Home Page Of Radha

Radha, like Sita, is understood primarily in relation to a male consort. Throughout her history Radha has been inextricably associated with the god Krishna. Unlike Sita, however, Radha’s relationship to Krishna is aduherous. Although she is married to another, she is passionately attracted to Krishna. Radha’s illicit relationship with Krishna breaks ail social norms and casts her in the role of one who willfully steps outside the realm of dharma to pursue her love. In contrast to Sita, who is the model of wifely devotion and loyalty, whose foremost concern is the reputation and well-being of her husband, Radha invests her whole being in an adulterous affair with the irresistibly beautiful Krishna.

This relationship takes place during Krishna’s youth or adolescence, before his adult years, when he marries Rukmini, Satyabhama, and others, and before his part in the Mahabharata war. Radha and Krishna’s love affair takes place in the cowherd village of Vraja and in the woods and bowers of Vrndavana. In many ways the setting is idyllic, removed from the pragmatic world of social duty, a sitting often described as filled with natural beauty, where spring is eternal, and where the vigor and excitement of youth are expressed through Krishna’s sports. In most ways Vraja is heaven on earth.

But all is not blissful fulfillment for Radha. Her liaison with Krishna is brief, and even at its passionate height Krishna arouses Radha’s jealousy by consorting with other lovers. The theme of love in separation is a dominant one in their relationship (particularly from Radha’s point of view) and counterbalances the frenzy and ecstasy of their union.

Radha’s popularity develops primarily in the context of devotion to Krishna. In religious movements in which devotion to the cowherd god is central, such as the Bengal Vaisnavas and the Vallabhacarins, Radha becomes the model of love for the Lord. It is primarily Krishna devotees who write poems celebrating the many nuances of Radha and Krishna’s love; for these devotees Radha’s frenzied love for Krishna is an emotion and an attitude’ to be emulated. The love affair of Ridha and Krishna in this devotional context becomes a metaphor for the divine-human relationship. Radha represents the human devotee who gives up everything in order to cling to the Lord, and Krishna represents God, irresistibly beautiful and attractive. The aim of Krishna’s devotees is to develop or uncover the Radha dimension within themselves, that tendency within all human beings to devote themselves entirely and passionately to Krishna.

The Early History Of Radha

Radha does not appear as a fully developed figure -until quite late in the Hindu tradition. Prior to Jayadeva’s Gitagovindu (twelfth century) she is mentioned in only a few brief references. The Padma, Brahma vaivarta, and Devi-bhagavata-puranas, which describe her affair with Krishna in detail, all are all considered late. Although the early references an few and although they never supply lengthy descriptions of Radha, the character is nevertheless clearly suggested.

In these passages Radha is a lovesick girl or woman who is overcome by her emotions. The Venisamhara of Bhatta Narayana (antedates A.D. 800) describes Radha as being angered while making love to Krishna and as leaving him while choking on her tears. In the Dhvanyalokalo cana of Abhinavagupta (early tenth century). Radha weeps pitifully when Krishna leaves the village of Vraja for Mathura, where he begins his adult life. She is described in Ksemendra’s Dhavatatacarita (1066) a barely able to speak when Krishna leaves for Mathura.

With tears, flowing away like life in Madhava’s desertion, Falling on her breasts firm tips, Radha was like a laden kadamba tree. As tears were strewn by her endless sighing and trembling gait- Darkened by the delusion that was bound to all her hopes, She became like the new rainy season engulfed in darkness.

Although the adulterous aspect of her love is not mentioned explicitly in any of these early references, the centrality of love in separation (viraha) is clear in almost every one. In later texts it is the illicit nature of Radha’s love for Krishna that usually necessitates long periods of separation and dictates that she cannot leave with him when he goes away to
Mathura or later to Dvaraka; it is probable that the authors of these earlier passages also understood Radha to be married to another man, to be parakiya (belonging to another) in her relationship with Krishna.

Another characteristic of Radha is clear in these early references: she is always associated with Krishna. None of the references shows interest in Radha per se. It is only her love for Krishna or his love for her, which is mentioned. In several of these texts Krishna is as hopelessly impassioned and maddened by love as Radha. When he mounts his chariot to leave Vraja he is described in Ksemendra’s Dasavataracarita as looking longingly for a sight of Radha, as being disconsolate, and as sighing unhappily In the Siddhahemasabdanusana of Hemacandra we read:

Though Hari sees every person with full regard, Still his glance goes wherever Radha is- Who can arrest eyes ensnared by love? ”

Prior to her appearance as a fully developed heroine in Jayadeva’s Gltagovinda, then, Radha is known to the Indian literary tradition as a young girl who is passionately in love with Krishna; that love is often expressed in terms of separation from him, which suggests an illicit quality to their affair.

