paricitam api nāmnā yā ca tenaiva tasyās
tad ati-surabhi rādhā-kuṇḍam evāśrayo me
That very dear, beautiful and fragrant Radha Kund, which is the abode of love for the moon of Vraja (Krishna), which is as dear to him as the crown jewel of sweet adolescent girls of Vraja (Shri Radhika) herself and which was named after her by Krishna; this Radha Kund is my only shelter! (Rādhā-kuṇḍāṣṭakam, Verse 4)
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj:: How many self manifested, transcendental realizations of the glories of Radha Kund are coming to Shri Raghunath, who is the greatest object of mercy of Radha Kund, the lake of which he has taken shelter!
In the previous verse Shri Raghunath explained how even Shri Krishna, who is the universal object of worship, must worship Radha Kund in order to attain the mercy of māninī Radha and get his desires fulfilled. One may now ask: “Did Shri Krishna worship Radha Kund to have his own desires fulfilled or simply because the place is so dear to him? After all, there is no glory in motivated service (sakāma sevā), because when the sevyā (object of service) does not fulfill the worshiper’s desires such a ‘devotee’ will give up his worship. Service becomes eternal and earnest when the sevyā is dear to the devotee and to answer such questions this verse has been written.
It has been said that Shri Radha Kund is as dear to Shri Krishna the moon of Vraja as is Shri Radha, the crown jewel of adolescent girls of Vraja.
yathā rādhā priyā viṣṇos tasyā kuṇḍaṁ priyaṁ tathā
sarva-gopīṣu saivaika viṣṇor atyanta vallabhā
“Just as Radha is dear to Lord Vishnu, so is her lake. Of all the gopīs, she is Lord Vishnu’s most beloved one.”
This verse from the Padma Purāṇa proves that it is simply out of love that Krishna worships Radha Kund as described in the previous verse and not just for the fulfillment of his own desires. Shri Krishna is the emperor of the fullest rasa and Shri Radha is the empress of the fullest bhāva. When we study rasa and bhāva we find that bhāva is the worshiper and rasa is the worshiped. Within this worshiped/worshiper relationship, Shri Radha is the crown jewel of all Vraja’s mahā-bhāvavatī-madhura-kiśorīs, because she can fulfill all of Krishna’s desires.
kṛṣṇa vāñchā-pūrti-rūpa kore ārādhane;
ataeva ‘rādhikā’ nāma purāṇe vākhāne
She worships Krishna by satisfying all of his senses, hence the Purāṇas call her Radhika. (CC 1.4)
Shripada Shuka Muni describes how the gopīs reveal the extraordinary status of Shri Radha’s worship of Krishna:
anayārādhito nūnaṁ bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
yanno vihāya govinda prīto yām anayad rahaḥ
“Lord Hari who destroys the misery of his devotees and who fulfills their desires must certainly have been worshiped by this girl because Govinda was so much in love with her that he left us all behind and took her along to another place.” (Bhāgavata 10.30.28)
From this statement we can understand what is the distinction between the worship of Radha and the worship of all the other mahā-bhāvavatī gopa-sundarīs. The verbal root rādh means ‘to worship’ and she who worships is therefore named Radha, the greatest of all the milkmaids of Vraja to worship Krishna. No other gopī in Vraja has such a significant name.
For instance, anything which contains water can be called jaladhi, but pools, ponds and rivers are never called jaladhi by anyone. When one says jaladhi, everyone will understand that one means the ocean. That is so because the ocean is the root reservoir of all the water in the world.
In the same way all the gopīs and indeed all the loving devotees may worship Krishna according to their own love for him, but no one else but Vrishabhanu Nandini can be called Radha. Vrishabhanu Nandini is the root reservoir of all Krishna-worship.
Again, according to the quality and the quantity of their love all the different devotees may be dear to Krishna, but mahā-premavatī Radha is Krishna’s dearmost beloved for her love is the greatest, both in quantity and in quality. Therefore her sounds, touch and so on are the cause of the greatest relish to Krishna, although he is the embodiment of full transcendental bliss. Shri Krishna says:
koṭi kāma jini rūpa yadyapi āmāra; asamordhva mādhurya – sāmya nāhi yāra
mora rūpa āpyāyita hoy tribhuvana; rādhāra darśane mora juḍāya nayana
mora vaṁśī gīte ākarṣaye tribhuvana; rādhāra vacane hare āmāra śravaṇa
yadyapi āmāra gandhe jagata sugandha; mora citta prāṇa hare rādhā aṅga gandha
yadyapi āmāra rase jagata surasa; rādhāra adhara rasa āmā kore vaśa
yadyapi āmāra sparśa koṭīndu śītala; rādhikāra sparśe āmā kore suśītala
eimata jagatera sukhe āmi hetu; rādhikāra rūpa guṇa āmāra jīvātu
“Although my form defeats that of millions of Cupids and is unrivaled in its sweetness, soothing the three worlds, but the sight of Radha soothes my eyes. The song of my flute attracts the three worlds but Radha’s words soothe my ears. Although my fragrance scents the whole world, my heart is stolen by Radha’s bodily fragrance. Although the whole world is juiced up by my flavor, the flavor of Radha’s lips subdues me. Although my touch is cooler than that of millions of moons, Radhika’s touch cools off even me! In this way, although I am the cause of all the pleasure of the world, Radhika’s form and qualities are my very life!” (Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 4)
Shri Radha Kund pleases all of Krishna’s five transcendental senses just as Shri Radha herself does: Krishna’s eyes enjoy seeing it, his nose enjoys the smell of its water and the lotus flowers floating in it, his skin enjoys the touch of this cool water, his ears enjoy the sounds of its chirping birds and humming bumblebees and his tongue enjoys the taste of its ambrosial water. Although Krishna is called vraja-bhuvana-sudhāṁśu, the moon who pleases the whole circle of Vraja, in this verse it is declared that Radha Kund pleases even his senses!
