Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He resides in His transcendental abode Goloka Vrindavana – The topmost planet in the spiritual region called Vaikuntha. Goloka Vrindavana is an abode of bliss, of love. There every step is a dance, every word a song.
Devotion to Lord Krishna is the constitutional position of all living entities. And in the spiritual abode of Lord Krishna are His devotees absorbed in different mellows of devotion to Him. In a land where Lord Krishna is the life and soul of everyone, Srimati Radaharani is the topmost devotee. More than His servants, His friends, His parents and all the cowherd damsels whose very centre of existence is Krishna, is Srimati Radharani-The crest jewel of the most intimate lovers of Krishna!
The truth of Srimati Radharani is enigmatic, mystical, far beyond the reach of the mundane consciousness.
Krishna’s energies are broadly categorised as three- Internal, external and marginal. While Lord Krishna takes pleasure in the internal energy personified by Srimati Radharani, he manifests the material world through the external energy personified by Durga Devi. And the tiny living entities, who can exist either under the influence of the internal energy or the external energy are His marginal energy.
In the material world, the embodied living entity conditioned by the material energy maintains the bodily concept of life making it impossible for him to comprehend the divine that exists beyond matter.
tribhir guṇa-mayair bhāvair
ebhiḥ sarvam idaṁ jagat
mām ebhyaḥ param avyayam
“Deluded by the three modes (of material nature)[goodness, passion and ignorance], the whole world does not know Me who am above the modes and inexhaustible.”
Material existence is steeped in selfishness or lust. Every living entity in this atmosphere cherishes the desire to subjugate all material resources to his whimsical will. Be it sense objects, relationships or knowledge. In essence he wants to be the very centre of the universe. While striving to achieve this supreme position, the living entity becomes imperceptibly embroiled in the complexities of the illusory energy called Maya. Then all his thoughts beginning with his notion of himself are hallucinations. His entire life is one big struggle and finally with death all that he could muster from the universe fighting tooth and nail, is summarily snatched away. This is the sly handiwork of Maya – to spur material desire on the one hand and to dispense insufferable punishment on the other.
Sometimes a thoughtful person stands back from his routine life and contemplates his predicament. He sees himself engaged in a great effort for attaining happiness by acquiring ever-elusive power over matter. The truth of impending death strikes his awareness as a stark reality and he begins to question the relevance of his intense struggle. Confounded, he yearns for the purpose and meaning of life. It is a rare soul who comes to this stage of questioning his existence and seeking absolute truth.
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavour for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.”
If such as soul fortunately receives the mercy of a bona fide spiritual master, he is able to sense the nature of Krishna as the Supreme Absolute Truth and develops attraction for Him. The person awakens from the dreamlike material life to his original constitutional nature of devotional service to Lord Krishna. His contemplations and engagements go through a drastic change. His thought process gradually aligns with the will of the Lord.;
“On account of his association with mahātmās, or great souls one hundred percent in the devotional service of the Lord, one may attain a little bit of attraction for Śrī Kṛṣṇa…This attraction for Kṛṣṇa consciousness in association with pure devotees is the sign of great fortune. It is confirmed by Lord Caitanya that only the fortunate persons, by the mercy of both a bona fide spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa, will get the seed of devotional service. Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Eleventh Canto, 20th Chapter, verse 8: ‘My dear Uddhava, only by exceptional fortune does someone become attracted to Me (Kṛṣṇa). And even if one is not completely detached from fruitive activities, or is not completely attached to devotional service, such service is quickly effective.’”
Nectar of Devotion, Part One, Chapter 3
For those who are residents of the material world, to achieve the attitude of devotion to Krishna – the ultimate platform of existence – is very rare. The life of eternal bliss is desirable. But, eternal life is of the nature of love not selfish lust. The attitude of completely selfless service to Lord Krishna knowing Him to be only object of love is extremely rare. To the transcendentalists far above the mundane struggle of the false ego, a glimpse Lord Krishna’s Supreme existence is the heart’s yearning. The residents of the spiritual planets live in the deep devotional bliss of direct association with Krishna.