The Gopi Tradition

Another historical thread is important in understanding Radha’s central role in Jayadeva’s writing and in the later devotional movements of North India. This is the mythological tradition surrounding Krishna’s sojourn in Vraja and his dalliance there with the gopis, the cowherd women of the village. This tradition dates back to the Harivarnsa (ca. A.D. 500) and is a central part of most later Vaigrava Puranas, The most popular and detailed rendering of the tradition prior to Jayadeva is found in the Bhagavata-purana, written in South India sometime during the tenth century. According to this mythological tradition, Krishna’s father spirits him away from Mathura, where he was born, to escape the threat of his murderous uncle, Karnsa. Krishna’s father leaves the infant in the home of Nanda and Yasoda, a cowherd couple, who raise the child as their own in the village of Vraja. On reaching maturity Krishna leaves Vraja, returns to Mathura, and slays Karnsa. According to early renditions of this tradition, Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu, and the purpose of his incarnation as Krishna is to slay Karnsa, who is oppressing the earth with his wickedness. The primary focus of the narrative in the Bhagavata-purana, however, and the central interest of the later devotional traditions in North India, is Krishna’s sojourn in Vraja, where he sports with his young companions and, on reaching adolescence, dallies with the women of the village.

The village women dote on Krishna as a child. They tolerate and are often amused by his pranks. But their interest in him changes to passionate longing when he grows older. They are all married women, but none is able to resist Krishna’s beauty and charm. He is described as retiring to the woods, where he plays his flute on autumn nights when the moon is full. Hearing the music, the women are driven mad with passion and give up their domestic roles and chores to dash away to be with Krishna in the bowers of Vmdavana. They jump up in the middle of putting on their makeup, abandon their families while eating a meal with them, leave food to burn on the stove, and run out of their homes to be with Krishna. They are so distraught and frenzied as they rush to his side that their clothes and jewelry come loose and fall off.

In the woods the gopis sport and play with Kr$na. They make love in the forest and in the waters of the Jumna River. In some accounts of the tradition Krishna is said to multiply himself so that each woman has a Kishna to herself. The mood is joyous, festive, and erotic. The text makes no attempt to deny the impropriety of the gopis leaving their husbands and abandoning their social responsibilities in order to make love to Krishna. Krishna even teases some of the women for behaving illicitly.

No mention is made of Radha in any of these early accounts of the gopi tradition. The gopis, in fact, are not mentioned by name but are usually treated as a group. In general, Kishna is portrayed as sporting with many women at once. The Bhagavata-purana mentions a favorite gopi. Krishna goes off with her alone, but when she begins to feel proud of herself for being singled out by Krishna and asks him to carry her, he disappears, reducing her to tears and remorse. The lesson seems clear: Krishna’s love is not exclusive. He loves all the cowherd women and encourages them all to love him in return.

The role of the cowherd women in the context of devotion is made fairly clear in the Bhagavata-purana itself. The nature of true devotion, the text says, is highly emotional and causes horripilation, tears, loss of control, and frenzy. Those who love the Lord truly behave like the gopis. They let nothing come between themselves and the Lord. When they hear his call they abandon everything to be with him. Even though they are married and have household duties to attend to, even though they incur the censure of society, they rush off to be with Krishna when they hear his call. So too should the ardent devotee behave in loving Krishna. In their disregard for normal social roles, in their extreme emotion and frenzy, the gopis serve as an appropriate metaphor for the divine-human love affair. Radha, as we shall see, inherits this role in the later devotional movements, particularly in Bengal.

Radha As Belonging To Another (Parakiya)

Not until Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda in the twelfth century do we find a sustained rendition of Radha as the central figure in the love drama between Krushna and the cowherd women of Vraja. In this poem the tradition of Radha as Krishna’s favorite and the tradition of the gopis came together to form the central heroine of the text. The poem is dominated by the lovesick Radha, who ventures out at night to search the woods for her lover, Krishna. Several familiar allusions to Vraja and to Krishna’s foster parents make it clear that the context of the drama is set in the cowherd village described in the earlier gopi tradition. The whole flavor of the poem, however, lacks the festive, joyful, carnival-like atmosphere of earlier descriptions of Krishna’s love play with the cowherd women. The Gitagovinda is written almost entirely from Radha’s point of view, and the dominant emotion is love in separation (viraha), The texts in the gopi tradition prior to Jayadeva focused primarily on the external characteristics of the women’s attachment to Krishna.

