ASHTAPATHI (GEETHA GOVINDHAM)
Gist of Raadha Maadhava Sallapam:
Ashtapadi is the divya Kaavyam: "GEETHA GOVINDAM", which describes the Raadha Maadhava Sallapam with Sringaara Rasam. I use the word Ashtapadi everywhere since this has come to stay among the Bhagavathaas and is understood in that term easily.
The Bhagawatham in 10th skandam describes Raasa Kreeda,where at one palce, it only states that Sri Krishna enjoys with one particular Gopi in seclusion to all other Gopis and this Gopi becomes too Egoistic and to bring her ego down Sri Krishna goes away from her and mingles with all other Gopis. Then this Gopi gets angry and blames Krishna for such acts.Her sakkhi acifies her and unites them through her advice to both. The Bhaagavatham never states about Raadhika.
No other puranam explains about Raadhika, except the Brahma Vaivartha Puraanam. In the 10th Skandam, there is a description about Golokam where the Lord in the form of Maadhava ever exists with Raadhika Devi as his consort.Due to a curse from Sudhaama, one of the body guards of Sri Maadhava (Sri Krishna), Sri Raadhika Devi had to take birth in the Bhoolokam as a girl. Sri Krishna assures Raadhika that He would take birth as Krishna in Bhoolokam, where she would take birth as the girl child of Vrushabhanu Maharaaja and then both can enjoy the life in Bhoolokam. This is the basic story of Raadha Krishna Jananam.
The poorva slokaas of Ashtapadi paddhathi starting with "Meghair Medhuram Ambaram"is nothing but the Kalyaana Choornikai in a summary form. This describes the scenerey where Nanda Gopa, carrying the child Krishna to the carttle's gracing field, finds the sky becoming dark with clouds and the arrival of thunder storm and rain. He feels that the child may get afraid and searches for someone to fetch him home. There comes Sri Raadhika Devi, who is handed over with the child when Nanda Gopa asks her to take Krishna Home. She fondly hugs the child and goes. Sri Krishna Bhagawan thought it the right time to remind Radhika Devi about her status and wishes to show her their earlier abode, i.e. Golokam. He brings before her the scenery of Golokam which reminds her of her original nature and all of a sudden in ectasy she tries to hug the Lord (seen in Golakam) with both her hands open wide and she rushes towards Madhava (Krishna in Bhoolakam).At that time, the child disappears and Krishna thought that before accepting Radhika, the usual Vivaaha Karma should be performed and as the eagerness of Raadhika cannot be controlled he orders Sri Brahma Deva to perform the marriage, which he does with Pravaram, Lagnashtakam, Kanyaka Daanam, Panigrahanam, Laja Homam etc. Raadha Kalyaanam is said to have taken place in Brahma Muhurtham, that around 3.30 a.m. or so. This is the meaning of this slokam which is elaborately stated in Raadha Kalyaanam as Choornikai. This shows that performing Poorna Ashtapadi is equal to performing Raadha Kalyaanam.