oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ
vāñchā-kalpa-tarubhyaś ca kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ
namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te
kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ
he kṛṣṇa karuṇā-sindho dīna-bandho jagat-pate
gopeśa gopikā-kānta rādhā-kānta namo ’stu te
tapta-kāñcana-gaurāṅgi rādhe vṛndāvaneśvari
vṛṣabhānu-sute devi praṇamāmi hari-priye
hlādinīra sāra ‘prema’, prema-sāra ‘bhāva’
bhāvera parama-kāṣṭhā, nāma — ‘mahā-bhāva’
«The essence of ecstasy is love; the essence of love is heart; and the acme of heart is called ‘mahabhava’. And the personality of mahabhava is our Queen, Sri Radha Thakurani. She is the mine of all good, the jewel of Krishna’s beloveds.»
We can understand the identification of Srimati Radharani in this way: the Power and the Powerful are nondifferent, but when the Power wants to play with the Powerful, They are taking different forms. One is Power, and the other is Powerful.
rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī śaktir asmād
ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā deha-bhedaṁ gatau tau
caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṁ caikyam āptaṁ
rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam
Although the divine form of Radha-Krishna is one, sometimes for the Pastimes of love, the Power and the Powerful play together as two. There we will see hladini-sakti playing with Krishna in full love, beauty, charm, and affection. That is the form of Srimati Radharani.
Pranaya-vikrtir: where Love Herself is taking form and playing with the Powerful, that is Srimati Radharani. Srila Svarup Damodar Prabhu has explained that Krishna’s power is classified in three manifestations: first is Chit-sakti [transcendental potency], the second is jada-sakti [mundane potency], and the third is where the first two come very close to each other, and that is called tatastha-sakti. First is light, second is shadow, and third is the position midway between the two. That is called tatastha. And fr om that third plane, the innumerable jiva-souls are manifest. Krishna, the Powerful, with these three powers in their fullness, is playing in the Paravyoma Dham. There, unlimited manifestations of the Lord are living, all within the infinite plane. And in Vrndavan, where Krishna’s play is overflowing with love and affection, everything is for the satisfaction of the Powerful. There, love has five manifestations: santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhura. And madhura is of two types: consorthood [svakiya] and paramour [parakiya]. Where we see the supreme manifestation of madhura-rasa, there we see the manifestation of Srimati Radharani. She is hladini-sakti, and hladini-sakti is further explained in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta:
kṛṣṇake āhlāde, tā’te nāma — ‘hlādinī’
sei śakti-dvāre sukha āsvāde āpani
«That power which is always supplying service for the satisfaction of Krishna, and through which comes full happiness, full joy, and full ecstasy, that is called by the name ‘hladini’.»
In that realm everything is eternal, and we cannot properly conceive that within our mundane intelligence. Therefore, Sriman Mahaprabhu has said it is achintya. We have seen in the garden of one lady, a tree with three different types of fruit growing fr om it. Apricot, pear, and plum, all growing on the same tree. I often use the example that if I ask a banana tree to please give me a mango, it will not be able to give that, not in this world. But after seeing that tree — actually two or three trees were there — I can say that it is possible, but still unbelievable. So, if in this mundane world it is possible, then why not in the transcendental world?
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
[«Surrounded by millions of wish-fulfilling trees, in abodes made of multitudes of wish-yielding gems, He who tends the ever-yielding cows and who is perpetually served with great affection by hundreds of thousands of Laksmis — the Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I worship.»]
The explanation of Goloka Dham given in Sri Brahma-samhita is inconceivable fr om this plane, but it exists eternally, and there all play is going on by the power of Srimati Radharani. She is always trying to satisfy Krishna in so many ways. Her form is most beautiful, and Krishna is also so nice and beautiful. When They are playing together, the whole transcendental universe also plays through that mood of Their love.
Here is the shadow universe where jada-sakti is the power, and that power is also eternal. Still, in the shadow, we cannot clearly see everything. The shadow of my hand will not show the colour of my hand, and many other things are unmanifest in the shadow. That jada-sakti can also be divided into three: gross matter, subtle matter or the mental plane, and the ego or ahankar. These three cover the jiva-soul, so we are unable to perceive our real self.
