By: Mahanidhi Swami
Today, Radhastami, is also the appearance day of Sri Swami Haridasaji, an illustrious devotional saint and musician of the 15th century in Vrindavana. Swami Haridasaji unveiled Vraja Mandala’s most famous and popular deity Thakurji Banke Bihari in Nidhuvana, where he did his nirjana bhajana.
The word nidhu means, amorous pastimes (sürata-kréòä) because here in the keli-kunjas of Nidhuvana, Radha Govinda Yugala enjoy intimate affairs after the rasa dance (11p.m. to 4 a.m.) Govinda-lélämåta and other books beautifully portray these pastimes. Radha-Krishna’s pastimes of resting and waking each day also occur here. Meditative devotees often relish these sweetly confidential pastimes while chanting japa.
With his virtuosity on vina and his supremely melodious and enchantingly sweet voice, Swami Haridasaji greatly pleased the heart of his beloved Thakura Bihariji. He composed his own songs and created a unique music style which is still emulated by musicians worldwide. Due to his intense absorption in offering his heart in song to his dearest Thakuraji, Haridasaji completely forgot his body and mind. Followers identify Swami Haridasaji as an incarnation of Lalita-sakhi.
Once after hearing from Tansena, one of the two famous disciples of Swami Haridasaji (also Baijubavara) about the musical expertise of Haridasaji, Emperor Akbar desired to hear him sing. However, the saint Haridasa would only sing for the pleasure of Banke Bihariji and no one else. After sometime, Tansena came to Nidhuvana along with Akbar, who was in disguise, sat down near the kutira of Swami Haridasaji, and started singing while playing his vina.
Detecting some flaws in Tansen’s presentation, Haridasaji came out of his kutira and showed his disciple how to properly sing that raga. Then the disguised Akbar witnessed a miracle! Swami Haridasaji’s sweet singing enchanted and attracted all the forest birds, deer and animals to his side. They were spellbound, listening to the rapture of Swamiji’s love for Bihariji. Fortunate souls will visit Nidhuvana, and roll in the dust before the samadhi of the great Swami Haridasaji, one of the greatest saints of Vraja Mandala.
On this most auspicious occasion, I humbly pray to Swami Haridasaji to please bless me that someday I can sing to My Thakuraji in a voice full of pure love and completely forget about my useless body and mind.
Swami Haridasaji’s Thakuraji Banke Bihariji is very special, very powerful, very merciful, very beautiful, very playful and very naughty. You can only relish His mystifying eyes, and catch His mischievous smile for a moment before He closes the curtain to His heart. But actually that is Bihariji’s kindness on all of us.
Because if Thakuraji gave a little longer darshana, then everyone in the temple would never leave. They would all just throw their arms up into the air and shout with full conviction, “To hell with Delhi! To hell with Mumbai! To hell with Europe! To hell with America! To hell with everywhere! I am going to stay here forever in Vraja, gazing upon the most sweetly beautiful lotus face of Banke Biharilala ki! JAI!!!
Technically speaking Sri Banke Biharij’s unique brief darshana style is called jhäìké-darçana, which means a momentary vision. To do this, the pujaris open the curtains to reveal the vision of perfection, and then rapidly close them after a moment. The following pastime explains how this came to be. Once a parama-bhakta stood looking intently at Banke Bihariji with the eyes of his heart fully expanded. The unbreakable attraction of prema between God and His devotee (Bhagavata bhakta prema-sambanhda) made Bihariji leave the temple and follow that devotee home. The temple was empty!
In great alarm, the pujaris followed the lotus footprints of Banke Bihariji to that village. After much begging and crying, Bihariji agreed to return to the temple. After this incident, momentary darshana was introduced to prevent any loving devotee from capturing Bihariji with his loving glance. Just see the power and attraction of pure love! O when will I attain such pure love that Bihariji comes to enter the home of my heart!
Sri Swami Haridasaji Avirbhava Mahotsava ki jai!
Sri Banke Biharilala ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!