The 39th Chapter of the 9th Book of Devi Bhagavatam mentions the following about the origin of both Radha and Lakshmi from Krishna:

4-33. Nârâyana said :-- Of old, in the beginning of the Prâkritik Creation, from the left side of Krisna, the Supreme Spirit, appeared in the Râsamandalam (the Figure Dance) a Devî. She looked exceedingly handsome, of a dark blue colour, of spacious hips, of thin waist, and with high breast, looking twelve years old, of steady youth, of a colour of white Champaka flower and very lovely. The beauty of Her face throws under shade millions and millions of autumnal full moons. Before Her wide expanded eyes, the midday lotus of the autumnal season becomes highly ashamed.

By the Will of God, this Devî suddenly divided Herself into two parts. The two looked equal in every respect; whether in beauty, qualities, age, loveliness, colour, body, spirit, dress, ornaments, smile, glance, love, or humanity, they were perfectly equal. Now she who appeared from the right side is named Râdhâ and she who came from the left side is named Mahâ Laksmî. Râdhâ wanted first the two armed S’rî Krisna, Who was Higher than the highest; then Mahâ Laksmî wanted Him. Râdhâ came out of the right side and wanted first Krisna; so Krisna, too, divided himself at once into two parts. From His right side came out the two-armed and from his left side came out the four-armed. The two-armed person first made over to Mahâ Laksmî the four armed One; then the two armed Person Himself took Râdhâ. Laksmî looks on the whole universe with a cooling eye; hence She is named Laksmî and as She is great, She is called Mahâ Laksmî. And for that reason the Lord of Râdhâ is two-armed and the Lord of Laksmî is four-armed. Râdhâ is pure Aprâ kritic S’uddha Sattva (of the nature of pure Sattva Guna, the illuminating attribute) and surrounded by the Gopas and Gopîs. The four-armed Purusa, on the other hand, took Laksmî (Padmâ) to Vaikuntha. The two-armed person is Krisna; and the four-armed is Nârâyana. They are equal in all respects.

So this brings Radha & Lakshmi on the same level. We see Lakshmi or Mahalakshmi being worshipped even today and even having separate temples of her own but I have not seen similar importance given to Radha as a stand alone Goddess. Most people who worship her do so from the Vaishnav perspective where she is believed to be the eternal consort of Shri Krishna.

Since this excerpt comes from the Devi Bhagvat Purana, I want to know what is the significance of Radha from the Shakta Perspective?

1 Answer 1


RAdhA is not a deity of Shaktism. She belongs to Vaishnavism, where she is worshipped along with Krishna.

In Shaktism, the principle deities are 1. The Dasa MahAvidyAs (who are mainly worshipped according to Tantras) and 2. Goddess DurgA and her forms like the Nava-DurgAs (who are worshipped by PurAnic methods). Goddess Gauri, AmbikA, AnnapurnA also belong to this group.

Goddess MahAkAli and Shodashi are probably the only exceptions, who are worshipped both by Tantric and PurAnic methods.

Goddess DurgA, for example, is chiefly worshipped by PurAnic methods, which are mentioned in Devi BhAgavatam, KAlikA PurAna and Nandikeswara PurAna.

Now, having said that, RAdhA is mentioned among the MahAvidyAs in two Tantra texts. In the Nila Tantram (which is part of the VishnukrAntA) we find:

TAvattantre bhedabuddhi stavadeva prithak kriyA |
Harihare bhedabudhir jAyate jagadambike ||
KarAlavadanakAli srimad ekajatA shivA |
Shodashi bhairvai bhinnA bhinna cha bhuvaneswari ||
ChinnA bhinna annapurna cha bhinnA cha bagalamukhi |
MAtangi kamalA bhinnA bhinnA vAni cha rAdhikA ||

NilA Tantram 22.9-11.

In these verses Lord Shiva is saying that as long as there remains Bhedabuddhi (sense of duality), the methods of worships followed by different SAdhakas are different different. During such stages, the SAdhaka sees all the mentioned Deities (like Hari, Hara, KAli, TArA, Shodashi, Bhuvaneswari, Bhairavi, AnnapurnA etc) as different.

Anyways, what is important for us, is that even RAdhA (or RAdhikA) is mentioned along with the MahAvidyA Deities in the list. In Sammohana Tantram too, she is likewise mentioned.

But, she still is a Vaishnava deity.

In RAdhA Tantram, which deals with her elaborately, she is mentioned as Supreme Goddess TripurA's Amsha (part) as well as her Duti (emissary).

Sri rAdhA tripura duti (RAdhA Tantram, Patala 7 verse)

Also, from this answer we come to know about the two principle branches of Shaktism viz: Sri Kula and KAli Kula. And, RAdhA is not included in any of those two lists.

KAli tArA raktakAli bhuvana mahishamardini |
TriputA tvaritA durgA vidyA prtyangirA tathA ||
KAlikulam smakhyAtam sri kulam cha parama |
Sundari bhairavi bAlA bagala kamalApi cha ||
DhumAvati cha mAtangi vidyA swapnAvati priye |
Madhumati mahAvidyA sri kulam paribhAshitam ||

The ten Goddesses famous as being belonging to the KAli Kula (the family or group of KAli) are- KAli, TArA, RaktakAli, Bhuvaneswari, Mahishamardini, TriputA, TvaritA, DurgA, VidyA and PratyangirA. And the ten Goddesses who belong to the Sri Kula are- [TripurA] Sundari, [TripurA] Bhairavi, BAla [Tripura Sundari], Bagalamukhi, KamalA, DhumAvati, MAtangi, SwapnAvati, Madhumati and MahAvidya.

Niruttara Tantram Patala 1, Verses 6-8.

So, RAdhA or RAdhikA belongs to Vaishnavism and not to Shaktism.



Whatever Mantras on RAdhA are there are found in NArada PancharAtra, which are texts of Vaishnavism. None of the Sri Kula Tantras (like JyAnArnava, TantrarAja, YoginiHridaya, VAmAkeswara etc) give RAdhA Mantras. None of the Kali Kula Tantras (like GuhyakAli, ShyAma Rahasya etc) give them either. Neither do any of the so-called TArA Kula Tantras (like Nila Tantram, TArA Rahasya etc). So, on what basis we are to include her in Shaktism? Also, it's empirically verifiable that she is only worshipped in Vaishnavism and not outside of it.

  • 7
    I'm sorry, but I can't see how Radha isn't a Shakta goddess from your answer. Your answer shows various quotes from Shkata Purana which support the notion that Radha is a Shakta goddess. Also, although your quote from the Niruttara Tantram shows that Radha is not a goddess in the two branches, it does not necessarily mean that Radha is not a Shakta goddess as goddesses like Swapnavati and Madhumati aren't really worshipped that much too, despite being mentioned there. Therefore, are there any other evidences that Radha is not a Shakta goddess?
    – user4627
    Jan 1, 2018 at 6:00
  • 6
    I feel the same. Your answer does give various references where Radha is acknowledged as a goddess. My question also gives a reference from a Shakta Purana. It would be wrong to assume she is not a Shakta Goddess. We can perhaps summarise that she is a minor goddess in Shaktism but to say that she is only a goddess in Vaishnavism would be incorrect as per all the references shared. Jan 2, 2018 at 5:13
  • as goddesses like Swapnavati and Madhumati aren't really worshipped that much too-- There are a 100s of such Goddesses in Shaktism, who are not worshipped much but they are still part of it (in Krama). But Radha is not. Although it's difficult to prove it, since to prove a negative is not possible always. See the empirical evidences, is Radha worshipped anywhere apart in Vaishnavism. Also all Goddesses are part of Supreme Goddess Lalita. Just like Sarswati and Lakshmi are here two eyes. But that does not make Lakshmi for example a Shakta Deity. She is a Vaishnava deity only. @Vick
    – Rickross
    Jan 2, 2018 at 8:17
  • 4
    I have a question.. if she is a goddess only in Vaishnavism how come the Vaishnava texts like Bhagvatam and the Mahabharat don't mention her while the Devi Puran does? Jan 17, 2019 at 13:57
  • 3
    One reason I can think of is Radha was Krishna's Shakti when he practiced Kaulism Tantra ( a branch of Shaktism) .. so the main stream scriptures may not reveal this as Kaulism is meant to be kept secret, wheras Itihasa-Puranas are revealable scriptures .. that is there is no need to maintain secrecy with those texts .. @AmritDhara
    – Rickross
    Jan 18, 2019 at 7:03

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