Radha

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For other uses, see Radha (disambiguation).
Radha
Radha
Goddess Radha on the left side of lord Krishna
Devanagari राधा
Sanskrit transliteration Rādhā
Affiliation Soul and Life energy of lord Vishnu
Abode Goloka, Barsana, Vrindavan, Braj Dham
Mantra Om Radhikaya Jivenam Namah, Radhavallabh Shri Harivansha Shri Vrindavan Shri Van Chandra, Radhe-Radhe
Symbol Lotus, Tulsi leaf
Parents
  • Vrishbhanu Gopa (father)
  • Kirti Devi (mother)
Mount Peacock, Lotus
Texts Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa, Radhikopanishad, Devi-Bhagavata Purana, Radharas sudhanidhi, Skanda Purāṇa

Radha (IAST: Rādhā, Hindi: राधा ), also called Radhika, Radharani, and Radhe, is a Hindu goddess who is almost always depicted alongside Krishna and features prominently within the theology of Vaishnava traditions, 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 (sacred dance) with Lord Krishna. Radha is often referred to as Rādhārānī or "Rādhikā" in speech, prefixed with the respectful term 'Srimati'. The word "Radha" can also mean longing.

Etymology[edit]

The Sanskrit term Rādhā (Sanskrit:राधा) means “Fortunate, Successful”.[2] In Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism it is understood that the origin of name Rādhā are Sanskrit words ārādha (paying homage, gratification) and ārādhana (homage, worship).[3][unreliable source?] The accurate understanding would be service, specifically devotional service, since it comes from love and thus is joyful.

Within Vaishnavism[edit]

See also: Radha Krishna
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 the incarnation of "the feeling of love towards krishna". 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 Chalisa mentions that Krishna accompanies one who chants " Radha" with pure heart. Other gopis are usually considered to be self willing maidservants (Sevika) of Radha. Radharani's superiority is seen in Krishna's flute, which repeats the name Radha. Between Radha and Rukmini, Radha is superior. It is also said that when lord Krishna brought all his consorts to meet Radha, they saw Radha's face and declared her the most beautiful and sacred hearted woman in the whole universe and that she would retain this position until the end of the universe as no one will surpass her beauty and her nature. Radha's 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.[citation needed]

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.[4]

Nimbarka[edit]

Nimbarka was the first Vaishnava acharya to disseminate teachings about Radha.[5][6]

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.[7] Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathi Mandir in Delhi is also the Radha krishna Temple.[8][9]

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. ^ Leza Lowitz, Reema Datta (2009) "Sacred Sanskrit Words", p.156
  3. ^ "Radha means...". Vaniquotes.org. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Swami Tripurari, "Sri Radha: Indirectly the Absolute", Sanga, 1999.
  5. ^ Singh, K.B. (2004). "Manipur Vaishnavism: A Sociological Interpretat1on". Sociology of Religion in India. ISBN 978-0-7619-9781-8. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  6. ^ 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)"
  7. ^ Radhavallabh Temple
  8. ^ "Asia and India ISKCON temples". Radha. 
  9. ^ Dandavats http://m.dandavats.com/?p=6770.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Vedic Foundation Inaugurated at Barsana Dham, Austin. Retrieved Dec 15th, 2011.
  11. ^ Ciment, J. 2001. Encyclopedia of American Immigration. Michigan: M.E. Sharpe
  12. ^ Hylton, H. & Rosie, C. 2006. Insiders' Guide to Austin. Globe Pequot Press.
  13. ^ Mugno, M. & Rafferty, R.R. 1998. Texas Monthly Guidebook to Texas. Gulf Pub. Co.

External links[edit]