Frenzy, horripilation, frantic haste, and shuddering characterize the gopis when they hear Krishna’s flute and dally with him in the woods. With Radha the focus changes to the internal, shifting moods of a specific woman. Whereas the early gopi tradition concentrated on exterior landscapes, painting lush pictures of Krishna’s dalliance with hundreds of smitten women in the woods of Vrindavana, the Gitagovinda through the heroine Radha explores interior landscapes and paints moody pictures of obsessive love. Almost the entire Gitagovinda deals with Radha separated from and searching for Krishna. She experiences longing, jealousy, and sorrow. The overall mood is not that of joyful union, although the two do unite blissfully at the end of the poem, but of love in separation, which causes Radha pain. In the flowering bowers of Vrindavana, amid the joyful celebration of spring throughout the natural world, Radha is tormented by her love.

When spring came, tender-limbed Radha wandered
Like a flowering creeper in the forest wilderness,
Seeking Krishna in his many haunts.
The god of love increased her ordeal,
Tormenting her with fevered thoughts,
And her friend sang to heighten the mood.

Although Radha’s marital status is not specified in the Gitagovinda, there are hints that she belongs to another man. The whole drama takes place at night in the woods and is surrounded by secrecy. It is not a relationship that takes place under the approving eye of society. Whether or not Radha is married to another man, Krishna certainly is not married to her and consorts with other women, which makes Radha jealous. The whole mood suggests that Radha’s love for Krishna is illicit, that she has no formal claim on him, and that in order to be with him she must risk the dangers of the night, the woods, and public censure.

Radha’s illicit love for Krishna is the central theme in the poetry of Vidyapati (1352-1448) and Candidas (ca. fourteenth to fifteenth century). Both authors make it clear that she is married to another man and that she risks social ostracism by pursuing her affair with Krishna. Vidyapati describes Radha as a woman of noble family, but he portrays Krishna as a common villager. In loving Krishna Radha sacrifices her status and reputation.

I who body and soul
am at your beck and call,
was a girl of noble family.
I took no thought for what would be said of me,
I abandoned everything.

Many poems portray Radha as torn between seeking out Krishna and protecting her reputation. Her love for him totally possesses her but is extremely dangerous to reveal. The matter is put succinctly by Radha at one point: “If I go [to Krishna] I lose my home / If I stay I lose my love.” As always happens when Radha is so torn, she decides in favor of going to Krishna, in this case despite a full moon that lights up the village and forest so that she fears she will be discovered.

The theme of Radha’s abandoning her social duty to love Krishna is central in the poems of Candidas. Candidas describes Ridha as a forthright, strong-willed woman who, although married to a man named Ayana, does not hesitate to incur the wrath of her family and village to be with Krishna. In Canidas’s poems Radha is not secretive about her illicit love, although the dire social consequences of her adultery are mentioned repeatedly. Realizing that it will entail social censure, she
knowingly and willfully makes a choice to love Krishna; having made that choice she is not inclined to keep her adultery a secret.

Casting away
All ethics of caste
My heart dotes on Krishna
Day and night.
The custom of the clan
Is a far-away cry
And now I know
That love adheres wholly
To its own laws.

Radha is rebellious in her attitude, cursing her fate and the society that would keep her married to her husband, whom she describes as a dolt, arid away from Krishna. Impatient and angry with her painful situation, she threatens to burn down her house, which represents a social identity, and destiny that would keep her away from her beloved.

I throw ashes at all laws
Made by man or god.
I am born alone,
With no companion.
What is the worth
Of your vile laws
That failed me
In love,
And left me with a fool,
A dumbskull [Ayana]?

My wretched fate
Is so designed
That he is absent
For whom I long.
I will set fire to this house
And go away.

In the sixteenth century a devotional movement centered on the worship of Krishna arose in Bengal. At the center of this movement was Caitanya (1486-1533), who in his own devotion to Krishna imitated the emotional traumas of the lovesick Radha. In the subsequent history of the movement Radha continued to play a central role as the devotee par excellence of Krishna. According to the theologians of the movement, a devotee may approach the Lord in a variety of moods or modes: the contemplative mood, in which the Lord is approached as transcendent; the mood of the servant, in which the Lord is approached as a master; ~he mood of a friend; the mood of a parent; and the mood of the lover. Furthermore, the theologians have ranked these moods. The least worthy modes of approach to Krishna emphasize his transcendent qualities of lordship; the most worthy modes maximize the intimacy between the devotee and Krishna. The mood of the lover is affirmed to be the best approach, the mood most cherished by the Lord himself, and of all lovers of the Lord Radha is affirmed to be Krishna’s favorite. Throughout the poetry, literature, and devotion of the movement, Radha plays a central role. Her parakiya (belonging to another man) status vis-a-vis Krishna is also maintained in the mythology, worship, and theology of the Bengal Vaishnavas.

What seems clear is that the Bengal Vaishnavas and other devotional movements that center on Krishna devotion, such as the Vallabhacarins, understand quite well that the adulterous nature of Radha’s love for Krishna is appropriate as a devotional metaphor. In fact, the superiority of illicit love is argued by the Bengal Vaishnava theologians in some detail. Their main point is that illicit love is given freely, makes no legal claims, and as such is selfless. Married love, they argue, functions according to rights and obligations in which both partners have specific expectations of each other, including sexual gratification. Married love, it is argued, is characterized by kama (sexual lust), while Radha’s love, illicit and adulterous though it maybe, is characterized by prema (selfless love for the beloved) and and selfless love is what Krishna desires.

The illicit nature of Radha’s love is deemed appropriate for other reasons as well. Because of the adulterous nature of her love, Radha must overcome many obstacles in order to satisfy her love. The impediments put in her way serve to increase that love. The long periods of separation, far from cooling her emotions serve to enhance her feelings. Married love, in contrast, operates without any obstacles or impediments. There is very little separation, and it can become routine and boring. Radha’s love for Krishna is full of risk, insecurity, painful separation, and hence periodic thrills of union. As a metaphor of the divine human relationship, the illicit nature of Radha’s love is held to be superior to any example of married love. The devotional attitude held in highest esteem by the Bengal Vaishnavas is characterized by uncontrolled frenzy, weeping, and ecstatic feelings. The Lord’s presence is held to be surpassingly beautiful and irresistible and its effect on the devotee devastating. The devotee, however, in responding to the Lord’s presence, can never count on binding the Lord through love. Krishna is always free to come and go, and the devotee often spends long periods in painful separation from Krishna. These feelings and experiences, seen as rare in married love, are epitomized in Radha’s adulterous love.

It is probably not surprising that some Bengal Vaishnavas were tempted to argue that Radha was svaklya (married to Krishna) in her affair with Krishna. An adulterous sexual affair at the center of their devotional mythology was understandably embarrassing to some devotees. The illicit nature of Radha’s love, however, her parakiya status, eventually came to be declared the orthodox position. The issue was even the subject of a formal debate in 1717. The proponents of the parakiya position were declared the winners.

Given Radha’s central position in Bengal Vaishnavismm it is understandable that she herself tended to become an object of devotion and the subject of metaphysical speculation in the writings of the movement. The sixteenth-century dramas of Rupa Gosvamin, the leading theologian of the movement, cast Radha in the familiar role as the foremost lover of the Lord, the paradigm of complete devotion. Her mind is totally obsessed with Krishna to the point that, in pique, she tries in vain to forget him. Her utter preoccupation with him is contrasted to those mere fleeting glimpses that sages and ascetics attain of the Lord after arduous meditation and spiritual exercises.

Seeking to meditate for a moment upon Krishna,
The sage wrests his mind from the objects of sense;
This child [Radha] draws her mind away from
Him To fix it on mere worldly things.
The yogi yearns for a tiny flash of Krishna in his heart;
Look-this foolish girl strives to banish Him from hers!

Radha has also achieved the position of receiving devotion herself in these plays. The most sustained example in Rupa’s plays is the devotion of Krishna himself to Radha. He is often pictured doting on Radha, concentrating his mind on her with the single-minded attention of a yogi and losing sleep because of her. Just as Radha in her total preoccupation with Krishna sees him everywhere, so Krishna is similarly entranced and sees Radha everywhere. “Radha appears before me on every side; how is it that for me the three worlds have become Radhal”. And just as Radha makes gestures of adoration toward KFSOa in the dramas, so too Krishna makes worshipful gestures to Radha, which indicate to the audience Radha’s status as a being worthy of reverence.

