According to the tradition, Radharani has unlimited numbers of sakhis or girlfriends. Just like a lotus flower has eight petals, so Varsana mountain is surrounded by eight villages where the eight principal sakhis took birth. These eight are called Radha’s prana-preshtha sakhis, or friends who are dearer than life itself to her. Of these, Lalita Devi is the most important, for she is Radharani’s guide in dealing with Krishna. Without her permission, Radha and Krishna cannot come together.
Lalita’s birthday marks the beginning of Radhastami festivities in the Varsana area.
Every year In the midst of the kirtan of “Radhe Radhe”, Lalita’s murti is bathing in nearly 50 kilograms of milk, ghee, yogurt and other ingredients. After the abhishek, the three murtis of Radha, Krishna and Lalita will be dressed in sparkling new clothes. They will then be placed on the altar, which will be elaborately decorated with flowers.
Many faithful devotees will be gathered there from near and far to watch the ceremony and afterwards relish the panchamrita prasad.
View of Lalita’s temple in Uncha Gaon from Varsana.
Photo by BB Govinda Swami.