Astmi and Nandmoutsav in Nathadwara 12/08/01 & 13/08/01


4.am 5amrit scan on the morning of the Ashtmi :-

The crowds were like bee’s in a hive, all wanting to go to the same place at the same time. The temple management had organized the darshan well by having the ladies go in first, stay for about 15 min, giving them a good chance to do darshan, then gents were allowed in and like wise this went on for 2 hours. (This is called "kheva" - where men and women do darshan in turn).   The trick here is to be patient, never go in the first batch as you will be squashed and squished.  If you wait till the second batch, you will get a good glimpse of the Lord.


The Darshan :-

Srinathji was wearing a dhoti and uparna. Rakesh bawa, mukhiyaji and other bhitaria’s were there in the nij mandir. Rakesh bawa performed the Panchamrit snan - bathing of the Lord with 5 auspicious liquids. They are - milk, yougert, ghee, sugar and honey.  These are the five liquids that are considered the natural amrits - elaxiers. As I did not get to see the whole event I cannot say much but the image that has settled in my mind is that of Srinathji made of makhan ! Sriji looked all creamish and soft, covered in milk and yogurt ! It was a jhaki of Sriji that I had never imagined but it has made a home for itself in my heart. Whenever I close my eye and think about that chabi, a current of joy goes through my body and I get goose pimples.

Meanwhile, Ladilelal had woken up early, I think the earliest ever that He wakes up in the whole year's utasaves. (Well, He is a good baby and wakes up early when Yashodaji requires Him to do so ! Apart from Janmastami, He also wakes up early during all major festivals) He sat in regal splendor in the dolti-bari, wearing just a simple basnti rangi udhni (a bright yellow shawl), listening to the kirtanyaji singing badhaies - poems recounting the imminment nature of joys to come. All the 5 amrit samagri was laid out in readiness for the snan to take place.

There were huge gold and silver dabras (containers) with milk, yogurt,  ghee (clarified butter), finely powdered sugar (buroo) and honey. There was a shankh (conch) with which the snan was to take place. Sitting on a silver tripod, Lalan sat in a gold plate. There was tulsi, chandan and keser (sacred basil, sandelwood paste and saffron) that would be used at the end of the snan. Rakesh bawa arrived with vahuji (his wife) and two other bawas of Vithalnathji house. Rakesh bawa first performed a danwat to Lalan and then placed Lalan in a big gold trough, upon a gold bajat (low stool). Rakesh bawa sat on one side of Lalla, mukhiyaji sat opposite to him. 

Bawaji performed adhivayassan and sprinkled all the samagri on the kirtanyas with the shankhodak (water from the conch). Bawa then started the Panchamrit snan, while the mukhiyaji was poured the auspicious liquids with a gold katoro (bowl) into the shankh.  One by one they bathed the Lord with milk, yougart, ghee, powdered sugar and honey.  The trough soon overflowed with all the wonderful liquids.  The floor of the haveli was covered in the panchamrit and soon, it flowed towards the waiting crowds.  All the while, the kirtanyas, muscians to the divine court, were singing badhaies with great joy. The snan lasted for about one and a half hours, delighting us all.


Shringar-Tilak :-

This darshan took place at about 11.00am, Sriji was dressed in a Basanti yellow cakdar, a wonderful formal court dress with four corners.  Today, they offered dohara dona sringar, a special occasion when two goswami balaks offer shrigars of their own to the Lord. The thadoo vastra (covering the steele behind the Lord) was navy blue and the picvai was red/ saffron. Rakesh bawa formally offer a tilak on Shriji's forehead.

At the same time Lalan was dressed up in bhari (heavy / austentacious) sringar, covering his gadi in completeness, surmounted with two flower malajis (garland) and flower chogas. The pichvai behind Him was predominently orange with Nandbawa, Jasoda maa, plana and gop gopies celebrating the Nandmahoutsav.


Due to shortage of time, and huge crowds, gwal darshan was performed behind the closed doors (bhitar). Rajbhog darshan opened at 3.00pm - very late for the Lord indeed, especially as He had woken up so early in the morning ! Sri Nathji was replesdent in all His regal splendor. Golden toys are placed before the Lord. There are very few occasions on which Shri Nathji is offered "toys", this being one of them. So, apart from Janmastmi, naum, birthdays of Shri Rama and Shri Vaman are the rare moments when gold toys are placed before Shri Nathji. There was a small gold palano, cows and elephants, all entirely made of gold. The thought that Nikunj Naik will today play with toys, is itself is enough to start making one feel the joy of Nandmoutsav.

Mean while Lalan was also very happily enjoying his all new gold khilonas (toys), 3 days prior to astmi gold khilonas are set out on the khand path (large low level table). After the Rajbhog darshna the next darshna is sandhya, which opened at about 6.30pm, and then the remaining darshan did not open, every thing happened behind close doors - bhitar. The special jagran darshan opened at 10.15 pm and lasted till 11.45pm. There was a dwarpal (guard) standing at Sriji with a mashal and the darshan was continuously open till 11.45pm. The same thing took place at Navnit Priyaji but there was no mashal there.

