San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Radhastami: Appearance of Srimati Radharani
From ISKCON Houston:
The divine counterpart of Sri Krishna is known as Sri Radha. Together, according to the ancient Vaishnava tradition, this dual-gendered divinity is God-male and female dimensions of the Absolute Truth. Sri Radha is the complete energy, and Sri Krishna is the complete energetic source. They are nondifferent from each other, just as musk and its scent are forever merged, or as fire and heat are inseparable.
Radha and Krishna are one, yet They have assumed two separate forms to enjoy loving pastimes. Numerous theological texts explain how this is so, but most thorough are the writings of Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami, great masters in the Vaishnava tradition whose books have been translated and commented upon by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. To understand Sri Radha, then, English readers would do well to turn to Srila Prabhupada's books.
Of the many, many prayers offered to Srimati Radharani, the eternal consort of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, one goes thus:
tapta-kancana-gaurangi radhe vrndavanesvari
vrsabhanu-sute devi pranamami hari-priye
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 Krsna.
Srimati Radharani (or Radha, as most people affectionately call her) has a unique position: She is actually the controller of Krishna (who is in fact the Supreme Controller and who cannot be controlled by anyone) because of Her absolute and unalloyed love, devotion, service, and surrender to Him.
Being His closest and most intimate companion She has the ability to recommend the most fallen souls for liberation at His merciful feet. Lord Krishna is generally hard to approach directly even by the most accomplished of sages, as evidenced by verse 7.3 in the Bhagavad Gita, where Lord Krishna says
Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.
Luckily for us Srimati Radharani makes it very easy because Her infinite capacity for compassion for the worst of sinners helps ease the path. Therefore, it is sometimes said that Radharani is even more merciful than the Lord Himself.
In this age of kali Lord Krishna’s eternal wish to understand Radha’s love for Him came true when He appeared as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is none other than Krishna Himself but in the mood of Radharani. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exemplified love of Godhead by always being in the service of Lord Krishna by acting in the spirit of Radha’s service mood. He also preached the most important mantra – the Hare Krishna Mahamantra:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare!
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare!
The Mahamantra is to be understood as follows:
My dear Lord, and the spiritual energy of the Lord (Radha), kindly engage me in Your service. I am now embarrassed with this material world and the material service. Please engage me in Your service.
Here the devotee is crying out helplessly to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna and His internal energy Srimati Radharani to help release him from the mire and the wasteland that is this material world. Instead of chasing after wealth and other trappings of this maya-controlled world, which is full of misery and where everything is temporary, devotees of Radha-Krishna seek to serve eternally at Their sheltering and welcoming abode in Goloka-Vrindavana in the Spiritual Sky, where the sheer bliss of service cannot be matched by anything else, anywhere else in the entire Creation.
It is our duty to fall at Her lotus feet and seek the mercy of Her sublime and healing gaze. It also happens to be the only day of the year where Srimati Radharani’s feet are visible (all other days they are completely covered). This makes it all the more important that devotees make the trip to the temple and sing Her glories and enjoy the ecstasy that comes with worshipping the feet of the most munificent form of the Lord’s internal potency.
Please join in celebrating, meditating on, and trying to understand the significance of this extraordinary day at Hare Krishna Dham (1320 W 34th Street, Houston TX – 77018. www.iskconhouston.org , 713-686-4482) on the auspicious occasion of Radhastami on Thursday, September 12. The festivities start at 6:30pm and include an ecstatic kirtan, maha arati, discourse on Radharani’s glories and sumptuous prasadam feast.