Then Shri Raghunath says:
paricitam api nāmnā yac ca tenaiva tasyāḥ.
tenaiva vraja-bhuvana-sudhāṁśunā tasyāḥ
śrī rādhāyā nāmnā eva paricitaṁ saṅketitam api
“The kuṇḍa has been named after Radha by Shri Krishna himself.”
When Radha Kund advented itself Krishna personally gave it that name, as Shrila Vishwanath Chakravarti has stated: proce hariḥ priyatame tava kuṇḍam etat.
Because Shri Radha is non different from her name Shri Krishna is seen to be most attached to her name as well. In the stage of pūrva-rāga we can read:
sakhi! rādhā-nāma ki kohile!; śuni kāna mana juḍāile
koto nāma āchaye gokule; heno hiyā nā kore ākule
ei nāme āche ki mādhurī; śravaṇe rahalo sudhā bhari
cite niti murati vikāśa; amiyā sāyare yeno bāsa
āṅkhite dekhite kore sādha; e yadunandana mana kāṅda
“Sakhi! What is this name ‘Radha’ you have uttered? When I hear it my mind and ears are soothed! How many names there are in Gokula! Yet none of them has agitated my heart as much (as this one)! How much sweetness is there in this name? It fills my ears with nectar! Her form becomes clearly manifest in my mind and it is as if I float in an ocean of nectar! I will be fulfilled if I can see her with my own eyes!” In this way, Yadunandana’s mind weeps. (Pada-kalpataru)
When he first hears the name of Radha the ears and mind of Shyam, the embodiment of bliss, are soothed, his heart becomes agitated, his ears are showered by a stream of nectar, and the name has given to the bearer of that name a clear shape within his mind. When he hears this name he becomes very eager to meet the named one too; the name of Radha is filled with sweet honey.
Not only that, simply by hearing that Radha-nāma the transcendental youthful Cupid of Vrindavan Shyamasundar feels the agitation of lust within his heart, which means that he is actually very eager to relish the flavors of her mādana-prema. His mind is absorbed in Shri Radha and he thinks: “If this girl’s name is so sweet, then what must her form be like?”
Thinking like this, he becomes very eager to see her and he impatiently asks one sakhī to describe her form to him:
rādhā-nāma ki kohile āge; śunaite manamatha jāge
sakhi! kāhe koholi uha nāma; mana māhā nāhi lāge āna
koho tachu anupama rūpa; bujhlam amiyā svarūpa
heraite āṅkhi kore āśa; koho rādhā mohana dāsa
“What is this name Radha you have uttered just now? After I heard it Cupid awakened! Sakhi! Tell me, who has such a name? My mind can’t think of anyone else anymore! Describe her unrivalled form to me; I understand that it must be pure nectar! My eyes yearn to see her!” Thus spoke Radha Mohana Das.
When Shyam hears even a single syllable of Radha’s holy name he eagerly wants to run up to the person who pronounced it, and when he hears the second syllable he immediately runs anxiously up to that person.
The Purāṇas say:
rā-śabdoccāraṇād eva sphīto bhavati mādhavaḥ
dhā-śabdoccārata paścād dhāvaty eva sa-sambhramaḥ
When Madhava hears the syllable rā he becomes very happy, and when he hears the syllable dhā coming after it, he eagerly runs [after the person chanting it].
That is why Shri Krishna gave the name Radha Kund to the lake of his priyājī Radha, because her name is as dear to him as she is.
Shri Raghunath concludes: “May that most lovely Shri Radha Kund be my sanctuary.”
vraja madhura kiśorī vrajāṅganāgaṇa;
tāhādera śiroratna rādhārāṇī hon
vṛndāvana candra yini vrajendra nandana;
kuṇḍa tāra rādhā sama premāspada hon
rādhā nāma dvārā śrī kuṇḍera paricaya;
rādhā sama rādhākuṇḍa priyatama hoy
sei rādhākuṇḍa hoy ati manorama;
āmāra āśraya hon ei mora mana
Radharani is the crown jewel of all the sweet adolescent girls of Vraja and her kuṇḍa is as dear to Vrajendra-nandana, the moon of Vṛndāvana as she is. You become acquainted to the kuṇḍa through the name Radha and nothing is as dear to Krishna as Radha Kund, just as Radha herself is. May that most enchanting Radha Kund be the shelter of my mind!