[17th march 2019, Sunday] KUNJA EKADASHI, PHALGUN SHUKLA 11
From this day on the “Gari ke Dhamar” are freely sung! There is a gamut of scathing insults given and other words usually considered most improper are bantered about. The Holi play permeates every Nikunja and, in the Seva, the decorative arrangements entail flowers and greenery creating a garden-like atmosphere.
Dhamar ko Pada 1
Raga Devgandhar; Poet Paramanandadas
“Today the Enchanter Shri Krishna has come over to play Holi. He has assumed a fresh new Form as He stands together with the Fair Radhika. ||1||
All the lovely Vraja ladies have come from their own homes and villages just to see Him. They take handfuls of sandal paste and red powder and rub it onto His Face. ||2||
They forget their rigid rules of behaviour and, forsaking self control, partner Him in many different ways. They all play Holi most enthusiastically. The heavy clouds of colour are incomparable. ||3||
Then the innocent young Vraja ladies offer profuse blessings, and, sings the Poet Paramanandadas, the most Blissful Lord, Upholder of the Shri Giriraji Mountain, sees His Beloveds beauty and tightly embraces Her.” ||4||
PHALGUN SHUKLA PURNIMA, HOLIKA PRADIPAN, 20th March 2019
In the seventh canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam we read the accounts of the life of the Great devotee Prahlad, son of the enormous demon Hiranyakashyapa. The latter was most distressed by the unshakeable devotion of his son to his enemy Shri Krishna, and tried to have him killed in many ways. Prahlad’s sister, Dunda, had performed austerities and gained a boon from Lord Brahma, the ‘sital cunari’ [cold veil] which meant that she could not be hurt by fire.
Hiranyakashyapa told her to take her brother into the fire with her so that he would die whilst she survived. Faced with this dilemma Prahlad’s chanting of the Lords Name and his faith in the Lord and acceptance of His Divine Will never faltered and the Lord took the veil from Dunda and wrapped Prahlad in it, so that she perished and he did not. Here we see how solid devotion conquers all.
There is a village in Vraja, Phalen, where a nominated Brahmin, after bathing in Prahlad Kunda [lake] jumps through flames.
When the new grains of the season are harvested, some of them are roasted in the fire and then distributed. The corn cobs are roasted and shared. This ceremony celebrates the new abundance and the recognition of the merit of sharing with the whole community. When presenting them to each other, people meet and greet each other in a very friendly way [Hori Milan]. A good atmosphere is created to set the stage for the rest of the year. This is the last day of the month of Phalgun.
Dhamar ko Pada 2
Raga Vilavala; Poet Suradas
“The Gopis have all come over to play Hori with Shri Krishna, the disperser of all sorrow! The Sakhis, Chandrabhaga, Chandravali and Bhama are there but Shri Radha is the most beautiful. ||1||
They are playing Hori with sandal paste, agar and red powders and throwing beautiful pink coloured powder up in the sky. They have bejeweled water spray guns and are soaking the Lad Krishna with them. ||2||
The Mridanga and the Dol drums are beating out the rhythms and the sound of the Nagadas fills the sky. The Bevy of Vraja Ladies are playing the sahanai and Shri Hari joins in on His flute. ||3||
Shri Radha and Shri Krishna are playing between Themselves: the scene is indescribably lovely. The poet Surdas now tells how he surrenders to Their Faces and smiles as he so looks at them.”||4||
Dhamar ko Pada 3
Raga Vilavala; Poet Asakarana
“Come, come on, my dear lady friend. Let’s go to Vrindavan! For the Enchanting Krishna is playing Holi there. He is there with all His cowherder companions and His brother Balaram. ||1||
They have handfuls of sandal paste and pots full of saffron water, They are singing cheeky insulting songs and rubbing colours on each other in all the narrow pathways of Vraja.” ||2||
