Home

 

 


Meditations on Sri Radhashtami  

 

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

Narrated by Sri Siddha Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj of Govardhan

Two days before Radhashtami, on the sixth day of the light quarter of the month of Bhadra, Vrishabhanu Maharaj sends an invitation to Nanda Baba (Krishna’s father) at Nandishwara to come with his whole family and clan for the celebration of Sri Radhika’s birthday. Sridama, Sri Radhika’s elder brother, and Ishikanya deliver the inivitation.

The next day, after performing their daily morning-duties, Nanda Baba and his entire entourage, including Goshta Candra Sri Krishna, come to Vrishabhanupur (Barsana) on foot, with bullock-carts or in palanquins.

Hearing the musical instruments of their approaching guests resounding, Vrishabhanu Maharaj and his brothers and Mother Kirtida and her sisters-in-law are awaiting them. They welcome them with great affection and show the guests their quarters and take a meal with them. Sri Radhika and Her Yutheshwaris (group-leaders) cook rice, vegetables, puris, kheer and many other delicious dishes, and the pujari offers everything to Maharaj Vrishabhanu’s Narayana-deity.

After the pujari puts the deity to rest Sridama arranges for prasada  to be served on the courtyard of the palace and Sri Radhika starts quarreling sweetly with Her Yutheshwaris about who will serve first. With feigned anger Shyama-sakhi says to Sri Radhika: "It's Your father's invitation! What's it to us? You can serve first or not, whatever You like!"

Hearing this loving quarrel Mother Kirtida decides to make lines for serving, and every sakhi can serve her own line of guests. After eating, chewing betel leaves and washing their mouth, everyone lies down in his own guestroom.

On the pretext of picking flowers Sri Radhika then goes to Vilasa Kunja, which is situated west of Barsana, where She secretly meets Sri Shyamasundar.

After a brief meeting everyone returns to their own rooms. Then Sri Radha cooks something and takes that along for Her usual noontime meeting with Krishna at Sri Radha Kunda.

On the morning of Radhashtami-day, after performing their morning-duties, everyone assembles to witness Sri Radhika’s abhisheka (bathing ceremony). Sri Radhika wears a thin, white dress along with all Her usual ornaments for the abhisheka.

Musicians start playing their instruments and the maidservants bring all the paraphernalia for the bathing-ceremony.

Paunamasi devi chants mantras and Gargi (the daughter of the priest Gargamuni) starts the abhisheka. First she pours Maha-aushadi-water, water that contains many auspicious herbs, over Sri Radhika’s delectable limbs, then Pancha Gavya, five kinds of dairy-products, like milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, clarified butter and cow's urine, then a hundred jugs of clear water and finally she bathes Her with a conchshell that makes a thousand streams.

The maidservants dry Sri Radhika off with soft white towels and anoint Her with fragrant oils and catuh-sama (a blend of sandalpaste, vermilion, camphor and musk).

Then they take Her to Her Shringara Vedi (dais for ornamentation), dress Her in Her usual splendid blue sari and decorate Her with Her shimmering ornaments, the sixteen shringaras and twelve abharanas.

Gargi worships Sri Radhika with Dürva-grass (bright green grass which is highly auspicious) and wheat in her hand, and Paurnamasi devi offers Her brahminical blessings. After a maidservant has offered arati  to Sri Radhika, mother Yasoda blesses Her and presents Her with a jeweled necklace, clothes and ornaments. She also gives such presents to the Yutheshwaris. Then Sri Radha gives ornamented cows in charity.

Father Vrishabhanu also gives thousands of cows and calves. Sri Radhika offers Her obeisances unto all the superiors. After this Sri Krishna and His friends take a snack and Sri Radha and Her girlfriends and group leaders also take a snack. Sri Radhika then takes off Her ornaments and cooks Her own birthday-feast together with mother Rohini - sweet rice, savouries, rice and vegetables.

Meanwhile, hundreds of brahmanas are cooking another feast for all the villagers outside.
Compassionate Yasoda says to her friend Kirtida: "Sakhi! Your heart is so hard! You make Sri Radhika, who is as tender as a Sirisha-flower, cook so much! You don't have any love and affection! Just see how hot She feels from this hard labour on Her own birthday!"

