The highest truth has both male and female aspects. Like the sun and the sunshine, each gives meaning to the other. The male and female aspects of the Supreme Being appear together as Vishnu and Laksmi, Rama and Sita, and Krishna and Radharani.
During Krishna's childhood pastimes in Vrindavan, Radharani is His feminine counterpart. The Srimad-Bhagavatam and the books of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan tell how They eternally enjoy each others' company and are always making plans to meet.
some notes on understanding Radha, the feminine aspect of the Absolute Truth
by Jayadvaita Swami
When people see a picture like the one you see here, they often ask, "Who is that girl with Krishna?" The answer is that She is Srimati Radharani, Krishna's pleasure potency. The devotees of the Krishna consciousness movement humbly try to glorify Srimati Radharani because by her mercy one can advance wonderfully in Krishna consciousness.
What is the Pleasure Potency
Everyone naturally wants to enjoy, yet no one is fully independent in finding enjoyment. To satisfy our desires, we need the association of others. We use the expression "to enjoy oneself," but we enjoy ourselves most in good company. Indeed, most people would find prolonged solitude practically unbearable.
Krishna, however, the Supreme Lord, being the source of everything, is fully independent. He is independent in His existence, His knowledge and His pleasure, for everything rests upon Him, as pearls are strung on a thread.
Krishna, therefore, needs no one. Since in one sense He is everything, no one exists outside of Him. Consequently, when Krishna wants to enjoy, He expands the potency or energy within Himself that gives him enjoyment. This potency is a person. Her name is Srimati Radharani.
Radharani is not a different person from Krishna, or, rather, she is both one with and different from Him. How could two people be one person or one person be two? A simple example will illustrate how this is so. The sun cannot exist without the sunshine, nor the sunshine without the sun. We say, "the sun is in my room"—even though the sun itself is ninety-three million miles away—because the sun appears in the form of its energy. Therefore the energy (the sunshine) and the energetic (the sun) are simultaneously one and different. Similarly, Radha and Krishna are simultaneously one and different. Krishna, the self-effulgent Lord, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Srimati Radharani is His supreme pleasure energy. Together They constitute the complete Absolute Truth.
Who Can Understand All This
One cannot understand anything about Radha and Krishna through mental speculation. Krishna and His potencies are achintya, inconceivable, and ananta, unlimited. He is the very source of the mind itself, and therefore He is beyond the mind. The limited mind cannot understand the unlimited Personality of Godhead. The Vedic literature explains this very logically: "that which is transcendental to material nature is inconceivable, whereas speculative arguments are all mundane. Since mundane arguments cannot touch transcendental subject matters, one should not try to understand transcendental subjects through mundane arguments."
When ordinary mundane intellectuals try to explain or interpret the identity or pastimes of Radha and Krishna, Krishna's unlimited nature bewilders them, and therefore they misconstrue everything. Thus they sometimes consider Radha and Krishna to be like an ordinary boy and girl of the material world. But although they often pose as scholars, they do not know what they are talking about. One should therefore strictly avoid the confused mundane ideas of such blundering intellectuals. If one wishes to understand Radha and Krishna, one must understand Them by hearing submissively from a bona fide authority
The original authority on Krishna is Krishna Himself. Everyone is first an authority regarding his own self, and this is also true regarding Krishna. Moreover, since Krishna is unlimited, no one else can understand Him fully. Krishna's disciple Arjuna confirms this as follows in Bhagavad-gita:
vettha tvam purusottama
deva-deva jagat pate
"Indeed, You alone know Yourself by Your own potencies, O origin of all, Lord of all beings, God of gods, O Supreme Person, Lord of the universe!" (Bhagavad-gita, 10.15)
Although Krishna is inconceivable to mental speculation, those to whom He reveals Himself can understand Him. Krishna first gave such transcendental knowledge to Brahma, the first created living being. Brahma later transmitted this knowledge to his son Narada, who transmitted it to Vyasa, the author of Bhagavad-gita. In this way, the knowledge has descended from master to disciple, through a chain of the Bhakti tradition, even down to the present day. A spiritual master in this disciplic line is a bona fide authority regarding Krishna. He is the proper person from whom to receive transcendental knowledge.
