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Welcome to Shri Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan

Deepavali

Deepavali celebrations in the temple start with the onset of the month of Kartik. It is marked by Deepdan i.e. lighting up of small earthen lamps, diyas, filled with pure ghee or mustard oil, at and around the temple. The activity starts with lighting up of a small number of diyas on first day of Kartik and picks up continuously so as to reach on to its climax on Deepavali day. In addition to diyas, temple is decorated with electrical lights also. Strings of colourful electric lights and illuminated panels are put up on the exterior as well as in the courtyard of the temple. The main gate, other exits, arches, inside as well outside projections, higher floors up to the canopy and pinnacle, each nook and corner is lighted up in a tasteful and pleasant way. The lighting remains at its peak for the main five days of the festivity i.e. Dhanteras, Narak Chaturdashi, Deepavali, Annakoot-Goverdhan Pooja, and Bhai Dooj. After this the lighting is decreased gradually and comes to normalcy by the end of the month on Poornima day.

 

Inside the sanctum sanctorum, the throne is changed on the Deepavali day. During summer months (i.e. from Holi till Deepavali ) a simple and light weight throne having slim pillars and frame of silver is used. The cloth used for canopy, frills and hangings is also light. On Deepavali day it is replaced by a heavily built grand throne called Hutery. This Hutery has quite heavy rounded and intricately carved silver pillars which support an equally heavy and decorated silver frame for roof. In contrast to summer throne, this Hutery is lined with heavy velvet clothing. The rich fabric is further adorned with fine Zari work and laces. This Hutery remains in place throughout winter months till Holi. Winter schedule of Darshan timings becomes effective from Bhai Dooj day and continues up to Holi.

 

The Poshaks or dresses that are offered to Shri Bihariji are always chosen to be comfortable for the season. Accordingly with the onset of winter, the lord starts enjoying more fancy dresses made of heavy fabrics, mostly velvet. Pure woolens and wool mixed fabrics are also commonly used in this season. Especially on Deepavali and the other adjoining festival days, devotees bring in very exclusive type of Poshaks, tailored from a fine fabric, adorned with intricate zari work and studded with semi precious stones and pearls etc. New shining jewellery is also offered on this occasion. Some of the devotees make it a point to tailor the Poshak themselves, by their own hands; others to do the embroidery and zari work themselves.

 

The overall appearance of the temple, thus illuminated and decorated, is such that a visitor forgets of the actual purpose of his visit and is lost in the extraneous beauty of the temple. This is Maya or illusion that detracts a person from trading his righteous path. Thanks to the watchmen and other staff deployed to control the crowd that they will not let you stand outside for long and persuade to move forward, enter the temple and have Darshan, the primary purpose of your visit!

When you reach in front of Shri Bihariji Maharaj, you find the twinkle in his eyes as naughty as ever, his charming smile as enchanting as ever, his gesture as inviting as ever. He seems to be saying – do not get lost in these momentary lights; come to me to enjoy eternal illumination! Eternal bliss! Eternal peace!

 

Satchitanand : sat-that is true; chit-consciousness; anand-bliss, these are the attributes of God. A devotee must cross over the dark fields (tamas) of inaction and deprivation first, then the artificially illuminated areas (rajas) of motivated action and prosperity to reach the state of selfless action (sattva) and surrender to God to enable to transcend the network of Maya to reach the state of true eternal bliss. That is the message of Deepavali.

 

The lovely adornment of Lord is poetically described as under:

 

Jama banyo zari tari ko sunder, lal hai bandh or zard kinari |

Jhalardar banyo patuka ya mein, motin ki chhavi lagat nyari ||

 

That means the jama (the main dress worn from neck to ankle with a lot many frills below waist) of Lord has been beautified with zari work, it has a red belt at waist and golden borders. Patuka (long piece of cloth worn over neck and hangs over both shoulders to knee length) is made of pleats and frills in which the decoration of pearls is astonishing.

 

So on this Deepavali light up a small diya, dedicate it to Shri Bihariji Maharaj and pray to be taken over to illumination from darkness:

 

Tamaso ma jyotirgamay |

 

Jai Shri Kunj Bihari | Jai Shri Swami Haridas ||

 

 



Festival Significance : Deepmalika, Lakshmi Poojan
Festival Date (Hindu Calender) : Kartik Krishna Amavasya
Festival Date (English Calender) : Thu, 19 Oct 2017


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