leave my body near my beloved lake in front of Shri Jīva Goswami and others.”

vrajotpanna-kṣīrāśana-vasana-pātrādibhir ahaṁ
padārthair nirvāhya vyavahṛtim adambhaṁ saniyamaḥ
vasāmīśā-kuṇḍe giri-kula-vare caiva samaye
mariṣye tu preṣṭhe sarasi khalu jīvādi-purataḥ

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (Trans: Ananta Das and Adwaita Das): In sādhakāveśa, Shri Raghunath vows allegiance to Vraja with his body and all his senses. In this verse he vows to live in Vraja until death (āmaraṇa) and to surrender exclusively to Vraja Dham. One of the items of surrender is taking exclusive shelter of the Lord’s playground:

tavāsmīti vadan vācā tathaiva manasā vidan;
tat sthānam āśritas tanvā modate śaraṇāgataḥ

“He who says: ‘I am yours!’ and who also thinks like that, blissfully takes shelter of the Lord’s abode and is a surrendered soul.”

In his Bhakti Sandarbha, Shri Jīva Goswami mentions the conditions leading to surrender:

When a person is troubled by fear of material life, which consists of the six enemies of lust, anger and so on; he finds no way out, then he takes full shelter of the Lord.

Another person, who takes shelter of the Lord is someone who desires devotional service and who wants to destroy all obstacles that keep him away from the Lord.

Braj is the kingdom of mahā-bhāva, which leads to surrender. When a devotee reaches the stage of prema bhakti, his surrender is called tadaika-jīvana (‘the Lord is all I have in life’).

A surrendered devotee doesn’t like to have anything to do with dull, material things that are not connected with the Lord. Not only his inner senses, but also his outer senses – in connection with maintaining the body – take shelter of the Lord and his abode.

In this verse, Shri Raghunath vows to maintain his life simply by consuming dairy products from Vraja only and wearing clothes produced in Vraja. Vraja is a transcendental abode and everything that comes from here is also transcendental and therefore greatly nourishes one’s bhajana.

Shri Raghunath Das is an eternal associate of the Lord who is always satisfied with the nectar of Prema – hunger and thirst can never agitate his spiritualised body and senses. In the Bhaktamāla it is written:

śrīmān raghunath das ye gosvāmī; pracaṇḍa vairāgya yāra mahā-bhakta premī
anurāga parākāṣṭha śrī rādhā-govinde; divā niśi nāhi jāne matta premānande

“Srila Raghunath Das Goswami was a greatly renounced, loving devotee. He was attracted to Radha-Govinda to the limit and out of ecstatic love he didn’t know whether it was day or night.”

śrī rādhākuṇḍera tīre korilena vāsa; divā-niśi sadā rādhā-kṛṣṇa premollāsa
rādhā-kṛṣṇa prāpti lāgi sadā utkaṇṭhita; sadā hāhākāra kṣaṇe sthira nahe cita
he he vṛndāvaneśvari he vraja-nāgara; dekhāiyāśrī caraṇa rākho prāṇa mora
nidrāhāra nāhi sadā koroye phutkāra; bāhya sphūrti nāhi sadā mātoyāra

“He lived on the bank of Radha Kund and was absorbed in ecstatic love for Radha-Krishna day and night. He was always very eager to attain Them and he always loudly cried out for Them, without ever calming down. Without eating or sleeping, he constantly exclaimed: “O Queen of Vrindavan! O amorous hero of Vraja (Krishna)! Save my life by showing me your lotus feet!” He was always inebriated by ecstatic love and was always unaware of external affairs.”

Whatever he still accepted to keep himself alive, that little bit of buttermilk had to come from Vraja alone, and not from anywhere outside of Vraja – that was his firm vow. Also the clothes he wore had to be made only in Vraja, and not from anywhere else.

Secondly, he vowed to live forever at the base of Shri Girirāja, at Radha Kund, the best of all places in the 84-Kos circumference of Vraja. In many places in his Stavāvalī Srila Raghunath expresses his firm determination to stay on the bank of Shri Radha Kund. Many great souls have attained perfection by remaining fixed in a certain place. Before attaining perfection, Lord Buddha sat down at the foot of a Bodhi-tree and firmly vowed:

ihāsane śoṣyatu me śarīraṁ tvag asthi māṁsaṁ vilayaṁ ca yātu
aprāpya bodhiṁ bahu kalpa durlabhāṁ naivāsanāt kāyamataś caliṣyate

“My body may parch under this tree and my skin, bones and flesh may dissolve, but, until I reach enlightenment, even if it takes many ages, I will not move my body from this seat!” Shri Raghunath’s vow to remain on the bank of Radha Kund is not even slightly less firm than this!

