Monday, September 5, 2011

The feminine aspect of the divine

Today is Radhashtami - the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, the divine consort of Lord Sri Krishna. I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss the gender of God :)

I know lot of people think God is formless. But thats not the point of this blog. The scriptures describe the Supreme Lord in many places, and all of them talk about His beautiful three fold bending form - a 16 year old boy, dark as a monsoon cloud, with lotus like eyes, nose like a sesame flower and lips as red as the bimba fruit.
Even if people accept this form of God, they sometimes protest - why male? Why is God not female? Why the bias?

And here people miss the point. The original Supreme Person is the source of all energy. And that Supreme Energy is Srimati Radharani. She is the divine mother, the embodiment of all virtues. Energetic and energy together comprise the divine. One is incomplete without the other. The Supreme person Krishna, expands into Vishnu, Rama and other masculine forms, while Srimati Radharani exapands into Laxmi, Seeta and other feminine forms.
 God an His energy can be compared to the sun and sunshine. The moment there is sun, there will be sunshine - Similarly, the sun is incomplete without the sunshine. Both exist together. Thus, Krishna and Radha exist together, eternally and are worshipped together
 The relationship between Radha and Krishna is that of inconceivable identity in difference. They are, in essence, a single entity—God—who manifests as two distinct individuals for the sake of interpersonal exchange.

Krishna Consciousness is a celebration of this relationship. In fact, when we chant

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

we mention:
8 times the name of Sri Radhe, Hare, the energy of the Lord
4 times the name of Sri Krishna, the Supremely attractive one and
4 times the name  of Sri Rama, the source of all pleasure

Thus through these 16 syllables we pray to God (Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani) - the source of all energy, all attractive, and the source of all pleasure - to engage us in their service and revive our own loving relationship with them.

"May that Srimati Radhika--whose bodily complexion steals the pride of a golden lotus flower tinged with kunkuma, whose bodily fragrance overshadows the fame of a fragrant lotus sprinkled with saffron powder, and who fulfills all the desires of the prince of Vraja, Sri Krishna--always bestow upon me the service of Her lotus feet."
-Radhikashtakam verse 1

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