Hearing these words, all the Sakhis became desirous of going to see this scene and their homes began to feel too lonely. Dance rhythms began to ring out on the Mrianga, cymbals, and tambourines, accompanied by Shri Krishnas very sweet flute playing.||3||
The gods and goddesses in their aerial cars forgot themselves as they watched. Even great sages found their minds entranced. The poet Asakarana now sings, “Side by side with my Lord the Enchanter Krishna is playing the delightfully Fair Shri Radha.”||4||
Dhamar ko pada 4
Raga Vilavala; Poet Suradas
“O, why do You not come here as soon as You can? I am going to play Holi in a most loving mood. It is now the evening and I have gathered all the cows and cowherd boys around Me, so, please show us all Your Lotus-Face. ||1||
“Let Me call all Your lovely Vraja Maiden friends here with the very sweet sounds of My flute. Let Me give You all the pleasure of the rhythmic sounds of the Dundhubi, Dapha and Mridanga drums.”||2||
“Let them then anoint My dark body with sandal paste, white and pink powders and fragrant oils.” The Poet Suradas now says, “My Lord is the Supreme Connoisseur of Divine Loving mood! May my eyes have the sight of Him thus smothered in colours.” ||3||
DHURENDI [DHULIVANDANA] – CHAITRA KRISHNA 21st March 2019
Originally, until not too long ago, this day was a very enthusiastic day, of play :-a last surge before putting away the colours, pichakaris and the instruments etc. until the next year. Family and village groups would visit each other to play and offer new clothes and greetings. They would often travel in processions, sometimes led by a ‘bhaddava’ [the most mischievious person of the troupe, like a jester type] who would lead the folk with cheeky enthusiastic dancing and song.
Ladies could also openly join in the play and foodstuffs were shared. All ladies who played were offered the ‘Phaguva‘ gift, the traditional appreciation of their participation. This gift would vary from clan to clan, and sometimes be of quite a special character! (see the padas that follow).
Nowadays, however, this day is usually a day for ladies to stay at home as gangs of uncontrolled individuals throw dyes and paint at each other and even ambush cars etc.
In these days, varying from place to place, the “Horangas’ begin: -social gatherings which often feature the ladies being allowed to beat male relatives and villagers with sticks as they dance in an allotted arena. These are games played in good spirit and give the ladies a chance to get their own back!!
Dhamar ko Pada 5
Raga Saranga. Poet Ramdas
“The large Bheri Drum is pounding out its beats and the ‘Jester’ is dancing to the rhythms as the female mule runs ahead. Following behind him in procession, all the cowherd Lads are shouting out “Ho Ho Hori.” ||1||
They swing their hips and sway their arms all around, then try to kiss the girls. Their eyes are rolling and they slap their sides and each others’cheeks! ||2||
Fearlessly and cheekily coming right up to that Jester, they rub red powder all over his face and pull at his garments. The Poet Ramdas now sings of how, in his Lords hori play, the large and small Dol drums’ voices ring out.” ||3||
Dhamar ko Pada 6
Raga Nata; Poet Prabhumukunda
“Shri Hari, Disperser of all sorrows is throwing insults and gets His friends to join in too! He wanders round Vraja doing just this and so brings joy to all the cowherd lasses ||1||
He drinks milk, walks cheekily and says, “Let’s shout Ho Ho Hori!!” ||2||
He keeps a water spray gun tucked under His arm and ties a turban round His head. ||3||
He then leaves the street and goes inside a house. From there he throws tubs full of saffron water down onto everyone’s heads. ||4||
From the balconies He releases His water spray guns. The whole house gets coloured – the courtyard, inside the house and the rooftop! ||5||
He throws sandal paste everywhere which forms mud. It is as if the rainy season has come to Vraja! ||6||
Then He and His Sakhas surround the Gopis. Their saris are soaked with various colours. ||7||
The Gopis and the Cowherds, all completely covered in colour, go to the main gate and dance there in bliss. ||8||
