Hare Krishna has become one of those defining chants of our times, it rings as true in the alleys of Soho in London, as it does in the bylanes of Bombay. But have you ever wondered what ‘Hare’ means!? Well if you have, but never found out, you’re in luck! Hare represents the sacred feminine, a representation of Radha, and Krishna is the all-attractive one!
Krishna is incomplete without Radha, his eternal consort, and today is Radha Ashtami, Srimati Radha Rani’s birthday! Hailing from the neighbouring village of Barasana, she was devoted to Krishna ever since they were little children, even though she was slightly older than him.
Her father Vrishabhanu found her nestled in a beautiful lotus flower, in the Yamuna, and was immediately taken with the divine beauty of the little child. He brought her home, and together with his wife Kirtida, they brought her up with a lot of love and care. But they were a little alarmed, when even after a year, she didn’t open her eyes.
When Narad Muni visited Vrishabhanu, he shared his worry about his daughter with him. Now Narad being the celestial all-knowing being, advised him to organise a grand celebration and invite Nanda Maharaj with his family to the celebration. Nanda Maharaj came with Yashoda and his children Krishna and Balarama.
Whilst the elders were busy with the celebrations, unbeknownst to them, little Krishna, who was only a toddler, crawled towards Radha’s cot. No sooner than he peered in to look at her, did she open her little eyes and the very first sight she took in was the divine form of her beloved, Sri Krishna.
What followed was a childhood and adolescence of togetherness, where they were seldom apart even for a minute.. Whilst all of the Gopis were always enchanted by Krishna’s flute, and flocked around him, she was always his special Gopi.
And even though their love may not have materialised into marriage in worldly terms, even today, her name is always mentioned in the same breath as him. And, in the highest of all heavenly realms, Goloka Vrindavan, they reside together as the eternal cosmic couple! Hare Krishna!