Today we are celebrating the birth anniversary of Sri Radharani. Radha Ashtami marks the arrival of Sri Radha-the chief associate and devotee of Lord Krishna and topmost of all goddesses.It’s celebrated 15 days after Krishna Janmashtami.Let’s know more about her to come closer to Sri Krishna and be one with Him.I am presenting excerpts from the writings of some enlightened souls who have talked about Sri Radha in a glorious way.
-By Stephen Knapp
Srimati Radharani is the Supreme Goddess. She is most always seen with Lord Krishna. It is described that She is the Chief Associate and devotee of Lord Krishna, and topmost of all Goddesses. Her name means the She is the most excellent worshiper of Lord Krishna. However, She is also an expansion of the Lord’s energy. Since She is also an extension of Krishna, She is the feminine aspect of God. Thus, in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, God is both male and female. They are One, but Krishna expands into two, Himself and Radharani, for the sake of divine loving pastimes. If They remained as One, then there is no relationship, there are no pastimes, and there can be no dynamic exchange of love. (Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila, 4.55-56) Actually, if we all remained merged or amalgamated into one single force or light, then there is no further need of anything else. There certainly would be no need for the material manifestation to provide the innumerable conditioned souls with the means to seek out the way to satisfy their senses, minds, emotions, desires for self-expression, intellectual pursuits, and on and on.
So, similarly, the spiritual world is the manifestation wherein all souls have the opportunity to engage in a multitude of pastimes in loving relationships in full spiritual variety, without the many hindrances we find in this material world. The only difference is that the spiritual world is centered around the Supreme Being. And that Supreme Personality has expanded Himself into Radharani for exhibiting the supreme loving relationship, in which so many others assist Them.
In the Brihad-Gautamiya Tantra, Radharani is described as follows:
devi krishna-mayi prokta
kantih sammohini para
“The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord.”
To explain further, Srimati Radharani is also the source of the other goddesses, who are expansions of Her. Just as Lord Krishna is the source of all other expansions and incarnations of God, Radharani is the source of all other expansions of the energies of God, the shaktis, or other goddesses. Thus, Vishnu, Rama, even Shiva are all expansions of the one Supreme Being, and similarly Lakshmi, Sita, and even Durga are all expansions of this Supreme Feminine form of God, Radharani.
It is explained that the beloved consorts of Lord Krishna are of three kinds, namely the goddesses of fortune or Lakshmis, His queens, and the milkmaids of Vraja called the gopis. All of them proceed from Radharani. The Lakshmis are partial manifestations, or plenary portions, of Srimati Radharani, while the queens in Vaikuntha and in Dvaraka are reflections of Her image. The Vraja-devis or gopis are Her expansions and assist in the increase of rasa, or the divine loving pastimes. Among them there are many groups that have various sentiments and moods, which help Lord Krishna taste the sweetness of the rasa dance and other pastimes. (Cc.Adi-lila. 4. 75-81)
“Among the gopis of Vrindavana, Srimati Radharani and another gopi are considered chief. However, when we compare the gopis, it appears that Srimati Radharani is most important because Her real feature expresses the highest ecstasy of love. The ecstasy of love experienced by the other gopis cannot be compared to that of Srimati Radharani.” (Ujjvala-nilamani 4.3 of Srila Rupa Gosvami)
Radharani has many names according to Her qualities and characteristics.Some of the names that Radharani is known by include Govinda-anandini–She who gives pleasure to Govinda [Krishna]; Govinda-mohini–She who mystifies Govinda; Govinda-sarvasa–the all-in-all of Lord Govinda; Shiromani Sarva-kanta–the crown jewel of all the Lord’s consorts; and Krishnamayi–the one who sees Krishna both within and without. She is also called Radhika in the Puranas because Her worship [aradhana] of the Lord consists of fulfilling His desires. Aradhana is the root of the name Radharani, which indicates one who excels in worshiping the Lord. She is also called Sarva-lakshmi, the original source of all the goddesses of fortune. This also means that She is the supreme energy of Lord Krishna, and represents His six opulences, which include fame, fortune, strength, wealth, knowledge, and detachment. She is also known as Sarva-kanti, which indicates that all beauty and luster rest in Her body, and all the Lakshmis derive their beauty from Her. It also means that all the desires of Lord Krishna rest in Srimati Radharani. As Lord Krishna enchants the world with His beauty and charm, Sri Radha enchants Him. Therefore She is the Supreme Goddess. Sri Radha is the full power, and Lord Krishna is the possessor of full power.(Cc.Adi-lila, 4.82, 84, 87-96).Thus, the two are non-different, as the sunshine is nondifferent from the sun, or as the energy is non-different from the energetic or source of energy.
