(Last Updated on : 14/02/2014)
Radhastami is a significant festival celebrated by the devotees of Lord Krishna
to mark the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, the greatest devotee and consort of the Lord. It is celebrated exactly two weeks after Sri Krishna's appearance day. Radharani is also considered as the feminine aspect of absolute truth and the personification of Lord Krishna's energy. By tradition, the followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism
, a Vaishnava religious movement, observes a half day fast on Radhastami. However many strong devotees follow fast for the whole day and sometimes even without water just like Ekadashi
. For the followers of Nimbarki sampradaya also, this day is marked as an important one.
It is believed that Radharani was the best devotee of Lord Krishna and thus Lord loved her the most. Devotees on this festive day seek Lord Krishna's grace by praying to Radharani to grant them the devotion to her beloved. The belief prevails that if the devotees can attain her favour they would automatically be able to receive Lord Krishna's blessings. Some of the devotees also pray to Lord Krishna and seek his permission for approaching the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani. In this case the belief which persists is that if the Lord is satisfied with their prayers, Radharani would also be pleased rendering them the boon of pure devotion. Indian beliefs state that Sri Sri Radha
and Krishna are the eternal divine couple and are bound forever in a transcendental love for each other. The followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavas thus believe their worship as the goal of their life. A unique feature of these devotees is that they do not discuss this esoteric subject matter openly but on this occasion they essentially remind themselves of the sublime objective behind their religious practices.
Radhastami is celebrated in a grand manner in the Brij region of Uttar Pradesh
. As per the tradition, on this special occasion the idols of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna are completely dressed in flowers. On this day devotees also get a glimpse or 'darshan' of the lotus feet of Radharani, which remains covered on usual days. Fasting is generally observed till noon and devotional songs are sung in the honour of the divine couple. Finally a feast is served to the devotees, which especially includes scrumptious and spicy plum chutney, also referred as Radha Red. The special highlight of the occasion comprises a splendid boat ritual in which 'Utsav-murti' of Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari are taken in the temple courtyard on a silver boat with flower bedeck.