By Samyak Sheth & Heer Khant
We have all grown up listening to tales of love of Radha and Krishna, both worshipped and deities today. But why didn’t they get married?
Krishna is said to have 16,000 or 16,100 junior wives with eight ‘principal queens’ or ashtabharyas according to different Hindu Puranas. These eight queens were namely, Rukmini, Kalindi, Jambavati, Mitravinda, Satyabhama, Nagnajiti, Bhadra and Lakshmana. In some texts, Bhadra is known as Rohini or Madri.
He was the king of Dwarka in the Dwapara Yug. Folk tales say that these women were once slaves of demon king Narakasura – captured princesses who Narakasura captured when he defeated different nations and when Krishna slayed him he married all of them to protect their dignity. The chief of these women was known as Rohini.
But what about Radha? The tales of Radha and Krishna’s love are alive even today. So why didn’t they get married?
These could be one of the possible reasons (arranged from the most probable to the least):
1. There are two kinds of relationships according to Hindu mythology, Svakiya Rasa and Parakiya Rasa – Svakiya was the relationship Krishna shared with his wives. Parakiya was what he shared with Radha – a relationship that did not require conjugal love as it was of eternal nature. It is often said that Radha was an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and the eternal love that Radha Krishna shared did not need the bond of ‘marriage’. Marriage was an earthly thing and their love was beyond that. And they are said to be parts of each others’ souls.
2. It is said that Radha was the wife of Aiyyan, a cowherd. This is also one of the explanations why she could not be married to Krishna, however most choose to believe the first one. Even today, Krishna’s name is taken along with Radha. There is another alternate theory that says that Radha was married to Abhimanyu (not the one from Mahabharatha).
3. Another theory states that Krishna and Radha were secretly married in the forests of Vrindavan before Krishna left Vrindavan to rule as a prince in Dwarka. Radha’s love was so powerful and undying that her name and not the name of any of the wives of Krishna is taken along with him today. In Gaudiya Vaishnavism Radha’s love is regarded as the most perfect one – of the highest rasa, parakiya rasa. She waited for him while he did his duty to his people.
4. Some stories say that Radha was a normal village girl while Krishna was a prince. A prince was expected to marry a princess and not a girl who did not match him in his status or could not be his aide in his endeavours. This reason subjects love to casteism, thus being the least probable.
Why do you think Radha and Krishna did not get married?