How did these beautiful Radha-Madhava come to Sri Mayapur Dham ?
During Srila Prabhupada’s manifest pastimes, at one time in Sri Vrindavan Dham, His Divine Grace was donated three sets of Radha-Krishna Deities from one Mr. Palmir, a life patron member. One set of Deities went to Berkeley, one to Boston, and Srila Prabhupada kept the other set with himself. This set of Deities was to become our small Radha-Madhava, Chota Radha-Madhava.
When Srila Prabhupada was in Allahabad, he once chanted a song of Bhaktivinoda Thakura to Chota Radha-Madhava:
jaya radha-madhava kunja-bihari
After he sang the first two lines, he fell into a trance. When he came back to external consciousness after some time, he remarked that this song depicted Vrindavana. “Everything is there: Srimati Radharani, Krishna, Govardhana, Yasoda, all the cowherd boys and the gopis.”
One night, Srila Prabhupada arrived late at the temple with Chota Radha-Madhava. Some devotees who were traveling with him took some prasadam and got ready to take rest. Srila Prabhupada, however, was concerned about the Deities since They were left packed in a trunk. Tamal Krishna Maharaja said that the Deities were sleeping and so they could make some arrangement for Them the next day. Srila Prabhupada said, “No. Make an altar for them now.” Immediately, the devotees ran around trying to find first-class materials to make a proper place for Their Lordships. Finally, when they were able to establish an altar, Srila Prabhupada said “Alright, now we can take rest.”
Later on, Chota Radha-Madhava were moved to the Hindustan Building for some time. A year later, Srila Prabhupada brought the small Deity of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be worshipped next to Chota Radha-Madhava. This followed the system introduced by his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura who had arranged for Radha-Krishna and Gauranga worshipped together (sri-krsna-caitanya radha-krsna nahe anya). In 1972 the devotees celebrated ISKCON’s first Gaura-purnima festival with Radha-Madhava.
In 1974, worship of Saligrama-sila began with offerings of 16 items along with the chanting of Purusa-sukta. (Now offerings of 64 items are conducted.)
In 1979, Radhapada das, a congregational devotee from Kolkata, had a dream where a young *sadhu *asked him, “Do you recognize me?”
“No, I don’t recognize you,” he answered.
Then the sadhu said, “Anyway, you gave me some money once. I have come to return it.” He handed Radhapada das some money, but Radhapada protested, “Dear sadhu, if I gave you money, I don’t expect it back from you. I don’t expect any money back from a sadhu.”
The young sadhu said: “You really don’t recognize me?”
Then the young sadhu transformed into an older man.
“Oh, Prabhupada! Now I know you! You are Swami Prabhupada!”
“Yes, I have left this planet. Some of my disciples have experienced some difficulty in the beginning, but after a while everything will be alright. Anyway, you should give them some help. Try to help them.”
“But, how can I help them?”
Prabhupada replied, “You can help them construct a big temple and things like that.”
“But, what about my wife and family?”
Srila Prabhupada then said, “Don’t worry about that. I will take care of them.”
When Radhapada awoke, he immediately went to the Kolkata temple, where Bhavananda Prabhu and Jayapataka Swami were, and explained his dream about Srila Prabhupada and his desire to help the devotees.
“I would like to buy you some Deities,” he said.
They told him, “Well, Prabhupada already told us what kind of Deities he wants, along with the dimensions for such Deities. If you like, we can make the Deities now. They can manifest Themselves whenever They wish.” They concluded that they would go ahead and make the big Radha-Madhava Deities.
Omkara Prabhu, a French devotee, supervised a murti-sculptor from Jaipur, Mr. Pandai, when he was manifesting the big Radha-Madhava. When Radha-Madhava were ready, the sculptor asked, “Well, what do you think?” Omkara Prabhu said, “Your design is very good, but maybe the eyes are too big.” However, according to the regulations that Mr. Pandai had received, the Deities’ facial features were correct.
When the Deities were finally completed, some devotees went for inspection. Everything was fine but Bhavananda Prabhu said, “Anyway, give them a final polishing so They have a very fine finish.” To the surprise of the devotees, giving that final polish manifested a fine, white thread-like line all around the body of Sri Madhava (like a brahmana thread), and on His forehead a faint tilakaappeared.
The big Radha-Madhava came to Mayapur in 1980. They had manifested Themselves before the appointed time — the altar wasn’t even ready. They were installed in the same year.
Six years later, in 1986, a new temple was ready with four of the eight sakhis. Big Radha-madhava with four sakhis (from 1980’s) photo. They were installed a few days before Gaura-Purnima of that year.
Several years afterwards, in 1992, the other four sakhis arrived, and a three day festival was celebrated for Their installation.
tara madhye hema-pitha, asta-dale vestita
asta dale pradhana nayika
tara madhye ratnasane, basi achen dui-jane
syama sange sundari radhika
In the midst of the golden lotus of one hundred petals, there is a golden platform surrounded by eight petals. Situated upon those eight petals are the eight principal sakhis, headed by Lalita and Visakha. On that golden platform, the Divine Couple sit upon a jeweled throne. In the company of Lord Syama sits the beautiful Radhika.” (Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura’s Prarthana)