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Twenty-fourth Purana

Shri Radha-saubhagya-shravana-saubhagyam

The Good Fortune of Shri Radha


1.       Snigdhakantha said: It is briefly said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam: "As the moon, graceful with black marks resembling a deer, is surrounded by a host of stars, so magnanimous, infallible Krishna,  the splendor of His jasmine-flower teeth glistening in His broad smiles, was surrounded by many gopis, their faces blossoming with affectionate glances."

2.       The first line of this stanza is, with its literary ornaments, described in the following words. When beloved Krishna's hand touched them, the gopis thought this must be Krishna's hand. Then they clearly saw Krishna standing before them.

3.       The second line is described in these words:  With unblinking eyes millions of gopis gazed at their beloved Krishna. They were very glorious. Casting pure nectar glances, Krishna expanded into many forms. Who can describe His pastimes?

4.       As a lion casts a backward glance (simhavaloka-nyaya) the second and third lines of the stanza are described in these words: From direction after direction the gopis gazed at Krishna. Krishna gazed back at every gopi. At the same moment the two eyes of Krishna gazed at the two eyes of each gopi. These were Krishna's activities.

5.       The second half of the stanza is described in these words: The poets say Krishna was like a moon shining among the many stars of the gopis. Smiling, splendid, playful Krishna and the gopis were more glorious than the moon and the stars.

6.       Then, expertly speaking many joking words, Krishna boldly and forcibly enjoyed pastimes with the gopis. The gopis' bodices and other garments were now in disarray. Smiling, and tears of bliss in His eyes, Krishna gazed at the gopis' bodies. In this way He enjoyed pastimes.

7.       In this way Krishna felt great bliss. With His glorious handsomeness He passionately attracted the gopis to come with Him into the forests by the Yamuna's bank.

8.       Joyful Krishna pulled the gopis to His right side. They were like glistening moons at His side.

9.       Krishna enjoyed pastimes of touching the youthful gopis, who followed Him, left Him, and, filled with passionate desires, secretly met Him again in secluded places.

10.     Seeking happinesses unattainable in any other way, all-glorious forestflower-garlanded Krishna wandered in a beautiful forest filled with delicate glorious flowers and restless flying black bees.

11.     Krishna and the gopis sang many songs. They could see each other's spiritual glories. They became the glorious blissful abode of  the heart's desires fulfilled. Kisses, embraces, and all that follow brought hundreds of thousands of blisses to Krishna and the gopis.

12.     Shrila Shukadeva Gosvami gives the following description (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.29.44): "Singing songs, glorified in song, wearing a vaijayanti garland, leading hundreds of beautiful gopis, and decorating the forest with His glories, Krishna wandered in the forest."

13.     The songs Krishna and the gopis sang are described by Shri Parashara Muni in these words (Vishnu Purana): "Krishna sang songs glorifying the moon, the moonlight, and the lotus lake. The gopis sang Krishna's names again and again."

14.     Krishna and the gopis sang:


vidhur ayam agatavan sharadam prati samprati

itavan vidhur atha na hi bhavatih prati

          madhava jaya gokula-vira jaya jaya krishna hare


          "The moon has entered the autumn season. Still, the moon has not approached you."

          "O Madhava, all glories to You! O hero of Gokula, all glories to You! O Krishna, O Hari, all glories to You!"


15. kumudakara-calanam na bhaved iti seyam

kaumudikagad idam unneyam

          keshava jaya sharma-sharira jaya jaya krishna hare


          "The moon cannot personally come here, so the brilliant moonlight has come in its place."

          "O Keshava, all glories to You! O handsome Krishna, all glories to You! O Hari, all glories to You!"


16. kusuma-vani madhupair iyam ancati kantim

mama bhavatishu prathataytu kantim

          shyamala jaya harda-sharira jaya jaya krishna hare


          "This beautiful flower-garden filled with bumblebees has aroused My desire for you."

          "O dark-complexioned Krishna, all glories to You! O Deity of amorous love, all glories to You! O Krishna, O Hari, all glories to You!"


17. pushpita-kunja-caye vrindacita-shobha

bhavad-anugataye kila krita-lobha

          mohana jaya samvidi dhira jaya jaya krishna hare


          "Vrinda-devi has made these flower groves very beautiful. I yearn to follow you into these groves."

