Radhashtami, the most auspicious of all days, celebrated
Radhashtami is the celebration of the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, the most beloved of Sri Krishna and His eternal consort. This year Radhastami was celebrated on 5 September 2011.
She appeared exactly two weeks after the appearance of Sri Krishna on the eighth day of the waning moon (ashtami). Srimati Radharani was found on a lotus flower by King Vrashabhanu and his wife Kirtida in Raval, a few miles away from Nandagrama. It is said that Srimati Radharani first opened Her eyes only when Sri Krishna appeared before Her. Until that time, Her eyes were closed.
Srimati Radharani is the ideal maha-bhagvat. As the greatest devotee, She is also the most compassionate. She is unable to bear the suffering of the souls trapped in the material world. When a soul starts to inquire about Krishna, Srimati Radharani is most pleased and takes charge of his devotional advancements. As one makes progress, one continues to invoke the mercy of Srimati Radharani and when She is pleased, Krishna is automatically pleased. Krishna is difficult to approach directly, but He is bhakta-vatsala, always eager to please His devotees. Thus the mood of a devotee is to invoke the compassion of Srimati Radharani Who then recommends the devotee to Sri Krishna. Since Krishna is easily pleased by Srimati Radharani, He then readily accepts the devotee in His service.
Srila Prabhupada also emphasizes this in his Radhashtami lecture in the year 1969. He mentions that we should approach Radharani and then we can get Krishna’s favor. “If we approach Krishna through Radharani, through Her mercy, then it become very easy. If Radharani recommend, “This devotee is very nice” then Krishna immediately accepts, however a fool I may be. Because it is recommended by Radharani, Krishna accepts. Therefore in Vrndavana you will find all the devotees, they are chanting more Radha’s name than Krishna’s. Wherever you go, you will find the devotees are addressing “Jaya Radhe”. You still will find in Vrndavana. They are glorifying Radharani. They are more interested in worshipping Radharani. Because however fallen I may be, if somewhere or another I can please Radharani then it’s very easy for me to understand Krishna.”
At ISKCON Juhu, the festivities began with Mangala arti when the assembled devotees caught the first glimpse of Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari on this most auspicious occasion of Radhashtami. As is the tradition, Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari were offered new outfits in the morning followed by flower outfits in the evening. These flower garments were lovingly prepared by several congregation ladies with much enthusiasm. The temple looked resplendent, decorated with beautiful multi colored flowers. The visitors looked intently at the beautiful forms of Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari in Their new outfits and flower dress.
The day saw spiritual discourses on the glories of Srimati Radharani, kirtans and bhajans, maha-abhishek, maha-arati and offering of hundreds of bhoga foodstuffs to Their Lordships. The special highlight of the day was a magnificent boat festival where the Utsav-murti of Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari were taken on a flower bedecked silver boat in the water filled, flowed decked temple courtyard.