Since every pastime of Bhagavan Sri Krishna is eternal, in some other universe Radha-kunda will appear at midnight on Chaitra Purnima (March 26, 2018) before the amazed eyes of Radhika-Shyama, and all their dearest sakhi/manjaris.
Sri Jiva Goswamipada proves that Chaitra Purnima (March 31, 2018), is the real and actual appearance day of Sri Radha-kunda in his tika (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.45.3): “Bhagavan Sri Krishna killed Arishta on the full moon day of Caitra month (caitra-paurnamasyam arishta-vadhah) when Krishna was eleven [and then Radha-Krishna manifested Shyama-kunda and Radha-kunda].” That wonderful appearance lila, described in the Vishnu Purana, will conclude this article.
In other words, the actual appearance day of Sri Radha-kunda is Chaitra Purnima at midnight. I know a few bhavuka bhaktas that celebrate this wonderful lila every year on Caitra Purnima with puja and a midnight bath in Sri Kunda. So why don’t you too please attend!
So what about the Radha Kunda Bahulastami midnight snana in Kattika month? Is this a required niyama for Gaudiya Vaisnavas? The answer is ABSOLUTELY NO!!!
Why? Because No Gaudiya Vaisnava granthas or Acharya mahajanas mention midnight bathing in Karttika. Nevertheless, Gaudiya Vaisnavas must and DO take bath on the DAY of Kattika Bahulastami to honor Karttiki-devi Srimati Radharani, Radha Kunda, Sri Rupa Goswamipada, and the Padma Purana. The proof or praman for the necessary daytime snana is this:
In his Mathura Mahatyam, Sri Rupa Gosvami quotes the Padma Purana Karttika Mahatmya (v. 420):
govardhane girau ramye, radha kundam priyam hareh
karttike bahulashtamyam, tatra snatva hareh priyah
“Near the delightful Mount Govardhana is Sri Hari”s beloved Radha-kunda. One who bathes in Radha-kunda on the DAY OF Bahulastami (Karttika krsna paksa) will become dear to Sri Hari.”
Certainly Gaudiya Vaisnavas want to become dear to Sri Hari, and especially dear to His most beloved Haripriya Swamini Sri Radhe, so they will all bathe in Radha Kunda on this auspicious, transcendental day.
Karunamayi Prema pradata Srimati Radharani is compassionately bestowing “DOUBLE MERCY TO GAUDIYAS” because we get to worship Sri Radha as Sri Radha Kunda by taking at least TWO YEARLY BATHS: 1. Chaitra Purnima MIDNIGHT Snana on Radha Kunda Appearance Day and; 2. Karttika Bahulastami DAYTIME snana.
So why do lacs of people take Radha-kunda bath on Bahulastami midnight? Barren North Indian married couples worship a local fertility devata named Ahouri in hopes of getting a child. The puja rites prescribe many things culminating with a midnight bath in Radha-kunda.
For Gaudiya Vaisnavas, Bahulastami is also significant. In 1515, Sri Chaitanya came to Vraja Mandala. Mahaprabhu visited all the tirthas in Mathura, the 12 forests of Vrindavana, Nandgrama, Pavana Sarovar, and did Govardhana Parikrama just at the beginning of Karttika month. On Karttika “Bahulastami”, Sriman Mahaprabhu DISCOVERED RADHA KUNDA.
This fact has been established by hundreds of years of sadhu/mahajana vani, and the histories told by the Vrajavasis (loka grantheshu vividheshu/”radha-krsna ganoddesh dipika” v. 4, Sri Rupa Goswamipada)
It seems that over time, the Gaudiya’s daytime Bahulastami snana merged with the grhasta’s midnight in Radha-kunda, resulting in Gaudiyas thinking that they are bathing at midnight to celebrate the appearance of Radha-kunda.
This idea is absolutely incorrect. Because of personal concerns, seasonal conveniences, and most importantly the time factor, the truth concerning various events, especially religious celebrations becomes covered and lost.
Surely, during the time of Sri Jiva Goswamipada (15-16th century) and up to the 17th century with Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti, all Gaudiya Vaisnavas observed the real and true Radha Kunda Appearance Day by bathing in Radha Kunda at midnight on Chaitra Purnima.
But as was say the time factor, the mixing of different local religious rituals, and Karttika Yatri concerns have distorted the truth and caused confusion among most Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Now is the time for the sunlight of our Gaudiya shastra siddhanta to shine through the dense cloud covering of time, distortion and misconception.
So anyone who can walk, drive or fly, we humbly beg you to come ti Govardhana Maharaja for a holy Midnight dip in Sri Radha-kunda Dhama under the Vasanta rasa-filled full moon night of Caitra TO REJOICE OVER THE ACTUAL APPEARANCE DAY OF SRI RADHA KUNDA!
Radha Kunda Appearance Lila: SRI VISHNU PURANA
In his Sarartha Darshini tikas (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.36.16) Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti quotes the Radha-kunda appearance pastime from Vishnu Purana, which describes a joking conversation between Radha-Madhava after Krishna killed the Arishta demon bull on Chaitra Purnima during ardha pradosh kala i.e. about 9:30 p.m.
