Jhulan Festival at Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Math


HOUSTON: Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha celebrated four day Jhulan (swing) festival starting from Sunday, August 14 and concluding with Sri Baladeva Purnima on August 17. The Jhulan or the Swing festival commemorates the transcendental swinging pastimes of Sri Radha Krishna in Vrindavan.

After the hot summers, as the monsoons bring rains the nature seems to come back to life with lush green grass, blooming flowers and cool breeze. Thick fragrance of flowers, such as, Juhi, Chameli, and Champa fills the air of Vrindavan. Cukoo birds sing in sweet voice while the peacocks dance in ecstasy to please Sri Radha Krishna. The trees, loaded with fruits and flowers, bend down as if they are wanting to touch the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.

During this time, the gopis put swings on branches of large trees. Srimati Radhika comes back from Javat to Her father’s home in Barsana and engages in amorous swinging pastimes with Sri Krishna. Even today all over Vrindavan, this pastime is celebrated with great joy and devotion.

The devotees at Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha also celebrated this special festival by erecting a large kunja (grove) with thousands of colorful flowers. A beautiful swing was made inside this kunja. The festivities started on August 14 with bhajans and kirtans. At 6:30 PM, the vijay-vigraha of Sri Radha Govindaji were brought from the altar accompanied with blowing of conch shells and fanning of chamara and peacock fan. The Deities were placed on the swing and offered bhog after which aarti was performed. After that, the devotees started to swing Sri Radha Govindaji along with sweet, ecstatic chanting of ‘Radhe Jhulan Padharo Jhuke Aaye Badara’ as well as several other jhulan songs.

Hundreds of devotees patiently stood in line for their turns to swing the Transcendental Couple. The devotees spontaneously started dancing and tears flowed from their eyes beholding this beautiful pastime. Many commented that they had never seen such a beautiful swing ever before! Every day for the next three days, the Deities were similarly swung along with the singing of bhajans and chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra.


On August 14 and 15, the devotees also observed the ‘Disappearance Day of Sri Rupa Goswami’, who was the most prominent disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu personally instructed Sri Rupa Goswami for ten days in Prayag. He then asked him to go to Vrindavan and unearth all the places of Krishna’s pastimes as well as write transcendental literature explaining the essence of His teachings. Sri Rupa Goswami wrote several books in which he exquisitely and precisely described the tenets of bhakti or loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord Krishna. These books, such as, Upadeshamrita, Bhakti-Rasamrita Sindhu, Ujjvala Nilamani, are the most valuable jewels of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and even today define the spiritual practices followed by Gaudiya Vaishnavas all over the world. These books are available at the temple gift shop as well as online at www.bhaktistore.com.

On August 17, the final day of Jhulan was celebrated along with Sri Baladeva Purnima, the appearance day of Lord Balarama, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. Lord Baladeva is non-different from Lord Krishna and is the eternal spiritual master (‘akhanda-guru-tattva’). He expands in unlimited ways and forms to render unlimited service to Lord Krishna. He is the source of spiritual strength (‘bala’) for the devotees as unflinching faith in the spiritual master is the backbone of spiritual life.

These four days of blissful festivities, chanting, kirtan and delicious prasadam surcharged all the devotees who attended the temple at various times. The devotees are now eagerly looking forward to Sri Krishna Janmashtami that will be celebrated on August 25 from 6:00 PM to 12 midnight. The special highlight this year is the “Kirtaniyas” band. This group of young kirtan singers from California is sure to immerse everyone in transcendental ecstasy for hours. Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha invites all Houstonians to come and join the devotees in celebrating Sri Krishna Janmashtami and chanting of the Holy Names.

Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha temple is located at 16628 Kieth Harrow Blvd, Houston, TX 77084. Every Sunday bhajans and kirtan start 5 PM; Vedic lecture (English) at 6 PM; aarati at 7 PM followed by delicious healthy prasadam. Gurukula for children in grades K-12 is at 5:45 PM. Hindi classes (levels 1 and 2) are at 5 PM. The registration for the new session starting on September 4th is currently underway. For more information, please visit our website:  www.sggm.org  or call  (832) 464-4686.