In a previous article, The Many Meanings and Forms of Radha Madhava, we presented various historical and theological perspectives of the names of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, as well as the history of the large Radha Madhava/Ashta Sakhi murtis. Below is a short explanation by Bhavananda prabhu of the arrival of the original chota Radha Madhava deities to Mayapur, and some rare, never before seen photos. 2022 celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Their arrival.
“Chota Radha Madhava were the deities that traveled with Srila Prabhupada and used at various pandals. They were the deities to Whom he first sang and introduced the chanting of Jaya Radha Madhava before his classes. When They arrived in Mayapur with Prabhupada in 1972 they were simply placed on a small platform in the bhajan kutir and worshiped in a simple way. When Prabhupada departed from Mayapur after Gaura Purnima he left the deities with instructions to Jananivas prabhu to be Their pujari.
In 1973 the deities were moved to the new temple. The original ‘altar room’ was on the ground floor and served in that capacity from 1973 – 1986. The temple was aptly named by Srila Prabhupada as Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, the temple of the rising moon of Lord Caitanya – Mayapur Chandra. He had us print in large letters that name on the cement band which runs just beneath the external first floor balcony.”
From the Prabhupada Lilamrta by Satsvarupa Goswami
On the third morning after introducing Jaya Radha-Madhava, Prabhupada again sang it with the devotees responding. Then he began to explain it further. “Radha-Madhava”, he said, “have Their eternal loving pastimes in the groves of Vrndavana.”
He stopped speaking. His closed eyes flooded with tears, and he began gently rocking his head. His body trembled. Several minutes passed, and everyone in the room remained completely silent. Finally, he returned to external consciousness and said, “Now, just chant Hare Krishna.”
After this, the Radha-Krishna Deities of Gorakhpur became known as Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, and eventually made Their way to Mayapur.
Listen to the first chanting of Jaya Radha Madhava by Srila Prabhupada to chota Radha Madhava on February 11, 1971 in Gorakhpur, India, with his explanation of the meaning at the end.
The photos below represent a timeframe from 1972 – 1978, with the oldest being the first on the left taken in Srila Prabhupada’s bhajan kutir.
© Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. Used with permission.
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