In this way, without Radha there is no meaning to Krishna and without Krishna there is no meaning to Radha. Because of this, in the Vaishnava tradition we always pay respects first to the Lord’s internal energy in the form of Radha, and then to the Lord. Thus They are referred to as Radha-Krishna, or in other names as Sita-Rama, Lakshmi-Narayana, and so on. In this way, Radha and Krishna are one, but when Lord Krishna wants to enjoy, He manifests Himself as Radharani. Otherwise, there is no energy in which Krishna can attain pleasure outside Himself.
To understand Himself through the agency of Radha, or the hladini-shakti, the Lord manifests Himself as Lord Chaitanya, who is Lord Krishna but with the super-excellent emotions of Radharani’s love toward Lord Krishna. This is because the Lord accepts a position and the emotions of a devotee in order to fully taste His own sweetness.
It is also described that the potency of love of God is called hladini, the Lord’s pleasure potency. Whenever the Lord wants to enjoy pleasure, He exhibits His own spiritual potency known as hladini. And the essence of that love is in the emotion called bhava. The ultimate development of that emotion is mahabhava, or great bhava. Mahabhava is full of the pleasure potency, and it is an exhibition of the highest love for Lord Krishna. Sri Radharani is the embodiment of that transcendental consciousness found in mahabhava. Her mind, senses and body are steeped in that highest sort of love for Krishna. She is as spiritual as the Lord Himself. In fact, being the personification of the hladini-shakti, the pleasure giving energy of the Lord, She is the only source of enjoyment for the Lord. This pleasure potency manifests spiritually as Radharani in a way that attracts even Lord Krishna. He takes no pleasure in anything material. The Lord could never enjoy anything that is less spiritual than Himself. Therefore Radha and Krishna are identical. Then She expands Herself into different forms, known as Lalita, Visakha, and Her other confidential associates that increase the mood of divine love. However, being the Lord’s hladini feature, She is also the ultimate source of all happiness for all the living beings. In other words, everything that gives pleasure and happiness within the spiritual or the material worlds is because of Her and the energy that emanates from Her. (Cc.Adi-lila.4.68-72) That same pleasure potency expands and spreads throughout the spiritual worlds, and then descends into the material creation into the many forms of happiness that is experienced by the conditioned soul, though it may be called by different names and perceived in assorted ways. Since we are all parts and parcels of the Lord, we also have that pleasure potency within us to a minute degree. But we are trying to enjoy it in the material world. Therefore we are like sparks that are dying out because we have left our place which is in the blazing fire of Lord Krishna’s association.
The Hare Krishna mantra also directs one’s attention and devotion to Radha as well as Krishna. Radha is also known as Mother Hara, which is the name Hare in the vocative form within the mantra. So in chanting Hare Krishna, we are first approaching the Lord’s internal potency and asking Radha to please engage us in the service of Lord Krishna. Concentrating on Krishna through His names is one form of that service. In other words, it is through Radha that one more easily attains Krishna and service to Krishna. This is the advantage of approaching Lord Krishna through Radharani.
