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Sri Radhashtami - Appearance of Srimati Radharani

The Birth of Srimati Radhika in Raval

In different kalpas (days of Brahma) Srimati Radharani appears in different ways. Gurudeva says that in this kalpa Radhaji was born in Raval. In Brahmanda Purana and in other Puranas it is written about the birth of Radha. So, Radhaji sometimes takes birth in Varshana, and in another kalpa, She is born from an egg or the fire. In this kalpa, Radha manifested here in Raval. Raval is more of a title, like how Vraja means chalan (moving).

And how do the Vrajavasis maintain themselves? By keeping cows. They nourish them, and the cows produce milk and butter. This is how they maintain their lives. When the grass for the cows is finished, they leave that place and go to another. Just like Gypsy people, who move from here to there, staying for a while in one place and then moving to another. Vrajavasis are nomads in this way.

So, Nanda Baba started to live in Nandagaon and Vrishabhanu Maharaja was in Varshana. Then, when Nandagaon and Varshana had less grass, they left there and went to Gokula. Тhey kept moving on— that is their culture. And when some demons came, like Keshi, Vrajavasis left Nandagaon and went to Gokula.

So in this kalpa, Krishna took birth in Gokula, and Nanda Maharaja held a festival for the birth of his son. Then, Shiva came to see Krishna. Narada Rishi also came to relish this lila of Krishna. And what did Narada do? He noticed that Krishna took birth in Gokula, and knew that where Krishna is, His hladini-shakti (bliss potency), Radha, must also be. So he went searching for Her.

Naradaji anxiously thought to himself, “Where is Radhika?” He went here and there and eventually arrived in Raval. Upon his arrival, mother Kirtida-sundari and Vrishabhanu Maharaja welcomed him in a very beautiful way. Because there is a tradition to give proper respect to a santa-mahatma (a saintly person). Whenever a santa-mahatma used to come, they performed much seva (service)— they had so much faith. So, Narada Rishi was thinking, “Ok, let me ask.” And he asked Vrishabhanu Maharaja, “Is there any girl in your house? Do you have a newborn baby?”

Beautiful Arrangement by Mother Earth

Very early that morning Vrishabhanu Maharaja had gone to the Yamuna river. During brahma-muhurta (auspicious period before sunrise), he went to take a bath there. At that time, Prithivi-devi came, and she had made that place very beautiful because Radharani was going to appear there. Yamuna’s waters were very nice and calm. Yamuna-devi was like a sixteen year old girl. For a few moments, the water even stopped moving. Gurudeva once said, “If you drop a coin in that water, you could see it at the bottom.”

Both banks of the river were lined with beautiful trees, and were decorated like brides and grooms. All sorts of trees that have fruits were there. The bananas on the banana trees were exquisite. The trees lowered their branches appearing like they were kissing the earth. When you see a house in the morning with a banana tree behind it, it is known to be auspicious. The mango trees were also very attractive with nectarine mangos hanging from them. And in this way, the trees sang and hugged Mother Earth. Prithivi-devi, aprakrita (transcendental) Vrinda-devi has decorated Yamuna’s banks with kadamba, tamal trees and different varieties of flowers. The blue water of Yamuna was so clear and a nice fragrance of agura, chandana and kumkuma was coming from it.

There were thousands of different birds who were cleaning their wings in the water. The birds were singing and exchanging their feelings with one another. The countless flowers were blossoming there, and they made the water of the Yamuna so fragrant. The huge trees on the bank of Yamuna also had many flowers, and the colours reminded one of Holi. There were no words to describe this beautiful arrangement. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, also known as Kamala Manjari, tells this lila.

At this time, Vrishabhanu Maharaja came to the river and bathed three times. When he came out of the water, he saw not so far in front of him, in the middle of the Yamuna, a nice lotus flower with thousands of petals. And there was a bright light on that lotus. Vrishabhanu Maharaja thought, “What am I seeing?” He took some water in his palms and splashed it on his eyes, and then he saw a divine girl. She was resting on the top of a lotus flower.

The baby had only one band on her waist, She had very big and bold eyes and bright red lips. And, She was innocently sucking Her toes. When Vrishabhanu Maharaja saw this, his heart melted. He approached that small girl and very carefully took Her in his arms, like he was taking a very soft lotus. ‘Tapta-kanchana-gaurangi’ - whose bodily complexion is like molten gold - was in his hands. Normally, you feel a slight burden when you carry a baby, but this baby girl had no weight. In this way, Vrishabhanu Maharaja held Her close to his heart. And thus, the moon of Srimati Radharani came up inside of him.

Vrishabhanu Maharaja had tears in his eyes and thought, “What am I seeing today? What has just happened?” He could not understand the change he felt while embracing the embodiment of mahabhava, Radharani. And upon seeing Her, he lost all energy and could not move. A short while later, by the mercy of Yogamaya, he managed to recover some strength in his body. He started walking and did pranamas for Radhaji. In this way, Vrishabhanu Maharaja developed so much love for Her. He then came home with the child, and offered the baby to Kirtida-devi, who felt so much bliss when she received the baby on her lap.

Arrival of Narada Rishi in Raval

When Kirtida-devi had baby Radha on her lap, she covered Her with her veil, hiding Her from evil eyes. After some time, Narada Rishi arrived and asked Vrishabhanu Maharaja, “Was there a child born in your house?” However, Vrishabhanu Maharaja said nothing because He felt that he had attained such special wealth. But because he was simple, he answered, “Yes”. Then Narada said, “Let me see.” What did Vrishabhanu Maharaja do? He brought his son Sridama and showed him to Naradaji. Narada Rishi said, “Do you have a girl?” Vrishabhanu Maharaja replied, “Yes.”

