RADHA: THE PERSON
Radhastami Celebrated on September 9th
Radhastami is celebrated on September 9th in the West. There is a special celebration at some temples, mandirs and yoga studios, but certainly not at all of them. Every temple and mandir should be celebrating Her greatness.
Pandit Tootaram Doobay of Minnesota always said it best when he said, "Radha-Krishna." The female energy runs the Universe, so the consort's name is always named first. We all come out of our mother's womb first and see her first. The Mother is the Creatrix of the Universe.
So what about Radha as a person and a gopi? She is an avatar, a manifestation or incarnation of the Divine Mother. Krishna's incarnation was not complete until Radha appeared two weeks after his appearance on the Earth plane. She is mentioned in the sacred texts Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Garga Samhita and Brihad Gautamiya. She is also mentioned in the poem, Gita Govinda. She is called Radharani and is one of the most significant manifestations of Mother Lakshmi. Radharani is a title which means Queen of Vrindavan.
Radha first appeared on a half moon of Badhra in either Barsana or Rawal, villages eight kilometers from Vrindavan. Her earthly father, King Vrishabhanu discovered Her on a lily pad when he was bathing in the Yamuna River. Her mother was Queen Kirtida or Kalavati. So Radha was a princess and Krishna was a prince. Radha's love was the highest form of love because it was unconditional and eternal. She was a highly gifted singer and musician and is called Gandharvi. This is one of her attributes. It's through Radha that we can connect with Krishna. It was Krishna's flute which attracted Radha to Krishna. She is called the Enchanter of Krishna. One of Her most important names is Mother Hara. In the vocative this is Hare. She is; therefore, named in the Maha Mantra along with Rama and Krishna. She is the female aspect or energy of Krishna.
Krishna was young when he left Vrindavan to battle the evil Kamsa, so he said goodbye to Radha and all the rest of the gopis and devotees of Vrindavan on a moment's notice. As a gift to Radha, Krishna gave Her His flute. It is believed that all the wives of Krishna are expansions of Radha, His eternal consort. Some sources say that She married Krishna, but others say that Her love was the highest form of love because it was love that existed even through separation physically from Krishna.
Some traditions say she first met Krishna as a baby when Her parents visited the home of Nanda and Jashoda. Krishna pulled Himself up into the cradle and looked in at Radha. There is a tradition which says She first opened Her eyes when She met Krishna. Another story on their meeting is very different. She met him when there was a storm brewing. His father asked Her to stay with Krishna until he could come back. Nanda had to bring the cows home to safety. These cows were their livelihood. Nanda was taking a long time coming back, so Radha brought Krishna home to Nanda and Jashoda. This was the beginning of Her relationship with Krishna on Earth.
Some traditions say that She was forced to marry another man; however, it was Krishna whom She truly loved. It is through devotion to Radha that one can understand and reach Krishna. Here is one of Krishna's comments about Her, "Although the effulgence of the moon is brilliant initially at night, in the daytime it fades away. Similarly, although the lotus is beautiful during the daytime, at night it closes. But, O My friend, the face of My most dear Srimata Radharani is always bright and beautiful, both day and night. Therefore, to what can Her face be compared?"
It turned out that Radha was with Krishna every evening after She helped Nanda out when he had to bring the cows home in storm. She heard His flute because before Her incarnation with Krishna He played the flute for Her in Heaven. He recreated this scene when he was waiting with Her during the storm. Brahma appeared especially just to see them together on Earth. Afterwards She heard an inner voice telling Her to bring Krishna back to Vrindavan. A promise was given to Her that She would see Krishna every evening that He was in Vrindavan playing His flute and this happened every evening until He left to defeat Kamsa. Now Radha and Krishna are eternally together in Heaven. Honor Radha today. She had the highest devotion of all!
JAI SHRI RADHA-KRISHNA! JAI SHRI RADHASTAMI! JAI SHRI MA!