Samadhis at Radha Kund, P.C. Tripmondo Thirdly, Shri Raghunath Das desires to leave his body in front of great souls like Shri Jīva Goswami. These great souls are in a sense non-different from the Lord; they are the manifest mercy of the Lord and a devotee greatly desires to pass away close to such great saints, as is revealed through this prayer of Shri Raghunath Das Goswami.

 

ahaṅkāra śūnya hoiyā, tṛṇād api nīca hoiyā,
vrajotpanna kṣīrādi bhojane
vrajavāsīra ye vasana, aṅge kori ācchādana,
ānandete yāhā kore dāne

“Free from false pride, feeling lower than a blade of grass I will only use dairy products from Vraja and wear clothes made and blissfully donated by the people of Vraja.”


girirāja govardhane,sannihita sarovare,
rādhākuṇḍa tīre kori vāsa
ei mora abhimata,śuno he bāndhava yoto,
vidhi ki pūrābe mora āśa?

“I will reside on the bank of Radha Kund, near the base of Girirāja Govardhana. This is my wish. Listen, O friends! Will Fate fulfill my desires?”

rādhe rādhe rādhe boli,ḍākibo ki bāhu tuli,
preme kaṇṭha hoibe ye rodha
mad īśvarīśrī rādhikā, saṅge saṅge dibe dekhā,
rākhibe ki ei anurodha?

“Will my voice break with love when I raise my arms and cry out: “Rādhe! Rādhe! Rādhe!?” Will my mistress Shri Radhika then reveal herself to me and thus fulfill my request?”


priya rādhākuṇḍa tīre,yugala darśana kore,
ei deha patana hoibe
prabhura priya pāriṣada, śrī jīva gosvāmī yoto,
se samaya sammukhe thākibe

“Will I see the Yugala Kiśora when I leave my body on the bank of my beloved Radha Kund, and will the Lord’s dearmost associates, like Shri Jīva Goswami, be there also at that time?”


kuṇḍa-tīre Raghunath,e bhāvanāya dina rāta,
pratikṣaṇa koriche yāpana.
jhuriyā jhuriyā kānde, hiyā dhairya nāhi bāndhe,
haripada pābe ki darśana

“Will Haripada Śila ever see Raghunath on the bank of Radha Kund in this way, absorbed day and night in these thoughts, crying streams of tears, unable to keep his heart at ease?”

Verse 8

Site Admin

imageproxy.jpgMathura, 2019.03.03

Holi – the Hindu festival of colours which is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of ‘Phalgun’ (February/March), falls on March 20 and 21 this year.

In Braj, Holi is almost a month-long affair beginning with ‘Basant Panchami’. It attracts millions of devotees and tourists from India and across the world. While there are many different kinds of Holi celebrations in Braj, Barsana-Nandgaon’s ‘Lathmaar Holi’ and Baldeo’s ‘Dauji ka Huranga’ are most popular.

According to Tourism official DK Sharma, 2 million devotees are expected to take part in the festivities this year. Last year, the figure stood at 1.5 million.

For the first time ever, this year, Barsana’s Lathmaar Holi will be a six-day celebration. Beginning on March 14, festivities will be held in two phases, in Barsana (March 14, 15) and Mathura (March 16-19).

Devotees and tourists coming to take part in the ‘Laddu’ and ‘Lathmaar’ Holi in Barsana (March 14, 15) will not be able to get accommodation in any ‘dharamshala’ or guest house without proper identity proofs.

The decision was taken keeping in mind the ever-increasing influx of tourists and security concerns in the wake of the recent India-Pakistan conflict.

The administration is also gearing up for the two-day event. Provisions for 9 medical camps, repair of utility poles, and solar power in ‘Mela’ (fair) ground have been made. Sale of harmful artificial colours is prohibited in the fair.

SDM Nagendra Kumar directed officials to catch hold of stray animals and send them to shelters. He said that action will be taken against people for leaving domestic animals on the streets.

Here are the important festival dates:

  • Raman Reti Ashram Holi – March 10
  • Nandgaon Phaag Amantran Mahotsav – March 14
  • Laddu Holi, Barsana – March 14
  • Lathmaar Holi, Barsana – March 15
  • Lathmaar Holi, Nandgaon – March 16
  • Lathmaar Holi, Sri Krishna Janmasthaan – March 17
  • Banke Bihari Holi, Rangbharani Ekadashi – March 17
  • Chadimaar Holi, Gokul – March 18
  • Holika Dehan, Falen/Jatwaari – March 20
  • Chaturvedi Samaj Dola – March 20
  • Dhool Holi – March 21
  • Charkula Dance, Mukhrai – March 22
  • Dauji’s Huranga, Baldeo – March 22
  • Huranga, Jaab/Nandgaon – March 22
  • Huranga, Baathen/Gidoh – March 23
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1imageproxy.jpgVrindavan, 2019.03.04

The legend of Vrindavan’s Gopeshwar Mahadeva who is Lord Shiva appearing in the form of a ‘Gopi’, is well-known in the land of Vraja. As one of the ‘dikpala’ Shivas protecting the four corners of Braj, Mahadeva not only guards Vrindavan, but also a devotee’s entry in Sri Krishna’s ‘Maha Raas’.

