Is it just coincidence that the day of divine love in Vraj: Basant Panchami and the day of temporal love in the mortal world: Valentine’s Day fall so near to each other? This year Basant Panchami (Maha Sud 5) was on the 31st of Jan and today, just a fortnight later you have the modern version.
I draw the parallel to put the bhav of the Basant Holi days into a modern perspective. But, that is where the similarity ends.
The channelization of the energy of love, towards Shri Krishna liberates you forever. On the other hand, attaching the same to more worldly objects keeps increasing your days in bondage.
Basant Panchami is the celebration of ‘Divine Desire’ flowing permanently and incessantly towards the Lord of Gokul, Shyam-sundar Shri Krishna.
The day signals the onset of the season of spring. Just as the flowers bloom so does the gopi’s longing for their beloved Madangopal.
As per the kirtans,
श्री पंचमी परम मंगल दिन, मदन महोत्सव आज…and आई ऋतु बसंत कि गोपिन कीयो श्रृंगार…
Basant Panchami is the most auspicious day, for it is the great festival of desire…the season of Basant has arrived and the gopis have dressed in all their finery for the darshan of their beloved.
According to Puranic literature ‘Madan’ is another name of Kamdev, the God of love. But for the residents of Vraj He ceased to exist the day Bhagwan Shivji reduced him to ashes for disturbing Him during meditation. The ruler of the hearts in Vraj is Shri Madanmohanji Shri Krishna. He alone is capable of giving and receiving the love that they seek. His swarup is,
कोटि कंदर्प लावण्यमय स्वरुप …One who is the abode of beauty of all Kamdevs combined
Meaning, in Him is vested all the beauty which we, due to our agyan, seek in worldly objects and beings. Shri Mahaprabhuji very clearly defines the meaning of ‘Kaam’ in relation to Pushtimarg as follows
If the love of the Lord of Gokul has been instilled in your hearts then tell me, how can any worldly object be of any importance to you
So, as we enjoy the days of Basant khel, applying chandan, choba, abeer & gulal to Shri Thakurji, remember, the energy of Love within us when converted to bhav has the power of delivering us to the feet of the One who is the abode of all beauty, Gopijan-Vallabh Shri Krishna.