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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srila Rupa Goswamipada says (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.291) raganuga-bhakti sadhana can begin when one has a slight but specific hankering and desire (lobha, divine greed) to experience the feelings and render services like a particular eternal associate of Sri Krishna in Vrndavana i.e. Sri Radha, Visakha-sakhi or Sri Rupa Manjari in madhura-rati (vraja-vasi jana bhaava lubdho).

Regarding this, Srila Prabhupada says (Nectar of Devotion, pg. 125), “There is a gradual development to become like a particular devotee.”

In the next verse (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.292), Srila Rupa Goswamipada says divine greed may appear and develop by repeatedly hearing [or reading] sastras like the Srimad Bhagavatam and books of the six Goswamis. Sri Jiva Goswamipada says that to develop raganuga-bhakti sadhana, one should especially hear the Tenth Canto Bhagavata’s depiction i.e. [Gopi-gitas) of the sweet love and activities of the cowherd damsels of Vrajabhumi.

In (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.294), Srila Rupa Goswamipada says practicing raganuga-bhakti means to live in Vraja Mandala and be absorbed in hearing topics specifically related to the Vrajavasis whom you want to follow, such as Radhika and the Vraja-gopis.

For devotees pursuing Vraja bhakti in the amorous mood of the gopis, the Srimad Bhagavatam contains six priceless jewels known as the six Gitas or songs of the Vraja-gopis. Bhagavatam is the cream of the Vedas, and the Gopi-gitas are the burfee of the Bhagavatam.

Why is that you may ask? The six Gopi-gitas are full of deeply emotional, pure love-surcharged verses that have arisen from the Vraja gopis’ immaculately pure hearts. In these outpourings, often cried out in the agony of separation from Shyam, the Vraja-gopis reveal the topmost transcendental ecstatic sentiments of mahabhava, pure and selfless, divine love for their dearest Priyatama Shyama, Sri Krishna!

The Gopis’ songs are especially meant for sadhakas treading the emotional path of raganuga-bhakti in pursuance of the madhura-rati of Sri Krishna’s Vraja ragatmikas as taught by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. By regularly hearing, reading, or better yet crying like they did, these six songs of love divine, devotees will quickly develop the moods and feeling of the damsels of Vraja.

The Vraja gopis sing these six Gitas either in times of union or separation, while relishing the ecstasy of their srngara-prema, pure ecstatic amorous love for Shyamsundar, the beautiful dashing sweet Lord of Love.

Srila Sukadeva Goswami comments (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.36) on these Gitas, “People must hear about Krishna pastimes [in the six Gopi-gitas]. By doing so people will become exclusively devoted to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.”

Many contemporary Vrndavana Goswamis and Bhagavata katha vachaks say that if you want to cultivate the gopi’s mood separation, attract the heart of Krishna, and receive His beautiful darshana, then daily sing the “Gopi Gita”. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.31.1-19)

Moreover, since the Vraja-gopis are the topmost devotees of Bhagavan Sri Krishna in all of creation, any devotee who daily hears, reads, or cries these songs will surely increase his/her attraction, love and attachment for Sri Krishna, our Sweet Loving Master.

OUTLINE OF THE SIX GOPI GITAS

  1. Venu-gita:

In verses (10.21.7-19), the gopis describe Sri Krishna’s purvahna-lila (8:24-10:48 a.m.) in the morning when Govinda goes out with gopa friends to tend the cows in the forest. While the gopis are staying at home they hear Krishna sweet flute song echoing and resounding in the distant pastures. Their hearts thrill with ecstatic hankering. Then to ease their pangs of separation, the lovely damsels of Vraja sing about their beloved Shyam, His amazing flute, and His frolicking in the forests of Vrndavana.

  1. Pranaya-gita:

This Gita appears in the Tenth Canto at the end of the first chapter describing the rasa-lila (SB 10.29.31-41). After the gopis hear Sri Krishna’s flute invitation for amorous sports, they drop everything and run through the frightening midnight forest to stand before their beloved. And what does Shyam do? He preaches patni dharma, lajja dharma, varna dharma and morality to seemingly dissuade and reject them.

