अत्र शूरा महेष्वासा भीमार्जुनसमा युधि |
युयुधानो विराटश्च द्रुपदश्च महारथ: ||
धृष्टकेतुश्चेकितान: काशिराजश्च वीर्यवान् |
पुरुजित्कुन्तिभोजश्च शैयश्च नरपुङ्गव: ||
युधामन्युश्च विक्रान्त उत्तमौजाश्च वीर्यवान् |
सौभद्रो द्रौपदेयाश्च सर्व एव महारथा
Duryodhan said: Behold in their ranks are many powerful warriors, like Yuyudhan, Virat, and Drupad, wielding mighty bows and equal in military prowess to Bheem and Arjun. There are also accomplished heroes like Dhrishtaketu, Chekitan, the gallant King of Kashi, Purujit, Kuntibhoj, and Shaibya—all the best of men. In their ranks, they also have the courageous Yudhamanyu, the gallant Uttamauja, the son of Subhadra, and the sons of Draupadi, who are all great warrior chiefs.
Duryodhan had on some level assured himself of the negative outcome of the war. Due to this he had a looming fear in his heart. Due to this reason, the army that the Pandavas had put together, seemed much larger and powerful to him than it actually was. This is why he was constantly pointing out to the great warriors who had assembled on the Pandava side.
His greatest fear was that every warrior on the Pandava side was equal in strength to Arjun or Bheem. With such a strong side assembled, he was paranoid about the fact that these warriors would be formidable to face on the battlefield.
Rath Yatra was celebrated lovingly in Vrindavan. Devotees dressed in their finest and braved the sticky heat to sing and dance with their beloved Jagannath. Each temple celebrated the festival in its own unique way. Vrindavan’s main Jagannath Temple is situated in Parikrama Marg, in the area known as Gyan Gudri. This place is the centre of the Rath Yatra celebrations in Vrindavan.
Chariots from many different temples converge there and do parikrama before returning home. The chariots were decorated in traditional Brajwasi style, covered with garlands of fresh flowers. Young boys sat atop the chariots and threw juicy mangoes into the crowd as they went. Sadhus accompanied them doing kirtan with khol and kartal. Cool water and sharbat was available on the roadside so that the devotees would remain fresh and rejuvenated.
The highlight of the day was the little children who had dressed up their tiny chariots and placed their deities inside and were seen doing the parikrama in the Gyan Gudri area. Shri Banke Bihari Lal toured the city in a chariot made of silver and gold. Other temples like Radha Gopinath, Shri Radha Damodar and Radha Madanmohan placed their deities in small chariots and took them around the temple courtyards.
RadharamanJi sat in a gorgeous silver chariot drawn by silver horses, driven by a man made of silver. After the aarti, Shaligram Shila was seated in an adorable little silver rath and taken on procession around the outer part of the altar of the temple by the Goswamis.
The All India Kashiraj Trust organized a grand ceremony at the President’s house in Delhi. This trust is dedicated to publishing the ancient scriptures of India. It is a matter of great pride for Braj that Acharya Shrivastava Goswami Maharaj, acharya of the Shri Radharaman Temple and trustee of the AIKT played a vital role in the event. This ceremony marked the release of the new annotated edition of the Garud Puran, created through the efforts of the King of Kashi, Shri Anant Narayan Singh, who is the chief editor and chairman of the trust.
The book’s release was formally inaugurated by the President of India, the honorable Shri Pranab Mukherjee himself. Dr. Anant Narayan Singh spoke about the trust’s mission to publish new, high quality editions of the Purans. These new editions will include English and Hindi translations with commentary by various prominent scholars. Addressing the gathering, His Excellency, the President, emphasized the dire need for the publication, teaching and study of the sacred scriptures like the Purans and the positive impact such noble efforts can make on Indian culture as a whole.
Acharya Shrivastava Goswami Maharaj spoke in detail about the Garud Puran’s significance as an encyclopedia of Bharatiya cultrure. Dr. Karn Singh, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Dr. Ramkaran Sharma, Dr. Valmiki Singh, Dr. Janardan, Padmashri Dr. Gita Chandran and other scholars spoke about the cultural and intellectual influence of the Purans from a modern perspective.