The descriptions of the beauty of Radharani are wonderfully poetic and descriptive. Actually, the residents of Vrindavana care more for Radharani than they do for Lord Krishna. They know that Krishna can be influenced through Radharani. They know that Radha can bring one to Krishna. She is also the compassionate nature of the Lord, and thus more easily approached than trying to reach Lord Krishna directly. And when we read these descriptions of Radha, it is no wonder why they are devoted to Her. For example, it is explained that Srimati Radharani has unlimited transcendental qualities, of which twenty-five are principal. These include: 1) She is very sweet. 2) She is always freshly youthful. 3) Her eyes are restless. 4) She smiles brightly. 5) She has beautiful, auspicious lines. 6) She makes Krishna happy with Her bodily aroma. 7) She is very expert in singing. 8) Her speech is charming. 9) She is very expert in joking and speaking pleasantly. 10) She is very humble and meek. 11) She is always full of mercy. 12) She is cunning. 13) She is expert in executing Her duties. 14) She is shy. 15) She is always respectful. 16) She is always calm. 17) She is always grave. 18) She is expert in enjoying life. 19) She is situated in the topmost level of ecstatic love. 20) She is the reservoir of loving affairs in Gokula. 21) She is the most famous of submissive devotees. 22) She is very affectionate to elderly people. 23) She is very submissive to the love of Her friends. 24) She is the chief gopi. 25) She always keeps Krishna under Her control. In short, She possesses unlimited transcendental qualities, just as Lord Krishna does. (Ujjvala-nilamani, Sri-radha-prakarana 11-15)
Lord Shri Krishna – Srimati Radha Rani
Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-Gita (9.10): ‘Under My superintendence the material energy is working’.Apart from the material, external energy, there is another energy – the internal energy. By the internal energy the spiritual world is being manifested. As the material world is manipulated under the external energy, the spiritual world is conducted by the internal potency. That internal potency, called the Hladini Sakti, is Srimati Radharani.
In CC Adi 1.5 it is said “The loving affairs of Sri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord’s internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally”. Srimati Radharani, as the highest devotee of Sri Krishna, derives the greatest pleasure in serving Him. She is the origin of all the Gopis and of all the Goddesses of Fortune (Lakshmi devi) who are engaged in the service of the Lord. She is the mainstay, the ideal and the ultimate refuge of all devotees embarking on the path of devotional service. Without first getting the mercy of Srimati Radharani it is impossible to even approach Sri Krishna.
When the Lord descends, He is invariably accompanied by His loving associates. Five thousand years when Sri Krishna descended in His original form, as a cowherd boy in Vrindavan, Srimati Radharani accompanied Him in Her original form. She appeared exactly two weeks after the appearance of Sri Krishna on the eighth day of the waning moon (ashtami). Srimati Radharani was found on a lotus flower by Vrashabhanu and his wife Kirtida near the village of Barsana, a few miles away from Nandagrama. It is said that Srimati Radharani first opened Her eyes only when Sri Krishna appeared before Her. Until that time Her eyes were
Understanding the mellows of the relationship between Krishna and Radha is impossible from the mundane perspective. Understanding madhurya-rasa (devotion at the platform of intimacy), which is the highest level of relationship of a devotee with Krishna, is only possible in the most elevated stages of bhakti where there is not even a tinge of material contamination. Therefore Svarupa Damodara Gosvami has written: “The loving affairs of Radha and Krishna are not ordinary, material loving affairs, although they appear like that. Rascals and fools misunderstand Krishna to be an ordinary man. They do not know Krishna’s transcendental nature. They try to imitate Krishna”s rasa-lila, His dancing with the Gopis”. There is no offense greater than this. Devotees starting on the path of bhakti must carefully avoid such offenses. They must simply pray to Srimati Radharani, as their most compassionate Mother, for mercy, for bhakti and for an opportunity to serve Sri Krishna.
