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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Ananda Vrindavana Champu > 12 Stealing the Garments of Gopis

Chapter TWelve

Stealing the Garments of the Gopis



One day, due to their sadhana, the intense hope of Dhanya-sakhi and the  other attractive Vraja kumaris to attain Krishna as their husband blos­somed  like a flower on the desire tree of their hearts. Somehow or other from  that very day the parents thought that their daughters would be happy by  getting good husbands. So rather than being disturbed, they happily helped  their daughters observe the necessary vows to fulfill their natural  desire.

With great affection the mothers warned their daughters, "Your young  bodies are as delicate as flowering creepers, therefore, you cannot  en­dure painful austerities. How will you be able to suppress the bliss  you are feeling within, and suddenly show the determination needed to  perform such difficult activities? Since you will not be able to do it,  you should not attempt to undergo this vow of worship. We have never seen  you do such a thing before."

Such discouraging words merely increased the gopis' determination. The  mothers inquired from their daughters, "O young girls! Who is the devata  whom you are worshiping? Is it Uma, Umapati, Madhava, Kamala, or Brahma?  What type of puja are you doing? Is wealth required? Who is the acarya  directing the chanting of the Vedic mantras? Think about this carefully  and tell us."


To stop any further discussion of the subject, which might reveal their  hidden intentions to attain Krishna, the unmarried gopis thought about their  mothers' words and answered modestly, "If any living entity puts his  de­termined faith in any devata, than that devata will surely fulfill his  desires. Therefore, we will satisfy our desires by increasing our worship  of god­dess Katyayani. We have employed our minds to serve as the best of  acaryas. His orders will determine our future and bring us to our goal.  While waking or sleeping our mental acarya is chanting a mantra to help us  fulfill our purpose."

Being discouraged by their mothers' words from performing the Katyayani  vrata, the gopis felt temporarily despondent. Nevertheless, when the first  day of the Hemanta season arrived, waves of blissful rasa agi­tated the  ocean of their hearts. With great enthusiasm they collected havisyanna and  the other articles to execute the Katyayani vrata.The bodies of the gopis  revealed a distinct type of beauty while under­going the hardship of the  vrata. Since they no longer chewed tambula, the natural luster of their  lips glowed prominently. Though their skin turned somewhat pale and  hardened without their daily oil massages, their bod­ies glistened like  fresh asoka leaves washed by the rain. Since they no longer applied oil to  their hair, it became dull and dry like the minds of the destitute. From  eating once a day their bodies became very thin and lost their natural  effulgences. Though they still wore gems and jeweled necklaces, their  bodies looked as lackluster as the second phase of the dark moon. Seeing  the intensity of their penance and their emaciated condition, all the  Vrajavasis were astonished and felt pity for them.The burning desire to  attain Krishna within the minds of the gopis inter­rupted their sleep, and  forced them to wake up in the middle of the night. Although insufficient  sleep reddened their eyes, they washed their faces, discarded their white  sleeping dresses, and put on auspicious pink clothes. While throwing off  the lethargy of sleep they joyfully considered, "Fol­lowing the scriptural  injunctions, let us take an early morning bath in the Yamuna."Every  morning the gopis would meet according to the secret agreements they had  made the night before. Welcoming each other with respectful words, they  embraced and exchanged great love. With their impeccable qualities and  graceful lotus stem-like arms the gopis looked like an attrac­tive cluster  of lotuses walking down the path. Alone they felt shy and hesitant to  approach Krishna, but as a group they shone with the pride and power of a  dazzling cascade of light.Spreading their radiant effulgences in all  directions, the gopis appeared like a garland of lightning bolts moving on  the earth. Everyday before sunrise these lovely young ladies went to the  Yamuna while singing loudly about the qualities of Hari who is forever  praised by heavenly demigods like Brahma. Full of rhythm and precise  intonations, their voices blended harmoniously with the soft sweet notes  of their vinos. A sweet smell ema­nated from their mouths as the gopis  engaged in kirtana. Captivated by that fragrance, swarms of bees flew  excitedly toward their lotus faces hop­ing to drink the nectar. When the  gopis blinked their eyes in fear of the buzzing bees, the beauty of their  faces greatly increased.


