R adhastami is also the appearance day of Sri Visakha Devi -Srimati Radhika’s dearmost friend.Just prior to the annual Gaura Purnima festival of 1986, Srimati Visakha Devi, along with three other principle sakhis, was installed in the Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir and joined Sri Sri Radha Madhava on the altar. She stands directly next to Srimati Radharani.

Sri Visakha is the foremost gopi, along with Lalita devi, among the eight principle sakhis, or girlfriends, of Srimati Radhika. Visakha’s father is Pavana, her mother is Sudaksina and her husband is Vahika. Her complexion is vidyut, like lightning. She wears taravali cloth, which is patterned like clusters of stars. Her kunja (grove) is situated to the northeast of Sri Radha Kunda. It is megha or raincloud-like in colour, and everything within is coloured red, green, yellow and black. This grove is named Visakhananda.

 

Visakha Devi’s favourite instrument is the mrdanga, and her favourite tune is raga Saranga.  She renders the special service of vastralankara or arranging for the clothing and ornamentation of the Divine Couple. In Mayapur, she can be seen offering a chamara whisk to the Divine couple. Being born on the same day, she is exactly the same age as Srimati Radharani, being eternally fourteen years, two months and fifteen days old.

 

Her mood is called svadhina-bhartrka, which is the mood of a heroine who controls her beloved but in a soft and gentle way. Unlike Lalita Devi, Sri Visakha has a different way of dealing with Sri Madhava when He acts in a contrary way. Her temperament is adhika-madhya, moderately exalted.

Visakha Devi is very learned in many branches of knowledge, just like her scholarly father. She is a wise counselor and a diplomat in loving affairs, and is very expert at joking.  She is expert at making different arrangements for the Divine Couple to meet and experience different mellows of love. She skillfully paints flower and leaf designs on the divine forms of Srimati Radhika and Sri Madhava, and makes different kinds of crowns for Them out of flower garlands.

Along with personally embroidering Sri Sri Radha Madhava’s cloth, Visakha Devi also supervises the sakhis and their assistants who produce and care for Their Lordship’s clothing. She also directs the maidservants of Vrinda Devi who maintain the flowers, vines and creepers, and trees of Vrindavan. Visakha Devi’s maidservant is Vilasa-manjari.

Although it appears that Srimati Visakha comes second to Lalita Devi, she is actually Srimati Radhika’s dearmost girlfriend. Sri radhike tava carita-gunanurupam – her qualities and characteristics are very similar to Srimati Radharani’s; They are so similar, that They seem almost like twins.

 

Visakha Devi’s other form is the Yamuna River. Whenever Sri Madhava sees Visakha Devi, He immediately thinks of Sri Radha; whenever Sri Radha sees the syama (dark blue) waters of the Yamuna River, She immediately thinks of Madhava.

Sri Visakha Devi appears in Gaura-lila as Sri Ramananda Raya. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya told Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that no one’s knowledge can compare to Ramananda Raya’s in the field of the Divine Couple’s madhurya rasa, or sweet conjugal affairs. Upon meeting Ramananda Raya for the first time, Mahaprabhu told him, “My dear Ramananda, both you and I are madmen and therefore we meet intimately on an equal level.” Outwardly, Ramananda Raya acted as the Governor of Madras, but internally, he was a poet, Sanskrit scholar, and a dramatist well-versed in rasa literature, music, singing and dancing.

(References: Sri Sri Radha-Krsna-Ganoddesa-Dipika, by Srila Rupa Goswami and Sri Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika by Srila Kavi Karnapur)