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Vijaya-kumara honored prasadam and took rest at night. Vrajanatha completed his devotional activities, chanted the holy names of Lord Hari on his beads, and went to sleep. Vijaya-kumara did not sleep. He used to think that Goloka was a different place. Know he could understand that Goloka and Gokula were not different. The parakiya-rasa has its root in Goloka. However, how could Krishna be a paramour? That was his only doubt. Now he thought, "Krishna is the Absolute Truth. The potency and the master of potencies are not different. If Krishna and His potency are not different, then how can Krishna be the husband or the paramour of His potency?" Once he thought, "Tomorrow I will place this question before my spiritual master, and he will remove my doubt." The again he thought, "It would not be good to ask the master again about Goloka. Still, I must throw this doubt far away." Thinking very seriously about all this, he fell asleep. Asleep, he dreamed that he met his spiritual master and placed this question before him. In the dream his spiritual master resolved the doubt. The spiritual master said, "Baba Vijaya-kumara, Krishna's desires are not dependent on the wishes of others, pushed here and there like an elephant prodded with a goad. He eternally desires to conceal His own opulence and divine power, and instead manifest His charming sweetness. He makes His potency exist as a separate entity. Then His potency manifests Herself as millions and millions of beautiful girls. In this way His potency serves Him very diligently. Krishna is not very pleased when His potency serves Him in the mood of opulence. With the wonderful power of His potency, He makes these manifestations of His potency into married girls. Then He becomes their sole paramour. Desiring to enjoy the parakiya-rasa, Krishna rejects His own natural self-sufficiency (atmarama-dharma), and enjoys the rasa dance and other wonderful pastimes with His potencies, who are all convinced that they are the wives of others. In all these activities, His flute becomes a dear friend. In this way the parakiya-rasa is eternally perfect in the realm of Goloka. It is for this purpose that the pastime forests of Goloka and Vrindavana exist. Vraja's rasa-mandala, Yamuna shore, Govardhana Hill, and other pastime places all exist in Goloka also. In this way svakiya-rasa and parakiya-rasa both exist in Goloka. Pure svakiya-rasa is splendidly manifested in Vaikuntha. Svakiya-rasa and parakiya-rasa, which are simultaneously one and different from each other, are both seen in Goloka. Look. This is very wonderful. Although the parakiya-rasa in Vraja seems to be material and Krishna seems to be an ordinary paramour, the truth is that it is not material and Krishna is not a paramour at all. And why not? Krishna has been enjoying the company of His potencies from a time without beginning. Their relationship is actually the perfection of svakiya-rasa, of the love of a husband and wife. That His potencies are married to others and Krishna is their paramour is only an idea created to nourish the bliss of Their pastimes in Vraja. This same idea also nourishes the Lord's pastimes in Goloka, which is far from the world of matter. In Gokula, which is manifested within the material world, Yogamaya creates the idea that Krishna's potencies are married to others and Krishna is their paramour."
Hearing this explanation in his dream, Vijaya-kumara threw all his doubts far away. He became fully convinced that Goloka beyond the material world, and Gokula situated within the material world are indeed the same place. Then the bliss of the rasas of Vraja appeared in his heart. He became firmly convinced of Krishna's eternal pastimes in Vraja during the eight periods of the day (ashta-kalina). Rising the next morning, he thought, "My spiritual master has been merciful to me without any limit." From that time he had full faith in his spiritual master's descriptions of the rasas.
Vijaya-kumara honored prasadam, and, at the appropriate time, shedding tears of love, fell down before his spiritual master's lotus feet. Filled with spiritual love, the spiritual master picked him up and said, "Baba, you have attained Lord Krishna's mercy. Simply by seeing you, I have become fortunate." He hugged Vijaya-kumara, and then he began to sing these verses from Prema-vivarta:
prasanna haiya krishna jare kripa kore
sei jana dhanya ei samsara bhitare
"A person who has attained Lord Krishna's mercy is the most fortunate person in the entire world.
golokera parama-bhava tara citte sphure
gokule goloka paya maya pade dure
"The spiritual love of Goloka is manifest in his heart. He sees Goloka and Gokula. Maya flees from him."