The chiming sounds of their bangles conquered the chirping of  love-maddened sparrows. Just as the hot sunshine does not wilt the lotus  flow­ers, the faces of the gopis remained fresh and attractive, even  though they constantly burned with the desire to meet Krishna. The  maidservants of the gopis followed behind them carrying the finest  ingredients for devi-puja, which they had collected according to strict  rules.Thus the Vraja kumaris, brimming with affection, ignored the  restric­tions imposed by their elders and proceeded to the bank of the  Yamuna. Although Yamuna-devi is the daughter of the sun, who removes all  dark­ness and afflictions, she herself is filled with streams of darkness.  With the eyes of her swirling waves, Yamuna-devi could directly perceive  the faith of the young women who desired Nandasuta as their husband.Seeing  the agitation caused by their blossoming prema, Yamuna-devi wanted to  embrace the gopis with the playful hands of her waves. Yamuna respectfully  said, "O sakhisl Come, come!" Then she made a "jhat.'jhat!" sound with her  waves in response to the delicate "jhat/jhat!" sound of the gopis'  ankle-bells as they quickly ran down the forest path. Understand­ing the  desire of the young girls, Yamuna-devi offered her respects and tenderly  looked at the gopis from the corners of her lotus flower eyes.The rays of  the rising sun instigated pleasure pastimes among the pairs of reunited  cakravaka birds who had been separated the night before. Water birds  chirped gaily while flying overhead. Upon arriving at the Yamuna, the  impatient Vraja kumaris immediately threw off their woolen shawls. Covered  by thin white cotton bathing outfits, the blissful bodies of the gopis  looked more beautiful than a stream of falling snow. The gopis shivered  and softly sighed due to the chilly morning air. The quivering of their  leaf bud-like lips revealed the splendor of their pearly white teeth.The  gopis smiled gently and giggled upon noticing their friends feeling the  same way. Reacting to the biting cold, the gopis made a comic scene by  slapping their arms and crossing their legs in various contorted  pos­tures. Commencing their vrata, the Vraja kumaris offered obeisances to  Kalindi before bathing. Climbing down the bank, they slowly entered the  water. Ignoring the cold, they followed all the prescribed rules and  com­pleted their baths. Then they joyfully ran back up the banks of the  Yamuna. After coming out of the Yamuna the gopis felt elated over  courageously tolerating the painful cold water.The water dripping from the  garments on the limbs of the young, beau­tiful, doe-eye gopis with pretty  smiles fell onto the earth. It seemed that their bodies wept golden tears  after being tortured by the cold black wa­ters of the Yamuna. The water  birds that had spent their youth among the blooming lotus flowers in the  Yamuna saw these drops as the wonderful essence of nectarean beauty. The  shimmering light emanating from their golden bodies made the gopis look  like blissful embodiments of the god­dess of fortune. The water previously  caught in their hair now poured out rapidly. It appeared as if the gopis  cried out of fear.As they gracefully dried themselves with small towels,  the gopis looked very beautiful. After removing the water from their  bodies the gopis com­passionately gave up their enmity toward the cold  water. While drying and arranging their hair, it seemed that the gopis  were showing affection to their weeping hair. The desirable Vraja kumaris  had achieved a unique position due to their sweet beauty and refulgent  golden complexions.After bathing and drying their creeper-like bodies, the  gopis looked even more beautiful as they filled their lotus mouths with  the sweet name of Krishna. Even Laksmi-devi could not surpass their fortune.  While dressing in fresh clothes, they thoroughly immersed their minds in  remembrance of Krishna. The borders of their dresses were ornamented with  attractive lacing of gold and silver threads. After tying up their hair,  the gopis, who are expert in various arts, proceeded to a special place on  the bank of the Yamuna.They occasionally sighed from the cold while  carrying the puja para­phernalia that they had painstakingly gathered. The  sweet fragrance of their breath attracted swarms of bees. But the gopis  felt nervous and twitched their eyebrows because they could not tolerate  the cold wind generated by the wings of those bees. Feeling compassionate,  Surya-deva gradually dispelled their chill by caressing them with his  gentle warm rays. Thus, Surya-deva showed more affection to the gopis than  to his own daughter Yamuna-devi.


The gopis set the excellent puja items on the sandy white banks of the  Yamuna, which glistened like camphor powder. They chose a clean, quiet  place for puja. It was a secluded location undisturbed by the wind, and  free from the contamination of Yamuna foam and the footprints of birds and  animals. Desiring to make a murti of goddess Katyayani out of sand, the  highly qualified gopis spoke in sweet voices resembling the soft cooing of  cuckoos.

