Sri Krsna's Various Rasayatras:
Krsna Phula Dola, Salila Vihara:
Lord Balaram's Appearance day: (Jhulan purnima)
Yajur Veda upakarma is done today
for yajur ved sakas
One of the most popular events in the holy town of Vrindavan, India - where Lord Krishna appeared 5,000 years ago - is the celebration of Jhulan Yatra, the Radha-Krishna swing festival. In Vrindavan among the local villagers and inhabitants this festival lasts for 13 days. In Vrindavan this is one of the biggest festivals of the year and Vrindavana is very crowded at this time, literally hundreds of thousands of people from surrounding towns and villages visit Vrindavan over this period in the auspicious sacred month of Shravana (July-Aug). Opulence or simplicity, everything is used in Vrindavan for the service of the Divine couple, so during this time you may see swings made simply, out of love, but often the swings are made of gold or silver.
In Sri Vrindavan for five days, in many of the 5000 temples there, the small Utsav-vighraha functional Deities (Vijay-utsav bera) are taken from the altar and placed on an elaborately decorated swing in the temple room. After receiving the traditional arati worship, the Deities are pushed on Their swing. Members of the congregation are invited to participate. Each person offers flower petals and personal prayers, and then pushes the swing several times as the other members chant Hare Krishna, Jaya Radhe Jaya Krishna Jaya Vrindavan, or Jaya Radhe, Jaya Jaya Madhava dayite in kirtan. The atmosphere of this festival is especially sweet as everyone has the chance to intimately serve Radha and Krishna.
The same festival is observed in other parts of India too in this sacred month of Shravana. For example in Jagannath Puri, for the pleasure of Lord Jagannath's utsav vighraha (Madan-mohan ji, this festival is celebrated from Shravana Shukla Dashami (10th Tithi/phase of the Moon of the light fortnight) until Pratipada (1st tithi of the dark fortnight), a period of seven days. Sri Madanmohan, Lord Jagannath's representative deity (vijay utsav), as well as Laxmi and Vishwadhatri are placed on a decorative wooden swing on Muktimandap (Jhulanmandap). There, worshippers have a chance to swing the Lord, thus entering into His pastimes. On the day of the full moon (Gamha Purnima or Jhulan Purnima), Lord Balabhadra's appearance day is celebrated.
In Vrindavan it starts on the Tritya (third day) of the bright fortnight of Shravana and lasts until the full moon night of the month. During this festival the Radha-Krishna Deities in the temples are swung on a swing. Some of the main temples that this festival is celebrated at are the Banke Bihari Temple and the Radha-Raman Temple in Vrindavana, the Dwarkadish temple in Mathura, and the Larily Lal Temple in Varsana.
In this month of Shravana (which is during the rainy season), the clouds in the sky begin to make a thundering sound and extremely fine mist-like rain drizzles everywhere. The atmosphere is very beautiful and pleasant after the heat of the summer months, for at that time all the forests of Sri Vrndavana Dham begin to bloom. Many types of flowers on both sides of the Yamuna can be seen, such as beli, chameli, jui, and madhavi all begin to appear in bloom. The entire place becomes alive again and bumblebees look here and there chanting, "Radhe Radhe" and the cuckoos also call out, “Radhe Radhe.”
The peacocks and peahens all call out “Keka keka.” The sound Ke means: “Which male person has the ability to do a very wonderful thing? Srimati Radhika’s maan (Her sulky mood of transcendental loving jealous anger), as well as Her shyness and patience, are like a very tall and immovable mountain. However, which male person, ‘Ke,’ can crush that mountain into powder so that there is nothing left? This person is none other than Sri Krsna.” Ka means: “Which female person can do a very wonderful thing? There is a powerful, mad elephant named Sri Krsna-chandra whom no one can control. One person, however, by the goad of Her maan, can catch that elephant, bring Him under Her control, and then bind Him in the shackle of Her love. Who is that? It is Srimati Radharani.” In this way the peacocks and peahens in their mystic calls glorify Srimati Radharani and Lord Sri Krsna.
In our Iskcon temples we observe for five days in accordance with Srila Prabhupada's instructions (HERE). So whether one observes for the four days or for the seven, or thirteen days, the same festival is put on for the pleasure of the Lord and His loving associates.
