Earlier we shared the Diwali Lila from Shri Radha’ Baba’s book Keli Kunj. The following lila from Siddha Krishnada’s Baba’s Gutika is a little less in-depth and more logistical in nature, but it gives a unique perspective on the Diwali lila. The reason for its being less in-depth is that it was intended as a guideline to meditate upon – the depth is revealed by the blessings of Radha and Krishna through the reader’s own bhajan (spiritual practice and worship). Siddha Baba’s guidelines to the lila are followed by many Gaudiya Vaishnavas with great seriousness.
While Radha Baba’s vision of Diwali Lila was set in Nandgaon and Barsana, Siddha Baba sees Radha-Krishna and the Brajwasis at Govardhan, eager to perform Govardhan Pooja. Each section of the lila is proceeded by the corresponding lila of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Gaudiya Sampraday whom followers believe to be the combined incarnation of Radha and Krishna.
The Leadup to Diwali: Radha and Krishna go to Govardhan
Nabadwip Dham: In eternal Nabadwip, Shri Chaitanya Mahparabhu performs his eternal lila as usual. Listening to Shri Swaroop Damodar sing about Braj Lila, he becomes immersed in that lila.
Braj Dham: From the morning of trayodashi in the dark half of Kartik, Shri Nand Maharaj sends a man around the town to spread the announcement that this day in the afternoon, all the Brajwasis should proceed to Govardhan for the Govardhan Pooja festival. Filling their bullock-carts with pooja ingredients and dairy products, they set out for Govardhan. Upon arrival they pitch tents, where they will reside with their families until the pratipad tithi.
On this day, Shri Krishna performs his daily routine, such as cowherding, until the afternoon. Then he and his friends return to Krishna’s house and enjoy a light meal, followed by a little rest. After that, Krishna’s father Nand Maharaj loads up his bullock carts and proceeds to Govardhan along with his family, cows and calves.
Upon arrival, Nand Maharaj, Vrishabhanu Maharaj (Radha’s father), Abhimanyu and the other men clean the area around Govardhan and pitch tents from Mansi Ganga all the way to Govind Kund. In the South is Shri Vrishabhanu Maharaj’s blue tent, in the North Abhimanyu’s red tent, and Shri Nand Maharaj’s yellow tent is in the centre. After moving into their new temporary homes, the Brajwasis complete their evening duties like milking the cows. At night, Shri Radha-Krishna and the sakhis leave directly from their tents for Vrindavan and perform the Raas Lila. The Lila continues as every day up to Nishant Lila (awakening at dawn in the forest grove), after which the Divine Couple proceed back to their tents at Govardhan and take rest.
Pastimes at Govardhan before Diwali
Nabadwip Dham: In eternal Nabadwip, all the lilas continue as on trayodashi. Shriman Mahaprabhu and his companions meditate upon the lila of Braj and enter therein.
Braj Dham: Everyone wakes up and performs their morning duties. They bathe in Mansi Ganga, get dressed and eat breakfast. After eating, they take a little rest. Then Shri Radha and Krishna perform their Yogpeeth Lila and other daily lilas as usual. At night, Shri Radha-Krishna and the sakhis proceed to Chandra Sarovar and perform Raas Lila there, after which they go to Vrindavan and enjoy their nightly walk in the forest followed by Raas Lila (again), drinking mead (madhupan lila), private romantic interludes, playing in the waters of Yamuna (jalkeli), enjoying delicious foods, and finally they take rest. In the early morning, everyone returns to camp at Govardhan and lays down to sleep.
(Kartik Amavasya Deep Daan Lila)
Nabadwip Dham: Shriman Mahaprabhu performs all his lias as every day until the afternoon.
Mansi Ganga: P.C. Unknown
Braj Dham: On the morning of Amavasya, Shri Nand Maharaj makes the announcement that this evening the offering of lamps will be done at Mansi Ganga, so everyone should go there early to clean and decorate. He then invites the Brahmins and the other Brajwasis for a feast. Shri Radha and the sakhis bathe and get ready in Shri Vrishabhanu Maharaj’s tent, then proceed to Nand Maharaj’s camp.
