Loved, directly or indirectly, by one and all, moving and non-moving beings, Srimati Radharani, more commonly known as Radha, Radhika, Radhe and many other names, the eternal consort of Sri Krishna, has remained a mystery since millenniums. Some say She was the most beautiful gopi in Vrindavan among other gopis, who loved Krishna more than their very own selves. Others say She was an incarnation of Lakshmi devi, the eternal consort of Lord Vishnu. People also curiously discuss whether She was older than Krishna or younger, whether She was married to Krishna or not, and so on.
Radha is not what most people think, an ordinary village girl who fell in love with Krishna, or a mythological beauty, or, even worse, an imaginary icon of love. In an earlier article on the same subject matter I had quoted Srila Prabhupada’s lecture on September 18, 1969 in London wherein he has stressed on the fact that one cannot understand Srimati Radha or Her relationship with Sri Krishna unless and until one’s heart is completely purified of lusty desires.
Before we go into the philosophical aspect of Srimati Radharani’s personality, let me share with you a beautiful event that took place at the palace of Her father, King Vrishabhanu.
It is described that on a half-moon night in the month of Bhadra, King Vrishabhanu came to the Yamuna river to bathe and found himself engulfed in a golden aura. It was emanating from a divine lotus on which a baby girl was found! When the king, overjoyed with happiness, returned to his palace with the baby, queen Kirtida was delighted to see that astoundingly beautiful baby girl. After a few moments of observation, she was shocked to notice that the girl appeared blind.
Now, one may wonder – how can a girl be found on a lotus flower floating in the river and that also with closed eyes? Yes She can! If we want to understand transcendence, we will have to have an open mind to hear from those who have seen it. Vedic scriptures are apaurusheya, that which is not a creation of mortal beings. Unless we can see the transcendental activities of Krishna and His associates, we have to see them through Shastra-chaksu, the eyes of Vedic scriptures.
When Krishna’s mother, Yashoda, heard that her best friend Kirtida had a baby, she came to visit her along with her husband and son. At one point, Krishna crawled up to the cradle and pulled Himself up and looked in. At that moment, Srimati Radharani’s eyes opened wide and blossomed like lotuses. Everyone was delighted.
The reason why baby Radha didn’t open Her eyes prior to seeing Krishna is also mentioned in the scriptures. It is said that when Lord Krishna was going to appear on Earth, His eternal consort, Srimati Radharani, had asked from Him a boon that She would not have to see anything of this world until She first sees Him. Lord Krishna had granted it and so He came to see Her.
Radhastami, the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, comes 15 days after Janmastami, the appearance day of Lord Krishna. She is Kṛishna’s pleasure potency. Rādhā-kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktiḥ.
Srila Prabupada says:
“So this Kṛṣṇa, when He wants to enjoy, what kind of enjoyment He will have? That has been discussed by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī. Kṛṣṇa is Paraṁ Brahman. Brahman, Paramātmā, then Paraṁ Brahman. Absolute Truth, three different features. Someone is realizing the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman. Jnanis, those who are trying to understand the Absolute Truth by mental speculation, by dint of his own knowledge, he’s realizing the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman.’
“And those who are trying to understand the Absolute Truth by meditation, yogis, they realize the Absolute Truth as Paramātmā. Paramātmā is situated in everyone’s heart. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati (Bg. 18.61). That feature, Paramātmā feature. Aṇḍantara-sthaṁ paramānu-cayāntara-sthaṁ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi. That Paramātmā feature is one expansion of Kṛṣṇa. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, athavā bahunaitena kiṁ jñātena tavārjuna ekāṁṣena viṣṭabhyāham. Ekāṁṣena. When Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna was trying to understand about different potential existence of Kṛṣṇa, so He explained in the Twelfth Chapter, “I am this. Amongst them, I am this. Amongst them…” Like that. And He concluded that “How far I shall go on? Better try to understand that only one plenary portion of Me, by entering this universe, the whole cosmic manifestation is existing.” Ekāṁṣena sthito jagat. Jagat.’
“This material world is existing on one plenary portion of Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa enters, aṇḍāntara-sthaṁ paramānu-cayāntara-stham, He enters within this universe. Without His entering, this universe cannot exist. Just like without the spirit soul’s entering within this body, this body cannot exist. As soon as the spirit soul goes out, immediately the body’s useless. However the body may be prime minister or anything else, as soon as the soul is out of this body, it is not worth even a farthing. Similarly, because Kṛṣṇa enters within this universe, therefore the universe has value. Otherwise it is simply a lump of matter; it has no value. Ekāṁṣena sthito jagat.’
“So try to understand Kṛṣṇa. And when Kṛṣṇa want to enjoy, what kind of enjoyment that shall be? Try to understand this point. Kṛṣṇa is so great; God is great, everyone knows. So when the great wants to enjoy, then what quality of enjoyment that should be? That is to be understood. Rādhā-kṛṣṇa… Therefore Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī has written a verse, rādhā-kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtiḥ. The loving affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is not ordinary, these material loving affairs, although it appears like that. But one who cannot understand Kṛṣṇa, avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ. Mūḍha, rascals, fools, they understand Kṛṣṇa as ordinary man. As soon as we take Kṛṣṇa as one of us… Mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritāṁ, paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ. These rascals, they do not know paraṁ bhavam. They try to imitate Kṛṣṇa’s līlā, rāsa-līlā. There are many rascals. So these things are going on. There is no understanding of Kṛṣṇa. To understand Kṛṣṇa is very difficult.’
