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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Deity Worship > Puja and ashta kaliya lila

Puja and asta kaliya lila


1)Pastimes at the end of the night

He awakens much before sunrise, or rather He invites his pujari servants to awaken Him, which They do with the sweetest of songs and the tinkling of bells. In Goloka, the Lord and His beloved are resting in the secret bower-house after a night of exotic fun throughout the forest groves in the company of Their girlfriends. When the priests in the temple offer the Deities a pre-dawn snack of sweets and water, Radha and Krishna are offered a light snack by the sakhis while lounging lazily upon Their flower bed in the forest. Then, after the arati ceremony, as the priests close the altar curtain, the Divine Couple are sneaking back to Their own respective homes in order to pretend They spent the night where Their parents had left them.


2)Morning pastimes

Radha and Krishna perform Their morning duties, brush Their teeth, have rubdowns, bathe and dress with the assistance of the pujaris in the temple, and are greeted by the assembled devotees with ceremonies, chanting and dancing. In Goloka, Radha and Krishna are awakened by Their respective superiors, and are ready for the morning meal of butter, fruit, sweets, and milk that Mother Yasoda delights to serve them. They are thus similarly greeted by Their eternal associates, who make much celebration of the morning darsana.


3)Forenoon pastimes

Soon Krishna joins His cowherd friends and takes the cows out to graze in the Vrndavana pasturelands. His Deity remains in the temple, but the worshippers understand that in reality Krishna is spending the day in the groves if Vrndavana – the name literally means the forest (van) where Tulasi grows (Vrnda). When the heart-broken Radha beholds Her beloved leaving for the pastures, she returns home and begins planning how to meet Him in the woods later.


4)Midday pastimes

By noon it is time for Krishna to sit for the big meal of the day; Yasoda sends it out for Him in the fields. All this is manifest in the temple. Although He (in the Deity form) eats in private, according to custom, He receives His worshiping guests directly afterwards, so that They can honour the remnants from his table at this as at all meals. But then, while His friends rest in the shade, He is sure to slip off into one of the thickets to join some of His favorite girlfriends, and Radha Herself, for a midday tryst and a little nap. At that point, it would be unseemly for anyone to watch, and the priests of the temple retire the Deity to a private chamber behind the altar where it has just been visible.


5)Afternoon pastimes

It is not long before Krishna wakes up and reappears among His cowherd boyfriends, His absence unnoticed. Since cowherding is not such a demanding occupation, He joins them in whatever games come to mind; and He is forever playing his flute. All this is left to the worshippers meditation so as to heighten Their sense of welcoming Him when He comes back from the forest. For soon it is time to herd the cows home to be milked. As His father watches anxiously from the pen and His mother stands ready at the door with a snack, so the pujari offers Him fruit and sweets and opens the door of his chamber to receive Him back into the company of whatever worshippers have gathered.


6)Dusk pastimes

The pujaris  excuse Him once again from His public audience by closing the curtain in the temple, and They help Him wash off the dust of the day, change into fresh comfortable clothes, and relax for His evening meal. In Goloka, Krishna is pampered by Yasoda and attended by His male servants, who prepare Him for his evening pastimes at home. He thoroughly enjoys the evening meal with much joking and laughter, sharing boundless love with the assembled family members who participate.


7)Evening pastimes

As Krishna is enjoying majestic shows of talent and skill at His father Nanda’s assembly hall, so His servants in the temple chant and sing for his pleasure. Before He goes to bed, the priests bring him His evening repast and His warm milk, just as His mother faithfully does. And then sweet sleep. He retires once for his mothers satisfaction, soothed by affectionate lullabies the faithful devotees raise in her name, and as the believers almost see His eyelids droop, the pujaris usher Him back to his private room.


8)Night pastimes

Then, when no one is looking – not even His servants, for they by now have closed the door to his inner chamber to allow Him complete privacy – He sneaks out again to join the cowherd girls for a still sweeter slumber. Yasoda suspects nothing, and his worshipers can only imagine the subtleties of this love play, but that They do. The ecstatic sports of the rasa dance and other limitless forest sports continue on throughout the entire night, and the devotees worship along with the Divine Couple in Their heart of hearts, even as they sleep.