This is a wonderful ceremonial function of Lord Krishna's pastimes that reflects practically how we are to render service to the Lord for His pleasure.
At the time of the Jhulan Yatra festival it is Monsoon in India and the air is thick, heavy and humid with the heat and the rains. In the midst of the rainy season, when fields and jungle have turned shades of lush green and flowers are blossoming all around, the festival of Hariyali Teej is celebrated.
These festivals are not in any way mere rituals, as they all have practical service functionality to invoke loving servitude of the devotees for the Lord. Lord Sri Krishna is the Supreme enjoyer and doesn't have to work hard like us in this world. Everything He does is pleasurable, and He organises many situations in which He can incorporate us, His separated parts and parcels into His loving service which is our natural condition in the spiritual realm.
When Sri Krishna had his pastimes in rural Vrindavan with His cowherd friends together they lovingly tended the cows, and wandered in the pastures playing, frolicking, and feasting. Throughout the various seasons they all continuously enjoyed being part of Sri Krishna's pastimes, and rendering loving service to Him as best they could.
As mentioned at the time of Shravana month during the Chaturmasya, everything becomes lush and green again. The summer was dry, but now the rain has come and everything has come to life again. All the young brides are taken at this time from their mother-in-laws’ homes by their brothers, and in turn they return to their fathers’ home.
Consequently Srimati Radharani was still at Her in-laws’ home in Yavat, because Her brother, Sridam, had not yet come for her. Much time passed and finally he arrived there on the full moon day, with some nice clothing and ornaments to pacify Srimati Radhika’s mother-in-law, Jatila.
Seeing Her brother Srimati Radharani wept, “O My dear brother, why have you come here so late? Only a few days remain of this auspicious Shravana month. Why did you come late? Did you forget about Me?”
Srimati Radharani then very happily left Yavat and went to Varsana, (Vrsabhanupura), with Her brother; and there She met together with all of Her shakhis, Her intimate girl friends, as they had also returned to their maternal homes at that time. It was a very beautiful meeting and reunion, in the place of their childhood play pastimes.
Over the past few months as the climate had changed from Vasant Panchami (Spring festival) where everyone dresses in yellow and goes to the fields, performs fertility rites, and plants new crops, etc.) to Dola Purnima (Holi) where scented powders and flowers are thrown on the body of the Lord playfully, and singing and dancing goes on for His pleasure. Similarly all the other different festivals were observed where the friends of Lord Krishna would look after His express comforts or pleasure, go to the forest with Him, serve Him and have fun.
As the temperature rises toward Summer the Chandan Yatra is performed where from the Akshaya Tritiya for a period of 21 days the body of the Lord is anointed with cooling scented sandalwood mixed with camphor, musk, saffron. As the sandalwood is applied to the body it immediately cools, but then there is a natural cycle that also follows with the heat naturally there is some perspiration, and as the perspiration again mixes with the sandalwood it is dried and cooled by even the slightest breeze creating a pleasant feeling like being covered with Talcum powder.
However, as the temperature increases just to be anointed with something cooling is not enough therefore on (or from for some sampradayas or temples) the Snan Purnima in the month of Jyestha (Trivikram Vaishnava mase) there is the ceremonial bathing of the Lord called Snan Yatra. Although it has become especially festive in Jagannath Puri the actual event originates in Vrindavana with the devotees bathing Krishna, and Balaram for their pleasure and then taking bath themselves too. Actually at this time there is no other solace than to bathe in some kind of pleasing water. All the temples of Vrindavan follow this festival, and many devotees follow a trail of pilgrimage from one temple to the next from early morning to late evening when the temperature lowers to about 35-40 degrees centigrade absorbed in the Snan rasa.
The next major interactive event is Rathyatra where the devotees symbolically bring Lord Krishna (Jagannath) His brother Balaram and Subhadra maharani on high chariots, with beautiful flapping canopies, back to rural Vrindavan after their spell in Kurukshetra.
