b hagavan api ta ratrih
viksy- arantum manas cakre
Sri Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, full in all opulences, yet upon seeing those autumn nights scented with blossoming jasmine flowers, He turned His mind toward loving affairs. To fulfill His purposes He employed His internal potency. – S.B 10.29.1
On this most sacred and holy evening on the full moon night of the month of Kartik,in the forest of Vrindavan the moon starts rising on the eastern horizon. It is a beautiful golden color and all around the atmosphere is surcharged. The sky; it seems as if it is painted by the beautiful golden illuminating aura of the moon. The birds are singing with sweet sounds; most pleasing to the ears. The wind in its charming way is blowing through the leaves and the trees are singing a beautiful song. The whole forest of Vrajdham was intoxicated with the sweetness of this most auspicious evening and thus within the heart of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Shyamsundar awoke the desire to enjoy the beautiful Lila of the Rasa Dance with His most beloved Gopis.
In Sridham Mayapur, identical to Vrindavan dham, pilgrims turn up in huge numbers. It’s a festival they’re most familiar with as they come on this holy expedition to have their most spiritual experience.
Devotees of ISKCON Mayapur most aware of the significance of this festival decorate beautiful dancing deities of Srimati Radharani and the Asta Sakhis, each with their own Madhava, set up on the platform just below Sri Sri Radha Madhava’s altar. The Vaisnavas make sweet rice and many other milk sweets for the pleasure of Sri Sri Radha Madhava on the night of Their Rasa-lila to offer to the Lord.
Rasa Purnima also marks the first of Sri Sri Radha Madhava’s weekly elephant processions in Mayapur. During this festival, Their Lordships come out of the temple and go on a procession around the Mayapur campus on the back of an elephant. Sri Sri Gaura Nitai from Srila Prabhupada’s Bhajan Kutir also come along and lead the procession. The harinama party leads ecstatic kirtans as the Lords proceed around the campus.
As Their Lordships move about, auspicious mantras are constantly being chanted by the Mayapur gurukula boys, along with the sounds of their conch shells. Other gurukula boys play the vibrant drums, electrifying the atmosphere, announcing the arrival of the Lord. The whole pathway is illuminated by lamp light and all of ISKCON campus is lit up with lights.
On the pathway, the community devotees design stunning rangolis. Using coloured powders, chalks, mineral paints, flowers, cow dung, ganga mud, and fire. The devotees create breathtakingly stunning offerings. They also get the opportunity to prepare different cuisines to offer to their Lord.
The Supreme Lord Krishna is thus playing upon His flute for all of us. He is calling each and every one of us to enter His divine Lila simply, and this is how his devotees reciprocate. Due to the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada, we have the knowledge to receive Krishna’s pastimes in the correct manner and relish it’s sweetness.
By gradual development of transcendental knowledge, one can rise to the stage of the transcendental arts of music and dance displayed by the Lord in His rasa-lila. But without having the Vedic knowledge one can hardly understand the transcendental nature of the Lord’s rasa dance and music. – Srila Prabhupada on Rasa Lila, SB – 2.2.4.