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The gopls have personal qualities similar to those of Lord Krsna Himself. They are filled with the sweet opulence of great and intense love for Krsna. I offer my respectful obeisances to the gopls. They are filled with the most sublime transcendental sweetness. They are the crest jewels of those who have performed pious activities. They have carefully studied under their tutor, youthful-ness, and they have displayed their skill in amorous pastimes before Lord Krsna.The amorous lovers of Krsna are said to be divided into two groups: (1) svaklya (those married to Lord Krsna), and (2) paraklya (those married to others).
Svaklya: Those girls who have accepted Lord Krsna's hand in marriage, who diligently abide by His orders, and who are faithful to Him, are said to be svaklya.Lord Krsna's queens are very devoted to their husband. They carefully traverse the auspicious path of religious principles and they happily follow the orders of their elders and superiors. Day after day, they faithfully serve their beloved husband at home with great chastity. I pray that these queens of Lord Krsna may bestow great transcendental happiness upon you."Lord Krsna to Queen RukminI: My dear honored wife, although I have thousands of wives, I do not think that any one of them can love Me more than you. The practical proof of your extraordinary position is that you had never seen Me before your marriageyou had simply heard about Me from a third person and still, your faith in Me was so fixed that even in the presence of many qualified, rich, and beautiful men of the royal order, you did not select any one of them as your husband but insisted on having Me.
It is very well known that Lord Krsna, the hero of the Yadu dynasty, had 16,108 wives at Dvaraka. Each queen had thousands of girl friends and maidservants. The friends were equal to the queens in beauty and personal qualities but the maidservants were a little inferior. Of all these queens, RukminI, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Saibya, Bhadra, Kausalya,and Madri were the eight most qualified. Of all these queens,RukminI and Satyabhama are said to be the best.RukminI is exalted because of her transcendental opulence and Satyabhama is exalted because of her extreme good ortune.RukminI, the daughter of King Bhlsmaka, had the greatest opulence in Lord Krsna's palace but Satyabhama was the most fortunate of Lord Krsna's wives."Lord Krsna to RukminI: My queen, of all My 16,000 wives, none is more dear to Me than you. You are as dear to Me as My own life-breath."Both RukminI and Satyabhama have hundreds of thousands of friends and maidservants who are all full of love for them. The young girls of Gokula were very eager to get Lord Krsna as their husband, although the circumstances of their lives never allowed them to love Him in the svaklyarasa (married love).
The gopls' intense love for Krsna may be seen in the following statement where, while Krsna was staying at Mathura, one gopl in Vrndavana spoke the following words to her friend: If Krsna does not return here to enjoy pastimes with us then what does it matter that Vraja's saintly queen, Yasoda, is always affectionate like a mother to me? What does it matter to me that the gopls all love me more than their own life's breath? What does it matter that Vrndavana forest is more glorious than the forest of Vaikuntha? What value do these things have if we cannot enjoy pastimes with peacock feather crowned Krsna? To attain Him as our husband, we dutifully worshipped the goddess, Uma.It is true that Krsna married the gopls by the Gandharva rite. However, because their marriage was kept secret, their love could not be openly admitted.
Paraklya: Those women who, with great love, offer themselves to Krsna without caring for religious principles, and without caring what happens to them in this world or the next, are known as the paraklya lovers of Krsna.Even though the gopls were so much in love with Krsna that they jumped over the path of religious principles to become His lovers, Arundhati, and the other great chaste women, offer them all respect and worship. Even though the gopls are country girls living in the rural area of Vrndavana forest, the slight fragrance of their sweetness has dissolved the great beauty and opulence of the goddess of fortune. The exalted position of the gopls is very rare in the three worlds. I pray that these gopl friends of Krsna may grant transcendental happiness to you.The paraklya lovers of Krsna may be divided into two groups: (1) kanyaka (unmarried girls), and (2) parodha (the wives of others). For the most part, these paraklya lovers are residents of the Vrajabhumi ruled by King Nanda. The secret love of these paraklya devotees brings great transcendental bliss to Krsna, the king of Gokula.The gopls' methods of attracting Krsna are described in the following statement, where Lord Siva says: Contrariness, playing hard-to-get, and repulsing the lover's advances are the three ultimate weapons of Cupid employed by women.
