Who is Shrimati Radharani?
Shri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is stated in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (6.8) "The Supreme Lord has multipotencies, which act so perfectly that all consciousness, strength and activity are being directed solely by His will". The material world, where we are now living, is called bahir-anga-sakti, the external energy of Krishna. Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-Gita (9.10): "Under My superintendence the material energy is working". Apart from the material, external energy, there is another energy - the internal energy. By the internal energy the spiritual world is being manifested. As the material world is manipulated under the external energy, the spiritual world is conducted by the internal potency. That internal potency, called the Hladini Sakti, is Shrimati Radharani.
In CC Adi 1.5 it is said "The loving affairs of Shri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally". Shrimati Radharani, as the highest devotee of Shri Krishna, derives the greatest pleasure in serving Him. She is the origin of all the Gopis and of all the Goddesses of Fortune (Lakshmi devi) who are engaged in the service of the Lord. She is the mainstay, the ideal and the ultimate refuge of all devotees embarking on the path of devotional service. Without first getting the mercy of Shrimati Radharani it is impossible to even approach Shri Krishna.
The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is in fact a prayer to Shrimati Radharani. The word 'Hare' is derived from 'Hara' which denotes the internal energy or Hladini Sakti of Krishna. This is none other that Shrimati Radharani. When one is chanting the maha-mantra, one is saying: "O Krishna ! O Radha !! Please engage me in your devotional service". Krishna is difficult to approach directly, but He is bhakta-vatsala, always eager to please His devotees. Thus the mood of a devotee is to invoke the compassion of Shrimati Radharani Who then recommends the devotee to Shri Krishna. Since Krishna is easily pleased by Shrimati Radharani, He then readily accepts the devotee in His service.
25 qualities of Shrimati Radharani
As explained in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (Nectar of Devotion), Krishna possesses sixty-four transcendental qualities. Shrimati Radharani has twenty-five transcendental qualities, but She can control even Krishna by them. Her transcendental qualities are as follows: (1) She is sweetness personified; (2) She is a fresh young girl; (3) Her eyes are always moving; (4) She is always brightly smiling; (5) She possesses all auspicious marks on Her body; (6) She can agitate Krishna by the flavor of Her person; (7) She is expert in the art of singing; (8) She can speak very nicely and sweetly; (9) She is expert in presenting feminine attractions; (10) She is modest and gentle; (11) She is always very merciful; (12) She is transcendentally cunning; (13) She knows how to dress nicely; (14) She is always shy; (15) She is always respectful; (16) She is always patient; (17) She is very grave; (18) She is enjoyed by Krishna; (19) She is always situated on the highest devotional platform; (20) She is the abode of love of the residents of Gokula; (21) She can give shelter to all kinds of devotees; (22) She is always affectionate to superiors and inferiors; (23) She is always obliged by the dealings of Her associates, (24) She is the greatest amongst Krishna's girl friends; (25) She always keeps Krishna under Her control. Krishna means 'all attractive', since He attracts every one to Him. But Shrimati Radharani attracts even Krishna. Although Krishna says vedaham samatitani - "I know everything" - He fails to understand Radharani. Krishna is acyuta (inconceivable), but for Him Radharani is inconceivable. Radharani is so great. Krishna thought, "I am full. I am complete in every respect, but still I want to understand Radharani." This question obliged Krishna to accept the propensities of Radharani to understand Himself. So five hundred years ago Krishna appeared as Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in the mood of Shrimati Radharani and with Her golden complexion, as His own greatest devotee. Krishna did this to understand the depth of devotion of Shrimati Radharani.
Shrimati Radharani on love
Shrimati Radharani said: "If you want to understand My love for Krsna then listen... Prema is so great that even the knowers of the Vedas cannot know it, nor others who claim to know it. Sakhi! One who teaches prema to an inquisitive person cannot know it, nor can their hearer know it. It's all just imitation! Prema disappears before both the discriminate and indiscriminate person, but that pure-hearted soul who is free from discrimination and who is full of sacred greed, is able to approach the throne of natural love. That is shown through the lover's activities, which are only dedicated to the happiness of the beloved."
"Just as a lion feeds himself on elephants, prema feeds itself, defeating all miseries that are as heavy as mountains and are caused by things of this world, the next world, one's own family, one's enemies or one's most beloved one. That lion of prema is proud of its bodily lustre and is fearless. He can go to sleep without worrying. What worries will the lion have when the dogs of unfavourable attachments bark? Prema shines like a lamp in the darkness."
"Because of this deceitfulness, prema appears to be fresh and intoxicating at every moment, giving joy to the three worlds like the cool moon (during union) and heat like the burning sun at the time of universal destruction during separation."
"O dear sakhi! In whom else in all the three worlds or beyond them but in Krsna, the prince of the cowherds, is this prema to be found? Only the doe-eyed gopis of Vrndavana can relish this, according to their qualifications."
"Sometimes this prema, which gives Krsna unlimited bliss, appears to be lust, but sometimes lust also looks like prema to some people. Krsna, the crown jewel of clever artists, knows this, but that lust does not make Him happy. And when one gopi says: 'O my friend, I'm very much afflicted by feeling of separation. Quickly bring me to Krsna' then You should not think that is lust, because she is only interested in Krsna's happiness then."
"Krsna is an ocean of love, a mine of jewel-like qualities, and He is most attractive to the girls. For this He shows symptoms of lust like deceitfulness, naughtiness and crookedness, but this is actually prema. Can a hundred thousand girls, even with great endeavor, satisfy Krsna's desires?
None of them can. So it must be their causeless love for Him that makes Him interested in them."
"Of all these gopis, Lord Krsna is most attracted to Me. That is well known in the world. That can never be false. He consider My love to be as great as Mount Meru, and the love of the other gopis to be like three or four mustard seeds."