. One gopi said, "O my friends! We have never observed the Katyayani  vrata. Before initiating this auspicious act, we should remove the evil  ele­ments from the atmosphere. Are we going to conduct the worship  indi­vidually or all together? Let us decide in such a way that we do not  end up with a disaster. With faith and intelligence we should take  decision."Another sakhi said, "We should do the puja all together in a  group. To perform puja separately is not good. Worshiping together will be  more beneficial."The experts in puja chanted sweet verses praising Krishna's  attributes while offering handfuls of fragrant flowers to a murti of  Katyayani molded from sand. Seeing the elegant murti, the gopis felt that  Bhagavati Katyayani herself had appeared in that murti. The gopis thought,  "How fortunate we are to perceive goddess Bhagavati, even though we have  not yet installed the deity." Feeling that they had satisfied Devi  Katyayani, the gopis felt elated. This strengthened their determination to  execute the vow. To prop­erly please Katyayani, the gopis did manasipuja  of the murti before com­mencing the worship. While concealing the  confidential desires within their hearts and controlling their minds, the  gopis silently fetched water from the Yamuna. The gopis kept Krishna locked  inside their hearts like a precious treasure. After washing their hands  and doing acamana they sat

down on kusa asanas. Fixing their minds in the mode of goodness, the gopis  silently worshiped Katyayani. To invoke Katyayani's presence in the murti,  the expertpujaris respectfully uttered the mantra: iha gaccha gaccha devi,  sannidhanam ihacarah, Krishnasya sannidhanam nana, prdpayasva namo namah.

"Come Devi, please enter this murti. Please help us come close to Krishna.  We pay obeisances to you again and again."

After invoking Katyayani-devi in this way, the young gopis carefully  placed an asana before her. With great bliss they humbly requested the  glorious Katyayani, "Welcome Devi! We offer our heartfelt respects to you.  Please accept this splendid asana. O Devi! May your visit be auspi­cious.  We secretly request you to be merciful to us and bring Krishna before  us."While bathing Katyayani's feet in water mixed with the appropriate  in­gredients the gopis said, "O completely pure Durga! Please accept this  worship of your feet. May our breasts be cooled by this foot water, which  reminds us of Krishna's perspiration. Please help us meet our beloved  Krishna."Following the foot wash, the Vraja kumaris offered priceless arghya  (aus­picious hand wash) made of selected items gathered according to  sastric rules. "O Devi! You are worshipable by all the demigods. We offer  this arghya in hopes that you will soon award us the association of Krishna  who is our maha-arghya."


After arghya the gopis presented acamana (mouthwash). "O Devi! We offer  this pleasant acamana to you in hopes that we will be able to taste  Krishna." Then they offered madhuparka (a pleasant drink composed of honey,  ghee, and yogurt) saying, "O Devi! We offer you this sweet madhuparka with  the desire to taste Krishna's honey sweet lips."


Absorbed in samadhi and overcome with prema-rasa, those young,  pure-hearted girls with thin waists offered acamana again while saying,  "We offer you this acamana with the desire to repeatedly drink the nectar  from Krishna's lotus mouth."

They brought aromatic oil in a jeweled container for massaging the body.  Even without any wind it automatically dispersed its rich fragrance  through the air. It was an attractive deep red oil just suitable for  massage. The gopis said, "O Devi! Please accept this oil for massaging  your body. Please attach our bodies, which are saturated with prema, to  each of Krishna's limbs."

To remove the oil they used a soft scented powder, which seemed like a  spray from a fountain of concentrated bliss. While doing this the gopis  said, "We offer this fragrant powder to you. Please remove our sorrow by  giving us the association of Krishna." They respectfully offered bathing  water scented with the finest camphor and kept in a golden vessel. "We  offer you this finely scented bath water. Please arrange for us to bathe  in the nectar of Krishna's association."The Vraja kumaris very methodically  offered a neatly folded sari woven with golden threads. "O Devi! Please  accept this golden sari. Please ar­range that our clothes will be  exchanged with Krishna's clothes." They brought the best quality flawless  jewels and ornaments made by expert goldsmiths. "Please decorate yourself,  O Devi, with these priceless orna­ments. And please adorn us with the  nectar of Krishna's limbs."

