“So in India, this Jhulan Yatra is a very important festival. It is done in the rainy season. In India it is the rainy season. So here in the rainy season it is a bit humid and sticky. At that time we like to have a little breeze. So the idea is that swinging Radha Krishna will create a breeze. In different parts of Vrindavan they observe the Jhulan Yatra. Some do for thirteen days, some do for four days – all different. According to Prabhupada’s instruction we start yesterday on Ekadasi and we go until the Purnima. How many of you went the Jhulan Yatra at the Gurukul? So many didn’t go there. you should go. It is a good opportunity to do some personal seva for the Deities. There are lights all the way. You may think it for some wedding or something. No. It is for the Jhulan Yatra. Radha Madhava Ki Jai!
Radharani went to meet Her parents. Her father is the King of the Varsana Hill and Her mother as the Queen. So his name was Vrsabhanu and her name was Kirtida. Vrsabhanu and Kirtida. Her brother was Sridama. She went to Her home to see Her mother and father at the time of Jhulan Yatra. In the lila when She is in parakiya rasa She externally has a mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Jotila was the mother-in-law and she said, “No. No. You shouldn’t go.” Then Radharani was crying, “I want to go and see My mother and father.” Some gifts were sent to here by Vrsabhanu Maharaja. So she gave these gifts to Jotila. Jotila was happy to get all these gifts. So she said, “Okay. You can go just for a short time. And watch out for that black-faced boy of Nandagram, Krishna! He always creates some problems. Watch out for him.”
Then no one was coming to pick Her up and She can’t go alone. “Oh they forgot Me, they forgot Me!” Then the news was given to Vrsabhanu Maharaj and Kirtida. So they sent Sridama right away. “Bring your sister here.” So She was so happy to see Her father and mother. They embraced Her and were very happy. So Krishna gave in some disguise. So Radharani was sitting on the swing alone and He was pushing Her. So He began to push Her very strongly. She was always taking shelter of Krishna in danger. So She shouted, “Krishna! Krishna save Me!” Then Krishna came and sat by Her side.
She embraced Krishna. So Krishna likes this festival because Radharani hugs Him out of Her own desire. Otherwise He has to do so many tricks to get Radharani to embrace Him. In this festival She does it naturally.
So this is the Jhulan festival. We get a chance to pull the Deity every day.
Actually the swing festival is observed in various temples around the world.
ISKCON observes, apart from ISKCON other temples also have a swing festival but the tradition within ISKCON is that everybody gets a chance to swing Radha and Krishna. So this great opportunity to do some personal seva to the Deities. Although we see the Deity we may not be able to do some service. Only the pujaris do. In Jhulan Yatra we can pull the Deities, we can swing Them. Aren’t you happy to do this service? [Haribol] Whether you are initiated or not initiated, whether you are man or woman, young or old, everybody gets a chance to swing the Deities. [Haribol!] So this is a very nice festival. You found the sloka? Tenth canto.
So one year I took the safari group and we went to Vrindavan. So I thought it takes about one month to go by foot but in jeep it was covered in a week. So when we got to Varsana then we couldn’t proceed further. We felt so blissful there that we spent two days there. There at the village of Citra devi we lived there for one day. There the monkeys come in a queue and they drink buttermilk. So the main person of the village he invited all of the safari devotees and he personally gave them this buttermilk to drink. There we had darsan of Krishna Kund. We saw Madhumangal’s meeting place Baithak it is called, sitting place. We also went to the temple of Radha and Krishna doing the peacock dance. They say the picture was painted four hundred years ago by a blind artist. You may wonder how can a blind man make such a beautiful painting. They don’t allow anyone to take a photo. So we heard the pastime how Radharani and the Gopis They watched a peacock dance. So Krishna said, “You are not watching Me? Will you watch Me? You are watching a peacock!” “The peacock is dancing. You are not dancing.” So He went and started dancing with the peacock. So how is that Radharani said, “All right you are dancing but the peacock is better.”
So then Krishna danced again. He said, “How is that?” So Radharani said, “Well You did better but still the peacock is better than You.” Then He really danced so nice that Radharani also danced with Him. So She took the role of peahen and He danced like a peacock.
So we heard so many pastimes. We went to the forest. So they say that those who build a house they will live eternally on this. So we all built a little house there.
There was a house and they say that Radharani used to stay in that house sometimes. So there one poor brahamana came. He said, “I want to give my daughter in marriage but I have no money to give as dowry.” So Krishna said, “I am a poor cowherd boy. I don’t have anything. I only have Radharani. So you can have Her.” So all the gopis said, “Oh no!!!” How can you give Radharani?”
So He said, “Well you can buy Her back in Her weight in gold.” So they put Radharani on one side of the scale and all the Gopis they started taking out all their golden bangles and so much gold appeared. They put all the gold until Radharani became lighter. Then Krishna told the poor brahamana, “You can take all this gold.” Like that so many pastimes are there.
Then we went to the temple in Varsana, the temple of Radha and Krishna.
There is Varsana Hill and across, some distance is Nandagramа so much to see, so much to hear. I can’t tell you all the pastimes. Just a few!
So this Jhulan Yatra is a festival that Krishna personally observes. And He enjoys it very much. So we get a chance to swing the Lord and Radharani every year. Actually we get three chances here in Mayapur. We get five days now and when the Deity goes in the Prabhupada lake for chandan yatra. At that time They sit and again we can swing Them there also. And again during the last five days of the Gaura Purnima festival we also for one or two days we do the swing festival. So like this we get extra chances.
Maharaj Prataparudra was a great king but he swept the road in front of Lord Jagannath. So when Lord Jagannath saw he was doing some seva then He was very pleased with the Maharaj. So although He said He would not meet any Maharaj as they were in the mode of passion. But He gives special mercy to Prataparuda Maharaj because he did service. So we all have a chance. We can do some service and by doing a little service we get such mercy. So we should be eager to take up any opportunity to do service.
In the Brahma-samhita it says the goddesses of fortune they are busy cleaning the stones, the roads, the streets in Vaikuntha. There is not much dirt in Vaikuntha but the Laxmis want to show the Lord that they are serving Him.
In our Krishna consciousness movement we get a chance to do some personal service for the Lord. This is called bhakti-yoga. We do japa, making flower garlands, we cook for the Lord, we dress the Lord. We do all kinds of service. So one of our services is to do the Jhulan. You see in bhakti-yoga there are different chances to do service – Snana Yatra, we bathe the Lord Jagannath. Many people come to bathe the Lord. On the appearance day of Radha and Krishna we do some bathing. On Janmastami we bathe the Lord. On Radhastami we bathe the divine couple, on Ratha yatra we pull the Lord.”
Jhulan Yatra mahotsava Ki jay!