The day was September 21st 2015. Radhashtami, one of the most auspicious days in the year, where the birth of Sri Radha Rani was celebrated in Madhurapuri Ashram. The Lord of the universe had just been born on the prior Ashtami on September 4th that year in the descending phase of the moon. The Divine Mother of the universe descended down on earth on the 8th day in the next ascending phase of the moon. While Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated everywhere in the world, Sri Radha’s life and birth is kept a big secret. The birth of Sri Radha chronicled in the Brahmanda Purana reveals that her parents Vrishabhanu and Kalavati chanted the Divine Mahamantra as a penance, upon the instructions of Goddess Devi. On this auspicious day, they found the little Radha in a box, descended on earth to answer all our prayers.
Houston Namadwaar was inaugurated in 2010 with the Divine Grace of Guru Maharaj, His Holiness Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. Mahamantra is being chanted in the prayer house every day since its inception. A penance in itself, unknown to even the people who chanted there. Many utsavs are celebrated here and on a monthly basis, there is a constant flow of Sadhus who visit Namadwaar from near and far.
In 2015, the devotees prayed to Sri Swamiji to bless Namadwaar with Yugala Vigrahams of Madhuri Sakhi sameta Sri Premika Varada Thakurji (The Divine Couple idols of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna). Swamiji very kindly consented to the request. He had said he himself will give us the moorthis (idols). On the last day of Brahmotsavam, Swamiji called me and said he had been busy and unable to give us the idols, but he would surely give it.
A week later, it was Radhashtami. Sri Swamiji celebrated that year’s Radhashtami in a very unique way. He rolled out two long white dhotis along the entire length of Bhagavata Bhavanam and by His own gentle hands laid the foot imprints using kumkum (vermillion) paste. He later did puja to the feet imprints that signified the walk of Sri Radha Devi into the ashram. Typically, Krishna’s feet imprints are drawn on the birth of Sri Krishna using white powder paste (as if Krishna stole butter, milk
and curd and walked all over the house with his feet wet with the stolen treasures). Here on Radhashtami, Swamiji had the bhaavam of Sri Radha walking in with kumkum on her Divine Feet.
Just as soon as the puja was over, a devotee of Swamiji came in with his newly born daughter and sought His blessings. No sooner than Sri Swamiji held the baby he was filled with bhaavam, and caressed the child as if Sri Radha herself was there that moment. A beautiful lullaby emerged from Swamiji at that time, ‘Vrishabhanu Kumari Jo Jo, Barsana Rani Jo Jo’, he himself becoming Vrishabhanu and the baby, Sri Radha.
That evening, when I went to the ashram to attend the Satsang, Swamiji felt bad that he still was unable to give us the yugalam for Houston Namadwaar. He continued to tell me the same thing multiple times within a couple of hours. As the evening Satsang wrapped up, I went near Swamiji to offer my pranams and taking leave of him as my return trip to Houston was later that night. Swamiji was overcome with compassion at that moment and asked one of his attendants to roll up the dhotis with the Divine Feet impressions of Sri Radha. He then placed it on my hand and said, ‘Radha herself is coming with you to Houston’! My joy knew no bounds as I prostrated time and again unable to comprehend the extent of love and compassion of Sri Swamiji and Sri RadhaDevi.
2 months later, on the day of Gopashtami, Sri Swamiji blessed Houston with the yugala idols of Sri Madhuri Sakhi sameta Sri Premika Varadan.
One day, while we were reminiscing the divine Leela of the arrival of Sri Radha Paadam and the Yugalam, a long-time devotee of Sri Swamiji mentioned to us that back in 2009 Swamiji has said casually that Radha Devi would first come to Houston, before the Divine Couple. Sweet divine providence it surely was, and sweeter was the leela that was played out for us to relish.
Today, these Divine Deities find their home in Houston Namadwaar where they continue to bless and answer the prayers of all those who enter the premises and chant the Mahamantra.
– Sriram Ramanujam, Houston TX