[September 8, 2023 is Nandotsava in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of a discourse by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on August 16, 2017, the second last occasion where Śrīla Mahārāja publicly spoke hari-kathā. Four days later on 20th August 2017, he spoke for the last time at the Sunday program held at the Faridabad Maṭha before manifesting his final sickness pastime. Śrīla Mahārāja was greatly ecstatic, especially while leading the badhāi-gīta (songs of felicitations) on Nandotsava.]
THE HALLMARK OF NANDOTSAVA
Today is a special tithi called Nandotsava. Nandotsava has only one consideration – ‘Diyatām Dharyatām' [Nanda Mahārāja is generously offering charity, so amass it as much as you can!]. There is no restriction whatsoever. Nor is there any necessity of any formal invitation. Whoever comes, ‘Diyatām Dharyatām’ and sing, eat and splurge. [Even without any invitation all the Vrajavāsis attended the festival. This is the hallmark of Nandotsava.]
Today is also the āvirbhāva tithi of Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja. Vaiṣṇavas’ āvirbhāva and tirobhāva tithis are both auspicious. Their remembrance is the cause of our auspiciousness.
It is described that Nanda Mahārāja gave hills of grains in charity. [tilādrīn sapta ratnaugha - He also gave seven hills of grain, covered with jewels. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.5.3] The significance of giving grains in charity is that as long as those grains are sown and they produce more grains, till such time the glories of the donor will continue to flourish. Hence there is a provision in the scriptures of giving grains in charity (tila-dāna). Even for ceremonies like śrāddha [a ritual performed to pay homages to one’s ancestors], tila-dāna is to be performed. So Nanda Mahārāja gave hills of grains in charity, not a small amount. There were no restrictions on any one in any respect. Whoever visited was fed sumptuously. ‘Diyatām Dharyatām! Diyatām Dharyatām!' So Nandotsava is very famous by the name itself.
NANDOTSAVA HAS NO CONDITIONS
Vasudeva did not celebrate any festival [when he was blessed by a son] and thus there is no festival by his name. However, later he performed a sacrifice at Prabhāsa inviting all the three worlds except for the Vrajavāsis. Still there were restrictions there. Those who did not have an invitation could not enter the sacrifice. But in Nanda Mahārāja's celebrations an invitation was not a pre-requisite. Regardless of whether one was invited, uninvited or simply attended the festival upon hearing the news of Kṛṣṇa’s birth, for everyone it was ‘Diyatām Dharyatām’. This is the reason why Nandotsava is famous. This is how everyone is treated and honored in Nandotsava. Everything was given away in charity without consideration.
ONLY ĀNANDA CAN CAUSE SUCH A FESTIVAL
The celebrations were filled with ṇṛtya-gīta - dancing and singing. Only bliss (ānanda) is the impetus of such dancing and singing. This ṇṛtya-gīta is also known as lāsya. Everyone danced and sang. Despite being full-bodied, Yaśodā also danced and rejoiced. All the devotees who have assembled here will also sing heartily and rejoice. I am not even in the position to stand [due to my advanced age], what to speak of singing and dancing?
MAKING EVERYONE BLISSFUL
Madhavpriyā Prabhu: You are singing indeed. Whatever you speak is equivalent to singing and your heart is eternally saturated with so much bliss that that bliss itself will make everyone blissful. [Applause by the devotees]
Śrīla Mahārāja: So, our prabhu [Madhavpriyā Prabhu] will explain now to everybody. I will not waste more time. It is beyond my capacity [to remain seated in such a health condition]. Today is a special tithi; it will amount to an offence if nothing is spoken about its glories [hence I spoke a few words]. It is also the appearance day of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja. Please remember his glories as well.
[Śrīla Mahārāja then concluded by jubilantly initiating the singing of 'hāti ghodā pālakhi jai kanhnaiyā lāla ki’ as is traditionally sung on Nandotsava, while all the devotees responded in unison.]
hāti ghodā pālakhi jai kanhnaiyā lāla ki!
nanda ke ānanda bhayo jai kanhnaiyā lāla ki!