Monday, June 23, 2008
The Radha-Krishna amour is a love legend of all times. It's indeed hard to miss the many legends and paintings illustrating Krishna's love affairs, of which the Radha-Krishna affair is the most memorable. Krishna's relationship with Radha, his favorite among the 'gopis' (cow-herding maidens), has served as a model for male and female love in a variety of art forms, and since the sixteenth century appears prominently as a motif in North Indian paintings. The allegorical love of Radha has found expression in some great Bengali poetical works of Govinda Das, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Jayadeva the author of Geet Govinda.
Krishna's youthful dalliances with the 'gopis' are interpreted as symbolic of the loving interplay between God and the human soul. Radha's utterly rapturous love for Krishna and their relationship is often interpreted as the quest for union with the divine. This kind of love is of the highest form of devotion in Vaishnavism, and is symbolically represented as the bond between the wife and husband or beloved and lover.
Radha, daughter of Vrishabhanu, was Krishna's lover during that period of his life when he lived among the cowherds of Vrindavan. Since childhood they were close to each other - they played, they danced, they fought, they grew up together and wanted to be together forever, but the world pulled them apart. He departed to safeguard the virtues of truth, and she waited for him. He vanquished his enemies, became the king, and came to be worshipped as a lord of the universe. She waited for him. He married Rukmini and Satyabhama, raised a family, fought the great war of matura, and she still waited. So great was Radha's love for Krishna that even today her name is uttered whenever Krishna is refered to, and Krishna worship is though to be incomplete without the deification of Radha.
One day the two most talked about lovers come together for a final single meeting. Suradasa in his Radha-Krishna lyrics relates the various amorous delights of the union of Radha and Krishna in this ceremonious 'Gandharva' form of their wedding in front of five hundred and sixty million people of Vraj and all the gods and goddesses of heaven. The sage Vyasa refers to this as the 'Rasa'. Age after age, this evergreen love theme has engrossed poets, painters, musicians and all Krishna devotees alike.