After this comes the Jhulan Yatra festival. Starting on the ekadasi of waxing moon of Sridhara month (Sravan mase), many temples in Vrndavana celebrate Krsna's swing festival, some for one day, others for more days. Traditionally many of the Deities of the Lord wears various clothing with green in it over this period until the Balaram Purnima. Again it is a practical festive service that the devotees provide for the Lord. Monsoon is so humid, and the temperature is still so hot despite the cooling rains. With so much water coming from the sky, on the ground, and just about everywhere the last thing that anyone wants is more water to cool off. The opulence at this time is to find a breeze, as the air is heavy with the humidity of the rains. So the devotees following in the footsteps of the shakhi friends of Srimati Raharani arrange for the pleasure and satisfaction of Krishna, and Srimati Radhika by placing them on a swing (Jhulan) and creating their own breeze from the motion.
Indeed due to the humidity there is little air movement, the only way to gain relief from the heat is to phyisically move in the thick water laden air. So Her shakhi friends made a nice jhulana (swing) for Her and Her beloved. Traditionally they always make the swing on a kadamba tree and not on a tamal tree. The significance of a kadamba tree is that it carries the complexion of Srimati Radhika with its yellow flowers and the tamal tree has a blackish complexion of Sri Krishna. The tamal tree is not very powerful, but the kadamba tree is very strong and beautiful. This also signifies the superiority of Srimati Radhika – She can control Lord Krishna by Her love.
jhula jhule radha damodara vrndavana
kaisi cchayi hariyali ali kunjan men
["Sri Sri Radha-Damodara are swinging
on the swing in Vrndavana. Oh friend, how very green the kunja is!"
(Jhula Jhule Radha Damodara, verse 1)]
In Braj they sing this verse in kirtana at the time of swinging Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. It describes how Lord Krishna has come and is waiting at the swing with folded palms for His beloved to come. Srimati Radhika is in maan, sulking, and Her shakhis try to persuade Her to come by saying, "Please give up your sulky mood and come at once to your beloved Sri Krishna. He is waiting for You."
Jhulan is a most pleasing and satisfying festival, with the swings often highly decorated with forest creepers, Jasmine (Malati) that has newly blossomed in the season, and streamers of garlands, some of gold or silver. Sometimes they use a fine spray of rose water and direct it toward the Divine couple of Radha and Krishna on Their swing. In this way we are observing Jhulana-yatra and remembering the sweet pastimes of the Divine couple Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.
Today in Iskcon temples all over the world by the mercy of his Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad all the devotees and the congregational members get the opportunity to come forward after purifying their hands and remember these loving interactions of Sri Krishna with His devotees, and also assist in the direct personal service of the Lord by applying themselves to pushing the swing in seva (service).
On the last day of the Jhulan, on the Purnima (full moon) this comes Lord Balaram's appearance day festival.
Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara from Varshana, Vraj mandal
"Regarding Jhulanayatra Ceremony, during these five days the Deities' clothing should be changed everyday, and there should be nice Prasadam distribution and Sankirtana as far as possible. If you are able to do it, a nice throne may be constructed on which the Deities can be placed. This throne may be swung gently during Kirtana. That will be very good, and surely the Deities will enjoy the function." (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.1st August. 1969. Letter to Jayapataka Swami. Letters book pg. 977.)
"So we have to practice this Krishna consciousness. Here, in this material world, we have to work. Without work, you cannot maintain even your family, your body. That is not possible. Sarira-yatrapi te na prasiddhyed akarmana-. Krishna says (to) Arjuna that without karma you cannot maintain even your body. So you have to work. Sarira-yatrapi te na prasiddhyed akarmana-. And this material world means you have to maintain by working. And spiritual world means na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate. There is nothing to work, as Krishna has nothing to work. He is simply enjoying What is called? Swing. So Krishna is enjoying, and Krishna's associates are enjoying. They have nothing to work. That is spiritual world. Cintamani prakara sadmasu kalpa vrksa: that is a different world. There is no material body. Therefore there is no need of the material body. That is a different world. But in this material world we have to work. Trt'ya-karma-samj<anya avidya-karma-samjanya trtiya aktir isyate. This material world means you have to work and adjust things for your maintenance. That you cannot escape. But still, we have to become Krsna conscious" (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 10th August 1976. Srimad Bhagavatam 3:22:21. Tehran, Iran.)