One of the fortunate devotees blessed by Lord Shiva with a ‘darshan’ of Krishna’s ‘Raas Lila’ in Vrindavan was Narsinh Mehta (1414-1481) of Gujarat.

Gopeshwar Mahadev

Revered as ‘Adi Kavi’ (first among poets) in Gujarati Literature, Narsinh Mehta (also known as Narsi Mehta or Narsi Bhagat) was a 15th-century Vaishnava poet-saint, who composed around 22,000 verses in praise of Sri Krishna.

Born in a Nagar Brahmin family in the town of Talaja in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district, Narsi was raised by his grandmother, Jaygauri, after losing his parents at the age of 5. He was unable to speak until he was 8.

Narsi was married to Manekbai in the year 1429. They used to stay with his brother Bansidhar whose ill-tempered wife would often insult Narsi for his devotion. Fed up of her taunts he left the house one day, and threw himself at Shiva’s feet, fasting and meditating upon him for seven days.

Pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared to offer him a boon. Narsi was so satisfied with the ‘darshan’ that he told Mahadeva to give him ‘whatever he likes the most’…Mahadeva gave him the nectar of Krishna’s ‘Raas Lila’ in Vrindavan.  Some say that he was the only person in ‘Kaliyuga’ to have witnessed this splendour.

In one of his works, ‘Shamaldas No Vivah’, Narsi mentions the place of this incident as ‘Gopinath’, and as ‘Gopeshwar’ in another composition called ‘Narsain Mehtanu Akhyan’. It is unambiguously stated that the temple was in a ‘vana’ (forest), and hence it cannot Gopnath near Talaja which is on the seashore.

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Narsinh Mehta (1414-1481)

Was it Vrindavan’s Gopeshwar Mahadev then? Struck by immense grief, did Narsi travel all the way to Vrindavan? While historians speculate, these questions are irrelevant; time, space and form are no constraints for Shiva and his devotees.

Legend goes that Lord Krishna commanded Narsi to share his blissful experience with the mortal world in the form of songs and poetry. He composed around 22,000 ‘padas’ (verses), ‘aartis’ and ‘bhajans’ which were largely preserved orally for centuries.

‘Vaishnav Jan to’ – the famous ‘bhajan’ which inspired Indian freedom fighter MK Gandhi and gained nationwide popularity, is his composition.

It was by the blessings of Mahadeva, described as the greatest Vaishnava in Srimad Bhagavatam, that a ‘Shaiva’ Narsi Mehta became a celebrated Vaishnava saint. At the beginning of Ramcharitramanas, Goswami Tulsidas also says that no one can perceive the Supreme without Shiva’s grace.

Followers of ‘Tantra’ and ‘Aghora’ have long held that Shiva and Krishna are “two aspects of the same being”, where one leads to the other. They are the paths of ‘Jnana’ and ‘Bhakti’, both of which need to be practised and perfected to realise the truth.

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imageproxy.jpgJiva Gosvami’s teacher, Rupa Gosvami, has divided bhakti into three categories: sadhanabhava and premaSadhana-bhakti is that which is realizable by the function of the senses. It is devotion in practice and is a means for attaining bhava-bhakti. But sadhana-bhakti is not a means in the ordinary sense.

Generally, sadhana refers to some practice that is undertaken to attain a specific goal, known as the sadhya. In this general sense sadhana is merely a cause that gives rise to a previously non-existent sadhya, and once the sadhya is attained, the sadhana that was undertaken to achieve it becomes obsolete.

Bhakti is not sadhana or sadhya in this sense. Bhakti is eternal and not manufactured by any combination of ingredients. Sadhana-bhakti qualifies the aspirant so that bhava can become manifest. Bhakti, manifesting in the form of internal emotions, is called bhava-bhakti and when it matures into the sentiments of love, it is called prema-bhakti, or devotion in love.

Sadhana-bhakti is of two types: vaidhi and raganuga. When devotional activity is inspired solely because of the prompting of scriptural injunctions, it is termed as vaidhi-bhakti. No raga, or spontaneous attachment, exists in this case.

There are sixty-four angas, or limbs, of vaidhi bhakti described by Rupa Gosvami. Out of these, five are considered as most powerful: (1) associating with saintly people, (2) singing the Lord‘s name, (3) listening to the recitation of Srimad-Bhagavatam, (4) residing in the holy land of Mathura and (5) serving the deity with reverance. A little contact with any of these can give rise to bhava-bhakti. These limbs of vaidhi-bhakti engage the body, mind and senses in the service of the Lord and are all highly effective in promoting the appearance of bhava-bhakti.

