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Radhastami

Radhastami is a Hindu holiday commemorating the birth anniversary of Goddess Radhika or Radha. She is Goddess Mahalakshmi. On this day she emerged from a lotus flower as the lover-consort of the lord Krishna

The Radharani was born on the 8th day (Ashtami) of the Shukla Paksha during the Bhadrapada month. She was found and picked up by the Vrishbhanu and Keerti from a pond in Barsana. Her eyes were closed since her birth and was opened when for the first time when Shri Krishna appeared in front of her.

Traditionally, followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism (ISKCON devotees) observe Radha Ashtami Vrat (fast). Devotees will follow a half-day fast on this day. Like Ekadashi, some devotees observe this fast for full day and some even without water. In ISKCON temples Mahabhishek of Radharani is done on this day.

Radhastami is ceremoniously celebrated in the Brij area. On Radhastami, Radha Krishna icons are traditionally dressed entirely in flowers. Additionally, Radhashtami is the only day on which devotees may receive darshan of Radha’s feet. On all other days, they remain covered. On Radhashtami day, a new outfit is offered to Srimati Radharani and the temple is lavishly decorated with flowers and garlands. Srimati Radharani’s glories are narrated in the morning Bhagavatam class. A maha-abhisheka is performed at noon with a variety of ingredients and many colorful flowers. Devotee men and women in the Deity kitchen an elaborate bhoga with more than 100 varieties along with many sweet dishes, pastries, and cakes. After the abhisheka, bhoga is offered and maha-arati is performed. Devotees fast till noon and enjoy a transcendental feast in the afternoon.

Devotees will fast until noon and sing devotional songs in praise of the divine couple and their pastimes. Then a feast is served, most often including the Radha Red — a spicy, plum chutney.

The mantras which are chanted on Radhashtami are; Aum Vrashbahnujaye Vidmahe, Krishnapriyaye Dheemahi Tanno Radha Prachodyat and Jai Jai Shree Radhe.

Also Read : Janmashthmati

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