Until Sravana Purnima, all the Thakurjis in Vraja will be enjoying their 12 day swing festival (jhulanotsava). Below are translations of some popular Hindi and Bengali jhulana bhajanas. As a practice of lila-smarana (meditating on Radha-Govinda’s pastimes), you can chant the maha-mantra while contemplating upon these translations. Follow these steps and experience the result:
1) Before japa, first slowly read one bhajana translation. While reading, try to visualize the Divine Couple, the sakhis, the forest scene, and all the props.
2) Slowly read again, increasing the visualization while trying to identify with the feelings and sevas of the sakhis attending to the Divine Couple.
3) Close your eyes, try to recapture the scene, sevas and feelings being exchanged between the sakhis, and the Divine Couple, Radha Govinda Yugala.
4) Open your eyes, read the entire piece again out loud.
5) Close your eyes and begin chanting japa while trying to “mentally see and feel” and enter into and serve everything you read about.
Without a doubt, if you do this sincerely you will have an amazingly sublime and sweet experience during your jhulana japa.
1) The sakhis are gossiping from house to house in Varsana: “Hey sakhi! Quickly, get dressed so we can go meet the gallant Shyamasundara.” After Lalita and Vishakha dress Radhika, everyone rushes to the site of jhulana. Along the way they joke and laugh with each other in great fun. Overwhelmed with joy they meet Shyama. When Radha and Krishna gaze at each other Their minds spin with amorous desires. Mohana dasa looks on in bliss as the Divine Couple sit together on the swing, and the Vraja-gopis push them back and forth.
2) Shyama becomes intoxicated with the joy of jhulana while swinging with Gauri (Radha) on His left side (jhulato shyama, gauri bama—ananda range matiya). Slightly smiling at each other, Radha-Shyama arouse the mood of amorous enjoyment. While sweetly gesturing, Radhika’s girlfriends sing and push the swing. Swarms of bees hover around the fragrant flowers decorating that golden swing. Shyama looks like a rain cloud, and playful Rai looks like a brilliant lightning strike embracing His left side.
Their moon lockets and necklaces of star-shaped jewels toss about as Radha-Shyama embrace each other. The mrdangas pound out enchanting sounds—bi-dhi, bi-dhik, a-di-ya and tini-na, tini-na, and ta-ti-ya! It is impossible to describe the atmosphere which is saturated with the high-pitched singing of the gopis. Their bangles, ankle bells and tinkling waistbells mix sweetly with the jhunara (large karatals) which resound—jha-na, jha-na, jha-na, jha-ti-jha! Overwhelmed in joy, Uddhava dasa takes shelter at the lotus feet of Radha-Mohana.
3) “Sakhi, look! As Yugala-kishora swing they look like a blue sapphire set in gold.” Relishing the beauty of Their faces, Lalita and Vishakha happily push the swing. As playful Rai’s sakhis surround the flower decorated swing, thick rainclouds rumble overhead. The sakhis drown in ecstasy as they swing the Divine Couple. While clapping, some sakhis tell lovely-faced Radha, “Hold Your Pranavallabha tightly!”
As Radha-Shyama swing faster and faster, Their hair loosens and beads of perspiration glide from their moon-like faces like drops of nectar. The sakhis wave chamaras to relieve Radha-Shyama’s fatigue. While watching from the tree branches, the bees and cuckoos call out, “Jaya Jaya Radha-Krishna! Jaya Radha-Krishna!” Jagannatha dasa says, “O when will I behold Yugala-kishora’s beautiful jhulana-lila in the groves of Vrindavana?”
4) With sweet-faced Radha sitting on His left, that topmost gallant lover appears to be floating in an ocean bliss as He joyfully swings on the elegant hindola. The amazing sight of their matchless beauty has captivated the entire universe! Overwhelmed by the irresistible enchantment of Radha’s beautiful face and enticing eye gestures, Shyama kisses Kishori again and again. As Radha’s voice falters, the Divine Couple succumb to Cupid’s spell!
5) O Vrishabhanunandini! Come let’s go for the swing pastimes. In this monsoon month the auspicious day of teej has arrived. Dark black clouds are showering tiny drops of rain and enthralling everyone with their romantic rumbling. O Kishori! O Karunamayi Radhe, who removes the misery of all! The beautiful swings on the branches of the kadamba tree are anxiously waiting to serve Your exquisitely divine form. O Vrajeshvari! Please accept our humble request. Wear a bright and colorful sari and approach the swing. The soft radiant glow of Your sweet face humbles the effulgence of the moon, and a gentle smile adorns Your lovely face.
6) O Radhe, Your splendid form is decorated with ornaments, and Your beautiful lotus eyes are anointed with black kajal. O Pyarijeu! Please come for the swing pastimes and show Your mercy to the anxious monsoon clouds. O Vrishabhanu-dulari, You are very wise and intelligent, so please give up your maan, angry disposition, toward Shyama. Your beloved Rasika Priyatama Shyama is eagerly waiting for You. When Vilasini Radha arrives at the jhulana, Krishna folds His hands in supplication and says, “O Radhe! I bow down to Your lotus feet.”
7) O Bihariji! You forever relish swing pastimes in Vrindavana. Just see how the pleasure groves of Vraja are covered with a blanket of green! Here stands Nanda Bihari and Bhanu Dulari. O how sweet the Divine Couple look in our eyes! You are standing so enchantingly on the banks of the Yamuna, wearing a beautiful colored dress. The kadamba trees are full of blossoming fragrant flowers. The shining black luster of Ghanashyama mixes with the resplendent golden complexion of Radha like a lightning flash in a raincloud. Seeing this fills our hearts with joy. Shyama’s eyes are like chakora birds drinking the sweet nectar of Radha’s moon-like face. And the sakhis are like a thread of love serving Their lotus feet.
JAI JAI SRI RADHE!