Where the play of the Power and the Powerful is always manifest, that is called Vaikunthaloka, and there unlimited manifestations of the Lord are playing eternally. And where that play is supreme, where the principal manifestation of the Power and the Powerful is to be found, that place is called Goloka Vrndavan. There the Powerful is known by many Names: Krishna, Nanda Nandan, Yasoda Nandan, Syamasundar, Govinda, and many more, and the Power is manifest fully as Srimati Radharani. She also appears in many divine forms — the sakhis, the manjaris, and others — for the service of Krishna. It is said in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta:
kṛṣṇera yateka khelā, sarvottama nara-līlā,
nara-vapu tāhāra svarūpa
gopa-veśa, veṇu-kara, nava-kiśora, naṭa-vara,
nara-līlāra haya anurūpa
«The most supreme form of Godhead is Krishna, who plays in His eternal divine Pastimes just like a human being, an ever-youthful cowherd boy of Vrndavan. He enacts His Pastimes, always playing His flute and dancing expertly.»
The devotees here in this world, those who have received exclusive devotion through the mercy of the Power, can see the Pastimes of Krishna, and they are distributing that to us through the scriptures, through themselves, and through their agents — the rsis, munis, and sadhus. Sometimes, Krishna Himself, with His full paraphernalia and associates, reveals Himself in this material world, and that is called lila. Lila means that which looks like our own activities, but it is not exactly that — similar yet entirely different.
aṣṭāviṁśa catur-yuge dvāparera śeṣe
vrajera sahite haya kṛṣṇera prakāśe
When Krishna appeared in Dvapar-yuga, the Yuga-avatar Krishna and the original Powerful Krishna manifested in this mundane world in a combined way. In Dvaraka, Mathura, and Vrndavan, Krishna manifested Himself in different ways. They are all eternal and transcendental, but there is some difference. Acharya Srila Rupa Goswami has explained this as purna, purnatara, and purnatama: perfect, more perfect, and most perfect, respectively. Those Pastimes begin with the janma-lila, the appearance of Lord Krishna. Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavad-gita (4.9):
janma karma cha me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna
«Those who can properly understand (vetti tattvatah) My birth and activities will never again be subject to the cycle of birth and death.» So, who can really understand that?
His birth and death are not the same as ours. They are like the rising and setting of the sun. Surya is rising and setting in the path of our vision, but he is not born at sunrise and does not die at sunset. Krishna’s birth and death is something like that.
When the Power Herself, Srimati Radharani, appears in this world, along with the Powerful Himself, Sri Krishna, She is fully replete with all beauty, all charm, all love, all affection, and all harmony. And when Their play is moving in Vrndavan, the whole atmosphere — the plants, the trees, the earth, everything — is purna, perfect.
śriyaḥ kāntāḥ kāntaḥ parama-puruṣaḥ kalpa-taravo
drumā bhūmiś cintāmaṇi-gaṇa-mayi toyam amṛtam
kathā gānaṁ nāṭyaṁ gamanam api vaṁśī priya-sakhi
cid-ānandaṁ jyotiḥ param api tad āsvādyam api ca
sa yatra kṣīrābdhiḥ sravati surabhībhyaś ca su-mahān
nimeṣārdhākhyo vā vrajati na hi yatrāpi samayaḥ
bhaje śvetadvīpaṁ tam aham iha golokam iti yaṁ
vidantas te santaḥ kṣiti-virala-cārāḥ katipaye
[«That place where the divine Goddesses of fortune are the beloved, and Krishna, the Supreme Male, is the only lover; all the trees are divine wish-fulfilling trees; the soil is made of transcendental gems and the water is nectar; where every word is a song, every movement is dancing, the flute is the dearmost companion, sunlight and moonlight are divine ecstasy, and all that be is divine and enjoyable; where a great ocean of milk eternally flows from the udders of billions of surabhi cows, and the divine time is eternally present, never suffering the estrangement of past and future for even a split second … that supreme transcendental abode of Svetadwip do I adore. Practically no one in this world knows that place but for only a few pure devotees — and they know it as Goloka.»]
This is the explanation, but still we cannot conceive it entirely, so the sastra says it is achintya. When you enter into that transcendental abode, then you will feel and understand. Before that, it will be astonishing to you.