Replying, the Vraja damsels forcefully express their pure intentions, and transcendental loving sentiments for the one and only true husband and master of everyone, Krishna! In their talks about the deepest pure love, the Vraja-gopis reveal a type of sweetness in prema called pranaya. To better understand the gopis’ feelings at this time, please attentively read and reflect upon the following passage:

Pranaya-prema is a spiritual mentality of equality and oneness of heart between the lover and beloved. It includes boldness, firm faith and trust, and it is completely free from the slightest scent of reverence. Ujjvala-nilamani states that alaukik pranaya is the fifth stage (rati, prema, sneha, mana, pranaya) of ever-thickening sweetness in divine love. In pranaya prema, the lover completely identifies with the beloved, but not like the oneness of the jiva identifying with Brahman in sayujya-mukti.

At this level the lovers feels that their life-airs, minds, intelligence, bodies, and garments (prana, mana, buddhi, deha, vesh) are identical with the counterparts in their beloved. The lovers think, “You are my very prana and I am your very prana (life force).”

Thus, in their loving exchanges there is no hesitation, fear or distance created by respect or feelings of difference. For example, Sri Krishna can place His feet on Radharani’s breasts or pass His chewed pan into Radha’s mouth without any fear or hesitation.

  1. Gopi-gita:

This Gita (10.31.1-19) comprises the entire third chapter of Radha-Krishna’s rasa-lila in the Tenth Canto of Bhagavatam. On the camphor white, soft sandy banks of Yamunaji, the gorgeous gopis sing the pranaya-gita directly to Sri Krishna in chapter 29. Then later in the night during the rasa lila, Sri Krishna suddenly disappears leaving the damsels distraught and dejected.

Overwhelmed with broken hearts and sobbing continuously, the gopis sit down on the bank of the Yamuna after searching a long time for Krishna. Each in her own way, the gopis ecstatically cry out to Rasikashekhar while praying for Shyam’s merciful darshana.

Their minds filling with Krishna’s pastimes and presence, and their hearts burning in loneliness they cry out for their beloved. The commentators say singing the “Gopi-gita” will assuage the aggrieved heart of any bhakta who truly feels separation from Krishna.

  1. Yugala-gita:

This Gita appears in (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.35.2-25). Although wanting, the gopis can’t run out with Shyam when He goes to the forest every day. But their minds do run out. So while remaining in the village doing their chores, the gopis sadly pass their time singing of Krishna’s pastimes while eagerly awaiting Shyam’s return.

Standing in small groups here and there in Vraja, the gopis recite pairs (yugala) of verses glorifying Sri Krishna’s late afternoon pastimes (aparahna-lila 3.36- 6 p.m) of returning from the pasturing grounds (uttara-gostha lila) with the cows and cowherd boys.

  1. Viraha-gita:

Viraha-gita is in (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.39.19-31). This chapter describes one dismal day in February, when Akrura comes to town to take the tender boys Krishna and Balarama out of Vraja and on to Mathura City for a wrestling match with the fierce and hefty henchmen of the notorious demon King Kamsa.

Priyaji Radha and the other gopis are afraid to be without Shyama for even an eye blink. So when they hear the news, they become extremely upset and distressed.

Their faces turn pale from their heavy breathing, and their dresses, bracelets and braids slip off. When Radhika hears the bad news, She remembers some intimate moments with Shyama and faints.

Tossing in the high waves of prema, the Vraja-gopis stay up all night vacillating between madness and fainting. Half-conscious, the gopis lament and condemn Providence for separating them from Shyam.

Due to the intense anxiety of thinking that they may never see Krishna, the gopis run to Nandagrama at dawn. They decide to cast away their shyness and try their best to keep Krishna in Vraja. Standing at the door of Nanda’s palace, they openly express their deep feelings of love of separation in what is called the “Viraha-gita”.

