Radha (Devanagari: राधा, Bengali: রাধা) or Radhika (Devanagari: राधिका, Bengali: রাধিকা) is considered as Krishna‘s supreme beloved. Radha-Krishna, the collective form of Radha and Krishna, is considered as the combination of both the feminine as well as the masculine aspects of God. Swami Vivekananda told, it is not easy to understand the relationship of Radha-Krishna. In this article we’ll make a collection of Swami Vivekananda‘s quotes and comments on Radha.
Swami Vivekananda’s quotes on Radha
- God became Krishna and Râdhâ —
Love flows in thousands of coils.
Whoso wants, takes it.
Love flows in thousands of coils —
The tide of love and loving past,
And fills the soul with bliss and joy![Source]
- In God all natures are possible. But we can see Him only through human nature. We can love Him as we love a man—as father, son. The strongest love in the world is that between man and woman, and that also when it is clandestine. This is typified in the love between Krishna and Radha.[Source]
- Kama (lust) is blind and leads to hell. Prema is love, it leads to heaven. There is no idea of lust or sympathy in the love of Krishna and Radha. Radha says to Krishna, “If you place your feet on my heart, all lust will vanish.”[Source]
- Krishna the beautiful aspect of God. Love crystallises into blueness. Blue colour is expressive of intense love. Solomon saw “Krishna”. Here Krishna came to be seen by all. Even now, when you get love, you see Radha. Become Radha and be saved. There is no other way.[Source]
- The madness of Love—God intoxicated man
The allegory of Radha—misunderstood
The restriction more increase—
Lust is the death of love
Self is the death of love[Source]
- There is not the least necessity for teaching the divine Love of Râdhâ and Krishna. Teach them pure devotion to Sitâ-Râm and Hara-Pârvati. See that no mistake is made in this respect. Remember that the episodes of the divine relationship between Radha and Krishna are quite unsuitable for young minds.[Source]
How many understand Radha-Krishna’s love?
From Swami Vivekananda’s lecture Bhakti, delivered at Sialkote, Punjab—[Source]
Take the story of Râdhâ and Krishna in Râsalilâ. The story simply exemplifies the true spirit of a Bhakta, because no love in the world exceeds that existing between a man and a woman. When there is such intense love, there is no fear, no other attachment save that one which binds that pair in an inseparable and all-absorbing bond. But with regard to parents, love is accompanied with fear due to the reverence we have for them. Why should we care whether God created anything or not, what have we to do with the fact that He is our preserver? He is only our Beloved, and we should adore Him devoid all thoughts of fear. A man loves God only when he has no other desire, when he thinks of nothing else and when he is mad after Him. That love which a man has for his beloved can illustrate the love we ought to have for God. Krishna is the God and Radha loves Him; read those books which describe that story, and then you can imagine the way you should love God. But how many understand this? How can people who are vicious to their very core and have no idea of what morality is understand all this? When people drive all sorts of worldly thoughts from their minds and live in a clear moral and spiritual atmosphere, it is then that they understand the abstrusest of thoughts even if they be uneducated. But how few are there of that nature!
Conversation with Surendra Nath Sen
From Surendra Nath Sen’s private diary, Complete Works, Volume V. Date 24 January 1898, Monday—[Source]
In the afternoon I came again to Swamiji and saw quite a good gathering round him. The topic was the Madhura-Bhâva or the way of worshipping God as husband, as in vogue with some followers of Shri Chaitanya. His occasional bons mots were raising laughter, when someone remarked, “What is there to make so much fun of about the Lord’s doings? Do you think that he was not a great saint, and that he did not do everything for the good of humanity?”
Swamiji: Who is that! Should I poke fun at you then, my dear sir! You only see the fun of it, do you? And you, sir, do not see the lifelong struggle through which I have passed to mould this life after his burning ideal of renunciation of wealth and lust, and my endeavours to infuse that ideal into the people at large! Shri Chaitanya was a man of tremendous renunciation and had nothing to do with woman and carnal appetites. But, in later times, his disciples admitted women into their order, mixed indiscriminately with them in his name, and made an awful mess of the whole thing. And the ideal of love which the Lord exemplified in his life was perfectly selfless and bereft of any vestige of lust; that sexless love can never be the property of the masses. But the subsequent Vaishnava Gurus, instead of laying particular stress first on the aspect of renunciation in the Master’s life, bestowed all their zeal on preaching and infusing his ideal of love among the masses, and the consequence was that the common people could not grasp and assimilate that high ideal of divine love, and naturally made of it the worst form of love between man and woman.
Q. But, sir, he preached the name of the Lord Hari to all, even to the Chandâlas; so why should not the common masses have a right to it?
Swamiji: I am talking not of his preaching, but of his great ideal of love —the Râdhâ-prema, with which he used to remain intoxicated day and night, losing his individuality in Radha.
Q. Why may not that be made the common property of all?
Swamiji: Look at this nation and see what has been the outcome of such an attempt. Through the preaching of that love broadcast, the whole nation has become effeminate—a race of women! The whole of Orissa has been turned into a land of cowards; and Bengal, running after the Radha-prema, these past four hundred years, has almost lost all sense of manliness! The people are very good only at crying and weeping; that has become their national trait. Look at their literature, the sure index of a nation’s thoughts and ideas. Why, the refrain of the Bengali literature for these four hundred years is strung to that same tune of moaning and crying. It has failed to give birth to any poetry which breathes a true heroic spirit!
Q. Who are then truly entitled to possess that Prema (love)?
Swamiji: There can be no love so long as there is lust—even as speck of it, as it were, in the heart. None but men of great renunciation, none but mighty giants among men, have a right to that Love Divine. If that highest ideal of love is held out to the masses, it will indirectly tend to stimulate its worldly prototype which dominates the heart of man—for, meditating on love to God by thinking of oneself as His wife or beloved, one would very likely be thinking most of the time of one’s own wife—the result is too obvious to point out.