Srimati Radharani appeared on this day five thousand years ago, and She played with Krishna in Vrndavan, manifesting full paramour love with Him. Srila Rupa Goswami, knowing that our vision is not very deep, has written that although Their play is like that of a man and woman, it is in fact completely different from this mundane nature. Some expression has been given in the scriptures because there is no other way to express it, but what kind of love Srimati Radharani has for Krishna, and what kind of love Krishna has for Srimati Radharani — we cannot conceive of it.
pīḍābhir nava-kāla-kūṭa-kaṭutā-garvasya nirvāsano
nisyandena mudāṁ sudhā-madhurimāhaṅkāra-saṅkocanaḥ
premā sundari nanda-nandana-paro jāgarti yasyāntare
jñāyante sphuṭam asya vakra-madhurās tenaiva vikrāntayaḥ
The nature of the love of Radha and Krishna is described in this verse. It is like the burning pain caused by a cobra’s bite which can cause unconsciousness within minutes; such inconceivable pain comes through that love. Similarly, the happiness coming through that love is like all ecstasy coming together, taking form, and giving inconceivable joy in the heart.
akaitava kṛṣṇa-prema, yena jāmbūnada-hema,
sei premā nṛloke nā haya
yadi haya tāra yoga, nā haya tabe viyoga,
viyoga haile keha nā jīyaya
Who has that type of love for Krishna, he cannot be separated from that in any way at any time, and if somehow separation does occur, then he or she must surely die.
Srila Rupa Goswami has written:
diśi diśi rachayantīṁ sañcharan netra-lakṣmī--
vilasita-khuralībhiḥ khañjarīṭasya khelām
akhila-guṇa-gabhīrāṁ rādhikām archchayāmi
And Sri Prabhodananda Saraswati has given the following verse in praise of Srimati Radharani:
yasyāḥ kadāpi vasanāñchala-khelanottha-
yogīndra-durgama-gatir madhusūdano ’pi
tasyā namo ’stu vṛṣabhānubhuvo diśe ’pi
The meaning is a very high matter to discuss in a public meeting. Our Gurus have given very strong caution in this regard, and that is always checking our tongue. Srila Guru Maharaj has written that Sukadev Goswami, Lord Siva, and Lord Brahma have all given indication from afar (Suka-Siva-Brahmadi-sammanitam), but all are reluctant to take the Name of Srimati Radharani publicly, and why is that? The reason is that they are fearful that we will mix that highest thing with sahajiyaism, imitationism. A warning is given in Srimad Bhagavatam itself:
vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ ca viṣṇoḥ
śraddhānvito ’nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ
bhaktiṁ parāṁ bhagavati pratilabhya kāmaṁ
hṛd-rogam āśv apahinoty acireṇa dhīraḥ
The meaning is that if you hear about the Pastimes of Krishna with the gopis, then from your physical and subtle body, lust will be driven out, and you will become dhira, or liberated with the mood of real devotion. But we are warned about how to hear and the correct way to discuss these things. This is also given in this verse: sraddhanvitah and anusrnuyat. First strong faith in those Pastimes is necessary, and secondly you must hear those Pastimes only from a perfect master, who is himself liberated and in full knowledge. Without fulfilling these two conditions, if you try to discuss these matters, you will be in a very dangerous position.
naitat samācharej jātu manasāpi hy anīṣvaraḥ
vinaśyaty ācharan mauḍhyād yathā ’rudro ’bdhi-jaṁ viṣam
Without following the proper course, to hear and discuss these things will be as dangerous as trying to drink poison in imitation of Lord Siva. These things must be heard, but strictly under the guidance of an expert, otherwise you will lose. We can discuss these slokas of Prabhodananda Saraswati a little, but I do not like to enter into that in public, rather I will try to glorify our Lord’s beloved Power in another way.
Before I began today, we sang Sri Sri Radhika Stutih by Srila Rupa Goswami. There, he is glorifying Srimati Radharani: Radhe jaya jaya Madhava-dayite. She is the dearmost Power of Krishna, Madhava. Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu has used this word ‘Madhava’. ‘Ma’ means Laksmi Devi, and Laksmi Devi also wants entrance into the Rasa-lila of Sri Krishna. When Krishna shows His majestic form of Narayan, the Power there is Laksmi Devi. In Narayan, we will find dasya-rasa and ardha-sakhya [half friendship]. No one will say to Narayan, «O my friend Narayan, please come here.» But that is possible with Krishna. After tasting a very sweet fruit, we cannot then offer that to Narayan, but again that is possible with Krishna. So, we can say that a more beautiful relationship is found with Lord Krishna. We can play with Krishna, but we cannot play with Narayan. Laksmi Devi is always serving Narayan in a very honourable way, whereas the gopis are treating Krishna as their boyfriend, and so Laksmi Devi aspires to enter into that group. The lila of Sri Ramachandra is also different from that of Krishna. Sri Ramachandra is so beautiful that the rsis of Dandakaranya wanted to play with Him. They offered to take the form of girls to play with Him, but He told them, «It is not possible in this Avatar, but when Krishna appears in Dvapar-yuga, then you can take the form of girlfriends and play with Me. But that form must be Krishna.»
ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
indrāri-vyākulaṁ lokaṁ mṛḍayanti yuge yuge
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam
Sarva-karana-karanam means the cause of all causes and the creator of all creators. Transcendental or mundane, He is the supreme origin. «Reality is for Itself and by Itself.» If Reality was existing for another, then that ‘other’ would hold the highest position. Even Narayan cannot claim the position of Krishna. In the abode of Narayan, there are two and a half rasas existing. In Dvaraka-lila, we see that Krishna has 16,108 queens, and they are all married to Krishna. But in Vraja Dham, Krishna has no marriage relationship. There His relationships are all paramour. In this world, that relationship is very bad.
To make harmony in this mundane world, some laws have been introduced: «You do not take my wife, and I will not take your wife.» This is harmonious adjustment, and for that purpose many scriptural rules are also given here. But wh ere nothing bad can exist, that plane wh ere nothing can be touched by anything dirty, there paramour love is super beautiful. There, only the consciousness of the paramour is present, and through that consciousness, they are tasting paramour love. That is so beautiful, surpassing the beauty of even consorthood. We may not be able to conceive of that from this plane, but the scripture can see, and it is existing there. And from time to time, it is revealed here.
śrī-kṛṣṇa-chaitanya prabhu jīve dayā kari’
svapārṣada svīya dhāma saha avatari’
When Krishna mercifully wants to show His Pastimes in the mundane world, He reveals that along with all His associates and paraphernalia. When Krishna appears, then Srimati Radharani also appears as the full Power, along with all of Her associates. Perhaps you have heard how She appeared.
One day, Vrsabhanu Raja, while at the River Yamuna, saw a small baby girl lying in a lotus flower. He was very surprised, and so he took that baby and gave Her to his wife, Mother Kirtida. When everyone heard, they were delighted that Maharaj Vrsabhanu and Mother Kirtida had got a daughter. Everyone believed that She was their daughter born from a lotus. That is the nature and devotional mood of the faithful plane.
Everyone worshipped Vrsabhanu Raja and Kirtida, praising them for their beautiful daughter, but She would not open Her eyes. Anyhow, within a few days, Mother Yasoda heard that Raja Vrsabhanu and Mother Kirtida had a nice newborn girl, and so, with baby Krishna, she came to see. When Mother Yasoda took that beautiful girl on her lap, Krishna also tried to see, and when Krishna was looking into the face of Radharani, She opened Her eyes for the very first time. Everyone was stunned and thought, «Oh, this boy is very auspicious, when He touched this girl, She opened Her eyes.» This was Her first darsan, the first meeting of the Power and the Powerful.
Then later, Radharani was growing up in the house of Maharaj Vrsabhanu, and She was very beautiful and very intelligent, and qualified in so many ways. Then one day, Rsi Durvasa came to the house of Maharaj Vrsabhanu, and Srimati Radharani cooked very nicely for him. Durvasa was so pleased with Her that he gave Her a boon that whatever She cooked would taste of ecstasy, and whoever will eat Her cooking will get a long life.
