Radha Ashtami is the birth anniversary of ‘Shri Radha Rani. She is an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Radha Ashtami falls on the eighth day of the Shukla Paksha during the month of ‘Bhadrapada. Radha Ashtami is also known as ‘Radha Jayanti.’ Devotees worship Goddess Radha with utmost devotion. The day also honors the selfless bond of love between Lord Krishna and Radha, a unique relationship between human and God. Special pujas and prayers are organized in Lord Krishna temples all over the country on the occasion of Radha Ashtami. The celebrations are even grand in Mathura, Vrindavan, and Barsana.
Significance of Radha Ashtami:
Radha Ashtami is a joyous occasion. Radha is individual soul, and Lord Krishna is the universal soul. Radha and Krishna exist together and are referred as ‘Radhakrishna. The observer of the Radha Ashtami Vrata will be blessed with a prosperous life. The person will overcome all the obstacles, attain the desires and salvation. It is believed that observing the Radha Ashtami Fast and worshiping Goddess Durga, can help to get rid of all your sins. Their minds will be cleared from negative thoughts, and they will attain spiritual bliss. According to Vedas and Puranas, Radhaji is also known as Krishna Vallabh. Lord Krishna was very fond of Radhaji. Lord Krishna’s worship is incomplete without Radha as she is the controller of Lord Krishna’s life.
Radha Ashtami is associated with the birth of Goddess Radha who was born as a daughter to Vrishbhanu Gop. Her mother’s name was Kirti. According to Padma Purana, King Vrishbhanu received Radhaji when he was cleaning the floor for organizing a Yagya. Vrishbhanu considered Radhaji as his daughter and took care of her. According to Padma Purana, before being born as Lord Krishna, Lord Vishnu asked his family members to come to Earth as incarnations. Hence, Goddess Laxmi incarnated as Radha. According to Brahma Purana, Radha was a friend to Lord Krishna. She was married to a Rapan.
Celebrations and Rituals:
Devotees wake up before sunrise and spend the day worshipping Goddess Radha. Some devotees observe a fast. Prayers are offered to Radha and Lord Krishna. The idol of Goddess Radha is bathed, and an Abhishek is performed with ‘Panchamrit. The idol is adorned with new clothes, jewelry, and flowers. The devotees offer Shringar, dhoop, and Bhog to Radhaji. Devotees recite names of Goddess Radha and chant ‘Radha Gayatri Mantra.’ According to Narad Purana, a person fasting on this day can get rid of all the sins.
In Barsana, the birthplace of Radha, taking a bath in the Radha Kund is strictly prohibited. On any other day, even chanting her name is not allowed as it is considered discourteous. But on the day of Radha Ashtami, the devotees need to wait to take a dip in the holy waters of Radha Kund. This day is celebrated at the temples of Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana, and Rawal. People from Goswami community celebrate this day in Radha Vallabh temple. This mixture of curd and Turmeric is thrown on the devotees. Bhog is offered to Radhaji once the temple doors are closed. Bhajan and kirtans are organized. In the end, an Aarti is performed.