Radha Ashtami is the festival ascribed to the incarnation of Sri Radha, the consort of Sri Krishna. It occurs on the Shukla Paksha Ashtami of Bhadra Padha month. For the Year 2021, it occurs on Tuesday, 14th September 2021. The exact duration of the Ashtami Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
The festival is also celebrated as Radha Jayanthi at Barsana, the birth place of Sri Radha Devi. Sri Radha Devi is considered as the manifestation of Sri Mahalakshmi. Sri Radha Devi is also referred to as Sri Radha Rani.
There are a few legends pertaining to the incarnation of Sri Radha Devi.
King Vrishabhanu and his queen Keerthida were pious couple. However, they were childless. One day, the king went to the Yamuna River on the half-moon night. When he was taking the dip in the river, he felt a golden aura around him. When he checked, he had found that the aura was emanating from a lotus and a girl child was sleeping on the lotus.
He took the child home and showed to his wife. The couple were elated that the God had blessed them with a child. Sage Narada had visited them then. On sighting the child, he told the proud parents that She was the incarnation of Sri Mahalakshmi.
The devotees raise early in the morning and prepare for Puja after bath. The idol / picture of Sri Radha Devi is kept in the Puja place. It is decked up with flowers. If the idol of Sri Radha Devi is kept, abhiskekam is done at noon time. Lamps and incense sticks are lit. Special Puja and archana are done to Sri Radha Devi and Sri Mahalakshmi.
The devotees observe fasting from sunrise to sunset. Fasting on this day is considered auspicious. Fasting and observing Radha Ashtami is believed to relieve the mind of all negative thoughts.
The festival is celebrated at Mathura and Vrindavan in a grand manner. At Barsana, the holy dip is taken in Radha Kund only after midnight.
Sri Radha Gayathri
ॐ व्रुषभानुजायै विद्महे क्रुष्णप्रियायै धीमहि तन्नो राधिका प्रचोदयात्
Om vruShabhaanujaayai vidhmahae kruShNapriyaayai Dheemahi thanno raaDhikaa prachodhayaath