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Hit Harivamsa Mahaprabhu and the RadhaVallabh Sampradaya


As you take the by lane adjacent to Sri Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, and after walking about a few hundred metres, a narrow flight of stairs leading to a temple appears to your side which stands out amongst its surroundings because of its architecture and decor. Constructed in 1585, the RadhaVallabh Temple is one of the seven ancient temples built majestically in the holy land of Vrindavan using red sandstones. The temple was constructed under the guidance of Hit Harivansha Mahaprabhu. Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu is the incarnation of Shri Krishna’s eternal Vanshi (Flute) and descended to bestow on devotees the Sahchari Bhav or Sakhi Bhav of PriyaPriyatam (Radharani and Krishna). Sri Krishna is worshiped as Shri RadhaVallabh (the consort of Radha) in this temple and alongside Sri Krishna, a crown is placed, signifying the presence of Shrimati Radharani.

Hit Harivansha Mahaprabhu was born in a village called Baad near Mathura on Vaishakh Ekadashi, the eleventh day of the month of Vaishakh in the year 1530. He lived for thirty one years in a place called Devavan and then left for Vrindavan. On his way to Vrindavan, he was ordered by Shrimati Radharani herself to marry the daughters of Atmadev. Atmadev was an ardent devotee and pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva had given him the deity of Sri RadhaVallabh. Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu married the daughters of Atmadev and received the deity of Sri Radhavallabh ji. He carried the deity to Vrindavan and enshrined Him at Madan Ter, a high cliff on the bank of Yamuna.

Shrimati Radharani is the Guru of Hit Harivansa Mahaprabhu. His path was that of love and devotion and since he adopted love as the only rasa, his path was known as ‘Rasa marga’. Sri Harivansh ji’s work is a collection of lyrical verses filled with the spirit that radiates absolute truth, ornate with beauty and lyricism hidden within them. Harivansh ji's speech is filled with rasa that dazzles the hearts of one and all. Soaked with the desire of the devotee to serve the divine couple, his work awakens the love for Radha-Krishna and provides eternal peace to the mind. The surrendered devotees who relish this bhakti rasa are free from material bondage and rise to such a blissful world where the bonds of worldly elusive illusions cease to exist. Carried in that ocean of devotion, the mind becomes absorbed in pure self-consciousness and attains eternal bliss. Hit Harivamsa Mahaprabhu symbolises pure love, which is the foundation of devotional service of the RadhaVallabh Sampradaya.

The RadhaVallabh Sampradaya, initiated by Vanshi Avtar, Sri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu practices Rasopasana, the underlying philosophy which delves deeply into the purest form of divine and transcendental love between PriyaPriyatam, Radha and Krishna. Rasopasana describes the various pastimes of Shri ShyamaShyam such as Nikunj Leela, Van Vihar Leela and Raas Leela in a unique and unparalleled manner. Hit Harivamsa Mahaprabhu was a scholar in Sanskrit and a natural poet. Radhasudhanidhi is a hymn written by him in Sanskrit in which there are 270 verses which describes Radharani's beauty, veneration, worship, praise, service and devotion. He has also written the Yamunashtaka in Sanskrit. Hitchaurasi, the principal text of the RadhaVallabh Sampradaya, soaked with the lyricism and melody of Brijbhasa, is a collection of eighty-four verses composed by Sri Hit Harivansh ji. These verses describe the exclusive love of Radhakrishna, their eternal pastimes, Nitya-vihara, Rasleela, Bhakti(devotional feelings), Viraha(the state of separation), respect in love, set in the backdrop of Shringar Rasa.

Hit Harivamsa remained submerged in the eternal nectar personified by the divine leelas of PriyaPriyatam in the beautiful forests of Vrindavan, witnessed by the associates of Priyaju (Sahcharis) who are completely absorbed in serving, loving, adoring and watching their beloved PriyaPriyatam with Tat-Sukh Bhav. Worldly relations and actions are guided by Swa-Sukh Bhav where one focuses on one's own pleasures and benefits, whereas Tat-Sukh Bhav is the exact opposite wherein every action is for the delight, pleasure, contentment, amusement and gratification of PriyaPriyatam. Tat sukha Bhav is natural and simple (saras), filled with sweetness (Mriduta), free from contamination of materialism (Visaya vasna rahit) and filled with selfless desires (Nishkamata). Hit Harivamsa Mahaprabhu brought the Sahachari Bhav to light. Sahchari is the closest associate of PriyaPriyatam. The essence of Sahchari Bhav is worshipping the lotus feet of Radharani (Radha Charan Pradhan) which primarily focuses on Sri PriyaJu. However, Sri Krishna being the love and life of Sri PriyaJu is also very dear to the Sahchari. The Sahchari is totally engrossed in selflessly serving Sri ShyamaShyam (Tat Sukh Bhav). Every action is aimed at providing happiness to the Divine Couple. They understand the minds of Sri ShyamaShyam and offer their service accordingly(Man Man Ki Ruchi Jaani). From the early morning aarti (Mangla) to putting them to sleep (Shayan), the Sahchari plans each and every pastime with utmost excitement, dedication, perfection and love. The Sahchari spends every moment serving the beloved Sri ShyamaShyam (Ashtayam Seva). The Sahchari demonstrates all the divine sentiments - serving the divine couple as a personal attendant(Dasya Bhav), taking care of them as a mother(Vatsalya Bhav), teasing them as a friend(Sakhya Bhav), and loving them as their beloved(Madhurya Bhav).

Known for the beautiful ‘phool bangla’ (floral arcades) and the bewitching decoration of the deities, the Radha Vallabh temple celebrates most of the colourful and vibrant festivals like Holi, Diwali, Sharad Purnima, Jhulan Utsav, Dussehera, Sanjhi Utsav, Patotsava along with the following major celebrations:

Hitotsav – A eleven day long festival in honour of Hit Harivamsa Mahaprabhu, the founder of Radha Vallabh Sampradaya.

Radhastami - A nine day long grand festival celebrating the birth of Shrimati Radharani.

Sri Krishna Janmashtami - The festival celebrates the birth of Sri Krishna, the consort of Radha.

Vyahlu Utsav, or Byahovala, or Manorath - A festival that celebrates the wedding ceremony of Radharani and Sri Krishna.

Chandra Mite Dinkar Mite, Mite Trigun Vistaar.

Pai Dridh Vrat Shri Harivansh Kou, Mite Na Nitya Vihar

- Shri Hita Harivansh Mahaprabhu The moon will be destroyed, the sun will also be destroyed along with the three kinds of material worlds (i.e hell, heaven and earth). But Sri Hita Harivansh affirms that, the 'Nitya Vihar' (blissful love play of Shri Radha Krishna with Sakhis in Vrindavan without being separated) will remain as such.

Nikasi Kunj Thade Bhaye, Bhuja Parsapar Ans. Shri Radhavallabh Mukh Kamal, Nirakhi Nain Harivansh. - Shri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu

Sri Hita Harivansh beholds the lotus faces of the divine couple ‘RadhaVallabh’ as they appear with their arms around each other in the midst of the flowery grooves of Vrindavan.

Sri RadhaVallabh, Vrindavan, from my Vrindavan diaries

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