The practice of Shri Krishna devotion in SankirtanA passage from the Manipuri book ‘NATA SANKRITAN’ by Sanakshya Ibotombi Haorokcham and published by The Guru Gulapi Nata Sankritana Academy

    25-Aug-2021
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Yumnam Suren
Contd from previous issue
3. Utkanthita shows the lovelorn sorrowful condition of Shri Rasvasini (Radha) when her lover was deplorably unpunctual of the appointed time of meeting and her great anxiety.
4. Vipralavdha shows Shri Vinadini (Radha)’s utter disappointed condition when she definitely and reliably knew from her friends that Shri Krishna would never turn up for the tryst.
5. Khandita expresses Shri Chandravati (Radha’s) mood and attitude when her lover Shri Krishna came to her very late after having love play with Chandravali and other Sakhis, and her  (Radha) maan (resenting ) at detecting the love marks on his body.
6. Kalahantarita shows Shri Krishna Pranadhika (Radha)’s repentance when Shri Krishna left her place after she had shown her resentment to him.
7. Proshit Bhartika shows Shri Krishna vama (Radha)’s agony when the lord of her heart Shri Krishna had left for Mathura and Dwarika etc, the remote places.
8. Swadhim Bhartrika shows Shri Raseswari (Radha)’s utmost pleasure and happiness at the playing freely with her beloved shri Krishna.
Shri Vraja Vrindavan, the venue of playing Niti Leela was surrounded by bower in the eight directions, one in each direction. The devotees of Gouriya Vaisnavism regarded the eight principal Sakhis i.e. Lalita and the seven others, forming their own teams eight Sakhis with some Vraja Gopis i.e. eight different teams of Sakhis lived in the Lalita Sakhi with her group lived at the north, Visakha and and company lived at the north-east, Chitra Devi and co. at the east, Indurekha and party at the south-east, Champakalata and group at the south, Tungadevi and team at the south west, Ranga Devi and friends at the north- west.
The team/group of salkhis (Yuth) had three or four names for each of them. There were other bowers (kunjavans) and big ponds (Kunda) of different names in and around Shri Vrindavan.
On different week days and thabans (the ordinal number of the lunar month) Niti Leela was played at different bowers (Kunjavans). Niti Leela Kirtan was performed firstly, after fixing the places of Surjya Puja, Matan and Ras etc. to be done on the weekdays and secondly, after consecrating the places in compatibity with the month, the season and the festival to occur. In the case of Rasa-Leela, for example, the days and places (bowers) for it were on Sundays at Lalita Kunja, on Mondays at Vishakha Kunja, on Tuesdays at Chitra Devi Kunja, on Wednesdays at Champakalata Kunja, on Thursday at Ranga Devi Kunja, on Fridays at Sundevi Kunja and on Saturdays at Tungavidya Kunja or Indurekha Kunja. On the days, the relevant Sakhi would act as Yutheswari (Captain/ leader of the team/group).
So, on Sunday, after performing Surya Puja at Aranya Kunja, Milan at Rangamohan Kunja, at last Ras Leela was played at Lalita Kunja. But, if Sunday fell on the first or the third day of the waxing or waning time of the month, Milan was performed at Nibhritani kunjaveen and Rasa-Leela was played at Vanshivat.When Sunday occurred on other days except on the above mentioned two days of the month, Milan was held at Madhavi Kunja and Rasa Leela was played on the Sakhi’s bower which was already marked out for the day.
On Monday Surya Puja was held at Meghatambar Kunja and Rasa was played at Vishakha Kunja. If Monday occured on the 2nd day of the waxing and waning period of the moon, on the fouth day moon. Milan was held at the bank of Shrikunda and Rasa Leela was played on Shyam Kunda bank. And Monday did not fall on the 2nd day and occurred on other days, Malan was held at Keli Kunja. Again, on the fourth day of any month, Milan was held at Sanket Kunja and Rasa Leela was performed at the Sakhi’s bower which was marked out for the day.