The second type of sadhana-bhakti is called raganuga, which means to follow the mood and attachment of the Lord’s eternal associates, known as ragatmikasRagatmikas have a natural raga, or deep absorption in the Lord manifesting out of love.

Upon coming into contact with ragatmikas, such as by hearing about them, an adherent may develop a yearning to serve the Lord in the same mood as his model. When this yearning impels one to engage in devotional service, irregardless of scriptural injunction, it is called raganuga-sadhana. Raganuga follows the natural deep sentiments of the adherent and is therefore independent of all outward rules.

Vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti, on the other hand, depends upon the injunctions of scripture and is not necessarily performed with loving sentiment. The difference between these two practices is like the difference between a mother and a maid taking care of a baby. A mother has innate affection for her baby and thus takes care of the child out of her natural attachment, whereas a maid does not have such affection. She merely follows the instructions of her employer. This does not mean that raganuga devotees are averse to scriptural injunctions. The injunctions are meant for those who do not have a natural inclination for devotion. A raganuga devotee does not need them because he has a natural, spontaneous inclination to act favorably towards the Lord and to abstain from anything unfavorable.

The mature stage of sadhana-bhakti is called bhava-bhaktiBhava is the dawn of prema, or love, which is the perfected stage of bhakti. It is a pure and internal feeling which softens the heart toward the Lord.

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Hari-Radhacharan Das has compiled and translated commentaries about a wonderful Holi song that is sung in Vrindavan’s Radha Vallabh temple at this time of year. The explanations, as well as the performance of the song help devotees to associate with the true spirit of Vrindavan Holi.

Commentary by Lalitcharan Goswami: This is the only pada within Hit Chaurasi which describes the play of faag [holi/the festival of colours]. One specialty of this pada is that it also mentions the swing festival [dol] which takes place on the first day of the lunar fortnight [pratipada] after Holi.

This pada begins with a detailed description of Shri Vrindavan. At the very beginning of the pada it says ‘pratham yathamati pranau shri vrindavan atiramya’. The words ‘pratham’ [firstly] and ‘yathamati’ [according to my own realisation] help to reveal the particular divine svarupa [nature and form] of Shri Vrindavan that Shri Harivansh accepts. In Hit-siddhanta [the theology that Radhavallabhis adhere to], Hit or tatsukh-mayi-prema is the absolute reality [paratpara-tattva] and Shri Shyama-Shyam, Shri Vrindavan and the Sahachari girlfriends are its different forms.

While describing Shri Radha’s form in his Sanskrit work ‘Shri-Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi’ [Sloka 76], ShriHitacharya has said “yad vṛndāvana-mātra-gocaram…that form of Shri Radha which my eyes are forever restless to behold is perceivable in Shri Vrindavana”, in other words, it is only possible to see her in Shri Vrindavan.

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In another Sloka [260] he also says “yat tan nāma sphurati mahimā hy eṣa vṛndāvanasya…it is due to the greatness of Shri Vrindavan that Shri Radha’s name, which is extremely difficult to attain manifests in the mind of a wretch like me.” In conclusion, Shri Radha’s darshan is only possible within Shri Vrindavan, which is the dense form [saghana-murta-svarupa] of love for her. This is why Shri Hit Prabhu has offered his first respects [pranama] to Shri Vrindavan in this pada.

Now we should consider the word ‘yathamati’. Yathamati means’according to one’s intellect’. Shri Hitacharya says “I pay respects to Shri Vrindavan as far as my intellect can reach”. The implied meaning [vyanjana] is that Shri Vrindavan’s actual/real form [vastavika-svarupa] is outside of the realm of the intellect and that any individual’s attempt at making it an object of their speech [i.e. attempt to describe it with words] has to be done within the boundaries of their own intellect.

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Radhavallabh temple Holi song 57:

by Shri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhuji

 

 

Pratham Yathamati

pratham yathāmati pranau shrī-vrindāvan atiramya,
shrī-rādhikā kripā binu sab ke manan agamya | 1 |

“First of all, I pay respects as best as I can to Shri Vrindavan, the most beautiful.
Without the mercy of Shri Radhika, it cannot be understood by anyone.”

var yamunājal sīnchan dinahī sarad-basant,
vividh bhānti sumanas ke saurabh alikul mant | 2 |

“The river Yamuna’s excellent water nourishes the land and autumn and spring are ever-present. Swarms of bees are intoxicated with the scents of many types of flowers.”

arun nūt pallav par kūjat kokil kīr,
nirtan karat sikhīkul ati ānand adhīr | 3 |

“On red new leaves, cuckoos and parrots sing sweetly. While troops of peacocks dance overwhelmed in great happiness.”

