Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
Sometimes devotees attracted to raga-marga think that continuous chanting of Radha Nama, “Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! is the means to perfection.
They say, “Radha is the goal, so only Radha is important. Thus when I chant my Hare Krishna japa, I am just thinking Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe!”
Such devotees are innocent and well-meaning, but not very clear in their understanding of Gaudiya Vaisnava tattva siddhanta. Of course, sometimes the enthusiastic chanting of Srimati Radharani’s Divine Name is and can be done on special occasions like Radhastami, Vraja Mandala Parikrama, during a Bhagavata sapataha or special festivals.
How do they get this idea? Believe it or not, this misconception of innocent devotees arises after they sincerely read the Goswami granthas. After reading they conclude that Radha’s name is everything, and we should just chant Radhe! Radhe!
There are many but we will cite one verse as an example:Gaudiya Vaisnava mahajana Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati writes, “The nectarean name of Sri Radha—the complete form of prema, rasa and ananda—is my very life!” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 97)
Yes, our purvacharayas often glorify the amazing power and fantastic benefits of chanting Radha nama in their books. However, such verses should be seen as beautiful praises of Sri Radha’s Divine Name arising from their personal loving ecstasies.
Such ecstatic premi bhaktas are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.40): “At the stage of prema, a devotee will incessantly chant his favorite name of His beloved Bhagavan [sva priya nama kirtya]. Melting his heart, the ecstasy of prema will make him laugh, cry, become restless, and sing and dance like a madman without caring for anyone or anything.”
evam vratam sva, priya nama kirtya, jatanurago, drutacitta uccaih
hasaty atho roditi, rauti gayaty, unmade van nrtyati, lokabahyah
One should not think however that such verses are establishing a new sadhana, a more powerful mantra to chant, or a fast track to perfection. The prime sadhana for all Gaudiya Vaisnava devotees is chanting Sri Krishna nama along with meditation upon the meaning of the mantra, and the form, qualities and pastimes of Radha-Krishna who are personally present in the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not chanting Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Rather, Mahaprabhu chanted Krishna nama, and gave the same instruction to most everyone He met, which indirectly includes all of us. Raising His radiant golden arms into the spiritual sky, Gauranga told one and all, “Continually chant the Divine Name of Sri Krishna, and serve Krishna and the Vaisnavas, prabhu kahena krsna seva vaisnava sevana, nirantara kara krsna nama sankirtana.” (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.15.104)
In the same book wonderfully praising exclusive Radha nama chanting, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati also gives the conclusive truth regarding the proper sadhana for all raganugiya bhaktas.
Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati says, “May Sri Radhika, the very life of Sri Krishna, be pleased with me when I fill my consciousness with the nectar lake of govinda-katha; and pass my days glorifying Krishna’s qualities, performing His archana and puja, and living in loving relationships with His devotees.” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 115)
The conclusion of this topic and the essence of nama-bhajana for manjari bhava upasakas is given by Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati himself in the following verse:
“I always meditate on Krishna wearing a peacock feather crown; I chant Krishna’s Divine Names; I always perform archana and puja of Sri Krishna; I chant the Krishna mantra [gopala-mantra], His best mantra; and while doing all this I continually hold the cherished desire in my heart to attain the service of Sri Radha’s beautiful lotus feet!” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 259)
dhyāyantaṁ śikhi-piccha-mauli-maniśaṁ tan nāma-saṁkīrtayan
nityaṁ tac caraṇāmbujaṁ paricaran tan-mantra-varyaṁ japan
śrī rādhā padāsyam eva paramābhīnṭaṁ hṛdā dhārayan
karhi syāṁ tad anugraheṇa paramādbhutānurāgotsavaḥ
Basically, the final word is that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra means, “O Krishna, give me Radha!”
Harinama sankirtana ki jai! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!