|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Ananda Vrindavana Champu > 14 Festival of Holi|
The Spring Festival of Holf
As the rising sun beautified the blue sky with a brilliant light, Krishna got up and dressed gorgeously like a dramatic actor. Taking His cows and friends He entered the forest of Vrndavana. Everyday Nandanandana, who satisfies the desires of all surrendered souls, roamed and played in the forest in order to remove the distress of separation felt by the forest deer, birds, and creepers.When Krishna went to the forest, Batu (a nickname for Madhumangala) decided to wander alone in the village of Gokula. He had a plan to open a treasure box of good fortune for the residents of Vrndavana. Batu looked somewhat funny with his thick neck and slightly bent over body as he sauntered down the road. Upon seeing Batu, the aristocratic mothers-in-law of the gopis suddenly approached him and welcomed him with great affection. In a submissive tone they said, "O wise one of keen intelligence! Have you studied the Vedas that ornament every man of knowledge?" Smiling slightly, Batu replied, "Aho! I am a powerful astrologer fully versed in the Agamas. What is the use of studying other scriptures which are not very palatable to the intelligence?"
The elderly gopis said, "O best person in the world! Please tell us what profound truth you have discovered in all your studies?"
Batu jokingly replied, "Hung ho\ O best ladies of Vrndavana! The Jyoti sastra (astrology) shines with great power and influence. By studying astrology one can know the good and bad events of the past, and also predict the auspicious and inauspicious things that will happen now and in the future. By worshiping the demigods described in the Agama sastra one obtains the power to cause or prevent things from happening. Such astrologers can make the impossible become possible, and turn the possible into the impossible." The gopis replied, "Bravo, well done! All glories to you! This time is just suitable to ask you a few questions. As daksina for your service we will offer you many rich tasty laddus. We have a very confidential question that we cannot ask inside our houses. Please dispel our doubt. Is there any person on earth or in heaven who will not use his knowledge to benefit others?"
Smiling, Batu said, "If you give me many cows with full milk bags, I will bestow my mercy upon you. I am a wise brahmana, and by consulting the planetary transits I can tell you exactly what is auspicious and inauspicious. Hidden within me is the power of omniscience."
In a jubilant mood, the gopis said, "The wealth of cows is like dust particles for us. If you answer our question, we can give you whatever you want from this world."Batu said, "Wealth does not interest me. But in order to spread my fame, I am requesting this. So now you may ask your question."
The elderly gopis said, "We are chaste housewives of Vrndavana and are not feeling the slightest misery. But we have one unsolvable problem. Although our daughters-in-law are as beautiful as lotus flowers, they are not the least bit happy. From the day of their marriages they have been deaf to the names of their husbands, what to speak of looking at them."Where in the world can one find such ladies that find absolutely no joy in being with their husbands? Even to this day, they are proud and show aversion toward their husbands. This problem has made us completely miserable. We want to resolve this. If you can solve the problem, your fame will spread all over the world."Understanding the minds of the elderly gopis, Kusumasava (Batu) fell silent. He pretended to be deeply absorbed in meditating on Sarasvati in order to solve the gopis' dilemma. First Batu acted like a big acarya by spending a long time in silent contemplation before responding. Then, smiling slightly and behaving comically like some big orator, he jokingly said, "O auspicious ladies! Although I am Krishna's friend, my happiness will be ruined if He finds out that I am helping His antagonists. Therefore you must keep these things secret and not tell anyone. Please bring some fruit and I will explain why your daughters-in-law are adverse to their husbands."When Batu, whose inexhaustible grace and beauty are rarely seen, received the fruit he thought deeply for a moment and spoke. "O cultured ladies! There are two kinds of defects seen here: one material and the other spiritual. Your daughters are adverse because their husbands are full of material defects such as bad behavior and ugliness. Everyone knows about this. So what is the use of applying the wisdom of astrology to solve this problem?
"Now listen attentively as I explain the transcendental factors. Here in Vrndavana there is one yogini who is against you. Her lotus feet are worshiped by the best of yogis. By her incredible mystic power she can bring anyone under her control, and she can even split the sun in half! That playful yogini is known as Yogamaya. By her illusory potency she made it look like your sons are married to particular gopis. Yogamaya then propagated the fact among the ignorant to make them think it was a real marriage. She also created the bad qualities in your sons, and the antagonistic mood found in your daughters-in-law.
"Your daughters and their husbands are not fit to live together, therefore,Yogamaya has personally prohibited your sons from even touching their wives. Using her tremendous power, Yogamaya will soon make your daughters-in-law give up any sense of being married to your sons. But if you are very affectionate toward your daughters-in-law, then that yogini will become favorable and help you."Moreover, if you want your sons to become fortunate then you should make sure they do not even touch their wives. Your sons are very unhappy when they hear that Krishna attracts their wives, and forcibly embraces them with His long serpentine arms. But soon your sons will become very happy and prosperous when their wives glance favorably upon them like the goddess of fortune."
Although overwhelmed by Batu's words and feeling great distress, the elderly gopis hoped that something auspicious would happen soon. In that mood, the gopis said, "O Batu, you are the embodiment of truth. Surely your words are not the statements of a mere child, but rather the wisdom of an omniscient brahmana. Indeed, you are a competent astrologer. Now please show us the power you have obtained by mastering the Agamas. Please teach us how to carefully worship the appropriate demigods so that we can prevent that yogini from harassing our sons."Madhumangala said, "You can appease that angry yogini by worshiping another demigod who is supremely pure, imperishable, and infallible."Gaining relief from Batu's words, the elderly gopis expressed their appreciation by offering him a valuable necklace. Then the gopis said gleefully, "O Batu! You are a mine of the best jewel-like qualities. Please tell us who is that demigod and what is his nickname? Tell us all the details about worshiping him."Batu replied, "O fortunate ones! You are very effulgent and your speech sounds like lovely singing. There is a demigod named Kandarpa who resides in Vrndavana as the kunja devata, the personified lord of the love groves. His body is color of a rain cloud. He is ever youthful and transcendental. That yogini Yogamaya, who enchants all the demigods, always remains submissive to this youthful personality known as Kandarpa. By His sweet will Kandarpa satisfies the cherished desires of the gopis whose eyes are beautified with kajala. If you can please this demigod, then you will always be happy. But if you anger him, even Sankara Mahadeva cannot save you."That demigod delights in sporting from one forest grove to another. Although no one can see him, those who worship him with unalloyed devotion can see him in meditation. The method of his worship is very difficult and it must be performed at exactly the right time. Only those who perform meritorious works can worship him.