"Radha and Krishna may be swung in
this way, but you may avoid swinging Lord Jagannatha like that."(A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada. 5th Jan. 1973. Letter to Jagdish. Letters book p.2220.)
Some special nectar from the Chronicals of Srila Bhaktivindoa Thakur, he tells of some of his experience of feasting during Jhulan yatra.
A pastime of Srimati Radharani
and Sri Krishna's:
As stated Jhulan-yatra is very dear to Krishna, He likes it very much, now from another perspective you will see why !!!. From a cultural perspective in India during this period, all daughters go to their father's house to stay there for some days and enjoy the swing festival - a custom celebrated even up to this day.
Every year Srimati Radharani used to go to Varshana to her parents' house and have a very nice time there with her Gopi friends and Krishna, whom She could freely meet (because Jotila and Kotila were not around).
'One time Radharani was waiting for her brother Sridam to come and take her to her fathers' house. She was waiting, waiting, and waiting, but there was no sign of Sridam and She became so sad. One day a person from Varsana was there. She asked the man to ask her father, "Why have they have forgotten Me?" She then started to cry bitterly. The person went to Varshana and told Vrsabhanu Maharaja about the condition of his daughter. Hearing this news, Vrishabhanu Maharaja immediately sent Sridam to Varshana to get Radharani.
Srimati Radharani's Mother Kirtida packed many presents for Jotila to send with Sridam, knowing that if she did not do this, Jotila, being harsh of character sometimes would not send Srimati Radharani to Varshana.
Meanwhile, day and night Srimati Radharani was staring at the road coming from Varshana. One day, She saw Sridam and when he finally arrived at the front gate they embraced each other. She was weeping, "Oh brother you had forgotten Me?; My father and mother too?; Everyone forgot Me?"
At first Jotila refused to let Srimati Radharani go. "No no, She cannot go. She has so much work to do here, and there is so much danger there because of that black boy. She cannot go."
Then Sridam gave Jotila all the presents given by Kirtida ma. Seeing this, she said, "Alright, she can go, but only for a few days."
"Then Srimati Radharani and Sridam went on a cart pulled by four bullocks to Varshana. Seeing the palace of her parents on the hilltop, feeling great happiness Radharani started weeping and even more weeping when She saw Her father and mother face to face.
Once, Srimati Radharani was seated on the Jhulan and Krishna was pushing the swing very gently. Suddenly Krishna put so much force in pushing the swing that Srimati Radharani became fearful and started crying out, "O Krishna, save Me, save Me!" That transcendental trickster Sri Krishna climbed on the swing and She firmly embraced Him, giving Him so much pleasure. Why so much pleasure? Because normally He has to do so many tricks so that Radharani will embrace Him, but in this instance She embraced Him out of Her own will, without much effort on His part. Therefore He is so fond of these swing pastimes.
Some meditations on Sri Jhulan Yatra in Sri Vrindavan Dham.
The Jhulan time is very intense. In general the Shravana masha have an exceptional mood, it is raining all the time, Yamuna Mayi became very wide, flooded and there is a fresh atmosphere for devotees who move daily to whorship and take the lila-darshan which is performed in diverse temples in Vrindavan. As an example, in Jai Sing Geera, the lilas are performed during the whole week: every morning Gauranga-lila and at the evening Krishna-lila's theatre is played.
Devotees tell that some time ago a king, who was a great devotee of Sri Radha-Raman used to came to Vrindavan in the Shravana month to assist that performances which started out of his own desire. The rasa-lilas and theatre performance of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu and Sri Krishna lilas was very dear to him and surely to Sri Radha Krishna also because since that time it now takes place as a yearly event.
In each of Vrindavans' temples a wonderful swing-kunja is to be found, each with singular features along with the swinging mood and the always happy "Jay Sri Radhe! Jay Sri Radhe!". There took place also the golden swing darshan of Sri Banka Bihari ji, which occurs once yearly. It happen the first day of Jhulan in which streets are completely crowded, any vehicles, like cars, even Auto-rickshaws transit is very much restricted and Rikshaws can move only in the main roads. Some devotees wait until the midnight special aratis to get darshan because during the day it's just ridiculous to try and get in with the hundreds of thousands of villages who descend on Vrindavan township to be absorbed in this wonderful festival.
