The relationship between Radha and Krishna goes back ages. Lord Krishna was the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. When Lord Vishnu decided to take birth on Earth as Krishna, his eternal consort Laxmi decided not to remain behind hence she was born as Radha. For the devotees of Lord Krishna, Janmashtami, Lord Krishna’s birthday, and Radhashtami, Radha Rani’s birthday, are equally important days. In fact we can say that it was not Laxmi who followed Vishnu to Earth, rather it was Vishnu, who, deprived of his consort, manifested on Earth so as to not have to stay away from her, because Radha was elder to Krishna.
The love story of Radha and Krishna is a rather tragic one. Having never been able to consummate their love for each other, they lived apart in body but together in their hearts. Once Krishna left Gokul for Dwarka, he never came back. But this did not deter Radha Rani from expressing her love for Krishna. She would dress up and perform raas leela with the gopinis as if Krishna was still there. Nothing much about Radharani has been written about in any scripture; hence it is not clear as to how she spent her later life.
But of this we can be sure that there was never a day when she did not love Krishna, did not pine for him. It is said that their love was so strong that if Krishna walked in the sun for too long, Radha, though nowhere near him, would get blisters on her body. Such was the connection between them. Thus the connection between Radhashtami and Janmashtami. Though Krishna never went back to Radha, even today we associate Krishna with Radha more than we associate him with his wives. Their names and their souls remain eternally entwined.
Perhaps the most well known scenario of unrequited love, the story between these two never goes out of fashion. What is even more remarkable is that we always take Radha Rani’s name first. It is always ‘Radhe Krishna’… never ‘Krishna Radha’. This is because Krishna always asked his devotees to take Radha’s name before they took his, and we remember his words and abide by it even today. This is the story of Radha and Krishna. This is the story of the eternal bonding between two lovers… between Radhashtami and Janmashtami.