Srimati Radharani is the Supreme Goddess. She is most always seen with Lord Krishna. It is described that She is the chief associate and devotee of Lord Krishna, and topmost of all goddesses. Her name means that She is the most excellent worshiper of Lord Krishna. However, She is also an expansion of the Lord's energy. Since She is also an extension of Krishna, She is the feminine aspect of God. Thus, in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, God is both male and female. They are one, but Krishna expands into two, Himself and Radharani, for the sake of divine loving pastimes. If They remained as one, then there is no relationship, there are no pastimes, and there can be no dynamic exchange of love.
In the Brihad-Gautamiya Tantra, Radharani is described as follows: "The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord."
Radharani has many names according to Her qualities and characteristics. Some of the names that Radharani is known by include:
Govinda-anandini--She who gives pleasure to Govinda [Krishna];
Govinda-mohini--She who mystifies Govinda;
Govinda-sarvasa--the all-in-all of Lord Govinda;
Shiromani Sarva-kanta--the crown jewel of all the Lord's consorts; and...
Krishnamayi--the one who sees Krishna both within and without.
She is also known as Sarva-kanti, which indicates that all beauty and luster rest in Her body, and all the Lakshmis derive their beauty from Her. Sarva-kanti also means that all the desires of Lord Krishna rest in Srimati Radharani. As Lord Krishna enchants the world with His beauty and charm, Sri Radha enchants Him. Therefore She is the Supreme Goddess. Sri Radha is the full power, and Lord Krishna is the possessor of full power. (Cc.Adi-lila, 4.82, 84, 87-96) Thus, the two are non-different, as the sunshine is nondifferent from the sun, or as the energy is non-different from the energetic or source of energy.
Srimati Radharani is the source of the other goddesses. Just as Lord Krishna is the source of all other manifestations and incarnations of God, Radharani is the source of all expansions of the energies of God - the shaktis, or other goddesses. Thus, Vishnu, Rama, even Shiva are all expansions of the one Supreme Being, Krishna, and similarly Lakshmi, Sita, and even Durga are all expansions of this Supreme Feminine form of God, Radharani.
It is explained that the beloved consorts of Lord Krishna are of three kinds, namely the goddesses of fortune or Lakshmis, His queens, and the milkmaids of Vraja called the gopis. All of them proceed from Radharani. The Lakshmis are partial manifestations, or plenary portions, of Srimati Radharani, while the queens in Vaikuntha and in Dvaraka are reflections of Her image. The Vraja-devis or gopis are Her expansions and assist in the increase of rasa, or the divine loving pastimes. Among them there are many groups that have various sentiments and moods, which help Lord Krishna taste the sweetness of the rasa dance and other pastimes. (Cc.Adi-lila. 4. 75-81)
In this way, without Radha there is no meaning to Krishna and without Krishna there is no meaning to Radha. Because of this, in the Vaishnava tradition we always pay respects first to the Lord's internal energy in the form of Radha, and then to the Lord. Thus They are referred to as Radha-Krishna, or in other names as Sita-Rama, Lakshmi-Narayana, and so on. In this way, Radha and Krishna are one, but when Lord Krishna wants to enjoy, He manifests Himself as Radharani. Otherwise, there is no energy in which Krishna can attain pleasure outside Himself.
The descriptions of the beauty of Radharani are wonderfully poetic and descriptive. Actually, the residents of Vrindavana care more for Radharani than they do for Lord Krishna. They know that Krishna can be influenced through Radharani. They know that Radha can bring one to Krishna. She is also the compassionate nature of the Lord, and thus more easily approached than trying to reach Lord Krishna directly. And when we read these descriptions of Radha, it is no wonder why they are devoted to Her. For example, it is explained that Srimati Radharani has unlimited transcendental qualities, of which twenty-five are principal.
The Hare Krishna mantra directs one's attention and devotion to Radha as well as Krishna. Radha is also known as Mother Hara, which is the name Hare in the vocative form within the mantra. So in chanting Hare Krishna, we are first approaching the Lord's internal potency and asking Radha to please engage us in the service of Lord Krishna. Concentrating on Krishna through His names is one form of that service. In other words, it is through Radha that one more easily attains Krishna and service to Krishna. This is the advantage of approaching Lord Krishna through Radharani.
To understand Himself through the agency of Radha, the Lord manifests Himself as Lord Chaitanya, who is Lord Krishna but with the super-excellent emotions of Radharani's love toward Lord Krishna. To fully taste His own sweetness, the Lord accepts the position and emotions of a devotee. Appearing 500 years ago in Bengal, India, Lord Chaitanya propagated the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra as the only means to experience Radha's love for Krishna.
1) She is very sweet.
2) She is always freshly youthful.
3) Her eyes are restless.
4) She smiles brightly.
5) She has beautiful, auspicious lines.
6) She makes Krishna happy with Her bodily aroma.
7) She is very expert in singing.
8) Her speech is charming.
9) She is very expert in joking and speaking pleasantly.
10) She is very humble and meek.
11) She is always full of mercy.
12) She is cunning.
13) She is expert in executing Her duties.
14) She is shy.
15) She is always respectful.
16) She is always calm.
17) She is always grave.
18) She is expert in enjoying life.