Mother Yasoda heard of that boon, so every day she would call Srimati Radharani to cook something for Krishna. Even after Srimati Radharani was married to Abhimanyu, She had an open invitation. She was so happy, and Abhimanyu was also very happy. Sometimes he is also taking that prasadam. This is nitya-lila.
In Vraja Dham, they do not like to say ‘Srimati’ Radharani. In Bengal, they say ‘Srimati Radharani’, but in Vraja Dham they say ‘Sri Radha’. We are adding ‘Srimati’, but they do not like that. They cannot say why, but they don’t like it. In the Bengali poetry of Chandi Das, Vidyapati, and others, the word ‘Srimati’ is often found, and Sriman Mahaprabhu relished that.
So, Sri Prabodhananda Saraswatipad has given this sloka:
yasyāḥ kadāpi vasanāñchala-khelanottha-
yogīndra-durgama-gatir madhusūdano ’pi
tasyā namo ’stu vṛṣabhānubhuvo diśe ’pi
He has expressed that when Srimati Radharani is moving, some breeze is coming from Her clothing, and then that breeze is touching Krishna. And Krishna is feeling so fortunate at feeling that breeze, it is giving Him so much joy, and that is Her qualification. Srila Prabhodananda Saraswati has given this explanation, but when he is giving his pranam, he says,«Tasya namo ’stu Vrsabhanubhuvodise ’pi: from a respectful distance, I am offering my dandavat pranam. Not directly to Srimati Radharani, but to the place of Her birth, Vrsabhanupur, in the direction of that most holy of holy places I am making my obeisance.»
Srila Rupa Goswami’s song continues, «Gokula-taruni-mandala-mahite.» That place, Gokula, wh ere all the associates are very beautiful like Laksmi Devi, there they are all charmed to see the exquisite beauty of Srimati Radharani, who is always decorated with many beautiful garments and scented flowers.
Her Pastimes are going on eternally with Krishna in Sri Vrndavan Dham.
koruṇāṁ kuru moyi koruṇā-bhorite
Dadhi means the ocean. Just as the moon is said to have appeared from the ocean, so from the ocean of Vrsabhanuraj appeared Srimati Radharani. All liberated devotees, the highly qualified mukta-purusa devotees such as Sanaka and Sanatan, are always glorifying the abode of Krishna with His devotees and particularly the supreme servitor of Krishna, Srimati Radharani.
On this Radhastami day, Srila Guru Maharaj has given us the opportunity to sing the song by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur:
rādhikā-charaṇa-padma sakala śreyera sadma
yatane ne nāhi ārādhila
«I did not take care to worship the lotus feet of Sri Radhika, which are the abode of all auspiciousness.» The Rupanuga sampradaya gives some special, unique appreciation of Srimati Radharani. They feel that without the merciful connection of Srimati Radharani, they cannot approach towards Krishna at all. Only if the order is coming from Her will they move towards Him. They are extremely fanatical about Srimati Radharani, and that is their foremost qualification. In another song, Bhakti Vinod Thakur says:
rādhā-bhajane yadi mati nāhi bhelā
kṛṣṇa-bhajana taba akāraṇa gelā
If you have no intention to serve Srimati Radharani, if your intention is only service to Sri Krishna, then you are surely spoiled.
ātapa-rahita sūraya nāhi jāni
rādhā-virahita mādhava nāhi māni
Just as without heat we cannot know the sun, so without Srimati Radharani there is no Krishna; the Powerful is Powerless. Kevala Madhava pujaye so ajnani: those who worship Krishna without Radharani, their conception must be imperfect. Who knows the glories of the Power must first worship the Power and then the Powerful.
umā, ramā, satyā, śachī, chandrā, rukmiṇī
rādhā-avatāra sabe — amnāya vaṇī
All the auspicious, powerful, divine women, such as Uma, Rama Devi — Laksmi, Satyabhama, Sati, Chandravali, and others, are the expansions of Srimati Radharani.
hena rādhā-paricharyā yā̐kara dhana
bhakati-vinoda tā̐ra māgaye charaṇa
Thus, Bhakti Vinod Thakur says in conclusion that he worships the lotus feet of those who worship the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani.
Srimati Radha Thakurani ki jay! May all glory be unto Her, the Power of powers, the Queen of Sri Krishna’s heart!