Radha Madhava Kalyanam
Though the paddhathis may vary slightly according to the school they follow, Kalyanotsavams in Bhajan Padhathi are being performed by many a bhagavathas. Meenakshi Sundareswarar Kalyanam (ancient), Valli Kalyanam, Seetha Kalyanam, Rukmini Kalyaanam are the ones that were performed in ancient days. Now-a-days, Ganapathi Kalyanam, Dharma Shaatha Kalyanam (wrongly called Ayyappa Kalyanam) are being celebrated. These were added by present day bhagavathas and were not prevalent in ancient times. Radha Kalyanam is being performed widely, though there is an argument that it is Gandharva Vivaham and no marriage took place between Radha and Krishna. The argument is that Radha was a Gopi and Krishna did not marry a Gopi. All Gopis considered Krishna as their husband and Krishna never married any of them. Krishna married only Rukmini and Sathyabhama. Sathyabhama Kalyanam is not being held probably because she was a Deva Kanyaka and not a Bhaktha like Rukmini, who longed for Krishna and then got married through her divine love. Radha Kalyanam is widely accepted and is being conducted any time in a year, whereas Seetha Kalyanham is performed during Ramanavami, Rukmini Kalyanam during Gokulashtami and Meenakshi Sundareswara Kalyanam during Dhanur Maasam.
Here we deal with the padhathi , meaning, philosophical essence, importance, significance of Radha Kalyanam. While the other Kalyanams were described in various puranaas, Radha Kalyanam is not described in any Puranam except Brahma Vaivartha Puranam, which describes the scene in Golokam, which is said to be placed above Satya Lokam. Here Lord Madhava and Radha exist as the Purusha and Sakthi in original status (not in any specific physical existence). This existence is said to be the total blissful state, which is explained as the status of Brahman. This Brahma Swaroopam (because they are together and not separate) is playing into the world in the form of Krishna and Radha. For this there is a story stated in the Brahma Vaivartha Puranam.
Once when a bhaktha was discussing various aspects of bhakthi, existence, birth and death with Madhava, Radha got upset and cursed the bhaktha. The bhaktha got enraged and cursed Radha devi thus: You got upset like a human being, may you go to the world and take birth as a human being. When Radha realised her mistake, she felt aggrieved for she cannot stand separation from Lord Madhava and asked for 'sapa vimochanam'. Lord Madhava consoled her, saying that he would take birth as Krishna to Devaki and Vasudeva and would be reared up by Yasoda and Nandagopa in Brindavan and she can take birth in Brindavan and enjoy his presence always as a maid to Krishna. She took birth (before the incarnation of Krishna) as the child of Maharaja and came to Brindavan and took care of the child Krishna as a Gopi.
A question arises that if she took birth in the world before Krishna, she must be elder to him. Yes, as Radha and Krishna but not as Madhava and Radha. It is like in a drama you act like a young boy. Do you lose your age? It is only for the play. Secondly, it is not Radha Krishna Kalyanam, but Radha Madhava Kalyanam, about which we will discuss further and hence the age does not come in the way. Radha has lost memories of her original status/existence whilst Krishna always was in the knowledge of his original existence as Madhava because he is an incarnation. So much for the preface.
Radha Madhava Kalyanam
While different schools prescribe different padhathis, we summarise the Pudukkottai Padhathi as below: There are other padhathis, which vary slightly certain sampradaayams stated above but basically the theme is the same. What is more important is not the performance per se but the Bhava with which we perform. We have to consider this as a function by which we (Jeevaas) evolve and realize the Godhood in us. That is the essence of all Kalyana Paddhathis
Previous day: Poorna Ashtapathi (Day time) (Optional) - Sampradaya Bhajan, Panchapathi, Poojopacharam,) Dhyanam, Divyanaamam & Dolotsavam ) (Night)
Next day: Unchavruthi, Nischithamboolam, Vara Prekshanam, Kalyanam (day time) Pavvalimbu (night)
Usually, the Kalyanam day starts first and next day the Sampradaya Bhajan, Pooja, Dhyanam, Divyanaamam and Dolotsavam are performed, i.e. after the Kalyanam. The Poorna Ashtapathi is also optional depending on the convenience of performer. However, the above has come to stay at many places and this function is held on two days as stated first above. With some Bhagawathas, it is customary to skip Nischithamboolam and Varaprekshana (Mappillai Azhaippu, Maalai Mattal and Oonjal) in Radha Kalyanam, in view of the fact that it has to be performed in the early hours and that unlike other Kalyanams. Probably this may be due to the fact that Brahma Deva had to rush through the important functions and as there are no Sambandhis, these items may be skipped or are considered not necessary by them. It is the custom in each place that decides about this. On Kalyanam day,:
Poorvangam: Uhavruthi, Samgraha Thodaya Mangalam, Guru Dhyaanam Ashtapath i (22 nd Kalyana Ashtapathi)
(When Poorna Ashtapathi is performed the earlier day, it is the custom to stop it at 19 th , take up 20 th during sampradaya Bhajan at night and 21 st at the time of Dolotsavam and on Kalyanam day take up 22, 23 and 24 th Ashtapathis and complete the padhathi. If Poorna Ashtapathi is not performed, then only Kalyana Ashtapathi need be taken up.).