After singing this song for many minutes, the spiritual master again became aware of the external world. Then Vijaya-kumara offered dandavat obeisances to him.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, I do not know anything about Lord Krishna's mercy. I only know that everything has come from your mercy. Stopping all efforts to see Goloka directly, I am now content to place my eyes on Gokula. For now it is good that I try to understand the wonderful variety of rasas in Vraja. Now I will return to the original topic we were discussing. O spiritual master, May it be said that the gopis who thought of Krishna as their husband are situated in svakiya-rasa?
Gosvami: The gopis who thought of Krishna as their husband may at that time be situated in svakiya-rasa. However, the natural position of the girls in Gokula is parakiya-rasa. Although their natural position is not svakiya-rasa, because they may marry Krishna by the gandharva rite or another rite, they may for some time be situated in svakiya-rasa. This is manifested in the Lord's Gokula pastimes.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, I have many questions. I shall ask them according to the sequence presented in Shri Ujjvala-nilamani. Now I would like to learn about the nayakas (heroes). There are four kinds of nayakas: anukula (friendly), dakshina (sincere), shatha (deceptive), and dhrishta (arrogant). What is the nature of the anukula hero?
Gosvami: A hero who is attached to one heroine and does not desire any other, is an anukula hero. Lord Ramacandra has that kind of love for Sita. Lord Krishna has anukula love for Shri Radhika.
Vijaya-kumara: I wish to learn how the anukula hero is manifested in the four personality types that begin with dhirodatta. Please be merciful and describe the dhirodatta-anukula hero.
Gosvami: The dhirodatta-anukula hero is grave, humble, tolerant, merciful, true to His word, averse to praising Himself, modest, and generous at heart. However, the dhirodatta-anukula hero will renounce these qualities in order to secretly meet with His beloved.
Vijaya-kumara: What is the dhira-lalita anukula hero?
Gosvami: The dhira-lalita hero is naturally very funny, always in full youthfulness, expert in joking, and free from all anxieties. If He always enjoys pastimes with the same heroine, the dhira-lalita hero becomes a dhira-lalita anukula hero.
Vijaya-kumara: What is a dhira-prashanta anukula hero?
Gosvami: A dhira-prashanta anukula hero is very peaceful, forbearing, considerate, and obliging.
Vijaya-kumara: What is a dhirodatta anukula hero?
Gosvami: A dhirodatta anukula hero is very envious, proud, easily angered, restless, and complacent.
Vijaya-kumara: What is a dakshina hero?
Gosvami: The word "dakshina" means “honest". A hero who does not stop feeling respect, awe, and love for His previous beloved, even after He becomes attached to a new beloved is a dakshina hero. A dakshina hero treats His many beloveds equally.
Vijaya-kumara: What is a shatha hero?
Gosvami: A hero who is affectionate to His beloved when she is present, but blasphemes her when she is not present, is a shatha hero.
Vijaya-kumara: What are the qualities of a dhrishta hero?
Gosvami: A dhrishta is expert at fearlessly speaking lies, even when His body clearly bears many marks showing how He enjoyed with another beloved.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, how many different kinds of heroes are there?
Gosvami: As far as we are concerned, there is no hero but Krishna. In Dvaraka He is perfect. In Mathura He is more perfect. In Vraja He is most perfect. In each of these places He is both husband and paramour. In this way He is six (3 X 2) heroes. In each of these six different situations He is also the four kinds of heroes that begin with dhirodatta. In that way he becomes 24 (2 X 3 X 4) different kinds of heroes. In each of these 24 situations he is also an anukula, dakshina, shatha, and dhrishta hero. In this way He becomes 96 (2 X 3 X 4 X 4) kinds of heroes. Thus there are 24 svakiya heroes and 24 parakiya heroes. The svakiya heros are less prominent, and the parakiya heroes are more prominent. In the rasas and pastimes of Vraja the 24 kinds of parakiya heroes are manifested eternally. In different kinds of pastimes a different kind of hero is required. In this way Krishna assumes the roles of these different kinds of heroes.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, now I can understand the different qualities of the hero and heroine. Now I request that you teach me about the hero's different assistants.