What Gives Krishna Pleasure
According to such spiritual authorities, Krishna is the reservoir of all pleasure, and therefore He is all-attractive. Yet Krishna Himself derives pleasure from the service rendered by His devotees. Such devotional service attracts even Him. Krishna Himself, while speaking to a friend, confirms his as follows in Srimad Bhagavatam: "My dear Uddhava, you may know from Me that the attraction I feel for devotional service rendered by My devotees is not to be equaled even if one performs mystic yoga, philosophical speculation or ritualistic sacrifices, studies Vedanta, practices severe austerities or gives up everything in charity. These are, of course, very nice activities, but they are not as attractive to Me as the transcendental loving service rendered by My devotees." (Bhag. 11.12.1)
Krishna is full in six opulences: beauty, wealth, fame, strength, knowledge, and renunciation. No amount of material opulence, therefore, can attract Him. Just as one could not attract a millionaire by offering him a few dollars, one cannot attract Krishna merely by one's limited material opulence. Nevertheless, pure devotional service attracts even Krishna. This is the unique transcendental excellence of devotional service.
Srimati Radharani is the embodiment of pure devotional service. No one can be a greater devotee than She. The very name Radharani comes from the Sanskrit word aradhana, which means "worship." Her name is Radharani because She excels all in worshiping Krishna. Although Krishna is so beautiful that He can attract millions of Cupids and is therefore called Madana-mohana, "the attractor of Cupid," Radharani can attract even Krishna. She is therefore called Madana-mohana-mohini—"the attractor of the attractor of Cupid."
The same Krishna who is not attracted by any amount of material opulence finds Srimati Radharani irresistible. One time Krishna, to joke with the gopis, the cowherd girls of Vrndavana, was hiding Himself beneath a bush, but finally they spotted Him from a distance. Krishna then changed Himself into His four-armed form of Narayana. When the gopis approached and found Narayana instead of Krishna, they were not very interested in Him; only Krishna's original two-armed form attracted them. They therefore offered their respectful obeisances unto Lord Narayana and prayed that He would bestow upon them the benediction of Krishna's eternal association. Then they went on searching for Krishna. When Srimati Radharani passed by, however, Krishna tried to maintain His disguise as Narayana but was unable to do so; he kept slipping back into His original two-armed form. This illustrates the great influence of Srimati Radharani's pure transcendental love.
Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita that as one surrenders unto Him, He reciprocates accordingly. Therefore the more Radharani tries to please Krishna, the more he desires to please Her, thus in turn increasing Her enthusiasm to increase His pleasure. Therefore although the Lord is unlimited, both He Himself and His pleasure potency are always increasing. The all-blissful reciprocation between the Lord and His pleasure potency is expressed in the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krishna, which are described in detail in Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Love or Lust—What's the Difference
The reciprocation of love between Radha and Krishna is the essence of spiritual love. Because Krishna is the origin of everything, He is the origin of love also. The attraction between boys and girls in the material world is a perverted reflection of the purely spiritual relationship between Radha and Krishna. One who thinks he can be happy through material sexual enjoyment cannot understand the relationship between Radha and Krishna; and, conversely, if one hears about Radha and Krishna from a bona fide spiritual master, his material sexual desires evaporate.
In the material world, although one may profess true love, inwardly one's real desire is to enjoy his own senses. We love someone as long as he or she satisfies our senses, and when such sensual pleasure dwindles, the so-called love dwindles with it. Thus the love affair ends in separation or divorce. But pure devotees of Krishna on the spiritual platform have no desires to please themselves. They desire only to please Lord Krishna. This is true unalloyed love.
What we speak of as "love" in the material world is actually lust, or a desire to serve oneself. It has no permanent basis; today I love one girl, tomorrow another, according to my changing fancy. Indeed, although a boy and girl may change sexual partners as often as dogs and cats do, in our modern idiom we refer to their sexual intercourse as "lovemaking," as through the gross friction of two hot bodies could generate love. We speak of love so easily, but really in this material world there is no love—it is all lust. The difference between love and lust is like the difference between gold and iron. Both gold and iron are metals, but otherwise they are not at all alike.
The conditioned souls in the material world are generally misdirected and frustrated in love because they try to get pleasure by satisfying their material bodily senses. They do not know that they are different from their bodies. The body is always changing—from childhood, to youth, to old age—but the same person is always present in each body. He identifies himself as an American or Englishman, a Jew or a Christian, a boy or a girl, according to his body, but that body is not himself. Therefore no matter how diligently he tries to be happy by gratifying his bodily demands, he is never successful. Just as one cannot satisfy a bird by cleaning its cage and not feeding the bird itself, one cannot satisfy his physical senses. Besides that, the more one tries to satisfy the senses, the more they demand. Indulgence cannot satisfy the senses, any more than gasoline can extinguish a fire. Trying to smother one's anxieties with the gasoline of sense gratification will only ignite an explosion. Therefore, by trying to satisfy his material desires for sensual enjoyment the poor conditioned soul merely increases his desire, but not his satisfaction. He becomes a servant of the senses, working hard to fulfill hankerings that can never be fulfilled. To find real pleasure, one must find real love—and for this one must love Krishna. To be truly happy, one must engage in His devotional service.
Such devotional service is under the control of Srimati Radharani. She is the presiding Deity of devotional service. Because She is very merciful, devotees especially take advantage of Her merciful nature to attain the service of Krishna. Indeed, although engagement is pure devotional service is rarely achieved, one can achieve it very easily by the grace of Srimati Radharani.
Bhagavad-gita confirms that those who are truly mahatmas, great souls, take shelter of Krishna's daivi prakrti, or spiritual energy—Srimati Radharani. "Always chanting My glories," Lord Krishna declares, "endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion." (Bg. 9.14) This devotional service is not an activity of the material world; it is fully spiritual because it is directly under the control of Krishna's spiritual energy—Srimati Radharani.
To perform devotional service, one should follow in the footsteps of Srimati Radharani by performing pure devotional service to Krishna, without any concern for material profit. But one should not worship Krishna alone. Krishna is not complete without Srimati Radharani, as the sun is not complete without the sunshine. One should therefore worship both Radha and Krishna, for together They are the complete Absolute Truth.
Actually, worshiping Radharani is better than worshiping Krishna. More precisely, one can best worship Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, through Srimati Radharani, His supreme pleasure energy. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita, "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." (Bg. 9.26) But rather than offer a flower directly to Krishna, better to offer the flower to Srimati Radharani, requesting, "My dear Radharani, please recommend me to Your Krishna." Krishna is the supreme controller, yet he is controlled by the pure devotion of Srimati Radharani. Krishna is therefore also known as the "property of Radharani." If one can please Radharani, therefore, one can very easily please Lord Krishna.
Srimati Radharani has the vision of a most highly elevated devotee. Thus She sees everyone equally. If anyone approaches her to serve Krishna, even if he is the most fallen, She immediately bestows Her mercy upon him by recommending to Krishna, "Oh, Krishna, here is a devotee. He is better than Me." Because Srimati Radharani is always absorbed in thought of Krishna, She is very dear to Krishna. Therefore if one tries in this way to reach Krishna through Radharani, he will surely be successful.
How Can We Learn To Serve Radha and Krishna
To be able to serve Radha and Krishna, one must first approach a bona fide spiritual master. Krishna has two energies—material and spiritual. The spiritual energy is full of eternal bliss and knowledge, whereas the material energy causes ignorance, misery and death. Although we are all originally spiritual, unfortunately we are now engrossed in the material energy. Because of illusion, however, we do not remember our real position, nor do we know how to return to the spiritual world. Therefore Krishna personally descends to this material world to attract us by exhibiting His transcendental pastimes and by speaking the message of Bhagavad-gita for our enlightenment. But Krishna returned to His abode 5,000 years ago. Does this mean we can no longer approach Him? No. In His absence, we may approach him through His representative, the spiritual master.
The spiritual master is the mercy incarnation of God. Because Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, approaching Him is difficult. But he is also most compassionate, and out of his compassion He empowers His pure devotees to bring back home, back to Godhead, the fallen souls who have forgotten Him.
Srimati Radharani, the tenderhearted female counterpart of Lord Krishna, represents His compassionate nature. Therefore he spiritual master, who compassionately appears in the material world for the sake of the fallen souls, is considered a representative of Srimati Radharani. By the mercy of the spiritual master, one can obtain the mercy of Krishna. There is no alternative means for success. Without the mercy of the spiritual master, one cannot make any progress in devotional service. This is the opinion of all bona fide authorities on devotional life.
The spiritual master trains his disciples in such a way that they can become free from bondage to material consciousness, engage in devotional service, and thus gradually develop pure love of Godhead. The spiritual master has the responsibility of scientifically engaging each disciple in a practical manner. Among the many different paths for the attainment of spiritual realization, one needs the expert guidance of a bona fide spiritual master to understand which path to follow to make actual progress toward the supreme goal.
In our modern age, the most recommended process for perfection is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Krishna and Rama are names of the Lord, and Hare addresses Hara, the pleasure potency of the Lord—Srimati Radharani. As living spiritual souls, we are originally spiritual energy, but somehow or other we have now fallen into this material world of birth and death. But when we come under the shelter of the supreme spiritual energy, Srimati Radharani, we come to our happy, normal position.
Radharani is the potency who gives transcendental pleasure to Krishna. When the mercy of that potency is bestowed upon a living entity, he develops love of Godhead and thus attains the highest pleasure—and he can also distribute that pleasure—and he can also distribute that pleasure to others. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has introduced this process of chanting to the Western countries and is spreading it all over the world. "The chanting," he says, "is exactly like the cry of a child for its mother's presence. Mother Hara [Srimati Radharani] helps the devotee achieve the Lord Father's grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely."
