WHO IS ŚRĪMATĪ RĀDHĀRĀṆĪ?
By Gauranga Darshan Das
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Śrī Kṛṣṇa are one in Their identity. Yet, They manifested themselves eternally as two personalities to experience the highest form of spiritual, loving exchanges. Rādhārāṇi is Kṛṣṇa’s spiritual energy (svarūpa śakti) personified. She is a transformation of the eternal potency of love that Kṛṣṇa carries within Himself.
The Attractor of the Supremely Attractive
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇi is the complete energy (pūrṇa-śakti) and Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the complete possessor of energy (pūrṇa-śaktimān). They are non-different like musk and its scent, like fire and its heat. They are one but take on two forms to enjoy spiritual pastimes. Śrī Rādhā is the supreme enjoyed, and Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme enjoyer.
Lord Kṛṣṇa is the supreme eternal personality full of knowledge and unlimited spiritual bliss. Therefore His spiritual form is called sat-cit-ānanda-vigraha. The Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa has unlimited potencies (śaktis) that are divided into three categories: marginal energy or taṭastha-śakti, material energy or external energy (bahiranga-śakti) and spiritual or internal energy (antaranga-śakti). Therefore, his spiritual energy has three aspects: sat or sandhinī (eternity), cit or samvit (knowledge) and ānanda or hlādinī (bliss).
The hlādinī-śakti or the pleasure potency gives bliss to Kṛṣṇa and His devotees. The essence of the hlādini potency is prema or love; the essence of prema is bhāva or emotion; the ultimate development of bhāva is mahā-bhāva or the transcendental emotional ecstasy. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the embodiment of mahā-bhāva. Her body is a transformation of kṛṣṇa-prema. Rādhārāṇī’s only activity is to fulfill all the desires of Kṛṣṇa. She is the chief of all gopīs of Vṛndāvana. She nourishes all devotees.
Śrī Rādhikā is Lord Govinda’s pleasure-giver and enchantress. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Kṛṣṇa.
When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited Vṛndāvana, two saw parrots singing the glories of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā as follows:
saundaryaṁ lalanāli-dhairya-dalanaṁ līlā ramā-stambhinī
vīryaṁ kandukitādri-varyam amalāḥ pāre-parārdhaṁ guṇāḥ
śīlaṁ sarva-janānuraṣjanam aho yasyāyam asmat-prabhur
viśvaṁ viśva-janīna-kīrtir avatāt kṛṣṇo jagan-mohanaḥ
The male parrot sang: “The glorification of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beneficial to everyone in the universe. His beauty is victorious over the gopīs of Vṛndāvana, and it subdues their patience. His pastimes astound the goddess of fortune, and His bodily strength turns Govardhana Hill into a small toy like a ball. His spotless qualities are unlimited, and His behavior satisfies everyone. Lord Kṛṣṇa is attractive to everyone. Oh, may our Lord maintain the whole universe!” (CC Madhya 17.210)
After hearing this description of Lord Kṛṣṇa from the male parrot, the female parrot began to recite a description of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
śrī-rādhikāyāḥ priyatā surūpatā
guṇāli-sampat kavitā ca rājate
The female parrot said: “Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s affection, Her exquisite beauty and good behavior, Her artistic dancing and chanting and Her poetic compositions are all so attractive that they attract the mind of Kṛṣṇa, who attracts the mind of everyone in the universe.” (CC Madhya 17.212)
Thus, Rādhā has all the attractiveness to attract the heart of the Supremely attractive Kṛṣṇa.
The Epitome of Topmost Rasa
Ardent devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa serve Him in four primary moods. They are dāsya-rasa (servitude), sakhya-rasa (friendship), vātsalya-rasa (parental affection) and mādhurya-rasa (amorous love). First, without feeling competitive, individually, they all feel that their personal sentiment of love for Kṛṣṇa is excellent. They are satisfied with their particular relationship with Kṛṣṇa. However, unbiased comparison between all these rasas reveals that mādhurya rasa, in its unique sweetness, is superior to all other rasas.
