Q: Krishna is in love with Radha. Radha’s love is so great it makes Krshna so mad about her that even if He is with another beautiful Gopi, He can not stop thinking about her. A soul who is in love with Krishna will give Him their entire heart, their entire self – but it seems Krishna can never do same as He is always longing for Radha only.
Is there no hope for anyone other that Radha? Is it possible to have direct experience and emotional exange with Him? If not, it does not sound very interesting or satisfying. We are persons, and we want a relationship, full and direct, with the person we love. But how can a small insignificant jiva can expect to have a direct, fully satisfying, overhelming emotional exange with Krishna, when Krishna is completely overwhelmed with his relationship to Radha?
I agree with your first premise: Rādhā’s love for Krishna is so intoxicating and extreme that Krishna is completely fascinated and enchanted by it, and cannot withdraw his heart and attention from it at any time, and is never really satisfied or happy without being fully absorbed in it. I agree with this completely.
I also agree with your second premise: that love is anāvṛta, it wants to give itself fully, completely, and directly to the beloved.
How then can anyone besides Rādhā ever achieve perfect divine love to the fullest extent?
It is impossible for anyone who ignores Rādhārānī.
It is impossible for anyone who ignores Rādhārānī. Actually, those who ignore Rādhārānī cannot even comprehend Bhagavān Krishna at all. Śaktimān simply does not exist without śakti.
Those who do not ignore Rādhā relate to Krishna in context of her relationship with him.
Those who do not ignore Rādhā relate to Krishna in context of her relationship with him. This is not “indirect” or “less” than a one-to-one singular relationship. A many-to-one relationship is actually “more,” and equally direct (considering that the beloved is Krishna who is unlimited. See the paintings of the Rāsa dance, etc). Further, the relationship which includes Rādhā has two inspirations for love: Rādhā and Krishna, rather than only one: Krishna alone.
Our participation in Rādhā and Krishna’s relationship integrates with and augments it. There are two ways of doing this: direct and indirect.
The queen of those who take the indirect approach is Candrāvalī. Not only her and her associates, but also all the gopas and elders in Vraja also embrace the indirect approach. The essence of the indirect approach is to enhance the value of Rādhā by making her availability more precious, rare, difficult to attain, etc. And also by inspiring Krishna for it (increasing his appetite) and inspiring Radharani (competition is an important inspiration). Candravalī takes the outward appearance of competing with Rādhā, but the fact is that she is Rādhā[‘s primary expansion], and she serves Rādhā by providing competition.
Among those who take the direct approach: Lalitā is the queen. She and the gopīs like her, and all their friends directly augment the relationship of Rādhā and Krishna by literally and directly participating in it. They are flowers augmenting a central flower. This is the literal meaning of the word “mañjarī” – flowers that do not stand alone, but cluster together. There is a central diamond on a ring, but the gold and other stones around that diamond add their beauty to its. In fact the entire ring is usually appreciated as one unit, with special attention to the central stone.
It isn’t easy for us to conceive of Krishna’s love life, because our own love-lives are doomed to be so meager and paltry by comparison.
It isn’t easy for us to conceive of Krishna’s love life, because our own love-lives are doomed to be so meager and paltry by comparison. Our appetite and capacity for enjoyment is limited by the restricting prakṛti in which we enjoy, and also by the fact that we are infinitessimal (we are only “infinity to the power of one” while Krishna is “infinity to the power of infinity, infinite times”). Krishna has incalculable appetite for pleasure, and incalculable ability to enjoy it. The concept of romance held by we kali-yuga mortals falls a billion light-years short of what happens in the groves of Vrindavana! Vedic culture has some reflection of it, you can see some of it still in ancient sculpture from that culture and epoch. It came into the world through Kāmadeva and Rati, and was propogated by their paramparā, esepcially the scholar Vatsāyana. It is not exactly “monogamy” by any means, although there is one central lover who is the main focus of the beloved’s attention and enjoyment.
Krishna has incalculable appetite for pleasure, and incalculable ability to enjoy it. The concept of romance that we kali-yuga mortals have falls a billion years short of what happens in the groves of Vrindavana.
It is quite a lot like how Vedic theism is neither poly- nor mono-theistic – there is an abundant plurality of divinity, yet a central figure as the unifying link through it all. Similarly, in Vrindavana the romance of the Supreme Enjoyer is neither polygamous nor monogamous – it is both. There is an abundant, infinite plurality of gopīs / lakṣṁīs, yet a singular central figure unifying and coordinating them all as the focal point – Śrī Rādhā.
I aologize if my discussion of sexuality has startled any reader who might be unprepared for such discussions. I thought it was necessary background information to help express my understanding of why Krishna’s relationship with Sri Radha doesn’t preclude our participation. We add our beauty and talent to Sri Rādhā’s, augmenting her, supporting her, assisting her in every way. There are many girls involved (polygamy) but Sri Radha is their central focus and queen (monogamy). Krishna’s one pointed attention on Rādhā doesn’t preclude the fact that Śrī Rādhā manifests herself as and thorugh counteless divine goddess gopīs who all simultaneously coperate in a singular mādhurya-rasa.
This is why the poets and scriptures describe Krishna as “surrounded/covered by gopīs.” This is where we fit in. Our relationship with Krishna is never independent of Sri Radha’s relationship with Krishna, but this should not be envisioned as meaning we sit 20 miles away knitting a sweater for them while they make love.
In fact, our ability to taste, feel, smell, see, and hear Krishna is augmented to the power of infinity by our directing our senses primarily into the seva of Śrī Rādhā. By considering her interest to be ours, her heart to be ours, her mind to be ours, her senses to be ours and dedicating our emotions, thoughts, and actions accordingly – we (as a natural concomitant result, not a separate pursuit) experience Krishna through her – which is not at all indirect but rather is an immense, incalculable magnification of the experience of Krishna’s tan-mātra. (Similar in a way to how a telescope can hardly make our experience of Jupiter less intense and direct).
Thank you for this wonderful question. I have explained only whatever I can explain. I do not claim to know the whole story, but I hope my angle on the story may be helpful to you.
Vraja Kishor das (www.vrajakishor.com)