Srimati Radharani is the eternal consort of Lord Krishna. Five thousand years ago, when Lord Krishna came to this planet to perform His pastimes, Srimati Radharani also appeared. This year we celebrate her appearance on September 22nd. This special day is known as Radhashtami. On this day only, one may take darshan of Srimati Radharani’s lotus feet, which are covered on all other days. The day of Radhastami is spent by the devotees in reading the transcendental pastimes of Radharani and her Gopi friends, and her lila pastimes in the groves of Vrndavana with Krsna.
The following is adapted from a lecture by His Holiness Varshana Swami:
“On a half-moon night in the month of Bhadra, King Vrishabhanu came to the Jamuna to bathe and found himself engulfed in a golden aura, the 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.
“Lord Krishna’s mother, Yashoda, heard that her best friend Kirtida had a baby, so she came to visit along with her husband and her son. Krishna crawled up to the cradle and pulled Himself up and looked in. At that moment, Srimati Radharani’s eyes fluttered and opened wide and blossomed like lotuses. It seems that she did not want to see anything of this world, only the form of Sri Krishna. Everyone was delighted.
“Srimati Radharani is the mother of the universe, the spiritual mother of all souls. And the concept of mother is the most sacred symbol – that of purity, selflessness, caring, sharing, nurturing, and love. That is why our sacred mantra is the holy names. It is the holy names in the vocative. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
“‘Hare’ means ‘Radhe.’ It is a plaintive, desperate cry for the mother. ‘Radhe! Please wake us up from this nightmare of mortal life! Remind us of the father we have forgotten and take us home!'”
Devotees carefully worship Srimati Radharani as the bestower of devotional service to Krishna, by attentively chanting her name in the maha-mantra, by worshiping her deity form, and by following the instructions of the most merciful Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the combined form of Radha and Krishna.
The complete conception of God includes God and His energies, which exist simultaneously with Him and are in a sense identical to Him. The sum of Krishna’s energies is Radha, His eternal consort. Like the sun and sunshine, Krishna and Radha are one.
Radha embodies the totality of love for Krishna. Thus She is known as the personification of Bhakti, or loving devotion to God.
Loving God is our natural state, now dormant. By Her pure example, Radha is the beacon calling everyone to re-awaken full love for Krishna. She also dispenses mercy to help us achieve that goal.
“Radharani is a tenderhearted feminine counterpart of the supreme whole, resembling the perfectional stage of the worldly feminine nature. Therefore, the mercy of Radharani is available very readily to the sincere devotees, and once She recommends such a devotee to Lord Krishna, the Lord at once accepts the devotee’s admittance into His association.” –Srila Prabhupada, Bhagavatam 2.3.23