In Nectar of Devotion (ch 44), Srila Prabhupada cites Srila Rupa Goswamipada’s Padyavali: “Since the inauspicious day when Krishna left Vrindavana to go to Mathura, Srimati Radharani has been pressing Her head on one of Her hands and constantly shedding tears. Radha’s face is always wet now, and therefore there is no chance of Radha’s sleeping even for a moment. Radharani was always weeping for Krishna because of His separation and She could not sleep for a moment.”

And how did Krishna feel in Mathura after being separated from His beloved sweetheart Radhika? In the Prahlada-samhita, Uddhava says, “Sri Govinda, panic-stricken from the piercing arrows of Cupid, is always thinking of Radharani. He does not eat regularly nor sleep at night.”

  1. Bhramara-gita:

This Gita appears in (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.12-20). After Sri Krishna leaves the gopis and moves to Mathura, He sends Uddhava back to Vraja with a message to pacify the gopis who are completely distraught in Krishna’s separation.

When the young maidens of Vraja see lotus-eyed Uddhava, wearing Krishna’s prasadi dhoti, turban and ornaments, they are astonished thinking that perhaps he is Krishna. The gopis bring Uddhava to a secluded place to speak confidentially.

As they remember their pleasurable pastimes with Krishna, the gopis abandon all propriety and shyness and loudly cry. At that time, Sri Radha sees a bumblebee and mistakes it to be a messenger of Uddhava or someone very dear to him and Krishna. Completely bewildered by intense pangs of love in separation from Shyam (divyonmada mahabhava), Radha speaks to that bee like a madwoman.

Uddhava tries his best to console the deeply anguished Radharani and the damsels of Vraja, who just want to see Shyam again, but he fails! Instead of pacifying the anguished gopis, Uddhava himself becomes baffled and astonished at Sri Radha’s intensely mad love in separation from Krishna.

The Bhramara-gita concludes with Uddhava’s response which is simply his heartfelt prayers to the gopis expressing his gratitude, appreciation and aspiration. Although he is a most exalted Vedic scholar and a confidential friend of Krishna, Uddhava prays with folded hands that the gopis will bless him in some life with their foot dust if by chance he gets birth in Vraja as a lowly creeper. It seems this pastime occurred during the morning (purvahana-lila 8:36-10:48 a.m.)

We hope this article will inspire devotees to cultivate their individual budding attraction to follow the Vraja-gopis by regularly hearing and reading these wonderful Gopi-gitas of the Tenth Canto.

Srimad Bhagavatam Gopi-gitas ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

After becoming established in one’s siddha svarupa by the mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Krishna, a sadhaka will contemplate his/her personal form, qualities and seva while mentally remembering and serving within Radha-Madhava’s asta-kaliya-lila.

The young girls (12-13 yrs) who personally and very intimately serve Srimati Radharani are called Radha’s dasis, kinkaris, manjaris or simply maidservants. The following description is generic and refers to “You” or anyone among the unlimited handmaidens of Srimati Radhika.

The following passages, taken from Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada’s Vrindavana Mahimamrita, which describe a manjari’s form, feelings, movements and services are very helpful in deepening and culturing the persona of a maidservant of Srimati Radharani.

By reading these, one will see how dynamic, beautiful and exciting it will be when one attains prema, and enters Radha-Krishna pastimes to lovingly serve Them eternally in one’s siddha svarupa as Radhika’s kinkari.

To attain success in manjari meditation, one must completely forget once and for all one’s external body and all false material attachments. By the mercy of Sri Hari and Sri Guru, I have received a spiritual form, siddha svarupa/deha so that I may affectionately and intimately serve Sri Sri Radha-Govinda Yugala in the eternally blissful realm of Sri Vraja Dhama.

