The Rasa Lila
Lord Krishna is construed as the quintessential romantic hero with tenderness and teasing and the beauty of His dark body, enflaming the desire of the individual soul for union with God; the supreme lover towards whom the enraptured village girls with whom He sported in his youth are passionately drawn. The Lord makes us cross a new threshold of awareness that He exists intensely in our hearts when we sing His praises and dwells in our longing for Him. Love for Him can only be savoured by gifted devotees not flawed by conceit or pride but striving towards complete absorption in the joy of Krishna, interpreted as the cry of the enraptured soul for God.
Gopivallabha or beloved of the gopis is one of Lord Krishna’s epithets. The gopi bhava (love flowing towards the Lord) which leads us to Krishna is the zenith of spiritual awareness. The undivided whole that is God requires the absorption of its parts to be restored to wholeness once again. These cowherdesses representing souls in search of salvation are hungry for the fulfillment of their love. As Udhavaji says that so steeped in the love of Krishna are the hearts of the gopis that while others may only aspire to reach the state of oneness with the Lord these simple cowherdesses have already attained it. The longing of the gopikas and the calming of their desires by Lord Krishna is centred within Vrindavan.
Lord Krishna Bathing with Gopis in the Yamuna on Sharad Poornima
On Sharad-Poornima, Vrindavan devotees celebrate the divine union of the ascending soul with the descending God Krishna, a moment of purity and effulgence when the god and the gopis are in unison. The miracle of the Raas Lila: that supreme moment of Krishna’s manifestation as human lover and divine incarnate dancing with the gopis in the forest of Madhuvana and bathing with them in the flowing waters of the Yamuna on the radiant night of Sharad Poornima, the autumnal full moon, enchants us. It is experienced through a celebration of nature in her most glorious state which comes with Sharad Ritu, the autumnal season when the skies are cleared of black clouds, the waters flow clear and the whole earth rejoices on being cleansed.
On Sharad Poornima, Krishna picks up His flute and breathes music into it. Its magical sound intoxicated nature and all living beings,overwhelming them with ecstatic devotion. The gopis had prayed for the Raas Lila to goddess Katyayani and can not resist the call.
Lord Krishna the lover with his beloved Shri Radha and gopis on the celestial banks of the Yamuna, in the dense nikunjas, gleaming in the light of the full moon commenced the rapturous dance, holding hands to complete a circle. Amidst the idyllic environs and showering merriment the tempo grew faster and faster. Krishna duplicated Himself through His maya so that between two gopis was found a Krishna, sporting with them in the magical dance of the Raas Mandala, assuming as many forms as was necessary to make each gopi happy. The gopis lost in their passionate desire for Krishna, delicately stepped to and fro with ringing bracelets, moving kundals, evocative clothes; the Lord welcomed them with a charming smile. The Raas brings to halt the course of the moon and the planets as they watch the beauty of the dance. Kam (god of love) and Rati his wife are wonder struck at this divine sight with no distinction between earthly sensual love and spiritual ecstacy, a moment of eternity. The site is closely related to the mysteries of intense passion reflected in the sensuous dance.
Shri Banke Bihari ji
In celestial Vrindavan the most popular deity Lord Bihariji is resplendently decked with mormukut, katikachini and vanshi on Raas Poornima. Millions of devotees from all over Punjab, Delhi, UP and the entire world throng to have His radiant darshan which is possible only once a year!
The Full Moon on Sharar Poornima
News-channels broadcast that the moon looks so ethereal and bigger when the skies are cleared of heavy black clouds! Sharad-Poornima falls in October when the moon gleams after the rainy season but before foggy winter sets in. It proves that Thakurji chooses the most glorious season of the autumnal full moon for his leela or playful dalliance.
During the Lord Rama incarnation also during chaitra -naumi (the first month [lunar] of the Hindu year, March-April) the Sun was most soothing to behold because winter was over and summer had yet to set in. So enchanting is the lila because when the divine suffers division when it literally comes down to earth; it must be sustained and restored to wholeness once again by an absorption of its parts, like Lord Krishna’s union with the gopis steeped in his love.