          "O charming Lord, all glories to You! O hero in the arts of amorous love, all glories to You! O Krishna, O Hari, all glories to You!"


18 and 19. The songs of Krishna and the teenage gopis are described in the following confidential words spoken by Shrila Shukadeva Gosvami (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.29.45-46): "In this way both the Lord and the gopis reached the cool sandy bank of the Yamuna where there were lilies and lotus flowers. In such a transcendental atmosphere, both the gopis and Krishna began to enjoy one another. While they were walking on the bank of the Yamuna, Krishna would sometimes put His arms around a gopi's head, breast, or waist. Pinching one another and joking and looking at one another, they enjoyed. When Krishna touched the bodies of the gopis their lust to embrace Him increased. They all enjoyed these pastimes."*


20. The glorious gopis' desire to enjoy with passionate Krishna did not become slackened as They wandered and wandered in the forest.

          21. As the gopis' passion did not slacken, Krishna glanced at the Yamuna, flowing as it moved the hands that were its waves. Krishna also glanced at the sandy riverbank, which glistened gloriously as if its sand were splendid waves of cooling camphor. Day after day He had seen both river and riverbank.

22.     The all-glorious full moon beautifully shone on the sandy riverbank. The splendor was almost too much for the eyes to bear.

23.     The sandy riverbank was beautiful as if it had been painted on canvas by an expert artist's brush. There fragrant lotus breezes blew from the Yamuna.

24.     Glancing at this beautiful scene, Krishna expanded into many forms. Standing beside each gopi, He enjoyed many pastimes. A small part of this great secret is revealed here.     

25.  The amorous pastimes of Krishna and the gopis are described in these words: Krishna extended His arms to embrace the gopis, but He could not embrace them for long. Why was that? He was so overcome with bliss He no longer had firm control over His arms.

26.     Krishna and His gopi beloveds had no power to stop embracing each other. They were like a tree and a flowering vine. The tree and vine have no power to abandon their embrace.

27.     As They wandered from place to place, Krishna and His gopi beloveds passionately embraced. Overcome with intense pleasure from those embraces, Krishna and the gopis fell unconscious. Only Their intense desire to enjoy more amorous pastimes revived them. Thus They became like sleepers becoming again awake.

28.     Then one gopi, as she withrew to a secluded place, tugged Shri Krishna's hand. On the pretext of reciprocating that aroused gopi's touch, Shri Krishna touched Her also.

29.     Shri Krishna said to another gopi, "Why do You hide Your face? None of Your gopi friends followed You here. Ah! Is that a swarm of black bees about Your face?" Speaking these words, Shri Krishna, on the pretext of wiping away a swarm of black bees, stroked the black hair of that gopi's head.

30.     Again and again His attempts to touch another gopi were rejected. Still, infallible Krishna touched that gopi's belt. Fearless supplicants are seen to act in that way.

31.     Embarrassed, another beautiful gopi tried to tightly cover Herself with Her garments. Krishna's hand She pushed away. Still, on the pretext of wiping dust away, Krishna touched Her bodice.

32.     "O girl with the restless eyes, I see that Your blossoming breasts cannot bear even the slightest most gentle touch. The touch of My talon fingernails will bring no pain to Your breasts." Speaking these words, Shri Krishna smiled.

33.     Shri Krishna became like a black bee drawn to the lotus flower of another gopi's face. He became like a lion poised to attack the elephant's bulging forehead of that gopi's breasts. To arouse that gopi's amorous desires, were k's actions not right?

34.     In his book the sage Panini affirms that right actions, which are fit subjects for discussion, are of one kind, and wrong actions, which are not fit for discussion, are of two kinds.

35.     The gopis began to think their beloved Krishna, who is the most axalted of all persons, was subordinate to them and under their control. They became very proud. As citizens flee from a country where many different proud kings vie for power, so Krishna fled from the gopis. He disappeared from their sight.

36.     Krishna thought, "They have forgotten that I am supreme. I am the supreme enjoyer. Still these gopis think they are not different from Me. Even Radha thinks She is equal to Me. She thinks She is the crest jewel of all goddesses. Still, Radha has come here to fulfill My desire. Ah! Now will be a great festival to please Me. On this glorious full-moon autumn night the nectar of the rasa dance will soon manifest its full and perfect glory. The nectar of the rasa-dance will now reveal the true glory of these gopis. Because these glorious gopis are proud, I will be a little indifferent to them. In this way I will transform them into My maidservants. Taking all-glorious Radha with Me, I will disappear."