“We are trying to understand the chief potency of Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī is the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa. As we understand from Vedic literature, Kṛṣṇa has many varieties of potencies. Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śruyate. Just like the same example, as a big man has got many assistants and secretaries so that he hasn’t got to do anything personally, simply by his will everything is done, similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has got varieties of energies, and everything is being done so nicely. Just like this material energy. This material world, where we are now living… This is called material energy. Bahir-aṅga-śakti. The Sanskrit name is bahir-aṅga, external energy of Kṛṣṇa. So how nicely it is being done, everything in the material energy. That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram: (Bg. 9.10) “Under My superintendence the material energy is working.” The material energy is not blind. It is… On the background there is Kṛṣṇa. Mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ (Bg. 9.10). Prakṛti means this material energy. nal energy. Similarly, there is another energy, which is internal energy.
“By the internal energy the spiritual world is being manifested. Parās tasmāt tu bhavaḥ anyaḥ (Bg. 8.20) Another energy, parā, superior, transcendental, the spiritual world. As this material world is being manipulated under the external energy, similarly, the spiritual world is also conducted by the internal potency. That internal potency is Rādhārāṇī.’
“If we do not understand Kṛṣṇa, how we can understand how Kṛṣṇa is enjoying? That is not possible. But the Gosvāmīs, they’re giving us information what is the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa. That is Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.’
“In the Vedānta-sūtra the Absolute Truth is described as ānandamaya, always in pleasure potency. That ānandamaya potency… Just like ānanda. When you want ānanda, pleasure, you cannot have it alone. Alone, you cannot enjoy. When you are in the circles of friend or family or other associates, you feel pleasure. Just like I am speaking. The speaking is very pleasing when there are many persons here. I cannot speak alone here. That is not ānanda. I can speak here at night, dead of night, nobody here. That is not ānanda. Ānanda means there must be others. So because Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Truth, is ānandamaya, therefore eko bahu syām, He has become many. We are also Kṛṣṇa’s part and parcel, to give pleasure to Kṛṣṇa. And the chief pleasure potency is Rādhārāṇī.’
“We pray to Rādhārāṇī because She is the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa means “all-attractive.” But Rādhārāṇī is so great that She attracts Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive, and She is attractive (attractor) of Kṛṣṇa. So what is the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī? We should try to understand this day and offer our obeisances to Rādhārāṇī. Rādhe vṛndāvaneśvarī.’
“Rādhārāṇī is hari-priyā, very dear to Kṛṣṇa. So if we approach Kṛṣṇa through Rādhārāṇī, through the mercy of Rādhārāṇī, then it becomes very easy. If Rādhārāṇī recommends that “This devotee is very nice,” then Kṛṣṇa immediately accepts, however fool I may be. Because it is recommended by Rādhārāṇī, Kṛṣṇa accepts. Therefore in Vṛndāvana you’ll find all the devotees, they’re chanting more Rādhārāṇī’s name than Kṛṣṇa’s. Wherever you’ll go, you’ll find the devotees are addressing, “Jaya Rādhe.” You’ll find still in Vṛndāvana. They are glorifying Rādhārāṇī. They’re more interested, worshiping Rādhārāṇī. Because however fallen I may be, if some way or other I can please Rādhārāṇī, then it is very easy for me to understand Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścid vetti māṁ tattvataḥ (Bg. 7.3)’
“If you go by the speculative process to understand Kṛṣṇa, it will take many, many lives. But if you take devotional service, just try to please Rādhārāṇī, and Kṛṣṇa will be gotten very easily. Because Rādhārāṇī can deliver Kṛṣṇa. She is so great devotee, the emblem of mahā-bhāgavata. Even Kṛṣṇa cannot understand what is Rādhārāṇī’s quality. Even Kṛṣṇa, although He says vedāhaṁ samatītāni, “I know everything,” still, He fails to understand Rādhārāṇī. Rādhārāṇī is so great. He says that… Actually, Kṛṣṇa knows everything. In order to understand Rādhārāṇī, Kṛṣṇa accepted the position of Rādhārāṇī. Kṛṣṇa wanted to understand the potency of Rādhārāṇī. Kṛṣṇa thought that “I am full. I am complete in every respect, but still, I want to understand Rādhārāṇī. Why?” This propensity made Kṛṣṇa obliged to accept the propensities of Rādhārāṇī, to understand Kṛṣṇa, Himself.’
“This process of devotional service is taught by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Not that very easily, “We have seen Kṛṣṇa or seen Rādhārāṇī in rāsa-līlā.” No, not like that. Feel the separation. The more you feel separation from Kṛṣṇa, you should understand that you are advancing. Don’t try to see Kṛṣṇa artificially. Be advanced in separation feeling, and then it will be perfect. That is the teachings of Lord Caitanya. Because with our material eyes we cannot see Kṛṣṇa. Ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa- nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ [BRS. 1.2.234] With our material senses we cannot see Kṛṣṇa, we cannot hear about Kṛṣṇa’s name. But sevonmukhe hi jihvādau. When you engage yourself in the service of the Lord… Where the service begins? Jihvādau. The service begins from the tongue. Not from the legs, eyes, or ears. It begins from the tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau. If you begin service through your tongue… How? Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Use your tongue. Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. And take Kṛṣṇa prasādam. The tongue has got two business: to articulate sound, Hare Kṛṣṇa; and take prasādam. By this process you’ll realize Kṛṣṇa.
“Don’t try to see Kṛṣṇa. You cannot see Kṛṣṇa with your material eyes. Neither you can hear about Him with your material ears. Neither you can touch. But if you engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, then He’ll reveal Himself to you: “Here I am.” That is wanted. So feel separation of Kṛṣṇa just like Rādhārāṇī, as Lord Caitanya teaches us, and engage your tongue in the service of the Lord; then, one day, when you are mature, you’ll see Kṛṣṇa eye to eye.”
And that’s a great blessing from a pure representative of Lord Krishna! Let us take it seriously and fulfill the mission of human life, in this life itself. Hare Krishna