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The Service of Shri Radha
Shri Radhika is not specifically mentioned in the Shrimad Bhagavat. But in the description of the Circular Amorous Dance; viz., the Rasa Pastime, Shri Krishna is represented as leaving the circle of the dancing milkmaids in the company of a female who is more favored than all the rest. The milkmaids who were thus abruptly abandoned in the very midst of the dance praised the genuine devotion of the unnamed female who could induce Shri Krishna to prefer her sole company to the combined attractions of all the others.
But although the Shrimad Bhagavat mentions the above incident, the subject is not further developed in that work. This has been explained by the Goswamis of Vrindaban, apostles of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as due to a deliberate resolve on the part of Shri Sukadeva who is the narrator of the Bhagavata, to avoid disclosing to his miscellaneous audience the “hidden matters” of the scriptures. The ‘hidden matters” can only be known by the special Grace of Shri Krishna and not otherwise. They are not to be divulged to all persons indiscriminately.
This explanation offered by the Goswamis is not opposed to the open treatment of the same subject by Shri Jayadeva and other writers. In spite of the Gita Govinda and its companion works the subject of the relationship of Shri Radhika to Shri Krishna remains shrouded in impenetrable mystery. No language can convey to the lay reader any but a wholly misleading idea of the nature of the subject on which Shri Sukadeva maintained such discrete silence. This result is hailed with unmistakable joy by Shrila Krishna Das Kaviraja Goswami, author of Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita. Kaviraj Goswami pertinently observes that no joy can excel that of the narrator of the hidden subject when he realizes that those very persons are wholly and automatically barred from all knowledge of the subject who are sure not to appreciate the same for fear of whose neglect the writer is afraid to narrate fully.
Shri Sukadeva’s hesitation to divulge the secrets of the Vedas is well-founded. The conduct of Shri Jayadeva Goswami un speaking out without reserve is equally in order if we remember that his book cannot be understood at all by those who are lacking in the highest spiritual culture.
Certain uncritical writers have not, indeed, scrupled to throw mud even at the author of the Geeta-Govinda; but they are the exceptions. The generality of writers have thought it wise to avoid all reference to the subject for the honest enough reason that they have failed to understand how a book which has a most obscene exterior could be cherished by all the great devotees of the country whose conduct is universally admitted to have been free from any taint of causality. It is this paradox that has always exercised a salutary restraining influence on the saner sections of writers in regard to the treatment of this unintelligible subject.
Male and Female Spiritual Forms
Shri Radhika is realizable as the Counter-Whole of the Personal Absolute. She is the Predominated Moiety of the Absolute-Whole. Shri Krishna, in regard to Shri Radhika is the Predominating Moiety. The conception of Male and Female refers to the principle of Personality. As both Personalities are fully Divine, no grossness or inadequacy of the corresponding mundane conception need be imported into the subject. But it is imperative to admit the absolute logical validity, under the reservation of inconceivability by our present understanding of the conception of the Divine Pair possessing actual Male and Female Spiritual Forms.
If this is not admitted the Absolute Realm is at once divested of the supreme cementing principle for holding together its diverse atomic personalities, Predominating and the other the Predominated Moiety is the Absolute Cognition. The Predominated Moiety is simultaneously distinct from and contained in the Predominating Moiety. The Predominating Moiety can be but One. The Predominated Moiety alone may possess a plural nature without upsetting the principle of real Monotheism. The individual human souls are dissociable particles of the Predominated Moiety. The Predominated Moiety is of the nature of the Power of the Predominating Moiety Who is the Possessor or Proprietor of Power. The Predominating Moiety is the Male Absolute. The Predominated Moiety is absolute female possessing the aptitude for obeying every direction of the Predominating Moiety for supplying all conditions of the Activities of the Predominating Absolute.
This is the dry philosophical idea so far as it is possible to express the ultimate Transcendental Reality by means of the language of mundane thought. The real entity lies entirely off the plane of all mental speculation. Shri Radhika is the Eternal Associated Counter-Whole of Shri Krishna, Her Male Consort. Shri Radhika is the source of all individual souls whose function is to be employed in the service of Shri Krishna by the alternative methods of loyal conscious submission, neutrality or actual opposition. The individual souls serve Shri Krishna as constituents of Shri Radhika. When they forget that they are constituents of Shri Radhika they forget the nature of their own selves, and engage in the abnormal activities of the mundane plane.