Gosvami: The hero has five kinds of assistants. They are: ceta (confidential messenger), vita (valet), vidushaka (comedian), pitha-mardaka (constant companion), and priya-narma-sakha (dear friend). All these assistants are expert at speaking joking words, always bound by ties of strong friendship, an expert judge of time and circumstances, expert, and expert at speaking confidential words to pacify the gopis when they become angry.
Vijaya-kumara: Who are the cetas? Please say.
Gosvami: The cetas are expert at arranging Krishna's rendezvous with the gopis. The cetas are naturally bold and arrogant. Bhangura and Bhringara are prominent among Krishna's ceta companions in Gokula.
Vijaya-kumara: Who are the vitas? Please say.
Gosvami: teh vitas are expert in dressing and decorating Krishna. They are clever, skilled in conversation, and expert in bringing other under their control. kadara and Bharatibandhu are prominent among the Krishna's vita companions.
Vijaya-kumara: Who are the vidushakas? Please say.
Gosvami: Th vidushakas are fond of eating, fond of quarreling, and expert at inducing laughter by means of their funny gestures, expert jokes, and funny appearance. vasanta, madhumangala, and many other gopas are prominent among Krishna's vidushaka companions.
Vijaya-kumara: Who are the pitha-mardakas?
Gosvami: The pitha-mardaka has qualities like those of the hero. He is the hero's constant companion. Shridama is Krishna's pitha-mardaka companion.
Vijaya-kumara: What are the qualities of the priya-narma-sakha?
Gosvami: The priya-narma-sakha companions have taken shelter of friendship with Krishna. They know Krishna's closest secrets. Subala and Arjuna are prominent among Krishna's priya-narma-sakha friends. The priya-narma-sakhas are the best of these five kinds of assistants. Among these five assistants the cetas, vitas, vidushakas, pitha-mardakas, and priya-narma-sakhasthe cetas are in dasya-rasa, the pitha-mardakas are in vira-rasa (chivalry), and the others are in sakhya-rasa. The cetas are servants, and the other four kinds of assistants are friends.
Vijaya-kumara: Are there nom women among the assistants?
Gosvami: yes. There are. They are the dutis (messengers).
Vijaya-kumara: How many different kinds of dutis are there?
Gosvami: There are two kinds of dutis: svayam-duti (messengers of their own accord) and apta-duti (they who are appointed as messengers). The svayam-dutis are Krishna's sidelong glance and the sound of His flute.
Vijaya-kumara: Ah! Who are the apta-dutis?
Gosvami: Vira, who is expert at speaking bold and outrageous words, and Vrinda, who speaks sweetly, are Krishna's two apta-dutis. The svayam-dutis and these two apta-dutis are extraordinary. In addition there are many ordinary dutis, such as Lingini, Daivajna, and Shilpa-karini. It is better that I describe them later, when we discuss the heroines and messengers.
Vijaya-kumara: Now I understand Shri Krishna's natures, qualities, and other features as a hero. I have also learned that Krishna eternally enjoys pastimes as both a husband and a paramour. As a husband He enjoys pastimes in Dvaraka, and as a paramour He enjoys pastimes in Vraja. Our Krishna is a paramour. Therefore we must learn about the beautiful girls of Vraja.
Gosvami: Almost all of Krishna's gopi-beloveds in Vraja are in the parakiya-rasa. And why not? In madhura-rasa nothing is higher than parakiya. The svakiya-rasa felt by the queens in Dvaraka is dull and stunted in comparison. Therefore the parakiya-rasa gives the most pleasure to Lord Krishna.
Vijaya-kumara: What is the meaning of all this?
