“In the same Karnamrita there is another statement about the chanting of Radharani. It is said by one of the associates of Radharani: ‘O Lord Govinda, the girl who is the daughter of King Vrishabhanu is now shedding tears, and She is anxiously chanting Your holy name – Krishna! Krishna!’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 18)
Friend1: I particularly enjoy visiting a temple on Radhashtami day.
Friend2: Explain what that is.
Friend1: The appearance day anniversary for Shrimati Radharani. Something like a birthday, but more.
Friend2: And who is Radharani?
Friend1: She is the energy of God. The feminine side to the Divine. The Supreme is both male and female. Just as the two mix in this world to continue life, so the combination of male and female are responsible for the entire cosmic manifestation. The male is the enjoyer and the female the enjoyed.
Friend2: Who is the enjoyer?
Friend1: Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Friend2: What about Vishnu? Where does He fit into this?
Friend1: The same Almighty manifesting in different ways. You never lose the combination of male and female. Radha is with Krishna. Lakshmi Devi with Vishnu. Sita Devi with Rama. The energy on the right side of the image and the energetic on the left.
Friend2: Are we not the energy, too?
Friend1: A different category, but with a similar position of “enjoyed.” We think otherwise; that I am the greatest enjoyer, purusha. Actually, we are prakriti in comparison to the original purusha. That is what makes Radharani so special. She is the ideal companion to Krishna. She is the energy, but one that is completely pure in consciousness. She never falls into illusion, or maya. We have that vulnerability, but she does not.
Friend2: Why do you prefer her appearance day? What about Krishna’s? How about Diwali and other celebrations?
Friend1: On Janmashtami the temples get very crowded. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting down any of the other holidays on the Vaishnava calendar. To me there’s just something special with the energy of God. It’s like we almost prefer to celebrate her more.
Friend2: That is the mood in Vrindavana, which is a spiritual place. The residents tend to say, “Radhe, Radhe,” more than they do Krishna’s names.
Friend1: Speaking of names, I know that one of Radha’s other names is Vrishabhanu-suta.
Friend2: This means “daughter of King Vrishabhanu.” He lives in a town nearby Krishna’s Gokula. These are from the pastimes in the manifest world, which are described in sacred texts like the Puranas and derivative works by saints appearing in the disciplic succession.
Friend1: There is something to that bond between father and daughter. Vrishabhanu must be very special to have received the goddess of fortune in his family.
Friend2: Absolutely. That is one way to look positively on the birth of a female child. The daughter is an extension of Lakshmi Devi. In Vrishabhanu’s case it was Lakshmi herself in his home.
Friend1: What about the issue of separation? In Vedic culture that is of particular concern for the father of the bride. He knows that one day he will have to part ways with someone so dear to him. It is a kind of torture, if you think about it.
Friend2: How is that?
Friend1: You were going through life just fine prior. Then this amazing person appears. They give you more happiness than you ever imagined possible. But one day you will have to part ways. The responsible thing to do is to arrange for a marriage at the appropriate age.
Friend2: Ensure that the child is always protected. Rather than be selfish, think of the wellbeing of your dependent.
Friend1: It just seems unfair, the separation aspect.
Friend2: Sadly, separation is part of life. Fortunately, with the Supreme Lord and His energy you can always keep them close by. Upanayana is the formal ceremony marking the approach towards the representative of Radha and Krishna. The guru teaches how to maintain their association, to never feel like you are separated from them. The Radhashtami celebration is a tradition aimed at that purpose. We can remember the daughter of Vrishabhanu every single day through saying her names like Hare and Radhe, and also on the special occasions relating to her dealings with Krishna.
Baby arriving in home one day,
Daughter of Vrishabhanu to say.
Radhashtami the appearance celebrating,
Who of pure devotion demonstrating.
That eventual separation not fair,
Joy now but of future aware.
From guru approach technique learning,
That distance into closeness turning.