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Radha, The Personification of Bhakti

by Swami Sivananda

Salutations to Sri Radha, the World-Mother, who took her birth at Barsana, near Brindavan, who is an embodiment of Sri Krishna Prema!

The Supreme emotion, Mahabhava, is the quintessence of Prema. Radha is the personification of this Supreme emotion. The play of Radha with Sri Krishna is extremely deep; it cannot be learnt from the Dasya, Vatsalya and other Bhavas. The Sakhis alone are qualified for it. They alone relish this Lila in full. Sakhis or those who worship Sri Krishna in the spirit of His Sakhis have a right to this Lila.

A Sakhi does not yearn to play with Sri Krishna all by herself. She feels a keener delight in contriving Sri Krishna's dalliance with Radha. Radha is indeed the Wishing Creeper, Kalpalata, of the love of Sri Krishna. The Sakhis are the leaves, flowers and shoots of the Creeper. If the nectar of dalliance with Sri Krishna waters the Creeper, the leaves etc., take delight in it million times more than if they themselves had been watered.

The Sakhis do not long for Sri Krishna's embrace, but they exert themselves to make Sri Krishna embrace Radha. They send Sri Krishna to her for this purpose under various pretexts. They attain thereby a bliss million times sweeter than that of selfish enjoyment. The unselfish devotion of these towards each other strengthens the deliciousness, Rasa. The sight of such unselfish, pure Prema pleases Lord Sri Krishna. The love felt by the Gopis is not really earthly lust. Earthly lust seeks sensual gratification for one's own self. The Gopis abandon all idea of self and seek Sri Krishna's enjoyment. They did not yearn for their own pleasure. They embrace Sri Krishna only to please Him.

You cannot attain Sri Krishna, however much you worship Him, if you only meditate on Him as a divinity and not serve Him as a Gopi. See how Lakshmi adored Him, but could not attain Him in Brija.

Radha is a Devi. She is the queen of lustrous beauties or the abode of Sri Krishna's love-sports and worship. She beholds Lord Krishna in anything and everything. She sets her love-lit eyes upon Him. Lord Krishna is the Supreme Matchless Lover and Sri Radha is identical with Him. She is the part and parcel of Krishna and His love-energy. Her sole object of existence and devout prayers is to fulfil the wishes of Sri Krishna. Hence she is named Krishnamayi. She is full of Krishna inside and outside. Krishna is the charmer of all. Radha is Krishna's charmer and therefore the Supreme Goddess.

She is the worshipped of all the worshipped deities. She is the fosterer and mother of the worlds. She is the presiding deity of the Lakshmis of Vaikuntha or of the six divine attributes of Lord Krishna. She is the seat of concentrated beauties or the source and centre from which the Lakshmis draw their beauties.

Lord Krishna is the embodiment of bliss. He is the source of and centre of real happiness. Bliss is divine elixir that bestows immortality. Sensual pleasure is a poison which causes disease and death. Lord Krishna has a certain energy called Antaranga or Svarupa Sakti. The Sakti which has the power of giving delight to Krishna and His devotees is called Hladini Sakti or delight-giving energy. The essence of Hladini is Prema or selfless Krishna's Prema. The selfless love is called Ananda-Chinmaya-Rasa. The quintessence of this Rasa or Mahabhava is Radha.

Radha is the embodiment of Mahabhava. The word Radha etymologically means a devotee. Radha is the Chief of Krishna's sweethearts. All the Lakshmis of Vaikuntha are her Vilasa-Murtis. The queens of Dvaraka are her reflections. Lalita and other Gopis of Brindavan are her manifold forms. She pervades the Gopis in her subtle form in order to contribute to Krishna's enjoyment. Radha is Krishna's delighter, charmer and life's all. She is the queen of all the lovely maidens of Braja. She is the crest Gem of all celestial beauties. Radha and Krishna are inseparable as fire and its heat, ice and its coolness, flower and its fragrance.

The body of Radha is made up of sweet tenderness and loveliness for Sri Krishna. The substance of her subtle form as Mahabhava is Krishna Prema. Ardent passion for Sri Krishna is her dress. Her sweet radiant smile is the camphor. All good qualities are her garlands. All the Bhavas form the ornaments of her limbs. Lord Krishna's Name and qualities form the ornaments of her ears. Krishna's Name and qualities flow out in a stream from her tongue. She serves Krishna with the drink of Premarasa or Shyama-Rasa.

The culmination of Bhakti is reached in Madhurya Bhava. The lover and the Beloved become one through the intensity of love. Radha had this type of love. In Madhurya Bhava there is the closest relationship between the devotee and the Lord. There is no sensuality in ­Madhurya Bhava. There is no tinge of carnality in it. Passionate people cannot understand this Bhava as their minds are saturated with passion and lower sexual appetite. Sufist saints also have the Bhava of lover and Beloved (Madhurya Bhava). Gita Govinda written by Jayadeva is full of Madhurya Rasa. The language of love which the mystics use cannot be comprehended by worldly persons. Only Gopis, Radha, Mira, Tukaram, Narada, Hafiz, can understand the language.

Glory to Radha, the consort of Lord Krishna! Glory, glory to Lord Krishna, the Joy of Devaki, the Goal of Yogis, the Refuge of devotees and the Delight of Yasoda and Nanda. May their blessings be upon you all.

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