Happy Diwali and Annakut!

Wishing everyone an auspicious Diwali (the festival of lights) and Annakut (the celebration of Krisha’s lifting the Govardhan Hill and accepting their mountain of sweet food offerings). As Shri Milan Goswami explained this year, the festival of Diwali is truly fruitful when, through the power of grace, the Beloved guru gives the illumination of the shelter of the Lord of Sweetness, dispelling our ignorance and mayic entanglements. If we can accept that shelter, offer everything to the Beloved, and relinquish unrelated attachments, our Annakut utsav is truly fruitful.


Shyamdasji has given us a glimpse into these sacred celebrations in his book, The Path of Grace, the cover of which depicts the Annakut celebration as it takes place in Nathdvara.

2009_pathofgrace_cover_600


DIWALI
Kartik Krishna 15

This major festival of the quarter marks the end of the Hindu calendar year. Shri Krishna wears clothes of silver brocade and a fan-shaped plume of peacock feathers. His ornaments are made from diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Cows are also ornamented and brought into the temple. For some days before this festival, Shri Krishna sits in a Hatari, a pavilion of mirrors where Krishna sells various sweets and other goods and tries to attract the Gopis. He bargains in the currency of love. The bhakta poet Paramananda Das sings of the occasion:

Raga Kanharo

Today is the auspicious day of Diwali.
The Vraj ladies gather and sing auspicious songs.
They decorate the courtyard by the auspicious gate.
Fruits, nuts, sweets and fried foods
are brought on a golden tray.
Paramananda Das follows Shri Krishna,
who is adorned with precious garments and jewels.

[Listen to Shyamdas’ kirtan teacher Mishralalji singing this poem by clicking here]


ANNAKUTA
Kartik Shukla 1

This festival takes place on the day after Diwali and is the most renowned festival of the Pushti Marg. It is the day when Shri Krishna persuaded the inhabitants of Vraj to worship the Govardhan Hill and cows instead of Indra, the rain god. Then Shri Krishna Himself became the Govardhan Hill, and with a thousand arms, enjoyed all the offerings. In a jealous wrath, Indra showered destructive rains on Vraj, and Shri Krishna lifted the entire Govardhan Hill with one finger, protecting everyone. In this Lila, Shri Krishna directs the bhaktas’ worship away from the material divinities, towards the Supreme Brahman.
To this day, a huge mountain of rice and many other items are all offered to Shri Krishna. Cows are beautifully decorated with peacock feathers on their heads and brought into the temple, with anklet bells tied to their hooves. The backs of the cowherds and the cows are marked with red handprints, for red is the color of love.

Raga Sarang

See Hari eat with a thousand arms.
Over there He is talking with the Gopis.
Lalita says to Radha, “See, there He is!
The One who inhabits your heart.”
Blessed are all those who live
with the Lord of Gokul.
Nanda is elated to see Him eat.
All the men and women of Gokul are also full of joy.
Sings Surdas, “Krishna is an ocean of bliss and full of virtue.
Now He dances to the beat of the Gopis’ clapping hands.”

[Listen to Shyamdas’ kirtan teacher Mishralalji singing this poem by clicking here]

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