The love of Radha and Krishna is timeless, eternal. Therefore, it is difficult to miss the many stories and fables associated with them. Of all such tales, the Radha-Krishna affair is the most brilliant and unforgettable one. The romance of Krishna with Radha has served as an ideal example of male-female bonding through many celebrations in India. The mystical love of Radha for Shri Krishna has found expression in some of the most popular festivals such as Jhulan Yatra in the holy Braj, where Shri Krishna appeared some 5,000 years ago. Devakinandan’s youthful romance with the cow-herding maidens symbolises the interplay of love and adoration between the Almighty and the human soul. Radharani’s ecstatic love and devotion for Shyamsundar is often explained as the pursuit of union with the Lord. Jhulan, the swing festival, begins on August 22 and ends on August 26 this year.
After the blistering summer heat, when the clouds float in the skies above and the roaring thunder ushers in the monsoon, the Brajwasi’s are overjoyed when the rains finally arrive, providing respite from the sweltering heat. With the onset of the monsoon, the birds hum and the peacocks dance in the enchanting forests of Vrindavan. The forests of the holy Braj come to life with lush greenery and new colours. The trees sprout green leaves and colourful blossoms, and the bees hang around the blooms drinking sweet nectar from the flowering blooms. With the raindrops touching the ground, the ponds and lakes fill with fresh water, the lotuses bloom, the air fills with a pleasant fragrance. So, with the arrival of the rains, the magical forests of Vrindavan, where Radha and Krishna spent time together on a decked out jhula, turns stunningly beautiful. This is how Radha and Krishna enjoyed blissful swinging in the holy groves of Vrindavan.
The Beautiful Story behind Jhulan Yatra
Lord Krishna and Radharani met in the verdant forests of Vrindavan, where the sakhis prepared a beautiful flower-adorned jhula that hung from one of the high branches of a Kadamba tree. The long golden ropes were intertwined with madhavi and jasmine creepers and other fragrant blossoms. When Shrimati Radhika arrived in Vrishabhanupur, the sakhis made preparations for the Jhulan festival. In the Bhakti Shastras, you will find descriptions of the different jhulas on which Radharani and Devakinandan sat together. There was one swing on which Shyamsundar and Radharani sat facing each other. There was another lotus-shaped jhula with eight petals and this was where the ashtasakhis sat with Krishna and Radha in the centre.
Sometimes, Devakinandan pulled Radharani onto His jhula or jumped onto her swing all of a sudden, taking her by surprise. The sakhis standing around showered flowers on Radha and Krishna and offered aarti to them. They also offered beautiful garlands, served sweet paans, and sprayed cold rose water on Radha-Krishna. The sakhis sang melodious songs and played musical instruments to please the youthful couple. A famous brajwasi bhajan for Jhulan runs as follows:
“Radhe jhulana padharo jhuka aye badara
Jhuka aye badara, ghir aye badara.”
(Oh Radhika, go and sit in the swing. Low rain clouds have filled the sky.)
“Jhula jhule Radha Damodara Vrindavan mein
Kaisi chayi hariyali kunjan mein.”
(Radha and Damodara are swinging on the swing in Vrindavan. Oh friend, how very green the kunja is!)
Radha and Krishna’s Divine Embrace
When Radharani ascends the beautiful jhula adorned with flowers, Shri Krishna swings the jhula with force with a longing to hold Radha in a sweet embrace. Being scared with the forceful swinging, Radha calls out Krishna’s name and when the Lord climbs the jhula, Radhika hugs Devakinandan in a warm embrace. This is how Krishna drowns in an ocean of spiritual bliss while the sakhis feel elated watching Shyamsundar’s tricks to come close to Radharani.
Celebrations in Vrindavan
Remembering these favourite pastimes of Radha and Damodar, the places of worship and temples in the Braj are decked out with special jhulas to please the divine couple. The bhakts who visit the holy Braj serve Radha-Krishna by swinging the beautiful jhulas. At ISKCON, the idols together with the jhulas are brought outside in the temple’s courtyard, on which Shyamsundar, Radha, and the sakhis Vishakha and Lalita enjoy blissful swinging. The Krishna bhakts also prepare delicious food to please Radha-Krishna and aarti is offered while they swing on the beautifully adorned jhulas. The Krishna bhakts alternatively swing the idols of Radha and Krishna while kirtans are performed, thus creating a holy and spiritual environment.
If you visit Vrindavan during Jhulan in the holy month of Sharavan, you will see crowds thronging the holy town from different parts of India. However, getting an accommodation during the festive season in Vrindavan is not easy. But when you own a home in the holy Braj, participating in the Jhulan festival becomes so easy. Krishna Bhumi, the temple township in the holy town features beautiful villas and apartments next to the upcoming Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir. You can also opt for a Krishnabhumi Holydays membership to spend 7 days in the holy town every year.
So, come and experience the magical land of Krishna, Vrindavan.