Jhulana Bliss Festival

Mahanidhi Swami

At midday, Srimati Radharani and all the sakhis walk to the Swing Pavilion (jhulana mandapa). Beautiful blossoming kalpa vrksha trees surround the mandapa. The intertwining, bending branches of the densely foliated trees that are all embraced by fragrant creepers of madhavi and malati form a natural canopy overhead.

The pleasure swings suspended from these trees on silken ropes are covered with seats, soft cushions and pillows.

On the pretext of admiring the beauty of the forest, Sri Krishna slips away from the boys and cows, and comes here along with His confidantes Subala and Madhumangala to meet Radhika and the sakhis. While playing vinas, drums and other instruments, the lovely damsels of Vraja start singing and dancing for the joy of Yugala. With their sweetest possible voices, the cuckoos and parrots add to the concert, and the tail fanned peacocks dance ecstatically while shrieking “Ka Ka!, Ke Ka!”. Bees buzz, deer frolic and the entire forest vibrates with the bliss of the festival. “Radhe jhulana padharo, jhuki ayi badara.”

Surrounded by all Their intimate sakhis, Radha-Shyama sit in the whorl of the spectacular 1000-petalled lotus-swing. On other swings nearby, the different chief sakhis (yutheshvaris) sit with their girlfriends. In the east on her swing is Candravali and her party; south Bhadra and her sakhis; north Shyamala and friends; and west Dhanya and company. Hovering in their vimanas, the devas and devis observe the swing celebration from the sky.

Just to make it a super spectacle bliss festival, Vrinda-devi brings colored powders made of pulverized fragrant flowers, flowers bombs and powerful 3 foot long syringes to douse everyone in festive colors of joyful love along with the Jhulana utsava. “Preme Se! Preme Se!” Holi and Jhulana—two festivals in one!!

The yutheshvaris surrounding Radha-Krishna team up together and bombard the Playful Pair with clouds of colors and streams of rainbow hued liquids shot from their gem-studded golden syringes (huge squirt guns). To protect Radha-Govinda from the attack, clever Lalita and Her sakhis form a human shield all around Yugala. In seconds, the sakhis are completely drenched and dusted from the torrential hail of colored liquids, powders and flower bombs. Day has become night from the color monsoon.

After some time, the dense color clouds settle and the sakhis step down from their swings to push the hindolana of Radha-Shyama. Due to the forceful swinging, Radha-Madhava’s mala start to oscillate. Nectar thirsty bumblebees try to land on Their flower garlands. But they end up just swinging back in forth without getting the nectar.

Then a variety of swinging partners takes place. Krishna, with Radhika sitting on His right, swings with Lalita and then every individual sakhi sitting on His left. Then Sri Radha descends from the swing, seats a pair of sakhis on either side of Shyama and then happily swings Them. Then Shyama gets down and pushes Priyaji sitting with Her dearest Vraja damsels.

At the conclusion of the Jhulana bliss festival, Radha’s kinkari maidservants relieve the Divine Pair by fanning Them, daubing Them with sandalwood paste and offering Them tasty sweet fruits and refreshing cool drinks. (Gutika, adapted)

Jhulana Chalo Hidolana, Vrishabhanu Nandini!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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