The young, lotus-eyed gopis brought attractive ointments made oiaguru,  camphor, and musk. "O Devi! We offer you these opulent ointments. Please  arrange that our bodies will become anointed with the touch of Krishna's  limbs."The air attained good fortune by carrying the pleasing, celestial  aromas of the various scents presented by the gopis. "O Devi! We offer you  these scents which enliven the nostrils/Please make our limbs fragrant  with the aroma from Krishna's body."They offered Vrndavana flowers from all  six seasons, which were very colorful, covered with sweet pollen, and  surrounded by bees. "O Devi! Let our lips be worshiped by Krishna's teeth  which conquer the beauty of kunda flowers." They offered incense made from  black aguru, khus root, and clusters of the finest gulgul, saying, "O  Devi! We offer you this pleasing incense smoke. Please show us your  effulgence and pacify our burning hearts."

While offering opulent ghee lamps mixed with camphor, the gopis prayed,  "Please illumine the house of our breasts with the lamp of Krishna's  kaustubha jewel."

They offered milk, butter, rock candy, bananas, coconuts, mung dal,  sun-dried rice, cakes soaked in sugar water, malpoa, sweet rice, cooked  grains, amrta-keli, and assorted little tasty cakes covered with powdered  rock candy icing. While presenting these delicacies to Katyayani the girls  prayed, "Please eat all these pure and pleasing food offerings. And please  give us the remnants from the lotus mouth of the ever-youthful Krishna."  Fixing their minds on their goal, the gopis chanted the following mantra  with full feeling:


katyayani maha-maye, maha-yoginy adhisvari,

 nanda-gopa-sutam devi, patirh me kuru te namah


"O goddess Katyayani! O great potency of the Lord! O possessor of great  mystic power and mighty controller of all! Please make the son of Nanda  Maharaja our husband. We offer our obeisances unto you."

Then they muttered japa with clear pronunciation. While offering tambula  and acamana the gopis said, "Please relish this tambula made of betel,  cloves, camphor, and cardamom. And please color our lips with the juice of  Krishna's tambula."

Performing arati, they said, "O Mahesvari! We show these lamps to you in  hopes that you will please illumine our limbs with the glow of Krishna's  limbs." After arati they gracefully bowed down on the ground and offered  eloquent prayers disclosing their minds' desires. The gopis prayed, "O  mother of Ganesh! Neither your husband Mahadeva, nor Brahma, nor Brhaspati  can offer suitable praise to you, what to speak of others. We are greedy  only to taste Krishna. Therefore, we glorify you so that you will stop the  itching of our tongues. O Mahesvari! Please shower your mercy upon us.

"You are called Yogamaya, the potency of Maha-Vishnu, who possesses all  energies. You have the power to do the impossible. You are peace,  tolerance, nourishment, satisfaction, knowledge and ignorance. Although  you bind the living entities, you are the giver of liberation. O mother of  all! By your glance the creation, maintenance, and destruction of the  world takes place.


"O Devi! You are the pinnacle of all auspiciousness. Your order and  glories are sitting like a swan on the heads of all the devatas. You are  expert in worshiping Krishna, and you are the supreme Vaisnavi. O  Paramesvari! O supreme goddess! You always engage in the welfare of  others. We pay our respects unto you. You perfectly understand the minds  of all living entities. So please fulfill our desire to achieve Krishna as  our husband."Upon finishing their personal prayers for that day, the gopis  paid re­spects and offered the deity of Katyayani to the Yamuna.  Throughout the days and nights of the entire month of the vrata the young  girls main­tained their unswerving zeal. Their throats always sung about  Krishna's qualities. As the days passed the gopis offered more items and  increased the standard of worship.Katyayani-devi was pleased with their  pure offerings and regular wor­ship. Thus the gopis hoped to attain her  grace. Indeed, just before the end of the month they received the mercy of  Devi. Everyone suspected that the gopis wanted wealth like any ordinary  human being. But the gopis did not want any wealth from their worship of  Yogamaya or the devatas.The all-auspicious Katyayani fulfills desires, and  bestows mercy and happiness upon those qualified with a pure heart. She  reciprocated with the Vraja kumaris by appearing within their minds  saying, "O auspicious girls! You are the embodiments of Krishna's conjugal  attraction. You will attain all good fortune by worshiping Krishna. The  devotees of Laksmi, who fulfills all desires, do not worship other devatas  to attain the favor of Laksmi-devi. Your sincere prayer ornaments your  heart and indicates your longing for Krishna. Your prayers also make me  glorious. Very soon you will attain the association of Krishna according to  your individual tastes. Now you can stop your austerities." After speaking  thus, Katyayani dis­appeared from their hearts. The words of the goddess  greatly increased the gopis' faith.On the last day of the vrata, the gopis  felt quivering in their left arms, eyes, and thighs. These signs of  imminent auspiciousness removed their fatigue, and made them confident of  attaining the fruit of their desire to enjoy with Krishna. As they  considered how to best complete their vrata, the sun rose brilliantly in  the sky. The lotuses responded by opening hap­pily as the atmosphere  saturated with immeasurable joy.