Gosvami: Lord Shiva, who is expert at understanding the mellows of madhura-rasa, explains that when women are very contrary or hard to find, or when they are protected by a host of obstacles, then Kamadeva uses his most powerful weapons. Vishnugupta also explains that when the hero is forbidden to meet His beloved, or when His doe-eyed beloved is unapproachable, then the hero's heart is very strongly attracted to His beloved. Look, even though He is always self-satisfied (atmarama), Krishna expanded into as many forms as there were gopis in the rasa dance pastime. A sadhaka devotee should try to understand the rasa dance pastime of the Lord. The instruction is given that if a sadhaka devotee desires to attain auspiciousness, then with devotion he should enter into an understanding of the rasa dance pastimes. Of course, he should not be so foolish as to try to imitate Lord Krishna's activities in the rasa dance. The meaning is that the devotee should try to understand how much the gopis love Lord Krishna.
Vijaya-kumara: Please clearly describe the love the gopis feel for Lord Krishna.
Gosvami: Krishna is a gopa, He is the son of Nanda. He enjoys the pastimes of madhura-rasa only with the gopis. He does not enjoy these pastimes with no other girls. A devotee who is qualified for madhura-rasa, and who is either a sadhaka-bhakta or a bhava-bhakta, should worship Krishna as the gopis do. In your meditation you should serve Shri Shri Radha-Krishna as the fortunate gopis of Vraja do. If you cannot think of yourself as a gopi married to someone other than Krishna, then you will not be able to attain the parakiya-rasa. To think that they are married to someone lese is the nature of the gopis in Vraja. Shrila Rupa Gosvami has written (Shri Ujjvala-nilamani, Krishna-vallabha-prakarana 19):
na jatu vraja-devinam
patibhih saha sangamah
"The vraja-gopis never meet with their husbands, nor do their husbands ever feel jealous, for the gopis' husbands are all creations of Yogamaya."
The gopis' weddings and husbands are both creations of Yogamaya. The gopis never had any husband but Krishna. Still, in the eternal present (nitya-vartamana) that is the feature of time in the spiritual world, the gopis eternally think that they are married to someone other than Krishna. If this were not the case, then the wonderful rasas where the beloved is contrary, unattainable, surrounded by obstacles, and forbidden, would not be possible. It is because she refuses to accept parakiya-rasa that Goddess Lakshmi in Vaikuntha cannot become one of Krishna's beloveds in the rasas of Vraja.
Vijaya-kumara: How does a gopi think herself married to someone other than Krishna?
Gosvami: A gopi thinks, "I was born in a gopa's house. At the appropriate time I was given in marriage to a certain gopa." Thinking in this way, a g develops a strong yearning to enjoy pastimes with Krishna. In this way the gopis think that they are married to a certain gopa, and that they have no children. This is called "gopi-bhava" (the assumptions of the gopis).
Vijaya-kumara: How does a male attain this conception?
Gosvami: It is only because of the power of Maya that a soul residing in the material world imagines that it is male. In the understanding of pure spirit, Krishna is the only male and all others are female. In spirit there is no sign of material male or female. Still, if one intently meditates on this rasa, one can becoem qualified to become a gopi in Vraja. A person who yearns to attain the madhura-rasa will becoem qualified to become a gopi in Vraja. By again and again desiring in this way, one attains that perfection.
Vijaya-kumara: What is the glory of being a gopi married to a gopa other than Krishna?
Gosvami: When the vraja-gopis married to other gopas yearn to enjoy pastimes with Krishna, then the greatest splendor and the greatest virtues decorate them with the beauty of pure love. Their rasa is sweeter than the rasas of Lakshmi and all the goddesses of fortune.
Vijaya-kumara: How many different kinds of beautiful girls are there in Vraja?
Gosvami: There are three kinds: sadhana-praa (persons who became gopis by performing sadhana-bhakti), devi (demigoddesses who became gopis), and nitya-priya (eternally dear gopis).
Vijaya-kumara: Are the sadhana-para gopis divided into different groups?
Gosvami: The sadhana-para gopis are divided into yauthiki and ayauthiki.
Vijaya-kumara: Who are the yauthiki gopis?
Gosvami: Persons who performed sadhana-bhakti in order to enter this rasa in Vraja, take birth in Vraja and become yautiki gopis, that is gopis who belong to certain groups.
