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Dipavali in Vraja

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Lamp Festival On The New Moon Night


from Siddha Sri Krishnadas Baba's Gutika</center>

The Dipavali, Annakuta and Bhratri-dvitiya-lilas deal with Radha and Krishna's annual celebrations in the month of Kartika (October-November). Two days before the new moon night in Kartika, Nanda baba (Krishna's father) announces that: "This afternoon we will go to Govardhana with our cows and carts and put up a camp there to perform the annual Govardhana puja!" Krishna comes back from the meadows with His cows and His friends in the afternoon and bathes and eats. After this, all the cowherds leave for Govardhana. All the cowherders from Yavata (Radha's in-laws' home) and Varsana (Radha's parents' home) also come to Govardhana for the celebration.


Nanda baba already arranged for tents to be put up there. There all the cowherds blissfully milk their cows and spend the night. Radha and Krishna sneak out of Their camps in the evening and have Their usual nocturnal Rasa-lila in Vrindavana, returning to the camp the next morning. That day the cowherds clean the whole area from the Manasa Ganga-lake (in the middle of the town of Govardhana) to Govinda Kunda (a distance of about five km.) for the performance of the huge Govardhana puja. Vrsabhanu baba (Sri Radhika's father) stays on the left side of the camp with his family in blue tents, Abhimanyu (Radhika's husband) on the north in red tents and Nanda's family in the middle in yellow tents. They bathe in the Manasa Ganga-lake, dress and ornament themselves and then take their meal.


Radha and Krishna meet at Radhakunda for Their usual midday-pastimes and at night They dance the Rasa near the lake Candra Sarovara, close by the village of Aniyora. The next day, on the new moon Dipavali-day, Nanda baba orders for canopies to be raised near Manasa Ganga and for the ghatas (bathing places) to be cleaned before the lamp festival commences. Then he invites the local brahmanas and his friends for an auspicious feast. Sri Radhika and Her girlfriends cook sweet rice (ksira), vegetables and rice in the morning, which is offered to father Nanda's Narayana-deity and then enjoyed by the Vrajavasis (people of Vraja). After chewing betelleaves (pan) everyone returns to their own tents. After taking a little rest, Sri Radhika meets Krishnacandra in a nikunja near Govardhana Hill. After that She returns to Her father's camp to prepare sweets for Her usual worship of the Sungod. Radha and Krishna have Their usual midday-pastimes at Radhakunda and return to the camp later in the afternoon.


After milking their cows in the evening, all the cowherders go to Manasa Ganga for the Dipa dana, the offering of the lamps. Servants light all the oil lamps, that illuminate all the birds, trees, temples, animals, the ground and the lake. Everything bathes in golden splendor. All the Vrajavasis are fascinated and happy. That night Radha and Krishna dance the Rasa at Candra Sarovara again. After enjoying Their transcendental love-pastimes (rati vilasa) They sit down on a jeweled platform. Krishna plays His flute and Radhika plays Her Pavika Vilasa, while Their maidservants (manjaris) serve Them. Then all the holy rivers – Manasa Ganga, Yamuna, Patala Ganga, Bhanukhora (from Varsana) and Pavana Sarovara (from Nandagram) come to Candra Sarovara on high waves and offer lotus flowers to Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna's lotuslike feet. They consider themselves blessed after making this offering. Then Radha and Krishna dance the Rasa and return to Their tents the next morning.

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From Siddha Sri Krishna Das Baba's Gutika</center>

This is a pastime from the prakata lila, Radha-Krishna's manifest pastimes, and took place on the same day as Dipavali. Manasa Ganga lies in the middle of Govardhana town.


Once Nanda baba, Yasoda ma and all the cowherders wanted to go on pilgrimage to take a bath in the holy Ganga-river. On the way they put up their camp in the town of Govardhana. At that time Krishna thought to Himself: "Because their hearts are very attracted to Vraja all the holy waters reside here, but the Vrajavasis are not aware of these glories! Let Me establish the glories of Vraja!" As soon as Krishna, who is called satya sankalpa, or One who keeps His vows, thought like that, at once mother Ganga appeared in front of everyone, riding on her Makara (fish)-vehicle. The Vrajavasis were astonished at the appearance of Ganga-devi and began to speculate and argue with each other. Krishna then told them: "All the holy waters of the three worlds are present here to serve Vrajabhumi! I know that You want to go out of Vraja to bathe in the Ganga, but now patita pavani (the purifier of the fallen), mother Ganga, has come before you! Quickly fulfill your purpose by bathing in Gangaji's sacred waters. From now on this holy tank will be famous as 'Manasa Ganga'!"


Even now many people bathe every year in Manasa Ganga on the Dipavali-day to commemorate its appearance in this world, after which they may perform dandavati parikrama (circumambulation of the lake by means of prostrated obeisance at every step).



Another lila which takes place on Diwali-day is 'Mukta Caritra', the Pearl Story narrated by Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami in his book of that name.</font>

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