There's a good business made by devotees
engaged in making the huge amounts of garlands that are used in all the
temples, by all the devotees wanting to offer garlands, and to decorate
the temples and Jhulan(s) during the whole week. It's a perfect example
how everyone benefits, both economically - financially, socially, spiritually
etc., simply by rendering some simple service for the pleasure of the Lord.
Vast amounts of prasadam is cooked and offered to the Deities, and sold
for a small donation; the hotles, dharmshallas, guest-houses etc, Rickshaws,
taxis, everyone, all are happy and satisfied knowing that simply by serving
the Lord, the root of everything all their needs will be taken care of.
Varsana a top the hill left and Radharani's home palace right
Varsana a top the hill overlooking surrounding Gokul - Vraj bhumi
Walkways between Varsana palace and Radharani's home
Walkways between Varsana palace and Radharani's home
Walkways between Varsana palace and Radharani's home
Srimati Radharani's home
Gardens at Radharani's palace at Varsana
:: Monday, May 13, 2002 ::
Svalikhita-jivani: Part Seven, 1852-57
"third year in Calcutta"
At that time I took mother and Hemalata to Calcutta. Having brought them there we stayed at the house of Kaliprasanna Datta [my mother's paternal uncle] in Simla, north central Calcutta. Grandmother remained in Ula. By winter my sister was married and they returned to Ula. During the rainy season I again got blood dysentery. I had it in my mind to go to the fakirs in Ula for the purpose of getting cured, but I had been at fault breaking the rules a little and so was not able to go to them.
I had been eating fish, meat and
demigod prasada and so the power of the mantra was defeated. I was like
elephant which takes a bath and then throws dust upon its body, so what was the use of another mantra? This time I took the medicine given by a doctor named Isvara. Within a month my illness was gone. Isvara was very expert in determining illness through reading the pulse, but he had a bad name because he did not have any medicine. In curing me to a large extent his bad name was removed.
By the third year in Calcutta I had
made a lot of progress. I wrote in English a little for the newspaper Hindu
Intelligencer of Kashi Babu. He edited all that I wrote. An association was started and I gave some lectures in English. At that time Krsnadas Pal and Shambhu Mukhopadhyaya came and made friends with Kasi Babu and afterwards began to write for the Intelligencer. Shambhu was a satirist. He employed many sharp words and after sometime his writing was no longer pleasing. From the beginning Krsnadas wrote essays. Gradually, as I improved, I joined them in writing.
"no one has knowledge"
In 1855 there was the Sanotal uprising and the newspapermen wrote a good deal on the subject. I read the papers.
I had never seen the Sanotal district but I thought that they were becoming prominent and forming a new jati [caste] like the Hans and Bhantal.
On Sundays some of us from our place
used to go and see monuments and Barobazar and the Seven Pond
Gardens in Calcutta. I was unable to get to know all the multitude of alleys and side streets in Calcutta. Even so, we would wander about and go to different societies like the Free Debating Club etc. On the strength of my little learning I did I thought that no one but me had any knowledge.
In that year Mahesh Dada and Mej
Mami went and stayed in Ula. Having opened the interior door which had
bolted by grandfather, Mahesh Dada set up residence in the parlour. Sital Teoyari and Hanuman Simha became guards at the main door once more. All in the house were happy because there was going to be a legal settlement with the opposing party. When I returned home for the puja holiday I was very happy. I stayed in the parlour of Baro Dada. All of my former friends would come and talk, and I went to see my old school for half a day.
"all the books in the library"
I would go and wander about my old house and my friends' houses. It seemed that all of Ula was faring well. After the wife of Baro Dada came to Ula, mother brought my wife. My wife was very small in those days and we would play together like children.
At the end of the school break I returned to Calcutta. While I was staying in Ula with my former friends I discussed many topics regarding the Supreme Controller [Isvara]. Uncle Parasurama had no faith in the Lord at all. At the time I came back to Calcutta I studied all manner of English books on philosophy. One by one I read all the books in the library of Kashi Babu. My teacher Isvara Babu helped me a lot with my reading.
