“Krishna was just a toy in the hands of the Gopis, so one day the Gopis decided that we shall decorate Him. Pusyabhisheka means a ceremony to decorate the deity profusely with flowers, ornaments, cloths. After there should be lavish feasting and a procession through the streets, so that all the citizens should see how beautiful Krishna appears.”
– Letter to: Danavir, Delhi, 20 November, 1971
Sri Krishna Pusya abhisek is usually the first major festival of the year in Sri Dham Mayapur. Every year on this day, the deities are bathed in hundreds of kilos of colourful and fragrant flowers in a beautiful abhisek. The deities of Sri Sri Radha Madhava are also offered a stunning dress made out of multi-coloured flowers.
The community devotees gather the day before the festival to begin the preparations for the upcoming festival. Between two hundred and two hundred and fifty devotees participate in the preparation of the abhisek.
For the abhisek alone, the devotees make petals from:
- Over thirty thousand Chrysanthemums or chandramallika flowers in different colours
- Fifty kilos of dopati flower or impatiens balsamina in colours ranging from white and light pinks and oranges to dark pinks, purples and red
- More than two hundred and forty marigold flower garlands in yellow and orange
- Over forty thousand roses
Around fifty to sixty devotees help in breaking flowers into petals, and it takes them approximately three hours at a steady pace to finish breaking all the flowers allocated for the abhisek.
Each year, the flower dress has its own unique design and flower choices. Srimati Radhika and Her eight principle gopis each have their own full outfit of a flower skirt, top and veil, complete with flower jewellery from head-to-toe. For the skirts alone, the devotees use over five thousand flowers per skirt. Sri Madhava also has a uniquely special flower outfit which is made and cut to perfectly fit His Tribanga form, as well as flower jewellery and flower mukut pieces for His turban.
Between eighty to one hundred and sixty devotees participate in the making of the flower dress and altar decorations, many of whom stay up until very late in the evening. Some devotees even stay the entire night to finish the outfit. It requires the collective effort and service of many of the devotees in Mayapur to create this unique offering for the Lord.
Right after the Mangala arati in the early morning, the dresses are taken up to the altar to be offered to the deities. Once the Lord is ready, and the decorations are up, the entire community assembles in the temple and eagerly awaits the rare darshan of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, fully bedecked in flowers. It is indeed an extraordinary sight to behold, and a testament to the love, hard work and dedication of the devotees.
But the morning’s darshan is only the beginning of this festival of bliss, for in the evening the devotees gather to witness the flower abhisek of Sri Sri Radha Madhava. What could be more ecstatic than watching the Lord of the gopis’ hearts and His most dear Srimati Radhika be showered in sweet smelling flower petals? The entire temple hall is filled with the fragrance of the flowers that bathe the Divine Couples’ bodies. The shower of petals seems to be never-ending and Sri Sri Radha Madhava become completely covered in flower petals of all colours.
This festival is a wonderful experience of bliss for all the devotees who attend, and is truly a glimpse into what it may be like in the spiritual realm.