Vijaya-kumara: Which sages in this way took birth in Vraja?
Gosvami: Some sages found that even after dutifully worshiping Lord Gopala, they still could not attain their desired perfection. However, when they were able to personally see the glorious handsomeness of Lord Ramacandra, they diligently performed sadhana-bhakti in order to attain their desire. As a result they attained ecstatic love (bhava) and they took birth in Vraja as gopis. This is described in the Padma Purana. In the Brihad-Vamana Purana it is said that some of these gopis attained their desired perfection at the beginning of the rasa dance.
Vijaya-kumara: How did the personified Upanishads take birth as gopis?
Gosvami: When they saw the gopis' good fortune, the intelligent Upanishads became filled with wonder. They faithfully performed austerities, and as a result were born in Vraja as gopis filled with spiritual love (premavati).
Vijaya-kumara: Who are the ayauthiki gopis?
Gosvami: Persons who, seeing the gopis' passionate love for Krishna, yearn to become like them, and to attain this end engage in sadhana-bhakti, become the ayauthiki gopis, which are divided into two groups: pracina (elderly) and navina (young). In this way one, two, or three of these gopis are born in Vraja. The pracina ayauthiki gopis eventually attain salokya-mukti, and in the spiritual world they associate with the eternally dear (nitya-priya) gopis. After a lifetime as demigoddesses, human beings, or other kinds of beings, the priacina ayauthiki gopis take birth in Vraja. Eventually they become pracina gopis and at the end attain the salokya-mukti I have just described.
Vijaya-kumara: I can understand this description of the sadhana-para gopis. Now please describe the devis.
Gosvami: When Lord Krishna took birth as an amsha incarnation among the demigods in Svargaloka, some eternally dear (nitya-priya) gopis took birth as amsha incarnations among the demigoddesses to please Him. When Krishna took birth in His original form in Gokula, they took birth as daughters of the gopas. They became the dear friends (prana-sakhi) of the eternally dear (nitya-priya) gopis.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, when did Lord Krishna take birth as an amsha incarnation among the demigods?
Gosvami: Taking birth from Aditi's womb, Lord Krishna appeared as the amsha incarnation Vamana. The demigods are also vibhinnamsha manifestations of Lord Krishna. Shiva and Brahma were not born from a mother's womb. Brahma and Shiva possess fifty of Lord Krishna's qualities, as do the ordinary souls. However, Brahma and Shiva are not counted among the ordinary souls, for they are vibhinnamshas. In addition to the fifty qualities all individual souls posses, Brahma and Shiva also possess five other qualities. Therefore they are called the best of the demigods. Ganesha and Surya are also considered on the same level as the millions of Brahmas. All other demigods are considered ordinary individual souls. All the demigods are vibhinnamshas manifested from Lord Krishna. The wives of the demigods are also vibhinnamshas of the Lord's cit-shakti (spiritual potency). Before Krishna's appearance on the earth, Brahma ordered the demigoddesses to take birth on the earth in order to please Krishna. Following Brhama's order, they took birth in different places in Vraja according to their own inclination and their activities in sadhana-bhakti. These demigoddesses born in Vraja became dear friends (prana-sakhi) of the Lord's eternally dear (nitya-priya) gopis. They yearned to attain the association of Lord Krishna.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, the personified Upanishads took birth as gopis. Did the goddesses who rule over any other scriptures also take birth in Vraja?
Gosvami: In the Padma Purana, Shrishti-khanda, it is said that Gayatri-devi, the mother of the Vedas, took birth as a gopi and attained Lord Krishna's association. It was at that time that she manifested the form of Kama-Gayatri.
Vijaya-kumara: Is the Kama-Gayatri not beginningless?
Gosvami: The Kama-Gayatri is certainly beginningless? However, there is a time when this beginningless Gayatri first appeared in the form of the Goddess Gayatri who is the mother of the Vedas. Because of her engagement in sadhana-bhakti, the Goddess Gayatri could understand how fortunate the Upanishads were to have become gopis. Then, accompanied by the Gopala-tapani Upanishad, she took birth in Vraja. In this way it is understood that the Kama-Gayatri is eternal, and the Goddess Gayatri who is the mother of the Vedas is eternally distinct from the Kama-Gayatri.
