by Gandharvika d.d.
Vrindavan is home to Lord Krishna’s lila sports. Every day here has its own significance, and is celebrated as a euphoric festival. The third day of the waxing moon in the month of Shravan is called Hariyali Teej, which means “Green Tritiya.” On this day Bankebihari Ji Maharaj swings on his fabulous hindola made of sandalwood and covered with decorative gold and silver.
Hariyali Teej in Vrindavan is of great importance because this is the only day during the year when Bankebihari Ji Maharaj gives continuous darshan to the devotees. But this festival is celebrated in many temples throughout Vrindavan, not just Bihariji, though he remains the main attraction for visitors to the Dham. Other temples where green decorations and colorful swings are given especially attractive treatment are Radhavallabha, Radharaman, Rasabihari Nikunjvihari, Godavihar, Yugalkishor, Radha Damodar, Radha Shyamsundar and so many others. For the next two weeks ending with Jhulan Purnima, most of these temples will have special programs with the deities being brought out to swing to bhajan taken from Sants of their own tradition that glorify this pastime.
Hariyali Teej a woman’s festival
Hariyali Teej is a festival that is celebrated throughout northern India. It is usually considered to be a festive occasion for women. This is because it is centered on the natural world, Prakriti, which everywhere is considered to be feminine. When the rains come and the ground becomes covered with a green sheet of growing crops and the trees are filled with new leaves and buds, Mother Nature is seen in her most gracious aspect. It is as though she is dancing in ecstasy and her entire body is covered with hair standing on end. So on this occasion, women sing special songs and enjoy swinging on specially arranged swings. There is also a vrata, a vow that women often follow, which lasts for one month until the Shukla Tritiya of Bhadra month. That day is also called Hasta Nakshatra. On that day unmarried girls and married women worship Gauri Shankar.
The story goes that Parvati was reunited with Shiva on that day. After 107 births in which she worshiped him to have him as her husband, performing great austerities, she finally achieved success in her 108th birth. So it is said that by following this vrata, Parvati becomes pleased and gives her votaries a husband with long life.
The rules for worship on Hariyali Teej
Hariyali Teej is supposed to be celebrated over a three-day period, but due to time limitations it is usually reduced to the one day. Married women are supposed to fast without water. They wear new bangles and decorate their hands and feet with mehndi and alta. Dressed in a new sari they worship the goddess Parvati. In many places, they dress in green clothes with green bangles and other appropriate ornaments.
- Men are also supposed to worship the mother goddess and to carry her in a palanquin.
- First of all, women gather in a garden or a temple and dress the image of Parvati with silk clothes and jewelry.
- Forming a semicircle around the deity, they worship the Mother Goddess. One of the women will then recite the Puranic account of Parvati’s tapasya while the others listen attentively while desiring long life for their husbands.
- In some places, after worshiping Ma Parvati, the women then bathe with red clay in order to be completely purified. This clay is found at the roots of the datiwan bush.
- At the end of the day, there is festive dancing, singing and swinging on the hindola.
In the temples of Vrindavan, the festival is centered on Radha and Krishna’s swinging together, as the devotees remember the eternal love of the Divine Couple.