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Mahanidhi Swami

One day in Jagannatha Puri, Sri Chaitanydeva was rescued from the tossing waves of the sea by His loving devotees. Slightly dazed, Mahaprabhu sat on the beach and looked up into the vast sky above. Suddenly, Mahaprabhu began speaking in a most absent-minded way.

Sri Chaitanya said, “Coming to Vrindavana, I saw the Yamuna and the damsels of Vraja. The gopis were removing their garments and ornaments and handing them to their attendant sakhis. Donning thin white bathing attire, they joyfully entered the Yamuna along with their beloved Priyatama Shyama.

“While standing on the bank, I saw Vrajrendranandana playing in the water, jala-krida. Krishna, Radhika and all the gopis were enjoying pastimes in a greatly sportive mood, maha-range karena keli.

“They began a water fight, and everyone started splashing water back and forth. In the tumultuous showers of water, no one knew who won or lost, jaya-parajaya. The water fight, jala-yuddha, went on and on unlimitedly. Nava-ghana Shyama and the tadit-gana sakhis mutually drenched each other in showers of water.

“In the beginning, they just playfully splashed water on each other. Then it broke out into a free-for-all as they fought hand to hand; face to face; chest to chest; teeth to teeth; and finally nail to nail! O, what prema can’t do!

“Thousands of hands splashed water; thousands of gopis’ eyes gazed at Govinda; thousands of legs brought them near Shyama; and then they kissed Krishna with thousands of faces and embraced Him with thousands of bodies. And with thousands of ears they relished Raman’s intimate joking words.

“Krishna forcibly dragged Radha into water up to Her neck. Grasping Shyama’s neck, however, Padma Sri floated on the water like a lotus.

“Krishna expanded Himself into one form for each loving gopa-sundari. Shyama then behaved with them in many naughty ways. Suddenly Radha and Krishna started a love quarrel, krishna kalaha radha sane.

“While this was going on, all the other gopis fled and hid amongst the yellow lotuses. Submerging their bodies up to their necks, only their beautiful faces could be seen floating on the water.

“Radha broke away from Kanu and met with Her gopis. Together they attacked Govinda with full force and vigor. Nothing short of a maha-pralaya of water cascaded down on Madhava’s head.”

After describing His wonderful lila-drshti of seeing Radha-Krishna’s amazing jala-krida in the Yamuna, Mahaprabhu said, “By experiencing and tasting this lila, My mind has become blissful and My eyes and ears are now fully satisfied, kari asvadana, anandita mora mana, netra-karna judaila!” (Cc. 3.18.79-99)

Indeed, that lucky person, who in any place or time sees Radha-Krishna’s jala-keli lila, will definitely taste the highest bliss and feel absolutely rejuvenated and completely satisfied.

Gaura-Govinda Jala Keli Lila ki jai!

Yamunaji ki leheray bole, “Sri Radha! Sri Radha!”

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Sri Krishna’s water pastimes (jala-keli) are beautifully described in a variety of scriptures. The following lila comes from mahanidhi swami’s book titled, Radha Krishna Pastimes at Radha Kunda:

A Splashing Defeat (Jala-keli)

Every afternoon, Radha-Govinda and the sakhis play in the prema rasa-filled water of Radha-kunda. While in the kunda, they relish different sporting activities like water splashing, hide and seek and battling with lotuses, which will now be described.

One day in Radha-kunda, after sporting and enjoying in different ways for about 2½ hours, Sri Krishna and the gopis become a little fatigued. Observing this, Radha’s maidservants (manjaris) invite everyone to relax in the refreshing cool waters of Radha-kunda.

Radha-Madhava and the sakhis gladly accept the invitation and prepare for Their divine water sports. The manjaris tie up the sakhis’ hair, remove their heavy saris and ornaments, and dress them in fine white bathing outfits. Shyama also wears thin white bathing cloth.

Eager to mitigate His love-fatigue and that of His girlfriends, Krishna enthusiastically enters Radha-kunda and begins sporting like an intoxicated elephant. Shyama’s eyes blossom like flowers of joy as He gazes upon the glistening bodies of the gopis, whose lovely features resemble the beautiful Radha-kunda.

The attractive azure eyes of the gopis look like the blue lotuses in the lake; their faces, flushed with the luster of love, mimic the pink lotuses; their bouncing locks of cobalt black hair are swarms of restless bees; their full breasts are like chakravaka birds; and their graceful golden arms are the soft stems of attractive lotus flowers.

Some timid sakhis stand on the shore, hesitating to enter. The gopis in Radha-kunda splash them with water, tug on their garments and giggle while pulling them into the kuëòa, clothes and all. Fearing Krishna’s attack, some gopis protect themselves by standing in knee or waist deep water.

Smiling proudly, Krishna stands in waist-deep water and begins bombarding them with water. The intoxicated elephants of Krishna’s eyes revel in a river of delight admiring the gopis’ gorgeous figures shining through their thin wet bathing attire. Similarly, the female elephants of the gopis’ eyes submerge in the nectar stream of Syama’s enticing form shimmering beneath His wet garments.