"Listen attentively as I describe how to worship him. First you must adorn yourself with very costly jewels and smear your bodies with attractive ointments. Rejecting the opinion of others, you must give up your shyness and go to Vrndavana to pick flowers. You must abandon all other talks and constantly fix your mind only on him."You must be free from any cheating mentality. Then you can worship him according to all the rules and regulations. You should go to one grove after another, and worship that youthful Kandarpa three times a day with incense, lamps, flowers, and fragrant substances. After the worship is finished, he will lay down on a bed of fresh tender leaves, remaining awake the whole night with his friends."Besides perfectly fulfilling your cherished desires, this puja will give you the power to control anyone in the world if you do the puja in the morning, noon, and night. There are many mantras to worship this demigod, but the best one is the Gopala mantra. If you have faith in me, I will tell you that mantra."The elderly gopis said, "O Balacarya! Without a mantra how can one worship Kandarpa? O revered one! May your fame spread in all directions. Please teach us that mantra, and we will give it to our daughters-in-law."Batu said, "O ladies! You have spoken correctly. Now may that demigod who possesses the unlimited wealth of six opulences be happy with you. Considering the time and place, I will instruct you in the proper mantra. The mantra is "acintya mahase kunja devatayai rasatmane svaha." (I offer myself to the great inconceivable lord of the love groves who forever relishes tasty mellows)."This concludes the method of worshiping that beautiful and splendor-ous kunja devata. Now go to a lonely place and nicely worship the kunja devata. Just as a raging river spills over its banks, similarly, by the flood of his mercy you will overcome all unfavorable situations. In that way, Yogamaya will become powerless before you. Everything I told you is in the Agamas and Jyoti-sastra. By doing this you will also receive my favor." After successfully deceiving the old ladies with these secret teachings, which were laced with many funny hidden meanings, that brahmacari quickly left them. The elderly gopis affectionately accepted the words of that expert talker and returned to their homes. Without envy they instructed their daughters-in-law, who beamed like the attractive flames of ghee lamps, in the worship of the kunja devata.The elderly gopis said, "O Bauma! (an affectionate term for the wife of one's son) You come from a high-class family. Indeed, you are famous for your kindness and refined qualities, which crush the pride of the celestial women. But we also see many defects in you that are not found even among the women on earth. One of your main faults is your aversion to your husbands.
"We do not even want to see our enemies having this fault. Therefore we will tell you a vrata which we learned from the brahmana Madhumangala. By happily observing this vrata you can quickly remove this obstacle to your good fortune, make your husband happy, increase your devotion to him, and please your superiors. You must take a vow to wander through the kunjas of Vrndavana constantly worshiping Kandarpa, the demigod who fulfills the desires of everyone."
Not believing their ears, the daughters-in-law adopted a mood of astonishment and displeasure with this suggestion. The young gopis thought, "What are they saying? Are our mothers-in-law testing us? Or maybe they have discovered our secret love?" Their minds vacillating in confusion, they sat down silently. Before making a response they wanted to hear their mothers-in-law disclose everything from beginning to end.While the daughters-in-law sat silently, the elderly gopis, in order to hide their defects from the people in general, privately instructed them in the vows and methods for worshiping the devata known as Kandarpa. The younger gopis thought, "Our mothers are giving us joy and satisfaction by pouring this rasayana (ayurvedic rejuvenator) into our ears. Kusumasava has certainly created a grand festival for us."Their bodies glowing with beauty and feeling great relief, the gopis spontaneously replied to their mothers-in-law, "O cultured ladies of Vrndavana! Are there any wives who would not submissively follow the instructions of their mothers-in-law? Even if we become lean and thin, we are ready to go to the forest and execute this vrata. Why should we waste our lives staying at home? We should not wait another minute. Let us go immediately! Your instructions given to increase our fortune sound as sweet as a melodious song."
The daughters promised to follow the orders of their mothers-in-law who no longer prevented them from going to Vrndavana to pick flowers. Everyday those restless, fortunate girls joyfully went to Vrndavana. Instead of chastising them, their elders now praised and encouraged them. With great difficulty the gopis tried to restrain the chariots of their minds, and keep their poise as they walked past their superiors and relatives.
Driven by minds permeated with Krishna prema, the gopis quickly arrived in Vrndavana. At that time, Krishna, adorned with a charming pearl necklace, played in a neighboring forest. Infatuated by their totally pure love for Krishna, the gopis pulsated with desire to receive His delightful glance. Meanwhile back in the village, the Vraja kumaris (unmarried gopis) intensely hankered to please Krishna with their conjugal love. But they were neither old enough, nor allowed to go out to "worship" Kandarpa. The faces of these restless young gopis radiated a pale pink glow due to their bhava. Having recently completed their katyayani vrata and receiving Krishna's promise to accept them, these young gopis could no longer keep their patience. Dhanya-sakhi and the other Vraja kumaris were full of anxiety. Their throats choked up and their gorgeous golden faces turned pale due to frustration. Seeing the distressed condition of their daughters, their aristocratic mothers also felt depressed. Contemplating how to help them, they said, "O dear daughters! Did Yogamaya-devi create some special auspiciousness in your hearts by giving you an enchanting order?"
Tarangavati, the daughter of a nurse, said, "Hung ho\ Dear mothers! Please listen attentively to my words. Regarding your question, how can you expect all the girls to answer you? If you want to know what is wrong, then listen and I will tell you. This is the custom of a daughter born in a good family.
"At the right time, I will tell whatever I know. Since I am honest and very close to you all, I can tell you everything as it is. Previously your daughters worshiped and pleased the famous Yogamaya-devi, who is unattainable by all the demigods. At that time, Yogamaya blessed them all with a divine command.
"Yogamaya said, 'Within a short time, all of you will see a very exalted and majestic personality who by the rays of his effulgence derides all other powers. I have never seen such an influential personality. He is like the sun, the lord of the lotuses, and his body is deep blue in color like a royal bumblebee. He will be your husband and your power and prestige will exceed the goddess of fortune. Besides following the vow to get a husband, there is something else you should do to achieve success in your endeavor."Yogamaya continued, 'Because you have faith in me, I am affectionately telling this to you. Please be patient and listen as I explain more. When your attachment to other things ceases, then try to follow my instructions. O girls possessing matchless qualities! In the forest of Vrndavana there is a goddess named Vrnda who is very compassionate by nature. Since she has the power of fulfillment, she is always thinking how to satisfy the cherished desires of the devotees.'Tarangavati-sakhi continued, "Therefore, dear ladies, it is not a good idea to prevent your daughters from going to Vrndavana. This forest is completely spiritual. By living there many devotees have achieved the fruits of their austerities. One who serves this forest can immediately attain his desired goal. Please give them permission to go, so that they can complete the work directed by Yogamaya-devi."
After hearing these words with great delight, the mothers consented by slightly smiling at their anxious daughters. Obtaining sanction from their mothers, all the young unmarried gopis like Dhanya-sakhi wandered in the various groves of Vrndavana. With the arrival of spring the different types of vraja gopis enjoyed many hilarious pastimes. The married gopis started the fun by sneaking off to the forest to pick flowers. Then the unmarried gopis, who had previously worshiped Katyayani, took permission from their mothers-in-law to worship Kandarpa. Without anyone's knowledge they also worshiped Vrnda-devi. Now these intelligent gopis could enter the forest of Vrndavana and attain the intimate association of Krishna.The tender petals of the kunda flowers of spring broke the fierce tusks of the elephant of winter. The spring season arrived in the form of a playful lion cub showing his teeth as the stamens of the flowers. The southern breezes forced the chills of winter to depart. It appeared as if the nostrils of personified time had now opened and started breathing in and out.The juncture of winter and spring seemed like the period between boyhood and adolescence. The tender creepers exploded with new buds. The cuckoos sang a sweet melody, but not the fifth note of "kuu huu, kuu huu" which lovers murmur at union. Though the southern breezes had begun, they were weak due their lingering attachment to the Malaya Hills. It seemed the buds, birds, and breezes simultaneously awaited the departure of the winter season.
The creepers looked like pregnant ladies waiting to give birth to fresh flowers. With their gentle humming the bumblebees inquired repeatedly from all directions about the location of spring. Moreover, immediately upon smelling the fragrance, the cuckoos took shelter in the treetops to savor the fresh mango blossoms. After eating them they made sweet drawn out tunes of "kuu huu! kuu huu!" It seems the cuckoos sang softly in fear that the spring season may not arrive with their favorite food of fresh mango sprouts.
The forest welcomed the spring season with the sweet fragrances of fresh flowers. With the disappearance of winter, the forest beamed with delight like a man feeling fresh and clean after bathing. The creepers appeared to be smeared with rich aromas. Overwhelmed with joy, the birds sang happily.
It seemed that the wives of the directions smiled favorably at the arrival of the spring season. Sandalwood paste appeared as moonshine to pleasantly anoint the night. The Malayan breezes moving here and there carried the sweet flavor of fragrant flowers. The bumblebees returning to their hives appeared to be tied up together as they moved about with each other. The mango trees filled with tiny bumps of joy from the touch of the awakening madhavi creepers. What more can be said about the arrival of spring? It seemed as if Kandarpa had just changed his body.Vrndavana is beautified with the different periods of the six seasons manifested in different places. But to nourish Krishna's sweet pastimes the sequence of seasons sometimes changes to suit His needs. For example, sometimes the dewy season comes after winter, or spring season follows the rainy season. Sometimes all the seasons combine, approach the Lord, and ask if they can serve Him.With the arrival of spring, Syamasundara, greedy for pleasure and full oiprema, decided to stage a wonderful pastime to fulfill the desires of the girls of Gokula whose hearts surged with srngara rasa. The hearts of the gopis moved with the speed of the wind to meet the Prince of Vrndavana, who embodies all good fortune. The vanadevis incited the forest to explode with unlimited beauty and fresh fragrances. Krishna, the ocean of elegance, appeared like a dramatic artist dressed in colorful garments. The camari deer prepared the stage by sweeping the forest floor with their bushy tails. The honey nectar dripping from the flowers moistened the rich soil. Wandering kasturi deer scented the air with the heady fragrance of musk. Swarms of intoxicated bees danced in mid-air and buzzed among the flowering creepers.
On Vasanta Pancami, the first day of spring, Syamasundara, whose joyfully sweet and sportive nature spread in all directions, filled the horizon with the reflection of His beautiful blue complexion. By His inconceivable potency spring burst into bloom throughout the land of Vrndavana. The Vrajavasis mistook the nectar shower of Krishna's sweet beauty to be an unexpected monsoon rain.The eyes, ears, and minds of the Vrajavasis tingled with joy upon hearing that spring had arrived, and that Krishna hankered to enjoy a festival. The hearts of the moon-faced gopis throbbed with anxiety to meet their beloved. Overpowered by the intoxication of spring and a strong desire to attend the festival, Radhika, Candravali, Syama-devi, and all their respective girlfriends abandoned their shyness and ran to the forest. With great love and affection Vrnda-devi and her vanadevis appropriately decorated Radhika and gopis for the joyous festival of spring. They dressed them in colorful clothing, fresh flowers, and the sixteen types of items of ornamentation. The gopis remembered the boon that Krishna had given them when He snatched their clothes while they bathed in the Yamuna. At that time Krishna said, "O My dear sakhisl In some future night you will enjoy confidential pastimes with Me." Because the gopis had fixed their minds on the desire to attain Krishna they felt a moment to be like a million milleniums. The vanadevis were amazed at the sight of the assembled gopis that looked like a garden full of rows and rows of the best quality golden creepers. The vanadevis dressed the gopis, their revered objects of love, in clothing suitable for the spring festival.
Vrnda felt very joyful as she personally decorated Radhika with flower ornaments. She set white lilies in Radhika's hair and placed a bakula garland across Her hairline that seemed to kiss Radha's forehead. Then Vrnda-devi adorned Radha's hair part with deftly placed red asoka flowers, hung mango buds hung over Her ears, and covered Her breasts with a vasanti garland. Due to their enthusiasm to enjoy the festival of spring, the vanadevis competed with each other in order to quickly finish their work. They bragged to each other, "I will do the dressing." Another one said, "No, I will do it." As a final touch they smeared the bodies of Candravali and other gopis with sandalwood pulp and offered them splendid flower garlands. The gorgeous gopis further beautified the forest.
The gopis wrapped their bodies in saris covered with gold jari. They wore brightly colored blouses and veils of the finest soft cloth. They chewed tambula, smeared sandal pulp on their bodies, and sported fragrant flower garlands. The different articles used to adorn the gopis came from the desire trees and.creepers growing abundantly everywhere in Vrndavana. The desire trees also produced the flower bombs for celebrating Holi. These bombs, made of different colored, perfumed powders packed in lac, were so fragile that they would break open just by breathing on them. The desire trees provided other weapons such as flower bows and arrows, pichkaris (jeweled-syringes for squirting liquid colors) and musk paste. When spring appeared, Matangi, a Kinnari goddess who is an acarya of music, and her female ensemble of expert vina players came to play for the festival. The vasanta raga (spring tune) personified accompanied Matangi as an attractively dressed woman. The personified forms of sapta svara (seven notes) and sruti (marginal notes) also followed her.
Matangi approached Radhika, the greatest among the lotus-eyed gopis having beautiful, bashful bodies overflowing with affection. Although she is an excellent speaker, Matangi flooded with happiness and fell silent when she stood before Radhika. Seeing this, Vrnda said, "Hey Radhe! You are an unlimited reservoir of the best qualities! Please have faith in my words when I say that these ladies are fantastic musicians." Pointing to Matangi, Vrnda said, "This is Matangi, the master of all masters of music. Even the Kinnaris (famous celestial singers) learn from her! O supremely cultured and worshipable lady!
"Whose mind will not be elated by participating in this flourishing festival of spring? Matangi has come here along with all her musical paraphernalia just to please You. Her associates are experts in playing vina. Here is Vasanta-raga, pleasant and elegant with her jeweled-crown, deep blue dress, and the peacock feather in her hair. She is feeding soft fresh
mango buds to the cuckoos. By nature she is maddened with ecstasy."
Seeing Vasanta-raga displaying an irresistible joy, Radhika remembered Syamasundara and looked at her curiously. Dressed as a young girl, Vasanta-raga considered herself fortunate to have received a glance from Radharani. Then Matangi, the expert musician who walks with the grace of a she elephant, said, "O beloved of Krishna, who vanquished Kaliya by dancing on his hoods! The twelve associates of sruti and the seven associates of svara have come with me in order to serve Your lotus feet. Just hear how their singing far surpasses that of the Kinnaris."
On hearing their artistic singing, Laiita said joyfully, "Hey Sangita-devi! (a second name for Matangi) Even the wives of the King of the Kinnaras could not equal their excellence in singing.Matangi replied, "O Laiita! Sruti will not manifest in a voice full of mucus. Regarding vinas, Brahma created two types: one fretted and one non-fretted. There are twenty-two shrill notes in a non-fretted vina and seven in a fretted one. What more can I say? O worshipable one! Soon you can test them yourself by glancing over the srutis. Once you hear the sixth note along with its four srutis, then conviction will remove your doubts. Although pleasant to hear, it is impossible to comprehend."Saying this, Matangi, the expert musician, sang the tonic note (sadja) and its four distinct marginal notes by using the unfretted vina. The marginal notes could be distinguished, manifesting themselves according to the pitch of the vina. The strings of the unf retted vina can be played to give the correct intonation, which is as reliable as the Vedas.After Matangi pleased everyone with her singing, a sakhi named Sangita-vidya spoke jokingly with hidden intentions. She said, "Matangi, you have very expertly sung the four marginal notes along with the vina. But you did not sing even a single micro tone of the seventh or the second note of the scale. Of course, knowledge of the notes is very difficult for human beings."But Lalita-sakhi, Radhika's dear friend, can sing all the divisions of the notes. If you want, Laiita can demonstrate her singing perfection. Though you may be unfamiliar with the marginal notes of each note because they tend to blend in the note, Laiita can reveal all the twenty-two marginal notes separately by her knowledge of the sound of each micro tone."
When she spoke in this way, the forest deities said, "O Sangita-vidya! The knowledge of music that Matangi has just recited originates from the mouth of Brahma. But what you have spoken is beyond the universe manifested by Brahma. But both systems are faultless." Radhika worried that Matangi may have felt offended by this conversation. So knitting Her brow, She said, "Hey Sangita-vidya with false intelligence! You are a liar so you should stop speaking. Clearly distinguishing the marginal notes as Matangi has just sung could never be done by Laksmi, the demigods, and what to speak of Lalita-sakhi. Therefore Matangi-devi is the best of musicians. Now let her satisfy Vrnda-devi and the forest deities with her singing."