Vishnu Purana: “The innocent young gopis say, “Ah, Krishna, don”t touch us now, O killer of a bull! Alas, even though Arishta was a terrible demon, still he was posing as a bull, who represents dharma, so You will have to undergo atonement, just as Lord Indra did after killing Vrtrasura. But how can You purify Yourself without going to the trouble of visiting every single holy place in the three worlds?”
Krishna: “Why should I have to wander throughout the entire universe? I will immediately summon all the countless pilgrimage places here and take My bath in them. Just watch!” With this, Sri Mukunda strikes His left heel on the ground.
Then Krishna says, “Just see sakhis! The Patala Ganga has come!” Then all the holy places magically manifest before Mukunda.
Proudly, Priyatama says, “O gopis, just see all the holy places are now here!”
Gopis: “No, we don”t see any holy places. What are You talking about anyway.”
Then each holy tirtha joins their palms and proclaims: “I am the salt ocean.” “I am the ocean of milk.” “I am the Amara-dirghika.” I am the river Shona. “I am the Sindhu. “I am the Tamraparni. “I am the holy place Pushkara.” “I am the river Sarasvati.”“ And we are the Godavari, Yamuna and Reva rivers and the triveni of Prayaga. Just see our waters!” ”
Sri Krishna then takes a “purifying bath” in all those tirtha waters while arrogantly taunting the gopis: “Bho, bho sakhis! I have produced a pond containing all the holy places, whereas you gopis have never done any pious acts to please Brahmaji”
Sri Radha boldly replies, “Just watch Shyamasundara! I will create an even more beautiful pond than Yours. Turning to Her confidantes, Radhika says, “Hey Sakhis! Get to work!”
In a ditch created by the hooves of the huge asura, the gopis start digging a kunda with their golden kankana, bangles. Within an hour, the expert damsels of Vraja manifest a most majestic and beautiful divine kunda.
Completely astonished at their feat, Sri Krishna says, “O Priyaji! You and Your sakhis can fill Your lake with the holy waters of mine.”
“NO! NO! NO! Impossible”, replies Radharani, “We will not even touch, what to speak about taking Your water which is completely contaminated with Your terrible sin of killing a cow. I have unlimited sakhis who can easily bring billions of pots of pure water from Manasi Ganga. And thus the fame of My kunda i.e. Radha Kunda will be unequalled!”
Bhagavan Sri Krishna then gestures to a celestial representative of all the holy places gathered there. Arising from Shyama kunda, that devata bows to Vrshabhanunandini, and then prays to Swamini Radha with folded palms and tear-filled eyes:
“O Devi! Brahmaji, Shivaji and Lakshmi can never understand the fathomless depth of Your glories. Only Sri Krishna knows, and thus with His own hand He humbly wipes off the perspiration from Your face when You are tired. And Krishna always thrills in delight whenever He gets the chance to wash Your beautiful lotus feet and fasten Your ankle bells. In fact, Shyama feels supremely fortunate simply by touching the tips of Your toes.
“It is on Krishna’s command that we are now living in this lake created by one stroke of Krishna’s heel. Alas! The tree of our cherished desire will only bear fruit if You are pleased and grant us Your merciful glance!”
Sri Radha: “Well, then what do you want?”
In unison, all the sacred places plead, “Our lives will be successful if we can come and fill the wonderful lake You have manifested. This is the only benediction we desire.”
Casting a side-long glance toward Shyama, Srimati Radharani replies to the sacred celestials: “Oh, certainly, please come!”
Then all the holy rivers and lakes collected in Sri Shyama-kunda forcibly break the boundary separating the two kunds so they can swiftly fill Sri Radha-kunda with their sanctifying waters.”
Sri Hari: “O Priyatama! On earth and throughout the universe, Your Radha-kunda will become supremely more famous than Mine! And I will personally come here daily to bathe and enjoy water pastimes with You and all My preyasis. Indeed, Your beautiful Sri Kunda is as dear to Me as You!”
Srimati Radharani: “O Prana Priyatama! I don”t even care if You vanquish hundreds of Arishtas here, Still I will come here every day and bathe in Your Krishna Kunda i.e. Shyama Kunda.
“Furthermore, I proclaim forevermore that anyone who has intense devotion for My Sri Kunda, and then bathes or resides here, he or she will surely become very dear to Me.”
Then that very night [Caitra Purnima], Sri Krishna and the Vraja-gopis happily bathe, laugh, splash and play in Shyama-Radha Kundas. Afterwards, They all dance and spin, thrill and rejoice in Their Vasanta Purnima maha rasotsavam on the banks of Radha-kunda.
At that astonishing and most auspicious time, the lightning strike of Srimati hits the Krishna cloud to create a torrential downpour of blissful prema to flood the three worlds with Their playfully divine lila-rasa:
krishna ambudah maha rasa harsha varsha, sri radhika pravara vidyud,
trai lokya madhya vitati krta divya kirti! (Thus concludes Vishnu Purana)
Caitra Purnima Appearance Night of Radha-kunda ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!