37.     Thinking in this way, and acting to arrange certain events in the future, to each gopi beloved, each gopi beloved now languid in hand, foot, and other limb, Shri Krishna said, "Drawn by the jingling of your anklets, here I stand, though we should not stay here long. Yearning to enjoy pastimes with you, I followed you, but I think you are now fatigued. I eagerly searched for you. Now is not the time for you to be fatigued." After speaking these words, Shri Krishna suddenly disappeared. Accompanied by Shri Radha, He quickly departed.

38.     After a moment they felt Krishna's absence to be unbearable. Each gopi stood up wandered here and there searching for Krishna. Singling and in pairs, they gradually met each other. Talking amongst themselves, they vowed to find Krishna. Going here and there, they searched for the path Krishna had taken.

39.     Gathering together, the gopis thought of searching for their beloved Krishna. Alas! They had no power to find him. Distressed, the gopis were rapt in thinking of Krishna. Meditating in this way, each gopi thought the opther gopis were in truth Lord Krishna. Thinking this, the gopis embraced each other.

40.               Overwhelmed with love for Krishna and the thirst to attain Krishna, the gopis thought they had become Lord Krishna, the protector of all.

41.     Somehow the gopis returned to external consciousness. To protect their lives, they sang the glories of Lord Krishna's pastimes, beginning with His childhood pastimes. Overcome with love for Him, they hugged each other.

42.     Longing to find Krishna, and wandering here and there, the gopis asked questions of the trees and vines. The gopis acted like madwomen.

43.     Filled with thoughts of Krishna, and singing songs glorifying His pastimes, the gopis were overcome with love for Krishna. Then a great wonder fell upon them. Overcome with thoughts of Him, each fair-limbed gopi thought she had become dark Krishna Himself.

44.     Saying, "Even now I think of Him. Thinking of Him, I feel that may heart burns in flames of sorrow.", ah, ah, the gopis, overwhelmed with feelings of separation from Lord Krishna, asked questions of the trees. They said, "Ah, Krishna has broken my heart." They sang many songs. Many fears maddened their hearts. Then they imitated the ferocious horrible demons.

45.     In this way the gopi became rapt in thinking of these pastimes of Lord Krishna. Approaching each other, they asked many questions. Then they slowly departed from that place. Rapt in asking questions, they departed.

46.     Thinking the trees filled with blooming flowers were mocking them and laughing, and the trees with bowed-down branches were turning proudly turning their faces away from them, and the trees covered with buzzing bees were angrily criticizing them, the gopis asked them about Krishna and then quickly departed.

47.     Then the gopis asked questions of the earth, saying, "O earth, what austerities did you perform to attain the touch of Shri Hari's feet? Is it because Lord Trivikrama stepped on you or because and Lord Varaha hugged you that the blades`          of grass that are the hairs of your body stand now erect with bliss?

48.     "Because you are known as 'Prithvi' (the expansive one) and 'Kshama' (the all-tolerant one), and because the touch of Shri Krishna's feet fills you with bliss, we approach you to ask for news of Krishna."

49.     As they wandered here and there, asking questions of the trees and other beings, the gopis hugged Shri Krishna's fragrance carried by a breeze, a breeze, a breeze like the life's breath of all the worlds. With wise and affectionate hearts, Shri Radha's gopi-friends approached a doe. Filled with love and joy, the gopis acted in a wonderful way.

50      and 51. The gopis said to a doe (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.30.11-12), "It appears that Krishna, who is the the Supreme Narayana Himself, must have passed through this way along with His companion Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune. Otherwise, how is it possible that the aroma of His garland, which is smeared with the red kunkuma from the breast of the the goddess of fortune can be perceived in the breeze blowing here? It appears that They must have passed through here and touched your bodies, and thus you are feelings so pleasant and are looking toward us with sympathy. Will you kindly, therefore, inform us which way Krishna has gone? Krishna is the well-wisher of Vrindavana. He is as kind to you as to us. Therefore after leaving us He must have been present in your company. O fortunate trees, we are thinking of Krishna, the younger brother of Balarama. While passing through here, with one hand resting on the shoulder of the goddess of fortune and the other hand whirling a lotus flower, He must have been very pleased to accept your obeisances, and He must have glanced at you with great pleasure."*

