By Mahanidhi Swami

Kartikka Krishna Trayodashi:

Today, Nanda Baba announces to all the Vrajavasis: “This afternoon we will go to Govardhana with our cows and carts, camp there, and then perform the annual Govardhana puja!” All the cowherders from Yavata and Varsana also come to Govardhana for the celebration. After milking the cows, all the gopas take rest for the night. Vrshabhanu Baba and his clan stay in blue tents on the left side of the camp; Abhimanyu (Sri Radha’s make-believe husband) on the north in red tents; and Nanda Baba, Sri Krishna and His family in the middle in yellow tents. That night, Radha Govinda sneak out of Their respective camps to dance the night away in joy before returning to the camp the next morning.

Chaturdashi:

Today the gopas clean the whole area from Manasa Ganga to Govinda Kunda (a five mile strip of land) to make a huge bhoga offering for Giriraja Dharan. Chappana bhoga ki jai!

After bathing in Manasa Ganga, everyone dresses and ornaments themselves before taking their meal. Radha-Madhava meet in Radha Kunda for Their usual midday-pastimes. Later under the embrace of darkness, the Loving Pair slip away to dance the rasa at Chandra Sarovara.

Amavasya/Dipavali:

In preparation for the ghee lamp utsava, Nanda Baba cleans all the bathing ghatas around Manasa Ganga, and then invites his friends and the local brahmanas for an auspicious feast. Srimati Radhika and Her sakhis cook sweet rice, vegetables and rice for offering to Nanda Baba’s Narayana Deity. Then all the Vrajavasis relish a sumptuous feast of maha-prasada. Afterwards, everyone takes paan and goes to rest in their tents.

Radhika rests briefly and then has a lover’s tryst with Shyama in a nikunja near Govardhana Hill. Returning to Her father’s, Radha prepares sweets for Her usual worship of the Surya Deva. Radha-Shyama enjoy Their usual midday-pastimes at Radha Kunda, and then return to the camp.

After milking their cows in the evening, all the cowherders go to Manasa Ganga for the Dipa Dana. Servants light all the ghee lamps, which then illuminate all the birds, trees, temples, animals, the ground around the lake. Everything bathes in a beautiful glow of gold. The Vrajavasis feel joyous and fascinated by the festival of lights.

At night, Radha-Krishna again dance through the darkness beside Chandra Sarovara. After enjoying various intimacies of love, Radha Govinda Yugala sit on a jeweled vedi to perform a duet with Shyama playing flute and Radhika on vina.

Suddenly, all the holy rivers like Yamuna, Ganga and Patala Ganga appear in Chandra Sarovara as high waves. They offer lotus flowers to Radha-Krishna’s divine lotus feet, and feel most fortunate by this offering. Just before sunrise, Radha-Shyama slip unnoticed into Their tents. Thus concludes the wonderful Dipavali festival of the Divine Couple. (Gaura Govinda Lilamrta Gutika, adapted)

Radha-Krishna’s Dipavali Maha Utsava ki jai!
Giriraja Dharana ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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