I first enrolled in Hindu School in the year 1856. The Headmaster was Babu Mahesh Candra Bandyopadhaya and Isvara Chandra was my history teacher. Mahendra Soma taught mathematics to me. That year the University was started. College classes were held in Presidency College. The senior classes of Hindu School were held in the west wing, Sanskrit College was in the middle section and junior classes were held in the eastern wing.
"the British India Society"
In our class were Satyendra Nath Thakur, Ganendra Nath Thakur and Nabagopal Mitra and many others. For a long
time I was inexpert at mathematics though in other subjects I did very well. At that time entrance examinations were first begun. I had so much competence in literature that I was respected by the teachers and the whole class. I began to write poetry which came to attention of the teachers and gradually came to the attention of the principal.
At that time Keshava Candra Sen was
a Hindu boy and he studied in the class above me. He was also not very
at maths and there was no chance of his passing in that class. Therefore, being strong in knowledge of literature, he established a sabha called the British India Society. English professors and Reverend Dal used to attend the sabha. Because I had a little literary knowledge Keshava requested me to become a member of the sabha.
At this time gas lighting was introduced
in Calcutta. One evening Kashi Babu and I went to Narikel Place to see
gas company offices. Many dignitaries were invited to see the first use of gas lighting. Prasanna Kumar, Thakur Ramanath Thakur and many others came. Everyone was thrilled to see the gas lights.
"phuti, chatu and a pana of mangoes"
Sarasvati Puja and Jhulan Yatra were celebrated at the house of Kashi Babu and I went there to see and hear the
dramas on several occasions. A lot of luchi, kachori, ksheera, and mohan bhoga was eaten. Madan Mastar and Dugo Ghadel were among the musical dramas that I went and heard. I had very little knowledge of music, but I liked to hear a song sung with emotion very much.
In those days I was able to eat a lot. When I went to the garden to Kashi Babu to his house I would do a lot of eating. Some days I would eat a lot of phuti [a variety of green melon] and gur [jaggery]. Some days I would eat a lot of chatu [a chickpea dish], on other days I would eat a pana [20 gandas] of mangoes. Everybody would be amazed.
My body was very thin even though I ate so much and everybody was very puzzled. O Lalu [Lalita], that rajavallabha medicine I took increased my appetite for a long time. At that time in the hot season Kashi Babu and his family lived in the gardens. I often walked from Pak Para [a district in Calcutta] as far the college at Patal Danga.
"Padre Dall and Thompson Saheb"
There was then a great commotion over cholera, but even so I was not averse to coming and going. From 1854
onwards I made acquaintance with my blood relations by studying genealogy. Kali Prasanna Dada helped me by giving me an old book on the subject. Kaka Bhola Natha Babu began to make money at that time and he helped by giving money to me for my tuition. I went boldly from the Hindu School to take the entrance examinations to university, the examinations being held in the town hall. On the first day my fever came on me in the town hall. Therefore, I was not able to take the examination.
Seeing that school did not provide
a proper opportunity to study I began to acquire knowledge in another fashion.
Everyday I would go to Metcalf Hall and read books. At that time Sriyukta Abhaya Kada was the secretary there and Pyari Charan Mitra Takhakar was the librarian. I gave lectures at many sabhas. I had learned discussions with Padre Dal and George Thompson. Thompson Saheb instructed me on how to become a good speaker.
He said that while he was going from the village he resided in to the parliament he would stand in the open fields and imagining the plants to be the members of parliament he would freely speak to them. Because of practicing in this fashion he became such a sweet speaker that everyone would be pleased upon hearing him. On the day that he told us that story Nabagopal Mitra and Keshava Sen were present. Keshava said that by talking to simple little children as had Thompson, I would begin to speak in that fashion.
"Reverend Duff and Mr. ABC"
By the end of 1856 I had written the first part of Poriyade. Gangacharan Sen Mahasaya read it and liked it very
much. On his advice, I subsequently published the book in two parts. After reading the work, the Reverend Duff said that I had done very well. He said, "Write in the same fashion in English about the cruelty of the Zamindars." I realized that this was not a good idea.
