#5 | Inauguration of Rukmini Panduranga
Following the Master | Holi Vrindavan India 2020
Yesterday was an incredibly intense day, full of wonderful activities! The day began with group Atma Kriya Yoga practice before the morning prayers, which were short and sweet. This was because, after a short breakfast break, the inauguration ceremonies began for the new deities of Rukmini Panduranga and a unique ‘fusion’ deity of Garuda and Hanuman. The ceremonies went as all inaugurations do - guru puja, kalash puja, yajna and abhishekam. Fortunately, the pilgrims were all able to participate in the yajna, as well as to offer water during the abhishekam. Time absolutely flew by and before we knew it, by the time the ceremony had finished, it was already 5:30 in the afternoon!
The next item on the agenda was to celebrate Holika Dahan. This festival is celebrated the eve before Holi, in commemoration of good’s triumph over evil, when the asura, Holika, (sister of Hiranyakashipu), was consumed by flames as she attempted to murder Prahlad, the Lord’s pure devotee. A large pyre is lit to symbolise that same fire, consuming all adharma. The devotees then circumambulate it in prayer and celebration. Satya Narayan Das Babaji joined us for the celebration and about midway through the parikrama, suddenly Guruji requested buckets of flowers for us to play pushpa holi (Holi with flowers rather than coloured powder)! Guruji could not wait until the next day and so we began throwing handfuls of flower petals at each other and into the fire, with great joy!
Eventually the party drew to a close so that the pilgrims could finally eat! As it was also Gaura Purnima, the appearance day of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Guruji requested Param Jyoti Das to give a talk about Mahaprabhu. He spoke of Mahaprabhu’s mission, to bring the holy Name and its life-changing glories to the people, stressing how Guruji is doing the same thing in our day and age. He urged us all not to miss our opportunity to deeply appreciate and benefit from the chance we’ve all been given: the chance to know Guruji, to chant God’s Names, to be in Vrindavan and to get to know Krishna by Guruji’s mercy.
Finally, we moved on to the final programme of the day, a dance and theatre performance. First, Suhail Bhan, a world-renowned Bharatanatyam dancer and a friend of Vidya (Guruji’s recently deceased devotee from Indonesia), performed several beautiful pieces. Each piece was distinctly different from the other but all were performed with incredible elegance and skill, without exception.
After a resounding ovation, it was time to move on to the theatre play the pilgrims had been rehearsing for the past couple of months. The drama revolved around the love of Radha and Krishna, and how no obstacles could ultimately keep them apart. The play’s many scenes gradually revealed the depth of love shared between the Divine Couple, and how that love was ultimately above any other relationship Krishna experienced in His Vraja lila. Yet it was not always plain-sailing! Radha’s husband and mother-in-law were always suspicious of Her late night excursions, so much so that they followed Her in secret. Just as they thought they were about to catch Radha red-handed with Her beloved, they were shocked to find Mother Kali come to Radha’s aid! She almost cursed Radha’s husband and his mother, claiming that Radha only wished to worship Kali in order for Her to favour Radha’s husband!
But the sweetest scenes were reserved for when Radha felt the pain of separation and jealousy as She witnessed Krishna dancing with Chandravali instead of Her. Feeling immense pain and confusion as to why Krishna would ignore Her in that way, Radha fell into an unconscious state. Krishna also longed for His beloved Radharani, but He did not wish to reward Her feelings of jealousy. Eventually, He was convinced by Her sakhis and His sakhas to approach Radha disguised as a ‘healer’ gopi. As He ‘revived’ Radha, He began to slander Krishna whilst disguised, advising Radha to stay away from such an irresponsible person! Radha could not bear to hear Krishna being offended, and demanded that the gopi stop. Seeing how Radha’s anger and jealousy towards Krishna had been replaced with love and longing for Him, Krishna revealed Himself to Her. When questioned by Radha as to why their love must be so wrought with obstacles, Krishna simply explained that without tests, one may never know the true value of a thing!
Guruji enjoyed the play tremendously and as soon as it was over, joined them all on stage to dance and once again play pushpa holi with all of them! It was a beautiful end to a long day of celebration and bhakti.
Stay tuned for more posts as we ‘Follow the Master’ on an adventure to the Divine!