bahat pavan ruchi dāyak sītal-mand-sugandhu,arun nīl,
sit mukulit jahā tahā pūshan-bandhu | 4 |

“A pleasant breeze blows, cooling, gentle and fragrant;
and red, blue and white lotuses are blooming everywhere”.

ati kamnīye birājat mandir naval nikunj,
sevat sagan prītijut din mīndhvaj-punj | 5 |

“There lies a most attractive ever-fresh nikunja,
which is always joyfully served by many Gods of Love [kamadevas].”

rasik rāsi jahā khelat shyāmāshyām kisor,
ubhay bāhu pariranjit utte unīde bhor | 6 |

“Where the best of lovers, that youthful Shyama Shyam play.
At dawn, they awake drowsily with their arms around one another.”

kanak kapis patt sobhit subhag sānvare ang,
nīl basan kāminī urr kanchukī kasūmbhī surang | 7 |

“[His] beautiful dark limbs are decorated in golden cloth;
and the passionate lady wears a blue dress along with a kasumbhi-red blouse.”

tāl rabāb muraj daph bājat madhur mridang,
saras ukati-gati sūchat var bansurī mukhchang | 8 |

“Cymbals, the rabab, muraja-drum and the frame-drum play along with the long-barreldrum; and the marvellous flute and mouth-harp indicate the rhythm.”

dou mili chānchar gāvat gorī rāg alāp,
mānas-mrig bal bedhat bhrukuti dhanush drig chāp | 9 |

“The two sing a springtime song together, tuning their voices to the Gauri – raga.
The bows of their eyebrows and the arrows of their eyes [their glances] forcibly pierce the deer of their minds!”

dou kar tārinu patkat latkat itt utt jāt,
ho-ho-horī bolat ati ānand kulkāt | 10 |

“Clapping their hands and swaying [due to the feeling of intense happiness],
they wander here and there. Feeling great bliss, they call out Ho-ho-hori!.”

rasik lāl par melat kāmini bandan dhūri,
piya pichkārinu cchirkat taki-taki kum-kum pūri | 11 |

“The passionate lady smears dry coloured powder over her Lover Shri Lalju;
and he sprinkles her with the kum-kum powder from his water-syringe again and again.”

kabahu-kabahu chandan taru nirmit taral hindol,
chadhi dou jan jhūlat phūlat karat kalol | 12 |

“Sometimes a moving swing is set up on a sandalwood tree;
the two climb aboard and swing, feel thrilled and have fun.”

var hindol jhakoran kāmini adhik darāt,
pulaki-pulaki vepath ang prītam urr laptāt | 13 |

“The passionate lady feels very afraid by the swift movements of the wonderful swing!
Feeling a thrill, she wraps her trembling limbs around her Beloved’s chest.”

hit-chintak nij cherinu urr ānand na samāt,
nirakhi nipat nainan sukh trin taurat bali jāt | 14 |

“Their well-wishing maidservants’ hearts overflow with happiness and realizing the pleasure of the eyes [in seeing them], they make a protective gesture and dedicate their lives [to the lovely couple].”

ati udār vivi sundar surat sūr sukumār,
(jay-shrī) hit harivansh karo din dou achal bihār | 15 |

“These two tender amorous heroes are both very generous and attractive.
Hit Harivansh says, may the pair be absorbed in their loving plays forever.”

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Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: While Srila Raghunath, in sādhakāveśa, takes his vows in this Sva Niyama Daśakam, the ocean of his love-in-separation is suddenly agitated. Burning in the fire of separation from Radha Madhava, Shri Gaurasundara and Sripāda Swarup Damodar he came to Vraja, planning to commit suicide by jumping from Govardhana hill. Shri Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami pacified his burning heart somewhat and advised him to settle down on the bank of Shri Radha Kund and do bhajana there. In this way they saved his life.

VERSE 8:

parityaktaḥ preyo-jana-samudayair bāḍham asudhīr
durandho nīrandhraṁ kadana-bhara-vārdhau nipatitaḥ
tṛṇaṁ dantair daṣṭvā caṭubhir abhiyāce’dya kṛpayā
svayaṁ śrī-gāndharvā-sva-pada-nalināntaṁ nayatu mām

Abandoned by my beloveds (Srila Rupa Goswami and Shri Swarup Damodar) I have become completely blinded and bereft of intelligence. Even though they have disappeared I am still alive and I’m immersed in an ocean of great misery. Holding a blade of grass between my teeth I humbly and anxiously pray that Shri Gāndharvā (Radha) herself may now take me to her lotus feet.”