The gopis hold hands with each other to form a golden rope around Shyama. Then they move toward the center, tightening the circle as they draw closer to Krishna. All at once in a surprise attack, the sakhis dump loads and loads of water over Shyama’s head. To tolerate the downpour, Krishna covers His eyes while smiling blissfully.

In retaliation, Madhava drenches the gopis with such torrents of water that they become momentarily stunned. But even then, the radiant loving faces of the gopis remain as effulgent as the orb of the full moon.

Unable to tolerate Her sakhis’ defeat, Sri Radha launches a bold offensive, splashing Shyama with both hands. Using Her cupped hands, Kishori completely soaks Krishna with thick streams of water. As the glittering water continually cascades down Krishna’s chest, it appears that Shyama is being pierced by the irresistible power of Cupid’s flower arrows. Krishna’s flower garland and pearl necklace snap; only His Kaustubha withstands defeat.

Regaining His composure, Krishna starts boasting before Radha, “O Priyaji, now see if You can bear My water barrage!” Laughing affectionately, Shyama souses Shyamaa jiu’s face with water. Although somewhat afflicted by Krishna’s onslaught, Kundeshvari Radha easily tolerates it by covering Her excited eyes with Her lotus hands.

From all the commotion, Radha-kunda becomes scented with flower pollen and honey falling off the pink, red, white and blue lotus flowers, and water lilies. The touch of Krishna and the Vraja-gopis increases the natural fragrance and coolness of the kunda. The musk, sandalwood and kunkuma falling from their bodies scents and tints the water with different attractive colors.

From a pavilion overlooking the kunda, Vrinda-devi, Nandimukhi and Dhanistha throw flower petals and loudly cheer for Swamini, “Jaya Radhe! Jaya Radhe!” From the opposite side of the lake, Subala and Kundalata, supporting Krishna’s side, shower flowers on Krishna while shouting, “Jaya Sri Krishna! Jaya Sri Krishna!”

Krishna renews His attack on the gopis by throwing armfuls of water. To protect themselves, the gentle gopis lower their heads and cover their eyes, ears and noses with their hands. With a thousand eyes, Shyama relishes the tender beauty of their lovely bodies; with a thousand feet, Krishna approaches them; with a thousand arms, He embraces them tightly; and with a thousand faces, Krishna softly kisses the doe-eyed gopis.

Seeing the golden faces and reddish pan-stained lips of Her sakhis turning pale from Krishna’s assault, sweet-voiced Radhika attacks Krishna with redoubled enthusiasm. The constant splashing of Radha and Her sakhis forces Krishna, the crest-jewel of lovers, to lower His head and say, “Stop, Stop! I am defeated.”

Radha, accepts Shyama’s surrender, stops spraying Him and bursts into laughter. Appreciating Radha’s blissful mood, one sakhi says, “O Radha! There is no need to splash Krishna anymore since He admits defeat. The flower garland on Hari’s head is hiding amidst His dark hair out of fear. The water has washed off His mineral powder designs, and the bees have rejected Rasika Mohana’s fallen flower garland.”

Lalita says, “O Swamini! Stop fighting now! Just see how Krishna’s topknot is undone, His tilaka has rubbed off, His earrings are shaking, and Govinda’s garland is torn to shreds. And now the glowing rays of Krishna’s Kaustubha gem have taken shelter of Your cheeks. O sakhi! Don’t torture Krishna anymore!”

The gopis celebrate their victory by slapping the water with their hands to make music, and sounds resembling croaking frogs, (jala manduka vaadya). Hearing the sound of thumping water, the peacocks mistake it for rumbling clouds, fan their feathers and dance madly. Madhumangala joins the peacocks while flapping his armpits and exclaiming ‘hee hee!’

During the water battles, sometimes Krishna defeats the gopis, and sometimes they defeat Krishna. From sporting in the water so long, the gopis’ bodies tire and become slightly thin. Consequently, their bangles start slipping from their wrists. Out of compassion, Krishna picks some lotus stems and lovingly fashions some bangles from them. Then Gopinatha ties them on the gopis’ wrists to keep their golden bangles from sliding off into the water.

After some time, the damsels of Vraja lose interest in splashing water as their creeper-like arms tire, and their braids, garlands and garments loosen. Similarly, their supporters also lose interest in cheering for their own team or ridiculing their opponents. Thus ends the water splashing pastime.

Radha-Krishna jala-keli lila ki jai!

Radha Kunda ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

During the hot season, Krishna regularly plays in the various rivers, lakes, waterfalls, kundas and sarovaras of Vraja, i.e. Radha Kunda, Yamunaji, Pavana Sarovara and Manasi Ganga. Sometimes with the boys and sometimes with the gopis, Krishna thoroughly enjoys swimming, diving, floating, splashing, frolicking, and boating in the refreshingly, cool transcendental waters of Sridhama Vrindavana.

