A Holy place invigorates a pilgrim in his austere journey of spiritual awakening. Inhabited by exalted personalities, holy places are ideal spots for intense spiritual discourse and contemplation. Holy places commemorate pastimes of the Lord or His pure devotees. For practicing devotees, these places are means of associating with the Lord by hearing intricate aspects of His divine nature. Particularly on festival days, holy places assume a special atmosphere abuzz with devotees and festivities. It brings joy to the practitioner to celebrate the Lord’s transcendental pastimes in that unique environment.
Bahulashtami is the eighth day of the Krishna paksha of Kartika Masa. It was on this day at midnight that Radha Kund appeared. This how the events leading to creation of Radha Kund unfolded:
Krishna had killed yet another demon Kamsa had sent to kill Him. The demon named Arishtasura had come to Vraja in the form of a bull and Krishna had destroyed him like he was a toy. Later that evening when He went to associate with Radha for loving affairs, she rebuked Him saying that by killing a bull, He had become contaminated with sin. She said He would have to bathe in all the holy waters of the world to atone.
Krishna thought it over and said that instead of going to holy rivers, He would bring them all to that very spot. He then struck His heel on the ground and created a crater. He invoked all the holy rivers personified to pour their water into the crater. Very soon the pond with all the holy waters of the world was ready and Krishna bathed in the pond. He now turned to Radha and said that she had become contaminated because of siding with a demon albeit in the form of a bull. He invited her to bathe in His pond called Shyama Kunda to be free of her contamination.
Radha scoffed at the proposal and said she would make her own kunda. She and her friends broke their bangles and began to dig the earth with them. They could make a crater but what about the water? Krishna jeered at them on seeing the dry hole in the earth. Radha defiantly said they would fetch water from the Manasi Ganga not far from there to fill the pond. This, however, was a daunting task.
On a gesture from Krishna, all the personified holy rivers prayed before Radha to allow them to fill her pond. She consented and Radha Kund was born.
Srila Rupa Goswami in the Upadeshamrita has praised Radha Kund as the holiest place in the universe.
“Among the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the most dear to Kṛṣṇa. Her kuṇḍa [lake] is as profoundly dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa as this most beloved of the gopīs. Who, then, will not reside at Rādhā-kuṇḍa and, in a spiritual body surcharged with ecstatic devotional feelings [aprākṛtabhāva], render loving service to the divine couple Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, who perform Their aṣṭakālīya-līlā, Their eternal eightfold daily pastimes. Indeed, those who execute devotional service on the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa are the most fortunate people in the universe.”
Sri Upadeshamrita Mantra 10 Excerpt from Translation
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport of Mantra 11 of the same book,
“Why is Rādhā-kuṇḍa so exalted? The lake is so exalted because it belongs to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is the most beloved object of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Among all the gopīs, She is the most beloved. Similarly, Her lake, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, is also described by great sages as the lake that is as dear to Kṛṣṇa as Rādhā Herself. Indeed, Kṛṣṇa’s love for Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the same in all respects. Rādhā-kuṇḍa is very rarely attained, even by great personalities fully engaged in devotional service, not to speak of ordinary devotees who are only engaged in the practice of vaidhī bhakti.”
“There is no limit to the glory of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa. By serving Rādhā-kuṇḍa, one can get an opportunity to become an assistant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī under the eternal guidance of the gopīs.”
Sri Upadeshamrita, Mantra 11 Purport Excerpts
Radha Kunda is a site of pilgrimage for the most exalted devotees. However Srila Prabhupada quotes his guru saying,
“Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes that even great sages and great devotees like Nārada and Sanaka do not get an opportunity to come to Rādhā-kuṇḍa to take their baths. What, then, to speak of ordinary devotees? If by great fortune, one gets an opportunity to come to Rādhā-kuṇḍa and bathe even once, he can develop his transcendental love for Kṛṣṇa, exactly as the gopīs did.”
Sri Upadeshamrita, Mantra 11 Purport Excerpt