This book for the first time draws upon a wide sweep of more than two thousand years of Radha in a varied role in art and literature. She is found in the humble religious life, in Prakrit poetry and folklore. Leading poets from the late seventh or early eighth century AD onwards, rave about Radh as a follow-up to Halaâ€™s Gatha Saptasati. There is no cloak of devotion or adulation to the Supreme Being.
Since 450 AD the Tamil epic Cilappatikaram, the southern Harivamsa and the Bhyagavata Purana hint at Pinnai, the earliest consort of Krishna as the lineage of Radha in Sanskrit Literature. The classic erotic treatise, Kamasutra of Vatsayana comes in view at this time. Rising trade between India, Iran and Rome on one side and China on the other through the Silk Route lobbed the rich to fleeting pleasures.
In the next phase, Radha is the epitome of angelic beauty and supreme devotion among the Hindus facing the marauding Muslims. The Vaisnava savants especially in Bengal made Radha a divine being in the sixteenth century.
With the rising nationalist sentiments during the nineteenth century, Radha became the mirror image of humdrum love to the utter relish of the royalty and noblemen of the day