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Jhulan Yatra – The Swing Festival

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703RKonswing.jpg[Hindol Utsav or Jhulan Yatra starts on Hariyali Teej in Braj and lasts until Raksha Bandhan/Jhulan Purnima. In ISKCON and some Gaudiya Maths, the festival begins today on Pavitra Ekadashi.]

B.V. Narayan Maharaj: In the month of Shravan, the clouds in the sky begin to make a thundering sound and extremely fine mist-like rain drizzles everywhere. The atmosphere is very beautiful and pleasant after the heat of the summer months, for at that time all the forests of Vrindavan begin to blossom. Many types of flowers on both sides of the Yamuna, such as beli, chameli, juhi, and madhavi begin to bloom. The bumblebees look here and there and chant, “Radhe Radhe” and the cuckoos also call out, “Radhe Radhe.”

The peacocks and peahens all call out “Keka keka.” Ke means: “Which male person has the ability to do a very wonderful thing? Srimati Radhika’s maan (Her mood of loving jealous anger), as well as Her shyness and patience, are like a very tall and immovable mountain. Which male person, ‘Ke,’ can crush that mountain into powder so that there is nothing left? This person is Shri Krishna.” Ka means: “Which female person can do a very wonderful thing? There is a powerful mad elephant named Shri Krishna whom no one can control. One person, however, by the goad of Her maan, can catch that elephant, bring Him under Her control, and then bind Him in the shackles of Her prem (love). Who is that? It is Shrimati Radhika.” In this way the peacocks and peahens glorify Srimati Radharani and Lord Krsna.

At the time of Shravan everything becomes green. The summer was dry, but now the rain has come and everything has come to life again. All the young brides are taken at this time from their mother-in-laws’ homes by their brothers, and they return to their fathers’ homes.

Shrimati Radhika was still at Her in-laws’ home in Yavat, however, because Her brother, Shridama, had not come. Much time passed and finally he arrived there on the full moon day, with some new clothing and ornaments to pacify Srimati Radhika’s mother-in-law, Jatila.

Seeing Her brother Shrimati Radhika wept, “O My dear brother, why have you come so late? Only a few days remain of this Shravan month. Why did you come late? Did you forget Me?”

Srimati Radhika then very happily left Yavat and went to Barsana, with Her brother; and there She met together with all of Her sakhis, Her intimate friends, as they had also returned to their maternal homes at that time. It was a very beautiful meeting and reunion in the place of their childhood play.

The sakhis made a jhulan (swing) for Her. They always make the swingon a kadamba tree and not on a tamal tree. The significance of a kadamba tree is that it carries the complexion of Shrimati Radhika and the tamal tree has a complexion of Shri Krsna. The tamal tree is not very strong, but the kadamba tree is very strong and beautiful. This signifies the superiority of Shrimati Radhika – She can control Lord Krishna by Her love.

jhula jhule radha damodar vrndavana me
kaisi cchaayi hariyali ali kunjan me

“Radha-Damodar are swinging on the swing in Vrindavan. O friend, how very green the kunj is!”

We sing this kirtan at the time of swinging Shri Shri Radha and Krsna. It describes how Lord Krishna has come and is waiting at the swing with folded palms for His beloved to come. Shrimati Radhika is in maan, and Her sakhis try to persuade Her to come by saying, “Please give up your sulky mood and come at once to your beloved Krishna. He is waiting for You.”

In this way we are observing Jhulan Yatra and remembering the sweet pastimes of Shri Shri Radha and Krsna.


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