Radha Is Im­mor­talised At Navad­vipa, Maya­pur

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - AN EPIPHANY OF IDEAS - Rad­ha­p­ati Gopinath Das

Radha, Kr­ishna’s beloved, is known by many names. Out of their in­for­mal and in­ti­mate af­fec­tion, Kr­ishna bhak­tas of­ten ad­dress Rad­hika as ‘Barsanevaali’, ‘one who hails from Barsana’. She is also ‘Vran­da­vanesh­wari’, the con­troller of Vrin­da­van’.

In Anant Samhita, there is an in­ter­est­ing ac­count of a place which was per­son­ally cre­ated by Rad­hika. Shiva nar­rates this Di­vine lila to his eter­nal con­sort Par­vati, and tells her all about the ap­pear­ance of this place. Once, when Kr­ishna was en­joy­ing his time with Vi­raja-gopi in beau­ti­ful Vrin­da­vana, the moon-faced, doe-eyed Rad­hika rushed to the place where Kr­ishna was.

See­ing Rad­hika com­ing, Kr­ishna at once dis­ap­peared and Vi­raja trans­formed her­self into a river. Although she heard that Kr­ishna was with Vi­raja, when Radha went there she did not see Kr­ishna with Vi­raja. Rad­hika then en­tered the area be­tween the Ganga and Ya­muna rivers with her friends. There, Kr­ishna’s beau­ti­ful lover cre­ated a tran­scen­den­tal abode filled with vines, trees, and bum­ble­bees, deers and does, flow­ers and tulsi groves – a heav­enly abode where the Ganga and Ya­muna be­came like a moat, where, at her com­mand, the wa­ters and shores shone with great splen­dour, where spring­time and Ka­madeva eter­nally shine and where birds eter­nally sing the aus­pi­cious sounds “O Kr­ishna!”

There, the beau­ti­fully adorned Rad­hika be­gan to play sweet mu­sic on a flute and charmed the heart of Govinda. An en­chanted Kr­ishna ap­peared there and said to her, “O beloved, could any­one be as dear to me as you are? I will never leave you, not even for a sin­gle mo­ment. I will man­i­fest a new form here and en­joy new pas­times with you. My devo­tees will eter­nally pro­claim that this place is a new Vrin­da­vana, the Navad­vipa. By my or­der all holy places re­side here. O girl with the beau­ti­ful face, I will eter­nally stay with you here in this tran­scen­den­tal place that you have cre­ated to please me.”

Radha’s beloved Kr­ishna be­came one with Radha. In that form he stays in that place eter­nally. It was a merger of the dark-com­plex­ioned Kr­ishna and light-skinned Radha. Their friend Lalita left her form of a beau­ti­ful girl and, to serve them, ac­cepted a male form full of love for Lord Gaura. When Visakha and other gopis saw Lalita trans­formed in this way, they at once ac­cepted male forms. Then there was a great sound of “Jaya Gaura-Hari!” Devo­tees were call­ing Radha’s lover Gaura-Hari. Rad­hika is fair (gaura) and Kr­ishna is dark (hari). The merger ren­dered them Gaura-Hari. In Navad­vipa, Kr­ishna takes into his heart Radha, who is as grace­ful as a re­gal ele­phant, and he is happy to please her there.

Chai­tanya Ma­haprabhu in 1486, ap­peared in Navad­vipa and in­au­gu­rated the Sankir­tana Move­ment to in­un­date the world with the aus­pi­cious sound vi­bra­tions of the Hare Kr­ishna Ma­hamantra. At Maya­pur, Navad­vipa is also the world head­quar­ters of the In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety for Kr­ishna Con­scious­ness. When the founder-acharya of ISKCON, Bhak­tivedanta Swami Prab­hu­pada was in Maya­pur, Navad­vipa, he is said to have ex­claimed, “O, Maya­pur! Liv­ing and dy­ing is same in Maya­pur!”

To­day, Septem­ber 17, is cel­e­brated as Radha Ash­tami, the day of the aus­pi­cious ap­pear­ance of Sri­mati Rad­hika. This is an apt oc­ca­sion to med­i­tate on Navad­vipa, where she eter­nally re­sides, with Kr­ishna al­ways in her heart and mind. Ev­ery year, mil­lions of pil­grims throng Navad­vipa to ex­pe­ri­ence the bliss that trans­formed their beloved Barsanevaali.

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