Acharya Shrivastava Goswami Maharaj presented His Excellency, the President, with a portrait of Shri Radharaman Lal and a package of Prasad. He also invited the President to visit Vrindavan and take part in the temple’s ongoing summer Nikunj Mahotsav.
Summer in Vrindavan may be excruciatingly hot, but that doesn’t stop the devotees from celebrating the most delightful festivals for Shri Radha and Krishna. One such summer festival, the Jal Yatra, was recently celebrated in the temples throughout Vrindavan. Jal Yatra comes every year on the full moon of the Jyeshtha month. During this festival fountains or showers are installed on the altar to sprinkle Shri Radha and Krishna with cool water.
Some temples have a kund in the courtyard where ThakurJi goes for a boat ride while in other temples there are fountains that sprinkle the deity with water. At the Shri Radha Raman temple this year, greenery adorned the altar in the form of a kalpa vriskh or a wish fulfilling tree, bearing all kinds of fruits. The temple was absolutely packed with devotees who were trying to catch a glimpse of the Lord.
All major temples of Vrindavan celebrated this festival. The ShahJi Mandir also displayed its famous multicolored fountains for the pleasure of the divine couple. This Jal Yatra also coincides with the Snan Yatra in Puri, Orissa. Snan Yatra is considered to be the birthday of Jagannath Dev.
Recently an announcement was made that Vrindavan’s historic Jaipur Mandir will be developed as a tourist destination. The minister of Rajasthan Devasthan department, Mr. Rajkumar Rinwan was the one to make this announcement. He was on a three day visit to Vrindavan to celebrate Shri Radha Madhav Ji’s 100th patotsav. The upgrades to the temple will consist of landscaping throughout the complex, benches and fountains made of Rajasthani stone, permanent lighting in all parts of the temple, drinking water and toilet facilities.
There will also be a small shopping centre that will showcase the unique handicrafts of Rajasthan. Devotees visiting the temple will also have the opportunity to learn about the culture of Rajasthan along with receiving the Lord’s blessing and darshan. The government of Rajasthan has allocated 30 lakh rupees for this project. Sunil Makkad, the commissioner of the Rajasthan Devasthan Vibhag informed that the department will submit the proposal to the state government within a week.
The plan is being prepared and will be brought into action in collaboration with the Public Works Department.
This Friday, the 2nd of June, marks the beginning of the Acharya Shrivastava Goswami Maharaj’s seva at the Shri Radharaman Temple in Vrindavan. Maharajji is a senior Acharya of Radharaman Temple and the founding trustee of the Vrindavan daily, Vrindavan Today. This year the seva will be held from 2nd June to 5th July. This year is also special because it marks the 475th anniversary of Shri Radharamanji’s appearance.
Each morning of the seva period, a complete reading of the Shrimas Bhagavatam will be performed by 40 scholars. 10 Bengali vaishnavs will also be present who will be reading the Chaitanya Bhagavat. In addition to this, the auspicious prayers of Gopal Sahasranam and Narayan Kavach will also be chanted. Each jhanki or darsha of Shri Radharamanji will be accompanied by the appropriate music and songs describing Radharamanji’s lila at that moment.
The daily raag seva will be brought to life by the master vocalist Shri Tarun Krishna Das and pankhwaj virtuoso Shri Krishna Gopal Sharma. Each morning and evening there will be a special guest artist who will present an offering of song and dance for Radharamanji. A ceremony called Rajopachar Seva will be offered twice a day during Shringar Aarti and Sandhya Aarti during which the devotees will hold flags and other sacred symbols.
Throughout the seva period Radharamanji will wear gorgeous new outfits specially handcrafted by the ladies of the Shrivastava Goswami household and new jewellery will be offered to Him as well. New tapestries have also been ordered from the royal printer of Jaipur. Each day Radharamanji will be offered a new kunj or a beautiful forest hideaway.
Some notable holidays during this seva period are:
2nd June: Seva period begins
4th June: Ganga Dussehra
5th June: Nirjala Ekadashi
9th June: Jal Yatra
25th June: Rath Yatra
2nd July: Special Chappan Bhog Darshan
5th July: Seva period ends