Vasanta Panchami

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Vasanta Pancami, the fifth day of the waxing moon in the month of Magha, marks the beginning of spring in India, and the beginning of the festivities of Holi in Vraja. On this day the Lords in Sri Krsna Balarams Mandira Iskcon Vrndavana and in all the other temples in Vraja are dressed and decorated in yellow garments, jewels, and flowers. Many devotees also dress in yellow garments on this day. The Lords are offered various dishes with kesar and other yellow ingredients that make the foodstuffs also match the overall color code of the festival. From this day forth, the colorful festival of Holi, in which Brajendra-nanadana Sri Krsna and the gopis headed by Srimati Radhika engage in throwing flower petals, colored powders and colored water on each other in a transcendental love battle, is celebrated for 40 days in different parts of Vrndavana. The transcendental pastime of Vasantirasa also took place on this auspicious night in Govardhan at Chandra-sarovara. On that night, the moon stood still to take darsana of this divine dance for the duration of one night of Lord Brahma, which is more than four billion years on this earthly planet.

This day also marks the appearance day of Srimati Visnupriya devi, the consort of Mahaprabhu and the embodiment of divine love. At the very tender age of 16, her husband – prema-purusottama – took sannyasa, leaving her in a state of great distress and separation. After His sannyasa, she spent the rest of her life chanting and singing the glories of Krsna and the Lord of her life, Gauranga. She would put aside a grain of rice after every mantra of Hare Krsna that she would chant, and after chanting whole morning, she would cook the rice that she had put aside and offer it to her deity of Mahaprabhu, whom she worshiped day and night with tears of love and devotion streaming forth from her beautiful eyes. Thereafter she would offer the rice to her dear mother in law, Sacimata, and only eat whatever was remaining after Sacimata had eaten. In this way she spent her life in the remembrance of her husband, who is none other than Vrajendra-nandana Syamsundara.

Raghunatha dasa Gosvami also blessed this world by appearing on this very day. After having received the mercy of Lord Nityananda in Panihatti and organizing the great festival of Panihatti chidadahi (chipped rice festival) in accordance with His instructions, he submitted himself at the lotus feet of Mahaprubhu in Sri Ksetra Puri dhama. There, Mahaprabhu put him in the care of Svarupa Damodara, under whose guidance Raghunatha dasa Gosvami received all spiritual knowledge. Mahaprabhu also blessed Raghunatha dasa Gosvami with his own personal Giriraja-sila, whom He used to worship, and a gunja bead necklace, that Mahaprabhu used to worship as Srimati Radharani. After the disappearance of Lord Caitanya and his associates, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was grief stricken. With the intention of giving up his body by jumping in the Yamuna or jumping from Govardhan, he came to Sri Vrndavana-dhama, where Srila Rupa and Sanatana Gosvami consoled him. Thereafter, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami started residing at Radha-kunda, regularly associating with the other gosvamis in Vrndavana, writing bhakti-sastras and always becoming immersed in transcendental mellows of Krsna prem. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is the prayojana-acarya and has blessed the entire devotee community with the great literatures Manah-siksa, Vilapa-kusumanjali and others.

This auspicious day of Vasanta Pancami is also the disappearance day of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, who is a manifestation of Srila Rupa Gosvami. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura re-established the flow of pure devotion, which had somewhat disappeard after the disappearance of Narottama das Thakura, Srinivas and Syamananda Prabhu. While residing in Vraja, he made a great contribution to the treasure of Gaudiya literature by writing many commentaries and books of his own, such as Raga-vartma-candrika, Camatkara-candrika, Prema-samputa, Vraja-riti-cintamani, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu, Ujjvala-nilmani-kirana and many others. His mercy is of utmost importance for anyone aspiring to make advancement in Krsna bhakti.
In this way the auspicious day of Vasant Pancami is celebrated in Iskcon Vrndavana by discussing about the various sweet pastimes performed by the Lord on this day and glorifying the various devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.