Portraits from Nandgaon- “Nand Kishor Gosvami”

Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in Travel Tales | Comments Off on Portraits from Nandgaon- “Nand Kishor Gosvami”

Portraits from Nandgaon- “Nand Kishor Gosvami”

What attracts me best about mythology is that whether it’s fact or fiction, it lands up as a fabulous story! I don’t know about others, but I like to think that the emotions and its resultant actions are very true. I am often prompted to think – are these purely fiction? Do they affect human life in day to day situations; do people like to read emotions as reality? These often provoke questions in my realistic mind, and I find that stimulation exhilarating!

Nandgaon is the hometown of Shri Krishna and His brother, Balram. It’s the place where the divine brothers live eternally with their parents Yashoda and Nand – the King and Queen of the cowherd clan. The central attraction of the village today, is the temple of Krishna and Balram, situated on a hill, which is called Nandishwar Parvat.

Nand Kishor Goswami:

Nand Kishor Gosvami lives just at the foot of Nandishwar Parvat. His family is a lineage of  one of the six original Gosvamis who were a group of devotional teachers (gurus) of Vedic religion preaching in India during the 15th and 16th centuries. Nand’s father Jiva Dasa Gosvami, was a priest at Nandgaon’s temple. Nand was fortunate that unlike some of his friends, he wasn’t forced to compromise, and get into priesthood to support his mother and siblings after his pita-ji died. He is 19, athletic, jovial, enterprising and with a joie de vivre that is usual among boys of his age. He had studied at the Samvid Gurukulam in Vrindavan, and someday wanted to become an astronaut.

Nand has been very busy the last few days. Holi or Vasant Utsav is something he and every lad in Braj Bhoomi looks forward to every year! His status messages on Facebook have been quite a crowd-puller in his larger social community. Through this network, a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, Pooja, an young travel photographer from Delhi, has been a guest in his house for the last two days. He has had guests during Lathmar holi in previous years, but Pooja was different. She was petite, yet feisty. City-bred, but not arrogant. She had amber eyes, skin the colour of twilight, and her natural  fragrance was like that of the wild lily.Would have been perhaps 3/4 years older than him….but so, what? So, was Radharani! Did Kanha resist?

His house was a typical Brajwasi home of cemented bricks, fairly large in size, with an open aangan (courtyard). His mother always cooked on the chulha (clay stove). Last night, mata-ji had treated her to a dinner of handmade chapatis (flatbreads) and yellow pulses spiced with asafoetida and cumin and raw mango pickle. Nand was glad that Pooja’s simplicity and naivety had made her an instant favorite of mata-ji. He took stolen glances to watch her nimble fingers move from the copper plate to her mouth, how she daintily parted her lips and landed the last bite of the chapati on her tongue. She licked the dripping dal from her ring finger, little finger and her thumb…in that order, and Nand found his heart racing! He was really starting to like her.

“The villagers of Nandgaon and Barsana do not inter-marry as per tradition, so I am free to marry outside”, Nand had blurted out awkwardly when the entire family was sitting cozy after dinner, practicing the samaj-gayan (ballads on Radha and Krishna)that the men would sing in the next day’s festivities. Pooja looked up startled, and found him staring into her eyes. Nand blinked, and ran his eyes in a rush across everyone else’s. Radhe Radhe!… nobody else noticed that!

“Mukut vaaro re mukut vaaro, teri karego?”
The sakhis are asking the gopas, “What would you do for Holi this time?”

“Bataya to hato ve to sur hi gaun kau rakhwaro”

“O, gopisI am telling you who will color you the most this time! It is the bearer of the peacock feather and the bejeweled crown. He is the one…he will colour you the most”, says the gopas.

It was time for shayan aarti for the house-idols at Nand’s home. Its the lullaby that puts the brothers Krishna and Balaram to sleep. But yesterday was different. The shankh (conch shell)bellowed melodiously, reminding Krishna and Balaram, even in their dreams, that the Nandagram gopas have promised the Barsana gopis that Krishna will color them…and that, they must perform!

Nand brushed past Pooja, took a whiff of her lily scent and went back to his room. He tucked in the peacock feather in his turban, pulled out his best white dhoti and bagabandhi( traditional yellow waistbands), and his Ray-Ban aviators.

Tomorrow was a big day. He will colour his Radha…he was the one with the peacock feather…he will be the one to colour her the most!