Adapted from a lecture given on Radhastami, the appearance anniversary of Srimati Radharani, on September 18, 1969, in London:
What is the position of Srimati Radharani? We should try to understand this today and offer our obeisances to Radharani. "Radhe vrndavanesvari:"
Our business is to pray, "Radharani, You are so dear to Krishna. So we offer our respectful obeisances unto You:"
Radharani is hari-priya, very dear to Krishna. So if we approach Krishna through the mercy of Radharani, then it becomes very easy. If Radharani recommends that, "This devotee is very nice," then Krishna immediately accepts, however foolish I may be. Because Radharani recommends it, Krishna accepts. Therefore, in Vrndavana you'll find all the devotees chanting Radharani's name more than Krishna's. Wherever you'll go, you'll find the devotees are addressing one another, "Jaya Radhe." They are glorifying Radharani. They're more interested in worshiping Her. This is because, however fallen I may be, if somehow or other I can please Radharani, then it is very easy for me to understand Krishna. Otherwise,
manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam kascid vetti mam tattvatah
If you go by the speculative process to understand Krishna, it will take many, many lives. But if you take to devotional service and you just try to please Radharani, then Krishna will be gotten very easily, because Radharani can deliver Krishna. She is such a great devotee, the emblem of maha-bhagavata (topmost level of devotion to Krishna). Even Krishna Himself, though He says vedaham samatitani ("I know everything") cannot understand Radharani's quality. Radharani is so great. Actually, Krishna knows everything, and in order to understand Radharani, Krishna accepts the position of Radharani in order to understand Her potency. Krishna thought, "I am full. I am complete in every respect, but still I want to understand Radharani. Why?" This propensity made Krishna obliged to accept the propensities of Radharani, to understand Krishna, Himself.
These are, of course, very transcendental topics. It is a great science. Only one who is advanced in Krishna consciousness and well conversant with the shastras can understand such things. But still, we can discuss from the shastra (scriptures). When Krishna wanted to understand Himself, He adopted the tendency of Srimati Radharani. And that is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna, but He has accepted the propensities of Radharani. As Radharani is always feeling separation from Krishna, similarly, in the position of Radharani, Lord Chaitanya was feeling separation from Krishna. That is the teaching of Lord Chaitanya - feelings of separation, not meeting. The process of devotional service taught by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His disciplic succession is how to feel separation from Krishna. And that is Radharani's position: always feeling that separation.
The Vedic teachings say the highest truth has both male and female aspects. The female nature is called shakti ("the energy") and the male shaktiman ("the energetic"). They are one and different simultaneously, like the sun and sunshine; each gives meaning to the other. The male and female aspects of the Supreme Being are described in histories like Srimad-Bhagavatam, Ramayana and Mahabharata, where They appear together as Vishnu and Laksmi, Rama and Sita, and Krishna and Radharani.
a talk by Srila Prabhupada on Bhaktivinod Thakur's song
“Krishna is the lover of Radha. He displays many amorous pastimes in the groves of Vrindavana. He is the lover of the cowherd maidens of Vraja, the holder of the great hill named Govardhana, the beloved son of mother Yashoda, and the delighter of the inhabitants of Vraja. He wanders in the forests along the banks of the River Yamuna.”
("Jaya Radha Madhava" by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur)
This is the original nature of Krishna. He is Radha-Madhava; He is the lover of Srimati Radharani. And—kunja- vihari—He always enjoys the company of the gopis [cowherd girls] within the bushes of Vrindavana forest. Radha-madhava kunja-vihari. Not only is He the lover of Radharani, but—vraja-jana- vallabha—all the residents of Vrindavana love Krishna. They do not know anything else. They do not know whether Krishna is God or not. Nor are they very much harassed by the thought “I shall love Krishna if He is God.” Instead they think, “He may be God or He may not be God. Whatever He is, it doesn’t matter, but we love Krishna.”
That’s all. That is called unalloyed love. “If Krishna is God, then I shall love Him”—this is conditional love, not pure love. Krishna may be God or whatever He may be, but by His wonderful acts the Vrajavasis [residents of Vrindavana] are thinking, “Oh, Krishna is a very wonderful child. He may be some demigod.”
People are generally under the impression that the demigods are all-powerful. The demigods are powerful within this material world, but people do not know that Krishna is above all of them. Ishvarah paramah krishnah sac-cid-ananda- vigrahah. The highest demigod, Brahma, is giving his opinion: “The supreme controller is Krishna.”
So, as the residents of Vrindavana love Krishna without any condition, Krishna loves them without any condition.