19) She is situated in the topmost level of ecstatic love.
20) She is the reservoir of loving affairs in Gokula.
21) She is the most famous of submissive devotees.
22) She is very affectionate to elderly people.
23) She is very submissive to the love of Her friends.
24) She is the chief gopi.
25) She always keeps Krishna under Her control.
In short, She possesses unlimited transcendental qualities, just as Lord Krishna does. (Ujjvala-nilamani, Sri-radha-prakarana 11-15)
"Although the effulgence of the moon is brilliant initially at night, in the daytime it fades away. Similarly, although the lotus is beautiful during the daytime, at night it closes. But, O My friend, the face of My most dear Srimati Radharani is always bright and beautiful, both day and night. Therefore, to what can Her face be compared?" (Vidagdha-madhava 5.20)
"When Srimati Radharani smiles, waves of joy overtake Her cheeks, and Her arched eyebrows dance like the bow of Cupid. Her glance is so enchanting that it is like a dancing bumblebee, moving unsteadily due to intoxication. That bee has bitten the whorl of My heart." (Vidagdha-madhava 2.51)
When people pray to God, sometimes doubts may arise as to whether and how the Lord will respond. Such doubts arose even in the mind of Radha. But all doubts disappeared when she realised that the whole Universe was the mansion of God and there was no need to keep any door open or closed. All that was needed was complete surrender to God. The mystic significance of the songs of the saints and devotees like Radha and Meera should be rightly understood.
Radha was like a leader of the gopikas. It was not as if Radha wanted to be the leader but the other gopikas chose her as their leader. Whenever there was difficulty they would go up and tell her.
Radha should not convey to you the picture of the kind you see in cinemas and dramas today. She was the kind of person who was always in the thought of Krishna and her name itself conveys her greatness and sacredness. If you start with ‘R’ you get Radha, if you start with ‘A’ you get Adhar, if you start with ‘D’ you get dhara and if you read backwards, you get Aradh’. This means that the very basis of Radha is the Aradhana (Adoration) of Krishna.
She was sent to one of the villages, and in agony she sang, "There is trouble in the village and there is not a shade where I can take shelter! So I have come and I am maintaining this life breath in myself for your sake. Show Yourself atleast in my dream. My mind can not rest even for a moment if I cannot see You. You are like my eye ball within myself, if I am to describe You. But if I have to see You, You are like a small baby who is outside me. But if I have no eyeball in me, then I can not even look at this small baby. You are the One who shows and You are the One whom I aspire to see. In your gross human form, will you show yourself to me atleast once?" At that time Krishna was in Mathura. In the prayer of Radha we notice that even though there was no place for her to take shelter, yet she was maintaining her life breath solely for the sake of Krishna. While she was engaging herself in this kind of introspection, it looked to her as if her companions were playing some games. One group of gopikas were singing and saying that Gopala has returned. As soon as she heard that song, she thought that Gopala had really returned and she jumped out of the bamboo thicket into the hot sand and she was running forward to meet Gopala, not minding the heat of the sand.
When she was asked what she wanted from the Lord, she answered that she was content when she had Him and did not seek anything else from Him. She was singing to the Lord praying that He should come to her with the jingling of the anklets which He used to wear at the time of killing of the great serpent. She was singing in ecstasy and addressing her Lord, asking Him to come to her. In such ecstasy she dropped dead.
You can understand Radha only if you can fathom the depth of that thirst. Radha believed that Krishna is the Adhar (Basis) and she did Aradh (worship) to Krishna in a continuous Dhara (stream). In fact she is dhara or nature which is another form of the Lord or Purusha Himself. Prakrithi is dhara. Think of it always. Pine for dhara, dhara and you find that you are pining for Radha, Radha. So Radha is the becoming and Krishna is the being.
There is a story about Radha and her faith in Krishna. The elders in Brindavan who revelled in scandalising Krishna set an ordeal for Radha to test her virtue. She was given a mud pot with hundred holes and was asked to bring water in that pot from Yamuna to her house! She was so full of Krishna consciousness that she never knew the condition of the pot. She immersed it in the river repeating the name of Krishna as usual with every intake of the breath and every exhalation. Everytime the name Krishna was uttered, a hole was covered, so that by the time the pot was full, it was whole! That was the measure of her faith. Faith can affect even the inanimate objects.
Bhava Sankeerthana was illustrated by Radha alone, who expressed her feelings towards God and identified herself with the Divine in every mode of devotion. She expressed her devotion in five forms viz Shanta (Serenity), Sakhya (Friendliness), Vatsalya (Maternal Love), Anurag (Affection) and Madhura (Sweetness).
The Radha tathwam is also a deep, inscrutable one as she was ever in the contemplation of the Lord and his glory. She too saw the child Krishna as a Divine manifestation, separate from the human form. Yashoda one day was searching for Krishna, who had strayed away. She sought almost everywhere and at last she went to the house of Radha and asked for help. Radha just closed her eyes, meditated on Krishna for a while and when she called "Krishna," Krishna was there. Then, Yashoda shed tears of joy. She said, "I Love Krishna as a mother, I have a sense of egoism in me that he is my son and that I must save him from harm and give him guidance and protection. But Prema is pure and it has no egoism prompting it...