Mādhurya rasa has two categories – (i) Svakīya or wedded love found in Kṛṣṇa’s queens at Dvāraka, and (ii) Parakīya or unwedded love found in the gopīs of Vrindavan. Parakīya rasa is superior to svakīya rasa. The gopīs’ love for Kṛṣṇa has no tinge of lust. Lust is like iron, and love is like gold. In lust, one desires one’s own sense enjoyment, and in love, one desires to please Kṛṣṇa’s senses. While lust is like dense darkness, love is like the bright sun.
The gopīs’ spiritual emotions for Kṛṣṇa are pure and spotless. They have given up social customs, scriptural injunctions, and relatives just for the sake of serving Kṛṣṇa. Disregarding their own pleasure or pain, they dedicated their body, mind, and words to Kṛṣṇa’s service. Even Kṛṣṇa admitted that He could not repay them for their worship even within a lifetime of Brahmā, and instead they should find satisfaction within their own good deeds. The gopīs decorate themselves only to give Kṛṣṇa happiness. The happiness of the gopīs lies in the happiness of Kṛṣṇa. Though not desiring, they derive pleasure in serving Kṛṣṇa, which is ten million times greater than Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure. The gopīs are Kṛṣṇa’s assistants, teachers, students, maids, friends, wives, and confidantes. They exactly know Kṛṣṇa’s mind, desires, and the perfect methods of serving and pleasing Him. Śrī Rādhā is the foremost gopī surpassing all others in beauty, qualities, and love.
The parakīya rasa reaches its highest limit and fullest intensity in Śrī Rādhā’s heart. Her love for Kṛṣṇa is the purest and the most mature form of love, surpassing all other forms of love. Śrī Rādhā is the repository of all good qualities and the crest jewel among Kṛṣṇa’s consorts. Her mind, senses, and body are steeped in love for Kṛṣṇa. She helps Him in His pastimes. The Lakṣmīs in Vaikuṇṭha is Her partial manifestations. The queens of Dvāraka are Her reflections. The Vraja gopīs like Lalitā and Viśākhā are Her direct expansions.
The Queen of Vṛndāvana
The activities of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇi’s mind are always concentrated on Lord Kṛṣṇa. Her earrings are the name, fame, and qualities of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa’s qualities always inundate her speech. Even Satyabhāmā desires Her fortunate position and excellent qualities. Even Lakṣṁī and Pārvatī desire Her beauty and qualities. Arundhatī, the wife of Vasiṣṭha, also wants to imitate Her pativratā-dharma (chastity).
Even Kṛṣṇa desired to understand the greatness of Rādhārāṇī’s love for Him. Once, He thought, “I am the prime cause of all rasas and full of joy, but Rādhārāṇī’s love for Me drives Me mad. Her love for Me gives ten million times more pleasure to Her than to Me, Her beloved. Her all-pervading love for Me is continuously expanding. Nothing is greater than Her love, yet She is devoid of all pride. Nothing is purer than Her love. My sweetness and beauty are wonderful, infinite, and full. No one can find its limits. Only Rādhikā, whose love is pure like a mirror, tastes it. She experiences far more pleasure than Me. Her satisfaction in seeing Me is more than My satisfaction in seeing Her.” To experience the divine loving emotions of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇi, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared as Lord Caitanya with the emotion and complexion of Rādhārāṇi.
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the Queen of Vṛndāvana, is the center of all of Vṛndāvana’s activities. In Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa is the instrument or simply the decoration of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; therefore all the Vraja-vāsīs still chant “Jaya Rādhe!” Kṛṣṇa is Madana-mohana, but Rādhārāṇī is Madana-mohana-mohinī, the enchanter of Kṛṣṇa. That’s the greatness of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇi.