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Radha1


Radha1 beloved of krishna. According to Hindu tradition, Krishna was an incarnation of vishnu who appeared on earth during the Dvapar Yuga or the third age of the world. Vishnu's beloved, Laksmi was born as Radha. When she grew up, Radha was married to Ayan Ghosh but she continued to love Krishna and to mourn her separation from him. In this reading, Krishna is Vishnu or God and Radha is his consort Laksmi, mourning her separation from him and longing to be united with him.

The love of Radha and Krishna may be treated philosophically as representing the human soul's longing for union with the divine. According to Indian philosophy, Vishnu is the eternal soul; all other souls are those of finite beings, which continually aspire to unite with the eternal soul. This desire is imaged as the desire of the female soul, the finite soul, to merge with the male, or eternal soul. Vishnu is imaged as the only male and everything else as female. Radha represents the finite souls and Krishna, the eternal soul, Vishnu or God. Therefore, Radha's love for Krishna is but another manifestation of the eternal desire of the human soul to unite with God or surrender to the eternal soul. The essence of vaisnavism is the philosophy underlying the love of Radha and Krishna. It is also the essence of Indian philosophy.

Radha (Rahiya/Radhika) is first mentioned in the prakrit epic Gathasattasai (2nd century). She is subsequently mentioned in different Puranas, such as Padmapurana and Brahmavaivartapurana, epics in Sanskrit, Prakrit and apabhrangsha and Narodpancharatra. The love of Radha and Krishna has been beautifully described in jaydev's poem gitagovindam of 12-th century and baru chandidas' work srikrishnakirtan of 14th-century. Devotional lyrics on Radha and Krishna form a large part of Bangla padavali. Even today padavali kirtan folk songs on Radha and Krishna are sung in the villages of Bangladesh. In cities also audiences enjoy listening to kirtan songs on Radha and Krishna. These songs are popular with all classes of people.

Vrindaban, the site where the milkmaid Radha is believed to have dallied with the flute-player Krishna, is one of the most sacred sites of Hinduism. Because of her association with Krishna, Radha has been elevated from the position of a milkmaid to a goddess. She and Krishna have become equal claimants to the worship of devotees. The combined statue of Radha and Krishna is an object of supreme respect and devotion of Hindus, especially of Vaisnavas. [Paresh Chandra Mandal]