His Highest Power
In his lecture on the occasion of Radhastami in 1969 Srila Prabhupada called Srimati Radharani Krishna’s pleasure potency. He then quoted from the Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.7-8: na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate sva-bhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca.
Literally translated: “One cannot find in him – the Lord – an obligation to act, nor can one find an organ, a sense with which to act, neither can one see who is equal to him, let alone one who is surpassing him. One hears about his highest and truly diverse power, which is part of his very nature and is the working knowledge and strength.”
This is alluding to, or speaking about, the Lord’s sakti. This is a major theme for the Vaisnavas to understand that Krishna is saktiman and he is the saktiman of his sakti. He has various saktis, varieties of saktis and one of these is his hladini sakti. And this hladini sakti is none other than Srimati Radharani.
At this point the tendency will be for many to say, okay, we are speaking here about sakti. When we think of sakti, we think of energy, and energies are something impersonal.
There is electrical energy, there is wind energy, and there is a lot of talk about fossil fuel energy. Do we think of persons? No. We think of chemicals, and natural forces like wind, heat, and so on. But here we are talking about the more fundamental understanding of energy. Energy is a person. And that person, in the case of hladini-sakti, is Radharani. And Radharani is the dearest person to Krishna. Why is she the dearmost?
One explanation is that she gives pleasure, the highest pleasure, to Krishna. Srila Prabhupada asked in the same lecture: “What kind of enjoyment would the greatest person have?” In other words, if we think of the gradation of living entities in the course of enjoyment that they have, what would be the enjoyment of the highest, the most exalted, the supreme person? That enjoyment would only come from the highest source, and that source is Srimati Radharani. The Lord desires to enjoy. We desire to enjoy. How do we direct our aims for getting enjoyment? We direct our aim in the wrong direction. We direct it toward Krishna’s external energy. But Srimati Radharani is Krishna’s internal potency of pleasure and she opens herself and invites us to participate in the pleasure she is giving to Krishna.
-From the lecture on SB 10.30.28 by Krishna Kshetra Swami at Radhastami festival in Simhacalam temple, Germany, September 4, 2022
Srimati Radharani: Questions & Answers
Question: Can we apply the information of Srimati Radharani’s blindness at birth and later seeing only Krishna to ourselves as if we are actually blind, if we don’t see Krishna?
Answer: I would say, in a rhetorical, or figurative sense, yes. Rhetorical means we can feel like that. But there is also something else. Once on a morning walk, a devotee asked Srila Prabhupada, “What does it mean, that a pure devotee sees Krishna everywhere? Does it mean that he sees that tree as Krishna? Does it mean that he sees every little individual leaf in this tree as so many little Krishnas? How to understand? What does it mean, seeing Krishna?” And Prabhupada said, “No, it is not like that. It is like when a mother sees the little shoes of her child, she doesn’t see the child directly, she sees the shoes. But because of her love for the child in these shoes she sees the child.” And you can say, that is metaphorical, she doesn’t really see the child, only shoes. But it is as good as the analogy of fire and iron that has been heated to become red hot. Essentially it can be said that iron has become fire because is it having the same effect as fire.
Question: How to understand when Srila Prabhupada says, “You can pray directly to Srimati Radharani,” considering who she is and who I am? How can I even think of doing it?
Answer: The analogy I would give is one of a king, his queen, and a confidential servant of them doing personal services. There is also a new servant, an assistant who has been introduced to the details of the personal service of the queen. When the personal servant of the queen introduces a new assistant, it is not a problem for the queen, because she is comfortable with the service of her personal servant. In this way, the new assistant can render service to the queen in the presence of her personal servant. We might take this analogy for petitioning Srimati Radharani. So, Prabhupada is saying, “You can pray directly,” and he is standing there as Radharani’s representative, authorizing you to pray to Radharani directly. Again, he is there, and that is what is making it possible.
Question: Why in Srimad Bhagavatam Srimati Radharani, the greatest giver of bhakti, is hidden?
Answer: The one explanation, that you all have probably heard is that Sukadeva Goswami is none other than Suka, the personal parrot of Radha, and that he was afraid that if he speaks the name of Radha he would faint. And if he fainted that would be a problem. Why? Because Maharaja Pariksit’s clock is ticking and Suka must give him the full Bhagavatam before his seven days and seven nights are up. He had to stay awake and keep cool, so better not to say anything about her.
The other explanation would be that because the Bhagavatam is a Purana it is available to everyone. The adhikara for hearing the Bhagavatam is basically unrestricted, although it says that it is for those who are free from envy. But yes, it is a Purana and all kinds of people could be present when Sukadeva was speaking. And to sort of guard against some sort of misunderstanding… Yes, she is the most merciful, but if she is spoken about to those who are not qualified it can spoil everything. It is like Krishna in the Gita, following the sarva-dharman parityajya verse, gives all the restrictions concerning those who can hear Bhagavad-gita: It can never be spoken to one who is not austere, to one who is not a devotee, to one who has no faith, and to one who is envious. It is the same principle.
There is also a general culture in Vedic literature for maintaining secrecy, or confidentiality. What is to be known is not to be known by anyone and everyone unless and until they are really determined to know.
-From the meeting with disciples by Krishna Kshetra Swami in Simhacalam, Germany, on September 5, 2022