Radhashtami

 

 

 

RADHASHTAMI – APPEARANCE OF SRIMATI RADHIKA

From time immemorial, we are identified with a body.  It is because of this genuine reason we understand the term ‘love’ as the attraction of one body for another.  If one is spiritually trained, he goes little beyond this body consciousness and considers love as the attraction towards the noble qualities manifested in a particular body.  But even this understanding is not perfect as here also man depends on a body to express the noble qualities.  This is an inherent defect of human’s life!    

Was there a person in whom this divine value of love was fully manifest in its full perfection?

Yes, the scriptures say.

It was in Srimati Radharani.  It was in her the perfect ideal of love for Shri Krishna, completely unconscious of bodily and mental comforts, without least caring for social opinion, completely ignoring the prestige due to birth, family, good conduct and respectable position, was manifest.  No body in the world had ever experienced such a degree of perfect love and who so ever wished to have even a glimpse of it could do so only by the grace of her.

And the world was fortunate to have the incarnation of Radha along with Krishna in the holy person of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 A.D – 1533 A.D) to teach the humanity to transform the human love into divine love.  All the signs of pure love of Radha were present in Chaintaya’s body, though it was of a male one, thus proving that pure love is not of body consciousness. It was for the second time such a perfect manifestation of divine love was given to mankind.

 

The grace of the Lord upon the humanity often brings Him down to earth.  To demonstrate the divine virtue of pure love, Goddess Radhika once again appeared on the earth in the form of Rajput princess Mira Bai in the year 1498 A.D. “Mere to Giridhara Gopala doosro no koi – Now none else but my Giridhara Goapala can I claim as my own” were only the words coming out of every pore of her body all through her 50 years of life. Her life of pathos shall ever remain written on the temple of love. She lived on tears and she slept on tears.  That was her language of love.  In spite of her mental communion with her chosen lord, her loyalty towards her earthly husband and other members of her family was not least ignored.  Thus she was a perfect role model for the humanity in discharging one’s domestic and social duties, yet giving the mind to God.     

 

And again, for the third time, in the body of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna we have the record of manifestation of such a perfect divine love. When Sri Ramakrishna he wished to have the vision of Lord Krishna he underwent the discipline of ‘madhura bhava’ (the attitude of a woman towards her lover) in the year 1864.  He adorned himself with sari, bodice, artificial hair and a set of gold ornaments and merged his mind in the moods of the women of Vraja.  He lost the consciousness that he was a male person as every thought, word or movement of his became womanly.  He was in this mood continuously for 6 months.  The pangs of separation felt by Him for the vision of Lord Krishna were to the extent that drops of blood used to come out from every pore of His body. He realised that vision of Krishna was not possible without the grace of Radha and hence applied His mind on Her.  About His vision of Radha, He said, “Is it ever possible to describe the glory and sweetness of that incomparable, pure, bright form of Radha who renounced her all for the love of Krishna?  The splendour of her body was bright yellow like the pollens of Nagakesara flowers.”   After the vision of Radha, Ramakrishna began to realise Himself as Radharani and experienced ‘maha bhava’ the ultimate state of madhura bhava.    Maha bhava is a state of simultaneous experience of nineteen kinds of emotions. For an ordinary man, even whole life practice may not bring perfection even in a single emotion.  But in Ramakrishna all the nineteen emotions were present in its fullest perfection. Shortly after His vision of Radha, He had the vision of Shri Krishna also. It is to be remembered that in the year 1868 along with a group of 125 persons, Sri Ramakrishna undertook a pilgrimage to Vrindavan during which time He visited places like Radhakunda, Shyamakunda and the Govardhan hill and underwent ecstatic experiences.   

 

 

A true lover does not mind any of his personal distress.  His only wish is the happiness of his beloved.  Radhika’s only wish was the happiness of Krishna. She was of the view that if Krishna felt happiness in giving her distress, then that distress itself was the best of her happiness.  We see such a mental state in the life of Sri Sarada Devi.   Just 15 days after the Mahasamadhi of Sri Ramakrishna, in Sep. 1886 Sri Sarada Devi undertook a pilgrimage and stayed in Vrindavan for a year.  As Radhika shed tears of love for Krishna, Mother Sarada also wept day in and day out upon the physical separation caused to her from the Master. It was during this stay she prayed at the temple of Sri Radharamana to make her free from finding fault with others. The boon that she got here became her last message which she gave to Mother of Annapurna.  Her last message – “My dear child, if you want peace of mind, do not see the faults of others; rather see your own faults.  Learn to make the whole world as your own; no one is a stranger to you.” – is the only solution to all our problems even today.  It was perhaps Radha’s unconditional love vibrating in the soils of holy Vrindavan that had made Mother Sarada to pray for this pure love upon the whole humanity. Mother has thus demonstrated the transformation of ‘love of God’ in to ‘love of God in men’.    

On the auspicious occasion of Sri Radhashtami observed throughout the country, especially in the North, we shall bring in to our hallowed memory the advent of Radha, a name familiar to every religious historian and devotee.

