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All varieties of devotional topics that don't fit under the other sections of the forums. However, devotionally relevant topics, please - there are other boards for other topics.

Why do those old ladies hit you with sticks? - Not too controversial question I hope

gopidust - Mon, 02 Aug 2004 19:10:09 +0530
mad.gif Why do those old ladies in Vrndavana during Kartika hit devotees in the butt when they walk up the alley in Vrndavana? I asked an ISKCON(forgive me for using the term in here)devotee at the time and was told that they think they are gopis and whoever they hit are cowherd boys. Then I saw one hit a mataji. She hit her very hard with great relish it seemed. If the devotee in the old woman's body was self-realised then the woman she hit must be a cowherd boy, right? Even though she was a white woman in her 30's. And why would a gopi hit a cowherd boy anyway?

All this makes me think there must be more to this story so if anyone here knows for sure please let me know. I already asked here before and at audarya-fellowship and they told me to pray for an answer to Srimati Radharani. That is why I want to know, because when I was in Vrndavana and saw this going on I also wanted to be a servant of Srimati Radharani and at least to understand what is going on in the original pastime. crying.gif
Madhava - Mon, 02 Aug 2004 21:19:10 +0530
They make a festival out of it at Radha-kunda. The husband and the wife dance together, the wife with a stick in her hand and her face veiled, and playful beating goes on as dozens of couples dance to the music. In Vraja in general, there's one particular day when some ladies veil themselves completely and come out with sticks.

Though I haven't heard the story underlying the tradition, I'm fairly sure it is a local Vrajavasi thing done in the memory of some pastime. Of course a social commentary on this would be a whole other chapter, but I'm fairly sure there is also a story behind.
jatayu - Mon, 02 Aug 2004 21:56:49 +0530
QUOTE (gopidust @ Aug 2 2004, 01:40 PM)
mad.gif Then I saw one hit a mataji. She hit her very hard with great relish it seemed crying.gif

She might have also mixed in a very, very little bit of anger not getting an adequate amount of baksish from western Vaisnavas visiting Vrindavana dhama......... rolleyes.gif
Madhava - Tue, 03 Aug 2004 04:35:36 +0530
You may want to read the 14th chapter of the Madhya-lila of Caitanya Caritamrita, about mid-way through, in connection with the Ratha-yatra -festival. It describes the occasion of Laksmi-vijayotsava, in which the maidservants of Laksmi arrest and punish the servants of Jagannatha, making them submit at Laksmi's feet. This pastime is displayed in memory of Laksmi being upset over Jagannatha's not returning from Vrindavan in time.

I don't think this pastime is related with the Vrindavan incident you describe, but it has peculiar parallels. In the aforesaid chapter, following the description of the Vijayotsava, you will also find Svarupa Damodara describing varieties of mAna (jealous anger) displayed by the Vraja-gopIs, a narration parallel to Ujjvala-nilamani. Such pique commonly acts as an impetus for displays of divine outbursts of anger.

There are many pastimes in which the sakhIs punish the naughty Krishna and his cowherd friends. Though I don't know if any of them are related, let's take the opportunity and dig them up. Many of them, I believe, are local folklore and not documented in writing in the writings of our acharyas. Some Varshana-related narrations are probably found in Nimbarki texts, with which I am not familiar. Would someone start with dAna-nirvartana-lIlA? If the story starts flowing, I'll split the lIlA-katha off to the pastimes-section.
gopidust - Tue, 03 Aug 2004 05:22:23 +0530
Thank you. I feel like a beggar now who makes no contribution here. But I had to know what was going on. I was feeling left out without knowing.
Jagat - Tue, 03 Aug 2004 06:13:24 +0530
One of the most famous anthropological essays of the 60's was McKim Marriott's "The Feast of Love," which is found in Milton Singer (ed.) "Krishna: Myths, Rites and Attitudes." Marriott's essay, which is about Holi, is as famous for its sheer entertainment value as for any deep contributions to the field of anthropology or religious studies. I have posted it in the editorials section, as I think people will find it fun.
Keshava - Tue, 03 Aug 2004 06:35:28 +0530
It describes the occasion of Laksmi-vijayotsava, in which the maidservants of Laksmi arrest and punish the servants of Jagannatha, making them submit at Laksmi's feet.

Actually there is a festival like this in Sri Rangam every year. Once a year Lord Ranganatha goes on his palanquin out of the temple and over the river Kaveri to another temple. There He visits one of His consorts. When He returns He makes His way to the Ranganayaki (Laksmi) shrine near the North Gate of the Temple. There is a conversation between the two (husband and wife) Ranganatha and Ranganayaki (Narayana and Laksmi). This conversation is spoken over loud speakers by the temple priests. Before you go to this festival everyone asks you whose side you are on. Narayana's or Laksmi's. Because when Ranganatha come to Ranganayaki's temple to be with Her, She closes the door on Him. And Her servants actually beat and throw stuff on His servants and His palanquin.