Translation and purport by Ananta Das and Adwaita Das

When Shri Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami passed away, the fire of Raghunath Das’ love-in-separation increased a hundredfold and burned up his heart. Rasika, soft-hearted and like-minded devotees are able to relieve Each other from the burning fire of separation from the Lord, but when these devotees also disappear the pain of separation becomes intolerable.

kṛṣṇa bhakta viraha vināduḥkha nāhi āra (CC) “There’s no other suffering than separation from the devotees of Krishna.” Separation from the Lord is still somewhat tolerable, but there’s no greater anguish than separation from his devotees. When separation from the Lord is experienced, then this can be somehow relieved by speaking kṛṣṇa-kathā with loving, like-minded devotees, but when such devotees are absent, it is as if the whole world becomes void. By reading this verse, one can get some idea of what Srila Raghunath Das Goswami’s state of mind was.

Likewise, Krishnadāsa Kavirāja Goswami has written: raghunāthera niyama yeno pāṣāṇera rekhā (CC): “Raghunath’s discipline was like a line carved in a stone.” Such lines can never be wiped out.

While taking all these different vows, Raghunath suddenly remembered Shri Rūpa and Sanātana, and this made him greatly upset. Their personal mercy was the very foundation of Raghunath’s worship and now that they had disappeared, the whole world became dark for him. What to speak of continuing his worship, without them it was impossible for him even to stay alive!

Shri Raghunath Das, the embodiment of love-in-separation, humbly says: “Being abandoned by my beloved Shri Swarup Damodar and Shri Rūpa-Sanātana, I’ve become completely oblivious of what is beneficial and what isn’t.” Once he gave up his vast regal opulence like a straw, just to come running to Shri Chaitanya’s lotus feet, and the Lord became placed him into the care of Srila Swarup Damodar, who is the embodiment of Vraja-rasa.

Shri Swarup Damodar was the only one who could keep him alive and teach him the intricacies of bhajana. Shri Raghunath Das stayed under Swarup Damodar’s shelter for sixteen long years and became like a bumblebee, intoxicated by the highly delectable divine honey that trickled from Shri Chaitanya’s lotus feet.
1287521003_eaf04c3a2e_b-300x225.jpg&key=The Govardhan Shila gifted to Raghunath Das Goswami by Lord Chaitanya, now kept at Gokulananda TempleSince he was always able to associate with the Lord, he attained the great fortune of witnessing the Lord’s extraordinary pastimes and thus became fully blessed. When Sriman Mahaprabhu and Swarup Damodar left their bodies, Raghu’s world became void. Desiring to give up his afflicted life of suffering the pangs of separation, he went to Vraja, where he met Shri Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami, who were at that time Vraja’s most influential examples of prema bhakti and Vraja-rasa.

Their consoling words saved Raghu’s life and awakened the desire in him to do bhajana at Shri Radha Kund, where he remained for the rest of his life (about 50 years), deeply absorbed in the most confidential pastimes. In the end, he forgot everything external and realized his identity as Radha’s maidservant, crying day and night out of separation from his mistress and her loving service.

While he showered himself day and night with his tears of love and performed his internal worship, he simultaneously maintained a firm discipline in his external body. This Raghunath, who suffers great pain when he remembers Shri Swarup Damodar, Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami, says: “I’m a great fool, for even though they have become unmanifest, I’m still keeping myself alive, drowning in an ocean of agony! There’s only one way out of this ocean of anguish, and that is Gāndharvā Shri Radharani’s personal mercy! Therefore I’m holding a straw between my teeth and I humbly and anxiously pray that Shri Radhika herself will be merciful to me and take me towards her lotus feet!”

 

svarūpa rūpa sanātana,
ye mora bāndhava-gaṇa,
eke eke hoilo adarśana
viraha samudra jale,
phele more gelo cole,
śūnya hāṭe koriye krandana

“My friends Svarūpa, Rūpa and Sanātana have passed away, one after the other, throwing me into an ocean of love-in-separation and leaving me crying in an empty marketplace.”

hitāhita jñāna-śūnya,
tribhuvana dekhi śūnya,
dante tṛṇa kori nivedana.
adya mora gāndharvikā,
mad īśvarīśrī rādhikā,
pādapadme koruna grahaṇa

“I’m bereft of insight of what is beneficial and what not. Seeing the whole world as empty I’m taking a straw in-between my teeth and I pray: May my mistress Gāndharvikā Shri Radhika take me to her lotus feet now!”

 

he rādhe dāsi boli,
kātarete ei boli,
pada sevāya niyukta koribe.
vrajendra-nandana yini,
vraje indranīla-maṇi,
kṛṣṇa-prāpti anāyāse hobe

“O Rādhe! I anxiously pray to you: Make me your maidservant and engage me in the service of your lotus feet! Then I will easily be able to attain the prince of Vraja, the blazing sapphire Krishna!”

