Day 6/12 | Holi Celebration
Following the Master | Holi Pilgrimage Vrindavan 2019
21 March 2019
After our routine morning prayers, we welcomed Abhishek Goswami of Radha Raman temple to Sri Giridhar Dham. Guruji had met with him two days ago, when the group visited Radha Raman, and invited him to come and give a discourse on Draupadi for all of us. Abhishekji spoke of his great friendship with Guruji and how happy he was to join us and share his insights. He began by introducing Draupadi as an often misunderstood character of the Mahabharata. People create negative images of her for having married five men, her disrobing in the courts of Hastinapur, etc. But he made the point that, in fact, she is the greatest role model for women in India today. He went on to elaborate at great length the story of her birth and relationship with Krishna. Although she initially wished to marry Krishna, her relationship became one of friendship and led her to marry Krishna’s other great friend, Arjuna. He then went into the story of how Draupadi came to marry all five Pandavas despite only wanting Arjuna and how, having accepted her situation, she proceeded to impart great wisdom to her husbands in various episodes. After a wonderful two-hour talk that seemed to fly by in no time, Abhishekji took his leave of our group and we proceeded on to lunch, as we had a very busy schedule!
After lunch the group moved to Munger Raj Mandir, the temple and ashram of Sadhu Maharaj. We had made arrangements to have a Holi celebration together, and by the time Guruji joined the group, the party was rocking! Sadhu Maharaj and his devotees welcomed Guruji and the party just escalated and escalated from there on! We began by throwing bucketloads of flowers petals on each other but soon they brought out the colour and a fully-fledged Holi party began. The kirtan was ongoing, with Sadhu Maharaj sweetly remarking at one point that our festival, the Just Love Festival, is non-different to Radha, as She is ‘Just Love’ Herself!
Unfortunately, we had to leave as we had our next program to look forward to back at Sri Giridhar Dham. A huge bonfire had been erected in celebration of Holika Dahan, the festival marking the burning of Holika, Hiranyakashipu’s evil sister who had attempted to kill Prahlad. We were joined by Satya Narayan Das Babaji, but not before Guruji got excited and absolutely drenched all the pilgrims with incredible amounts of colour. Now with everyone looking unrecognisable, we lit the fire with Babaji, and circumambulated it four times. We then sang, danced and threw more flowers on everyone, until we finally came to a halt to watch a play created by the Russian pilgrims, revolving around some of Krishna’s childhood pastimes. We watched as the wonderful actors mimed and danced leelas such as the Damodara Leela, Krishna eating mud and showing Yashoda the universe in His mouth, and many more. At the end of the brilliant performance, Babaji gave a short speech, explaining that the word Utsava, and even Uddhava, means festival and that it originates from two roots. Those roots give us the two requirements for a proper festival: food and people coming together to relish, specifically to relish the pastimes of Lord Krishna! And having done everything except eat, Babaji and Guruji sent us off to have dinner, ending another incredible day in Vrindavan.
Stay tuned for more posts as we ‘Follow the Master’ on a pilgrimage to the Divine!