Thus to permanently fix my eternal and REAL spiritual identity, I will deeply concentrate, meditate upon and internally visualize my true self as follows. Hear/read the passages very attentively while thinking: “This is the REAL ME—the ETERNAL ME—the EVER BLISSFUL ME!” Try to think of your eternal, individual, transcendental, sac-cid-ananda siddha svarupa as being like this…

“I am a lovely kinkari maidservant of Ishvari Radha, and I have a glistening, pleasing golden complexion and I abound in honey sweetness. I am a fresh maiden adorned with jeweled necklaces and a multicolored blouse.

My arms are beautifully shaped like lotus stems and glorified with bracelets and jeweled armlets. Like a dangling vine, my hair shiny black braid hangs down to My captivating buttocks, and its swinging movements enhance My beauty.

As Radhika’s kinkari (manjari), I have an enchantingly thin waist. A divine silk garment with artistic folds hangs down to My ankles. A fine cloth embroidered with flowers and leaves covers My hair and the sides of My face.

A sweet shy smile plays upon My reddish lips. My glances are light and playful, and My movements are extremely attractive. The amorous affairs of Radha-Madhava Yugala always excite My pure tender heart.

Among my unlimited good qualities, humility and sweet behavior are foremost. Having been personally taught by Radharani, I am now expert in all arts.

I appear especially attractive due to wearing the Playful Pair’s prasadi malas, clothes and ornaments. I regularly relish Radha and Krishna’s astonishingly tasty prasadi pan and betel nut. Being an expert manjari, I immediately know what Radha wants just by a hint or a glance. Radha and Krishna are always very affectionate to me.

I carry whatever is needed for seva i.e. scents, water, garlands, kunkum, pan, cosmetics etc. for Radhe-Shyama’s nightly meetings. As a Radhika kinkari, I constantly taste the sweet madhura rasa arising from Sri Radha’s beautiful form, qualities and pastimes. I remain forever thrilled by remembering Radhika’s intimate affairs with Shyama.

Because I have intense loving affection for Radharani, I am always submerged in an ocean of happiness. In all times, whether I am awake, dreaming or deeply asleep, I desire nothing but Radha’s seva. I know absolutely nothing but Sri Radha sweet lotus feet.

As rivers rush to the sea, I immediately run toward anything even remotely connected with Radha. And I practically die if even a moment passes without Radha. As a shadow follows an object, I am always beside Sri Radha throughout the day and night. My deep attachment to Radha immerses me in the boundless ocean of ecstatic love for Radha.

Sometimes when Kunjeshvari enjoys with Priyatama in a keli-kunja, Radha pulls me onto the flower bed and under the sheets with Her. Ah ha! Just see the intimacy that Srimati showers upon me, Her most fortunate maidservant!

Tasting the bliss of serving Kishori Jeu, I thrill and tremble in ecstasy. My brilliant bodily luster and loveliness enchant everyone as I run from place to place in My anxiety to nicely serve Priya Sundari.

My soothing bodily effulgence beautifies and enriches all ten directions. When I sometimes hear Priya-Priyatama’s secret love talks, I experience inconceivable joy, the utmost happiness and FULL satisfaction. The soothing, nectar-sweet words flowing from the lovely lotus mouth of Srimati Radhika continually dance in waves of joy in My heart. (Vrindavana Mahimamrta 8.17-42)

Sri Radha’s manjari ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe! Manjari Bhava Upasana ki jai! Manjari Sadhana ki jai! Sri Guru ki jai!

Mahanidhi Swami

After becoming established in one’s siddha svarupa by the mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Krishna, a sadhaka will contemplate his/her personal form, qualities and seva while mentally remembering and serving within Radha-Madhava’s asta-kaliya-lila.

The young girls (12-13 yrs) who personally and very intimately serve Srimati Radharani are called Radha’s dasis, kinkaris, manjaris or simply maidservants. The following description is generic and refers to “You” or anyone among the unlimited handmaidens of Srimati Radhika.

The following passages, taken from Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada’s Vrindavana Mahimamrita, which describe a manjari’s form, feelings, movements and services are very helpful in deepening and culturing the persona of a maidservant of Srimati Radharani.

