- Religion and Philosophy»
RADHA & HER DEVOTION: A MODEL FOR SOCIAL ACTIVISTS
Radhastami Celebrated on August 29th
Radhastami is a beautiful story which I read every year at this time. The Appearance Day of Srimata Radharani is celebrated on August 29th this year. Radha appears two weeks after her consort, Krishna. This is the story of how Radha appeared on the Earth: "On a half-moon night in the month of Bhadra, King Vrishnabhanu came to the Yamuna to bathe and found himself engulfed in a golden aura of pure love. It was emanating from a lotus, which had a baby girl on its whorl." That baby girl was Radha. She is the Queen of inner qualities, abilities and virtues.
Radha's greatest virtue is her devotion to Krishna. She is a great model of devotion for us all and demonstrates to us what it takes to be a good social activist. Devotion is the key to accomplishing anything worthwhile. In order to be a good musician, you have to have devotion to practicing and improving your abilities. It is true that discipline is necessary to lead any social action. Devotion is one component of having discipline.
As Hindus we love ahimsa: first do no harm. We also love activism as Krishna implores us to act in the Bhagavad-Gita. We are not to be attached to inaction. We are encouraged to promote good karma through right action. This right action comes from devotion to our cause, so that justice and love will prevail in any situation. For some of us our love of humanity is the cause of our devotion. For others it is the love of the Divine within creation itself which motivates our activism. Some of us are devoted to Bhagwan (God) or the Mother and our activism springs from this devotion. Radha was the chief gopi and was a model of devotion to Krishna, who was an incarnation of the Divine Essence of the Universe called Vishnu. Her devotion to Krishna exceeded the love and devotion of even Krishna's wives. Many stories show how she excelled their devotion to Krishna.
Radha was Krishna's beloved in childhood and is eternally his consort. She is called Krishnamayi, the one who sees Krishna within and without. A person with this quality can experience divinity within, in creation and in others. When a person is devoted to service to humanity and creation, this individual is a devoted activist. My dharma is to love Mother Earth and bring service to Her in preserving Her beauty and wisdom. As a Creation Keeper I do whatever I can to uphold the creation. My social activism is often centered on reducing pollution, recycling and using no chemicals or pesticides which will harm Mother Earth, humans, animals, plants and trees. I have been given the condition of being environmentally sensitive in this life, so that I can understand Her pain and travail when people pollute Her rivers, forests, trees and skies. Every person has a life purpose (dharma) to fulfill. Many people are not even aware of what their life purpose is in this world. Some of us realize what it is when we reach middle age or when we become an elder.
If you meet someone on Earth Day, or some other auspicious day, this person will become part of your life purpose or dharma. That individual will be connected to your destiny in some way. The Mother has brought you together for this reason or for other reasons connected with your life purpose.
Radha's devotion to Krishna can be our inspiration when we are carrying out our social activism in the world. She had a great love for Krishna and others. She was a model for the gopis in how they were to be in the world. She is a model for us when we get discouraged in our daily lives and in our social activism. On Janastami, Krishna's Appearance Day, I was given an opportunity to protest the actions of the white supremacists in our country. On Radhastami I am being given another opportunity to meet with other activists and my Congressional Representative, so that we can develop a plan of action in our communities to bring more equality, liberty and justice for all. Another opportunity I have is connecting with my Minneapolis neighbors to elect a new mayor who is influenced by the philosophy of Gandhi. Everyone wants a better government, so we must work together to bring about a better government nationally and locally. In this process I have met some wonderful people with the same goals as Radha: devotion and love. Love takes many forms and in our social activism we will focus on the good of our communities and societies. Be an activist for love and devotion today! Happy Radhastami!
JAI SHRI RADHA! JAI SHRI KRISHNA! JAI SHRI MA!