Since every pastime of Bhagavan Sri Krishna is eternal, tonight in some other universe Radha-kunda will appear at midnight before the amazed eyes of the gopis and Vrajavasis.
Sri Sanatana Goswami proves that today is the appearance day of Sri Radha-kunda in his tika (SB 10.45.3): “Bhagavan Sri Krishna killed Arishta on the full moon day of Caitra month when Krishna was eleven.” Afterwards Radha-Krishna manifested Shyama-kunda and Radha-kunda. That wonderful appearance lila, as described in the Vishnu Purana, will conclude this article.
In other words, the actual appearance day/night of Sri Radha-kunda is tonight April 10th at midnight when the moon will be full. 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 what about Kattika month and the Bahulastami snana? Other than recommending daily or regular bathing in Radha-kunda, the six Goswamis only mention Karttika Bahulastami as one special day to bathe in Radha-kunda. Vrajavasis say that on this day, Krishna tested the saintliness of a cow named Bahula, and thus the Puranas recommend a holy dip in Radha-kunda on THIS DAY. Incidentally, the Vrindavana forest of Bahulavan is very close to Radha-kunda.
In his Mathura Mahatyam, Sri Rupa Gosvami, quoting the Puranas, says, “Anyone who ON THE DAY of Bahulastami (aka Karttika Krishna astami) bathes in Radha-kunda, that person will become very dear to Sri Hari.” Certainly all Gaudiya Vaisnavas want to become dear to Sri Hari, and dear to His dearest Haripriya Swamini Sri Radhe! Thus, they all try to honor this auspicious, transcendental day by bathing in Radha-kunda.
On Bahulastami evening, barren North Indian grhasta couples worship a fertility devi named Ahouri in hopes of getting a child. The puja rites culminate with a midnight bath in Radha-kunda. 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.
So if you’re near, come over to Govardhana for a holy dip in Sri Radha-kunda Dhama under the rasa-filled full moon night of Caitra TO REJOICE OVER THE ACTUAL APPEARANCE DAY OF SRI RADHA KUNDA!
Appearance of Sri Radha Kunda
In his Sarartha Darshini tikas (SB 10.36.16) Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti quotes the Radha-kunda appearance pastime from Vishnu Purana, describing a joking conversation between Radha-Madhava after Krishna had killed the Arishta demon bull.
“The innocent young gopis said, ‘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 at once bring all the countless pilgrimage places here and take My bath in them. Just watch!” With this, Lord Mukunda struck His left heel on the ground.
Then Krishna said, “Just see sakhis! This is the water of the Patala Ganga. And now, all holy places please come here!” Then all the holy places arrived before Sri Krishna.
Krishna proudly said, “O gopis, you see all the holy places!”
Vraja-gopis: “No, we don’t see them as You describe.”
Then those best of holy places, joining their palms in supplication, spoke up:
‘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 took a purifying bath, and then arrogantly said, “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 said boldly, “I must create an even more beautiful pond than His. Sakhis! Get to work!” In a ditch created by the hooves of the huge asura, the gopis started digging out a kunda with their golden kankana, bangles. Within an hour, the expert sakhis manifested a most majestic and beautiful divine kunda.
Completely astonished at their feat, Sri Krishna said, “O Priyaji! You and Your sakhis can fill Your lake with the holy waters of mine.”
“NO! NO! NO! Impossible”, said Radharani, “We cannot take Your water which is contaminated with the terrible sin of killing a cow. I have an unlimited number of sakhis who can easily bring billions of pots of pure water from Manasi Ganga. And thus the fame of My kunda will be unequalled!”
Bhagavan Sri Krishna then gestured to a celestial representative of all the holy places there. He arose from Krishna kunda, bowed to Vrshabhanunandini, and prayed 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 He humbly washes away Your perspiration 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 satisfying the tips Your toes of Your lotus feet.
“It is on Krishna’s command we have immediately come to live 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 said, “Our lives will be successful if we can come and fill the wonderful lake You have manifested. This is the only benediction we desire.”
With a side-long glance toward Shyama, Srimati Radharani replied to the sacred celestials: “Oh, certainly, please come!” Thus all the holy rivers and lakes in Sri Shyama-kunda forcibly broke through its boundary walls [at the Sangam} and swiftly filled Sri Radha-kunda with their waters.”
Sri Hari: “O Priyatama! Throughout the world and the universe, Your Radha-kunda will become supremly more famous than Mine! And I will come here every day 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! Even if You vanquish hundreds of Arishtas here, I will still come and bathe every day in Your Krishna Kunda.
Furthermore, I proclaim that in the future, anyone who has intense devotion for My Sri Kunda, who who bathes or resides here is sure to become very dear to Me.”
That night [Caitra Purnima], Sri Krishna and the Vraja-gopis enjoyed maha rasotsavam on the banks of Radha-kunda. The Krishna cloud combined with the lightning strike of Sri to cause a downpour of glee to flood the three worlds with their playfully divine lila, krishna ambudah maha rasa harsha varsha, sri radhika pravara vidyud, trai lokya madhya vitati krta divya kirti!
Caitra Purnima Appearance Night of Radha-kunda ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!