On Tuesdays though Surya Puja was done at Shyam Kunda, Milan at Nikunjaveen and Rasa was played at Chitarsakhi Kunda, if the duty happened to be the fifth or sixth day of the waxing or waning period of the lunar month, Milan was held at Vrishabhampur and the Ras Leela was played at Kamyavan. Again, if Wednesday did not fall on the seventh day of the month Milan was held at Nandeswar Gram and if Wednesday did not fall on the eight day the concerned Milan was held at Sanketkunja, and Rasa was played at the Sakhi’s bower which was marked out for the day.
On Wednesday Surya Puja was done at Kamyavam, Milan at Padmakiswarkunja and Rasleela was held at Champakalata Kunja. But if the day occurred seventh or eight day of waxing or waning of the lunar month Milan was held at Kamyavam. And if the seventh day was not Wednesday Milan was held at Kamyavan. And was held at Nandeswar Gram, and if the eighth day was not Wednesday Milan was done at Sanket Kunja and Ras Leela performed at the Shakhi’s bower which was already fixed for Rasa Play on Wednesday.
On Thursday Surya Puja was held at Kuhila Gram, Milan at Madan Sukhada Kunja and Ras Leela was performed at Ranga Devi Kunja. If it happened to be the ninth or tenth of the waxing or waning lunar month, Milan was held at Jabat and Ras Leela was played at Kadam Khandi. But, if the 9th day was held at Dhir Samir, and in case the tenth day was not Thursday, Milan was held at Nidhuvan and Ras Leela was done at the Sakhi’s bower where Ras was already fixed on the day.
On Friday Surya Puja was held at Dakhin Goshta, Milan at Krishna Keli Kunja and Rasleela at Sudevi Sakhi Kunja. But, if the day happened to be the eleventh or twelfth day of the waxing or waning period of the lunar month.
Milan was done at Shri Vrindavan and Rasleela was held at Dhir Samir. Again, if the eleventh of the lunar month was other weekdays except Friday, Milan was held at Vansivat and the same happened on the twelfth of the lunar month, Milan was performed at Nikunjavan and the Ras Leela was done at the Sakhi’s bower where Rasleela was prefixed on Friday.
On Saturday Surya Puja was done at Javat Gram, Milan at Kusum Kunja and Ras Leela at Tungavidya’s or Indurekha’s bower. If the Saturday happened to be the 13th or 14th of the waxing or waning day of the lunar month or the full-moon or the new-moon day, Milan was held at Shri Vrindavan and Ras Leela was played at Pulinvan. Again, the thirteenth was other week days except Saturday, Milan was held at Shri Kunja, and if the same thing happened on the 14th Milan was done at Govardhan and if it was full-moon or New-moon Milan was held at Nibhrita Nikunjavan and the Ras Leela was played at the Sakhi’s bower where Ras Leela was prefixed on Saturdays. And the place of the holding Surya Puja of the week days was not affected by the order of the lunar month.
Besides the changing of the place of Niti Leela play on account of variation of weekdays and lunar days, the changing of Shri Radha’s place of staying i.e. her sojourn at her parents’ home at Varishal and her stay at her husband’s home at Javat Gram also acted on determining of the place of Niti Leela play. From the third day of the month of Fairen (Magh Shukla Tritiya) to the sixth day of Kalen month (Vaishakh Krishna Pratipad) Srimati Radha sojourned at her parents’ home at Varishal.
From the next day, the seventh of Kalen month (Vaishakh Krishna Dwitiya) to the second day of Ingen month (Ashar Shukla Daritiya) she returned and stayed at her husband’s home at Javat Gram and again from the third day of Ingen month (Ashar Shukla Tritiya) to the twelfth day of Mera month (Aswin Shukla Dwadashi) she stayed at Varishal.
Listening of Kirtan singings of Vraja Leelas all the year round, which are performed in strict abidance of the norms and rules of Niti Leela mentioned above, chastens the heart of Vaisnavs and it is very beneficial to their successful completion of Raganuga Bhakti Sudhan.