As I have read, Lord Krishna's love for Radha was eternal. Then, why didn't he marry Radha?
We know that Lord Krishna and Radha are eternal lovers who dwell in Go-loka. In Goloka their pastimes are always going on. So as per BrahmaVaivarta Purana, in Goloka, before the manifestation of their pastime on earth, on one occasion Radharani had a heated argument with Shridama, the personal attendant of Krishna.
In course of their conversation Radharani got angry and cursed Shridama to take birth as a demon. So Shridama also in return cursed Radharani to be born as a human, and after spending pastime with Krishna in Gokula She will get separated for 100 years from Her beloved lover Krishna:
manuṣyā iva kopaste tasmātvaṃ mānuṣī bhubi
bhaviṣyāsi na saṃdeho mayā śaptā tvamambike [BVP - 4.3.103]
You are getting angry like a human, hence you'll become a human. Mother! you'll become a human without any doubt due to my curse.
gokule prapya taṃ kruṣṇaṃ vihariṣyasi kānane
bhavitā te varṣaśataṃ vicchedo hariṇā saha
punaḥ prapya tamīśaṃ ca golokamājamiṣyasi [BVP - 4.3.105,106]
In Gokula getting the company of Krishna you will enjoy pastimes in the forest. Then you'll experience a separation of hundred years from Hari. After that you'll again get His company and return to Go-loka.
Hence, even though Krishna's love for Radha was eternal, due to the effect of the curse He couldn't marry Radha socially or openly. Instead, as per the curse, on Earth Radha had to marry Rayana of Vrindavan who was also Kirshna's partial incarnation:
mūḍhā rāyaṇapatnīṃ tvāṃ vakṣanti jagatitale
rāyaṇaḥ śrīhareraṃśo vaiśyo vrundāvane vane [BVP - 4.3.104,105]
On Earth fools will say you to be the wife of Rayana. Rayana will be the partial incarnation of Hari in Vrindavan.
However, although Krishna didn't marry Radha on Earth formally or socially, all the gopis including Radha were in fact His wives in Go-loka. Hence, during their pastimes in Vrindavan they were wedded to each other by Brahmā himself and Krishna had spent time only with His wives from Go-loka:
tābhiḥ sārdhe sa reme ca svapatnībhirmudā'nvitaḥ
pāṇiṃ jagrāha radhāyāḥ svayaṃ brahmā purohitaḥ [BVP - 4.115.88]
Lord Krishna enjoyed pastimes in Vrindavan only with those of His wives who were residents of Go-loka. Brahmā himself as the priest wedded Radha to Him.
Lord Krishna and Radharani are married according the Brahma Vaivarta Purana. They were married in the forest of Vrindavana by Lord Brahma. Read the full pastime here.
On the other hand, for the purpose of rasa, or spiritual mellow, Radha and Krishna are situated in the transcendental mellow of parakiya bhava. This mellow is exhibited between separated lovers. Thus, Radha is married to Abhimanyu, who is an expansion of Krishna, to intensify the pastime of Radha and Krishna love. In the Vaishnava tradition, it is important to understand that the love between Radha and Krishna is transcendental and is not a reflection of any kind of mundane love in this material world.
To understand Radha correctly you need to somewhat understand the mysteries of “rasa” and “prema” – the ecstatic experience of spiritual love. Krishna and Radharani playfully married once, as children sometimes do. They did not really marry, however, because their love is more primal, profound, and unbounded than what wedded love facilitates. Wedded love is a very elevated type of divine union with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yet in marriage the intimacy and spontaneity is not limitless. Some limitation is imposed by the sense of “duty” that husband and wife naturally acquire towards one another. This sense of duty is beautiful, but the highest type of love is even more beautiful. It is so profound that it requires no sense of duty – and flows absolutely spontaneously – breaking all things that stand in its path. Thus the pure transcendental love that Radha and Krishna enjoy on the highest level of bliss (paramānanda) expresses itself in the form of being paramours, not being husband and wife.
Lord Krishna didn't marry Radha because
- Lord Krishna wanted her to remain his sacred fire.
- She would never have been able to find her Kanha in Krishna Vasudev.
This has been beautifully mentioned in Sri K.M.Munshi's Krishnavatara. Lord Krishna said-
'Uddhava, both you and my Big Brother have always upbraided me for leaving Radha behind in Vrindavan. But I did it because I want her to be my sacred fire. I would never have loved Radha had I not felt sure that I was going to be in Vrindavan as a cowherd for ever. But when I was called to Mathura as Vasudeva's son, it would have been wicked to bring her with me. She was born to be an exquisite flower in the spring and would never have survived the hot winds of the life I was called upon to face. She would have never found her "Kahn" in Krishna Vaasudeva. And I, with my mission to fulfil, could not have played the gay cowherd, who was the very breath of her life. So I parted from her. She has always remained an altar fire for me and I have remained the altar fire for her. It was the only way,' said Krishna, a little sadly.
He also says further, which should be noticed especially in today's time.
'Man and wife, Uddhava, living in mutual lifelong devotion, are at the root of Dharma. The creation springs from them. Don't destroy Dharma for a fleeting comfort at a wayside fire.'
Krishna made Radha his altar fire of Yajna. Krishna being full of wisdom, converted his Love(oblation) for Radha into a Yajna. He teaches Uddhav to do so to get strength, warmth & blessings. He asked Uddhav to
Keep the warmth, but stay away from the flames.
The conversation goes like this.
'You can weave any women into your life - may be not as you wish - if you convert the wayside fire into the sacrificial fire on a vedi, an altar (a devata for aaraadhana/worship).
