2017.06.08 (VT): This week marks the begining of Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami Maharaj’s seva mahotsav at the Shri Radharaman Temple. Maharajji is a prominent Acharya of the temple and the founding trustee of Vrindavan Today. His seva comes once every two years and this, the first week of the celebration, included the important summer festivals Ganga Dusshera and nirjala ekadashi.
Each Goswami family has their own approach to Radharamanji’s seva. As soon as they set foot in the temple, devotees can immediately recognize when Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami’s seva is underway. Maharajji’s seva has a joyful, artistic and uniquely regal atmosphere.
This week, the day before Maharajji’s seva officially began, the inner walls of the entire temple were adorned with vibrant yellow and orange curtains, specially selected by Maharajji. The ceiling was covered with concentric quadrangles of rectangular flags in the same color scheme, that billow enchantingly with the soft breeze from the fans.
The beautiful swaying of the ceiling’s decor is reminiscent of ocean waves or Tibetan prayer flags waving on a Himalayan mountain top. Maharajji’s painstaking attention to detail is apparant from the way the entryways of the temple were repainted and the vyas-asan was re-varnished in preparation for the seva mahotsav. Maharajji even had the sewer lines between his home and the temple cleaned in preparation.
At around nine o’clock at night on the 2nd, the seva officially transferred to Maharajji, and he and his sons took their place on the altar. From the next day, the altar decor and Radharamanji’s dressing would be done under Maharajji’s artistic direction.
Devotees who visit the Shri Radharaman Temple regularly, or who follow Radharamanji’s daily darshans on social media, find that Radharamanji’s look changes dramatically according to who is serving Him. Not only the style of his outfits and jewellery, but even his physical demeanor and facial expressions change according to his servants’ individual aristic style and bhaav (devotional mood).
When Acharya Shrivatsa Goswamiji Maharaj is in seva, Radharamanji wears rich silks and cottons with layered borders and elaborate royal-looking jewellery. This week saw the candy-shaped swirls of cloth adorning His headdress replaced with jewel-encrusted variations on the motif. The taniya or fine loincloth he wears in the evenings is overlaid with a lattice of tiny beads or pearls, and his eyes appear soft yet intense, his smile gentle and regal. Devotees often comment that Radharamanji looks like a young prince during Maharajji’s seva.
Morning and evening, vocalist Tarun Krishna Das and pakahwaj artist Krishna Gopal Sharma sing the sweet moods of the rasik saints, and every day a large and elaborate nikunj or phool bangla fills the temple with the intoxicating aroma of jasmine. A troupe of Bengali kirtaniyas enrich the atmosphere at intervals with the divine beats of the khol and kartal. And each night a featured artist performs for Radharamanji. Throughout this week the featured artist was classical vocalist Shri Venu Gopal Goswami, who is Shrivatsa Goswami’s younger brother. As the seva continues, other acclaimed artists from across India will offer their talents in His seva.
We will continue our coverage of Radharamanji’s seva as Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami Maharaj’s seva mahotsav continues.
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