Thursday, April 14, 2016

More About Goddesses: The Hindu Goddess--Radharani (New Essay)

More About Goddesses: The Hindu Goddess--Radharani
by Tim Kavi

Radharani, also known as Radha, Radhika, or Radhikarani, is considered the original Shakti (goddess) in the Hindu religion, featuring mainly in the Vallabha and Gaudiya Vaihsnava sects.  She is also the primary goddess worshipped in the Nimbarka Samparadaya, a school of thought whose founder Nimbarka stated that Radharani and Krishna combine to form the absolute truth.  Radharani and Krishna are both connected deeply to each other, with the name “Radha Krishna” pertaining to the female and male aspects of God respectively.

Radharani is thought to be so powerful by Gaudiya Vaishnavas that she is the source of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity.

Two Gods Become One

As Radharani had such deep feelings of love toward Krishna, they cannot be separated into two.  Hindu teachings believe that Krishna, while capable of enchanting the entire world, is himself enchanted by Radharani, thus validating the maxim that Radha Krishna is the “supreme goddess” of the world.  Both deities give meaning to each other’s names, and in Vaishnava tradition, Krishna takes the form of Radharani when he wants to find pleasure outside his own being.  The two deities’ spiritual love for each other is a widely-held theme across India.

Even when the two gods are separated from each other, both Radharani and Krishna share the same thoughts, an example of parakiya-rasa, or a relationship based on undying mental love for each other. This is especially held true in the Gaudiya school of Vaishnavism.

25 Principal Transcendental Qualities

All in all, Radharani has unlimited transcendental qualities, but it is only 25 of these qualities that are considered to be principal. This makes her, once again, the same as Lord Krishna in the sense that her transcendental qualities are unlimited.

Some of the more notable principal qualities are that Radharani always maintains a fresh, youthful appearance; has a bright smile; is capable of making Krishna happy with the aroma of her body; is a good singer and speaker; has a good sense of humor; exudes humility; shows mercy; always shows respect; shows calmness; enjoys life; is located at the top level of ecstatic love; shows kindness to the elderly; keeps Krishna under her control.

Radharani and Krishna

Though it has been emphasized throughout the centuries that Radharani and Krishna are inseparable and, for many, considered one deity, the two have never actually married. There is a sense of duty for a man to a woman and vice versa, but the love of Radharani and Krishna for one another goes far beyond that.  There is no duty required in their union, and everything is meant to happen naturally, putting them in paramananda, or the highest and purest form of bliss.

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