Sri Krishna’s water pastimes (jala-keli) are beautifully described in a variety of scriptures. The following lila comes from Srila Rupa Goswamipada’s Padyavali (269-280)

A Boating Pastime (nauka-lila)

One hot summer day, Nandanandana disguised Himself as a boatman wearing a red gumsha around His hips and another one tied on His head. Then He climbed into an old dilapidated boat tied to the shore of the Yamuna and pretended to sleep.

Radhika and Her sakhis approached that boatman and repeatedly called out, “Hey Nauka! Take us to the other side of Yamunaji!” Krishna, however, ignored their pleas while continuing to feign sleeping. Finally, the nauka-dhari woke up and said, “O My dear young girl, please step into My boat.

Just before Radha stepped into the boat, Lalita-sakhi whispered in Her ear, “Wait a minute sakhi! Look there at the boatman’s gumsha. He’s hiding a vamshi inside. This nauka is none other than that notorious Nauka Bihari Shyama!”

The ruse revealed, Radha said, “O Nauka Bihariji. The river is very deep, this is an old rickety boat, and we are simply helpless girls. It is very dangerous for us to board this boat. But what to do? There are no other naukas available at present who can take us slender girls across the Yamuna.”

Cautiously, the gopis boarded the boat and Krishna began plying the rickety craft across Yamunaji. In the middle of the Yamuna, Krishna suddenly stopped the boat and demanded immediate payment of the fare. Shyama smiled as He gazed at the frightened face of Radha, who had no money to give.

Forgoing the fare, Shyama moved the boat along. Out of nowhere, a powerful wind arose and started violently tossing the boat. Greatly alarmed, Radha said, “This boat is rocking to and fro. The river is deep and this reckless Nandanandana is the captain. Now the sun is setting in the west and the village of Vraja is still far away. And I am a helpless girl. O sakhi, what shall I do now?”

The boat started filling with water and began to sink into the Yamuna. Radha and the gopis tried their best to bail out the water. “O Lalita, said Radha! Alas! Destiny has become My enemy. My hands are exhausted. They can no longer throw out the water.

“The Yamuna is filled with huge waves, and the boat is filling with water. Still, Kåñëa is not afraid. Even in this calamity, lusty-hearted Krishna again and again puts His hand on me!”

Turning Her attention to the nauka-dhari, Radhika said, “O Shyama, all You do is speak joking words and fool around. O Krishna, if I live through this, I will never again place My feet in Your boat.”

Shyama replied to His sweetheart, “O Sundari Radha! Don’t be so harsh. By Your mercy We will live through this. All You need do is pay the boat-fare of a promise to enjoy with Me a festival of amorous pastimes in the cave of Govardhana Hill.”

Sometime later when the gopis came to the Yamuna, Radha remembered this encounter with “the boatman”. At that time, Kishori appealed to Her dear friends: “O sakhis! All of you please bow down before your ishta-devata, and pray that either Yamunaji becomes very shallow, or that we get a boat-captain other than Shyama!”

Remembering this pastime in the mood of maidservant, Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswamipada yearns for Radha’s intimate seva: “When will I serve Sri Radha in Her favorite lake on a warm summer evening? Yearning to enjoy water-pastimes, Radha and Her playful sakhis jubilantly sprinkle the expert Govinda with streams of water from their pitchkaris.” (Utkantha-dashaka 8)

Ananda Khanda Bhagavan Sri Krishna ki jai! Radha-Krishna Nauka-lila ki jai!

Nauka Bihari Shyama ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

For the pleasure of your Thakurajis, devotees should place their Giriraja or Shaligrama shilas in a container of cool, fragrant water mixed with tulasi, flowers and sandalwood paste on the hot sunny days (above 32 C.). That means NOW from April to August (India), from 9 a.m. til sunset. Then remove Thakuraji and place Him on His singhasana.

For murtis i.e. Radha-Krishna, Gaura-Nitai, this seva means placing a small water fountain before Thakuraji. Srila Prabhupada describes, “Fountains can still be seen in various temples of Vrindavana during the summer season. It is a small, aromatic fountain of flowers fixed in front of the Deities.” (Krishna Book 45)

Here’s the details of this wonderful seva from Srila Sanatana Goswamipada’s Hari bhakti-vilasa (15.1-18):

The description starts with a prayer glorifying Gauranga’s grace. “By the mercy of Sri Chaitanya, even the most fallen can observe grand festivals i.e. water sports (jala vihara) for the pleasure of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. I take shelter of Sri Chaitanya.”

“After performing your regular daily puja, place Thakuraji in a container of water coming from either a gold, silver, copper or clay vessel. And please remember: DO NOT PUT Thakuraji in water on cloudy days.

“Because Vishnu created water; lies in it and because water is very dear to Vishnu, one should worship Hari by placing Him in water, especially during the hot season, jalsrashta yato visnur, jalashayi jalapriya, tasmad grishme visheshana, jalstham pujayed harim.”

Giriraja Dharan jala-keli utsava ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!