Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja THE SWING CEREMONY Rupa-Sanatana Gaudiya Matha
[Every year there is a five day festival all over Vrndavana called Jhulana-yatra, at which time the vijaya-vigraha (small) Deities of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna are swung by hundreds of thousands of Vrajabasis and others, in their various temples or homes, on a beautiful swing attached to long ropes. Srila Narayana Maharaja yearly leads this festival at Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha and Sri Rupa Sanatana Gaudiya Matha, at which time he gives a short talk about the significance of this festival. The following is a translation of both his Hindi talks, given on August 8, 2003:]
In the month of Sravana (the rainy season), the clouds in the sky begin to make a thundering sound and extremely fine mist-like rain drizzles everywhere. The atmosphere is very beautiful and pleasant after the heat of the summer months, for at that time all the forests of Vrndavana begin to bloom. Many types of flowers on both sides of the Yamuna, such as beli, cameli, jui, and madhavi begin to bloom. The bumblebees look here and there and chant, "Radhe Radhe" and the cuckoos also call out, “Radhe Radhe.”
The peacocks and peahens all call out “Keka keka.” Ke means: “Which male person has the ability to do a very wonderful thing? Srimati Radhika’s maan (Her sulky mood of transcendental loving jealous anger), as well as Her shyness and patience, are like a very tall and immovable mountain. Which male person, ‘Ke,’ can crush that mountain into powder so that there is nothing left? This person is Sri Krsna.” Ka means: “Which female person can do a very wonderful thing? There is a powerful, mad elephant named Sri Krsna whom no one can control. One person, however, by the goad of Her maan, can catch that elephant, bring Him under Her control, and then bind Him in the shackle of Her prema. Who is that? It is Srimati Radhika.” In this way the peacocks and peahens glorify Srimati Radharani and Lord Krsna.
At the time of Sravana, everything becomes green. The summer was dry, but now the rain has come and everything has come to life again. All the young brides are taken at this time from their mother-in-laws’ homes by their brothers, and they return to their fathers’ home.
Srimati Radhika was still at Her in-laws’ home in Yavat, however, because Her brother, Sridama, had not come. Much time passed and finally he arrived there on the full moon day, with some clothing and ornaments to pacify Srimati Radhika’s mother-in-law, Jatila.
Seeing Her brother Srimati Radhika wept, “O My dear brother, why have you come so late? Only a few days remain of this Sravana month. Why did you come late? Did you forget Me?”
Srimati Radhika then very happily left Yavat and went to Varsana, Vrsabhanupura, with Her brother; and there She met together with all of Her sakhis, Her intimate friends, as they had also returned to their maternal homes at that time. It was a very beautiful meeting and reunion in the place of their childhood play.
The sakhis made a jhulana (swing) for Her. They always make the swing on a kadamba tree and not on a tamal tree. The significance of a kadamba tree is that it carries the complexion of Srimati Radhika and the tamal tree has a complexion of Sri Krsna. The tamal tree is not very powerful, but the kadamba tree is very strong and beautiful. This signifies the superiority of Srimati Radhika – She can control Lord Krsna by Her love.
jhula jhule radha damodara vrndavana men
kaisi cchayi hariyali ali kunjan men
["Radha-Damodara are swinging on the swing in Vrndavana. O friend, how very green the kunja is!" (Jhula Jhule Radha Damodara, verse 1)]
We sing this kirtana at the time of swinging Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. It describes how Lord Krsna has come and is waiting at the swing with folded palms for His beloved to come. Srimati Radhika is in maan, and Her sakhis try to persuade Her to come by saying, "Please give up your sulky mood and come at once to your beloved Krsna. He is waiting for You."
In this way we are observing Jhulana-yatra and remembering the sweet pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna.