Vrindavan, 2019.06.12 (VT): Devotees enjoyed the first day of Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami’s Seva Mahotsav yesterday. In the lead up to Maharaj taking over the leadership of Shri Radharaman ji’s service, it was announced that the service would be organized according to a secret theme.
Seeing the lush green decorations, the crowded room of devotees understood that the theme is ‘Dwadash van’ or ‘twelve forests of Braj’, which is fitting since Shrivatsa Goswami Maharaj is known as the ‘environmentalist Goswami’. On the first day of Maharaj’s seva, there were several ‘trees’ on the Jagmohan, which had been recreated from branches and were adorned with flowers.
Shri Radharaman was seated on a small podium in the middle of the forest scene. The podium looked like a temple within the temple. The sides and dome of the podium were created from carved banana tree trunks with ornate floral-themed carvings worthy of being carved in marble. Lattices of white Mogra flowers weaved over cloth made up the striking red coloured backdrop.
Radharaman ji was wearing a saffron-coloured suit enriched with sequin designs. The most striking thing about His appearance was His large eyes. Unlike many Deities, Radharaman ji’s eyes change. Sometimes He has thin, mischievous-looking eyes, but on the first day of Maharaj’s seva, He had big eyes; lotus eyes to look at and shower mercy on all those who came before Him.
Maharaj has arranged yellow and green flags to cover the ceiling and pink and yellow cloth to adorn the podiums at the back of the temple where Tulsi Maharani and Giriraj Maharaj reside.
Each Goswami family has their own approach to Radharaman ji’s seva and devotees say that Thakurji’s mood and characteristics change according to the individual artistic style and devotional mood of the family in charge.
Devotees often comment that when Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami and his sons are in charge, Radharaman ji looks like a young prince.
The regal atmosphere is enhanced during the evening Aarti. During Sandya Aarti, at 7.30pm, a line of men holding silver flagpoles stands on each side of the inner group of Aarti participants.
After the Aarti, Maharaj hands out tulsi leaves to devotees who were eager to take hold of them and, on the other side of the Jagmohan, small handfuls of the sweet that fills Radharaman ji’s famous kuliya pots are distributed as Prasad.
Maharaj’s seva will continue until the 22nd June. Shrivatsa Maharaj’s period of temple seva arises every two years. The special Darshans at this time are not to be missed.