Sri Vrindavan Dham
9th October 1974
With love, Jai Sri Hari.
Braj is celebrating nature in her most glorious state-in that magical time of the year which comes with Sharad Ritu, the autumnal season. Vrindavana, that heaven on earth where Krishna plays with the gopis, is rejoicing on being cleansed. The skies are cleared of heavy black clouds, the waters flow clear and sweet and the air is luminous. The bhavan, verdant groves and forest resonate with the sweet soft chirping of birds. There is enthused merriment all around with auspicious songs being sung and melodious flutes resounding. Bustling commotion pervades the ambience.
Clad in multi-coloured muslin lehengas, these beautiful cowherdesses dressed in the best of their finery, loaded with gifts, platters, jars and small boxes, singing in joyous abandon, laughing with enthused exultation are heading somewhere. Nature seems to have laid out a carpet of blossoming pastures with whispering trees and ferns greeting them. The chirping birds add to their mellifluous singing as the gopis move ahead carrying a dream in their darkened shapely eyes.
These enraptured herdswomen captivate everyone with intoxicating enchantment. Why are the cowherds fascinated? Which magical charm in their gait, enigmatic persona, glances and smiles makes the environs, earth, sky, forest, groves, market-places, banks of the Yamuna, wells, ferns and foliage sway with frenzied infatuation. Come let us follow these Braj beauties, see where they go and what they do as we walk along with the herd. Our ears hear their chatter but are restless. The eyes are pleased on seeing their attractive bliss but there is the pathos of some mysterious longing.
Truly splendid is this bhavan! The row of pots nestling fragrant flowers, circled around the white steps is beautiful. Listen to what shuk (parrot) and sarika (mynah) perched on these plants have to say; they seem to be applauding these spirited young girls. Hear carefully their delightful chirping, both rave about the birthday of Kanhaiya. What did they say? It is the birth anniversary of Nandrai's darling, Krishna, the apple of Sri Yashoda's eye. Ah, that sounds great!
Within the huge entrance door there is a terrifying rush of enthusiasm. These Brajbalas now move in delicious anguish for a glimpse of Krishna, the ruler of their lives, souls and hearts.
'Kanchan mani jatith thaar, dadhi-rochan phoolhaar, dekhan chali Nandkumar milibe ko tarsani'. Their eyes yearn to behold him, every fiber of their being is aroused for the touch of their teasing, elusive and insistent paramour. These maidens are intensely desirous to wrap the dark-hued Krishna in their arms, embracing him with an all-consuming intimacy...But what about the land of highly restrictive social conventions of which they are a part.( Divine Krishna is metaphorically conceived as the ideal object of a maiden's love.The sublimation of the gopis' sensual feeling to spiritual desire is hardly surprising due to the burden of social constraints.)
Oh! What is the way out for these Brajbalas, as they step into youth, aware that their childhood play with Krishna is becoming something more elusive. Entering the courtyard they hear the melodious voice of Nandrani, entreating all sakhis to come and sing auspicious songs on his birth anniversary. And Yashoda elated on spotting the attractive beauties intensely desirous of having her lala's ( as Krishna is affectionately called) attention for themselves, warmly greets them.
The delights of Paradise are reflected as if by a cosmic mirror onto the plains of Gokul, Nandgaon, Barsana and Vrindavana all charmed by the birth anniversary of Nandlala. The piles of gifts are virtually spilling out of the bhavan. The festive din of surging crowds pervades the ambience. In the midst someone whispers softly," His birthday is the love-play of Lord Krishna!" An innocent young girl standing nearby asks in amazement," A romantic dalliance?"
"An amorous frolic centered within the birth celebrations," explains the maiden and giggles. "Accompanying us, have a look yourself " she suggests. Come let us also peep into the love-sport of Krishna's birth festivities.
Sakhi, you are now looking at the personal chamber of Nandkunwar. The colour of the condensed sky, Krishna is adorned with added ornamentation today. They see him embracing a radiant Kishori, Krishna's special consort, whom he passionately entreats with side-long glances. Sri Radha-Krishna soon turn to look at the merry festivities, escalating sound of adulated devotion along with the fervent celebrations. Innumerable beauties gather around Kishori and Kishore in their most intimate transcendental exchange. Amidst peals of laughter, Brajraj Kunwar enchants them with a glimpse, a touch as he joyously welcomes the young cowherdesses.
The supreme lover, Krishna can not sport with them in a romantic dalliance today. But the repository of sweetness, delights them with joyous abandon in such a short time span, endearing himself. All of them soon gather within the same courtyard where the abhishek or auspicious ceremonial bathing is on, musical instruments are being played and auspicious songs sung. Their eyes are passionately drawn to Krishna, the focus of the ardour of the gopis, as his cascading laughter mesmerizes the cowherdesses.
What remains imprinted in our memory is that when the god and the gopis are in unison, Krishna is mortalized with an innocence both of the enchanter and the enchanted.