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Radhavallabh temple music: Pada 57, The joy of Holi in Vrindavan

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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.


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.


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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