At that time I read all of Milton with the help of Reverend Duff. Near the Krsna Bandor Street Church lived a missionary named Grub Saheb. In the evenings Raju Basu of Ula used to come to his house and read Edison. I also went with him and read Edison. Day and night I would read the books of Carlisle, Haslett, Jeffrey, Macaulay and others. I composed short poems and they were printed in the Library Gazette. I was known as "Mr. ABC."
One day, having invited me through Dal Saheb, Mrs. Locke looked over my poetry and read it. After chatting with me for some time she praised my poetry and accepted my book of poetry, which I dedicated in her name.
Before the entrance examinations I went to Ula with Raju Basu. After spending the night eating in the Mitras' house we set off in a boat during a great storm. There was much fear on the Ganges in the dark night. The next day, by the mercy of God, we reached the ghat at Ula without mishap. In the late evening in the month of Asvin the light of the moon was very splendid there. Prior to that evening I had received no news of Ula.
"The village was empty"
From the time of Ashat in that year in the village of Ula there was a fearful epidemic. In the month of Bhadra the
family of Mahesh Dada being ill had come to Calcutta, but had not said anything to me. In the month of Bhadra in a terrible fever my sister Hemalata gave up her life, but I had received no news of her. My wife was ill so she was sent to Ranaghat. What could I do in the night but think I should go to the house? Raju said, "Go, I will give you a man to accompany you to your house."
Upon disembarking I saw some people who were laughing and joking being mad with the happiness which comes from hopelessness. The village was empty. As they were under the influence of ganja they perceived no suffering. I questioned them but they gave no answers. Raju and I were amazed by the sight of them.
Departing from the boat, we went to the house of Madhusudan. When we looked through the door we saw Madhusudan Basu sitting on a low wooden seat. I paid respects to him and he addressed me, saying, "O Kedar, stay here for the day; in the morning you go to your house."
What was I to make of this? I said to myself, "I will go to the house this very day." I heard directly from him that an epidemic had killed many people in the village and some people of our house had died. I went there quickly, taking a man skilled in stick fighting.
"unable to stand up"
While on the way this man described the horrible state of the village. He said, "Mahesh Babu became ill and went to
Calcutta", but he did not say what had happened. The main door of the family residence was open. I called and called many times, when from the deity house Sital Teoyari spoke, saying, "Babu, go inside the house." I felt very sick. I was unable to stand up.
I went to the puja house and calling repeatedly, until Sej Didi came. She opened the door and brought me into our room. She was crying and crying and said that Hemalata was no more. Your mother was very sick. Upon entering my mother's room I discovered that mother had been delirious with fever for the past ten to twelve days, but on this day she was a little better.
Seeing me, mother and grandmother began to cry. In sorrow I said, "Today we will leave Ula." During the night I did not eat or drink and I slept only a little.
"the cries of pain"
When I rose in the morning, I considered what to do. I heard that all the maids had died. Only one servant
remained to bring water. In the morning I went to see Sayaram Mama and Dasu Mama and others at their house. Dasu Mama said, "Go to Calcutta. I will give you a man and a boat etc." Sayaram Mama was taking quinine. I brought two or three packets of medicine and from that day I began to take it.
I came to the old house calling to Haru Mama and Parasurama Mama. Because they wanted to come with me they began to sell some of their things. Jagat Bhattacarya Mahasaya brought a boat and set out with us on the journey on the third day. The day before we set out I went to many places in Ulagram.
In a great number of homes there were no people left alive. At some homes there was heard the cry of pain of those who were sick. At some homes there were bodies lying around. At other homes there was little life. Others were making preparations to leave Ula. Many had already left. It was the time of Durga puja but there was no happiness anywhere.
"the simple, crazy people of Ula"
Where thousands of people would sit together and take prasada, nobody could be seen. Though there were eighty
to a hundred places of the image of Durga there was only five or six pujas being performed. Everybody said that at the house of the Brahmacari, Kailas Brahmacari had caused the disease. He then released a goat for the purpose of removing the cause of the disease. As far as that goat ran, that far the cholera subsided. The simple and crazy people of Ula concocted this story and they all began to believe it.
It was also reported that two people came to Ula to practice medicine, but after two or three days they also had fallen in the grip of death. The fever was fearful. Whoever got the fever died within four or five hours. I heard that during the months of Asat and Sravan the fever was not very bad, but in the month of Bhadra it was fearful.