Other characters in the plays also revere Radha. The elderly go between, Paurnamasi, Radha’s two females friends, Lalita and Visakha,
and Krishna’s foster mother, Yasoda, all admire and dote on Radha in various moods that are held appropriate for devotion to Krishna. In many cases Radha’s own emotions toward Krishna are echoed in the emotions of Radha’s friends toward her. Lalita, for example, cries in grief at the thought of Radha’s leaving, just as Radha grieves at the thought of Krishna’s leaving. Rupa’s aim in the drama seems clear: he is portraying Radha as worthy of devotion by Krishna devotees. In doing this, however, he is not detracting from the centrality of Krishna himself, who throughout the dramas is the object of Radha’s passion.

Radha’s status as a being worthy of worship by Krishna devotees is explained in the philosophic teachings of the Bengal Vaishnavas. Krishna, the ultimate godhead, includes within himself various saktis, powers through which he reveals and displays himself. For example, by means of certain saktis he creates the world. His essential nature, however, is displayed through his svarupa sakti (own form). Within this svarupa sakti are contained other saktis, the most essential of which is the hladini sakti, the sakti of bliss. This sakti is understood to be the most refined essence of the godhead, Krishna in his most sublime and complete form. And this hladini sakti is identified with none other than Radha herself.”

If Radha is Krishna, if Krishna is Radha which is the import of this theological doctrine then Radha is essentially divine and as such worthy of the devotee’s adoration. From the point of view of the devotee, Radha’s centrality to devotion is not limited to her role as a model to be imitated or an ideal to be pursued. She herself may now be doted on with efficacious results, as she herself is part of, indeed, is the essence of, the godhead. In this theological vision Radha has assumed the position of Krishna’s eternal sakti. Her role as the ideal human devotee is necessarily played down as her divine status as Krishna’s sakti is emphasized. On the model of other divine couples-Siva-Parvati, Rama-Sita, Vishnu Lakshmi-Radha assumes the position of a heavenly deity whom the devotee supplicates.

Another significant implication of this theological vision is that Radha is no longer necessarily seen as parakiya to Krishna. Although their dalliances may be described as illicit, although Radha is said to be married to another man, ultimately she is an aspect of Krishna’s own being and thus really belongs to him. His sport with her is an eternal self dalliance by which or in which he is enabled to appreciate his own paramount beauty.

Although the theology o~ the Bengal Vaishnavas provides an avenue for reinterpreting Radha as belonging to Krishna and not to another man, the movement steadfastly resisted playing down the illicit, adulterous
dimension of Radha’s love for Krishna and even declared the parakiya position the orthodox doctrine. From the devotional point of view, Radha’s love for Kf$na would lose some of its intensity, fervor, and passion if she were understood to be married to him. To this day, among Krishna devotees for whom the mode of the lover is the most sublime approach to Krishna, it is understood that Radha’s love for Krishna, which is always described as selfless love (prema), expresses itself without any formal obligation or legal duty on her part. Her love is spontaneous and complete. In her relationship with Krishna she gains nothing (from the worldly point of view), losing her reputation, pride of family, and so on. She clearly goes against the ways of the world to express her emotions. It is as an adulteress that these dimensions of her love are best expressed. Radha loves Krishna in spite of everything, not because she has an obligation to him.

Radha As Belonging To Krishna {Svaklya)

Although Radha’s position as Krishna’s legal, divine consort never became very popular in Krishna devotional movements, there is a sustained rendition of Krishna mythology in which Radha is cast in this role. The Brahma-vaivarta-purana assumes Radha’s status as a goddess. She is inextricably associated with Krishna philosophically as his sakti (power), as his underlying power or that dimension of himself that empowers him, indeed, enables him, to create the world and display himself in his various forms. Several passages compare Radha to Krishna in such a way that her status is affirmed to be comparable, equal, or even superior to his own. For example, a familiar analogy likens Radha to the clay with which Krishna, the potter, creates the world She is identified with prakrti, the primordial matter or substance of creation; Krishna is identified with purusa, the spiritual essence of reality that stirs prakrti to evolve into various forms. Elsewhere the two are identified on the analogy of attribute and substance. Kishna says to Radha:

As you are, so am I;
there is certainly no difference between us.
As whiteness inheres in milk,
as burning in fire, my fair Lady,
As smell in earth, so do I inhere in you always.

