Vrindavan, 2016.09.09 (VT): The devotees and the brajwasis greeted each other in Vrindavan, on the appearance day of their beloved Radha Rani. Krishna’s Divine Consort Radha Rani took birth in every house of Her devotees. In the land of Vraja, Radhika’s birthday was celebrated with the same joy and zeal equally to Krishna’s on Shri Krishna Janmashtami.
The temples of Vrindavan were thronged since early in the morning by the devotees to celebrate the birth of the Queen of Vrindavan. Twenty four hour Kirtan, Badhai gaan, bhandaras were organized in celebration of the beloved of Shyam Sundar.
The birth of Radha Rani is usually celebrated in a grand way at Varasana and Raval. But, the joy of this festivity is not lesser in Vrindavan, either. The temples of Radha Ballabh and Tatiasthan were special attraction on this occasion in Vrindavan, where elaborated worship was performed according to the ancient customs.
At Radha Ballabh Temple, the Radhashtami was celebrated for nine days commemorating the birthday of Shri Radhika. The festival commenced right from the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapad and concludes on the sixth day after Radhashtami.
The Goswamis performed the ritual bath of the deity (with Milk, curd, ghee, honey, sugar and the Yamuna water. During shringar, the Sanctum Sanctorum was decorated, inside and outside with pitchers containing holy Yamuna water having ‘panch-pallavas’. Bandanwars were made with the leaves tied in thread in a row.
Congratulatory devotional couplets (badhai) were sung by the temple musicians. Various types of delicacies having Moothaa Laddus, Besan Laddus, and sweet mathri, Sweet Seva, Sakalpara, Salt Mathri, Mohan bhog , Sugar coated almonds, coconut slices water chestnuts (Makhana), Lotus seeds, melon seeds, Panjiree etc. were offered to the deity of Thakur Shri Radha Ballabh.
The Rajbhog on this day was also lavish and sumptuous which consists of Sakhri- Several kinds of rice e.g. Bhat, Jeera Bhat, Mewa Bhat, Boora Bhat, Kesar Bhat, Dahi Bhat (Rice, Cumin Rice, Dry Fruit Rice, Sugar – Butter Rice, Saffron Rice, Curd Rice )etc. Kadhi, various kinds of breads (Anga Roti, Meethi Boora Bhee Rogit, Missy Roti, Fulka, Lentlis Das, Seet Moongm vegetables of various kinds, Dahi Pakori, Kheer etc and Nikhri consisting of various kinds of Poori’s, Kachawris, pickles, jams and jellies, Dahi Bara, papar, vegetables etc. were offered to the deity followed by the offering of Beedi (Betel leaves enriched with cardamom, saffron and dry fruits, traditionally offered after each and every ‘bhog’ at the temple.
The curd prepared from cow’s milk was mixed with sandal paste and saffron was sprinkled on the devotees by the Goswamis, to bless them the ritual being known in colloquial traditional terminology as “Dadhi kando”. Several litres of milk, curd, Turmeric powder, Sandal Paste and saffron is mixed in a very large tank in the temple and Goswamis sprinkle the admixture on the devotees and fellow priests, dancing in circles, merrily rejoicing, to the tunes of ‘Radha Pyari Ne Janam Liyo Hai’ and ‘Chao Vrishbhanu Gope ke Dwar’, i.e beloved Shri Radha Rani has taken birth and let us go to the doors of Shri Vrishbhanu Gop, the father of Radhikaji.
In the evening, the holy procession of Chav was taken out on a much enlarged scale from the temple, which ended in the Bara Raas Mandal.
Similar, celebrations were performed in other temples of Vrindavan. Radha Raman, Radha Shyam Sundar, Radha Damodar, Banke Bihari and other Sapta Devalya Temples also attracted the crowds. Another holy procession of Chhav was taken out from the Banke Bihari Temple, which ended at Nidhivan.
Radhashtami is a very special day for the followers of Swami Haridas, as his birthday also falls on this day. The temple of Banke Bihari, the Nidhivan and the Tatiasthan were decorated with flowers, flags, festoons, balloons and lights. Panchamrita abhishek was performed at the Samadhi of Swami Haridas. Congratulatory devotional couplets (badhai) were sung by the saints of Tatiasthan and other places belonging to the Haridasis. The special samaj was performed based on the couplets written by Swami ji. Several cultural events were also organized at various places of Vrindavan to commemorate the birth of Swami Haridas.