Radha also called Radhika, Radharani and Radhikarani, is the childhood friend and lover of Krishna in the Bhagavata Purana, and the Gita Govinda of the Vaisnava traditions of Hinduism. Radha is almost always depicted alongside Krishna and features prominently within the theology of today's Gaudiya Vaishnava sect, which regards Radha as the original Goddess or Shakti.
Radha is also the principal object of worship in the Nimbarka Sampradaya, as Nimbarka, the founder of the tradition, declared that Radha and Krishna together constitute the absolute truth. Radha's relationship with Krishna is given in further detail within texts such as the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Garga Samhita and Brihad Gautamiya tantra.
Radha is often referred to as Rādhārānī or "Radhika" in speech, prefixed with the respectful term 'Srimati' by devout followers.
Meaning Of Word Radha
Sound of "Ra" in the word Radha has many meanings. It is written in holy Bhagvat that this sound has capability to satisfy all human desires, including desire to attain eternal bliss. The following description from "Samras Upnishada" tells that, how the name Radha came into existence.
The word "RADHA" is enough to nullify the evil effects of sins of many births. The letter "R" stands for destroying sins of innumerable births. The sound "A" stands for emancipation from death & vicious cycle of birth & rebirth. The sound "DH" means union with Shri Krishna; again, "A" stands for liberation from all the worldly chains.
Radha was the daughter of Vrishbhanu Gurjar who was king Suchandra in his previous life. Suchandra and his wife had acquired a boon from Brahmaji that in the Dwapar age Shri Laxmi will be born as a daughter to them in the form of Radha. King Suchendra and Queen Kalavati only were reborn as Vrishbhanu and Kirtikumari and Laxmiji was incarnated as Radha.
It is said that at Radha’s birth, Devarshi Narad himself went and met Vrishbhanu and informed him, “This girl’s beauty and nature is divine. All the houses, wherever her footprints are, Lord Narayan with all other deities will reside. Nurture this girl thinking her to be a Goddess.” According to Naradji’s advice, Vrishbhanu nurtured Radha with great love and care. Nandbaba who lived in the nearby village was friends with Vrishbanu. Once during the festival of Holi; Vrishbanu went to Gokul to meet Nandrai. At Nandrai and Yashoda’s house Krishna (who was growing up as their son) met Radha. Their union was divine, phenomenal and incessant. This meeting was Radha and Krishna’s first meeting which became eternal.
Radha’s love towards Krishna in the terrestrial or customary meaning is not just the relation between a man and woman. The feeling of this love is divine and phenomenal which gives this love a devout form. The philosophical side of this reduces the distance of the support and supportive, also the difference between the worshipper and worshipful is not there. Krishna is the life of Vraj; Radha is the soul of Krishna. That is why, it is said, “Atma Tu Radhika Tasya” (Radha, you are His soul). One form of Radha is, she is a devotee, worshipper of Krishna and in the second form she is the worshipful, devoted by Krishna. ‘Aradhyate Asau itii Radha.’ Radha – Krishna’s love is the symbol of the feeling of being united. When two souls are united, the difference of the other or the second vanishes. Her father Vrsabhanu was the king of cowherds Gop. Vrsabhanu was a partial incarnation of Lord Narayana while her mother Kalavati was a partial incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi.
Her worship is especially prominent in Vrindavan, the place where Krishna is said to have lived. Wherein her importance surpass even the importance of Krishna. Radha's love for Krishna is held within Gaudiya Vaishnavism as the most perfect primarily because of its endless and unconditional nature. Thus she is the most important friend of Krishna, 'His heart and soul', and His 'hladini-shakti' (mental companion potency).
In the Brihad-Gautamiya Tantra, Radharani is described as follows: "The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord."