Sri Radha: Indirectly the Absolute

According to Sri Caitanya’s followers, the Bhagavata speaks only of Sri Radha. This opinion is strikingly in contrast with not only the advaitins, but other prominent Vaisnava schools as well. The Sri (Ramanuja) and Brahma (Madhva) sampradayas do not see Sri Radha anywhere in the Bhagavata!

Neither does Sridhara Swami, whom the Gaudiya tradition so reveres, even mention Radha in his Bhagavata commentary. Although Sri Radha is mentioned in other Puranas, her name is not uttered directly even once in the Bhagavata. Yet the Gaudiyas make much of an indirect reference to her, which Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his “Bhagavata-arka marici-mala” envisions was spoken by Candravali gopi, Sri Radha’s transcendental competitor.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura differs in his opinion from other commentators. Others reason that the gopi in rasa-pancadhyaya who identified Radha’s footprint next to Krsna’s was able to do so because she knew the footprint of Radha, being her maidservant. This would not have been possible for Candravali. However, the sense that, according to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Candravali has spoken the verse anayaradhito nunam… is significant, for it says in no uncertain terms that no one but Sri Radha can fully satisfy Sri Krsna.

Read More