When the doe-eyed gopls play hard-to-get and reject their lover, Krsna's, advances, this makes Krsna's heart become intensely attached to them. What were the other pastimes enjoyed by Krsna and the gopls? These were all personally described by the great sage, Srlla Sukadeva GosvamI in the Paramahamsa-samhita (Srl-mad-Bhagavatam).He said in Tenth Canto: Even though He was the selfsufficient Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna enjoyed the pastime of the rasa dance with the gopls.Those who desire auspiciousness should engage in the devotional service of Krsna but they should not try to imitate the activities of Krsna. This is the conclusion of the devotional scriptures. Those who are attached to liberation, religious principles, and similar auspicious goals, follow the saintly path chalked out by Lord Ramacandra and the other incarnations of the Personality of Godhead. These devotees never follow the example set by Ravana and other demons.An individual spirit soul, who is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead, should never try to imitate the actions of Krsna, even in his thoughts. If he foolishly tried to do this, it would be the same as if he tried to imitate Lord Siva by drinking the poison produced from the ocean of milk.That one should not try to imitate the Lord but simply try to carry out His order is also described in the SrlmadBhagavatam: Krsna manifests His eternal humanlike form and performs His pastimes to show mercy to the devotees. Having heard such pastimes, one should engage in service to Him. Krsna personally glorified the gopls with the following words from His own mouth.When the gopls were overwhelmed with dissatisfaction due to Krsna's absence from the rasallla.
Krsna returned to them and told them: My dear gopls, our meeting is certainly free from all material contamination. I must admit that in many lives, it would be impossible for Me to repay My debt to you because you have cut off the bondage of family life just to search for Me. Consequently, I am unable to repay you. Therefore, please be satisfied with your honest activities in this regard.
Uddhava, the best of all devotees of the Lord, glorified the gopls in the following eloquent words: The gopls of Vrndavana have given up the association of their husbands, sons, and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krsna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers, or herbs in Vrndavana because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet.When the gopls went to associate with Krsna, Yogamaya presented duplicates of the gopls' forms before their husbands. In this way, the husbands thought that their wives were always with them and so, they never became jealous of Krsna. Bewildered by the Lord's Yogamaya potency, the Vrajavasis who were the gopls' so-called husbands thought that their wives were staying by their side.They did not know that their wives had gone to Krsna and therefore, they were not jealous of Krsna.Kanyaka (unmarried gopls): The young unmarried gopls were still under the protection of their parents. They were absorbed in childhood games with their friends. They were shy and possessed all the charm of youthful innocence. These young girls, headed by the gopl, Dhanya, devotedly followed an austere vow to please the goddess Durga and get Krsna as their husband. Krsna later fulfilled their desire and in this way, they became the dear lovers of Krsna.
My dear friend, you are only a tiny child, intently playing in the dust without even a shirt. You are so young that your cowherd father has not even begun to search for your future husband. Even though you are so young, now that you hear the warbling sounds of peacock-feather-crowned Krsna in Vrndavana forest, you are trembling, and your eyes are rolling about in ecstatic love.Parodha (the wives of others): The cowherds' wives who have not yet borne children and who constantly yearn to enjoy amorous pastimes with Krsna are called parodha,They are the dear lovers of Krsna.Padma to Candravall: Impelled by curiosity and wishing to collect flowers to offer to goddess Katyayani, you entered deep into the belly of this thick forest. Why have you done this? My friend, your breasts now bear the scratch marks of the forest thorns and your sister-in-law is now staring at these marks, fearing that perhaps they are the scratches of Krsna.These gopls are described with the intense sweetness of their great pure love for Krsna. With their beauty, opulence, and transcendental virtues, they surpass even the goddess Laksmi-devI and her followers.When Sri Krsna was dancing with the gopls in the rasallla, the gopls were embraced by the arms of the Lord. This transcendental favor was never bestowed upon the goddess of fortune or the other consorts in the spiritual world. Indeed, never was such a thing even imagined by the most beautiful girls in the heavenly planets, whose bodily luster and aroma resemble the lotus flower. And, what to speak of worldly women, who are very beautiful ac¬cording to material estimation?