The relation between one individual soul and another is that of obeying each other as constituents of Shri Radhika in the performance of their allotted service of Shri Krishna. To use a mundane analogy all individual souls are spiritual females in a subordinate position to Shri Radhika, whose service of Shri Krishna they naturally share by their nature as constituents. The objects of endeavor of the individual souls is to learn to obey Shri Radhika. Only by obeying Shri Radhika can they serve Shri Krishna.
Shri Krishna is the only Object of all worship. Shri Krishna alone is the Recipient of all service. No individual soul can be the recipient of any service on his own account or on account of any other individual soul. This points to the true significance of the scriptural injunction abstain from sexual activity and avoid the company of all sensual persons, for qualifying for the service of Shri Krishna on the spiritual plane. No idea of the positive nature of the function of the higher plane corresponding to the sexual activity of this world can be conveyed to those who are not completely freed from the disease of mundane sexual desire. It is for this reason advisable to abstain from all empiric study of the descriptions of the Amorous Activities of Divinity until one has been actually freed from every worldly passion by the preparatory service of Shri Krishna under the direction of the bonafide Acharya.
Shri Krishna alone is Godhead. Shri Radhika alone serves Shri Krishna. This is the only Absolute Truth. Shri Krishna is the Ultimate Source of all real Receivers of service. Shri Radhika is the Ultimate Source of all real renderers of service. The infinite variety of the Pastimes of Shri Radha-Krishna constitutes the only Reality.
Shri Radhika is the Predominated Moiety of the Absolute. In other words, the Predominating Moiety of the Absolute is not the full Integer. The Absolute Nature of the Personality of Shri Radhika is fully on a level with the Absolute Personality of Shri Krishna. Shri Krishna is the Consort of Shri Radhika. The Absolute is both Pair and Singular Person.
Monotheism is so dear to the heart of all rational persons in this age that very few people would agree to accept Two Gods, even if they are assured that They are complimentary to Each Other. The numerical reference is illogically allowed to limit the Absolute. It is considered to be binding on the Absolute to be a singular Entity in the ordinary sense. But the pseudo-monistic view is calculated to destroy the Personality of Godhead into Void of the Undifferentiated Brahman. No theist should be prepared to reduce the Divinity, Whom he is to worship, to the Absolute Zero.
The only solution of the fundamental problem of Theism is offered by the fact that Shri Krishna is eternally Couple. He is both Shri Krishna as well as Shri Radhika. Shri Radhika is as Absolute as Shri Krishna Himself. Shri Radhika is at once identical with and distinct from Shri Krishna.
Shri Radhika is eternally distinct from Shri Krishna. Shri Radhika is the Predominated Moiety of the Absolute, whereas Shri Krishna is the Predominating Moiety. Shri Krishna is Male, Shri Radhika is Female. They are Two Distinct and Complimentary Persons. But neither of Them are Male or Female in the limited worldly sense. The Absolute Male and the Absolute Female are from the worldly point of view a sheer contradiction in terms. But this apparent contradiction is also really accommodated in the Absolute in defiance of all canons of our so-called rational judgement. It is this astounding fact that makes the Absolute the concentration of all mellowness, instead of making Him devoid of all mellowness. The empiric singular conception of Godhead would relegate all mellowness to the fractional parts and make the Integer the Embodiment of all insipidity. Formal logic does not really admit any existence to any entity.
Those who are so anxious to discover any pretext for denying the Absolute Nature of the Personality of Shri Radhika as female Consort of Shri Krishna, are themselves left without any standing-ground for establishing any kind of relationship with the Absolute. In the Predominating Moiety the singular numerical reference is also logically and really admissible. The Absolute Master has really no co-sharer in His Mastership. Many Masters would lead to a loss of mellowness in the Predominating Absolute. He would not be in a position really to predominate over every entity. Plurality of females is not really opposed to infinite mellowness. Singularity of the Predominated Moiety would deny the admitted infinite scope of Mastership of the Predominating Moiety.
Shri Radhika is the absolute source of all Consorts to Shri Krishna. The services of all the Consorts are associated aspects of the Service of Shri Radhika. Shri Krishna left the Dancing Circle of the milkmaids of Vraja as soon as Shri Radhika withdrew Herself from the same. In other words the aggregate of the milkmaids of Vraja fall short of service of Shri Krishna except in association with Shri Radhika and under Her direction.