Mother Kirtida replies: "Because Sri Radhika got the blessing that whatever She cooks would be more delicious than nectar, Vrishabhanu-baba wanted Nanda Maharaj and his family to savour this once. That's why Sri Radhika is cooking on this special occasion! O Queen of Vraja! Just see how nice Her preparations are!" Mother Rohini then shows mother Yasoda all the preparations Sri Radhika has cooked. Sri Radhika offers Her obeisances unto Yasoda rani’s feet and Yasoda blesses Her, saying: "O Radhe! Your preparations please my eyes with their form and my nose with their fragrance!"

Then Lalita and Shyamala come and offer their obeisance to mother Yasoda’s lotus feet and she then also affectionately praises and blesses them. Mother Rohini then says: "O Krishna-Janani, mother of Krishna! This Sri Radhika is a golden gem and Sri Krishna is a sapphire gem-stone! They are just like a couple of necklaces for the Vraja-Lakshmi (the goddess of Vraja's pastoral beauty)!"

Sri Radhika’s face blooms of shyness when She hears this. When Lalita and the other sakhis see this they rejoice. Sri Yasoda then orders some maidservants to prepare the offering for the deities and to fan Sri Radha to remove Her fatigue.

After this the pujari offers the bhoga and puts the deities to rest. (Meanwhile outside hundreds of brahmins have also completed their enormous cooking work). After this everyone dresses properly and, like on Krishna Janamashtami in Pavan Sarovara, proceed to Bhanukhora, the pond that lies east of Barsana, to play Dadhikaadaa, a festival of throwing butter, yoghurt and other dairy-products at each other, and splashing each other with water from different corners of the Khora - one ghata is reserved for men, one for women, one for girls and one for boys.

After this Maharaj Vrishabhanu and Kirtida Maharani present all the ladies and gentlemen with proper gifts of clothes and ornaments. Vrishabhanu baba first sumptuously feeds all thebrahmanas and then all other people, on a large courtyard. Everyone eats in supreme ecstasy, and after rinsing their mouths they take betel-leaves and take rest in their individual abodes.

In the inner chambers of the palace mother Kirtida and Sri Yasoda also feed all the ladies, after which they too take rest in their individual quarters.

After this Vrishabhanu maharaj generously gives clothes, ornaments and dakshina to the priests and brahmanas. Then everyone takes rest.

After taking some rest Sri Radhika goes picking flowers with Her girlfriends on the bank of Vilasa Kunja in the west of Barsana. While they depart the sakhis give a hint to Sri Krishna through the window.

Krishna then joins them at Vilasa Kunja, performs His amorous pastimes with Sri Radha there, and then everyone returns to their own room for taking some rest.

At night They perform the Rasa lila and recline in the kunja of Vishakha sakhi, because it is also her birthday on this day.

NANDA AND OTHERS TAKE LEAVE

In Vrishabhanupura on the ninth day (navami) of the lunar fortnight in the month of Bhadra Sri Radha, Sri Krishna and everyone else take their morning baths, dress, ornament and then take a snack.

After that, after Sri Radhika and Her assistants have completed their cooking work and the offering is done to the deities, everyone takes their meal in due order and take rest.

As in the previous day Sri Radha Krishna perform Yogapitha-pastimes and Their various other eternal pastimes such as wandering through the forest. Then, in the afternoon they return to Barsana where they all have a snack in due course.

After that Sri Nanda Maharaj and others take leave from Sri Vrishabhanu Maharaj in order to return home.

Sri Vrishabhanu Maharaj bids everyone goodbye after offering them suitable presents. Everyone then returns home in topmost bliss.

After this Sri Krishna’s cow-milking pastimes and others take place as usual in Nandgaon.

On this navami tithi,the Räsa and Shayana-lila take place at Sri Radha Kunda in the kunja of Champakalata sakhion the occasion of her birthday.

Jai Jai Sri Radhey !

Jai Guru !!