Another passage describes the two as initially forming an androgynous figure, of which Krishna is one half and Radha the other. Radha says to Krishna:

I have been constructed by someone out of half your body;
Therefore there is no difference between us, and my heart is in you.
Just as my Self (Atman), heart, and life has been placed in you,
So has your Self, heart, and life been placed in me.

The text elevates Radha to such an extent that in several places it states that she is superior in status to Krishna himself. In one passage, for example, Krishna is speaking to Radha and says that all things in the universe have some kind of support, that without some kind of support they could not exist. His support, he concludes, is Radha, upon whom he rests eternally.” She alone, by implication, has no support and as such is the supreme reality. In another place Krishna likens Radha to his atman: “You are my life; I am dead without “30 In another passage Radha is called mother of the world and Krishna father of the world. The mother, however, is declared to be the guru of the father and as such is said to be worshiped as supreme.”

Radha’s elevated status, her role as cosmic queen equal to or superior to Krishna, gives her a central role in the cosmogony in the Brahma-vaivarta purana. In one version of creation Krishna desires to create and so divides himself into two, male and female. The two undertake sexual intercourse for a long time, during which his sighs and the sweat from her body create the Winds and primordial oceans. Eventually he ejaculates into her; after bearing his seed for many years, she gives birth to a golden egg, the universe itself. The egg floats in the cosmic waters for a long time, then splits, and the god Vishnu is born; he in turn creates innumerable worlds.” As creator of the universe we find Radha playing a role that is extremely atypical of her earlier history, namely, the role of mother. Nowhere in earlier literature is Radha a mother. In the Brahma-vaivarta-purana, however, she is often called by names that suggest her motherly role vis-a-vis the created world. She is called
mother of Vishnu, mother of the world, and mother of all.

Radha’s personal relationship to Krishna has also undergone significant changes in this text. In earlier literature her relationship to him was consistently described as non-possessive and was characterized by love in separation. These qualities stemmed in good measure from the illicit nature of their love, in which neither could exert legal or formal controls over the other. As a woman married to another man, Radha owed Krishna nothing. In the Brahma-vaivarta-purana, however, in which the two are understood to be eternally related to each other as husband and wife (or as god and goddess), Radha’s love takes on a possessive quality. As the queen of the cosmos, as consort of the great god Krishna, she is described as surrounded and worshiped by millions of cowherd devotees and as acting the part of the chaste and jealous wife of Krishna. At several points in the text Radha discovers Krishna dallying with other women. Her reaction is always the same: she is outraged, jealous, and vengeful. She terrifies Krishna in her rage and curses her rivals to miserable fates.

In one case

a woman named Viraja is so scared of Radha’s wrath that she commits suicided” Radha’s love is described in many episodes as cruel, selfish, and demanding. In several cases she nags Krishna about which consort he loves best and is only contented when he flatters her In contrast to earlier descriptions of her love for Krishna, in the Brahma-vaivarta-purana she is a selfish, vindictive, and insecure wife who makes life miserable for Krishna, herself, and the other women of heavenly Vraja. If Radha has gained metaphysical promotion in the Brahma-vaivarta-purana, it seems to have been at the expense of losing her intrinsic appeal as the lovesick girl of Vraja, who is unable to make any claims on her lover. The Radha of the Brahma-vaivarta-purana has lost her innocence, her intensity, and a considerable part of her charm.

Nevertheless, although most Krishna devotional movements rejected this portrait of Radha as svaklya (the text is undoubtedly quite late, dating from the fifteenth or sixteenth century), a few small groups revere Radha in her role as cosmic queen. Both the Radhavallabhins and the Sakhibhavas, movements that arose sometime during the sixteenth century in and around Brindaban in North India, place Radha in a position similar to her position in the Brahma-vaivarta-purana. The Radhavallabhins in their actual devotion concentrate on Radha more than on Krishna. The Sakhibhavas express their piety by concentrating on becoming servants or friends of Radha. In their rituals they dress like women and express their devotion by doting on Radha and serving her in every way. The attitude of these movements is nicely expressed in the words of one of their members: “Krishna is the servant of Radha. He may do the coolie-work of building the world, but Radha sits as Queen. He is at best but her Secretary of State. We win the favor of Krishna by worshipping Radha.”

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