Radhastami is a Vaisnava festival that commemorates the appearance day of Radha, the feminine aspect of the Divinity. This year Radhastami takes place on Monday, September 13, 2021.
In this article we suggest some ways to celebrate Radhastami and also discuss why Radha is so special to everyone who identifies as a devotee of Krishna.
Radhastami occurs each year exactly one fortnight (two weeks) after Sri Krishna Janmastami. Radha is celebrated throughout the Vedas as the most intimate servant of Lord Krishna. For example, the Gautamiya-tantra explains that She is the Supreme Goddess and the embodiment of Krishna’s internal, spiritual energy:
devī krsna-mayī proktā
kāntiḥ sammohinī parā
“The transcendental goddess Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the direct counterpart of Lord Śrī Krsna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord.”
The best way to observe Radhastami is to do some extra practices of bhakti-yoga, such as chanting Hare Krishna, reading the Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam, or visiting a temple of Radha and Krishna.
It’s also best to find other devotees of Krishna and do some of these practices together as a group. Everything is more fun with other people, including our spiritual practices. What’s more, when we’re with others, our bhakti practices are amplified. Radha and Krishna reciprocate more when we worship Them together with others. In Sanskrit, this is known as sankirtan, or collective glorification of God.
Unlike most other festival days and appearance days of Krishna and His great devotees, fasting is not recommended on Radhastami.
No one loves Krishna more than Srimati Radharani, and no one is a better servant of Krishna than She is. The Vedas provide a list of the twenty-five chief qualities that make Radharani so special:
- She is sweetness personified. Like Krishna, Radha’s mind and body are fully spiritual. She is always absorbed in Her service to Krishna. As a result, she exudes spiritual pleasure. Anyone who comes in contact with Radha or one of Her devotees can directly experience this.
- She is a fresh young girl. Radha’s original form is that of a cowherd girl. She exchanges many delightful pastimes with Krishna, who has the original form of a cowherd boy. In the realm of Goloka-Vrindavan in the spiritual world, which has a village-like atmosphere, Radha and Krishna frequently meet and share feelings and acts of love. To directly see and participate in such pastimes is the perfection of human life.
- Her eyes are always moving. She is always looking for Her beloved Krishna.
- She is always brightly smiling. She is always so happy and grateful to be able to serve Krishna. When She sees others engaged in Krishna’s service, Her happiness increases all the more.
- She possesses all auspicious marks on her body. Radha possesses the most perfect female form. As Krishna is the origin of male beauty, Radha is the origin of female beauty. Everything about Her body is auspicious, pure, and attractive.
- She can agitate Krishna by the flavor of Her person. The aroma of Her body, the sound of her voice, the taste of Her lips — all of these things give tremendous pleasure to Lord Krishna.
- She is expert in the art of singing. Radha sings beautifully. Sometimes when Krishna plays His transcendental flute, Radha accompanies Him by singing, and together they create such wondrous compositions that their friends and associates are mesmerized.
- She can speak very nicely and sweetly. She is adept with language and can charm anyone with Her words. Radha attracts and seduces Lord Krishna by Her speech.
- She is expert in presenting feminine attractions. Women have a way of getting what they want by leveraging their natural beauty and seductive powers. These abilities and powers find their origin in Sri Radhika.
- She is modest and gentle. Radha always thinks of Herself as a simple village girl. She is extremely caring and compassionate toward all living beings, including plants, animals, and insects.
- She is always very merciful. Out of Her oceanic love for Krishna, Radha always attempts to engage others in His service. Thus She shows mercy to everyone by giving them some service.
- She is transcendentally cunning. No one is better at thinking up new ways to please the mind and senses of Lord Krishna. Radha is so cunning she can even outsmart Krishna when She so desires.
- She knows how to dress nicely. A well-dressed woman is very attractive. Radha dresses Herself beautifully so as to bewilder and intoxicate the mind of Krishna.
- She is always shy. Although Radha is the most beautiful person, She never puts Herself forward before Her elders or in public. She is naturally shy, and this makes Her all the more attractive to Krishna.
- She is always respectful. By serving and respecting Her superiors, Radha receives their blessings for Her service to Krishna.
- She is always patient. When Krishna is absent, Radha experiences unimaginable distress, but She remains ever-patient, waiting until Her next opportunity to be with Him.
- She is very grave. Radha takes her service to Krishna very seriously. It is Her passion and obsession. She takes great care to fully utilize Her time and resources in His service, never wasting even a single moment on frivolous matters.
- She is enjoyed by Krishna. There is no person whom Krishna prefers over Radharani. In Her absence, Krishna feels Himself to be incomplete.
- She is situated on the highest devotional platform. Radha is the exemplar for all other devotees of Krishna. No one can match Her devotion, dedication, and expertise in serving Krishna.
- She is the abode of love of the residents of Gokula. The devotees in Gokula love Radharani almost as much as Krishna. This is because they know how dear She is to Him, and they greatly admire Her for Her matchless service. Furthermore, as the original divine energy of Krishna, whatever love anyone possesses for Him finds its source in Srimati Radhika.
- She can give shelter to all kinds of devotees. Radha is the ultimate origin of guru-tattva, or the principle of spiritual guidance that pervades the spiritual and material worlds. Whatever draws us closer to Krishna and inspires and enlightens us in His service is a manifestation of Sri Radha.
- She is always affectionate to superiors and inferiors. Actually Radha has no superior, but She is always deferential and respectful toward those devotees who play the roles of Her elders. She shows affection to Her juniors by permitting them to serve Krishna in Her company.
- She is always obliged by the dealings of Her associates. Whenever one of Her friends assists Her service to Krishna, Radha feels unlimitedly grateful.
- She is the greatest amongst Krishna’s girlfriends. Although Krishna is famous as being a loverboy who has millions of girlfriends, none of them bring as much pleasure to Him as Radha. Considering the intensity of Krishna’s love for Radha, His love for the other cowherd women of Vraja is not very significant.
- She always keeps Krishna under Her control. Radha is so pleasing to Krishna that She is able to bring Him under Her control by Her charming words and acts of service. However, She uses this power only to give Krishna greater and greater pleasure.