Utharangam: Gowri Kalyanam
Kotnotsavam and Musala Narthanam
Thalandu Shobhanam (Thaila Snanam)
Othiyiduthal (dress to Varan and Vadhu) & Alamkaram Choornikai
Kanyakadhanam & Panigrahanam
Sangraha Poojopacharam & Upacharam
Parthasarathi Geetham (If Ashtapathi is completed only now with 22,23, 24 th )
Bhakthopacharam (songs on Bhaktas)
Anjaneyotsavam (If not planned separately later)
Konangi (If Pavvalimbu is not performed in the night)
Radha Madhava Kalyanam
Radha Kalyanam is specially performed at the early hours – 3.30 a.m. or so and should be over before sunrise. This is the ancient system. This is because it is not a Kalyana Utsavam normally done as in other cases. It has a philosophical import. It is considered to be the Jeeva Brahma Ikyam. The Jeevaatma merging with Pasramatma. Radha is the embodiment of Bhakthi and Mdhava the Purusha (Brahman). A Bhaktha rejoining with Brahman is the spiritual essence of Radha Kalyanam. However, it is being performed in the normal way like other Kalyana Utsavams for our own convenience and enjoyment externally. The question is: Is there the other formalities like Nischithartham, Kotnotsavam (Muthukkuthal), Varaprekshana, Chhornika, Pravaram, Kanyaka Dhanam, Panigrahanam and Thirumangalya Dharanam etc. etc.? As it is mentioned, Radha Kalyanam is a spiritual way of merging with God. All these need not be there. However, it has come to practice to perform the Kalyanam just like Seetha Kalyanam etc. There is nothing wrong in doing it. Moreover, the Choornikai in Radha Kalyanam specifically states that at the behest of Lord Krishna, Brahma Deva performed the Kriyas like Pravaram, Kanyaka Dhanam, Panigrarahanam Homams etc. though there were no Sambhandhis from both sides. This may be another reason it is to be conducted in early hours (Ushas). In my opinion, there is nothing wrong in performing Radhakalyanam like any other Kalyana Utsavam, so far as we perform it with a mindset focused on the Jeeva Brahma Ikyam, principle. It is the intention and not the method, which counts more. Moreover, Our Gurus have given us a full padhathi for Radha Kalyanam and it is befitting to perform it accordingly. If we look at the Choornikai of Radha Kalyanam, it describes the scene of realization by Radha of her real status and makes her jump to unite with Madhava. Let us look at the Choornika Saram, to understand this fully.
Sri Nandagopa has gone to the forest for cattle feeding and took the child Krishna with him on his shoulders. Suddenly the sky went dark and thunder and ligtning started and there was a heavy downpour of rain. He lamented that Krishna would get frightened and should be sent home and was looking around, when he found Radha Devi coming along. He called out for Radha and gave the child to her and asked her to fetch him home. She held the child lovingly close to her and was walking. In fact this climatic change was brought about by Krishna for getting such a chance to make Radha realize her original form. Suddenly the Goloka scene was created with high buildings and Upaarikai and Madhava and Radha rejoicing in their original form. Seeing this, Radha Devi suddently realized her original status and tried to rush to Krishna with both hands spread apart in joy forgetting about that she was holding the child. At that time, the child disappeared and Lord Madhava appeared in her presence. As Madhava and Radha are in human form of Krishna and Radha, Krishna feld they should abide by the rules and hence Krishna called Brahma Deva and asked him to perform the marriage immediately as per vedic rites and Brahma Deva perfomed it with all formalities like Pravaram, Kanyaka Dhanam, Panigrahanam and Homams. This is the meaning of the Choornikai in short. Thus, there is a proof that the Kalyanam was performed in full form like any other Kalyana Utsavam. Hence, there is nothing wrong in performing it according to the Padhathi given to us by the Bhajan Gurus. However, Nichithartham, Mappillai Azhaippu, Maalai Matruthal, Oonjal etc. need not be done.
