Stories from Vrindavan's Banke Bihari temple
Prince of Vrindavan: Shree Banke Bihari ji Maharaj
Vrindavan ke ho banke bihari hamse parda karo na murari… goes a bhajan from Vrindavan. Well, Banke Bihari and his parda have a romantic history.
Once upon a time, a princess from Rajasthan came for darshan of Shree Banke Bihari at Vrindavan. She was so enamoured by the prince of Vrindavan that she wanted to remain with Him for the rest of her life. Her family forced her to return to her kingdom. With teary eyes, she last saw Shree Banke Bihari ji and left. Mesmerized by her love for Him, Bihariji followed the princess, and was found missing at His temple home established by Tansen’s guru, Swami Haridas.
Brajwasis mainatin that one can still hear Krishna's flute in Braj...
A frantic search for Bihariji resulted in Him being found at the princess’s home. This time, Bihariji was coerced back to His temple-home at Vrindavan because He was being hugely missed by all the other devotees who came to meet Him.
From that day, a parda came in between the bhakta and Bhagwan so that due to a particular bhakta’s deep love, Thakurji was not again compelled to follow the devotee home.
Curtains as a security measure!
Now the parda or curtain keeps the devotees from taking a long look at Him, and melting in devotion. Pujaris regulates the curtain on pretext that it is to ward off evil from the child-Krishna Shree Banke Bihariji.
No bells, please
It is the only temple where loud temple bells are not used to wake Krishna in the morning. The Brajwasis say that it is not proper to wake a child with a start. He is woken gently. There are no bells even for Aarti, as it might disturb Him.
Night out at Nidhivan
Once a sevak fell asleep while pulling the strings of a hand fan at night for Shree Banke Bihariji. And woke up with a jerk when he realised that he had missed on his duty, and this might have disturbed Thakurji in his sleep. He peered inside to see if Thakurji was sleeping tight, and was startled to find that He was not there!
It was 1 at night. He kept the vigil, and at 4 in the morning found Thakurji returning laden with sweat and flushed in the face. The sevak did nothing to intrude, and continued with his duty. Next night, he was up and awake all night and found Thakurji leaving at 12 ‘O clock.
Raas utsav - celebrating unison with God
This time, the sevak sneaked behind Him and found Him entering Nidhivan, and heard the sound of flute and dancing fill the night air. At 4 in the morning Thakurji returned to the temple. Now the sevak knew that Thakurji spent 4 hours each night in raas with gopis. When the Pujari came to rouse Thakurji for mangla arti shortly after He was home, the sevak stopped him from doing so, saying that Thakurji did not get enough sleep because of His nightly excursions to Nidhivan. From then on the time for mangla arti was changed to 8.30 in the morning.
Vrindavan is full of tales of Shree Gopijan Vallabh…. Brajwasis mainatin that one can still hear the Lord's flute and hear Him whispering Radha Rani's name, and can also hear the sound of their anklets in Vrindavan.
So, devotees' ode in bhajans like Vrindavan ke ho Banke Bihari hamse parda karo na Murari is certainly heard by naughty Krishna, and a loving relationship continues between God Almighty with His Creation.
Banke Bihari ke sawaiya
Banke Bihari shayan arti and verses
Banke Bihari temple and bazar - Photo journal