Giri-vara-dhari. When the inhabitants of Vrindavana stopped the sacrifice to Indra, they were in danger because Indra became very angry. For seven days he incessantly sent very great, powerful clouds and rain over Vrindavana. When the inhabitants became very much disturbed, Krishna, although He was only a seven-year-old boy, saved them by lifting Govardhana Hill. In this way He taught Indradeva, “To stop your disturbance is the business of My little finger. That’s all.” So Indra fell to his knees before Krishna. These things you’ll find in our book Krishna.
As Gopi-jana-vallabha,Krishna’s only business is how to protect the gopi-jana [gopis]. Our Krishna consciousness movement is teaching how to become one of the gopi-janas. Then Krishna will save us from any danger, even by lifting a hill or a mountain. Krishna is so kind and so powerful. When Krishna lifted the hill He had not practiced some yoga system. He was playing like a child. But when there was some need, He manifested Himself as God. That is Krishna. Not that He has to go and practice some yoga system to become God. No. He is not that type of “God,” not a manufactured “God.” He’s God.
Yashoda-nandana, vraja-jana-ranjana. Krishna likes to be the child of a devotee. As the beloved child of Yashoda, He is called Yashodanandana, He wants to be chastised by His devotee father and mother, because everyone worships Him and nobody chastises Him. So He takes pleasure when a devotee chastises Him. That chastisement is service to Krishna. If Krishna takes pleasure in being chastised, then the responsibility is taken up by a devotee: “All right, I shall become Your father and chastise You.” When Krishna wants to fight, one of His devotees becomes Hiranyakashipu and fights with Him. Therefore, become an associate of Krishna and develop Krishna consciousness.
Yashoda-nandana, vraja-jana-ranjana. As the vraja-jana’s [Vrindavana residents’] business is how to satisfy Krishna, Krishna’s business is how to satisfy the vraja-jana. This is reciprocation of love.
Yamuna-tira-vana-cari. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is wandering on the banks of the Yamuna River to please the gopis, the cowherd boys, the birds, beasts, and calves. They are not ordinary birds, beasts, calves, or men. They are on the top level of self- realization. Krita-punya-punjah—after many, many lives they got the position to play with Krishna.
Our Krishna consciousness movement is so nice that everyone can go to Krishnaloka and associate with Krishna as a friend, as a servant, as a father or mother, as so many things. And Krishna is agreeable to any one of these propositions. These things are described very nicely in our book Teachings of Lord Caitanya.
Krishna does not go even one step out of Vrindavana. The original Krishna is in Vrindavana. Take advantage of these books, this knowledge, this prasadam, and this chanting. Be happy, and go to Krishna. It is such a nice thing.
Below is the transcription of a lecture Srila Prabhupada gave on September 18, 1969 in London, on the occasion of the appearance anniversary of Srimati Radharani. The lecture is part of the Srila Prabhupada MP3 Library, which is available from our Store.
Prabhupāda: (chants maṅgalācaraṇa prayers) Today is birth, appearance day of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Rādhāṣṭamī. Fifteen days after Kṛṣṇa’s birth, Rādhārāṇī appeared. (pause) Rādhārāṇī is Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency. Rādhā-kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktiḥ.
The Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has got varieties of energies, as it is confirmed in the Vedic literature. Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śruyate. Na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate. The Supreme Lord has nothing to do personally. Na tasya kāryam. He has nothing to do. Just like here in this material world we find some very big man, political head or business head; personally, he has nothing to do. Because he has got so many assistants, secretaries, that personally he hasn’t got to do anything. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, full with six opulences, why He will have to do something? No. He has got many assistants. Sarvataḥ pāṇi-pādas tat. In the Bhagavad-gītā: “He has got everywhere His hands and legs.” You’ll find Kṛṣṇa, He has nothing to do. He’s simply engaged in enjoyment with gopīs and Rādhārāṇī. He’s not engaged in killing the demons. When Kṛṣṇa kills the demons He’s Vasudeva Kṛṣṇa; He’s not original Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa expands Himself. First expansion is Baladeva. From Baladeva—Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Vāsudeva. So by the Vāsudeva feature He acts in Mathurā and Dvārakā. But Kṛṣṇa in His original feature, He remains in Vṛndāvana. One of the greatest fiction writers in Bengal, Bankimchandra Chatterjee, he misunderstood Kṛṣṇa that Kṛṣṇa of Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa of Dvārakā, and Kṛṣṇa of Mathurā, They’re different persons. Kṛṣṇa (is) the same, one, but He can expand Himself in millions and trillions of forms. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣam (Bs. 5.33). Advaita. Although ananta-rūpam, still, He’s ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣam, advaita. There is no such distinction.