Vrnda said, "Matangi, until Krishna arrives you should not sing the vasanta raga. You can sing another raga with an attractive new melody."
According to the request, Matangi exquisitely sang the belabeli raga, which flowed like a pool of water from the ocean of rasa. She produced five varieties of marginal notes by mixing Her voice with the sound of four types of vinas—the festive mahati, the playful kavilasika, the tortoise-shaped kacchapi, and the broad-bodied svaramandalika. The musicians played each micro tone exactly in pitch with her voice, and thus satisfied the ears of everyone. The powerful singing, attractive music, and the vibration of the vinas at that festival transported everyone into a realm of divine bliss.Shri Radha, the gopis, Vrnda-devi and the vanadevis listened with rapt attention to the sterling performance of Matangi-devi. Her singing, backed by vinas, mrdangas, flutes, gongs, and drums, vibrated so sweetly that even the demigods fell into enchantment. The music floated through the air for a long distance. Anyone who heard it felt invigorated throughout his body.. Hearing Matangi's musical concert with its wonderful rhythm and tune, srngara rasa personified entered the gopis' hearts and caused their lotus petal eyes to bloom wide. The gopis looked nervously from side to side like frightened deer in a forest. As the gopis stood on the forest path listening to the vasanta raga, one of Radhika's sakhis took the form of that raga and sang happily.Upon hearing that raga, Nanda Kishora, the embodiment of unlimited bliss, initiated a unique spring festival, which no one had ever seen before. The gopis absorbed their minds in Krishna when they saw Him approaching them with a desire to enjoy. The sweetness of their beautiful bodies increased as fresh waves of ecstasy rose within them.One gopi said, "O Radhika! Your eyes are shining with the same excitement that You reveal when intimately enjoying with Krishna. Indeed, Krishna always reigns as the Lord of Your heart. Coming before us as personified spring, Krishna is full of ecstasy and dressed as a daring dramatic dancer. He is carrying various paraphernalia for sporting. Just see how that proud Cupid shines among His friends. He looks like the full moon surrounded by its entourage of stars. O Radhe! How much can persons like us describe the extent of your glorious good fortune?
"Look! Look! His effulgent white turban appears especially splendid sitting obliquely on His head. It is decorated with bunches of flowers, sprinkled with fragrant reddish powder, and surrounded by buzzing bumblebees shaking His peacock feather. Tiny fresh mango flowers hang from His ears, which are slightly elongated from the weight of His elegant jeweled earrings. His earrings swing enchantingly to cast exotic reflections on His cheeks. A beautiful malati garland mixed with some sweet tulasi manjaris surrounds His neck.His curly dark blue hair is tied back ready for sporting. Krishna wears glittering yellow garments just suitable for His spring pastimes. His jeweled waist-bells dance, and a sachet of camphor is tucked in His attractive gem-studded belt. Natural belts made of jute encircle His handsome hips. The ankle-bells on Krishna's lotus feet are jingling a sweet tune of "runu jhunu\ runu jhunuV
While listening to the vasanta raga, Krishna held a flute in His left hand and a ball of red powder in His right hand. Subala and other close friends stood beside Him. Relishing that sweet song, Krishna moved His head in time with the tune. His eyes rolled in intoxication as if tired from conjugal pleasure. Some cowherd boys offered Him fresh tambula wrapped in golden pan leaves. While relishing the tambula, Krishna's lips turned reddish from the drops of betel juice.
Soon Krishna and His boyfriends inaugurated the spring festival of Holi by singing, dancing, and throwing balls of fine reddish powder in all directions. The lightweight, sweet smelling powder just floated in the air. As it gradually fell down, it beautifully colored and scented Krishna's turban, hair, eyelids, and tilaka. Krishna's friends sang carcari and dvipadika songs in the vasanta raga with clear marginal notes and notes in the three scales. In this way they blissfully danced and played while repeatedly throwing red powder balls at each other.One gopi said to Radhika, "Look! Just see! The unconscious things have come alive from hearing their singing. Overjoyed by the glance of Krishna, the forest creepers display ecstatic symptoms. The gentle breezes from the Malayan Hills appear as a guru to teach the forest creepers how to dance. With their new leaves they exhibit various mudras (hand positions) to go along with the song of the bees."When someone tries to pick the honey sweet flowers, the creepers seem to shiver in fear with their quivering buds. Their blossoming flowers appear like exuberant laughter. Then they show anger by frowning with their eyebrows appearing as the swarms of bees. One creeper, seeing Krishna's impulsive nature and being moved by the wind, covered her flower cluster breast with the leaf of her left hand. With the leaf of her right hand she beckoned her friends for help while shyly smiling with the blossoming flower of her face. Therefore, Radhika, I tell You. In this Vrndavana,how is it possible to remain patient and control one's intelligence during such an ecstatic Holi festival?"Understanding Radhika's inner mood, Syama-sakhi said, "O Vrnda-devi! Why are you agitating us while giving bliss to the moon-like Syamasundara? You know we can never go against your will. So quickly arrange the joyous Holi festival and thereby bring unlimited happiness to all of us."By nature the door of shyness creates an obstacle in the houses of the married gopis' bodies. At the same time, their eagerness to love Krishna is so strong that even an axe cannot cut it. Their minds are constantly full of anguish. Although they tolerate it with unrivaled patience, they are in a terribly unfortunate condition."To remove their misfortune, the gopis should definitely do some worship on this auspicious day of the spring festival. During the time of picking flowers it will be easy for us to perform that puja. O sakhisl You are the embodiments of auspiciousness and expert in all the arts. Let us celebrate the festival of spring with that honorable prince of Vraja."
