The Yamuna Boat Festival on March 30th captured the sweetness of serving Sri Sri Radha Krishna in Vrindavan.
The celebrations began at 5pm, with an enthusiastic kirtan procession from ISKCON’s Krishna Balaram Mandir to Sringar Vat temple, on the banks of the Yamuna river.
In Sanskrit, sringar means decoration, while vat means banyan tree. Sringar Vat is known as the banyan tree where Lord Krishna decorates Srimati Radharani.
According to the temple’s website, the spot shows that the Supreme Absolute Truth, The Cause of All Causes, appears in Vrindavan as a simple cowherd boy and becomes a servant to please Srimati Radharani. It signifies that Krishna is only conquered by the love of His devotee.
Devotees from all over the world gather as Vaiyasaki leads
So it was the perfect place for devotees to gather and show their love for Their Lordships.
As well as the kirtan procession, some fifteen boats filled with devotees glided across the Yamuna to Sringar Vat as the sun began to set.
There, large, enchanting festival Deities of Radha Shyamasundar, created by Kalapa Jani, boarded Their own swan boat, which was gorgeously decorated and covered in flowers.
The beautiful festival deities of Radha Shyamasundara, created by Kalapa Jani, ride Their swan boat
The Deities then sailed up and down near the edge of the Yamuna river, giving Their merciful darshan to the huge crowds sitting on the banks.
Well-known kirtan singers such as Vaiyasaki Das, and later BB Govinda Swami, serenaded Radha Shyamasundar during Their cruise. Sivarama Swami, on the occasion of his 70thbirthday, also joined the festivities.
“As the kirtan went on, the blissed out devotees sang and swayed and waded in the Yamuna all around Their Lordships like a colorful, prayerful mala,” recounts festivalgoer Mahadevi Dasi.
Meanwhile priests offered fifty-six bhoga dishes, while flower petals of many colors were thrown into the water and streamed past the boat.
BB Govinda Swami leads the kirtan at night as fireworks explode overhead
Finally, a maha aratik was performed, with offerings including a giant ghee lamp, as a grand fireworks display exploded in the night sky above.
At the end of the program, a windstorm blew in out of the West, and with it lightning and thunder, creating an atmospheric scene.
Devotees scrambled for their waiting boats, calling out “Radheeee Shyam!” as rain began to fall. Remaining in good spirits, they took it all as part of an exhilarating adventure with Krishna on the Yamuna.
Deena Bandhu Das offers a giant ghee lamp during the maha aratik
“Everyone was deliriously happy, chanting Hare Krishna and feeling so grateful for what Srila Prabhupada has given us,” Mahadevi says.
Deena Bandhu Das, who was also in attendance, wanted to express his gratitude to one dedicated devotee who made it all happen.
“We’d especially like to thank His Grace Saci Gaurasundara Prabhu, who very nicely arranged the whole program, even though in the middle of preparations he became bedridden,” Deena Bandhu says. “Our Braja Blessings to him!”[ boat-festival ] [ braj ] [ dheena-bandhu ] [ sivarama-swami ] [ vrindavan ] [ yamuna ]