52.     The first three lines of these two stanzas may be paraphrased, "O you with glorious eyes, like us human girls you have also taken shelter of the land of Vrindavana. You are happy in the same way we human girls are happy. Therefore we are not unlike each other. We are friends." With hearts glistening with joy, the gopis spoke these words. Then the gopis said the word "priyaya", which here means, "Lord Krishna was embraced by His most-glorious beloved." Then the gopis spoke the word "drisham", which here means, "What has come before us? The sight of the handsomeness of Your body fills our eyes with the most sublime bliss."

53.     Next, the reason why these amorous pastimes are glorified is given in the passage beginning with the word "kanta". The passage beginning with the word "kunda-srajah" means, "The jasmine-garland worn by Lord Krishna, the tilaka marking of the royal dynasty of Gokula, has a sweet fragrance unattainable in any other place, a sweet fragrance swiftly carried by the breeze. What is that garland's nature? Because of the supreme spiritual purity of Lord Krishna's gopi-beloved and because Lord Krishna Himself yearns to attain it, that garland is the abode of sublime spiritual glory. Because it is touched by the limbs of Lord Krishna's gopi-beloved, that garland is smeared with the kunkuma that anointed that gopi's breasts. Because it always embraces that gopi's breast, that garland is gloriously fragrant. This we know for certain.

54.     From the sight of Lord Krishna, joy was born. Now, from Lord Krishna's absence, the thirst to attain Him became manifest.  The gopis thought Krishna and His gopi-beloved must have met.The gopi then joyfully offered respectful obeisances to these particular pastimes of Lord Krishna. Thinkiing the great and  graceful trees bowed down with many leaves and flowers were like menservants in Lord Krishna's palace, the gopis offered respectful obeisances, and then, speaking the passage beginning with the words "bahum", proceeded to describe many of Lord Krishna's pastimes.

55.     The udasina (neutral) gopis said, "Please ask these vines: Previously, when they were embraced by the trees, they did not burst into blooming flowers. But now, by the touch of Putana's enemy Krishna, they are suddenly covered with blossoming flowers. This shows the wonderful power of Krishna's fingernails and toenails.

56.     At this the gopis were filled with wonder. Then, Shri Krishna's supremely graceful and glorious lotus-footprints were scattered before the unbelieving eyes of these and the other gopis. Seeing these footprints, the gopi made the following conjecture:

57.     "Acting like a silent sage, the earth gave no reply. The earth paused, thought, and then, by revealing Krishna's footprints bearing the flag, lotus, and other auspicious marks, wrote the words, 'Krishna came this way.'"

58.     A little further on another set of footprints was manifested beside the first.

59.     The gopis then saw another set of footprints. Step by step, these prints were different than the first. They were smaller and made a more gentle depression. They were not as narrow at the extremities. They were marked with the flag and other auspicious marks. They were at the left of the first set of footprints.

60.     The gopis thought "Here Krishna's footprints are mingled with the footprints of some doe-eyed gopi. Why were Her footprints not here before? Krishna must have held Her to His chest, carried Her, and set Her down in this place. Among all the theives in this world, Krishna is famous as the most expert thief that steals the most precious treasure.

61.     "On the left and right this couple's footprints touch. I think They must have walked with Their arms about each other's shoulders.

62.     Hearing these words of the sadharani gopis, Radha's gopi-friends again spoke, "Like two wild elephants They must have enjoyed many glorious pastimes That festival of unchained wild pastimes in this secluded forest place nourishes the bliss we feel now."

63.     Then Radha's gopi friends again said, "We must understand that this particular gopi must have served Krishna with greater affectionate love than ourselves. Because of this, although He has left us, He could not leave Her company. He has taken Her along with Him."*

64.     This verse may be explained in the following words: In this verse the word "anaya" means "by a supremely moral girl". "ishvarah" means "He who is the master of the eternal spiritual potency and is the master who accepts the devotional service offered by the devotees", and 'aradhitah" means "worshiped in a way that nevcer ends and can never be stopped." This ishvara is not a mere demigod. He is Shri Hari, the master of dik-palas that control the directions. This ishvara is neither the destroyer Shiva nor the creator Brahma. Lord Hari is svaya'm bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom all avataras are manifest. It is not otherwise. Lord Hari (Krishna) is not Himself expanded from any other form of Godhead.

