The Pleasure Potency of Krishna
Following is an article from Back to Godhead # 64 Special Celebrations, 1974
When people see a picture like the one you see here, they often ask, “Who is that girl with Krishna?”
The answer is that She is Srimati Radharani, Krishna’s pleasure potency.
The devotees of the Krishna consciousness movement humbly try to glorify Srimati Radharani because by Her mercy one can advance wonderfully in Krishna consciousness.
What Is The Pleasure Potency?
EVERYONE naturally wants to enjoy, yet no one is fully independent in finding enjoyment. To satisfy our desires, we need the association of others. We use the expression “to enjoy oneself,” but we enjoy ourselves most in good company. Indeed, most people would find prolonged solitude practically unbearable.
Krishna, however, the Supreme Lord, being the source of everything is fully independent. He is independent in His existence, His knowledge, and His pleasure, for everything rests upon Him, as pearls are strung on a thread.
Krishna, therefore, needs no one. Since in one sense He is everything, no one exists outside of Him. Consequently, when Krishna wants to enjoy, He expands the potency or energy within Himself 'that gives Him enjoyment. This potency is a person. Her name is Srimati Radharani.
Radharani is not a different person from Krishna—or, rather, She is both one with and different from Him. How could two people be one person, or one person be two? A simple example will illustrate how this is so. The sun cannot exist without the sunshine, nor the sunshine without the sun. We say, "The sun is in my room”–even though the sun itself is ninety-three million miles away–because the sun appears in the form of its energy. Therefore the energy (the sunshine) and the energetic (the sun) are simultaneously one and different. Similarly, Radha and Krishna are simultaneously one and different. Krishna, the self-effulgent Lord, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Srimati Radharani is His supreme pleasure energy. Together They constitute the complete Absolute Truth.
Who Can Understand All This?
One cannot understand anything about Radha and Krishna through mental speculation. Krishna and His potencies are acintya, inconceivable, and ananta, unlimited. He is the very source of the mind itself, and therefore He is beyond the mind. The limited mind cannot understand the unlimited Personality of Godhead. The Vedic literature explains this very logically: "That which is transcendental to material nature is inconceivable, whereas speculative arguments are all mundane. Since mundane arguments cannot touch transcendental subject matters, one should not try to understand transcendental subjects through mundane arguments."
What Gives Krishna Pleasure?
According to such spiritual authorities, Krishna is the reservoir of all pleasure, and therefore He is all-attractive. Yet Krishna Himself derives pleasure from the service rendered by His devotees. Such devotional service attracts even Him. Krishna Himself, while speaking to a friend, confirms this as follows in Srimad-Bhagavatam: "My dear Uddhava, you may know from Me that the attraction I feel for devotional service rendered by My devotees is not to be equalled even if one performs mystic yoga, philosophical speculation or ritualistic sacrifices, studies Vedänta, practices severe austerities or gives up everything in charity. These are of course, very nice activities, but they are not as attractive to Me as the transcendental loving service rendered by My devotees.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam. 11.2.1)
Krishna is full in six opulences: beauty, wealth, fame, strength, knowledge and renunciation. No amount of material opulence, therefore, can attract Him. Just as one could not attract a millionaire by offering him a few dollars, one cannot attract Krishna merely by one's limited material opulence. Nevertheless, pure devotional service attracts even Krishna. This is the unique transcendental excellence of devotional service.
Srimati Radharani is the embodiment of pure devotional service. No one can be a greater devotee than She. The very name Radharani comes from the Sanskrit word aradhana, which means "worship." Her name is Radharani because She excels all in worshiping Krishna. Although Krishna is so beautiful that He can attract millions of Cupids and is therefore called Madana-mohana, "the attractor of Cupid," Radharani can attract even Krishna. She is therefore called Madana-mohana-mohani–"the attractor of the attractor of Cupid."
The same Krishna who is not attracted by any amount of material opulence finds Srimati Radharani irresistible.
Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita that as one surrenders unto Him, He reciprocates accordingly. Therefore the more Radharani tries to please Krishna, the more He desires to please Her, thus in turn increasing Her enthusiasm to increase His pleasure. Therefore although the Lord is unlimited, both He Himself and His potency for pleasure are always increasing. The all-blissful reciprocation between the Lord and His pleasure potency is expressed in the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krishna, which are described in detail in Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda.
Love or Lust–What's the Difference?
The reciprocation of love between Radha and Krishna is the essence of spiritual love. Because Krishna is the origin of everything, He is the origin of love also.
In the material world, although one may profess true love, inwardly one's real desire is to enjoy his own senses. We love someone as long he or she pleases our senses, and when such sensual pleasure dwindles, the so-called love dwindles with it. Thus the love affair ends in separation or divorce. But pure devotees of Krishna on the spiritual platform have no desires to please themselves. They desire only to please Lord Krishna. This is true unalloyed love.
The conditioned souls in the material world are generally misdirected and frustrated in love because they try to get pleasure by satisfying their material bodily senses. Therefore, by trying to satisfy his material desires for sensual enjoyment the poor conditioned soul merely increases his desire, but not his satisfaction. He becomes a servant of the senses, working hard to fulfill hankerings that can never be fulfilled. To find real pleasure, one must find real love–and for this one must love Krishna. To be truly happy, one must engage in His devotional service.
Such devotional service is under the control of Srimati Radharani. She is the presiding Deity of devotional service. Because She is very merciful, devotees especially take advantage of Her merciful nature to attain the service of Krishna. Indeed, although engagement in pure devotional service is rarely achieved, one can achieve it very easily by the grace of Srimati Radharani.
Bhagavad-gita confirms that those who are truly mahatmas, great souls, take shelter of Krishna's daivi prakrti, or spiritual energy–Srimati Radharani. "Always chanting My glories," Lord Krishna declares, "endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion." (Bhagavad-gita 9.14) This devotional service is not an activity of the material world; it is fully spiritual because it is directly under the control of Krishna's spiritual energy–Srimati Radharani.
To perform devotional service, one should follow in the footsteps of Srimati Radharani by performing pure devotional service to Krishna, without any concern for material profit. But one should not worship Krishna alone. Krishna is not complete without Radharani, as the sun is not complete without the sunshine. One should therefore worship both Radha and Krishna, for together They are the complete Absolute Truth.
Actually, worshiping Radharani is better than worshiping Krishna. More precisely, one can best worship Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, through Srimati Radharani, His supreme pleasure energy. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita, "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." (Bhagavad-gita 9.26) But rather than offer a flower directly to Krishna, better to offer the flower to Srimati Radharani, requesting, "My dear Radharani, please recommend me to Your Krishna." Krishna is the supreme controller, yet He is controlled by the pure devotion of Srimati Radharani. Krishna is therefore also known as the "property of Radharani." if one can please Radharani', therefore, one can very easily please Lord Krishna.
Srimati Radharani has the vision of a maha-bhagavata, the most highly elevated devotee. Thus She sees everyone equally, if anyone approaches Her to serve Krishna, even if he is the most fallen, She immediately bestows Her mercy upon him by recommending to Krishna, "Oh, Krishna, here is a devotee. He is better than Me." Because Srimati Radharani is always absorbed in thought of Krishna, She is very dear to Krishna. Therefore if one tries in this way to reach Krishna through Radharani, he will surely be successful.
As living spiritual souls, we are originally spiritual energy, but somehow or other we have now fallen into this material world of birth and death. But when we come under the shelter of the supreme spiritual energy, Srimati Radharani, we come to our happy, normal position.
Radharani is the potency who gives transcendental pleasure to Krishna. When the mercy of that potency is bestowed upon a living entity, he develops love of Godhead and thus attains the highest pleasure–and he can also distribute that pleasure to others. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has introduced this process of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, “The chanting," he says, "is exactly like the cry of a child for its mother's presence. Mother Hara [Srimati Radharani] helps the devotee achieve the Lord Father's grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely."