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A Golden Aura of Pure Love
September 15 is Radhastami or Radha's Appearance Day. So Happy Radhastami! She is my favorite goddess. My first katha was on Radha, so my spiritual name, radhapriestess, was birthed into the world.
Radha was not born, nor did she die. She appeared because she is the consort, beloved of Krishna. She is his power, energy and Shakti. Krishna can not do anything without her. It is believed that she first appeared in either Barasana or Rawal, a village eight kilometers from Vrindavan. This is a story of her appearance on the Earth:
On a half-moon night of Bhadra, King Vrishnabanu came to the Jamuna to bathe and found himself engulfed in a golden aura of pure love. It was emanating from a lotus, which had a baby girl standing on its whorl. When the king returned to the palace with the baby, Queen Kirtida was delighted. She was also shocked that the girl was blind. Krishna's mother, Yashoda, heard that her friend, Kirtida, had a baby, so she came to visit along with her husband and son. Krishna crawled up to the cradle and pulled himself up and looked in. At that moment Srimata Radharani's eyes fluttered and opened wide and blossomed like lotuses.
Any time you see a lotus appearing in a story, it is the apperance of the Mother. My mother even sends me pictures of lotuses from time to time. She knows how much I love them. It reminds me of Radha.
In the Maha Mantra, also known as the Hare Krishna Mantra, "Hare" means "Radhe," a cry for Srimata Radharani. She is the Supreme Goddess, the one who enchants Krishna. Pandit Rajin Balgobind calls her the Guru to the gopis. She understands truth on a higher level than the rest of the gopis. You see this time and time again in the stories of Radha, Krishna and the gopis. She understands love is the supreme virtue and more powerful than any other virtue.
I will never forget how she appeared with Krishna in one of my dreams. It was such a powerful dream that its memory stays with me every day no matter what. That's the power of Radha, the feminine aspect of Krishna. Krishna is called the Lord of Love and Compassion. She is part of that understanding of life as love being the supreme virtue.
In the Madhava Krishna said this of Radha, "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 is through Radha that Krishna acts, so in Vrindavan devotees chant her name more than Krishna's. Radha had all the power to see. There are two reasons why she closed her eyes until Krishna was in her presence. First of all, she was telling every one: we are all blind until we can see God. The full incarnation is complete in Radha. Now we can see God clearly. Secondly, she was giving her mother a clue to who she was. It was her mother who notices that she is blind, not her father. Her mother will be her first teacher, Guru. It is important she knows right away her connection to Krishna. He is no ordinary man, as he is the full incarnation of the 8th and most perfect incarnation of Vishnu, the preserving aspect of God. Every one of us can tell stories of how our mothers noticed and sensed clues from our childhood which had to do with our destiny. My mother, as a child, even though she was not a Hindu, told me that Hinduism is a beautiful, peaceful religion. She has strong psychic abilities and must have sensed that I would be connected with it some day. It is also true that our mother sees us first when we are born and also sees us first as we truly are as a spiritual being. Radha is an incarnation of the Universal Mother. It is very important that her mother, an aspect of the Mother, sees her first as a spiritual being.
Radha is also mentioned in the Srimad Bhavagatam, Gita Govinda, Brahama Vaivarata Purana, Garga Samhita and Brihad Gautamiya Tantra. Barsana and Vrindavan have a large number of temples dedicated to both Radha and Krishna, including the Radhavallabh Temple, one of the most well known of the temples.
Radha said this of Krishna, "I have been constructed by someone out of half your body; therefore, there is not difference between us; and my heart is in you. Just as my Self, Atman, heart and life has been placed in you. So has your Self, heart and life have been placed in me."
She is the true model for all devotees because we are all beloveds of Krishna, just like Radha. Her unconditional love for Krishna is a model for all of us. Krishna does have an unconditional love for us, too. She had to let him go to do his tasks in the world. Her love was that great and unconditional. We can take that as a model of how we are to be in the world. Learning to let go and letting Krishna do his tasks in every situation is one of our greatest goals.
These are my three favorite stories of Radha and Krishna:
STORY OF THE LILA DANCE: In this story the Lord dances with all the gopis all at the same time. In the middle we see Radha and Krishna dancing together. Each of the gopis believe that he dances only with her. Krishna has a unique relationship with each of us, and we think he only dances with us; but he dances with everyone all at the same time.
STORY OF THE GOLDEN BALANCE: Krishna was placed on a golden balance. People placed all kinds of things on the opposite end of the balance. Nothing would balance with him until Radha threw her earring on the opposite end. It immediately balanced because she is his consort, his power and Shakti. She is the full incarnation of Krishna. I would have loved to see that scene!
STORY OF PAGWAH: Krishna threw colored paints at Radha at Pagwah. Radha threw them back. In a very playful spirit they had a great sense of joy and fun. We can take this as the kind of relationship that Krishna can have with all of us: joyful and playful. When we are creative, we see this side of Krishna. It shows that Krishna cherished his relationships with others. We all have relationships of many kinds. He did not separate himself from the world. He was very much a part of the world. Later Krishna did not live in ashram and forsake a householder's life. He was a householder with a family and wives. So let us play with the Lord like he has played with us. Pandit Doobay says that Krishna likes to play with us. Now I really believe it, going through all that I have in my life.
As a I shared with Pandit Rajin, chant Radha's name. She may appear to you in many wonderful ways: in a dream, a vision or in a person in your life. After all, Krishna always loved her best of all!
JAI SHRI RADHA! JAI SHRI KRISHNA!