Swami Haridas – Biography, Banke Bihari Ji Worship

Swami Haridas appeared in the 15th century during the time of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Rupa Goswami, Santana Goswami, Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu and Jahnva Maiya.

He is one of Rasika Trivenis of Vrindavan which includes three Rasika Vaishnavas Sevak Ji Maharaj, Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu and Swami Haridas.

He did his bhajan at Nidhivan for the major part of his life, and it is the same spot where Banke Bihari Ji appeared in his bhajan-sthali (which is still there). 

The deities of Bihari Ji appeared before Swami Haridas at Nidhivan in the 15th century. Swami Haridas is none other than Lalita Sakhi (in Goloka Vrindavan), one of asta-sakhis of Srimati Radharani and Krishna. There is still the prakat (appearance) place of Banke Bihari JI which is still worshipped at Nidhivan.

The followers of Swami Haridas address each other as "Kunj Bihari Sri Haridas" or simply "Sri Haridas"

How Banke Bihari Ji appeared before Swami Haridas?

Swami Haridas used to sing rasiya (divine and soulful) bhajan for the pleasure of Lord and wanted darshan of Srimati Radharani and Krishna at all times right before his eyes.

This darshan was not ordinary but he wanted his Radha and Krishna to be together in yugal form. Since the Divine Couple reciprocates as per the desire of the devotee, They mercifully merged together in the tribhanga (Banke or bent at three places) form and appeared before Swami Haridas as the deity of Banke Bihari Ji. 

Then onwards, until 1862, the deity of Bihari Ji was worshipped here itself until the Goswami family serving Him decided to build what is today called as Banke Bihari Ji Mandir.

Lalita Sakhi and Swami Haridas

In the nitya-lilas of Divine Couple Sri Radha and Sri Krishna, Swami Haridas is Lalita Sakhi, the chief of all gopis. She instructs and teaches all gopis and sakhis to offer the best seva (service) to Divine Couple. 

The asta-kaliya lilas of Divine Couple can be easily understood by taking shelter of Rasika Vaishnavas and their instructions of chanting the holy names of Lord.

Swami Haridas used to play his vina in the most beautiful tunes and classical style of music, which directly is his main seva of playing vina for the pleasure of Lordships as Lalita Sakhi in nitya-Golok Lila.

Tansen

Tansen, the famous musician and poet, and one of 9 navratanas in Akbar's court was a disciple of Swami Haridas. Tansen learnt music and devotion from Swami Haridas in early part of his life.

Meeting with Akbar

After hearing about Swami Haridas from Tansen, Akbar had an inner calling to listen to the transcendental voice and music of Swami Haridas. But Swami Haridas didn't sing for anybody except the Lord.

Akbar came with Tansen and was hiding in bush while Swami Haridas was singing for the Lordships. He was so moved that he went to him and fell on his feet.

Similar meetings of Akbar has also taken place with Srila Rupa Goswami and Meerabai.

Samadhi (Resting Place)

The resting place of Swami Haridas is at Nidhivan, and as somebody enters Nidhivan, the first small temple that comes in the way is the samadhi of Swami Haridas. He used to stay there and do his bhajan and it is the same place where the deity of Banke Bihari Ji appeared before him.

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