Outside the temple there is a lot of jay and happiness. All the vaishanavs and local people were talking about is which darshan will open, at what time and in which haveli. All the ladies wore very colorful clothes, bhajan were playing full blast on a myriad of speakers.  The main bhajan everyone was playing is that of "Lalo ayo re aj gokul" and "Palnajolawo". All the houses with in the temple i.e. leading from pritam pole to the haveli had decorated their doorways and steps with kumkum sathia and kamals. There was a massive parade, doing a parikrama of the mandir. There were about 25 jeeps, horses carts, elephants, camels, people carrying chandeliers on their heads, and bands played loud music. All this really created an atmosphere of festivity and joy.

The darsan at ShriNathji closed at 11.45pm and there was pin drop silence till midnight. All in anticipation of the birth of the Lord.  At midnight, shankh (conch) and jhalar (gong) were heard from the inner temple.  There was a 21 gun salute given to the lord and arti and panchamrit snana was performed. This time, it was Shaligramji who was bathed. But this darshan was not open for the public at Sriji or Lalan, every thing is done bhitar (behind the closed doors). After the snana, mahabhog was offered to the lord and was laid out in the doltibari and the darshan hall. The bhog was kept there till the next day morning 6.00am - when vaishnas could enjoy the darshan of the bhog.

Nandmoutsav- at 7am next day morning all the bnavikjans (vaishnav enthusiasts) are running to the temple to congratulate Nandbawa on the birth of his Lal. The dhol, nagara and sahanai were playing and Lalan came to Sriji inner sanctum. He was rocked in a gold pallana, the muhkhiyaji dressed as mata Yashoda and helped Him play with all the gold and silver toys.

Nandghare anand bhayo! Jai Kanaya Lal ki" is all you can hear. The vaishnavs were all going mad with joy, everyone was dancing, singing praises of the lord, "Lalo jayo mata Jasodarani tota jayo gokul me anand ayo." Countless pots upon pots, full of yogurt mixed with haldi and oil, was sprinkled, or rather showered, on all - old or young, male or female. Everybody was drowned in a sea of joy !

During Mangala, mangal bhog was offered to Sriji at around noon on naum, and this is one of the rare days when the Lord is not bathed.

I could not stay longer to do the other darhans. Therefore this is all I experienced.

Click below to see the Shrigar of the day !

b-janmastami.jpg (3059 bytes)


Vithalnathji's Haveli

I had a very nice time here.

On ashtmi after I left Sriji and Lalan I came to Vithalnathji. Here every thing happens later than Sriji. Panchamrit took place at 9.00am. I got an excellent jhanki of Vithalnathji’s panchamrit snan. A Vallabh kul balak performed the snan to Vithal Nathji while His consort was still seated on the sihasan (throne). Vithalnathji was wearing a red malmal upanno (soft cotton scarf) with a gold toi (border), the panchamrit snan took about an hour and the entire darshan was very joyous.

During the jagran (staying awake throughout the night) I sat at Vithalanathji’s from 11.00pm on wards and enjoyed the kirtan being performed for the Lord. At about 11.45pm the main doors of the mandir were shut and all become quiet. I hade the great pleasure of sitting with the kitanyajis while the janam rituals were being performed by the Goswami balak. I could not see what was going on, as there was maya i.e. taro (curtain) but I could hear the shankh and ghanta (conch and bell) and the chanting of mantars. The 12 mantras are from the Shrimad Bhagvat Puran, relating to the birth of the Lord. These are always recited at the time of janma in all the havelies of Pushti Marg. Than upon all the rituals being carried out the taro (curtain) was opened and I sat in the kitanya gali. The Bawashri (Goswami balak) performed the panchamrit snan of janma. This time Salingramji was placed in the silver trough and the same procedure was carried out as in the morning. The kirtanya were singing badhais to Nandbawa of the joy of Lalan's pragatya. This lasted for about an hour after which mahabhog was offer to Shri Vithanathji and Swaminiji.

Next day Nandmahoutsave takes place at a later time than at Shriji, at about 9.00am. First, the Bawasri went to the mukhiyaji and the bhitaryaji, who were dressed as Yashodama and Nandbawa respectively. Bawasri offered a danwat to them and than held Yashodaji's hand and brought her into the nij mandir from the main entrance of the havali. The same was done with Nandbawa. The bawasri then proffered a tilak to Nandbawa and gave him a srifal as custom gift at an auspicious occasion .

Shri Vithanathji and Swaminiji were sitting in a silver pallana which Yashodama and the Bawasri were rocking them. While rocking the pallna, they were offering pan bida to them. The cheers of "Nandgher anand bhayo" had already started. Bawasri along with the gopas, gopies, Nandbawa and Yashodama, all come out and started performing "hari" - Nadabawas' clan was on one side and Mata Yashodas' clan on the other side of the courtyard. Singing and dancing in unison, they meet up in the middle of the courtyard and than again moved back again. After doing this for a few times, Bawasri went back into the nij mandir and started rocking Vithalnathji again. Meanwhile the showers of yogurt had started and all were merry with joy.


� Ketul

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