Vijaya-kumara: All the Upanishads took birth as gopis in Vraja. They all accepted the gopa-hero Krishna as their husband (pati). Following the marriage ritual of the gandharvas, these gopis then accepted Krishna as their husband. This much I understand. However, the nitya-priya (eternally dear) gopis associate with Krishna from time without beginning, and in that relationship Krishna is their paramour. Is this relationship created by Maya?
Gosvami: It may be created by Maya, but it is not created by the Maya of the material world. The Maya of the material world has no power to touch Lord Krishna's pastimes. Even though it may be manifested within the material world, Lord Krishna's Vraja pastimes are far beyond the touch of the material Maya. Another name of the Lord's cit-shakti (spiritual potency) is Yogamaya. She arranges Lord Krishna's pastimes so that ordinary people influenced by Maya see them as material. She makes the nitya-priya gopis in Goloka think they are married to persons other than Krishna, and she also brings those gopis to Vraja in the material world. She arranges the nitya-priya gopis' wedding ceremonies, and she arranges that Krishna becomes their paramour. The all-knowing supreme male, Krishna, and His all-knowing spiritual potencies voluntarily accept the rasa roles Yogamaya gives Them. Thus it is seen that this is the best of all rasas, Lord Krishna is supremely independent, all His desires are at once fulfilled, and His iccha-shakti (the potency that fulfills His desires) is supremely glorious. The great glory of this rasa is not seen in Vaikuntha, Dvaraka, and other places. When they attain salokya liberation, the prana-sakhi gopis and the nitya-priya gopis leave behind any idea that Krishna may be their husband. Then their idea is that He is their paramour. That is their final attainment.
Vijaya-kumara: This conclusion is very wonderful. Now I am fully satisfied. O master, please teach me about the nitya-priya gopis.
Gosvami: If you were not qualified to hear these explanations would Lord Gaurachandra make these confidential truths appear in my mouth? Look, all-knowing Shrila Jiva Gosvami kept these truths hidden in his heart, although in some places in his commentaries, in his Krishna-sandarbha, and in other books he did reveal them. Shrila Jiva Gosvami was always anxious that if unqualified persons heard these confidential truths, they would take shelter of irreligion. Seeing how the Vaishnavas mostly misunderstood the rasas and accepted rasabhasa, Shrila Jiva Gosvami became anxious. For this reason he took great care not to write anything that would support any false conclusion. You are qualified to hear these things. I do not reveal these truths to unqualified persons. Now I will describe the nitya-priya gopis.
Vijaya-kumara: Who are the nitya-priya gopis? Although I have studied many scriptures, I still yearn to drink the nectar words that come from my spiritual master's saintly mouth.
Gosvami: The nitya-priya gopis in Vraja, among whom Radha and Candravali are the most important, possess transcendental beauty, intelligence and a host of virtues. In this way they are like Lord Krishna Himself. They are described in these words of Brahma-samhita (5.37):
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eve nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency (hladini). Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody the extensions of Her bodily form, and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa."*
In these words of Brahma, which are the essence of all the Vedas, the nitya-priya gopis are described. The nitya-priya gopis are said to be "nitya" (eternal) because they are the Lord's spiritual potency, and therefore they are beyond the limitations of time and space imposed by the material energy. They are an eternal spiritual reality. The word “kalabhih" here may refer to the sixty-four arts practiced by the nitya-priya gopis in their eternal pastimes. Or, this word may have another meaning. The commentary of this verse explains:
kalabhih svamsha-rupabhih shaktibhih
"Here the word `kalabhih' means `with the potencies who are expansions of Her form'."
What I have explained to you are the opinions of Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Please know that these confidential explanations are the great treasure that Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, and Shrila Jiva Gosvami keep hidden in the vaults of their hearts.
Vijaya-kumara: My ears yearn to hear the names of the nitya-priya gopis.