 

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Sva Niyama Dashakam, Verse 7:

 

ajāṇḍe rādheti sphurad-abhidhayā sikta-janayā-
nayā sākaṁ kṛṣṇaṁ bhajati ya iha prema-namitaḥ
paraṁ prakṣālyaitac-caraṇa-kamale taj jalam aho
mudā pītvā śaśvac chirasi ca vahāmi pratidinam

 

But if anyone in the world, bowed down with love, worships Shri Radha, Whose sweet name showers mankind, along with Krishna, aho! I will wash that person’s lotus feet and joyfully drink the water, carrying it on my head every day!

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In the previous verse, Shri Raghunath Das firmly vowed that he would never go to the impure place where a person worships only Krishna, but disrespects Shri Radha. Now one may ask: “Sripāda! Then how will you behave towards those who do worship Krishna with Shri Radha?” In this verse he answers this question. The Yugalopāsakas (worshipers of Radha and Krishna) worship Krishna under the shelter of Shri Radha. Shri Radharani is the Prema-Lakṣmī, the presiding goddess of love of God. By being even slightly connected with her names, attributes and pastimes, a fortunate soul can become blessed with Prema. Therefore, can there be any doubt that a person who worships only Krishna while ignoring her is simply deceiving himself?

To corroborate this secret, Shri Raghunath begins this verse by saying: “All the people are sprinkled with the nectar of love simply by hearing the sweet name ‘Radha’. In the Brahma vaivarta purāṇa Shri Radha’s name is glorified as follows:

 

rā-śabdoccāraṇād eva sphīto bhavati mādhavaḥ
dhā-śabdoccārataḥ paścād dhāvaty eva sa-sambhramaḥ

“When someone just says Madhava blooms with joy, and as soon as someone (also) says dhā he carefully runs after the chanter!”

Nothing else other than love can attract Krishna. The name ‘Radha’ has such a sweet attractive power of love that when Krishna simply hears it he immediately becomes attracted to the chanter, even if that person is not involved in any spiritual life.

Because the holy name of Shri Radha is non-different from Shri Radha herself, all her love is fully present within her name. The loving power of this most nectarean name ‘Radha’ is known throughout the world. The holy name of Shri Radha is a wonderful siddha-mantra that awakens great prema rasa within the heart and is like a Mahā-vidyā (magic spell) that can attract Krishna.

This is exactly why Shri Suka Muni did not pronounce Shri Radha’s name while speaking Srimad Bhāgavata. If he had pronounced this holy name, which is permeated by prema-rasa in such a wonderful way, his pure heart, that is completely free from illusion, would have been so overwhelmed by ecstatic love that he would have entered into samādhi (transcendental trance) or he would have fallen into a swoon.

In that case Mahārāja Parīkṣit, who had only seven days left to live, would not have been able to hear the rest of Srimad Bhāgavata anymore. This is why Śuka Muni did not pronounce the names of Shri Radharani and other gopīs in Srimad Bhāgavata, although he repeatedly mentioned the names of Rukmiṇī, Satyabhāma and the other Queens of Krishna in Dwarka. [See Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Brihad Bhagavatamrta 1.7.158]

Shri Raghunath Das says: “But if anyone in the world, heart bowed down with love, worships Shri Radha, whose sweet name showers mankind, along with Krishna, aho! I will wash that person’s lotus feet and joyfully drink the water, carrying it on my head every day!”

The adolescent Pair Radha-Krishna must be worshiped with a humble heart. Who has the humility of heart that makes them qualified to worship the Divine Pair? In the eighth chapter of the “Madhya-līlā” of Caitanya-caritāmṛta Shri Rāmānanda Rāya explains to Sriman Mahaprabhu that the love of Radha-Krishna is the highest goal of life, and when the Lord asks Rāmānanda about this worship Sri Rāma Rāya replies:

 

rādhā-kṛṣṇera līlā ei ati gūḍhatara; dāsya vātsalyādi nā hoy gocara
sabe eka sakhīgaṇera ihā adhikāra; sakhī hoite ei līlāra vistāra
sakhī vinu ei līlā puṣṭi nāhi hoy; sakhī līlā vistāriyā sakhīāsvādoy
sakhī vinu ei līlāya nāhi anyera gati; sakhībhāve tāre yei kore anugati
rādhā-kṛṣṇa kuñja-sevā sādhya sei pāya; sei sādhya pāite āra nāhiko upāya

The pastimes of Radha and Krishna are very confidential, and they cannot be perceived by devotees who love Krishna as servants or parents. Only the girlfriends (sakhīs) can enter into them. They can expand these pastimes, and without them these pastimes cannot be accomplished. The sakhīs extend these pastimes and make them relishable. Without the sakhīs these pastimes cannot take place, hence those who develop the mood of the sakhīs can attain the highest goal of life, Radha and Krishna’s kuñja-sevā. There’s no other way to reach this goal.”