By reading these, one will see how dynamic, beautiful and exciting it will be when one attains prema, and enters Radha-Krishna pastimes to lovingly serve Them eternally in one’s siddha svarupa as Radhika’s kinkari.

To attain success in manjari meditation, one must completely forget once and for all one’s external body and all false material attachments. By the mercy of Sri Hari and Sri Guru, I have received a spiritual form, siddha svarupa/deha so that I may affectionately and intimately serve Sri Sri Radha-Govinda Yugala in the eternally blissful realm of Sri Vraja Dhama.

Thus to permanently fix my eternal and REAL spiritual identity, I will deeply concentrate, meditate upon and internally visualize my true self as follows. Hear/read the passages very attentively while thinking: “This is the REAL ME—the ETERNAL ME—the EVER BLISSFUL ME!” Try to think of your eternal, individual, transcendental, sac-cid-ananda siddha svarupa as being like this…

“I am a lovely kinkari maidservant of Ishvari Radha, and I have a glistening, pleasing golden complexion and I abound in honey sweetness. I am a fresh maiden adorned with jeweled necklaces and a multicolored blouse.

My arms are beautifully shaped like lotus stems and glorified with bracelets and jeweled armlets. Like a dangling vine, my hair shiny black braid hangs down to My captivating buttocks, and its swinging movements enhance My beauty.

As Radhika’s kinkari (manjari), I have an enchantingly thin waist. A divine silk garment with artistic folds hangs down to My ankles. A fine cloth embroidered with flowers and leaves covers My hair and the sides of My face.

A sweet shy smile plays upon My reddish lips. My glances are light and playful, and My movements are extremely attractive. The amorous affairs of Radha-Madhava Yugala always excite My pure tender heart.

Among my unlimited good qualities, humility and sweet behavior are foremost. Having been personally taught by Radharani, I am now expert in all arts.

I appear especially attractive due to wearing the Playful Pair’s prasadi malas, clothes and ornaments. I regularly relish Radha and Krishna’s astonishingly tasty prasadi pan and betel nut. Being an expert manjari, I immediately know what Radha wants just by a hint or a glance. Radha and Krishna are always very affectionate to me.

I carry whatever is needed for seva i.e. scents, water, garlands, kunkum, pan, cosmetics etc. for Radhe-Shyama’s nightly meetings. As a Radhika kinkari, I constantly taste the sweet madhura rasa arising from Sri Radha’s beautiful form, qualities and pastimes. I remain forever thrilled by remembering Radhika’s intimate affairs with Shyama.

Because I have intense loving affection for Radharani, I am always submerged in an ocean of happiness. In all times, whether I am awake, dreaming or deeply asleep, I desire nothing but Radha’s seva. I know absolutely nothing but Sri Radha sweet lotus feet.

As rivers rush to the sea, I immediately run toward anything even remotely connected with Radha. And I practically die if even a moment passes without Radha. As a shadow follows an object, I am always beside Sri Radha throughout the day and night. My deep attachment to Radha immerses me in the boundless ocean of ecstatic love for Radha.

Sometimes when Kunjeshvari enjoys with Priyatama in a keli-kunja, Radha pulls me onto the flower bed and under the sheets with Her. Ah ha! Just see the intimacy that Srimati showers upon me, Her most fortunate maidservant!

Tasting the bliss of serving Kishori Jeu, I thrill and tremble in ecstasy. My brilliant bodily luster and loveliness enchant everyone as I run from place to place in My anxiety to nicely serve Priya Sundari.

My soothing bodily effulgence beautifies and enriches all ten directions. When I sometimes hear Priya-Priyatama’s secret love talks, I experience inconceivable joy, the utmost happiness and FULL satisfaction. The soothing, nectar-sweet words flowing from the lovely lotus mouth of Srimati Radhika continually dance in waves of joy in My heart. (Vrindavana Mahimamrta 8.17-42)

Sri Radha’s manjari ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe! Manjari Bhava Upasana ki jai! Manjari Sadhana ki jai! Sri Guru ki jai!