Gosvami: Radha, Candravali, Vishakha, Lalita, Shyama, Padma, Shaibya. Bhadrika, Tara, Vicitra, Gopali, Dhanishtha, and Pali are among the names of the nitya-priya gopis written in the Skanda Purana, Prahlada-samhita, and other scriptures. Candravali is also known by the name Somabha. Radha is also known by the name Gandharva. Khanjanakshi, Manorama, Mangala, Vimala, Lila, Krishna, Shari, Visharada, Taravali, Cakorakshi, Shankari, Kunkuma, and many other gopis are also famous in this world.
Vijaya-kumara: How do these gopis relate to each other?
Gosvami: All these gopis are yutheshvaris (leaders of groups of gopis). There are hundreds and hundreds of groups, and in each group there are hundreds of thousands of gopis. From Radha to Kunkuma, all these gopis are yutheshvaris. Vishakha, Lalita, Padma, and Shaibya are also mentioned here. Among the yutheshvaris, eight gopis, headed by Radha, are considered the most fortunate. They are called the "pradhana" (most important) gopis.
Vijaya-kumara: Vishakha, Lalita, Padma, and Shaibya are all pradhana gopis. They are all very expert in making Lord Krishna's pastimes especially glorious. Why were they not clearly mentioned as yutheshvaris?
Gosvami: They have all transcendental virtues and they are certainly very qualified to become yutheshvaris. However, Lalita and Vishakha are so overcome with bliss simply by associating with Shri Radha that they have no desire to become independent yutheshvaris themselves. Some gopis are followers of Shrimati Radha, and other gopis are followers of Candravali. This is described in the scriptures.
Vijaya-kumara: Still, I have heard that Lalita does indeed have a group. What is it like?
Gosvami: Shrimati Radha is the foremost of all group leaders. Out of special affection and respect some gopis are said to belong to Lalita's group or Vishakha's group. However, Lalita, Vishakha, and the other eight principal friends (ashta-sakhi) of Shri Radha are considered the leaders of different factions in Shri Radha's group. By great good fortune one may be able to enter Shrimati Lalita's group.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, in which scriptures are the names of the gopis found?
Gosvami: All these names are found in the Padma Purana, Skanda Purana, and Bhavishya Purana Uttara-khanda. In the Satvata Tantra many other names are also found.
Vijaya-kumara: Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the crest jewel of all scriptures in the world. If all these names were found in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, that would be a source of great bliss.
Gosvami: Shrimad-Bhagavatam is a scripture that teaches the highest truth. It is an ocean filled with the nectar of the spiritual rasas. Persons expert at relishing the spiritual rasas (rasika) can see that all the truths of the rasas are described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The name of Shri Radha and the names of all the gopis are secretly written in Shrimad-Bhaagavatam. If you carefully read the verses of the Tenth Canto, you will see them all. To keep unqualified persons far away, Shrila Shukadeva Gosvami described all these things very secretly. O baba Vijaya-kumara, what will happen if you give japa beads to a person who will wear them only as an ornament around his neck?the more the reader is exalted in devotional service, the more he will understand the secrets hidden in Shrimad-Bhaagavatam. Here the skill of Shrila Shukadeva Gosvami was shown in his power to explain very confidential truths in a way that the people in general could not understand. Only a reader qualified to understand these secrets properly has the power to understand them at all. The truth is that without taking shelter of the disciplic succession (guru-parampara), no one can understand these truths. A person studying on his own cannot understand them. Carefully study Ujjvala-nilamani, and you will become able to see how all the rasas are described in Shrimad-Bhaagavatam.
After talking for a long time, they ended the day's conversation about the Lord (ishta-goshthi). Again and again thinking about the transcendental hero and heroines in the spiritual world, Vijaya-kumara walked to Haracandi-sahi's place. As he thought about the vidushakas, pitha-mardakas, and other associates of the Lord, he tasted many different kinds of happiness. As he thought about Krishna's flute and the other svayam-duti messengers, tears came from his eyes. The spiritual love (bhava) of Vraja rising in his heart, Vijaya-kumara blissfully danced. The pastimes and gardens he saw last night splendidly rose again in his heart.