The love of the gopīs is free from desire for personal sense-gratification and is thus completely pure, and they are more advanced in loving submissiveness than the devotees who love Krishna as servants or parents. The gopīs are divided into two groups: sambhogecchāmayī or nāyikā-bhāva, and tad-bhāvecchātmikā or sakhī-bhāva. There’s no comparison to the humility and submission (prema-namita-citta) of the girlfriends of Vraja-nāyikā-śiromaṇi premamayī Shri Radharani, and again the greatest of all prema-namita-citta sakhīs are Shri Radha’s maidservants.

Although Srila Raghunath Das Goswami is himself an eternally perfect Radha-kiṅkarī he firmly vows to always humbly drink the water that washed the feet of those fortunate rasika devotees who worship the Divine Couple in allegiance to the eternally perfect mañjarīs, loving Shri Radha more than Krishna (rādhā snehādhikā) and carry that foot-water on his head. The best way to attain prema is to serve the foot-water of such great, soft-hearted, and like-minded rasika devotees:

 

bhakta pada-dhūli āra bhakta pada-jala; bhakta bhukta avaśeṣa – tina mahābala
ei tina sevā hoite kṛṣṇa premā hoy; punaḥ punaḥ sarva śāstre phukāriyā koy
tāte bāra bāra kohi śuno bhakta-gaṇa; viśvāsa koriyā koro e tina sevana

“The devotees’ foot-dust, foot-water and food-remnants – these three are very powerful. All the scriptures repeatedly proclaim that by serving these three one attains love for Krishna. Therefore, O devotees! I tell you again and again: serve these three with full faith!”

Although Shri Raghunath is himself one of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s eternal associates he assumes sādhakāveśa to show his topmost love for the devotees who worship both Radha and Krishna by vowing always to blissfully drink their foot-water and sprinkle his head with it. In this way he encourages all the Gaudiya aspirants always to serve the foot-water of the Yugalopāsakas (Radha-Krishna worshipers) with great devotion, as the greatest means of attaining love for the lotus feet of the Divine Couple.
 

jaya jaya rādhā nāma, ki amṛta rasa-dhāma,
pade pade prema taraṅgiṇī
śravaṇete prema rase, bāla vṛddha yuvā bhāse,
japite japite ratna-khani

“All glories to the holy name of Shri Radha, the abode of all nectarean flavours, that is a river of love at every step! When they hear or repeat this jewel-mine, all the children, old folks and youngsters float in the nectarean flavours of Prema!”

 

rādhā saṅge śrī govinda, vraja nava yuva dvandva,
yei jana prema sevā kore
ohe tārkika boli śuno,nitya tāra śrī caraṇa,
bhakti bhare prakṣālaṇa kore

“O Logicians! Listen, I’ll tell you something: I always devotedly wash the lotus feet of anyone who lovingly serves Shri Govinda along with Shri Radha, as the adolescent pair of Vraja.”

 

pādodaka pada-dhūli,tāhe mora snāna keli,
dhūli kori mastaka bhūṣaṇa
padajala kori pāna, śirete kori dhāraṇa,
yāte hoy vāñchita pūraṇa

“I playfully bathe in their foot-water and foot-dust, and I decorate my head with these items. By drinking this foot-water and keeping it on my head all my desires will be fulfilled.”

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Mauni Amavasya bathing in Yamuna riverVrindavan, 06.02.2019

Devotional fervor ran high in Braj on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya which was observed on the new moon day of Magha Krishna Paksha of the Hindu calendar. Since it fell on a Monday (February 4) this time, people also received the benefit of it being a Somavati Amavasya.

Mauni Amavasya has great significance in the Hindu spiritual tradition. It is said that on this day, Rishabh Dev – considered as the first sage – broke his long vow of silence and bathed in the holy waters at Sangam (confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati) in Prayagraj. It is also the third and most important ‘shaahi snaan’ date of Kumbh Mela.

In Braj, devotees took a dip in the Yamuna at Vishram Ghat during ‘Brahma Muhurta’ and performed various rituals to propitiate the gods, particularly Lord Shiva, Vishnu and the Sun God.

After observing ‘maun vrata’(vow of silence) during the day, people flocked to temples and gave sesame seeds, grains, and clothes in charity.

Undeterred by the cold and dense fog, many also did Vrindavan and Giriraj Parikrama.

Huge crowds gathered in the Bhandira Van temple where Lord Brahma performed the marriage of Radha and Krishna. It is believed that bathing in the waters of the sacred well during the ‘Brahma Muhurta’ on Somavati Amavasya fulfills all wishes. Married women also took a dip in the adjoining pond to be blessed with a child.

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Krishna is holding his hand over Radha's head to put sindur in her part in Bhandira Van temple

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