By Lakshman (das) Vrindavan (IN)
For photos please see the link…….
The ISKCON temple at Vrindavan celebrated the boat festival on 28 March 2011. The inner courtyard of the temple was filled with water and created a water pool. The pool was covered with variety of flowers artfully decorated. The floral decorations were wonderful, even mystics wouldn’t have doubted the soft bottom below the flowerbed. A child jumped in to play with the flowers, but was rescued from the water. Crowd gathered even hours before to grab a seat in front to witness the festivity. The festival began with Hare Krishna mahamantra kirtan at 5.00 PM placing Radha Shyamsundar in a beautiful boat shaped like a decorated swan. The temple atmosphere was vibrant with enchanting kirtan and it continued loud until 7.00PM. A large gathering arrived to witness the festivity. The temple and Deity decorations were a feast to the eye and the floral outfits exemplified Their glory. Varieties of delicious prasadams were distributed to all devotees assembled and thrills of joy were heard from all around the courtyard. H. H. Gopal Krishna Maharaj presided the festivity and blessed all participants. H. H. Prabodhananda Saraswati Swami, H. H. Bhakti Rasamrta Swami and H. G. Bhuvaneshwar Prabhu were also among the dignitaries present. The kirtan was led by H. G. Panchagauda Prabhu, H. G. Janardan Prabhu and H. H. Bhakti Baibhav Swami. The coordinated efforts of all temple devotees were visible to make the festivity a grant event.
On 26 March 2011, an absorbing boat festival was organised at Yamuna to commemorate the boat festivity of the Lordships. The boat carried by the Lordships was surrounded by devotees on many boats and they made floral tributes to the Deities from the surrounding boats. The procession began from the Prabhupada Samadhi at ISKCON Temple and moved through the main seven Goswami Temple Road and the colourful event was held at the Kumbhamela area at Vrindavan on the bank of Yamuna. The main organiser of the event was H. G. Deena Bandhu Prabhu and it was witnessed by H. H. Lokanatha Swami and H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami. The holy kirtan was led by H. G. Upendra Prabhu, Gauramani and H. H. Lokanatha Swami. A colourful fire show concluded the event at the sunset.
Devotees from all over the world arrived at Vrindavan to witness the glorious event. We expect many more devotees will join us to participate in the boat festival held in the coming years.
Significance of boat festival :
The boat festival marks the symbolic event occurred between Radha and Krishna before 5000 years at Rajghat in River Yamuna. The Gopis often carried the milk products from Vrindavana and sold at Mathura to earn their living. The event was artfully portrayed in the Bhakti Ratnakara (sloka
1700-1712) when Raghav Pandita was describing the pastimes of the Lord to Srinivasa Acharya, Narottama Das Thakura and Shyamananda Prabhu during in Vraja-parikrama. Raghava Pandita says: See this place with beautiful spots, where Nanda Kumara (Krishna) always wanders. Let us discuss the glorious pastimes of the expansions of Lord such as Krishna, Balarama and Narasimhadeva. Reaching the banks of Yamuna, Srinivasa Acharya says, “Krishna started the boat festival from this Raj Ghat with the beautiful Radha and Her associates to cross the River carrying pots of milk products. See the amazingly beautiful face of Krishna. On the riverside remained Krishna on a worn out boat. Radha and Her associates urged to Krishna, “Please take us to the other side of River Yamuna.” Krishna rowed them down to some distance with great pleasure. Let us describe Krishna’s playful pastimes with them.”
When the old boat floated in violent waters, the Gopis said, “You are troubling we young girls. O Madhava, You reap the seed of all troubles and You alone can make us cross this River.” Krishna said, “All food you carry will be drowned. Please throw away all you carry in water including your unwanted clothing.” Even at this dreadful moment, Krishna was cutting jokes at the Gopis and clapped hands showing no worries. The Gopis said, “We desperately throw water from the sinking boat with our bare hands. Even if we escape from here, we will not surrender to You.”
Interesting boating pastimes of Radha and Krishna :
The boating pastimes of Krishna and Radha are discussed in the Sri Sri Padyavali of Rupa Goswami (sloka 269-285) as well. Reaching the bank of Yamuna, the Gopis urged the boatman, “Please take us to the other side.” Krshna pretended to be on deep nap.
Sri Sanjaya Kavisekhara says:
Krishna said to Radha, “My dear young girl, please get in My tari (boat). Radha took it as tarau (trees) and retorted, “What strength have to climb on trees?” Krishna replied, “My charming girl, I didn’t mean tree, but tarani
In Sanskrit, tarani means sun as well and therefore, Radha replied, “Why would I go to sun?” Krishna said, “I always spoke of nau (boat).”
In Sanskrit, nau means we as well and so Radha replied, “These are aimed at to bring Us together.”
I worship the immutable Lord Krishna, who smiled at Radha with pleasure in thus playful duel of words.
Srila Rupa Goswami:
Radha says, “You are right. No waves in Yamuna now and this boat is new and strong. Nevertheless, I am afraid of You, the reckless boatman, O Keshava.