The gopls may be divided into three groups: (1) those who attained perfection by engaging in devotional service (2) demigod-desses from the higher material planets who descended to the earth in the form of gopls, and (3) those who are eternally the gopl lovers of Krsna.Sadhana-para (Those who became gopls by engaging in devotional service): These gopls may again be divided into two groups: (1) yauthiki (Those who were part of a group whose members all became gopls), and (2) ayauthiki (Those who became gopls singly).Yauthikis (Those who were parts of a group whose members all became gopls): The yauthikis were members of a group that jointly engaged in devotional service. These yauthikis may be further divided into two groups: (1) munis (sages), and (2) upanisads (personified Upanisads).Munis (Sages): The munis are described in the following statement of the Padma Purana: In ancient times a group of sages worshipped Gopala for a long time without attaining the object of their spiritual desire. Eventually, they saw Lord Ramacandra and the sight of His transcendental beauty awakened intense attraction within them. They yearned to attain Lord Ramacandra as their husband and as a result of this yearning, they eventually were born as gopls in the land of Vraja.In the Brhad-vamana Purana, another famous passage ex¬plains that some other sages attained spiritual perfection and were thus able to enter the Lord's rasa dance during His manifest earthly pastimes.Personified Upanisads: When all the great, deeply percep¬tive Personified Upanisads saw the supreme, unequalled good fortune of the gopls, they became struck with wonder. The Upanisads
faithfully performed austerities to become like the gopis and eventually, they were born as gopls in the land of Vraja.This famous history is recounted in both the Puranas and Upanisads.Ayauthiki gopls: Those who sincerely follow the regulative practices of devotional service with love for Krsna and yearn to become His gopl associates are born at various times, one-by-one, or in groups of two or three, in the land of Vraja. These ayauthiki gopls may be divided into two groups: (1) pracina and (2) nava.Pracina gopls: After engaging in devotional practices for a long time, the pracina gopls are born in the same area where the Lord's eternally liberated dear gopls have incarnated.Nava gopls: After a relatively short time spent in devotional practices, the nava gopls are born in the wombs of humans, demi-goddesses, or other mothers, and then after that birth, they are able to accept a birth as gopls in the land of Vraja.Devi (demigoddesses): When Krsna incarnates on the heavenly planets by His partial expansion, in order to please the demigods, His eternally dear, liberated gopl associates also appear with Him by their partial expansions as demigoddesses. Those residents of the heavenly planets who are able to understand the real identity of these demigoddesses become qualified to accept a birth in Vrajabhumi as the gopl friends of these liberated gopls.Nityapriya (The eternally liberated gopls): RadharanI and Candravall are the leaders of the nitya-priya gopls. The nityapriya gopls are transcendental reservoirs of eternal beauty, expertise, and all other spiritual qualities, just like Krsna.I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha.
who resembles His own spiritual igure and who embodies the ecstatic potency (hladinl). Their companions are Her confidants, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa.The names of some of the most important gopis mentioned in the Vedic scriptures are: Radha, Candravali, Visakha, Lalita , Syama, Padma, Saibya, Bhadra, ViCitra, Gopali; Dhanistha, and Palika. Candravaki is also known as Somabha, Radha is known as Gandharva, and Lalita is known as AnuRadha. Somabha, Gandharva, and Anuradha are not different gopls. In addition to the gopls mentioned in the scriptures, there are other gopls who, although not mentioned in the original scriptures, are famous in the community of Vaisnavas. Some of these important gopls are: Khanjanaksi, Manorama, Mangala, Vimala, Lila, Krsna, Sari, Visarada, Taravali, Cakoraksi, Sankari, and Kunkuma. In this way, there are hundreds of groups of gopls having beautiful eyebrows and in each group, there are hundreds and thousands of charming girls.The gopls whose names are listed here, beginning with Radha, proceeding through Visakha, Lalita, Padma, Saibya, and others, and ending with Kunkuma, are all leaders of groups of gopls. Among them, the eight closest friends of Radharani, who are headed by Lalita, are especially fortunate. Although these eight gopls are the leaders of many other gopls, because they are very greedy to earn Srlmati Radharani's love,they always serve Her and try to please Her in every way possible.