Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
The unlimitedly sweet Lord eternally performs his supremely sweet pastimes in the spiritual realm in the loving association of his eternal companions, and in this material world, his devotees, commemorating those pastimes arrange grand festivals for the pleasure of the Archavigraha and for the spiritual enlivenment of all the devotees. Remembering Radha Shyamsundar’s blissful Boat festival, Iskcon Vrindavan Temple arranges for a divine Boat ride for divine couple in the temple courtyard.
On a suitable day after Gaur Purnima, when the weather is just pleasant, before the approaching summer, the temple courtyard is filled with water on the day before the festival, transforming it into a temporary lake where the divine couple will enjoy a ride being surrounded on all sides by enthusiastic devotees. Artistic designs are made on the water with petals of different fragrant flowers and a small island is made next to the tamala tree, which is then decorate with beautiful flower arrangements. The arrangements for the festival, however, start much before, with planning the design of the boat, which is fashioned as a stylish swan. A dedicated devotee carpenter then sets to work a few weeks in advance to come up with an exquisite boat which is then brought for further painting and beautification by other artistic devotees, who paint artistic designs on the boat and decorate it with mirrors and flowers. Besides the preparation of the lake and the boat, numerous matajis also prepare palatable dishes to be offered to the Lords, while they enjoy their ride.
At the predefined hour of the festivities, the Lords are brought out of the Altar by the pujaris and they ascend their boat amidst loud cheering and ecstatic kirtan lead by expert singers and accompanied by musicians, who use their musical talent for giving satisfaction to the senses of the Lord. Once the ride begins, the Lords, seated in their gorgeous boat, being showered with petals thrown by devotees sitting on the roof of the temple around the courtyard, give their divine darshan to all the devotees seated around the lake. Seeing their most worshipful deities enjoying boating pastimes, all the devotees feel immense joy in the core of their hearts. During the festival, Radha Shyamsundar are offered Bhoga and Arati a number of times and their remnants are then mercifully distributed amongst the gathered devotees, who are always very eager to receive mercy from their Lordships.
In the Spiritual World, where each and every moment is filled with unlimited rasa, Rasik Shekhar Shri Shyamsundar, in order to engage in various loving pastimes with the Gopis, ascends a charming boat with his beloveds and traverses the gentle current of the Yamuna river or manasi Ganga. Similarly, in Krishna Balaram Mandir, Rasaraj Shyam and Rasarani Srimati Radhika enjoy this beautiful boat, after which they return back to the altar for the evening arati, leaving behind all the devotees submerged in an ocean of ecstasy.