'Why a wayside fire?' asked Uddhava. 'Because you don't wait to inquire of what it is made; you don't care who warmed himself at it before you did, or what will happen to it after you have left. You are only selfish; you want a passing warmth. You don't consider how it will affect you later. You don't want it to lead you to strength,' said Krishna.
'A passing fancy for a wayside fire will only singe (i.e., burn superficially or lightly, scorch); lifelong worship at the altar will give warmth - always.' Build an altar of devotion around her; offer her the most precious thing you can offer; then she will give you the warmth and strength of the sacrificial fire,' said Krishna. I do it with every woman who enters my life. I did the same with Mother Yashoda, with the Gopis, with Vishakha, with Radha, with Mother Devaki, and even with Trivakra (Kamsa's palace maid whom Krishna cured of disfigurement),' said Krishna.
At last, Krishna describes the significance of this type of Yajna, where devotion, love & attraction becomes oblation & women fire. This Yajna gives us strength, divinity & courage to be on the path of Dharma.
'Remember what the Gods did in the days of old,' continued Krishna. 'They had to offer sacred Purusha to make creating possible. Without a sacrificial offering, you cannot create anything,' said Krishna as if speaking to himself.'If you want a woman, you have to offer something: a present, a house to live in, lifelong protection. But in that way you will only get a woman, her body, her services. The offering however is like sacrificing ghee or barley or a lamb to obtain a place in heaven. If you want a divinity to inspire you to Dharma and multiply your strength a hundredfold, you must offer something vastly greater. Have not the Gods said: 'By the spirit of sacrifice alone shall sacrifice prosper?'
Krishna married Radha
According to Garga Samhita, the spiritual ground came from the realm of Goloka at Brindavana forest. Infant Krishna then becomes teen youth. Brahma arrives there and performs vedic marriage ceremony between Radha and Krishna and leaves for his own home.
..............When Vraja's king Nanda offered his obeisances and left, She went to Bhandiravana forest. Then the spiritual ground came from the realm of Goloka. In a moment everything was golden and studded with rubies and many jewels. Vrindavana forest manifested a splendid transcendental form with beautiful desire-trees, and the Yamuna's shore had jewel steps and golden palaces. Govardhana was made of jewels and had glistening golden peaks everywhere, maddened bees, and caves beautiful with swiftly-flowing streams. O king, it was like a great, gigantic elephant. Then the forest grove assumed its real form with many assembly houses, courtyards, splendid pavilions, bumblebees, and the cooing of peacocks, paravatas, and cuckoos. It was filled with the sweetness of spring. It was filled with roofs of gold and jewels, splendid with fluttering flags, and anointed with beautiful blossoming lake-growing golden lotuses licked by swarms of black bees. Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead became a teen-age youth splendid as a dark cloud, dressed in yellow garments, decorated with the Kaustubha gem, holding a flute, and more enchanting than a great host of Kamadevas. Smiling, Lord Hari took His beloved by the arm, and with the wedding paraphernalia went to the wedding-pavilion, which was decorated with mekhalas, kusha grass, waterpots, and many other things. Embracing and sweetly conversing on a beautiful throne there, They shone like a splendid lightning flash and a dark cloud in the sky. Then Lord Brahma, the best of the gods, came from the sky. Bowing down before Lord Krishna, with folded hands he eloquently and sweetly spoke. Shri Brahma said: I take shelter of You, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna candra, without beginning, the beginning of everything, affectionate to Your devotees, the master of countless universes, greater than the greatest, and the husband of Radha................... I take shelter of You, who are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, greater than the greatest, the master of Goloka-dhama, and who now appear as a fair and a dark splendor. A person who regularly recites these prayers describing the divine couple will go to the transcendental abode of Goloka. Even in this world he will be endowed with handsomeness, opulence, and many perfections. Greater than the greatest and perfect for each other, You are already a loving husband and wife. Still, following the ways of this world, I will now perform Your wedding-ceremony. Then Brahma rose, ignited the sacred fire, and performed the Vedic wedding-ceremony of the divine couple. Brahma performed the wedding-ceremony of Lord Hari and Shri Radhika. He had Them circumambulate the sacred fire and bow down before it, and then Brahma, the knower of the Vedas, recited the seven mantras. Placing Shri Radhika's hand on Lord Hari's chest and Lord Hari's hand on Shri Radhika's back, Brahma recited many mantras. Then with both hands Shri Radha placed on Lord Krishna's neck a lotus garland filled the the humming of bees. Then with both hands Lord Hari placed on Shri Radha's neck a similar garland. Then Brahma had Them bow down before the sacred fire. Placing the silent divine couple on two thrones, with folded hands Brahma recited five mantras. Then, as a father gives away his daughter, Brahma gave away Shri Radha. O king, then the gods showered flowers, and the goddesses danced with the Vidyadharis. The Gandharvas, Vidyadharas, Caranas, and Kinnaras sang auspicious songs glorifying Lord Krishna. Again and again the great gods in heaven sounded many mridangas, vinas, murus, yashöis, venus, shankhas, anakas, and talakas. Calling out "Glory!" they made an auspicious sound. When Lord Hari said to Brahma, "Please ask whatever you wish as dakshina," Brahma replied to Lord Hari, "O Lord, as dakshina please give me devotion for Your feet. "When Lord Hari said "So be it", Brahma again and again placed His head at the beautiful and auspicious feet of Lord Hari and Shri Radhika. Then, happy and humbly bowing down, Brahma left for his own home................