Consorthood of Shri Krishna
The Consorthood of Shri Krishna must not be confounded with any analogous mundane relationship. The Predominating Absolute is the only Master of all entities. He is also the Master of Shri Radhika Herself. But Shri Radhika is also the the only absolutely dominated Entity. She is the only Absolute Female. There are real partial and real counterfeit males and females of an infinite variety. All real and unreal masculinity is representative of Shri Krishna. No masculinity can exist except in relation of supposed of real mastership to associated femininity. So in every entity these two aspects of personality are conjoined. All femininity involves the co-presence of masculinity as master.
The individual soul (jiva) is a feminine entity by her proper nature. This is so because all entities, except the Divinity, are subservients. The singularity of the Predominating Absolute has to be recognized without reservation. There is, however, also an Infinity of Divine Personalities. But all Divine Personalities are fully Divine. None of Them have got any Master. The milkmaids of Vraja are the expanded forms of Shri Radhika and identical with Her. But the jiva does not belong to the category of the associated constituent counterwhole of Shri Radhika. The jiva soul belongs to the decentralized plane of manifestations. Shiva is the divine Centre of the Principle of this decentralized existence. Shiva is consorted for this purpose with Mahamaya. Shiva and Mahamaya are closely connected with jiva. But the connection of jiva with Shiva and Mahamaya is not identical with his connection with Shri Krishna and Shri Radhika. The connection of jiva with Shiva and Mahamaya is established only when he is disassociated from the service of Shri Radha-Krishna.
Neither Shiva nor Mahamaya can give the jiva the service of Shri Radha-Krishna. On the contrary, their function is to delude the jiva into desiring certain covetable things of this world for his own advantage. Shiva is independent of Krishna. Shiva is a divine person. In this sense Krishna and Shiva are identical. Shri Krishna never consorts with His deluding potency. The Divinity of Shiva is adulterated with non-divinity whereas Shri Krishna is eternally unadulterated with maya. The service of Shiva and Mahamaya is not only incompatible with the service of Shri Radha-Krishna but implies positive aversion to the service of Shri Radha-Krishna. It also implies aversion to the service of all Divine Personalities who are uncontaminated by association with maya. The different Avatars of Vishnu cannot also be worshiped by any mundane reference.
All misunderstanding regarding the nature of the worship of Shri Radha-Krishna is traceable to different degrees of willing affinity with the various concerns of this mundane plane. The so-called worship of Shri Radha-Krishna that is unfortunately practiced now-a-days on such a large scale by the different sects of philanthropists in this country is a greater offense to the Feet of Shri Radha-Krishna than even the open hostility of the worshippers of Shiva and Mahamaya. The real worship of the milkmaids of Vraja is located on the highest plane of spiritual service which transcends all conceptions of mundane worship that are put into the brains of conditioned souls.
The subject of Divine Amour requires to be approached with the attitude of confidential submission. There is the bond of Love between Shri Krishna and Shri Radhika. There is an Agency who brings about union of the Divine Pair. The Intermediary possesses a Personality that is connected with Both by the relationship of Identity. All this is logically necessary.
To the above is added the stigma of unlawful love as to a paramour Shri Radhika loves Shri Krishna in defiance of all sumptuary principles of mundane loving intercourse. This is not accidental but deliberate. It is this characteristic of the function that bears a distant analogy to the illicit love for a paramour. Shri Radhika habitually sacrifices, and makes it a point to sacrifice every other interest to Her Love for Shri Krishna. This is also the characteristic of the Service of the milkmaids of Vraja of whom Shri Radhika is the foremost.
The relation to a paramour is a most unfortunate analogy, from the point of view of the moral people of this world; illicit mundane love is properly enough countenanced by no religious creed of this world. The sanctity of the tie of wedlock is also universally regarded as the seal and crown of the civilized intimacy between the sexes. Free sexual love is likewise universally denounced as the sign of unreclaimed animality. We have no idea of contradicting these undoubtedly proper views in regard to the legitimate form of sexual relationship of all civilized societies. But although it may sound paradoxical it is nevertheless true that what is most unwholesome in this world is analogously the most wholesome in the Realm of the Absolute, although everything is perfect there. There is no such institution as that of conventional marriage in the Spiritual Realm of Shri Krishna. The milkmaids of Vraja are Absolutely free from all taint of sensuousness. They possess spiritual bodies which are so formed as to be capable of being fully used in the exclusive service of Shri Krishna.
The real difficulty in the way of our realization of the nature of transcendental Amour is that we cannot have the necessary basic conception of the nature of the spiritual body itself. We are thus under the necessity of the physical body to the relationships of pure souls who are not encumbered by the grossness and limitations of the defective physical coils. The ideas of grossness, immorality, etc., apply only to the mundane plane. The spiritual personality of the spiritual milkmaids of transcendental Vraja requires to be realized instead of being criticized by the admittedly inadequate sources of our mundane experience.