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.
manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ (Bg. 7.3)
Out of millions of persons, one may try to make his life perfect. Everyone is working like animal. There’s no question of perfection of life. The animal propensities: eating, sleeping, mating and defending… So everyone is engaged like animals. They have no other business, just like animal, hogs, dogs, whole day and night working: “Where is stool? Where is stool?” And as soon as he gets some stool, gets some fat, “Where is sex? Where is sex?” No consideration of mother or sister. This is hog’s life.
So human life is not meant for hog civilization. So modern civilization is hog civilization, although it is polished with shirt and coat. So, we shall try to understand. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is for understanding Kṛṣṇa. For understanding Kṛṣṇa, it requires little labor, austerity, penance. Tapasya brahmacāryeṇa śamena damena ca. Tapasya. One has to undergo tapasya; brahmacārya, celibacy. Tapasya. Brahmacārya means stopping sex life or controlling sex life. Brahmacārya. Therefore Vedic civilization is, from the very beginning, to train the boys to become brahmacārī, celibacy. Not that modern days, the schools, boys and girls, ten years, twelve years, they’re enjoying. The brain is spoiled. They cannot understand higher things. The brain tissues are lost. So without becoming brahmacārī, nobody can understand spiritual life. Tapasya brahmacāryeṇa śamena damena ca. Śama means controlling the senses, controlling the mind; damena, controlling the senses; tyāgena; śaucena, cleanliness; tyāga, tyāga means charity. These are the processes for understanding oneself, self- realization. But in this age it is very difficult to undergo all these processes. Practically it is impossible. Therefore Lord Caitanya, Kṛṣṇa Himself, has made Himself easily available by one process:
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā (Adi 17.21)
In this age, Kali-yuga… Kali-yuga is considered to be the most fallen age. We are thinking that we are making very much advance, but it is the most fallen age. Because people are becoming like animals. As the animals have no other interest than four principles of bodily necessities—eating, sleeping, mating and defending—so in this age people are interested with four principles of bodily want. They have no information of the soul, neither they are prepared to realize what is soul. That is the defect of this age. But human form of life is especially meant for realizing himself, “What I am?” That is the mission of human life. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. This life is meant for inquiring about Brahman. Brahman, Paramātmā, Bhagavān. These inquiries should be there. Jijñāsu. They are called jijñāsu, brahma- jijñāsa, jijñāsu, inquiry. As we inquire every morning, “What is the news today?” Immediately we pick newspaper. That inquisitiveness is there. But we are inquiring very base things only. There is no desire to inquire about the highest possibility, brahma-jñāna. That is the lack of this modern civilization. Inquiring how to earn money: divā cārthehayā rājan kuṭumba-bharaṇena vā (SB 2.1.3) Not only in this age… In this age it has become the principal factor, but in this material world everyone is engaged simply for these bodily necessities of life. Nidrayā hṛiyate naktam: at night they sleep very sound sleep, snoring. Or sex life. Nidrayā hṛiyate naktaṁ vyavāyena ca vā vayaḥ (SB 2.1.3). In this way they’re wasting time. And at daytime, divā cārthehayā rājan… And during daytime, “Where is money? Where is money? Where is money?” Artha ihāya. Kuṭumba- bharaṇena vā. And as soon as one gets money, then how to purchase things for family, that’s all. Shopping, storing. This is the engagement of materialistic life. Out of that, one who is actually intelligent… Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye (Bg. 7.3). Out of many such foolish persons engaged in sleeping, mating, earning money, and providing family with nice apartment and food… This is the general occupation. So out of many thousands of men like that, one is inquisitive how to make perfect this human form of life. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye.
Siddhaye. Siddhi means perfection. So this life is meant for perfection. What is perfection? Perfection means that we do not want miserable condition of life, and we have to get out of it. That is perfection. Everyone is trying to get out of miserable condition of life. But they do not know what is the actual position of miserable life. Miserable condition of life: tri-tāpa-yantanaḥ. So this is called mukti, or liberation, from the misera… Ātyantika-duḥkha-nivṛttiḥ. Duḥkha, duḥkha means distress. So everybody is trying to get out of distress. But he does not know what is the ultimate goal of getting out of distress. Na te viduḥ. They do not know. Na te viduḥ svārtha- gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (SB 7.5.31). One can be out of distress when he approaches Viṣṇu. Tad viṣṇuṁ paramaṁ padaṁ sada paśyanti sūrayaḥ. Tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padam. The Viṣṇu planet… Just like here in the material world they’re trying to go to the moon planet, but these foolish people do not know what they’ll gain even they go to the moon planet. It is one of the material planets. Kṛṣṇa has already said in the Bhagavad-gītā, abrahma-bhuvanāl lokān. What to speak of this moon planet—it is very near—even if you go to the topmost planet, which is known as Brahmaloka… That is in your front, you can see every day, every night, how many lokas and planets are there. But you cannot go there. You are simply trying to go to the nearest planet. That is also failure. So what is your scientific improvement? But there is possibility. Ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokān. You can go. The material scientists’ calculation is that if one goes forward for forty thousands of years in the light speed, light- year speed, then one can approach the topmost planet of this material world. So at least in the modern scientific calculation, it is impossible. But one can go; there is process. That we have tried to explain in our small booklet Easy Journey to Other Planets. By yogic process one can go any planet he likes. That is the yogic perfection. When a yogi becomes perfect, he can go to any planet he likes, and the yoga practice goes on, unless the yogi thinks himself that he has made himself perfect to travel to any planet he likes. That is perfection of yoga practice.