After taking a light snack, Shri Radha and the sakhis begin the cooking. They make delectable sweets, fried foods, rice, sabjis and so on. After offering the bhog to Narayan Bhagwan, the Brajwasis perform aarti and put Him to sleep. Threafter everyone takes prasad in shifts, following the appropriate order. After the meal, everyone eats tambul (paan, a digestive aid), and goes to rest, each in his own tent.
After eating Shri Radha and the sakhis rest a little, then escape to the lonesome caves of Govardhan where they meet with Shri Krishna enjoy some private time with him. Afterwards the Yogpeeth Lila is performed. Then everyone goes back to Nand Baba’s camp for a nap.
After some time, Yashoda instructs Radha to go to her father’s camp, where she prepares sweets and other foods before leaving for “Surya Pooja” along with her sakhis. The Surya Pooja, however, is an excuse to go to Radha Kund and meet Krishna.
The lila at Radha Kund occurs as it does every day. Afterward, they do go to Surya Kund for Surya pooja, and in the late afternoon they return to the camp, have a light meal, and rest. At twilight, after milking the cows, Nand Maharaj, Vrishabhanu Maharaj and the other Brajwasis, including Radha and Krishna and their friends, all proceed to Mansi Ganga for the festival of lights (deep daan utsav).
By the orders of Nand Maharaj and the other elders, the servants cover the steps of Mansi Ganga’s ghat with ghee lamps and light them. The shining lamps fill Mansi Ganga with light. Even the trees, creepers, and the dust of Braj are aglow. Yashoda, Kirtida (Radha’s mother), Radha and all the sakhis, along with Shri Krishna, Balram and the sakhas enjoy the blissful darshan. After that, they offer their own lamps and return to the camp. The rest of the night’s lilas continue as they do every day.
Nabadwip Dham: In Nabadwip, Shriman Mahaprabhu and his companions enjoy the daily lilas of Shri Krishna through their meditation, such as milking the cows, as well as the special Diwali lila. Externally, they offer ghee lamps of the steps of the Ganga River’s ghat. The rest of the night’s lilas continue as every day.
Chandra Sarovar – P.C. ISKCON desiretree
Braj Dham: As on the previous night, Shri Radha and Krishna first proceed to Chandra Sarovar, where they enjoy a romantic interlude before meeting on a jewel-inlaid throne for Yogpeeth Lila. All the sakhis and manjaris stand each in their appropriate places. After the Yogpeeth Seva, Shri Krishna plays upon his flute. Hearing the sound of the flute, Mansi Ganga, Patal Ganga, Yamuna, Pavan Sarovar and all the other sacred water bodies of Braj overflow their banks and fly in streams to reach Shri Radha and Krishna’s lotus feet, bringing with them lotuses and other flowers with which to worship them. By offering themselves to the Divine Couple, the sacred waters feel their life’s purpose has been fulfilled.
Afterwards, the Divine couple enjoy a walk in the forest and Raas Lila in Vrindavan, as on every night, followed by the daily drinking of mead (madhupan lila), private romantic interludes, bathing in Yamuna, eating delicious foods, and sleeping in the beautiful forest grove. In the early morning, they wake up and return to the camp at Govardhan.
Siddha Krishna Das Baba of Govardhan was one of the four famous siddha babas of 19th century Braj. He spent most of his life by the banks of the Manasi Ganga, at Chakleshwar, where his samadhi is now. After receiving a direct vision of Shri Lalita Sakhi and Sanatan Goswami, by their infinite mercy the deep meanings of the scriptures manifested within his heart.
Siddha Krishna Das Baba helped many to dive deep in the ocean of Shri Radha and Krishna’s lilas, and he wrote many books about them. His most famous book is simply called Gutika (The Pill). The Gutika contains detailed descriptions of Shri Radha and Krishna’s daily lilas in the Gaudiya Vaishnav mood. It also describes the yearly festivals and other rare information about the eternal lila.
Siddha Krishna Das Baba’s full biography can be read here.