The fact that a considerable number of persons have actually been mislead in trying to follow the preachers of the religion of unconventional spiritual Amour, cannot properly be laid at the door or religion itself. There have been unfortunately many pseudo-preachers of the religion who make use of the teachings of the Bhagavata for condoning and encouraging illicit carnality.These preachers are no doubt a great nuisance and come under the penal clauses of the Civil Law for safeguarding decency and morality. But these pseudo-preachers also represent a really existing popular demand for the pernicious doctrines which they spread among the people. It will not do to simply ignore this really deplorable state of affairs, nor to allow the growth of the tendency. In a democratic and rationalistic Age it becomes necessary to provide the right direction for a natural aptitude by means of an intensive counter propaganda.
All the current religions are practically silent about this particular subject. But it has not become unimportant by being ignored by the religionists. The preventive and discouraging methods do not offer any positive cure and have as a matter of fact, been found to be practically useless.
The Mental Speculation of Shri Radha
The truth is that there is a real plane for the wholesome exercise of the Amorous disposition that is part and parcel of our soul. It is necessary to realize the nature of this plane in order to be relieved of our harmful errors in regard to sexual relationship. Some sort of conviction must precede the actual adoption of any proposed method. The personality of Shri Radhika supplies the solution of this problem. Shri Rupa Goswami has offered the detailed exposition of the subject in his monumental works. Shri Jiva Goswami has explained the real meaning of those works. Namashrestham manumapi sachiputra matra swarupam, rupam tasyagraja marupurim mathurim gostha-vatim. It is by surrendering ourselves to the Preceptor’s feet that we can have abode in Mathura. Other wise we cannot get an entrance into the transcendental Region. We should approach the Guru who will confer on us the eight things i.e., Nama Mantra, etc. The Nama is the Transcendental Sound and the Mantra are the incarnations. The Name is identical withe the Namee. The Mantra is required in order to reach the situation in which the Name can be properly chanted. The Son of Sachi is the Supreme Lord Himself. Damodar Swarup is the head of the Gaudiyas or the transcendental servitors of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. Rupa and Sanatan were sent to Mathura by Shri Krishna Chaitanya to disseminate transcendental knowledge. There are several Puris which can give salvation and among them Mathurais the acme. Gosthavati is where Shri Krishna is feeding His cows. The next thing is Radha Kunda, which is the tank where Krishna got rid of the sin He incurred by killing a cow named Aristanemi. He killed Aristotelianism or the rationalistic process of reasoning of this imperfect world. This Aristanemi was the incarnation of mundane knowledge, and Krishna killed him for which act He expiated by taking a dip in the Radha Kunda. This Kunda is the mental speculation of Radha. The eternal land of our abode should be Radha Kunda. By the border of Radha Kunda we should have our groves.
A Handmaid of Shri Rupa Manjari
Madhura-rati is the highest form of prema, and an individual soul even in the stage of ragatmika bhakti considers herself a maid called manjari whose service is guided by the dearest Rupa Manjari and others who in turn are subservient to the eight sakhis— Shri Lalita, Vishakha, Citra, Indulekha, Campaklata, Rangadevi, Tungavidya, Sudevi— who are the counterparts of Shri Radhika. They are all engaged in the aprakrta services of their beloved Shri Krishna for His absolute pleasures, and no one else. Their complete satisfaction lies in the absolute pleasure of their beloved.
The physical body of this world can never reach the lotus feet of the Lord. Hence a sadhaka in raganuga bhakti, who may be a man or a woman in this physical world, develops the aprakrta body of a gopi called a manjari if his or her raga is awakened in the wake of the Vraja gopi. Specifically, she is a manjari, with a particular name, conception of her form and beauty, particular age, costume, specialized service (seva), and grove (kunja) where she receives and serves the Divine Couple Shri Radha-Krishna. The individual in raganuga bhakti meditates inwardly, looking upon himself or herself as a handmaid of Shri Rupa Manjari, who is the personification of the rupa— beauty of Shri Radha, which beauty is the projected Absolute Beauty of the Absolute Lord Shri Krishna. Shri Rupa Manjari guides the individual handmaid in the fold of Shri Lalita Sakhi, who in turn engages the handmaid in the specialized services of Shri Radha-Krishna.