“The beauty of Shrimati Radharani is described as follows: ‘Her eyes defeat the attractive features of the eyes of the chakori bird. When one sees the face of Radharani, he immediately hates the beauty of the moon. Her bodily complexion defeats the beauty of gold. Thus, let us all look upon the transcendental beauty of Shrimati Radharani.’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 44)
In this world full of chaos, tumult, despair, heartache, and bad times, the only relief is the shelter of the Divine. This is known as sharanagati, surrender in full to the desires of the Supreme, the Almighty, the one who withstands the duration of time, who is the same with no distinction between body and spirit going forwards and backwards in the continuum of changes to the manifest world.
One way to get an idea of what the feeling of that surrender is like is to gaze upon the deity. In officially established places of worship like temples and homes, where there is formal worship conducted under authority, the deity is not imaginary. That is to say the features depicted in painting, stone, wood, or resin are not imagined by some creative mind. The descriptions of these features are passed down in a system of disciplic succession known as parampara.
The deity is attractive to the eyes precisely because the Almighty Himself is attractive in every way. The Sanskrit word Krishna is thus a befitting name; one among countless. Alongside Krishna is the feminine aspect of the Divine. She is the pleasure potency coming from the source of all potencies, and one name for her is Radharani.
She is just as attractive as Krishna, with an additional aspect for appreciation being her behavior. Since Krishna is the object of devotion for others, Radharani displays a feature that is not prominent in the Supreme Lord. The physical beauty is also incomparable, as it defeats so many aspects of the natural world.
1. The eyes of the chakori bird
This bird is described in Sanskrit literature coming in the Vedic tradition. The bird is known to only gaze upon the moon. As fish are devoted to the water in a constitutional way, not able to survive when taken out, so the chakori cannot look upon anything else. Out of loyalty to the beloved moon, it exhibits allegiance in exclusivity.
Thus the eyes of the chakori are beautiful, and yet that beauty is defeated by the eyes of Shrimati Radharani. This is because her object of affection is Shri Krishna. It is said that during her manifest pastimes, the daughter of Vrishabhanu would not open her eyes at first. After birth the parents thought maybe there was a problem. It was not until the child Krishna visited her home and saw her that she first opened her eyes, revealing to the world her true preference.
2. The moon
The moon has a soothing, white light, to bring brightness to an otherwise dark night. Seen in the proper conditions, the moon is extremely beautiful. It is an aspect of nature that immediately reminds a person of the higher forces at play, how man is unable to match what is already found in the world, despite every effort made.
Krishna’s eternal consort has a fair complexion. The beauty of her face defeats the moon. She is the real moon of Vrindavana, lighting up the face of the dark-complexioned Supreme Lord, who is also known as Shyamasundara.
At any period of time, in any part of the world, even in the sacred city of Dvaraka, gold has appeal. It is a real commodity, not like the paper currency printed by modern governments. It has value precisely because of beauty. Man has been attracted by gold since the beginning of time.
Radharani’s complexion defeats the beauty of gold. While attraction to gold may bring negative consequences, such as lying, cheating, stealing and loss of good sense, gazing at the transcendental beauty of Krishna’s consort has only a positive influence. The effort is purifying since there is association with pure devotion.
The love of that pair is not ordinary; otherwise renounced saints would not spend so much time remembering their pastimes. They would not live in Vrindavana, if not physically then at least mentally, if the love of Radha-Krishna were kama, or mundane lust.
In the same way, those who gaze upon the deity in the temple, who understand the superior attractiveness found in the Divine and His associates, who pledge to continue in worship for the foreseeable future, who make a vow to serve with dedication, honor, faith and diligence, also live in the spiritual world, where time lacks a negative influence.
Beautiful the chakori’s eyes,
Who on moon’s light relies.
The moon itself beautiful at night,
Contrast from darkness the light.
Also wonderful luster of gold,
But Radha more beautiful to behold.
Since with devotion to Krishna living,
Blessings in bhakti to us giving.
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