So, these are the perfection of life, not that teeny, floating sputnik. (laughter) They do not know what is perfection of life. You can go anywhere. A living entity’s name is sarva-gaḥ. Sarva-gaḥ means “one who can go anywhere he likes.” Just Nārada Muni. Nārada Muni can travel anywhere he likes, either in the spiritual world or in the material world. So you can also do that. There is possibility. There was a Durvāsā Muni, great yogi. Within one year he traveled all over the universe and went to Viṣṇuloka and again came back. That is recorded in the history. So these are the perfections of life. And how these perfection can be attained? By understanding Kṛṣṇa. Yasmin vijñāte sarvam eva vijñātaṁ bhavanti. The Upaniṣad says, if you simply understand Kṛṣṇa, then all these things can be understood very easily. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is such a nice thing.
So today, this evening, we are talking about Rādhāṣṭamī. 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. Similarly… This is external 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.
Rādhārāṇī…, today is Rādhārāṇī’s appearance day. So we should try to understand Rādhārāṇī’s feature. Rādhārāṇī is the pleasure potency, hlādinī-śakti. Ānandamayo ’bhyāsāt. 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.
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktir asmād ekātmānāv api bhuvo (purā) deha-bhedo-gatau tau caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṁ caikyam āptaṁ rādhā-bhāva-(dyuti)-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam (Cc. Adi 1.5)
So Kṛṣṇa is Param Brahman, as you know from the Bhagavad-gītā. When Arjuna understood Bhagavad-gītā, he affirmed Kṛṣṇa, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān (Bg. 10.12) So Kṛṣṇa is Param Brahman. So in this material world we see that a great, saintly person, simply to enjoy brahmānanda, he gives up everything of material enjoyment. He becomes sannyāsī. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi. Just to understand that he is in Brahman realization. So if one has to give up everything material for Brahman realization, do you think that Paraṁ Brahman, the Supreme Brahman, can enjoy anything material? No. Kṛṣṇa’s enjoyment is nothing material. This point should be understood. For Brahman realization we are giving up everything material. And how Paraṁ Brahman can enjoy anything material? This question has been very much nicely discussed by Jīva Gosvāmī.
So when the Param Brahman… First of all, the Param Brahman information is not there in this material world. Little Brahman information is there. Or little Paramātmā information is there. But not Param Brahman, or Bhagavān, information. Therefore it is said, manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye (Bg. 7.3). Siddhaye means to understand Brahman or Paramātmā. But out of many such persons who have realized Brahman and Paramātmā, hardly a person can know Kṛṣṇa. And that… First of all… [break] …what we can understand about Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency? If I want to know some big man. That is one process. And without knowing that big man, how I can understand about his internal affairs? Similarly, 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.
So we have described about the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa loving affairs in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya in page 264. If you have got this book, you can read it, how the reciprocation of loving affairs of Rādhā- Kṛṣṇa is there, transcendental. So our today prayer to 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.
tapta-kāñcana-gauraṅgī rādhe vṛndāvaneśvarī vṛṣabhānu-sute devī pranamāmi hari-priye
Our business is “Rādhārāṇī, You are so dear to Kṛṣṇa. So we offer our respectful obeisances unto You.”
tapta-kāñcana-gauraṅgī rādhe vṛndāvaneśvarī vṛṣabhānu-sute devī pranamāmi hari-priye
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.
These are, of course, very transcendental, great science. One who is advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and well conversant with the śāstras, they can understand. But still, we can discuss from the śāstra. When Kṛṣṇa wanted to understand Himself, He took the tendency of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. And that is Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitam. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa, but He has accepted the propensities of Rādhārāṇī. As Rādhārāṇī is always in feelings of separation of Kṛṣṇa, similarly, in the position of Rādhārāṇī, Lord Caitanya was feeling separation of Kṛṣṇa. That is the teachings of Lord Caitanya, feelings of separation, not meeting. The process of devotional service taught by Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His disciplic succession is how to feel separation from Kṛṣṇa. That is Rādhārāṇī’s position, always feeling the separation.