Taking the boat and arriving at last at the ghat at Ranaghat I received news of my wife. I heard that my wife's disease had changed for the better. Merely getting this news we continued to Calcutta. Upon arriving in Calcutta mother stayed at the house of Kalikrishna Kaka with my paternal grandmother. My mother was taken to the house of my aunt, who would care for her. She made a lot of effort and took medicine, and she mother gradually became well there.
"darkness in all directions"
Grandmother became sick while on the boat. Through the efforts and love of Kali Kaka she gradually became well
but later a stomach ailment and fever returned. At that time I was seventeen years old. I suffered terrible hardships. There was no money. There was no one to converse with. Everybody thought that my mother had almost a lakh of Rupees.
I said that we had only very little but no one believed us. At this time I studied on my own for the entrance examinations. Grandmother lived in one place, and mother in another place; there was no money and all the time I was overwhelmed.
Seeing sickness all around I was not able to study. I thought, "A man can not study amidst such difficulties". At this time, thrice in succession, I had fevers. The last time Kaliprasanna Dada brought me quinine which I took and became well.
I went to take the examination but the fever again prevented me. I saw no hope. My mind became apathetic. The house was empty, there was no money, and I had no strength. Where were my family, where my illness, the impossibility of study, darkness in all directions.
"in the family mansion of the Tagore's"
Grandfather and grandmother were both from famous families; knowing this fact I suffered. Solely to console my
suffering I would sit and talk with friends my own age. Everybody thought that I was the son of a very rich person and that I had no financial needs. I was dying of pain in the heart. I did not speak much to anyone. I would attend meetings: I listened and spoke freely from my heart as a diversion.
Nobody could understand the feelings in my heart. I ate at the house of Kasi Babu but had discussions on books at the houses of friends. Frequently in the evenings I visited the home of Sriyukta Debendranath Thakur, which was called Jora Shanko the Tagore's family mansion . The honourable Dvijendranath Thakur was the older brother of my friend Sriyukta Satyendranath Thakura and my older brother as well.
If ever among men there was a close friend then baro dada was that close friend. He was charitable, of good character, had a pure love, and was honest, and my heart was enlivened by him. Upon seeing him all my troubles would go away.
I would sit by him and discuss many Sanskrit books. I had much affection for Satyendranath Tagore, but I was always overwhelmed by the great qualities of Dvijendranath Babu. He was without attachment for worldly things, and when I was with him I was happy and gave up thoughts of material things. Therefore, staying with him was all good for me, but staying with others was not so good.
"O brother Kedar, your thinking is very deep."
At that time I read many books on the science of God, which was the particular science that effected the removal of
anxiety from my heart. When I discussed things with Dvijendranath there was help of Kant, Goethe, Hegel, Swedenborg, Schopenhauer, Hume, Voltaire, and Cousin.
Having discussed the books of many writers I concluded in my mind that dravya [substance] has no real existence. Guna [quality] alone exists. Dravya is but the sum total of the gunas. The gunas actually exist but there is no proof for the necessity of there being a gunadhara [upholder of gunas]. Dvijendranath heard my conclusions in the matter of philosophy and considered them and said, "O brother Kedar, your thinking is very deep. I am not able to defeat you."
"the twenty five stories of the Vetala"
Dvijendranath was a person who was a reservoir of intellect. In knowledge of the padarthas he was one without a
second. Hearing his words my mental strength doubled. I was a guest speaker on philosophy at some learned societies.
Tarkanath Palit was a classmate and good friend of mine and at that time he had not yet gone to England. He liked very much my presentation and proposed to me that I speak to the British Indian Society. In that assembly the Englishmen said that my presentation was deep. Dal Saheb asked, "What will be the benefit to mankind from acquiring knowledge of this sort?"
At one other meeting of this sabha,
having written in the form of a play in English "The twenty five stories
of the Vetala" [Vetala panch vimsati] I recited it. On that day there was
a great debate. And from that day my friends of my own age considered me
a logician and began to tell everybody.
:: uddharana das 1:14 PM [+] ::
Radha Krishna on swing pics Copyright ©2005 The Bhaktivedanta Book
International, on the web at http://www.krishna.com. Used with permission.