65.     The wonderful features of Lord Krishna are causeless. They have no origin. Manifesting the splendor of His spiritual qualities and handsome spiritual form, Shri Krishna forcibly enters every person's heart. He will never leave us. Neither have we the power to shun Him. His attitude to us is always that of love. He never hates us. The festivalof amorous pastimes He enjoyed with the gopis in a secluded place was an expression of His spiritual love for them. He enjopyed blissful and glorious pastimes in the gopis' company. He did not enjoy those pastimes alone. The gopis said, "Even when Krishna abandoned us, we were filled with wonder at His glorious spiritual qualities. We did not turn on Him and hate Him."

66.     We think in the following way: The girl named Radha is glorious and fortunate. The creator Brahma created Her with extraordinary names, qualities, and beauty. Destiny certainly favors Her. Because She is rapt in worshiping (radh) Lord Krishna, She is called Radha (the worshiper). Her name may be interpreted "She who worships Krishna" or "She who is worshiped by Krishna". The Nirukti confirms this explanation.

67.     The udasina gopis then spoke these words describing Shri Radha: "Ah! Look! Brahma, Shiva, and Lakshmi place on their heads the glorious dust touched by invincible Shri Krishna's lotus feet. Let us praise the good fortunate of all who have seen this dust."

68.     Then, one of Radha's rivals spat out the following words, which were like a great coil of smoke from the growing fire of envy burning within her: "O saintly girl, look! The footprints of this wicked-hearted girl no longer follow Lord Krishna's delightful footprints, That girl must have been very bold. First She sipped the nectar of Lord Krishna's lips, nectar we all find to be delightful, and then She suddenly disappeared."

69.     To these words Shri Radha's gopi friends gave the following reply: "Aha! Why are Radha's footprints marked with auspicious signs no longer visible here? O gopi-friends, Holding Her to His chest, dear Krishna must have begun to carry His delicate-limbed beloved."

70.     To those words, Shri Radha's rivals gave this reply: "Look! For a long time amorous Krishna carried that gopi on His chest. When Her garments and other things became disarrayed, He became aroused. Here His footprints are pressed very deeply. Here are sprinkled drops of His perspiration, drops mixed with kunkuma and flower-garland fragments. Here He pushed aside the vines as He walked on the path."

71.     To these words Shri Radha's friends replied, "Here the footprints become faint. Here, averse to Her beloved, the beautiful gopi must, with gracefully bent knees, rested on Shri Krishna's thighs."

72.     Then Shri Radha's rivals said, "Here amorous Krishna must have rearranged amorous Radha's flower crown when it became disrrayed and begun to fall apart."

73.     Then they also said, "These crooked footprints on path after path reveal Shri Shri Radha and Krishna's pastimes, pastimes that stand beyond the boundary of ordinary shyness and modesty.

74.     "In this place the gopis, Vrinda-devi, and Vrinda's associates decorated the gateway leading to the vine-palaces. They all yearned to see Shri Shri Radha and Krishna enter through that gate.

75.     "Vrinda-devi arranged that the forest here was filled with sweet flowers endowed with sweet pollen. Yearning to gather that sweet pollen, a host of black bees became the guards stationed at that gateway. If any unauthorized person tried to enter there, the flying bees at once attacked with the arrows of their stingers.

76.     "As the black bees long praised the glories of that place, and as the trees and plants swayed to and fro, the gopis entered and gazed at that wonderful, unprecedented, sublime place.

77 and 78. "The cuckoos cooed the fifth note. The bees hummed deep sweet notes. Stirred by the breeze, the orchestra of leaves rustled glorious music. The peacocks gracefully danced. Also present were the devotees full of love for the divine couple, the couple who glisten like a dark cloud and a glistening lightning flash. That place was filled with many wonderful and colorful flowers, with many glorious couches, with many fans and camara wisks, with boxes filled with fragrant betelnuts, with cups filled with camphor, sandal, and aguru, and with secluded flower-vine cottages. The gopis sang the glories of this place.

79.     "In this place a great host of flowers was placed at Shri Shri Radha-Krishna's feet. Reclining on a  couch, Radha and Krishna were served with massages. In that place are fans, camara wisks, swings, fragrant betelnuts, and many other objects for the divine couple's enjoyment.