What's it all about:

Well when Ranganatha comes to Her temple She asks Him where He has been. He replies that He has been with His devotees. She however suspects Him of infidelity. So She locks Him out. Then She says why do you look so tired? He says that He responded in the middle of the night to the prayers of His devotees. She says why are you so desheveled? He says that He went to the forest where His rishi devotees were meditating. So since He has been in the forest He looks a little desheveled. She says I think those scrathes and bruises on You have been made by another woman. He says He was scratched by some thorns on bushes in the forest and since it was night He might have bumped into some things in the dark and received some bruises.

She doesn't buy it.

Beating and throwing begins.

Ranganatha appeals to Nam Alvar (the head of the Alvars/devotees) to act as an intermediary (he takes the part of Her father). Nam Alvar goes to Ranganayaki and pleads with her to accept Her husband back and forgive Him (it seems he can't convince Her that He is innocent).

No dice.

Ranganayaki stands firm and refuses to let Ranganatha in, even though Nam Alvar (acting as her father) pleads His case to Her.

Things look bad.

Finally Ranganayaki asks Nam Alvar to describe the scene outside for Her. He explains that the Ranganatha is there along with some many devotee guests. When She hears that there are devotee guests waiting at Her doorstep she thinks "Atithi devo bhava" "The guest should be treated like a God". So immediately She opens the doors to receive the devotees. At this time Ranganatha slips in with them.

Finally Lord Ranganatha and Goddess Ranganayaki arereconciled and seated together high up in a raised mandapa looking out over all the devotees. This is the beginning of the Panguni Uttiram festival. This is the most important festival of surrender for Sri Vaisnavas. All the devotees come once a year before the Lord Ranganatha on the only day of the year when He is seated together with the Supreme Goddess, Ranganayaki. Then they all surrender themselves at their Divine feet by first chanting Saranagati Gadhya of Sripad Ramanuja and then offering worship and circumambulating the Divine Couple. For Sri Vaisnavas, Sri or Ranganayaki (or Laksmi) is very important (that's why it's called Sri Sampradaya). She is the mediatrix who pleads our case before the Lord. Without Her we could not hope to directly approach the Lord. And even if we were able to do so we would not be able to gain his favor. (Behind every great man is a woman, no exceptions)

(Personal note: The first time I witnessed this ceremony, I stood with my wife on the outside with the Lord and took His side in the dispute. However I have since had many chances to be on the other side.)
Jagat - Tue, 03 Aug 2004 08:23:08 +0530
That article is now up The Feast of Love.
gopidust - Tue, 03 Aug 2004 19:51:38 +0530
What's funny is the devotees were right. Stay away from the local inhabitants during holi. From now on I will RUN! Maybe the old brijabasi lady who hit the ISKCON woman was trying to transcend caste distinction or something. blink.gif
anuraag - Tue, 03 Aug 2004 20:46:44 +0530
Holi and Dhuleti - Festival of Colour

Twin towns of Nandagow ( where Lord Krishna grew up ) and Barsana ( where Shri Radha grew up ), near Mathura, are the epicentre of the celebrations. Lord Krishna, while growing up in Vraj, popularised the festival with his ingenious pranks. Gopies of Vraj responded with equal enthusiasm and the festivities have continued ever since. Role reversal, feminism etc. are accepted customs for the duration of the festival! Men and women of Vraj clash in a colourful display of battle of the sexes.

Celebrations start a week earlier than rest of India. Men of Nandagow raid Barsana with hopes of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji's temple. They receive a thunderous welcome as the women of Barsana greet them with long wooden sticks. The men are soundly beaten as they attempt to rush through town to reach the relative safety of Shri Radhikaji's temple. Men are well padded as they are not allowed to retaliate. In this mock battle the men try their best not to be captured. Unlucky captives can be forcefully lead away, thrashed and dressed in female attire before being made to dance!

Rush through Barsana is far more lethal than running with the bulls in Spain, at least you don't have to marry them one day! Famous poets like Surdas, Nand-das, Kumbhan-das and others, have written beautifully as to how Lord Krishna was similarly received and forced to wear a sari, forced to wear make-up and made to dance before being released by the gopies of Vraj.