Then, he took the girl from the lap of Kirtida-devi and brought Her to Narada. He was thinking, “Maybe this santa-mahatma can bless my child, and he can free Her from sorrows and sickness so She will be happy. Also, He can perform svasti-vachana (auspicious mantras) and give Her blessings.”

Just like in Raksha Bandhan (a Hindu festival celebrating the relationship between brother and sister), they put a thread around the wrist of Srimati Radhika. What is the significance of this ritual? Bad spells or ghosts will not be able to catch you. This is why people wear this thread around their wrist. Every Vrajavasi has this, they bind it around their hand. Also, all the men in India have this thread around their hand.

Foreigners often ask, “What is this?” They laugh, but this is auspicious. Evil eyes will not come and you will not get any bad influences. So, this is why they keep that thread around their wrist. Ladies wear it on their left hand and males on their right. Thus, in this way, Vrishabhanu Maharaja wanted to do svasti-vachana for his daughter, to protect Her from bad influences.

When someone is eating in public, bad omens can influence him. That is why santa-mahatmas eat alone in a private place. So, you should hide your bhajana (spiritual practices) and bhojana (meal). How do you do harinama (chanting the holy names)? Do not show your mala (japa beads). How do you chant? My Gurudeva, Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja said, “Do not show your japa-mala to anyone. You should do it in a hidden way —Haribol Haribol!”

Sometimes people are chanting and showing their japa-mala when there are people around. But when people are gone, they stop chanting. They cannot finish one round even in seven days. Because when no one is there, they put their mala away. So, do bhajana and bhojana in a hidden way. You should not eat in front of everyone. Because people will say, “Oh, he is a sadhu (saintly person) and he is eating so much,” some people have bad vision. When mothers give milk to their babies, they do it in a hidden way because if they do it in public, a baby may start to vomit and the food of others will not be properly digested.

So Vrishabhanu Maharaja was thinking, “My divine daughter Radha is so beautiful. Her nose is so beautiful, Her body is so beautiful, like tapta kanchana - molten gold. She has to be covered with a veil, and also protected by Narada Rishi.” Naradaji agreed to perform svasti-vachana. He said, “Okay, do one thing. Please prepare all the ingredients for the ceremony.” And what was needed? Turmeric, rice, betel nut, etc— in all, you need twenty five different ingredients to perform svasti-vachana.

Now, Vrishabhanu Maharaja went to collect all of the ingredients, and left the child with Narada Rishi. He thought to himself, “If it was not for Narada, another person may have kidnapped Her.” These days you cannot trust many sadhus. They can take your child and go. However, Vrishabhanu Maharaja was simple and trusting of Narada Rishi, so he left the child with him.

Then, Lalita and the other seven sakhis (female friends of Radha) appeared. They manifested in front of Narada, and Srimati Radhika transformed into the form of a sixteen year old girl. Narada Rishi was seeing this, and tears flowed from his eyes. Whose heart would not melt when seeing this?

Lalita-devi said, “Oh, the sadhu has lost his mind.” Narada’s body, hands and feet were stunned in astonishment— he was like a statue. Lalita-sakhi said, “Sadhu, wake up!” Lalita-devi is like the boss. She continued, “Do what you have to do—your stutis (prayers and verses), do it quickly.” Then, Narada Rishi started to perform glorification of Srimati Radhika in the following way:

munīndra-vṛnda-vandite triloka-śoka-hāriṇi prasanna-vaktra-pańkaje nikuñja-bhū-vilāsini vrajendra-bhānu-nandini vrajendra-sūnu-sańgate kadā kariṣyasīha māḿ kṛpā-katākṣa-bhājanam?

Sri Radha-kripa-kstsksha-stava-raja (verse 1)

[O Srimati Radhika, who are glorified by great sages! O You who dispel the lamentation of the three worlds, whose lotus face blossoms with a humorous smile, and who sports in the kunjas (groves). O beloved daughter of King Vrishabhanu! O most near and dear to the son of the King of Vraja, when will You make me the recipient of Your merciful sidelong glance?]

Then moments later, Vrishabhanu Maharaja returned and Lalita, Vishakha and all of the sakhis disappeared. Srimati Radhika again became a baby girl. She was sucking Her toe and laughing. Vrishabhanu Maharaja saw this and became completely immersed in the ocean of divine love of bliss.

Narada Rishi did svasti-vachana. Those who have seen divya-darshana (divine look) of Sri Radharani cannot forget it. Narada Rishi said to Vrishabhanu Maharaja, “Your daughter is very beautiful. We shall name Her Radha.” All the people in Vraja say, “Radharani’s face is like the moon of Ashtami (eighth day of a fortnight).” Radha, there is so much anuraga in everyone’s heart when they see Her. At the name giving ceremony, astrologists give the name to a baby. The letter of the name depends on the location of the stars at the time of birth. So, She was given the name Radha.

“O Vrishabhanu Maharaja and Kirtida-sundari, from today your daughter’s name is Radha!”

Radhe Radhe Radhe jaya jaya jaya Sri Radhe!

Radharani ki jaya! Maharani ki jaya!

Bolo Radharani ki jaya!

Jaya jaya Sri Radhe!

Date: 17 September 2018 Location: Raval, India


Translator from Hindi: Ragalekha dasi (Holland) Transcriber: Sanatana dasa (USA) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA)

Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Proofreader: Achyuta-priya dasi (Brazil), Chandrika dasi (UK), Damodara dasa (UK) Art: Ananda-pradayini dasi (Russia)

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