 

Authoritative texts on the life of Lord Krishna like Bhagavata Purana, or Vishnu Purana, or the great epic Mahabharatha does not make even a single reference about Radha. We get the following few details about Radhika as given in Padma Purana and Brahmavaivartakapurana:

  • Radha made her appearance at Rawal, near Barsana village of Vraj on a lotus flower in the Yamuna River on the eighth day in the bright half of the month of Bhadrapada (August-September).   This year it falls on Wednesday, the 15th September 2010. 
  • King Vrishabhanu found the girl baby on the waters of Yamuna River as King Janaka found Mother Sita on the earth while ploughing the land.  Vrishabhanu carried the girl baby and showed to his wife Kirtika.  The couple was sorrowful as the eyes of the child were not still opened.
  • After a year, Sage Narada comes to the house of King Vrishabhanu.
  • On the same occasion from Gokul, Yahodha comes to the house of Vrishbhanu along with the new born baby Krishna.  As soon as the baby Krishna was brought in front of the girl baby, she opened her eyes and child Krishna was the first person on whom her eyes fell upon. It is to be noted that Radhika was elder to Krishna by one year.  Though, Krishna Janmashtami comes before Radhashtami, the year of birth was not the same. It was after the birth of Radhika, Krishna was born. 
  • Sage Narada names the girl child as “Radha” since doing ‘aradhana’ to her beloved will only be her whole life mission.  The sage said that the name “Radha” denoted the promise of her lover Krishna. The moment Krishna would hear the sound ‘RA’ from anyone’s lips, he would grant them his supreme bhakti and the next moment when he would hear the sound ‘DHA’, Krishna would completely lose himself and become intoxicated in Radha-nama because of his great longing to hear the name of his beloved.
  • When Krishna was eight years old boy the famous play of Rasalila took place which is very touchingly described in the Rasa-Panchadhyayi of the Srimad Bhagavata. Let us become aware of the specific significance that is attached to the relationship between Sri Krishna and Radha, the supernatural love that operates in this mysterious relation between God and the world. The world is moved by love, which is the quintessence of God. The term ‘Love of God’ means two things.  Firstly it denotes the love that a devotee evinces in regard to God and secondly it is the love that God has for a devotee. Apart from the idea of male and female, there are other things by which we are bound to this earth, all of which are, as it were, chains with which we are bound to our own ideas. Our individual personalities and ideas have to be sacrificed before our all-loving God. This sacrifice of the human individuality is called Love of God. 
  • At the age of ten, Krishna leaves Vrindavan for Mathura.  Due to the curse of her brother Sridama, Radhika got separated from Krishna for 100 years and it was in Kurukshetra again she meets with Krishna. During her days of physical separation from her sweet heart Shri Krishna, Radhika was always in mental communion with Him.  It is said that once Srimati Radharani was inside a pitch dark room. On the ground there was water, pebbles, thorns etc.  Someone asked her what she was doing. Radharani replied: “…on the new moon day (Amavasya), how will I go in the forest to meet Krishna. If I go, may be these things disturb me in my service to Krishna. Therefore from now on I am practicing to walk on them.” Lord was often giving her darshan in His Narayana form, though not in Krishna form. 
  • Radha lived with her physical body for 125 years in Barsana some 5000 years ago but since then She has been gracing all the souls who ever had sought her pure love.

 

The degree of purity and perfection of Radhika’s love, though very for from us, still trying to understand and gain even a glimpse of it will do a lot for us individually and through us to the world at large. Baburam, one of the sixteen direct disciples of Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna shows us the way of such living.   Baburam Maharaj known for his childlike innocence was held by Sri Ramakrishna in a very high esteem.  In a divine vision, He had seen Baburam as a goddess with a necklace and told that Radhika, the Goddess of Pure Love, Herself was partially incarnated in Baburam.  It is because of this vision of Sri Ramakrishna, Narendra gave Baburam the name of Premananda, when all the disciples took formal initiation into Sannyasa. All through his life, Swami Premananda showed his inherent love towards all who ever came in touch with him. During holidays school / college students would come to meet Premanandaji Maharaj who would treat them like a mother. He would often write instructive letters to them.  Towards the young monks his affection had no limits.  He would say, “Be gentle first, if you desire to be a Sadhu!  By his loving appeals, he would implant the ideals of the Master and Swamiji in their hearts.  Even the Muslim women, who were strictly observing the rules of purdah, would come to him to listen to his words.  Till his last breath he used to advice – “Make the whole world your own through love.  Let there be none outside the pale, none your enemy. Let there be no egotism, and drive away such foreign ideas as enmity.  Let the whole world become one through love….Money can do nothing; it is love and character that can achieve everything.  Show it all by your actual life, and then will people listen to you.  Let the mouth be closed, and action peak.” Love and concern for the devotees did not leave him even during his fatal illness. A couple of days before his passing away, he called his attendant to his side and said, “Will you be able to serve the devotees?  Don’t forget to serve them.”   That was Premananda through whom the Goddess of pure and unconditional love reached the whole humanity. 

On this blissful occasion of Mother Radhika’s advent on the earth, I put forth my heartfelt prayers to make us worthy of receiving Her pure love in our lives.

Swami Nishthatmananda

Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama 

P.O.R.K.Ashram, Bela 

Muzaffarpur 843 116, Bihar, India

Phone: 91- 0621 – 2272127

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