Srimati Radharani is the pleasure potency that Krishna enjoys. She is the root of the pure selfless feelings of service to Lord Krishna. She is the queen of the abode of perfect love. All that exists in that world is absorbed in innumerable feelings of intense love of God nurtured by Srimati Radharani. She is the hlādinī potency of Krishna!
hlādinī karāya kṛṣṇe ānandāsvādana
hlādinīra dvārā kare bhaktera poṣaṇa
“Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has elaborately discussed the hlādinī potency in his Prīti-sandarbha. He says that the Vedas clearly state, ‘Only devotional service can lead one to the Personality of Godhead. Only devotional service can help a devotee meet the Supreme Lord face to face. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is attracted by devotional service, and as such the ultimate supremacy of Vedic knowledge rests in knowing the science of devotional service.’”
Caitanya Caritamrita Adi Lila 4.60
So there is a stark difference between the influence of the material energy and the spiritual energy. While the material energy punishes the living entities in order to cure their selfish tendencies, Srimati Radharani, the internal pleasure potency of Krishna, fills them with the supreme devotional bliss of exclusively seeking Krishna’s pleasure.
The ecstasy of Radharani in serving Him was unfathomable to Lord Krishna. He decided to discover that bliss by assuming the mood of Radharani. So he appeared as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Lord Krishna in the mood of Radha.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during his earthly pastimes gradually exhibited the pinnacle of the Love of Krishna towards the end of His earthly pastimes. Like the grief stricken Gopis of Vrindavan who felt acute separation from Krishna after He went away to Mathura never to return, Lord Chaitanya listlessly wandered about in Jagannath Puri feeling pangs of separation from Lord Krishna. He was immersed in this ultimate mood of devotion, called vipralamba seva, service in a mood of separation. Lord Chaitanya could then taste the intense ecstasy of devotion felt by Srimati Radharani.
For anyone with even the faintest tinge of selfishness, the divine, loving nature of Radharani is inscrutable. Yet, by the infinite grace of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Chaitanya, even a hopelessly conditioned soul can gain an appreciation of the goings-on in the Supreme abode of Lord Krishna
If the aspiring devotee takes complete shelter of Srimati Radharani – the supreme devotee – his hopelessly selfish heart will quickly transform to feel the urgent desire to make Krishna his all in all.
“hlādinīra sāra ‘prema’, prema-sāra ‘bhāva’
bhāvera parama-kāṣṭhā, nāma–‘mahā-bhāva’
The essence of the hlādinī potency is love of God, the essence of love of God is emotion [bhāva], and the ultimate development of emotion is mahābhāva.
The product of the hlādinī-śakti is love of Godhead, which has two divisions-namely, pure love of Godhead and adulterated love of Godhead. Only when the hlādinī śakti emanates from Śrī Kṛṣṇa and is bestowed upon the living being to attract Him does the living being become a pure lover of God. But when the same hlādinī-śakti is adulterated by the external, material energy and emanates from the living being, it does not attract Kṛṣṇa; on the contrary, the living being becomes attracted by the glamor of the material energy.”
Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi Lila 4.68
Śrī Rādhā Ṭhākurāṇī is the embodiment of mahābhāva. She is the repository of all good qualities and the crest jewel among all the lovely consorts of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
The unadulterated action of the hlādinī-śakti is displayed in the dealings of the damsels of Vraja and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is the topmost participant in that transcendental group. The essence of the hlādinī-śakti is love of Godhead, the essence of love of Godhead is bhāva, or transcendental sentiment, and the highest pitch of that bhāva is called mahābhāva. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the personified embodiment of these three aspects of transcendental consciousness. She is therefore the highest principle in love of Godhead and is the supreme lovable object of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”
Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi Lila 4..69