Radha

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For other uses, see Radha (disambiguation).
Radha
Radhamadhava.JPG
Radha on the right with Krishna her consort. They are usually worshipped together. This is in the Mayapur Chandradoya Mandir
Devanagari राधा
Sanskrit Transliteration Rādhā
Affiliation Gopi
Abode Goloka
Consort Vishnu in the form of Krishna

Radha (IAST: Rādhā, Hindi: राधा ), also called Radhika, Radharani and Radhikarani, is a Hindu goddess who is almost always depicted alongside Krishna and features prominently within the theology of today's Vallabha and Gaudiya Vaishnava sects, which regards Radha as the original Goddess or Shakti. Radha is also the principal god of worship in the Nimbarka Sampradaya, as Nimbarka, the founder of the tradition, declared that Radha and Krishna together constitute the absolute truth.[1] Radha is the most important gopi in Raas (Special kind of dance) with Lord Krishna. Radha is often referred to as Rādhārānī or "Radhika" in speech, prefixed with the respectful term 'Srimati' by devout followers. [2][3][4] Gaudiya Vaishnavas, believe that in fact Radha is the original source from whom Goddess Lakshmi emanated.

Brooklyn Museum - Radha Pining for Her Beloved Page from a dated Rasikapriya Series

Within Vaishnavism[edit]

See also: Radha Krishna
Radha with Krishna, as painted by Raja Ravi Varma
Krishna and Radha Seated on a Terrace - Brooklyn Museum
Ras lila of Radha and Krishna.

In the Vaishnava devotional or bhakti traditions of Hinduism that focus on Krishna, Radha is Krishna's friend and advisor. For some of the adherents of these traditions, her importance approaches or even exceeds that of Krishna. She is considered to be his original shakti, the supreme goddess in both the Nimbarka Sampradaya and following the advent of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also within the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.Radha Chalisha mentions that Krishna accompanies one who chants " Radha" with pure heart. Other gopis are usually considered to be her maidservants, with Radha having the prominent position of Krishna's favour. It has been mentioned in the narration of the Skanda Purana that out of a billion of gopis, 16,000 are prominent. Out of these, 108 are important, and out of 108, eight are principal. Out of eight gopis, Radha and Chandravali are chief, and out of these two Radha is superior. Radharani's superiority is given by Krishna's flute, which repeats the name Radha. Between Radha and Rukmini, Radha is superior. All the gopis and queens of Lord Krishna are reincarnation of goddess Lakshmi.[5]

Her connection to Krishna is of two types: svakiya-rasa (married relationship) and parakiya-rasa (a relationship signified with eternal mental "love"). The Gaudiya tradition focuses upon parakiya-rasa as the highest form of love, wherein Radha and Krishna share thoughts even through separation. The love the gopis feel for Krishna is also described in this esoteric manner as the highest platform of spontaneous love of God, and not of a sexual nature.

Proponents of the Gaudiya and Nimbarka schools of Vaishnavism give the highly esoteric nature of Radha's relationship to Krishna as the reason why her story is not mentioned in detail in the other Puranic texts.[6]

Nimbarka[edit]

Nimbarka was the first Vaishnava acharya to disseminate teachings about Radha.[7][8]

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu[edit]

The Bengali saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534) is believed by many (especially by the modern-day ISKCON movement) to be an incarnation of both Radha and Krishna, simultaneously in one form. Throughout his life, Chaitanya lived as a devotee of Vaishnava tradition, not openly claiming to be any form of Avatar, but in his biographies it is claimed that he revealed his divine form to some of his closer associates.[9]

Temples dedicated to Radha[edit]

  • Barsana and Vrindavan in Mathura District, Northern India contain a large number of temples dedicated to both Radha and Krishna, including the Radhavallabh Temple.[10] Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathi Mandir in Delhi is also the Radha krishna Temple.[11][12]


Further reading[edit]

  • Krsna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead (ISBN 0-89213-354-6) by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
  • Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions (ISBN 81-208-0379-5) by David Kinsley
  • Hawley J.S. & D.M. Wulff (ed.) (1986) The Divine Consort: Radha and the Goddesses of India, Beacon Press, Boston, ISBN 0-8070-1303-X.
  • Radha by Krishna Dharabasi, a Nepali novel awarded with Madan Puraskar, Most prestigious literary award.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ H.Wilson, 'English Translation', Motilal Banarsidas Publishers, 1990 reprint.
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia of Hindu gods and goddesses By Suresh Chandra http://books.google.co.in/books?id=mfTE6kpz6XEC&pg=PA198&dq=goddess+lakshmi
  3. ^ "Radha - Goddess Radha, Sri Radharani, Radha-Krishna, Radhika". Festivalsinindia.net. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  4. ^ Radha in Hinduism, the favourite mistress of Krishna. In devotional religion she represents the longing of the human soul for God: The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 2006, by ELIZABETH KNOWLES
  5. ^ Swami B.G. Narasingha. "Sri Gayatri Mantrartha Dipika - Illuminations on the Essential Meaning of Gayatri | Sri Narasingha Chaitanya Ashram". Gosai.com. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  6. ^ Swami Tripurari, "Sri Radha: Indirectly the Absolute", Sanga, 1999.
  7. ^ Singh, K.B. (2004). "Manipur Vaishnavism: A Sociological Interpretat1on". Sociology of Religion in India. ISBN 978-0-7619-9781-8. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  8. ^ Kinsley, D. (2010). "Without Krsna There Is No Song". History of Religions 12 (2): 149. doi:10.1086/462672. Retrieved 2008-05-03. "Nimbarka seems to have been the first well-known religious leader to regard Radha as central to his cult (thirteenth century)"
  9. ^ Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 8.282
  10. ^ Radhavallabh Temple
  11. ^ "Asia and India ISKCON temples". Radha. 
  12. ^ Dandavats http://m.dandavats.com/?p=6770.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Vedic Foundation Inaugurated at Barsana Dham, Austin. Retrieved Dec 15th, 2011.
  14. ^ Ciment, J. 2001. Encyclopedia of American Immigration. Michigan: M.E. Sharpe
  15. ^ Hylton, H. & Rosie, C. 2006. Insiders' Guide to Austin. Globe Pequot Press.
  16. ^ Mugno, M. & Rafferty, R.R. 1998. Texas Monthly Guidebook to Texas. Gulf Pub. Co.

External links[edit]