Radha Madhava Kalyanam
In Telugu Sampradayam, paddy (rice covered with a light skin) is poured into a wooden Stand with hollow side on top and a round flat base) and it is crushed with ULAKKAI (a long round shaped thick stick) decorated with Mango Leaves, red and white colour lines, flower etc. The powder coming out of this crushing is taken and poured into the cloth around the couples' waiste and later they are taken for Oil both, to be brushed with this powder. Then they are offered dresses by the Priest which they wear in the marriage. As the Padhathi is given by Telugu Gurus, they have prescribed the same method. Here we assume that Muthu, Vairam, Vaidooryam etc. are poured into the Ural (now-a-days represented by Akshathai – rice mixed in Haldi) and crushed with Ulakkai to make it a fine powder which is poured imaginarily into the cloth around the waiste of the couple and later they are bathed with fragrant oil (known as Thanadu Shobanai) and offered dresses. This is called Muthukkuthal and Thalandu Shobhanai. These are performed with special songs, describing them.
Here, one should look into the spiritual import. The Ural is compared with our Pure Mind, the Ulakkai with Omakara Naadam and the Akshathai with us as Jeevaatmaan – the Satwic natured Jeeva (white coloured rice) encompassed by Maaya (the skin covering the rice). For realization of God, we need to keep our mind pure, free from the Kama Krodhaadhi Shatgunas, away from Thripudi etc. into which pour ourselves – the jeevaatmaas (in meditation).
For meditation, as the mind needs the co-operation of the Panchendriyas (which bring the stimuli from outside into our mind) five Kanyakas (girls below the age of 11 years, who are considered to be free from Kalmasham (evil thoughts)) representing the Five Sense Organs are made to pour these Akshathai (Jeevatma) into the Ural (Mind), and five Bhagavathaas (representing the five matured Karmendriyas) repeatedly hit the rice in the Ural with the Ulakkai (Omkara Naadam,) to the tune of songs describing the qualities of the Lord.(known as Muthukkuthal) and remove the covering (Maaya) - known as Muthukkozhithal - and bring out the white coloured akshathai (Jeevatma) and pour it uno the roshtrum of the Lord. This is the symbolization of Jeevatma, released from Maaya and having become pure, merges into the Brahman.
The entire process of Muthukkuthal and Muthukkozhithal (Kotnotsavam) represents the process of meditation, which is done with the co-operation of Five Sense Organs and Five Karmendriyas and chanting inside the Omkara Naadam as described above. Thus, this is a process of realization of God through meditation. If we have this mindset while performing the Kalyanam, that is more than enough. We will be blessed with Lord;s grace. To commemorate the Jeeva Brahma Ikyam as above, whereby the Bhaktha becomes Jeevan Muktha. Harathi is taken
There are two opinions about Kotnotsavam. Some say that it is to be done only in Seetha Kalyanam, Rukmini Kalyanam, Venkateswara Kalyanam etc. and it is not required in Radha Kalyanam. Another set of people opine that it is required in Radha Kalyanam also. Any way, as these Kalyana Padhathis are in Telugu Sampradaya, Muthukuthal is prevalent in Karnataka and it is being performed. There is nothing wrong to perform it, since it has a spiritual meaning in it.
Bhagawathas dance with joy with the Ulakkai on hand to the tune of the Ashtapathi song. This depicts the joy of Jeevan Muktha, who dances in joy as he stays at this state for ever. Also, once the Jeevaatma merges with Paramatma, there is no question of Dwandhwa Bhava and hence Omkaram does not exist separately. The Brahman, Omkara and Jeeva all are one now. Hereafter the Jeevan Muktha ever shines joyous in the Blissful status.
- All the parts of this article are contributed by Achala Bhakthan .