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Welcome to Shri Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan

Bihar Panchami

On this auspicious day the unreachable came in reach! The invisible became visible! The Supreme Lord, incomprehensible by all human endeavor and knowledge, won over by dedication, humility and love of his devotees appeared to them in person. Here goes the story.

 

Swami Haridas, who was no other than Lalita sakhi of the inner consortium of Lord; constantly and continuously meditated on Nitya Ras and Nitya Bihar of Lord at Nitya Vrindavan. His way of Sadhna was to compose and sing songs in the praise of Lord. While on earth, living in a mortal state, he maintained his regular participation in the Nitya Bihar and always enjoyed the pleasure of closeness of Lord. He chose a secluded and dense forest area in Nidhivan as his gateway to the Nitya Bihar and was mostly sitting there, singing, meditating and surfing in the ocean of eternal bliss.

 

His disciples wanted to know what was so special about that particular place. His nephew and principal disciple Vithal (Veethal) Vipul Dev expressed the collective desire of all to Swamiji. Swamiji advised them to concentrate on their Sadhana and assured of revealing the Nitya Vihar at the right moment. So one day, which happened to be the birth day of Vithal Vipul, Swamiji called all of them and asked them to enter the Kunj. Vithal Vipul led the group of disciples to the interior of the kunj, but instead of seeing anything they were almost blinded by a bright, intense light, which seemed to fill the whole place. Astonished, they all went to swamiji and counted their strange experience that the seemingly dark interiors of the kunj were so intensely illuminated. Swamiji smiled, bowed to the master of the universe and he took the group to the kunj. The group of devotees sat there with an earnest desire to know the secret of the place. Swamiji prayed, the disciples followed the Guru, their eyes fixed on the kunj – they never knew what was in stock for them. They only had a faint idea – time had probably come that they may have a darshan of Nitya Vihar. And then moved by their dedication and grace of Swamiji, lord appeared in person with his divine consort, pleasantly smiling and in a playful mood, casting a spell of charm on every living being present there. Those who witnessed this, were so spell bounded by the divine beauty of the Lord and his consort, that they couldn’t even blink their eyes, it seemed that all of them had turned into statues.

 

Swamiji almost instantaneously sang:

 

Mai ri sahaj jori pragat bhai ju rang ki gaur syam ghan damini jaisen|

Pratham hun huti ab hun aagen hun rahihai na tarihai taisain ||

Ang ang ki ujraii sugharaii chaturaii sunderta aisain|

Shri Haridas ke swami syama kunjbihari sam vais vaisain||

 

The central idea of the song is: look, the eternal, natural couple has appeared. They appear like lightening in dark clouds. Also the couple is constant in nature, that it exists in all the times and can not be changed by any means. Their charm and wisdom, the glow and shapeliness of the limbs is beyond any comparison i.e. they are like themselves only. Swami Haridas says that my lords Syama- Kunjbihari, though beyond birth, death and aging, are of the same age (kishore). At a different place Swami Haridas writes:

 

Mere nitya kishore ajanma|

 

That is, my ever young lord is birth less.

 

So, this eternal couple granted an image of themselves embodying the same charm and beauty to Swami Haridas ji for the posterity. This image is revered as a living god and called by different names: Bihariji, Bankey Bihari ji, Kunj Bihariji and many others at the pleasure of devotees.

 

Celebrations

 

Entire premises of Nidhivan as well as the Bankey Bihari temple and surroundings are tastefully decorated with flowers, Patakas (flags), hangings and lights on this occasion.

 

Main celebrations of this day start at Shri Bankey Bihari ji Prakatya Sthal (place of appearance) in Nidhivan. Abhishek is conducted at this place early in the morning, the ceremony is conducted in full public view. In this process the symbolic footprints of Shri Bankey Bihari ji Maharaj is given a ceremonial bath by milk, curd, honey, ghee and water. After the abhishek, the place is decorated as usual with fine cloths with frills, flowers and jewellery for this special occasion. The panchamrit Prasad (i.e. Prasad of abhishek, a mix of milk, curd, honey, ghee and water) is distributed among the devotees.

 

Later in the morning a grand procession is taken out from Nidhivan to the Shri Bankey Bihari temple. The procession consists of several brass bands, other musical performing groups, decorated elephants, high flags and keertan groups. It is headed by three decorated chariots housing the images of Swami Shri Haridasji, Shri Vithal (Veethal) Vipul Devji and Shri Goswami Jagannathji Maharaj (Goswami Jagannathji Maharaj was one of the principal disciple and younger brother of Swami Haridas ji to whom he handed over the responsibility of regular Sewa of Shri Bankey Bihari ji. The sewayat Goswamis at the temple are his descendents). Devotees from far and near form their own keertan mandalis and become part of the procession. The spirit behind the procession is being – Swami Shri Haridasji along with his principal disciples going to greet Shri Bankey Bihari ji Maharaj on this auspicious occasion.

 

The procession passes through main bazaars of Vrindavan to reach Shri Bankey Bihari temple by the time of Rajbhog (12 in the noon). Images of saints are taken inside the temple and then Rajbhog is offered to Bihariji. Devotees believe that Bihariji enjoys the meals offered by Swami Haridas ji by his own hands, sitting in his lap on this day. After Rajbhog Arti, at the end of celebrations Prasad is distributed among the devotees.

 

Jai Shri Banke Bihari !! Jai Shri Swami Haridas !!

  



Festival Significance : Day of Appearance of Bihariji
Festival Date (Hindu Calender) : Margshirsha Shukla Panchami
Festival Date (English Calender) : Thu, 23 Nov 2017


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