After hearing Syama-sakhi's timely words arousing conjugal love, Vrnda spoke to the Queen of Vrndavana, "O Radhika! I understand that in name, beauty, form, and gentle behavior there is one other sakhi who is eligible to hear the songs of Matangi. Just now Candravali and Carucandra-sakhi are making some curious sounds as they advance with their party to celebrate the festival of Holi. It appears that they are illuminating this mango grove with a pleasant effulgence. Indeed, Matangi, the embodiment of all the srutis and svaras of the vasanta raga, has become successful by intoxicating everyone with her joyous singing. Although also immersed in that ecstasy, she has not lost her self-control."
After honoring Radhika with her words, Vrnda engaged in the service of Candravali. She told Matangi to sing pleasing tunes with the expanded srutis that always manifest in spring. Matangi's singing defeated the splendor of the rising golden sun. Within a moment, the desire to observe a grand festival arose from the desire tree of Candravali's heart.Then Candravali and her sakhis joyfully threw colors to celebrate Holi. They squirted forceful streams of fragrant colored liquids on each other with elegant jeweled inlaid pichkaris (syringes). The streams of water were sensually pleasing mixtures of sandalwood paste, camphor, kasturi, kunkuma, and golak diluted in water. While squirting each other they sang and danced around in time with the music of the vasanta-raga. In great fun they also threw flower bombs of scented red powder on each other. Being driven by the Cupid elephant of blissful enjoyment, Candravali and her gopi friends, whose beauty derided millions of heavenly goddesses, happily sported in the spring festival.
Meanwhile, Shri Radha, whose joyful captivating smile is sweeter than honey, surprised everyone by Her behavior. First She cast restless glances in the direction of Krishna and then She looked at Candravali. Then suddenly for no apparent reason, Radhika abruptly wandered away on the pretext of picking flowers.
The prince of Vrndavana, who disseminates limitless joy, played Holi with His young friends while dancing down the road towards the forest where the gopis had assembled. Batu jumped around continually while raising and lowering his head in a funny way as he lead the party. The necklaces on his chest swung pleasantly from his comic movements. While making everyone laugh, Batu looked in all directions as if searching for something.
In the distance Batu heard the sounds and laughter of another Holi festival. He heard the sweet jingling of the gopis' ankle-bells and bangles as they rhythmically danced through the forest. He also heard the music of vinas, mrdangas, and murtajas mixing with the sweet singing of Candravali, Carucandra, and other sakhis as they stood in a circle clapping their hands. The blend of these sounds created a charming concert of enchanting music.
Hearing that music increased Madhumangala's enthusiasm to relish the Holi festival. In a blissful mood, he spoke to his dear friend, "O Krishna! Is it the echo of our own singing that we hear? Or is it someone else's sweet songs challenging ours? If it is not our singing, then let us find out who it is." Adorned with gems and ornaments, Krishna, the crest-jewel of handsome youths, replied to Batu, "O graceful one! That music is from someone else! But how come this music is mixing with ours and at the same overpowering it? Go find its source."
Feeling ecstatic, Batu ran quickly toward that jingling sound. There he saw Radharani, who is praised as the crest-jewel of all beautiful women including Laksmi, who has charming simplicity, who has reddish palms more delicate than jaba flowers, who graces the earth with Her transcendental form, and who appears like the personified beauty of spring picking madhavi flowers.Batu said, "O impudent Lalita! Why do you sit on a mountain of pride? It is astonishing that you are acting so offensively. Don't you know that today is the first day of the spring festival? My friend Krishna is just nearby anxious to enjoy many pastimes in this madhavi grove. Therefore we have not picked any flowers in this garden. You, however, are so arrogant that you have taken all the madhavi leaves and flowers which were meant for Krishna.
"Are you not familiar with the snake-like arms of my friend who crushes the pride of Kandarpa? Acchal All right! Soon you will come to know.Just wait here while I go tell Him what you have done."Running back to Krishna, Batu said, "My dear friend! It seems Your opulent spring festival will soon reach its climax. Vasanta Laksmi, the personified beauty of spring, and all her expanded potencies are not far from here. With various tasteful arrangements she gives new life to the joyous festival of spring.""The unique singing of the gopis which is accompanied by mrdangas, vinas, cymbals, and horns cannot be found anywhere on earth. What to speak of earth, even the greatest celestial singers cannot comprehend it. Besides that, they have collected more paraphernalia to celebrate Holi than can be found anywhere else in the creation of Brahma. The people of this world cannot even imagine it. Alas! I have seen great fun. Krishna, although You are the son of the King of Vrndavana, the size of Your Holi festival cannot compare with theirs."Krishna replied, "O Batu! Why are you glorifying and showing so much respect to the enemy? You should praise your own camp and not give them any importance. Of course, I understand the inner mood of your heart. It appears that you have become bewildered from drinking honey wine, and therefore you are acting like an intoxicated person."Kusumasava said, "There is an ayurvedic medicine known as kusumasava. But I am not that kusumasava. I mean to say that I am not the honey wine made from the kusuma flower which people drink and become intoxicated. Yet somehow people get intoxicated just by drinking my words."Krishna said, "Well done! Well done My friend! If you have not lost your enthusiasm, then go back and see what the gopis are up to. We will meet up with you later."Overwhelmed with joy, the humorous Batu returned to the gopis. Then he said boldly, "O Durlalita! (foul player or mischievous Lalita-sakhi) On the order of my lotus-eyed friend, you should immediately stop picking our madhavi flowers and get out of this forest. Otherwise you will be severely punished!"Lalita said, "O shameless, deceitful brahmana boy! Why are you spoiling your aristocratic birth by blaspheming others? The flawless wives of the gopas have gathered under this asoka tree on the bank of the Yamuna in order to worship Vasanta Madana (Cupid) on this auspicious day of the spring festival. This tradition comes down through a long line of well-behaved, gentle souls."Today the jewel-like heroine Radhika, who is the most chaste housewife in Vrndavana, who is highly moral, and who possesses all good qualities has also joined us. Although Radhika has many maidservants, She has personally come to perform this important Madana (Cupid) puja. So why have you come here blubbering like a crazy fellow?"
