Banke Bihari’s ‘prakatyotsava’ celebrated in Vrindavan
2021.12.07 (Vrindavan Today News): माई री, सहज जोरी प्रगट भई, जु रंग की गौर-स्याम घन-दामिनि जैसैं।
प्रथम हूँ हुती, अब हूँ आगें हूँ रहिहै, न टरिहै तैसैं॥
अंग-अंग की उजराई-सुघराई-चतुराई-सुन्दरता ऐसैं।
श्रीहरिदास के स्वामी स्यामा-कुंजबिहारी, सम वैस वैसैं॥1
The devotees were joyfully singing this bhajan while celebrating the appearance day of Thakur Banke Bihari ji Maharaj. The festival was celebrated on Bihar Panchami. Many Congratulatory religious ceremonies were conducted on this occasion. A special’ Mangal Badhai Gayan’ or Congratulatory singing was organized in Nidhivan. The whole of Vrindavan was in a celebration mood on the appearance day of their adored Lord.
Devotees everywhere were heard calling out “Banke Bihari ji Maharaj ki jai.” The temple of Banke Bihari echoed with the sound, “Happy Birthday Bihari ji”.
The celebrations began in early morning in Nidhivan where Banke Bihari first appeared, pleased by the devotion of Swami Haridas. The entire premises of Nidhivan as well as the Banke Bihari mandir and its surrounding were decorated with flowers, flags, festoons, balloons and lights.
The Mahabhishek was performed at the appearance place in Nidhivan at 5 am, where a ceremonial bath was given to the footprints (charan) of Banke Bihari ji with milk, ghee, curd, honey, sugar etc. The ceremonial Mahabhishek was performed by Bhikki Goswami, Bacchu Goswami, Rohit Goswami and others. In the temple, the Mahabhishek was performed at 7 am in full view of the devotees.
The perfumes of hina, rose and kesar were sprayed in the temple and the deity of Bihari ji was dressed with special saffron clothes with work of silver and jewels. A maha-arati was also performed following the bathing ritual.
In the Prakatyotsav of Thakur ji, congratulatory singing and singing of hymns started from the morning itself. A Grand Congratulatory Procession (Badhai Shobha Yatra) was taken out from Nidhivanraj temple to Thakur Banke Bihari Temple. at around 8 o’clock in the morning along with the Saint Haridasi devotee Parrikar. An image of Swami Haridas was seated on the Silver Chariot, which was the special attraction of the procession.
Goswamis from the temple informed that on the day of Bihar Panchami, yellow clothes, golden ornaments for adornment, various types of fragrant flowers, dry fruits-pudding-kheer and 56 bhog are offered to the child form of Thakur ji.
Bihar Panchami is a day to remember the appearance of Shri Banke Bihari ji as well as Swami Haridas ji Maharaj’s devotion to the Lord.
The Congratulatory procession consisted of several brass bands, other musical performing groups, decorated horses, high flags and kirtan groups. It was headed by decorated tableaus carrying the images of Swami Haridas ji and Radha Krishna sitting on his lap and Shri Vitthal Vipul Dev ji.
Saints from different akharas walked with the procession carrying the respective signs belonging to their akhara. The dandia dance of the women devotees was the center of attraction. The women devotees were dancing and singing badhai. A rope was encircled with sticks around the group of women devotees who were performing the dandia dance so that street traffic would not disturb it. The procession passed through the main bazaars of Vrindavan to reach the Banke Bihari temple at 1 p.m by the time of Rajbhog at noon. The Goswamis welcomed the procession on reaching the temple. The image of Swami ji was taken inside the temple and then Rajbhog was offered to Bihari ji.
Devotees believe that Bihari ji enjoys the prasadam offered by Swami Haridas ji with his own hands, sitting on his lap on this day. After Rajbhog aarti, at the end of the celebrations, the Prasad was distributed among the devotees.