KOLKATA: The devotees of ISKCON Mayapur are celebrating Jhulan Yatra, popularly known as Swing festival of Lord Sri Sri Radha Madhava and appearance day of Lord Sri Balarama from Augist 14 to August 18. As mentioned in scriptures Parasara Muni, father of Vyasdeva had recommended every one to observe this festival during the month of Sravana for five days beginning from Ekadashi to Balarama Purnima. This Jhulan festival gives everyone the rare opportunity to personally serve the Lord.
All the rituals during the festival are performed as it had been instructed by Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupad, founder Acharya of ISKCON to his disciples Pankajanghri Das and Jananivasa Das. Under their guidance the young devotees along with students of Gurukula have been organising this festival for the last 30 years.
As a part of the festivities everyday in the evening the enthusiastic youth brigade carry the idols of Sri Sri Radha Madhava on a palanquin to a platform which is over a lake and then the Lord is seated on a swing which is profusely decorated with colourful flowers. The mood and ambience is set of a forest in Vrindavan which is covered with creeping flower vines and within the grove the devotees lovingly surround Sri Sri Radha Madhava and swing them gently so that they can enjoy the cool breeze of the rainy season. During the five days of celebrations, entire road to the place is illuminated with dazzling lights, lamps and the devotees perform entertaining stage shows to depict the pastimes ( leela) of the Lord in Vrindavana. The evening ends by distribution of sumptuous MahaPrasadam to all the people who attend. Each evening as many as 5000 visitors take the opportunity to swing their most beloved Lord and give pleasure to Him.
On August 18, the divine appearance day of Lord Sri Balrama, elder brother of Lord Sri Krishna will be observed. On this day the devotees perform Maha-Abhishek, Maha Arti along with innovative fireworks and melodious kirtan. It is believed in Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy that till one pleases Lord Balarama, one cannot receive the mercy of Sri Radha Krishna which the ultimate goal of a devotee.