Srimati Radharani is Lord Krishna’s pleasure-giving potency and eternal consort. She is the foremost maha-bhagavata, the greatest devotee. Krishna is all-attractive, but Radharani is so great that she attracts even Krishna. Five thousand years ago, when Lord Krishna came to this planet to perform His pastimes, Srimati Radharani also appeared. Devotees celebrate her appearance on the eighth day of the bright moon in the month of Bhadra (usually in August or September, the solar calendar date varies). This special day is known as Radhashtami. The following is adapted from a lecture by His Holiness Varshana Swami:

“On a half-moon night in the month of Bhadra, King Vrishabhanu came to the Jamuna to bathe and found himself engulfed in a golden aura of pure love. It was emanating from a lotus, which had a baby girl standing on its whorl. When the king returned to his palace with the baby, Queen Kirtida was delighted. She was also shocked that the girl was blind.

“Lord Krishna’s mother, Yashoda, heard that her best friend Kirtida had a baby, so she came to visit along with her husband and her son. Krishna crawled up to the cradle and pulled Himself up and looked in. At that moment, Srimati Radharani’s eyes fluttered and opened wide and blossomed like lotuses. It seems that she did not want to see anything of this world, only the form of Sri Krishna. Everyone was delighted.

“Srimati Radharani is the mother of the universe, the spiritual mother of all souls. And the concept of mother is the most sacred symbol—that of purity, selflessness, caring, sharing, nurturing, and love. That is why our sacred mantra is the holy names.”

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Hare is the vocative form of Hara, another name of Radharani. This maha-mantra is a spiritual call for the Lord and His internal energy Hara to protect the conditioned soul, like the genuine cry of a child for its mother. Mother Hara helps the devotee achieve the grace of the Supreme Father, Hari or Krishna, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.

On Radhasthami day, devotees meditate on the exalted position of Srimati Radharani and offer prayers to her.

radhe vrindavaneshvari
vrishabhanu-sute devi
pranamami hari-priye

‘I offer my respects to Radharani, whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the queen of Vrindavan. You are the daughter of King Vrishabhanu, and You are very dear to Lord Krishna.’

Radharani is known as Hari-priya, ‘very dear to Krishna.’ Saintly persons advise that approaching Krishna becomes easy when done through the mercy of Radharani. If she recommends, ‘This devotee is very nice,’ then Krishna accepts such a person, despite their lack of other qualifications. Trying to understand God, Krishna by the speculative process may take many lifetimes. But if we take to devotional service and just try to please Radharani, Krishna will be obtained very easily.

In the Krishna consciousness movement, devotees carefully worship Srimati Radharani as the bestower of devotional service to Krishna, by attentively chanting Her name in the maha-mantra, and by worshiping Her deity form. They also serve Radharani by taking to heart the instructions of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the combined avatar of Radha-Krishna, to help the suffering souls of this world revive their relationship with Krishna and thus find eternal shelter and happiness. “Yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa,” whomever you meet, tell them about Krishna, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra and preaching the instructions of Krishna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. (Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 7.128)

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