Mahanidhi Swami

Quoting the verse below, which he did 67 times, Srila Prabhupada perfectly explains the mission of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

The golden avatar of love divine appeared in this world to preach gopi bhava, and the worship of Radha-Krishna following the example of the Vraja-gopis. Mahaprabhu also taught the worship of Vrindavana, Srimad Bhagavatam and the Vaisnavas.

Srila Prabhupada and all Gaudiya Vaisnavas accept that this one verse contains the entire philosophy (sambandha, adhidheya, prayojana) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is Krishna consciousness in a nutshell. And every Gaudiya Vaisnava should study, memorize, realize and preach this most important verse written by Srinatha Cakravarti, Sri Advaita Prabhu’s shishya and Mahaprabhu’s direct associate.

Please study the passages below wherein Srila Prabhupada summarizes the mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. People often ask, “What is Krishna Consciousness?” This verse gives the true and complete meaning of “Krishna consciousness” because it contains the sweet essence of our Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy.

This is what Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to give, to teach, to taste and to experience. To know the meaning of this verse and to follow it means you are a Gaudiya Vaisnava!

aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas, tad-dhama vrindavana,

ramya kacid upasana, vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita,

srimad-bhagavatam pramanam amalam, prema pum-artho mahan

sri-caitanya-mahaprabhor matam idam, tatradarah na parah

Sri Srinatha Cakravarti said, “Nandanandana Sri Krishna is the topmost object of worship, and His abode of Vrindavana is equally worshipable. The young married brides of Vrindavana, the Vraja-gopis, showed the best way to worship Sri Krishna. The most authoritative source of divine revelation is the Srimad Bhagavatam. Krishna prema, pure love of God, is the fifth and ultimate goal (panchama-artha) of human life. This is the essence of the philosophy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, so we consider this doctrine to be supreme.”

Srila Prabhupada comments on this most important verse: “Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, ramya kacid upasana, vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita,’ If you want to learn the process of worshiping and loving Krishna, just try to follow in the footsteps of the Vraja gopis, because their love for Krishna is the highest perfectional love of God; pure love for God.

“Here’s how they loved Krishna. Krishna was a cowherd boy, and Krishna and His friends and cows used to go to the pasturing ground for the whole day. Although gopis were at home and Krishna was miles away in the pasturing ground, the gopis were thinking, ‘Oh, Krishna’s feet are so soft! Now Krishna is walking on the rough ground, and the sharp pebbles are pricking Krishna’s foot soles. So Krishna must be feeling some pain.’

“Thinking in this way, the gopis used to cry. Just see, this is love! When Krishna returned, the gopis did not ask Him, ‘My dear Krishna, what have You brought us from Your pasturing ground? What is in Your pocket? Let us see.’ No! The gopis were simply thinking of how Krishna could be satisfied. The gopis used to dress themselves very nicely and go before Krishna. While dressing they would think, ‘Oh, Krishna will be happy to see me.’

“These are the loving affairs of Krishna and the gopis. Their relationship was so intimate and so unalloyed that Krishna Himself admitted, ‘My dear gopis, it is not in My power to repay you for your love.’ Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yet He became bankrupt—Krishna could not repay His debt to the gopis. So the gopis possessed the highest perfection of love for Krishna.

“I am describing the mission of Lord Caitanya. Mahaprabhu is instructing us that the only lovable object is Krishna, the only lovable land is Vrindavana, and the process of loving Krishna is shown by the vivid example of the gopis. There are different stages of devotees, and the gopis are on the highest platform. And among the gopis, the supreme is Radharani. Therefore, nobody can surpass Radharani’s love for Krishna.”(SP: Folio TQE 7c)

Srila Prabhupada: “Lord Caitanya recommends, ‘As Krishna was worshiped by the damsels of Vrajadhama—that is the highest, topmost grade of worship because that was pure love.’ The damsels of Vraja loved Krishna so much, without any return. That’s a sublime thing. So Mahaprabhu recommended, ‘That is the highest form of worship.’”(SP: Folio 660729BG.NY)

Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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!