The gopis worshiped Devi with countless numbers of the best quality  articles. Rejoicing over the successful completion of their vrata, the  gopis liberally offered the various puja items. Anticipating the  forthcoming re­sult of their austerities, the gopis succumbed to a playful  mood and stood up excitedly. After receiving the blessings of Katyayani  they took off their fancy pure silk saris and placed them on some clean  ground. Following the local customs, they bathed naked in the Yamuna. Elated and  enthused, the gopis joyfully pushed and squeezed each other. Bask­ing  under the warm rays of the sun, they were oblivious to the cold water. The  blissful gopis created a captivating scene as they lost themselves in the  fun of water sporting. Meanwhile, according to the previous day's plan, the young cowherd boys  walked toward the pastures. Hearing them approaching, the forest birds  excitedly flew into the sky. Though Krishna is very strong, He is con­quered  by the intense love of His dear friends like Balarama. Although He is  independent, Krishna became controlled by the pure love of the gopis and  thus moved in their direction.


The prema of the young gopis reached perfection because it had the desire  to give bliss to Krishna as its only goal. In order to dispel the pain of  their longing, .Vrndavana-candra, the master of all masters of mystic  yoga, showered nectar from His flute. Taking the qualities of the young  girls as His necklace, Krishna left the happiness of herding the cows and  playing with His intimate friends. He went to perform pastimes with the  gopis in order make the bud of their heart's prema blossom into a flower. The gopis' cherished desire to meet Krishna had been steadily growing  throughout the year. Leaving the company of Balarama and the older boys,  Krishna took some of His young friends and went to enjoy with the gopis.  These blissful boys had spotless characters and beautiful forms that  resembled toy dolls. Secretly and unseen, Krishna arrived amidst the gopis.  He wanted to award the gopis the fruit of their endeavor, and at the same  time relish a playful pastime. Thus Krishna, who is the color of a new monsoon cloud, who attracts the  gopis and is attracted to the gopis, who always befriends His devotees,  and who gives happiness to all but never inflicts pain on anyone, prepared  to enact His pastimes. Krishna tied His hair under His turban, pulled up His  cloth, and quieted His ankle-bells. With a glaring look Krishna silenced the  silly talking of His young friends. Then Krishna crouched down and cast a  few furtive glances while smiling mischievously. Although Krishna is an  unfathomable reservoir of steadiness and all other good qualities, He  of­ten displays a unique type of fickleness.Adopting the mood of a thief,  Krishna arrogantly snatched the gopis' clothes and slung them over His  shoulder. After hushing up His little friends, Krishna quickly climbed to  the top of a kadamba tree. Sitting on a branch, Krishna glanced toward the  gopis and listened to their talk. At that time, the young gopis, who are  praised even by the goddess of fortune, desired to stop bathing.Not seeing  their clothes on the bank of the river, the gopis thought with surprise,  "Who stole our clothes? There is no one here except the rays of the sun,  and on the banks there are only the footprints of some water birds.  Perhaps the devatas have hidden our clothes somewhere, because when they  visit they do not touch the earth nor leave any footprints."

