Question by a devotee: I have heard in the Pravachans (discourses) of many saints where they say that no description of Radha Rani exists in the Bhagavatam written by Maharshi Ved Vyas. I want to know whether there is any scriptural mention of Radha Rani. Or is it only a personal opinion?
Answer by Swamiji: Your question addresses a widespread misnomer in the minds of many people. The nature of your question and its importance demands that detailed evidence be given from the scriptures for the benefit of everyone. We shall come to the Shreemad Bhagavatam later. First of all, let us visit the other scriptures. Let us begin with the eternal Vedas, and see if they mention Radha Rani.
idaṁ hyanvojasāsutaṁ rādhānāṁ pate pivā tvasya girvaṇaḥ (Ṛig Veda)
"O Shree Krishna, Husband of Radha! Just as the gopīs worship You, the Ved mantras also worship You. By them, drink Som Ras."
vibhaktāraṁ havāmahe vasoschitrasya rādhasaḥ savitāraṁ nṛichaksasam (Ṛig Ved)
"O All-knowing Witness seated in everyone's hearts, who took Radha away from the gopīs (during the Mahārās)! We call You for our protection."
tvaṁ nṛichaksaṁ vṛiṣhabhānupoorvīḥ kṛiṣhṇāsvagne aruṣhovibhāhi (Ṛig Veda)
In this mantra, the name of Vrishabhanu, father of Radha is mentioned, leaving no scope for doubt or interpretation on what the word "Radha" means.
yasyā reṇuṁ pādayorviśhvabhartā dharate moordhnī (Atharva Vediya Rādhikopaniṣhad)
"Radha is that Entity, the dust of whose lotus feet the Master of the Universe places on His head."
Next, let us come to the Puraṇas. Ved Vyas, who is the writer of the Shreemad Bhagavatam, has written seventeen other Puraṇas as well, and Radha Rani is mentioned in six of them.
yathā rādhā priyā viṣhṇoḥ (Padma Purāṇa)
rādhā vāmāṁśha saṁbhootā mahālakṣhmīrprakīrtitā (Nārad Purāṇa)
tatrāpi rādhikā śhaśhvat (Ādi Purāṇa)
rukmiṇī dwāravatyāṁcha rādhā vṛindāvane vane (Matsya Purāṇa)
rādhnoti sakalān kāmān tena rādhā prakīrtitaḥ (Devī Bhāgavat Purāṇa)
ādau rādhāṁ samuchchārya paśhchātkṛiṣhṇaṁ parātparam (Brahma Vaivartak Purāṇa)
Finally, let us come to the Shreemad Bhagavatam. This scripture was spoken by Shukadev Paramhans to Parikshit. Shukadev is an eternal associate of Radha Rani. He is a Leela Shuk, who takes the form of a parrot, and recites wonderful things in Her Divine abode, Golok. His love for Radha Rani is so much that if he takes Her Name, he faints for six months. Since, Parikshit was cursed to be bitten by a snake in seven days, Shukadev had to complete the Bhagavatam within that period, and so he did not take Radha Rani's name directly. But he made indirect mention of Her in many places. In the Radhopanishad, 28 names of Radha Rani have been mentioned, including Gopi, Ramā, and Shree. Radha Rani is mentioned by some of these names in the Bhagavatam, for example:
kāmayāmaha etasya śhrīmatpādarajaḥ śhriyaḥ
kuchakuṅkumagandhāḍhyaṁ moordhnā voḍhuṁ gadābhṛitaḥ
(Śhrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.83.42)
"We want the dust of the lotus feet of Radha, whose kuṅkum is on the feet of Shree Krishna (because She placed His feet on Herself)." Here the word "Shree" has been used for Radha. If you say that "Shree" means Mahalakshmi, it is not applicable here because the Queens of Dwarika were themselves the descensions of Mahalakshmi. Why would they hanker for the dust of Mahalakshmi's lotus feet? The word "Shree" here refers to Radha.
reme rameśho vrajasundarībhiryathārbhakaḥ svapratibimba vibhramaḥ
(Śhrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.33.16)
"The Master of Ramā did Rās with the gopīs." Here the word "Ramā" has been used for Radha. Ramā can also mean Lakshmi, but that is not the usage here, since Vishnu, the Master of Lakshmi, does not do the Rās leela.
ākṣhiptāchittāḥ pramadā ramāpatestāstā vicheṣhṭā jagṛihustadātimikāḥ
(Śhrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.30.2)
When Shree Krishna vanished during the Mahārās, the gopīs lamented and reached the state of Mahābhāv. They began imitating the pastimes of Ramāpati, the husband of Ramā. Again the word Ramā in the above verse, has come for Radha. It could not mean Lakshmi since Vishnu was not involved in this leela.
yāṁ gopīmanayat kṛiṣhṇo (Śhrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.30.35)
"Shree Krishna took one Gopī with Him and disappeared from the Mahārās." Gopī is also one of the names of Radha.
anayāridhato noonaṁ bhagavānīśhvaro harīḥ (Śhrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.30.28)
"This Gopī has performed great devotion to Shree Krishna. Hence He has taken Her alone with Him."
Apart from these, Radha is mentioned in many other scriptures. But in the context of this question, let these quotations suffice.