80.     "Why do you ask? You know Krishna abandoned me just as He abandoned you. Quickly go to that place and find Krishna. These birds and other flying creatures yearn to carry me there as they fly. Ah! Who will accept me now that I am overcome with sorrows?

81.     "This bed anointed with musk and sprinkled with drops of kunkuma is now in disarray. It bears all the signs of its demise. All my friends talk amongst themselves of its end. How can it not be on the verge of destruction?"

82.     Recalling a pastime of Radha and Krishna, another gopi said, "When Radha was startled by the gopis' sudden tumultuous entrance through the forest grove's gateway, Her lover, Krishna, frantically tried to cover Her with His own garment. He did not succeed.

83.     "Disarray swallowed up Radha's struggle to adorn Herself with garments and ornaments when with upraised ears She heard the gopis' tumultuous arrival. Frantic struggle swallowed up Shri Radha Herself. At that moment, taking His beloved Radha with Him, Shri Krishna suddenly disappeared.

84.     Now this description will be considered. Lord Krishna is not an ordinary lusty teenage boy. Nor are the gopis ordinary lusty teenage girls. To refuite the idea that They are a lusty boy and lusty girls, some explanations will here be given.

85.     Lusty persons all have bodies of dead material energy, bodies like those of walking corpses. Lord Krishna, however, has a spiritual body of intense bliss. The gopis, who are headed by Radha, are His glorious spiritual potencies.

86.     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.60.45) Queen Rukmini describes the external material body of the conditioned souls in these words: "A man within this world is just a dead body. In fact, superficially the living entity is covered by this body, which is nothing but a bag of skin decorated with beards and moustaches, hairs on the body, nails on the fingers, and hairs on the head. Within this decorated bag there are bunches of muscles, bundles of bones, and pools of blood, always mixed up with stool, urine, mucus, bile, and polluted air, and enjoyed by various kinds of insects and germs. A foolish woman accepts such a dead body as her husband and, in sheer misunderstanding, loves him as her dear companion. This is only possible because such a woman has never tasted the evr-blissful flavor of Your lotus feet."*

87.     It is also said in the scriptures: "The syllable 'krish' refers to eternal existence, and the sullable 'na' refers to spiritual pleasure. These two syllables combine to form the name of Lord Krishna, who is the Absolute Truth."

88.     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam it is said: "The Supreme Truth has a humanlike form." In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.22) it is also said: "O Lord Krishna, Your form is of eternal spiritual pleasure and eternal spiritual knowledge."

89.     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.32.10) it is said: "Surrounded by the gopis, who were now relieved of their sorrows, Lord Krishna, who is the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, enjoyed many pastimes. Thus the Supreme Lord enjoyed with His spiritual potencies."

90.     Bhava (ecstatic spiritual love) is not the same as material lust. Prema (pure spiritual love) is more glorious even than bhava. Prema is described in the following words. The yearning to meet, meeting, embraces, kisses, and other amorous activities of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna seem exactly like those of ordinary amorous couples. However, Shri Shri Radha-Krishna's amorous pastimes are free of any impurity or imperfection. They are all-glorious, all-blissful, and all-auspicious.The amorous activities of other couples are not like Radha-Krishna's pastimes. They are merely the conditioned soul's selfish struggle to please himself.

91.     The gopis, who are the goddesses of prema personified, will later declare (in Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.31.19): "Dear Krishna, certainly You know how much we are saddened when You go out of Vrindavana village to tend the cows in the forest. How we are afflicted simply to think that Your soft lotus feet are being pricked by the dry grass and the tiny stones in the forest. We are so attached to You that we always think simply of Your lotus feet."*

92.     Sometimes it is said that prema (pure spiritual love) is under the domain of lust. Such statements are metaphors only. They are not factually true. That is hte conclusion of the smriti-shastras. For this reason is given the following famous description of the spiritual benefit attained by hearing of Shriv Shri Radha-Krishna's pastimes of prema.

93.     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.40) it is said: "If a person hears from the right source of the pastimes of Krishna, who is Vishnu Himself, and the gopis, who are expansions of His energy, he will be relieved of the most dangerous type of disease, namely lust. He will be elevated to the huighest position of spiritual life."*

94.     That spiritual path of prema always brings newer and newer bliss to the mahat (exalted), mahattara (very exalted), and mahattama (most exalted) souls that strive to follow it.