Batu said, "Are, Lalita! Apart from Hari, what other Cupid is there? Krishna easily cuts down the pride of Cupid, maddens everyone with desire, and is always intoxicated by it Himself. Ignoring the real Cupid, why have you become attached to worshiping some mundane Cupid? Obviously, you must be crazy! Listen, I will do you a favor and be the priest for your Madana puja. I will chant the benedictory mantras, and guide you in performing splendprous worship of Cupid. Now come along and I will take you to Him."Radhika said, "Hey Lalite! This expert brahmana is certainly worthy of our worship. Tell Candravali and Carucandra to bring good fortune to our Village by respectfully worshiping this priest."
Overcome by the spirit of Holi, Candravali and Carucandra forcibly grabbed Batu and covered him from head to toe with varieties of red and purple colors to make him look just like Bhutaraja Siva, the "king of the ghosts.
Madhumangala screamed, "Hey Krishna! Intoxicated with the joy of Holi, the shameless gopis have gone crazy. I cannot run away because they have blinded me with sindura, kunkuma, and other fragrant powders. I am also stunned from the colored water they threw over me. Krishna! Quickly save me before they commit the sin of killing a brahmana on this auspicious day of Holi."
Hearing Batu's loud crying in the distance, Krishna understood that the simple girls of Vrndavana had diminished His reputation. Running there quickly with His friends, Krishna said, "Hala! Hala! Aho! What a funny scene!"
The proud gopis glanced at Krishna with a mixed mood of fear, respect, and shyness. Seeing Batu sad, silent, and totally defeated, Krishna, pretending to be angry, said, "Hung ho! Why have you loved-blinded ladies abused and harassed My innocent friend? Which lowly person is responsible for this offense? Now you will be justly punished!"Krishna, an expert fighter, attacked the gopis by hitting them between the breasts with a volley of asoka flower balls. The celestial demigoddesses enthusiastically glorified Krishna. Afterwards a fierce fight broke out between the gopas and the gopis. They threw fragrant red powder balls, and squirted each other with heavenly scented, colored water that felt soft and soothing. A barrage of colors blanketed all directions. Being light in weight, the colored powders just floated and swirled around in sky to block the sun and create dense darkness. Although nobody could see each other, both sides fought equally. Suddenly, Krishna boldly entered a phalanx of gopis. Vibrating like the sweet sound of Cupid's drum, Krishna's flute resounded triumphantly during the battle of Eros. The gopis fought heroically in that war against their beloved Syama. To counteract the weapon of Krishna's enchanting flute, the gopis surrounded Him and shot Him with the sharpened arrows of their sidelong glances.Somehow Krishna mounted a ferocious counter offensive and got free from the clutches of the gopis. But being greedy for more pastimes, Krishna pulled back the bowstring of His dancing eyebrows and shot the gopis with the samprasvapana (sleep-inducing) arrow of His glance. Instantly, the gopis felt dizzy and drowsy. Totally fatigued, they yawned and rolled their eyes lazily. Slumping forward, they fell asleep with their chins resting on their chests.Seeing her army stunned and immobilized, Candravali, the commander-in-chief of the doe-eyed ones, boldly stepped forward to display her prowess. She tried to pierce Krishna's heart with her fluttering eyelids and arrow-like glances. Attempting to enchant the enchanter of the world, she locked Syamasundara in a tight embrace with her snake-like arms. After some time, Krishna gave up His rapture and resumed His attack on the phalanxes of gopis. Kissing them, snapping their necklaces, and ripping open their blouses, Krishna appeared like an elephant in rut, trumpeting joyfully while trampling clumps of lotuses in a forest. The battlefield looked astonishing after the fog of colored powders settied.Red powder completely covered both the gopis and the sporting field. The colored water and musk drops dripping off the bodies of the gopis muddied the ground. The Holi battlefield appeared to be sprinkled with the blood from an elephant devastated by an angry lion. The musk drops on the ground looked like bumblebees smelling that blood. Lying on the ground, the fallen pichkaris of the gopis looked like the teeth and bones of that elephant scattered across the forest floor.The gopis' defeat drowned Madhumangala in an ocean of happiness. Raising his arms, he joyfully danced and shouted, "Hee! Hee! Well done Krishna! Bravo! In my whole life I have never felt so good. O Muralidhara! That's what they get for putting Your dear friend into such extreme distress.
"Just see how the gopis' blouses are torn and their carefully strung necklaces are crushed to dust. All their puja paraphernalia is strewn here and there. Their hair, faces, and breasts are covered with colors. They got just what they deserved. But alas, my dear friend! We better watch out, because they can outwit anyone in Brahma's creation. If they again join forces with their leader Radharani, they will violently attack us in great numbers. Driven by anger, those gopis, who are hostile by nature, could do anything to us. So let us run away from here before that happens."
While smiling, some cowherd boys said, "Talkativeness is Batu's natural defect. Because of his fickle mind, one minute he acts boldly and the next
moment he shivers in fright. O Krishna! Console Batu and keep him from panicking and becoming disturbed again."
Krishna said, "O Kusumasava! Give up your cowardice. Show Me those gopis whom you fear. Why should you be afraid in My presence?"
Feeling reassured and confident, Kusumasava continued the battle. Boldly jumping forward, he pointed toward the gopis and said, "This way! This way!"
Krishna and the cowherd boys went to a garden of madhavi creepers wherein Radhika, Lalita, and other sakhis picked flowers. In great joy, the gopis attacked Hari with millions of restless sidelong glances. Krishna •shot back the arrow of His love-laden glance. Hitting Radhika's breast, that arrow pierced the armor of Her shyness to release a splendor that radiated in all directions.
Radhika retaliated with the arrow of Her sidelong glance, which was coated with the deadly poison of the kajala surrounding Her beautiful blue eyes and sharpened by Her brightly beaming smile. That arrow mercilessly pierced the heart of Krishna. Seeing his friend completely devastated by Radha's glance, Batu swelled in ecstasy. Shaking his hands and turning his head from side to side, Batu said, "My dear friend! Do not become bewildered while I am here to help You. Take this flower bomb and douse them in colors! Alas! What is impossible for one who has a friend like me?"
