Vrindavan, 2017.08.16 (VT): In Braj, devotees traditionally play-fight with diluted yoghurt on Nandotsav (the day after Shri Krishna’s birthday).
In the Gutika, Siddha Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj presents the “yoghurt fight” (called dadhi-kada or dahi keech) as part of Shri Krishna’s lila on Janmashtami. However, because in the modern day this celebration is performed Nandotsav, we present this lila to you today.
The Yoghurt Fight
(Dadhi-kada Mahotsav in Nand Bhavan)
All the arrangements have been made for the dadhikada mahotsav. Outside the house in a beautiful jewelled pavillion Nand Maharaj, Vrishabhanu Maharaj, their brothers and the other elders have begun the dadhi-kada (dahi keech) festival.
In another pavillion, Shri Krishna, Balram and the sakhas are blissfully playing the same game, whilst in a hall within the palace Yashoda Maiya, Kirtida Rani and all the leading gopis, along with their sakhis, dance, sing and play musical insturments as they also play the game. Granny Mukhara and the other old ladies hold sticks in their hands, and start dancing right in the center of the action.
Everyone sprinkles each other with ghee, yogurt and milk (like playing Holi). As they play, they become so ecstatic that everyone forgets all formalities. No one is thinking about who is elder and who is younger at this moment. They just smear yoghurt on whomever they can get their hands on.
The little ducts on the sides of the room are filling with so much yoghurt and milk! They look like the holy Ganga and Yamuna rivers rushing along in their course. As large clumps of butter mixed with saffron begin to clog the ducts, the room begins to look like Ksheer Sagar filled with blossoming white, yellow and red lotuses (white lotuses in the form of clumps of cheese, yellow lotuses in the form of butter balls mixed with turmeric, and red lotuses in the form of yoghurt clumps mixed with saffron and kumkum).
The gods of heaven halt in their course and chant “glory, glory!” as they sprinkle flowers upon the Brajwasis. They are overwhelmed with bliss to see this beautiful scene. Some of them take the form of swans or other birds and fly down from the heavens to munch on the delectable clumps of butter and curd. Musicians take up their instruments and play, as male and female dancers begin to dance in bliss. Considering themselves greatly blessed, the panegyrists praise the cowherd dynasty and sing the glories of the cowherd prince, Shri Krishna.
Bathing in Pavan Sarovar
When the dadhi-kada mahotsav is finished, everyone goes to Pavan Sarovar to bathe and play in the water.
The ghats of Pavan Sarovar are beautifully designed and inlaid with precious gems. On the Northern ghat, Nand Baba and his brothers bathe along with Vrishabhanu Baba. On the Eastern ghat, Shri Krishna, Balram and the sakhas bathe, and on the Southern ghat Yashoda Maiya bathes with Kirtida Mata, Mukhara Nani and the other older women.
Shri Radharani and other leading gopis like Chandravali and Shyamala bathe and play, each with her own sakhis, at Pavan Sarovar’s Western ghat. When they have finished playing, they come and sit on the ghat’s steps.
The manjaris serve their own swaminis by applying massage oil on their bodies and shampooing their curly hair with special homemade herbal paste (avle ke kalk). The gopis then bathe again. After coming out of the water the manjaris dry their bodies with soft towels and dress them in fresh clothes.
When everyone has finished getting ready with the help of their assistants, they all return to Nand Bhavan.
Upon reaching Nand Bhavan, Shri Nand Baba presents the men with gifts of jewellery and clothes according to their age and stature. Yashoda Maiya does the same for the ladies. Thereafter with the help of their assistants, everyone tries on their new jewellery and clothes.
The Evening Meal
Nand Baba seats the Brahmins in a large hall, where he offers them a sumptuous meal of sweets, fried foods and various delicious vegetable dishes. Afterwards, the Brahmins are given charity in the form of cash and gifts. Once the Brahmins have been served, Yashoda Maiya asks Madhumangal to call everyone to take their evening meal.
Shri Nand Baba and Shri Vrishabhanu Baba sit down to eat along with their brothers, friends and sons (including Krishna and Balram). Everyone is overjoyed as they eat the many delicious dishes. After performing achaman, they place delectable tambul (paan) in their mouths and chew happily as they head off to bed.
Yashoda Maiya asks Kirtida Mata, Shri Radha and the sakhis to be seated, and she joyfully serves them their dinner. Then everyone takes taambul and retires to their bedrooms. Shri Nand and Yashoda then seat the singers, dancers and other performers. After feeding them sumptuously, they give them new clothes and money as gifts and warmly send them off to their own homes.
Finally they invite the poor, the beggars and others to dine, and at last bid them goodnight. Once everyone has eaten, they too go off to sleep.
The lila of Shri Radha and Krishna then continues as on every night. Shri Radha, her family and the other guests will remain at Nand Baba’s house till the afternoon of the navami day.