Dear devotees and Friends of Lord Krsna,
We hope you are all in good health and have had wonderful vacations.
In this month´s newsletter you will read about the Swing pastimes of Radha and Krsna, and serving together in harmony.
The Lord appeared on this planet to attract all the living entities by performing amazing pastimes with His devotees. Kavi Karnapura, a great Saint explained that if one meditates on this particular pastime, he will be granted spiritual taste.
The swing festival is held in a special place in Vrndavana, which is bordered by a row of desire trees of equal height, with rounded trunks and branches whose ends intertwine, leaving a bare space in the middle. Besides birds inhabiting those trees, the Goddess of the forest has placed various items on the trees including silk cloth, long strands of pearls, jewels, fruits and flowers. The swing hangs on thin golden ropes tied to the branches of the desire trees. From all directions, flocks of joyful birds come fluttering to broadcast the sweetness of the swing festival.
Krsna enters the swing arena with His left arm resting on Radha's shoulder holding His flute. In His right hand Krsna twirls a lotus flower while His bangles chime joyfully. A pleasing peacock feather tops His reddish turban that is tilted attractively to one side. Fine cloth caresses His limbs. His splendid lips are shiny, appearing somewhat drowsy from chewing betel nut.
Every year, 5 days before the full moon, Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohan, the deities of our temple also celebrate the Jhulan (swing) festival. On that occasion, all devotees get an amazing chance to participate directly in Their pastimes, by swinging and chanting songs for Them. Often we think that the spiritual world is for a later date and that until we become pure we will not be able to interact directly with the Lord. But during this beautiful festival, it is so beautiful to feel invited and accepted to participate directly in the pastimes of Radha and Krsna.
Every morning in our temple program, we read from the Srimad Bhagavatam (the ripened fruit of all Vedic scriptures). We are now reading the story about Jadha Bharata who was a pure devotee of the Lord. Jadha Bharata was very careful not to deviate from the spiritual path and he thus behaved like a retarded person. One day a king was passing through the forest, being carried on a palanquin by four strong men. Suddenly, one of these men was not able to carry on. At that moment, Jadha Bharata was seen to be absorbed in meditation close by. The king ordered him to replace the fourth carrier for his palanquin. Being devoid of ego and in a mood for serving, Jadha Bharata accepted the service without any hesitation.
The only problem would come very soon. During the walk, Jadha Bharata avoided stepping on ants and was thus disrupting the harmony of the walk for the king who was sitting on the palanquin. After a few warnings, the king chastised Jadha Bharat severely. At the same time, Jadha Bharata started reciting beautiful verses of truth to the king.
One morning, right after the lecture about Jadha Bharata, I heard rain falling, and remembered the big wooden swing for the deities was outside in the rain. Three male devotees accompanied me swiftly to bring the swing into the temple room. As the four of us were carrying this big swing by the four corners of the rectangular base, it felt as if we were carrying a palanquin. Then a sudden flash came upon my consciousness and related it to the story in the Srimad Bhagavatam. There and then, I understood the importance of our lives to serve, support and assist devotees in great Harmony. Life is like carrying a palanquin with other people, we have to move at the same speed and in the same mindset, focusing on the goal we want to achieve; that is, pure love for God. Srila Prabhupada would say that if we think that we can practise spiritual life alone, then it is a hallucination. We are fully dependent on the support of other devotees and to receive this support we need to learn this art of becoming harmonious with them. This is Krsna consciousness in practice.
Hoping that you have received a lot of inspiration during Janmastami and Radhastami, we wish to thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for your continual support.
On behalf of the Goloka Dhama community,
your servant, Gaurahari dasa