This river is deep and the boat is old. We helpless girls are in dire danger. Now You are the only boatman, who can sail us safely on to the shore of Yamuna.
Sri Jagadananda Raya:
Krshna stopped the boat at the middle of the river and demanded the fare, He smiled as He looked at the frightened face of the Gopis, who had no money to pay.
Radha says, “O Krishna, as You said, I have thrown the milk products, My necklace and all My belongings in the river, but still the shore is still afar.”
Radha says, “The boat is heavily tossed up by the wind. The gushing water is sinking the boat in Yamuna. Destiny is My enemy, but even in this calamity, the lusty Krishna puts His hands on Me.” Radha again says, “My hands are tired and I cannot push the water out anymore. Nevertheless, you still joke at Me. Hey Krishna, if I surmount this, I no more step into Your boat.”
Radha says, “Dear Gopi friends, please pray to your divinities that either the water of Yamuna be knee deep or get a boatman other than Krishna.”
Sri Mukunda Bhattacharya:
Radha says, “The boat rocks either ways in this deep water in the captaincy of reckless Krishna. The sun sets and I am helpless now. O Gopi, Vraja is far away and what can I do?
Krishna pays no heed to My begging even with the throat chocked. He disregards My obeisance. O Gopi, even in the midst of waves, Krishna shakes the boat and water seeps in and I am frightened, but Krishna is free from fear.”
Srila Rupa Goswami:
Radha says, “Ferocious waves lash at Yamuna now. The boat is full of water, but Krishna seems unafraid.”
Krishna says, “O beautiful Radha, don’t be harsh. We will escape by Your mercy. Please offer Me a fare of promise to enjoy amorous moments with You in Govardhana.”
Radha says, “You are a cheat, Krishna. Go and hide under a pile of cow-shit. Why do You come and beg so uselessly. Turn away. You have tricked the Gopis and frightened them in an old boat, but why Your tricks vanish with Me?”
Srila Rupa Goswami:
“When the old boat tossed in the stormy waves of Yamuna, Krshna tricked Radha and received amorous favours for His pastimes from the terrified Gopis in pledge of their rescue.”
Some other interesting conversations between Radha and Krishna :
Radha says, “Who finger-taps my door?”
Krishna says, “You crooked girl, it is Madhava.”
Radha says, “Madhava is spring. Is spring knocking My door?”
Krishna says, “Verily not. It is the bearer of the Sudarshana wheel.”
Radha says, “Are you a potter to hold wheels?”
Krshna says, “No. I behold all worlds.”
Radha says, “Are you the forked tongued Ananta, the serpent King, who holds the worlds?”
Krishna says, “No. I wreathe the serpents.”
Radha says, “Are you Garuda, the king of birds, who wreathes the serpents?”
Krishna says, “No. I am Lord Hari.”
Radha says, “Are you Hanuman, the king of gorillas called Hari.”
Lord Krishna, the beholder of Sudarshana wheel, smiled at the clever jokes of Radharani. May He protect us.
Let us listen to another interesting conversation between the divine couple told by Shri Chakrapani.
Radha says, “Who is that at the dead of night?”
Krishna says, “I am Keshava.”
Radha says, “Keshava is hair. Are you proud of it and why hairs alert Me?
Krshna says, “O lovely girl, I am the grandson of Maharaja Surasena.”
Radha says, “What use for the unworthy son of a virtuous grandfather?.
Krishna says, “O beautiful girl, Your face shines like the full moon, I am the beholder of the Sudarshana- chakra.”
Radha says, “You potter spins the wheel. Give me a bowl, pot and a milk- bucket.” Lord Krishna was embarrassed by these clever words of Radha. May He protect us.
On a fine morning, when Krishna arrived, Radha asked, “My dear Keshava, where is your vasa now?” The word vasa in Sanskrit means residence, fragrance, or dress. Radha enquired of His dress, but Krishna meant of His home and replied, “My dear girl, I reside now in Your lovely eyes.” Radaha said, “My cunning boy, I meant Your dress and not residence.” Krishna meant vasa as fragrance and replied, “I am as this fragrance to embrace Your body.”
Radha again asked, “Where were You at night?” In Sanskrit, yaminyamusitah can be split into yaminyam means night and usitah means pass. Krishna took it as yaminya-musitah means kidnapped by yamini (night). Krishna said, “Dear Radharani, I am kidnapped by night.” Thus the cunning replies gladdened the best of the Gopis. May the smiling Lord Krishna protect us all.
Once Krishna said, Radha, you are kupita (angry) now.” In Sanskrit, ku means earth and pita means father. Therefore, Radha replied, “You are the father of earth.” Krishna said, “You are the mother of all universes.” You are omniscient and the original mother of all universes. None can equal You. O Goddess, You enjoy endless (ananta) pleasure in causing feud with lovers.” In Sanskrit, nan means bowing down and ta means without. Therefore, Radharani said, “You are Ananta, who refuses to pay obeisance.” Krishna smiled and bowed down before the beautiful Radha. May that Lord be blissful to all.