Lord Krishna and Radha/ Radharani have been worshiped together, as Radha-Krishna by Hindus since time immemorial. Hinduism believes Lord Krishna to be the manifestation of the Divine masculine and Radharani to be the manifestation of Divine feminine or Shakti. The Gaudiya Vaishnavas are of the opinion that Krishna and Radha represent God and His power of pleasure and enjoyment. Radha is an epitome of unconditional love, devotion, and service to the supreme Lord Krishna. She is worshipped as Goddess Adi-Laxmi by Vaishnavas. The Gopis who used to be part of Krishna’s Rasa dance was said to be the embodiment of different intensities of passion but Radha was the best. Lord Krishna who mesmerizes the world was mesmerized by only Radha. Jayadeva’s poem Gita Govinda, explains the philosophy of spiritual love between Lord Krishna and Radharani. They were part of one, the same soul in different bodies. To date, the Divine love of Radha-Krishna and Krishna Raas Leela are referred to by devotees with love.
Radha: Birth, Names, and Childhood
Sri Radha was discovered by King Vrishabhanu when he went to have a dip in the Yamuna River. While there, King Vrishabhanu experienced a warm golden light, the source of which was a Lotus. The king was surprised to see a baby girl in the Lotus. Delighted, he took the baby girl back to his wife Queen Kirtida. The Queen was happy with the beautiful child but noticed that the child was blind. When Yashoda, Lord Krishna‘s mother was a close friend of Queen Kirtida. On hearing about the baby girl, Yashoda along with her husband and Sri Krishna went to visit Queen Kirtida. The little crawling Krishna managed to reach the cradle in which baby Radharani was lying and looked at Her. Magically Radharani’s eyes fluttered open and looked at Krishna. The subtle meaning of this that Radharani’s purpose was Lord Krishna, so, She wanted to see Him as the first person on the earth. Radharani’s birth anniversary is celebrated every year as Radha Ashtami.
In Sanskrit, the word Radha means success and prosperity.
Some believe that Sri Radha is Lord Krishna Himself. It is said that if a devotee is able to garner the grace of the merciful Radharani, then attaining Lord Krishna’s blessings is easy. The Sammohana-tantra says that Goddess Durga Herself had said that all the qualities that She has, exists in Radharani and that there is no difference between Sri Mahalaxmi and Radharani and that they are one and same with Lord Krishna. Sri Radha is considered the internal power, Shakti of Lord Krishna and is said to be the nurturing mother of infinite souls.
Krishna: Birth, Names, and Childhood
Lord Krishna is the 8th avatar of Lord Vishnu. Sri Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudeva, in Mathura. Devaki had a demonic brother called Kamsa, who killed all the children that Devaki gave birth to, as Kamsa was told by his trusted fortune teller that Devaki’s child would be the cause of his death. When Sri Krishna was born at midnight, Vasudev escaped with Him and went across the Yamuna River to exchange his child. When Kamsa was about to kill the child who Vasudev had got in exchange, Devi Durga appeared and warned Kamsa that the cause of his death was born and will slay him soon. As per the Puranas, Sri Krishna grew up in the loving care of His foster parents, Nanda Baba and Yashoda, near the current city of Mathura. Every year the birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated as Krishna Janamashtami all over India.
The childhood and youth of Sri Krishna are full of His mischievous but adorable events of stealing fresh butter, which gave Him the sobriquet of “Makhan Chor”. But along with butter, He had stolen the hearts of everyone in Gokul.
In His youth, Sri Krishna was the cow herder who played His enchanting flute and drew the love of Gopis (milk-maids). Radharani was the queen of His heart. The Rasa Lilas (Rasa dance) of Sri Krishna with the Gopis, on the banks of the Yamuna River, is described eloquently and is the focal point of the love between Him and Radharani. Till date, a re-enactment of Rasa-Lila is seen during the festival of Holi, in temples of Mathura.
Krishna and Radha Playing Holi
Holi festival in India has a strong connection to the love story of Sri Krishna and His consort Radharani.
Legend has it that Sri Krishna’s dark complexion was due to the poisonous milk which the she-demon Putna forcefully made Him drink in an attempt to kill Him. Of course, the supreme God did not die but turned blue, which by His youth had given him the dark shade of complexion.
The Holi connection is an interesting story that narrates that Krishna used to feel unsure whether Radha will accept Him as He was dark and She was extremely fair. So much so that He very often used ask His mother, Yashoda, why Radha was fair and He dark? Seeing His desperation, Yashoda told Him to go to Radha and ask Her to color His face with whatever shade She wanted Him to be. Sri Krishna enthusiastically followed the advice and approached Radharani. In reply She did color His face, starting the iconic story of love between the two.
Another version of the same story says that Krishna took Yashoda’s advice and colored Radha’s face.
Whatever be the actual story, the legendary Holi story of Radha-Krishna, stirs the hearts of lovers on the day of Holi, till now, and lovers wait to smear the choicest of colors of love on each other.