Something From Wikipedia
She is the primeval internal potency of the LordRadha is the principal devotee of Krishna in the Srimad Bhagavatam, and the Gita Govinda of the Hindu religion. Radha is almost always depicted alongside Krishna and features prominently within the theology of today’s Gaudiya Vaishnava religion, which regards Radha as the original Goddess or Shakti. Radha’s relationship with Krishna is given in further detail within texts such as the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Garga Samhita and Brihad Gautamiya tantra. Radha is also the principal object of worship in the Nimbarka Sampradaya, as Nimbarka, the founder of the tradition, declared that Radha and Krishna together constitute the absolute truth.
Radha is often referred to as Rādhārānī or “Radhika” in speech, prefixed with the respectful term ‘Srimati’ by devout followers. Radha is one of the most important incarnations of Goddess Lakshmi.
In the Nimbarka Sampradaya, Radha’s relationship with Krishna is characterised by the svakiya-rasa, based on texts in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana and the Garga Samhita describing the wedding of Radha and Krishna. The Gaudiya tradition focuses upon parakiya-rasa as the highest form of love, wherein Radha and Krishna share thoughts even through separation. The love the gopis feel for Krishna is also described in this esoteric manner as the highest platform of spontaneous love of God, and not of a mundane sexual nature.Proponents of the Gaudiya and Nimbarka schools of Vaishnavism give the highly esoteric nature of Radha’s relationship to Krishna as the reason why her story is not mentioned in detail in the other Puranic texts.
In the Brihad-Gautamiya Tantra, Radharani is described as follows: “The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead.”
Sri Radha Rani -Sri Krishna’s beloved
Sri Radha is also known as Vrishbhanu Nandini , was born to Sri Vrishbhanuji and Mata Kirti in the land of Barsana. The divine Goddess blessed this Earth by Her birth on the nuptial day of Ashtami, Bhadrapad Shukla Paksh. Sri Radha Rani marks the existence of Sri Krishna for she is his soul, where the trinity (the three worlds that bow to Krishna’s feet) i.e: Sri Krishna himself bows to Sri Radha’s feet. Shri Radha’s beauty, power and resemblance create the ethics of love. None of the scriptures consists the power to verbalize her beauty, for it is clear enough that when beauty of Sri Krishna makes several hearts leave their boundaries, Her beauty is so mesmerizing that it makes Him loose consciousness. Then it is practical that thousand Kamas and Ratis are just soil particles before her. Sri Radharani is more sweet than her beauty for she reigns the world of love ,one who enchants her name before and along with Sri Krishna for example ‘Sri Radhakrishna’ is sure to reach Sri Krishna’s source full Bhakti. Usually we are told that Sri Radharani was a Gopi who was most near to Lord Krishna’s heart, but it is not true. In the world of Nikunj vrindavan, She is the empress of the world of Nikunj where Gopis and Sakhis serve her selflessly.
Sri Radha rani is the soul of Radhavallabh Sampradaya. The reason and the inspiration of existence of Radhavallabh Sampradaya is the transcendental love filled bond of Sri radha and Sri Krishna.
The supreme existence of Sri Radha rani is believed to be the soul of Sri Krishna Himself. Sri Krishna the trinity ruler said to be the most handsome charming and unbelievably brave himself bows to Shri Radha’s feet. This describes how magnificent exotic and pristine is the supreme power of Sri Radha.
The mystical world of nikunj is ruled by Sri Radhaji and to enter the corridors of Nikunj one has to be blessed by Her. Sri Radha the symbol of pure love and the soul of Sri Krishna is very innocent and tender. But Sri Radha cannot be easily approached because her aura is too mysterious to be understood by one.
The world of Nikunja is based on the transcendental love filled endeavors of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna. Holy land of Nikunja consists of four eternal parts which are:
Sri Radha, Sri Krishna, Vrindavan and the Sakhis.
The world of Nikunja is untouched by the worldly materialistic illusions and selfish desires. Its every part for eg: the trees, river, soil flowers, birds etc are nurtured and nourished by the transcendental pure selfless love filled devotion of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna.