Strange to say, however, no mention is as yet made by any of these works of Krishna's favourite Radha; it is only in another Purana - though scarcely deserving that designation - that she makes her appearance, viz.
Of still later date are the popular developments of the modern cult of Krishna associated with Radha, as found in the Vishnu Purana.
His legitimate consort was Rukmini, daughter of the king of Berar; but Radha is always associated with him in his temples.
The favourite object of adoration with adherents of these sects is Krishna with his mate - but not the devoted friend and counsellor of the Pandavas and deified hero of epic song, nor the ruler of Dvaraka and wedded lord of Rukmini, but the juvenile Krishna, Govinda or Bala Gopala, "the cowherd lad," the foster son of the cowherd Nanda of Gokula, taken up with his amorous sports with the Gopis, or wives of the cowherds of Vrindavana (Brindaban,near Mathura on the Yamuna), especially his favourite mistress Radha or Radhika.
The earliest of the sects which associate Radha with Krishna in their worship is that of the Nimavats, founded by Nimbaditya or Nimbarka (i.e.
It is worthy of remark, in this respect, that - in accordance with Ramanuja's and Nimbarka's philosophical theories - Jayadeva's presentation of Krishna's fickle love for Radha is usually interpreted in a mystical sense, as allegorically depicting the human soul's striving, through love, for reunion with God, and its ultimate attainment, after many backslidings, of the longed-for goal.
Whilst numerous observances are recommended as more or less meritorious, the ordinary form of worship is a very simple one, consisting as it does mainly of the constant repetition of names of Krishna, or Krishna and Radha, which of itself is considered sufficient to ensure future bliss.
Whilst in Chaitanya's creed, Krishna, in his relations to Radha, remains at least theoretically the chief partner, an almost inevitable step was taken by some minor sects in attaching the greater importance to the female element, and making Krishna's love for his mistress the guiding sentiment of their faith.
Of these sects, it will suffice to mention that of the Radha-Vallabhis, started in the latter part of the 16th century, who worship Krishna as Radhavallabha, "the darling of Radha."