Though weary from the pastime of Holi, Vrsabhanunandini suddenly gained new enthusiasm. Radhika's eyes bloomed wide and Her eyebrows moved elegantly like the movements of a swan. Her golden bangles rang loudly proclaiming victory as She took a vermilion flower bomb in Her lotus palm and fired it at Krishna's chest. This broke Krishna's rapture. Then to the delight of all the gopas and gopis, Krishna sprung into action, grabbed a flower bomb, and chased after Radhika. He looked just like an angry lion whose sleep had been interrupted. Lalita confronted Krishna and said, "O crest-jewel of relishers! Which playful girl threw that vermilion ball on Your chest? It appears that She did not really throw a ball at You, but actually offered You Her love. Do You know Her name? Indeed, She always enchants You. But now is not a good time to become bewildered. Think it over very carefully. For nothing, You are pursuing my innocent sakhi." Lost in the bliss of Holi, Krishna ignored Lalita and kept chasing Radha. Then Radhika smiled slightly, and cast the playful waves of Her glances at Syama-sakhi before hiding amongst Her girlfriends. Catching Syama-sakhi, Krishna smeared colors on her hair, forehead, cheeks, and breasts.
Considering that an unfair act, Bakula-mala, Syama-sakhi's girlfriend, anxiously said, "Hey Syamasundara! That witty girl, who pelted Your chest with a flower bomb, now throws out pearls with Her flashing white smile. The radiance of Her beautiful face mocks the glowing full moon. Why did You leave Her aside to harass my innocent friend?" After listening to Bakula-mala, Krishna directed His attention toward Radhika instead of Syama. Eager and full of passion, Krishna approached Radhika and said, "O proud girl! Come here and show Your strength by throwing these balls at Me!" Being overwhelmed by Radhika's presence, Krishna smiled slightly and cast a sidelong glance as He moved closer to His beloved. Radhika shouted a command, "O sakhisl Surround Him and smash Him with Your flower bombs!" With indistinct voices sounding like sweet cuckoos, the sakhis chanted, "ghero! ghero!" (surround) "maro! maro!" (kill). The effulgent young gopis almost captured Krishna, the relisher of transcendental bliss.The sportive son of Nanda Maharaja struck back by splashing the gopis with a volley of colors. The gopis responded with a shower of flower bombs. Aiming His jeweled pichkari, Krishna completely drenched the gopis with streams of fragrant kunkuma and sandalwood scented water. Although repulsed by Krishna's furious attack, the gopis regrouped and repeatedly tried to capture Him. The colored waters of Holi washed away every bit of the gopis' shyness. Encouraged by their increased numbers, spontaneous affection, and agitated hearts, the gopis surrounded their beloved just like moonbeams encircling a cloud. All the directions reverberated with the sweet love songs of Matangi and her host of Kinnaris accompanied by vinas and other musical instruments.The bangles on the lotus-stem arms of the gopis jingled softly as they threw flower balls at the emperor of love. Bumblebees, cuckoos, and other exotic birds hummed and warbled pleasingly. The creepers danced along according to the instructions of the wind. Krishna's intimate friends like Subala sang the vasanta raga. Some boys threw flower bombs and colored powders on each other. Batu, the expert joker, performed an ecstatic dance full of mirth.Their bangles chiming sweetly like the chirping of intoxicated sparrows, the gopis raised their lotus-stem arms and again attacked Krishna. This time, instead of resisting, Krishna pretended to be too weak and tired to fight back. On the pretext of resting and catching His breath, Krishna stopped playing for a short time. While Krishna rested, the gopis stole His flute, pichkari, flower bow and arrows. One clever gopi even tried to remove Krishna's ornaments. But Radhika stopped her with a hint of Her eyebrows because She did not want Krishna to be humiliated in His defeat.
Then Radhika tenderly wiped the perspiration and colored powders from Krishna's lotus face with the edge of Her sari. Radha deeply relished the
sweetness of serving Her beloved hero after the battle. Taking tambula from the hand of a maidservant, Radhika put it in Krishna's mouth. With the movements of Her eyebrows Radhika directed Syama-sakhi to gently fan Her Lord.
Seeing the gopis covered in colored powder, Madhumangala laughed and danced about while moving his shoulders and twisting his neck. He loudly shouted, "Hee! Hee! O Subala and my friends, we have won! Today Krishna has broken the pride of the famous daughter of King Vrsabhanu. Now She spontaneously serves Him like a humble maidservant. What could be more amusing? Although our dear friend Krishna is slightly exhausted from the battle of Holi, He shines gloriously with His triumph. This is certainly befitting. Alas! Alas! How could Krishna not be victorious? With a counselor like me, success is automatically guaranteed." After saying this Batu happily raised his arms and danced about blissfully. All the gopis and gopas thoroughly enjoyed the funny antics of Batu. Overwhelmed with delight and satisfaction, Radhika kindly gave him Her own pearl necklace.The vanadevis led by Vrnda and Matangi rejoiced upon seeing the sweet loving exchanges of Krishna and the gopis. Everyone experienced the greatest happiness by playing Holi. Concluding the festival of spring, Krishna played His flute and walked away with His friends. They entered a shady grove to rest amidst the pleasing sound of buzzing bees. Losing their gravity, the boys submerged in an ocean of joy, as they smelled the sweet aroma of the forest flowers.Radha, who is expert in the sixty-four arts, relished unlimited happiness during the Holi pastime. Pleased with the superb musical performance of Matangi and her associates, Radhika gave them many valuable presents and dismissed them. Afterwards, Radhika and Her friends relaxed in a beautiful mango grove wherein Krishna had often played. Joking and laughing, Radhika and Her intimate sakhis then enjoyed a sumptuous feast.