tapta-kancana-gaurangi radhe vrndavanesvari
vrsabhanu-sute devi pranamami hari-priye
Translation: I offer my respects to Radharani whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the Queen of Vrndavana. You are the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, and You are very dear to Lord Krishna. (Sri Radha Pranama)
Srila Prabhupada’s Radhastami Lecture, Montreal August 30, 1968
“Krishna, everyone is trying to love Krishna, but Krishna is trying to love somebody. Now how great She is. Just try to understand. Everyone, the whole world, the whole universe, all living entities, they are trying to love Krishna, krsna-prema. Lord Caitanya describes, prema-pumartho mahan. And Rupa Gosvami described that ‘You are distributing krsna-prema.’ So krsna-prema is so valuable, but Krishna is after Radharani. Just see how Radharani is great. Just try to understand the greatness of Radharani. Therefore, She is so great, and we have to offer our respect.”
Who is Srimati Radharani?
Sri Krishna is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Similarly, Radharani is the source of all goddesses such as Laxmi, Rukmini and Satyabhama. She is the Supreme Godess. She serves the Supreme Lord with utmost devotion in both the material and spiritual world.
The highest truth has both male and female aspects. Like the sun and the sunshine, each gives meaning to the other. The male and female aspects of the Supreme Being appear together as Vishnu and Laksmi, Rama and Sita, and Krishna and Radharani.
In the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, God is both male and female. They are One, but Krishna expands into two, Himself and Radharani, for the sake of divine loving pastimes. If They remained as One, then there is no relationship, there are no pastimes, and there can be no dynamic exchange of love. (Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila, 4.55-56)
In the Brihad-Gautamiya Tantra, Radharani is described as follows:
devi krishna-mayi prokta radhika para-devata
sarva-lakshmi-mayi sarva kantih sammohini para
“The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord.”
Radharani’s Appearance Pastime
On Ashtami tithi of Bhadrapada month Vrishabhanu Maharaj went to take a dip at the pond during dawn which is known as Arunodaya Bela. There, he noticed a dazzling light. That gratifying light was pleasing to his eyes. When Sri Vrishabhanu went near that light, he saw those golden light rays coming from a glaring thousand petal lotus. When he went closer, he noticed that the sparkling light was not coming from that bright golden lotus. It was coming from the utmost beautiful girl present inside it.
Vrishabhanu Maharaj’s love was overflowing. Lord Brahma appeared at that time, and said, “You did severe penance in previous births to get the internal potency of Supreme Lord Krishna in the form of a daughter. Srimati Radharani is appearing as your daughter. So, you take Her to your house and do Her upbringing.”
On hearing this, Vrishabhanu Maharaj, being pleased, took her to his house. Mother Kirtida, the wife of Vrishabhanu Maharaj was very happy to see the baby. But they noticed that the girl neither opened her eyes nor spoke or listened to anything. They became worried.
Vrishabhanu Maharaj arranged a grand ceremony to celebrate the appearance of his daughter. People were playing instruments; All the guests were welcomed with scents, butter and mishri. People were singing songs, dancing, and wearing new dresses. Everyone came to get a glimpse of Vrishabhanu’s daughter. All the guests were served various delectable dishes. Lord Sri Krishna, Lord Balarama, Mother Yashoda, Nanda Baba and Mother Rohini were also present.
Lord Krishna Met Srimati Radharani
While everyone was busy with something or other, baby Krishna crawled and came near Radharani. With the support of the cot, he stood near Radharani and touched her. As soon as he touched Radharani with His sacred hands, Radharani opened her eyes and gazed lovingly at the beautiful face of Her beloved. She wanted Her first sight in this world to be Krishna’s charming form. For that reason She refused to open Her eyes until Krishna appeared at Her side. Vrishabhanu Maharaj and mother Kirtida were delighted that their daughter could suddenly see, speak and hear.
Conversation Between Lord Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani at Goloka Vrindavan Dham
Lord Sri Krishna said to Srimati Radharani, “It’s time to appear on the earth.” Srimati Radharani answered that, before she appears, Sri Vrindavan Dham, Giriraj Govardhan and Srimati Yamuna should be present. She further added, when she appears, she will open her eyes looking at the lotus face of Sri Krishna.
