Radha Govinda Jhulan Yatra 2023
Jhulan yatra is a popular festival which is observed in Vrindavan, India. This festival marks the advent of the holy month of Shravana (July-August). It heralds the transition from summer to the rainy season, enveloping Vrindavan in a moist and enchanting climate. As the mesmerizing winds blow, showers of rain breathe life into the parched land of Vrindavan, transforming it into a lush green paradise after the scorching dryness of summer and radiating with a fervent spiritual aura.
Jhulan Yatra is a heavenly symphony of devotion that unfolds over thirteen divine days, attracting devout souls from neighboring towns and villages. This sacred celebration resonates with the eternal love of Lord Krishna and Srimati Radharani, radiating spiritual
delight and making it one of the most cherished and divine festivals of the year.
In Govinda Lilamrita, Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami describes an enchanting pastime. The Gopis arranged a swing festival near Lalita Kunda, close to Radha Kunda. The swing, adorned with cushions, flowers, emeralds, and cintamani stones, hung gracefully from two bakul trees forming a canopy. Gopis joyfully pushed and pulled the swing, bringing delight to Govindaji and Srimati Radharani. The divine couple playfully embraced, and the gopis fanned, offered arati, and presented betel nuts. The gentle breeze carried away the fatigue, creating a celestial atmosphere of divine joy.
The celebration extends far beyond Vrindavan’s boundaries, as ISKCON temples worldwide joyously observe this festival in accordance with Srila Prabhupada’s guidance. For a span of five blissful days, devotees commemorate the divine pastimes of Lord Krishna, basking in the love and devotion that permeate the atmosphere during Jhulan Yatra.
In an August 1, 1969 letter addressed to Jayapataka Swami, Srila Prabhupada conveyed, “Regarding the Jhulana-yatra ceremony, during these five days the Deities’ clothing should be changed every day, and there should be nice prasadam distribution and sankirtana as far as possible. If you are able to do it, a nice throne may be constructed on which the Deities can be placed. This throne may be swung gently during kirtana. That will be very good, and surely the Deities will enjoy the function.”
At ISKCON Punjabi Bagh, during the Jhulan Yatra week, Sri Radha Radhikaraman Deities are adorned with jewels and tenderly swayed on a lavishly adorned swing, adorned with vibrant flowers. This transformation turns the temple hall into a captivating vision, adorned with flowers and festoons that create an enchanting ambiance.
Within the heart of these festivities resides the Jhulan, a magnificently adorned swing cradling the small Utsav-vighraha (Vijay-utsav bera) with a tender affection. The swing is decorated with colorful and sweet-smelling flowers commonly found during the rainy season, such as Champa, Jasmine, Marigold, and Lotus. These flowers bring joy to the deities with their pleasant fragrance and cooling effect. Delicate fabrics are also used for decoration. The artistic background paintings take devotees into Krishna’s magical abode.
A special arati is performed, accompanied by the sweet and soulful kirtans sung by devotees. As the mellifluous melodies fill the air, the spiritual fervor swells, encompassing all present in a tapestry of heartfelt adoration.
Following the arati, devotees with hearts brimming with devotion and love, tenderly sway the Deities, bestowing flower petals and personal prayers, thereby heightening the divine ambiance of the occasion.
Amidst these captivating swinging pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Radhikaraman, devotees express their reverence through melodic songs of glorification. These compositions, woven by revered acharyas such as Srila Rupa Goswami, Krishna Das, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, echo the profound devotion of the worshippers.
As soul-stirring kirtans continue to resonate, and the divine presence envelops all, devotees immerse themselves in this spiritual experience, weaving a tapestry of love, devotion, and unity in the heart of this sacred celebration.
Throughout each day of the Jhulan Yatra, Devotees joyfully embrace the divine opportunity to personally serve Their Lordships by swaying the swing with love and devotion, fostering blissful unity and joy in the presence of the divine couple. This sacred act of service becomes a heartwarming expression of devotion, deepening the bond between the devotees and Sri Sri Radha Radhikaraman, the beloved divine couple.
On the auspicious occasion of Purnima (full moon), the last day of Jhulan, this celebration coincides with Lord Balaram’s appearance day festival, adding to the divine splendor and significance of the event.
The festival encapsulates the very essence of devotion, unity, and reverence, etching a profound impression in the hearts of all who embrace its divine grace. With every sway of the Jhulan, devotees rejuvenate their commitment and love for the eternal bond shared by Radha and Krishna, ensuring that this blissful celebration thrives for generations to come.
As outlined in Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa, To please Sri Hari, devotees hold numerous festivals on every occasion and continuously perform sankirtana. According to their ability, the devotees serve the Lord during the summer by placing Him on the boat, taking Him out on a procession, applying sandalwood on His body, fanning Him with chamara, decorating Him with jeweled necklaces, offering Him palatable foodstuffs, and bringing Him out to swing Him in the pleasant moonlight.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura emphasizes that the Vaishnava festivals serve as “the mother of devotion” for devotees who observe them with respect and service. These events offer a great opportunity to step out of our comfort zones and deeply engage in pleasing the Lord and His devotees. When we make arrangements to please Krishna and agree to be enjoyed by Him, these festival days quickly awaken and nurture devotion in our hearts.
We extend a warm and heartfelt invitation to all devotees and seekers to join us at ISKCON Punjabi Bagh in this year’s Jhulan Yatra festival, taking place from 27th August to 31st August. Come and immerse yourself in the divine love of Radha and Krishna, partake in the joyous festivities, and enrich your spiritual journey in the company of devotees. Let us unite in honoring the divine couple and experience the profound bliss of this sacred occasion.
The temple’s swing timings are as follows:
– 4:45 pm to 6:30 pm
– 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm
– 8:30 pm to 9:00 pm
These festivals provide wonderful opportunities to connect with Krishna through hearing, chanting, and remembering in the company of sincere devotees. We invite you to not only attend these divine festivities at our temple but also create a similar celebration at home. Much like a sale at a store, these festivals offer a chance for rapid spiritual growth.