O n the auspicious appearance day of Lord Balarama, we had celebrations both at Mayapur and Rajapur with Abhishek, arti , pushpanjali. In the morning, HH Jayapataka Swami gave Balaram Purnima lecture on pastimes of Balaram. Being the last day of Jhulan Yatra, Sri Radha-Madhava Swing festival took place both in morning in the temple and in the evening, at the Jhulan Pandal. As it is also Raksha bandan day, devotees were offering Rakhis to Their Lordships and indeed, Jhulan pandal was decorated with flower rakhis.
In ISKCON Mayapur the celebrations begins one day prior to the festival as devotees engage in chanting the holy name and decorating the temple in preparation for the next day. Lord Nityananda, who is non-different than Balaram, takes precedence here in Mayapur as Mayapur is the birthplace of the Golden avatar Lord Sri Gouranga, who is non-different than Krishna.
On the day itself,darshan of Sri Sri Radha Madhava and Pancha-tattva is special with saprkling white Purnima outfits. The temple crowded full of devotees stand astounded for minutes taking darshan and singing to the Lordships. Deities of Sri Krsna Balaram are kept in front of the Panca Tattva altar decorated in new clothes, ornaments, flower garlands, Tulsi garlands and anklets. Devotees chant the holy name non-stop throughout the day and on the mid-day an abhisekh is performed on the Sankarsana Shila bathed with a variety of auspicious substances – panca gavya, pancamrita, various fruit juices, scented sugar syrups, and flower waters. Devotees prepare varieties of cuisines for offering along with the offerings prepared by the temple for Sri Balaram.
In Rajapur – Sri Jagannth Mandir there is an abhishek for the small deity of Baladeva. Sri Baladeva is decorated very majestically and opulently along with Lord Jagannath and Subhadra. A mace rested on right of His shoulder and a silver plough rested on His left shoulder. His face decorated with dots of sandalwood paste as they all smile majestically.
The festival of swings which has been going on for the last four days; on the fifth and the final day the devotees take part in a pot breaking festival. In clay pot full with sweets swing on from the top filled with Sri Balaram’s favorite drink the Varuni, a celestial drink from honey that was sent by *Varuna*, God of the oceans. Many devotees attempt to break this pot using a stick with their eyes blindfolded by a cloth. Swinging and missing, after finally when the pot is broken the sweets gets distributed to all the devotees. Cultural programs such as traditional dance and dramas continue to entertain the lord and his devotees and sumptuous maha-prasadam is served to all the devotees assembled and they come home with full satisfaction.