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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Ananda Vrindavana Champu > 14 Festival of Holi

Chapter Fourteen

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.