95.     Later in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.58) Shri Uddhava will declare: "Among all the living entities who have accepted the human form of life, the gopis are superexcellently successful in their mission. Their thought is thoroughly absorbed in the lotus feet of Krishna. Great sages and saintly persons are also trying to be absorbed in meditation upon the lotus feet of Krishna, who is Mukunda Himself, the giver of liberation, but the gopis, having lovingly accepted the Lord, are automatically accustomed to this habit. They do not depend on any yoga practice. The conclusion is that one who has attained the gopis' condition of life does not have to take birth as Lord Brahma or be born in a brahmana family or be initiated as a brahmana."*

96.     Thirsting to engage in a prema relationship, Shri Krishna places Himself under the control of His devotee. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.32.22) He tells the gopis: "I cannot repay your continual love for Me, even throughout the lifetimes of the demigods in the heavenly planets. It is impossible to repay you or show gratitude for your love. Therefore please be satisfied with your own pious activities. You have displayed exeplary attraction for Me, overcoming the greatest difficulties arising from family connections. Please be satisfied with your highly exemplary character, for it is not possible for Me to repay your debt."*

97.     The gopis' other transcendental virtues may be inferred from the following words of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (5.18.12): "All the demigods and their exalted qualities, such as religion, knowledge, and renunciation, become manifest in the body of one who has developed unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva."*

98.     It is also said: "Though learned and intelligent, materialistic philosophers cannot understand even a single atom of the philosophy revealed in the limitless rasa-shastras. All their activities of being plunged in an ocean of love are dull an pathetic in comparison to Shri Krishna's amorous pastimes with the gopis, pastimes filled with glorious splendor."

99.     Amongst all the gopis Shri Radha is the most glorious. Her glories are wonderful and extraordinary. She is referred to in these words of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.30.28): "We must understand that this particular gopi must have served Krishna with greater affectionate love than ourselves. Because of this, although He has left us, He could not leave Her company. He has taken Her along with Him."*

100.    Considering all these explanations, I have come to the following conclusion: Even though He is self-satisfied, and even though His every desire is always fulfilled, Shri Krishna always enjoys blissful pastimes with Shri Radha. He is the abode of perfect love for Shri Radha. I think His pastimes with Her make the activities of a lusty boy and girls in this world seem pathetic and insignificant.

101.    Shri Krishna is self-satisfied (atmarama). His form is filled with transcendental bliss. His every desire is always fulfilled. He bears thw auspicious markings of supreme opulence. He is the extraordinary beloved of millions of gopis. Still, He abandons the company of a great host of gopis and stays with Shri Radha alone. He is attached to Her.

102.    Radha and Krishna's loving affairs are like a flowing river. In some places that river has many twisting crooked turns. In other places it is very swift. In other places the water is very deep. In other places are many violent whirlpools. In other places it is seen to flow with gentle peace.

103.    In Ujjvala-nilamani (15.102) it is said: "The ways of prema are naturally crooked, like the movements of a snake. The divine couple may act with a sensible reason, and sometimes They may act without any sensible reason at all."

104.    One of these crooked pastimes is described in the following words: "Her closed eyes are like new flower buds. Her neck is tilted back. Her arms are languid. Her thighs are stunned. Now Shri Krishna is fulfilling Her desire. She smiles and smiles. Why does She not now knit Her eyebrows in disapproval, as She did before?"

105.    When in activity after activity Krishna affectionately worships r, then pride comes and touches Her. By the process of philosophical debate no one has the power to understand Radha's feelings of pride. For example, Radha thinks:

106.    "I do not know My own good fortune that now I have My beloved's association. Leaving the other gopis behind, He met beautiful Me and took Me deep into this forest."

107.    Eager to proceed, Krishna begged Radha to continue walking, but She suddenly became very lazy.

108.    Then Radha said, "The touch of Your body has made My limbs languid and weak. I cannot walk any further. Carry Me wherever You like."

109.    Hearing these words, Krishna felt aloof and uninterested. Although full of love for Shri Radha, now He felt love's aspect of anger. With a mocking smile He said, "Why are You troubled? Grasp My shoulders and climb up on them."