The Gosvāmīs, they also, when they were in Vṛndāvana, they never said that “I have seen Kṛṣṇa.” Although they were the most perfect, they never said that “I have seen Kṛṣṇa.” Their prayers were like this: he rādhe! vraja-devīke! he nanda-suno! kutaḥ. He rādhe, Rādhārāṇī, he rādhe! vraja-devīke! ca. Rādhārāṇī does not remain alone. He (She) remains always with His (Her) friends, vraja-devī, Lalitā or Viśākha and other damsels of Vṛndāvana. So the Gosvāmīns are praying, in their mature stage, when they were living at Vṛndāvana, they were praying in this way, he rādhe! vraja-devīke! ca lalite! he nanda- suno! kutaḥ: “Where, Rādhārāṇī, where You are? Where are Your associates? Where You are, Nanda-suno, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, Kṛṣṇa? Where you are, all?” They were searching after. They never said, “I have seen Kṛṣṇa dancing with the gopīs. Last night I saw.” (laughter) This is sahajiyā. This is not mature devotee. This is called… They are called sahajiyā. They take everything very cheap—Kṛṣṇa very cheap, Rādhārāṇī very cheap—as if they can see every night. No. The Gosvāmīs do not teach us like that. They’re searching after. He rādhe! vraja-devīke! ca lalite! he nanda-suno! kutaḥ, śrī-govardhana-pādapa-tale kālindī-vanye kutaḥ: “Are you there under the Govardhana Hill or on the banks of the Yamunā?” Kālindī-vanye kutaḥ. Ghoṣantāv iti sarvato vraja-pure khedair mahā-vihvalau. Their business was crying like this, “Where You are? Where You are, Rādhārāṇī? Where you are, Lalitā, Viśākha, the associates of Rādhārāṇī? Where You are, Kṛṣṇa? Are You near Govardhana Hill or on the bank of the Yamunā?” Ghoṣantāv iti sarvato vraja-pure. So throughout the whole tract of Vṛndāvana they were crying and searching after Them, khedair mahā-vihvalau, as if madman. Khedair mahā-vihvalau. Vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu- yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau.
So we have to follow the footprints of the Gosvāmīs, how to search out Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī, Vṛndāvana, or within your heart. That is the process of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s bhajana: feeling of separation, vipralambha, vipralambha-sevā. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, feeling the separation of Kṛṣṇa, He was falling down on the sea. He was coming out of His rest room or His bedroom and going out at dead of night. Nobody knew where He has gone. So that was His searching. 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.
Prabhupāda: 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.
Thank you very much.
Devotees: Haribol! All glories to His Divine Grace! (offer obeisances) (end)
- Srimati Radharani's Appearance
- Sri Radha—the Feminine Divine
- Radha, Krishna's Female Counterpart
- Srimati Radharani's Artistic Qualities
- The Names of Srimati Radharani
- Radharani—The Feminine Side of God
- The Meeting of Radha and Krishna
- Radharani's Mood of Separation
- The Qualities of Srimati Radharani
- Radharani Gallery
The complete conception of God includes God and His energies, which exist simultaneously with Him and are in a sense identical to Him. The sum of Krishna's energies is Radha, His eternal consort. Like the sun and sunshine, Krishna and Radha are one.
Radha embodies the totality of love for Krishna. Thus She is known as the personification of Bhakti, or loving devotion to God.
Loving God is our natural state, now dormant. By Her pure example, Radha is the beacon calling everyone to re-awaken full love for Krishna. She also dispenses mercy to help us achieve that goal.
Radha-Krishna are the male and female aspects of God. Known as the Divine Couple, together they are the full manifestation of God.
"Radharani is a tenderhearted feminine counterpart of the supreme whole, resembling the perfectional stage of the worldly feminine nature. Therefore, the mercy of Radharani is available very readily to the sincere devotees, and once She recommends such a devotee to Lord Krishna, the Lord at once accepts the devotee's admittance into His association." —Srila Prabhupada, Bhagavatam 2.3.23
with Mitrasena dasa and Ekendra dasa
by Rupa Goswami
This kirtan was recorded at Prabhupada Village, North Carolina, USA in June 2011.
This popular song is traditionally sung at the very least once a year, on the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, the personified internal potency of Krishna. In certain places, such as Vrindavan, this is sung every moment of every day of every year.