Aaso Sud 15 (Poonam) - Sharad Poonam
It is the full moon day of the month of Ashwin. Today's moon light
is supposed to be so beautiful that it arouses a feeling of bliss to the viewer.
Many people spend this night in the moonlight at the terrace of their flats or
courtyards, gardens and usually eat 'pauvaa' (flattened rice)
soaked and mixed with milk and sugar.
Bhav Bhavna in Pushtimarg
Lord Shri Krishna performed the 'Raas leela' which is unimaginable
to us humans. Here, that one single night, extended to cover full
'Shad Ritu' (six seasons) of the earth and satisfied the spiritual desires of the gopijan.
Thakurji multiplied his form into many forms and performed the
raas with gopis on both sides of one single form (dwe dwe gopi, beech beech maadho).
'16 gopis, 8 Bhagwat Swaroops and in center Shri Thakurji with Shri Swaminiji'
This is the main pattern of formation in the raas leela.
During the first 'venunaad' (playing of flute by Shri Thakurji), lord appeared in the form of 'Shri Madanmohanji' and performed raas with the
gopijan (this is called 'Laghu Raas').
After this raas, the gopijan's developed 'Saubhaagya Madh', due to which Shri Thakurji, in order to teach them a lesson, disappeared from the
scene with Raadha Sahachariji and later on Raadha Sahachariji also developed 'Saubhagya Madh' due to which, the lord disappeared leaving
her standing alone.
Then after too much 'virah', they realised their mistake and by the krupa of Shri Yamunaaji, the Lord appeared. Then 'Shri Gokulchandramaaji'
played the flute and then 'Mahaa Raas' took place in Vrindaavan. That is why Shri Gokulchandramaaji is known as 'Raas Naayak'.
The moon that presided over this raas leela was the spiritual moon in the form of a dev that merged with the physical form present in the sky.
The spiritual moon presided up to when the moon reached the middle of the sky.
The word raas has originated from the word 'Ras'. 'Ras' has 2 meanings :
2.Which can be tasted
A thing which has taste and which can be tasted and when both the qualities are present in the same object then it can be called 'Raas'.
'Rasanaam Samuho Raas'. Lord Shri Krishna is the embodiment of love. In this divine raas leela he is both, the taste, desire, love and the
tasteful, the desirous, the loved. And in leela dham (abode) he himself is the prop of excitement as well as exiting or desirous himself.
The feelings of pure love or love in its purest form towards lord shri Krishna which the gopijan exhibited are nothing but raas leela(full
explanation of raas leela can be found in - Bhagvatji - 10th Skand- Raas Panchaadhyaayi). And by this virtue of theirs, these gopijan are praised
and remembered to this day. Shri swaminiji occupies the prime position among all the other gopijan. She is the source of happiness of the lord.
To please the lord of the universe and to make him blissfully happy are her main objectives and all her 'sakhis' (friends), belonging to her 'yuth'
or group are also engaged in similar activities i.e. to please shri Krishna.
Usually 'raas leela' conjures in the mind of the reader the supposedly sensual pleasures enjoyed by shri Krishna and his gopis but in reality it is
not so. We should only envisage it as a form of pure untainted love between them without any lust.
The lord is the embodiment of love and this love is nothing but pure love. All the actions performed by the lord are meant solely for the
happiness of the gopijan and vice-versa. The dance , singing of songs, the playing of the flute all these things were performed by the lord solely
for the happiness of gopijan, so that their love for the lord could increase manifold(infinitely). It was the same with the gopijan as well. Here
they wanted to make the lord happy.
The lord has incarnated in the form of Shri Krishna only to spread the pure love in the hearts of the gopijan and not for enjoying any form of
sensual desire himself. He has therefore taken the incarnation of shri Krishna only to spread this message of love in its purest form.
This is how shri Mahaprabhuji envisages the raas leela and solely by his grace alone, can pushtmargiya devotees be able to experience this bliss
(anand). By experiencing this blissfulness one can obtain a spiritual nearness to shri Krishna.
Shri Krishna does the 'Venunaad' (plays the flute) in order to call his bhakts to come and take part in this 'raas leela'.
Translation and Photographs from Seva Reeti Preeti Vraj Jan Ki