110.    Angered and humiliated, Radha looked down. Glancing at Radha, and in His heart thinking of Her welfare, Shri Krishna playfully disappeared. When Shri Krishna disappeared, Shri Radha was wonderstruck. She was like a white lotus flower suddenly bereft of the moon.

111.    Again and again Radha lamented, "O master, O lover, O dearest beloved, O mighty-armed one, where did You go? Where are You? O master of My life, please show Yourself before Your troubled maidservant.

112.    "With great determination I will search for You and find You."

113.    When Shri Krishna, the crest-jewel of the wise, thought, "That gopi I just now abandoned will meet with the many gopis I abandoned previously. When they all gather together I will enjoy with them a great rasa-dance festival," the many gopis met that one gopi who had fallen unconscious, overcome with love for Lord Krishna. The doe-eyed gopis, who had been searched for Krishna, whose heart is like clear crystal, gathered around that fallen, unconscious gopi.

114.    As Shri Krishna continued to hide from them, the gopis said (of the fallen, unconscious gopi), "Is that a campaka garland fallen to the ground? Is it a crescent moon? Is it the goddess that rules over all glistening rays of beauty? Is it the personified beauty of Vrindavana forest? Alas! Alas! It cannot be any of these things. What is it?" As bees swarm around a lotus flower, with agitated hearts the doe-eyed gopis gathered around that fallen unconscious gopi.

115.    Even the gopis who only pretended to be Radha's friends felt their hearts melt. Other gopis, Shri Radha's true friends, who considered Her as dear as life, at once fell down unconscious. To those gopis fate had given no shelter. Instead, fate placed on their extraordinary situation a great good fortune.

116.    When, from its resting place on Shri Radha's limbs, the fragrance of Shri Krishna entered their nostrils, the gopis, whose eyes were more beautiful than the does' eyes, and who were like expansions of Shri Radha's form, and who were beautiful like Shri Radha Herself, fell unconscious.

117.    Seeing the bodice that, wet with kunkuma, anointed with red sindura, broken, and disarrayed, covered Shri Radha's fair breasts, the gopis became joyful.

118.    Although Her body also carried Shri Krishna's fragrance, when She smelled Shri Krishna's fragrance on the other gopis' bodies, Shri Radha at once regained consciousness.

119.    Surrounding Radha, whose condition was now like theirs, Radha's faithful gopi friends hugged each other. Bitterly they wept. Weeping, they said to Radha, "It is said, 'Five people gathered together cannot be unhappy'. Therefore, happy in each other's company, we will not be troubled by even the greatest sorrows." Then the gopis asked, "Why did Krishna abandon You? Please tell us. Why are You so filled with sorrow?"

120.    Lamenting Her misfortune, Shri Radha said, "Where did Krishna take Me? Why did He take Me? What did I do wrong? I do not know. All I know is that now I am bereft of Him and it must be because of My own misdeeds."

121.    Radha wept without restraint. Some of Her sorrowing friends trued to console Her. They wiped the tears from Her face, arranged Her garments, and made Her stand up. Standing together with Radha, they asked, "Where can we find Krishna?"

122.    Shri Radha said, "Gentle-hearted Krishna happily enjoys pastimes not far from here. Gokula's pure, profound, and modest prince acted rightly. Out of compassion for us He first accepted and then abandoned us.

123.    "We should follow the trail marked with Krishna's footprints. That is best for us." As if they were walking in the forest to pick flowers, the gopis searched fro Krishna's footprints, which bear the mark of the flag and other auspicious marks. Searching, they entered a place in the forest thick with trees and vines. From that place they did not emerge.

124.    The gopis said amongst themselves, "Perhaps because of our shameful actions Shri Krishna does not wish to come before our eyes. Perhaps He will go far from this place. We should look for Him on the riverbank. He once said to us, 'Wherever I go, you should also come.' Perhaps, to drive away the ambarrassment He may feel by breaking His own words, He will again come before our eyes."

125.    Talking in this way, and searching for Krishna, the gopis wandered here and there in the forest. Filled with humbleness, they sang many songs.

126.    As the people in the assembly listened with rapt attention, the narrator (Snigdhakantha) brought his narration to a conclusion by saying, "O queen of Vrindavana, if You are not present, then handsome Krishna will not accept even many millions of other gopis."