September 25

Rādhā – The Embodiment of Hlādinī-Śakti – By Kavitha Chinnaiyan


 September 25


"Who can resist a love story, especially one as luscious as that of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa? Source texts that describe Rādhā differ about who she really is. Some describe her as being Kṛṣṇa, some as his superior, and others as a form of Mahālakṣmī. Their story is popularized through tales of their interactions in Vrindāvan, sometimes describing her as being older, the wife of a cowherd (gopi) and others as being his age. The specifics don’t seem to matter; ultimately, she is the embodiment of joy and devotion – Hlādhinī Śakti.

Devotion to Kṛṣṇa is not unique to Rādhā. Every creature that crossed paths with him fell deeply in love with him. All the gopis adored him and clamored for his love and attention. They reveled in Kṛṣṇa’s presence during the rāsa līla, his Māyā making him appear to frolic with each gopi as if she was the only one with him.

The gopis weren’t exempt from the problematic issue of confusing love with ownership. Just as soon as one tried to own him, he would disappear. Rādhā was an exception and knew love in its purest essence – without the agenda of owning or manipulating. Her love was full of delight and innocence. While all the other gopis chased after Kṛṣṇa, he pursued her.

Rādhā’s love for Kṛṣṇa is the epitome of bhakti, the fuel for sādhana. We have to want the Divine without agenda. The surrender must be total and the love beyond social and moral norms. Opening to delight happens at the heart, beyond logic, intellect, and reason.

Just saying the word Rādhā opens us to hlāda – delightful love. The word is a mantra and combined with the word Kṛṣṇa, it opens us to the ecstasy of the union between the devotee and the devoted, both of whom long for each other. Rādhā’s love for Kṛṣṇa is so elevated that her name will always precede his – Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.

Happy Rādhāṣṭami! May Rādhārānī’s kind glance enable the flowering of hlādinī śakti in our hearts." - Kavitha Chinnaiyan

Image: Design created using Canva.

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