mai ri shaj jori pragat bhai ju rang ki gaur shyam ghan damin jaisen…
pratham hun huti abu bun aagen hun rahihai na tarihai taisain…
an gang ki ujraii sugharaii chaturaii sunderta aisan…
shri haridas ke swami Shyama Kunjbihari sam vais vaisain..
The devotees were joyfully singing this bhajan while celebrating the appearance day of Thakur Banke Bihari ji Maharaj. The festival was celebrated on Bihar Panchami.
Many religious ceremonies were conducted on this occasion. A special mangal badhai gayan and samaj was organized in Nidhivan. The whole of Vrindavan was in a celebration mood on the appearance day of their adored Lord. Devotees everywhere were heard calling out “Banke Bihari ji Maharaj ki jai.”
The celebrations began in early morning in Nidhivan where Banke Bihari first appeared, pleased by the devotion of Swami Haridas. The entire premises of Nidhivan as well as the Banke Bihari mandir and its surrounding were decorated with flowers, flags, festoons, balloons and lights.
The mahabhishek was performed at the appearance place in Nidhivan at 5 am, where a ceremonial bath was given to the footprints (charan) of Banke Bihari ji with milk, ghee, curd, honey, sugar etc.
The ceremonial mahabhishek was performed by Bhikki Goswami, Bacchu Goswami, Rohit Goswami and others. In the temple, the mahabhishek was performed at 7 am in full view of the devotees. The perfumes of hina, rose and kesar were sprayed in the temple and the deity of Bihari ji was dressed with special saffron clothes with work of silver and jewels. A maha-arati was also performed following the bathing ritual.
A grand procession (badhai shobha yatra) was taken out from Nidhivan. The procession consisted of several brass bands, other musical performing groups, decorated horses, high flags and kirtan groups. It was headed by decorated chariots carrying the images of Swami Haridas ji and Radha Krishna sitting on his lap. Saints from different akharas walked with the procession carrying the respective signs belonging to their akhara.
The dandia dance of the women devotees was the center of attraction. The women devotees were dancing and singing badhai. A rope was encircled with sticks around the group of women devotees who were performing the dandia dance so that street traffic would not disturb it.
The procession passed through the main bazaars of Vrindavan to reach the Banke Bihari temple at 1 p.m by the time of Rajbhog at noon. The Goswamis welcomed the procession on reaching the temple. The image of Swami ji was taken inside the temple and then Rajbhog was offered to Bihari ji.
Devotees believe that Bihari ji enjoys the prasadam offered by Swami Haridas ji with his own hands, sitting on his lap on this day. After Rajbhog aarti, at the end of the celebrations, the Prasad was distributed among the devotees.