“Sone ki thaali main jona parosa
Are, sone ki thaali main jona parosa
Haan, sone ki thaali main jona parosa
Are, khaye gauri ka yaar balam tarse rang barse
O, Rang barse bheege chunar wali, rang barse…”
SONGS, dances and colours as the Spring festival of Holi, flowed from temples, homes and onto the streets. It is also a celebration of good over evil, as told in Hindu texts, of Lord Krishna, the dark-skinned God; the flute player from whose enchanted lips flowed the sweetest music.
The story of Holi had been told and retold by many writers, ageless in time.
This is a story that takes you back to that time long ago of Gods and Goddesses, divinity, and the heart and soul of devotion.
On this beautiful spring day, one devotee’s heart was not filled with happiness and joy for she could not hear the music from her loved one’s flute. Radha sat by the stream in the forest, alone and sad.
Today she won’t be dancing to the drums and playing with the bright colours for her Krishna was not with her.
“Oh, my Krishna, where are you?” she cried softly.
From a very young age, she had sung the praises of Lord Krishna, day and night, in reverence of her deep love and devotion and in her pure heart had lived a dream, to be betrothed to someone like her God.
Last spring, on the day of Holi, the music of the flute that only she heard had led her to meet the one whom her heart had spoken for. But close to a year after their marriage, an unexpected disaster hit the family and much of their wealth was lost. Not wanting her to face struggles, he had left for a far-off land to another Kingdom so he could bring back riches for her. He wanted his wife to be like a Queen, and the temples must have marble floors for her bare feet to dance on.
How could her Krishna not know, she wondered, that she could be a queen without riches, that his love was worth more than precious stones, and when her feet danced for the Gods, the dust felt like marble.
She closed her eyes and whispered a prayer,
“Please Lord, send my Krishna back to me.”
“Radha,” her mother called to her, “Will you come now, it is time for your offering at the temple.”
Radha splashed some water on her face and rose, smoothing back her long black tresses, sadness glinting in her brown eyes.
“He will come back,” her mother gently assured her, “For how long can he stay without his Radha?”
She smiled just a little for those comforting words and made her way to the temple as the festivities continued, with sweet delicacies, laughter and fun.
She had danced all night last Holi for her Krishna, unspoken words of sublime love in God’s name, but not tonight, at least not yet.
Night came and the tempo of the drums and festivities began to slow as the hour became late.
Radha still hadn’t heard the flute.
She decided to stay in the temple all night to await his return, the candle of hope in her mind, staying lit and not flickering. Then as the night became quiet, in her subconscious mind, from somewhere far away, she heard him call her name, “Radha.”
Her eyes flew open and swiftly she rose to her feet and looked around expectantly, but there was no one. She inhaled deeply, the ache in her heart bringing tears to her eyes, then she heard the flute playing softly, as though coming from a far way. It grew more distinct and Radha, joy in her heart, ran down the temple steps, her feet barely touching the dusty ground, all the way through the forest by the stream where she had first met him.
She stopped and gasped in disbelief for he was not there, but someone else. The stranger was not dark-skinned with long hair and princely looks.
“This is not my Krishna, why did I hear the flute?” she whispered, fear creeping into her heart.
The stranger smiled and took two steps towards her, but she stepped back, thinking to run, then he said, “Don’t be afraid,” and stepped aside so she could see what was behind him.
Her Krishna was half lying by the stream, badly hurt, gasping her name.
Radha ran to him, cradling his head in her lap.
“What happened? Why are you this way?”
“The riches he sought for you,” the stranger said, “was stolen on his way home by vicious thieves, but the promise he had made to you to return home gave him the strength to stay alive, so he could see you again.”
“I do not want riches,” she said through tears, “Just your love, just to be close to you.”
“I did not know how rich love could be,” he said weakly, “I won’t leave you ever again.”
“Your prayers have been answered Radha,” said the stranger, “For in your heart lives pure love and devotion.”
She looked surprised as her husband sat up suddenly healed of his injuries, and as she watched the stranger walk away, she saw a most wonderful illusion of the Lord himself.
She had asked him in prayers to bring her Krishna back to her and he did.
She broke into tears, overcame by emotion and though it was late in the night, she danced in the temple, in celebration of Holi. A dance of the Gods for her immortal Lord and her mortal companion, Krishna.