Then Krishna with His brother Balaram go to the banks of Shri Yamunaji to bathe. ||9||
The poet Prabhu Mukunda now sings of how this Krishna, the true God of Love, the Enchanter , is the Giver of Great Joy. The Vision of the Beloveds, the youthful Shri Krishna and Shri Radha, is exclusively worthwhile.” ||10||
DOLOTSAVA, CHAITRA KRISHNA 2 thursday 21st March 2019
Dhamar ko Pada 7
Raga Devgandhar; Poet Vishnudas
“The Beloveds are swinging on the banks of Shri Yamunaji River. There, the forests are thick and afford lovely groves full of amazing blossoms and bees come to sup on their nectarean sweetness. ||1||
Lalita and the other Gopis surround them like so many tender vines and They, the Root of all Bliss, shower them with that Joy. The Enchanter Krishna is like a dark rain-filled cloud to His Beloved Who shines like lightning. Seeing them, the Sakhis become oblivious to everything else. ||2||
Neither Rama, Lakshmi nor any other goddess nor any of their female attendants can bring any kind of comparison. Now the poet Vishnudas sings, “This Krishna, Upholder of the Shri Giriraji Mountain, is my all in all and I will go anywhere or do anything to serve Him better.” ||3||
Dhamar ko Pada 8
Raga Saranga; Poet Ramdas
“When the Vraja Gopis catch sight of Shri Krishna, the Disperser of all sorrow, on His swing, they all blossom in joy. That Krishna Who protects the cows, sits as the Vraja Beauties swing Him. ||1||
This Son of Nanda shines as the Moon of Gokul. He is the Beautiful Form Who plays the flute and befuddles even Cupid. ||2||
The Ladies serve so lovingly this Krishna with Lotus Eyes, and, filled with gladness, sing all sorts of songs about the Enchanting Krishna’s Love ||3||
He is the Supreme Appeciator of Divine Loving Mood and an ocean of bliss. The poet Ramdas now states, “He is my Charming Lord.” ||4||
Dhamar ko Pada 9
Raga Saranga; Poet Govindsvami
“In Shri Radha’s own forest grove, Gahavaravan, deep, thick and full of the mood of love, somewhere in the shade, a swing has been erected and, there, the Beloveds, the Supreme Lady and Her Beau are swinging, lost in love. They are wearing diamond and stone studded jewelry and their contrasting yellow and blue garments resemble the beauty of the dark rain filled cloudy sky and the lightning flashing therein. ||1||
They are sharing pan leaf treats and Their minds are blossoming as They sing the Saranga Raga. Wet and dry colours of saffron water, sandal paste, scented agar wood, and pink powder are being tossed into the sky in a dusty camphor- scented cloud as They play. ||2||
The rhythms of the mridanga and dapha accompany the playing of the Vina with its sweet notes – these are heard in all directions. As They sing, They both praise Each Other and, if compared, Their skills are deemed equal. The poet Govindasvami now asks, “witnessing this scene, who on earth can contain their joy? Even the gods in heaven and the great sages forget where they are going ||3||
On this second day is also celebrated the Dolotsava, where Shri Thakurji sits in a swing to enjoy the coming of the warmer season.
In her Vatsalya bhava, Mother Yashoda, seeing how very vigorous her Sons play has become, brings Him home and entices Him to enjoy the swing and to calm down enough to sit and partake of some food offerings. She cleans all the remnant colourings of the Holi play from the walls and floors of Nandabhavan.
The dark half of Chaitra runs its course and the actual new year starts at the beginning of Chaitra Shukla Paksha on the Samvatsara festival [Chaitra Shukla 1]
Until the next Holi, the Bhavas retreat into the Nikunjas and the Secret Lilas retreat into the interior.This is why Holi is so dear to everyone when the Play becomes open for participation.
FOR THE FULL TRANSLATION IN ENGLISH OF DHAMAR SONGS FOR ALL OF THESE DATES PLEASE REFER TO VRAJAKISHORI PUBLICATIONS BOOK:
“VASANTA ASHTAYAM SEVA” BY KRISHNAAKINKARI AND PANDIT GHANSHYAMDASJI
THE VRAJA KISHORI SEVA TRUST PRESENTS
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