Q: Srimati Radharani used to meet Krsna although she was not married to Him. She used to neglect her husband. This is completely against what a lady should be doing ideally. How can we explain this behaviour?
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is not a human woman, and Śrī Krishna is not a human man. In the Bhagavad Gītā Krishna (9.11) says,
avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam |
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto mama bhūta-maheśvaram ||
“Those who think I am a human being are fools, they don’t understand me.”
One thing about human beings, and almost all other embodied forms of life, is that we have a specific body, and this body delimits out identity. For example, I have a certain body, and I exist within it. I don’t exist within my shadow or my reflection, nor in the body of another living thing, nor in any other object outside of my body. My consciousness exists in my body, and that’s all.
Extraordinary beings can bend these limits slightly.
Śrī Krishna and Śrī Rādhā are the most extraordinary of all beings. Certainly they are not ordinary human beings, they are param-brahman, Supreme Spiritual Substance. They have form, shape, color and so on, but these forms, shapes, etc. are not limiting like ours. Rādhā and Krishna exist in infinite different forms at the same time.
Krishna is the original entity, and Rādhārāṇī is Krishna’s power to expand. Krishna, the original entity, is composed of pure joy. Joy includes the desire and power to expand. Rādhārāṇī is the expanding joy of Krishna. She generates the eternal amplification of perfection in the joy of the Supreme Being.
She is joy itself (hlādinī) so she perfectly knows the secrets of happiness. Thus she is perfectly aware of five basic facts:
1) The supreme joy is tasted in pure love.
2) Love is tasted by being shared between lovers and beloveds.
3) The fullest taste of all the flavors of love is experienced in intimate romance.
4) Joy is heightened the more it is valued and desired
5) Joy is heightened by newness and variety.
This is why she generates Krishna’s svarūpa as an infinitely lovable, attractive young hero; and her own svarūpa as an infinitely loving, beautiful young heroine. And this is why she manifests challenges which stand as obstacles for Krishna to experience her love. And this is why she manifests many different ways for him to taste it.
She becomes Candrāvalī and all the Gopīs so that Krishna can experience her love for him in infinite varieties. All of the gopīs are Rādhārāṇī, who expands them autonomously from her own self. Rādhārāṇī is not limited by a form, she exists in multi-forms, as does Krishna. All of the Gopīs are Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, but she gives them autonomous character and consciousness to facilitate the reality of variety for Krishna.
Some of the obstacles she creates include Krishna’s having duties and chores that preclude him from spending as much time as he wants to spend with Rādhārāṇī and her Gopīs. And she manifests the idea that the gopīs and herself are all married to other men – making it a really serious challenge and adventure for Krishna to attempt to experience their blissful love.
All the men and women, gopas and gopīs of Vṛndāvana are her expansions, including their so-called husbands.
So in paintings trying to depict a hint of rāsa-līlā one sees countless expansions of Rādhārāṇī, each with individual autonomy and features, dancing intimately with countless expansions of Śrī Krishna. This is the love of one woman for one man, but it is the love of the Supreme Woman for the Supreme Man, expressed infinitely. So where does the funny idea come from that any human being can emulate such a thing, or that such a thing has anything to do with anything in human experience? All we can experience in our human reality is a very very remote, dim, distant hint of a reflection of the kind of love being infinitely relished in rāsa-līlā.
Thus there is no impropriety at all in Vṛndāvana Prema, but a superficial survey of it will not show this deep truth. It takes spiritual depth and knowledge of tattva to comprehend the pure bliss and absolute perfection of Vṛndāvana Līlā.
Still, one can complain… “But what kind of example does this set for us!?”
And that is a valid complaint. However…
Krishna does not set an example for us. Setting an example for others to follow is work, and Krishna does not work, he plays. In his avatars as Vāsudev, Rām, and so on, he often accepts the work of setting the right example to help ordinary people live ordinary lives in the least spiritually-destructive manner possible. However, it is not Krishna’s task to set examples. Vṛndāvana Krishna is not on permanent display is a storefront window like most avatāras are. Krishna only reveals his Vṛndāvana līlā once in about 8 billion years, when he feels inspired to give a chance for some very few souls to transform from mundane existence to the Vṛndāvana level of pure bliss. Krishna līlā is not about setting examples for mundane people, rather it is to show mundane people what real joy, real bliss, real ecstasy actually looks, feels, tastes, smells, and sounds like in its raw, primal, absolutely pure and unedited form — being enjoyed intimately and privately between the original being (Krishna) and his original energy (Rādhā). He momentarily pulls back the curtains to his private Vṛndāvana groves in the hope that catching a glimpse of such beauty will snap some of us out of our haze and delirium in chasing meager drops of fleeting happiness through a desert of selfishness. Then, much like a darśan and Bankebihari Mandir, he quickly shuts the curtains again for a long time.
Krishna līlā is not about setting examples for mundane people, rather it is to show mundane people what real joy, real bliss, real ecstasy actually looks, feels, tastes, smells, and sounds like in its raw, primal, absolutely pure and unedited form — being enjoyed intimately and privately between the original being (Krishna) and his original energy (Rādhā). He momentarily pulls back the curtains to his private Vṛndāvana groves in the hope that catching a glimpse of such beauty will snap some of us out of our haze and delirium in chasing meager drops of fleeting happiness through a desert of selfishness. Then, much like a darśan and Bankebihari Mandir, he quickly shuts the curtains again for a long time.