Adapted from a lecture by Srila Prabhupada given on Radhastami, the appearance anniversary of Srimati Radharani, on September 18, 1969, in London:
“Radharani is hari-priya, very dear to Krishna. So, if we approach Krishna through the mercy of Radharani, then it becomes very easy. If Radharani recommends that, “This devotee is very nice,” then Krishna immediately accepts, however foolish I may be. Because Radharani recommends it, Krishna accepts. Therefore, in Vrndavana you’ll find all the devotees chanting Radharani’s name more than Krishna’s. Wherever you’ll go, you’ll find the devotees addressing one another, “Jaya Radhe.” They are glorifying Radharani. They’re more interested in worshiping Her. This is because, however fallen I may be, if somehow or other I can please Radharani, then it is very easy for me to understand Krishna. Otherwise,
manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam kascid vetti mam tattvatah (Bhagavad-gita 7.3)
Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.
If you go by the speculative process to understand Krishna, it will take many, many lives. But if you take to devotional service and you just try to please Radharani, then Krishna will be gotten very easily, because Radharani can deliver Krishna. She is such a great devotee, the emblem of maha-bhagavata (topmost level of devotion to Krishna). Even Krishna Himself, though He says vedaham samatitani (“I know everything”) cannot understand Radharani’s quality. Radharani is so great. Actually, Krishna knows everything, and in order to understand Radharani, Krishna accepts the position of Radharani in order to understand Her potency. Krishna thought, “I am full. I am complete in every respect, but still, I want to understand Radharani. Why?” This propensity made Krishna obliged to accept the propensities of Radharani, to understand Krishna, Himself.
These are, of course, very transcendental topics. It is a great science. Only one who is advanced in Krishna consciousness and well conversant with the shastras can understand such things. But still, we can discuss from the shastra (scriptures). When Krishna wanted to understand Himself, He adopted the tendency of Srimati Radharani. And that is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna, but He has accepted the propensities of Radharani. As Radharani is always feeling separation from Krishna, similarly, in the position of Radharani, Lord Chaitanya was feeling separation from Krishna. That is the teaching of Lord Chaitanya – feelings of separation, not meeting. The process of devotional service taught by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His disciplic succession is how to feel separation from Krishna. And that is Radharani’s position: always feeling that separation.”
The Glory of Name ‘RADHA’
‘ra’ sabdoccaranad eva sphito bhavati madhavah
‘dha’ sabdoccarata pascad dhavatyeva sa-sambhramah
Translation: Simply by vibrating the sound ‘Ra’, Sri Krishna’s ecstatic jubilation fully blooms; simply upon hearing the sound ‘dha’, He chases after vibrator with great awe and reverence. (Brahma Vaivarta Purana)
‘ra’ sabdam kurvatas trasto dadami bhaktim uttamam
‘dha’ sabdam kurvatah pascat yami sravana lobhatah
Translation: (Lord Sri Krishna proclaims)- ”The moment I hear the sound ‘Ra’ from anyone’s lips, I grant them My supreme prema-bhakti. But the next moment when I hear the sound ‘dha’, I completely lose Myself and become intoxicated in Radha-nama. Because of My great longing to hear the name of My Beloved, I run after the devotees who chant Radha-nama.”
radhety evam ca samsiddha ra-karo dana-vacakah
dha nirvanam ca tad-datri tena radha prakirtita
The holy name of Radha is fully accomplished in perfection as follows: the syllable ‘Ra’ denotes dana, bestowal of a gift, and the syllable ‘dha’ indicates nirvana, liberation. Thus, She Who mercifully bestows liberation into the eternal kingdom of painlessness is called ‘Radha.’ (Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Sri Krishna-janma-khanda)
sa radheti sada hrdi sphuratu me vidya-para dvayaksara
Let the name of Sri Radha, in which the two divine syllables are embodied and which personifies para-vidya (the ultimate truth) eternally shine in my heart. (Radha-Rasa-Sudha-Nidhi 96 by Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati)
radheti me jivanam
Sri Radha and Radha alone or the nectarean name of Sri Radhe is my life breath. (Radha-Rasa-Sudha-Nidhi 97)
Devotees observe fasting till noon, dress their deities in new clothes, make delicious bhoga and offer them to the Lord, and perform sankirtana.
The main aim of our life is to surrender unto the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna’s lotus feet. Therefore, we should have dedication, concentration, determination to serve Lord Krishna and the best example is Srimati Radharani. Lord Sri Krishna himself came to this world 5000 years ago to show the love and devotion of Radharani to people. To spread it, Sri Krishna appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and propagated Harinaam sankirtana.
According to Srimad Bhagavatam, in Kaliyuga, the best and easiest way to uplift humankind is Harinaam sankirtan. There is nothing more important and influential than the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra.
So, let’s chant the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra on this Radha Ashtami to get the blessings of Srimati Radharani, whose heart is always overflowing with compassion and love for the suffering souls.
On the auspicious day of Radhastami we can chant these 108 beautiful names of Srimati Radharani and please the Divine couple Sri Sri Radha Krishna.