The next day, men of Barsana reciprocate by invading Nandagow. Clouds of pink and white powder mark the frenzy of activity taking place in it's narrow streets. A naturally occurring orange-red dye, Kesudo, is used to drench all participants. Today, the women of Nadagow beat the invaders from Barsana. It is a colourful site.
Satyabhama - Mon, 16 Aug 2004 23:11:33 +0530
Before you go to this festival everyone asks you whose side you are on.


Any idea whose side Bhudevi is on, when Sridevi fights with Ranganaatha? smile.gif I think She would be on Sridevi's side, but then I can't see Her missing the chance to plead the Lord's case before a hostile lady... Oh how sweet! I can only imagine...

user posted image
jijaji - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 00:03:34 +0530

I like that avatar you have chosen...

Satyabhama - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 00:46:49 +0530
Oh thank you! This is His most beautiful hand, because it grants boons (perhaps even the boon of nitya kaimkaryam to His lotus feet? smile.gif) If you like, I have individual pictures of Sri Venkateshwara's other hand, shankha, cakra and His lovely feet also, if you would like... let me see if I can attach the charan pic...
Attachment: Image
Satyabhama - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 00:48:04 +0530
Venkateshwara's lotus feet (from Tirumala...)
Attachment: Image
gopidust - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 01:00:33 +0530
is it an offense to actually kiss Krishna's lotus feet with our material lips?
I have heard stories of early devotees kissing installed Dieties of Krishna and Radharani on the altar in Iskcon temples.
And I hate to admit it but I am lusty enough to have wanted to do it too, but not necessarily now anymore.
Keshava - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 09:30:29 +0530
is it an offense to actually kiss Krishna's lotus feet with our material lips?
I have heard stories of early devotees kissing installed Dieties of Krishna and Radharani on the altar in Iskcon temples.
And I hate to admit it but I am lusty enough to have wanted to do it too, but not necessarily now anymore.

When we perform deity worship there are several things that we do to make ourselves pure in mind, and body before we actually touch the diety. First one should bathe and wear fresh devotional clothing and tilaka. Next perform acamana, (some will perform pranayama and sankalpa after this), then there is the process of bhuta suddhi where one uses a particular method of meditation combined with nyasas to destroy the material body and recreate it from spiritual elements and then place the deity's mantra (which is non-different from the deity Him/Herself) on one's hands and limbs by the process of kara and anga nyasa. Then with a pure mind and body and having taken permission from one's own acarya (or sakhi leader), the guruparampara (or lineage of senior gopis), the nitya siddhas, the Lord's consort(s), etc. one may at last be permitted to approach the Lord. The pujari can then touch, bathe, feed, and offer all services to the Lord. It is compulsory for the pujari to touch the lotus feet of the Lord and His consort(s). This is sometimes done with one's head. As far as kissing is concerned since I am a practitioner of Vaidhi Bhakti I have no experience of this. However I wouldn't rule it out of Raganuga sadhana. Others my be able to better advise you on this aspect. And strictly speaking all these things are learnt from one's acarya.
Madhava - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 18:00:38 +0530
Kissing the deity is not a part of sAdhana-bhakti, whether rAgAnugA or otherwise.
Satyabhama - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 18:04:46 +0530
Don't kiss them with your lips, kiss them with love smile.gif No one will mind that, I'm sure...
Kalkidas - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 21:07:07 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 17 2004, 12:30 PM)
Kissing the deity is not a part of sAdhana-bhakti, whether rAgAnugA or otherwise.

40 atha shrI-mUrteH sparshanaM
yathA viSNu-dharmottare:
sprisTvA viSNor adhiSThAnaM pavitraH shraddhyAnvitaH |
pApa bandhair vinirmuktaH sarvAn kAmAn avApnuyAt || 165 ||

40 Touching the Deity
Vishnu Dharma: "A pure, faithful person who touches the Deity is liberated from the bondage of sin and attains all his or her desires." (BRS 1.2.165)

Hey, it is not specified in this verse, by what limb of the body can devotee touch the Deity... So, I think, it can easily be lips wink.gif
(just joking blush.gif )
suryaz - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 21:28:26 +0530
Humm [chuckle]

Yeah! only the raga-bhakta would-
Satyabhama - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 21:31:54 +0530
I don't dare to answer gopidust's question!
anuraag - Wed, 23 Mar 2005 10:21:29 +0530
Holi and Dhuleti - Festival of Colour

Happy Holi and Gaura Purnima celebrations on March 25, 2005 to all.
I am celebrating these auspicious joyous festivals with Sri Kripaluji Maharaj at his Ashram, in 'Bhakti Dham', Mangarh (near Allahabad), U.P., India.
A ten day devotional retreat consisting of Spiritual discourses and ecstatic Sankirtana is going on here for these occasions until March 30th.

Jaya Sri Radhey!