Many people have heard of Krishna. He is famous as the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita and as the cowherd loverboy from the village of Vrindavan. However, many people don’t realize that He is actually the Supreme Person, and that His dearly beloved girlfriend, Radha, is the Supreme Goddess.
In this article we explore Radha’s position as the feminine aspect of the Divinity, as well as Her personality, which makes Her worshipable by all those who identify as a devotee of Krishna.
The worship of Krishna and Radha goes back millions of years. There are ancient stories in the Puranas that discuss the lives of famous devotees of Krishna, such as King Prahlada and Sage Narada. And it’s also mentioned in the Vedas that Radha is the Supreme Energy of Krishna:
devī krsna-mayī proktā
kāntih sammohinī parā
“The transcendental goddess Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the direct counterpart of Lord Śrī Krsna. 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.”
Just as Krishna expands Himself as Lord Vishnu, Radha expands Herself as the Goddess Lakshmī, who is Lord Vishnu’s eternal consort. All of the feminine counterparts to Krishna’s various incarnations, such as Sita, the wife of Lord Ramachandra, and Rukmini, the wife of Lord Krishna in His pastimes in Dvaraka, are expansions of the Goddess Radha.
In this way, Radharani is the original feminine form of the Divine.
The Vedas explain that God is much more than an impersonal being who is devoid of qualities. God possesses unlimited energies, among which three are most prominent:
- The spiritual energy. This is Krishna’s internal, pleasure-giving potency that makes up the total variety of life in the spiritual realm known as Vaikuntha. Krishna’s abode, His clothing, and all of His associates ultimately expand from this spiritual energy.
- The material energy. This is Krishna’s external potency, which is the cause of the creation and annihilation of our material world. It blinds conditioned souls to their own spiritual nature and distracts them from the worship of God, which is their eternal duty.
- The marginal energy. This energy is situated in between the internal and external potencies. It consists of all the living beings, known in Sanskrit as jivas, who are struggling to find happiness in this material world. When the jivas turn toward Lord Krishna and take up the practice of bhakti-yoga, they can recover their original, spiritual nature and experience complete happiness in Krishna’s service.
As the total embodiment of the internal energy, Radha is the reservoir of all spiritual happiness, known in Sanskrit as prema, or love of God. Durga-devi, who is the presiding Goddess of this material world, is an expansion of Radha, just as Shiva expands from Krishna.
No one loves Krishna more than Srimati Radharani, and no one is a better servant of Krishna than She is. The Vedas provide a list of the twenty-five chief qualities that make Radharani so special:
- She is sweetness personified. Like Krishna, Radha’s mind and body are fully spiritual. She is always absorbed in Her service to Krishna. As a result, she exudes spiritual pleasure. Anyone who comes in contact with Radha or one of Her devotees can directly experience this.
- She is a fresh young girl. Radha’s original form is that of a cowherd girl. She exchanges many delightful pastimes with Krishna, who has the original form of a cowherd boy. In the realm of Goloka-Vrindavan in the spiritual world, which has a village-like atmosphere, Radha and Krishna frequently meet and share feelings and acts of love. To directly see and participate in such pastimes is the perfection of human life.
- Her eyes are always moving. She is always looking for Her beloved Krishna.
- She is always brightly smiling. She is always so happy and grateful to be able to serve Krishna. When She sees others engaged in Krishna’s service, Her happiness increases all the more.
- She possesses all auspicious marks on her body. Radha possesses the most perfect female form. As Krishna is the origin of male beauty, Radha is the origin of female beauty. Everything about Her body is auspicious, pure, and attractive.
- She can agitate Krishna by the flavor of Her person. The aroma of Her body, the sound of her voice, the taste of Her lips — all of these things give tremendous pleasure to Lord Krishna.
- She is expert in the art of singing. Radha sings beautifully. Sometimes when Krishna plays His transcendental flute, Radha accompanies Him by singing, and together they create such wondrous compositions that their friends and associates are mesmerized.
- She can speak very nicely and sweetly. She is adept with language and can charm anyone with Her words. Radha attracts and seduces Lord Krishna by Her speech.
- She is expert in presenting feminine attractions. Women have a way of getting what they want by leveraging their natural beauty and seductive powers. These abilities and powers find their origin in Sri Radhika.
- She is modest and gentle. Radha always thinks of Herself as a simple village girl. She is extremely caring and compassionate toward all living beings, including plants, animals, and insects.
- She is always very merciful. Out of Her oceanic love for Krishna, Radha always attempts to engage others in His service. Thus She shows mercy to everyone by giving them some service.
- She is transcendentally cunning. No one is better at thinking up new ways to please the mind and senses of Lord Krishna. Radha is so cunning she can even outsmart Krishna when She so desires.
- She knows how to dress nicely. A well-dressed woman is very attractive. Radha dresses Herself beautifully so as to bewilder and intoxicate the mind of Krishna.
- She is always shy. Although Radha is the most beautiful person, She never puts Herself forward before Her elders or in public. She is naturally shy, and this makes Her all the more attractive to Krishna.
- She is always respectful. By serving and respecting Her superiors, Radha receives their blessings for Her service to Krishna.
- She is always patient. When Krishna is absent, Radha experiences unimaginable distress, but She remains ever-patient, waiting until Her next opportunity to be with Him.
- She is very grave. Radha takes her service to Krishna very seriously. It is Her passion and obsession. She takes great care to fully utilize Her time and resources in His service, never wasting even a single moment on frivolous matters.
- She is enjoyed by Krishna. There is no person whom Krishna prefers over Radharani. In Her absence, Krishna feels Himself to be incomplete.
- She is situated on the highest devotional platform. Radha is the exemplar for all other devotees of Krishna. No one can match Her devotion, dedication, and expertise in serving Krishna.
- She is the abode of love of the residents of Gokula. The devotees in Gokula love Radharani almost as much as Krishna. This is because they know how dear She is to Him, and they greatly admire Her for Her matchless service. Furthermore, as the original divine energy of Krishna, whatever love anyone possesses for Him finds its source in Srimati Radhika.
- She can give shelter to all kinds of devotees. Radha is the ultimate origin of guru-tattva, or the principle of spiritual guidance that pervades the spiritual and material worlds. Whatever draws us closer to Krishna and inspires and enlightens us in His service is a manifestation of Sri Radha.
- She is always affectionate to superiors and inferiors. Actually Radha has no superior, but She is always deferential and respectful toward those devotees who play the roles of Her elders. She shows affection to Her juniors by permitting them to serve Krishna in Her company.
- She is always obliged by the dealings of Her associates. Whenever one of Her friends assists Her service to Krishna, Radha feels unlimitedly grateful.
- She is the greatest amongst Krishna’s girlfriends. Although Krishna is famous as being a loverboy who has millions of girlfriends, none of them bring as much pleasure to Him as Radha. Considering the intensity of Krishna’s love for Radha, His love for the other cowherd women of Vraja is not very significant.
- She always keeps Krishna under Her control. Radha is so pleasing to Krishna that She is able to bring Him under Her control by Her charming words and acts of service. However, She uses this power only to give Krishna greater and greater pleasure.