The gopis looked fearfully here and there while arguing over the various  possibilities. The waves of their sidelong glances skimmed across the  sur­face of the Yamuna. The gopis scanned all directions with their wide  blue eyes that resembled the petals of a blue lotus. Their unparalleled  beauty astounded the whole universe. The glances of the gopis resembled  rows of glittering saphari fish darting to and fro. Not finding their  clothes, they submerged in an ocean of sorrow.Seeing their plight, the  young prince of Vrndavana, who removes the sadness of the world, assumed a  splendid aura of beauty as He sat on the kadamba tree. His natural  effulgence easily eclipsed the radiance of the sun. While smiling at His  young gopa friends, Krishna joked with the gopis in a sweet, clear voice  soaked in a nectar unknown even in the heavenly planets. Krishna said, "O  young girls, you should not be so disturbed by this. I have stolen your  pure sparkling garments just to attract your minds and relish some  pleasurable pastimes. Using your pearl necklaces as an offering, give up  your pride, and come here alone or come all together to get your  clothes."The fruit on the vine of the Katyayani vrata, which is difficult  for others to attain, had now spontaneously ripened for the gopis.  Drinking the words flowing from Krishna's mouth, which indicated His greed  for them, the gopis savored a stream of rasa-filled nectar. They saw it as  an exclusive gift awarded to them on the auspicious completion of their  vrata. In this way, the gopis overcame the fatigue from executing their  austere vow.Lowering their eyelids in shyness, the gopis cast sidelong  glances to rep­rimand that expert thief who fulfills all desires. Krishna's  appearance seemed like some good fortune arriving at the wrong time. Their  extreme joy forcefully propelled them to Krishna, yet simultaneously filled  them with confusion. In this state of bewilderment, they ignored the  coldness of the water and submerged themselves up to their necks.They  stood silently without yielding to Krishna's demand. Those young girls with  gleaming teeth and bashful faces thought that Krishna might not keep His  promise to return their clothes. Whispering amongst themselves, one gopi  said, "Why not talk to Him and defeat Him with your clever words?" But  being controlled by Yogamaya, none of the gopis could re­spond to Krishna's  request to collect their clothes.In their silence, the faces of the gopis,  encircled by dark blue locks of hair, looked like rows of half-open  lotuses surrounded by quiet bumble­bees. What charm they added to the bank  of the Yamuna! For a long time the gopis deliberately refused to answer or  look toward the kadamba tree. Giving up their shyness, which had pervaded  them like an internal dis­ease, the gopis finally spoke in such a way to  show their disgust with Krishna's naughty behavior.The sweet dancing of  their lotus eyes and the darting movements of their eyebrows captivated  all directions. The gopis showed their shyness through their affectionate  solicitations and entreaties that appeared both witty and respectful at  same time. Their smiling faces created waves of sweetness as their teeth  reflected on the water.One gopi said, "Are You not the respectable son of  the great king of Vrndavana who instructs everyone in proper behavior? Are  You not the all-attractive ocean of good qualities full of waves of  compassion? Are You not the one who distributes wonderful auspiciousness  on the earth with the beauty of Your body? Are You not th& personified  bliss of Vrndavana illuminating the eyes of everyone with Your effulgent  limbs? Are You not indifferent to the excessive praises of others? Are You  not learned in all sastras and weapons? Are You not the remover of  igno­rance?


"Therefore, how could You have suddenly performed such an unjust and  abominable act? You should not do such things because You are the most  worshipable entity and the benefactor of the world. So why have You done  this atrocious act? We deserve Your mercy after having ex­ecuted such  difficult austerities.

"Your conduct spells death to all the virgins in Vrndavana. Why did You  steal our splendid garments needed for our vratal Is this Your idea of  fun? It will not do You any good, but rather it will make You infamous.You  should follow the path of honor and not be unfair. Now return our clothes  and maintain Your spotless fame."

Affected by their pleas and shyness, Krishna said, "O lotus-eyed girls! I am  not a skillful speaker who is prone to lying. Of course, some eloquent  speakers are so habituated to lying that even when telling lies, they  re­peatedly say it true. Thus people accept their lies as truth. However,  it is well known that My nectarean words are always true. Even in joking,  I do not conceal the all-auspicious truth. It is not proper to joke,  especially with ladies like you who are practicing vratas. When I said  come and take your beautiful clothes, I was not telling a lie."

The gopis said, "O one who removes intense pain and destroys irreligion.  Why are you deviating from the path of dharmal Even jokingly a good person  never says such things. O deliverer of Gajendra! You are famous for being  naturally merciful. But why are You not showing one drop of mercy toward  us? Why can't You sympathize with our suffering?

"You are not considering how to remove the confusion within our  intel­ligence as we stand here up to our necks in ice cold water. It is  the nature of village girls that we would rather drown in the Yamuna, than  stand naked before You who are afflicting us. We fully understand the  inner meaning of Your words.

"O deliverer of harsh words! Please stop speaking. O clever joker! Do not  bewilder us with Your wit. We offer respects to Your feet. Actions speak  louder than words. O one, whose face defeats the luster of the autumn  moon, we are Your servants, and we will obey whatever order You give to  test our minds. Give up Your prevailing mood of being a charitable person  by donating cloth. Do not turn a well into an ocean of mirth. Now give  back our dresses by passing them to Your trustworthy young friends."

After one gopi tried pacifying Krishna with these words another gopi spoke.  Her voice sounded more pleasing than a vina or a cuckoo. Although she  spoke with the courage of an infantry commander, the vibration of her  voice contained an undeniable attraction for Krishna.She said, "It is  difficult but we must stick to the path of dharma. We young girls of  Vrndavana have never before been spoiled by such vile behavior. O  perpetrator of injustice! How are such abominable acts going on in the  village of Vrndavana? O son of Nanda Maharaja! We request You to  counteract this injustice. We are Your servants and are very re­spectful  towards You, but if You persist we will complain to the King of  Vrndavana."Wearing a necklace on His chest and enjoying the comical  situation, Krishna smiled gently and said, "O My dear love-saturated gopis.  It does not befit You to speak like this. Indeed, if you are really My  servants,then you must do as I say. Why can't you follow My sincere and  pertinent instructions meant for your benefit? Whether an order is  agreeable or disagreeable, a servant must always obey the master's orders.  Therefore, the conclusion is that you should come forward and take your  clothes. Do not spoil the reputation of your family. If you do not do what  I say, I will not give them back to you. O ignorant ones! And even if the  king be­comes angry, what can he do?"

Those young unmarried gopis, the epitome of good conduct, had praised  their beloved with sweet words and served that difficult to achieve Lord  with great affection. Intensely eager to attain Krishna, they drank His  ambrosial words with the cups of their ears. Because their love for Krishna  had already matured over a long time, the gopis felt they could no longer  ignore the harsh demands of this rarely achieved person. Although angry,  the shy young girls were indifferent to it due to their deep attachment to  Krishna.

Agitated by the waves oiprema, they took Krishna's order to heart and  gradually moved toward the shore. The young girls covered their bodies  with their long hair that hung to their feet. Surrounded by their curly  dark locks, the lustrous lotus faces of the gopis looked like many small  moons encircled by the essence of darkness. The beauty of their eyes  eclipsed the beauty of blue lotus petals, their graceful movements  conquered the gliding of elegant swans, and their faces defeated the  splendor of golden lotus flowers.

Their tender feet had become completely numb from the cold. They felt very  shy, but due to the bliss awakening within, their skin erupted with tiny  thrill-bumps, which appeared like particles of snow spread over their  bodies by the winter winds. Inside themselves the gopis waged a war with  the forces of shyness trying to hold them back, and the forces of desire  pushing them forward. As they came up to waist level in the water, the  gopis suddenly stood still by the scolding of the sakhi known as modesty.  They joked with each other, "O sakhi\ You go first!" "No, no, you go  first!" "O thin-waisted young girl, why not go?" "Oh, no, no, you go  first." In that lonely place Krishna greatly relished this splendid  conversation.

The gopis could not move forward because the power of their moral  character equaled that of their strong attraction to Krishna. Though  satu­rated with Krishna prema, modesty subdued their ecstatic bliss.  Glancing restlessly here and there from the corners of their eyes, the  gopis came to the river's bank with great difficulty.

Shri Krishna, the supreme relisher of rasa, looked at the young girls with  astonishment and cleverness. Being overpowered by shyness, they hid behind  each other while trying to cover their private parts from His curious  gaze. To those qualified gopis whose hearts burned with an intense desire to serve Him, Krishna said, "O sakhisl Why are you afraid of Me? You are  standing there in a confused state as if you are not the least bit  attracted. How is it possible to cover yourselves? Sitting in the limbs of  this tall tree, I can easily see you. On the pretext of morality you are  trying to cheat Me. Now stand in a straight line, come before Me, and  exhibit your splen­did beauty. By following My instructions it will be  very easy to get your clothes."

The Vraja kumaris attentively listened to the pleasing words of Krishna.  Overcome with feelings of love, respect, and hesitation, each of the gopis  slowly moved toward their beloved Lord. Krishna relished the purity of their  love while observing their state of embarrassment. Putting their clothes  on His shoulder, Krishna smiled as He drank the nectar from their sweet  loving faces. In an affectionate voice, Krishna said, "It is very inauspicious to stand  here with your hair hanging loose and disheveled. It is especially  offen­sive for one performing a vrata. What to speak of a person observing  a vrata, even an ordinary person keeps his hair tied. O beautiful young  girls! Even the celestial nymphs lose their beauty if they let down their  hair. By this act you have spoiled your beauty. O girls whose sweet faces  conquer the moon! You should tie your hair in a braid."

Upon hearing Krishna's clever pleasing words, the gopis lost all  apprehen­sion. Overwhelmed with prema, they slowly rose out of the water.  Their golden thighs radiated a special type of elegance. The ankle-bells  on their pink lotus feet resounded like an army of quarreling ducks. As  the young girls stood before Krishna, they pleased Him with the fickle sound  of their bangles.


Their hair stood on end as the gopis relished the moment with nervous  laughter. The young gopis looked very beautiful with their slightly  bloom­ing golden breasts. Desiring to please the Lord, they tied up their  hair in artistic ways. Though satisfied, Krishna spoke as follows, "O girls,  it is not right to stand before someone you respect. Even if you see Me as  an ordinary person, it is not right for you to stand before Me. Therefore  come here and obey Me by sitting on this pure seat."For the gopis, these  words flowed like nectar from the moon of Krishna's mouth. They felt  relieved, but due to fear they could not decide between right and wrong.  The gopis crossed their legs and placed their hands over their private  parts. With their breasts hanging down slightly as they leaned forward,  the gopis looked like golden forests creepers laden with heavy jewel-like  fruits.The desire for conjugal love captured Krishna's mind. Smiling, He  spoke pleasantly, "O young ladies! This is not the proper conduct of  righteous people. A person doing a vrata should never bathe naked in a  river. By doing so you have offended Yamuna-devi, the presiding deity of  the river. And by playing in the water while looking at the bank you have  also of­fended the devatasl Although you have obstructed My desires, your  of­fense can be mitigated because you acted in ignorance. If you really  want to achieve the results of your vrata, then you must atone for your  offenses by following My advice." Seriously considering Krishna's proposal,  the doe-eyed gopis thought, "We should do whatever the opposition  suggests. But we cannot guess what He will say next. And if we do not  comply, the results of our vrata will be destroyed. So what can we do?"  While thinking thus, the gopis spoke amongst themselves. One gopi said,  "We are afraid and doubtful about following His advice." Though filled  with great joy and fervor, the grip of timidity made the gopis  apprehensive.Understanding their fatigue and mental condition, and seeing  them los­ing their natural color, Krishna said, "O young girls! Your glances  fly hither and thither like the fearful eyes of the cakora. Why are you  raising such harsh arguments? Please hear My words that can remove all the  offenses made during your vrata. Can one quench his thirst without water?  With­out evening, summer gives no relief. Therefore, you should follow My  order. You can wipe away all your sins just by offering your respects to  Me. If you do it with great faith and devotion, you will receive the  desired result in many ways. O beautiful young girls! To counteract your  offenses you should stand before Me with straightened legs, and offer  obeisances while placing your joined palms above your heads."Casting aside  their shyness, the gopis obeyed the words of their dearmost lover. With  half-closed eyes they held their joined palms above their heads and  offered respects to Krishna, who made them act just like toy dolls. The  gopis pacified Krishna by standing humbly before Him with their heads  hang­ing down. As Krishna's prema-filled heart melted, a nectarean smile  per­fumed His lips.

Glancing wantonly at the young girls, Krishna revealed His desires by  say­ing, "You have greatly pleased Me and I feel the utmost limit of love  for you. Dress yourselves in your clothes, which are redder than  pomegran­ate flowers. May you drown in the ocean of ecstasy according to  your individual tastes of love."

After saying this Krishna extended His hand to give each gopi her  respec­tive clothes. The good fortune of the Vraja kumaris far surpassed  that of the goddess of fortune. Holding their shimmering dresses in their  hands, the gopis looked like clusters of golden lotuses bedecked with  flags. They appeared very beautiful and ready for the play of love.Then  they carefully put on their clothes that were nicely scented from the  touch of Krishna's lotus hands. Glancing shyly at Krishna, their golden lotus  faces bloomed with beauty. Their bodies trembled pleasurably from the  excitement of finally achieving His association. Tasting the topmost  happiness, the gopis stood there steeped in affection. Even without  touch­ing Krishna, they felt His powerful embrace.


Abandoning His gravity, the young prince of Vrndavana spoke  compas­sionately to the young girls, "I knew everything before the desire  tree of your determination sprouted. I have performed this astonishing  pastime just to increase your love. By ordering you harshly, I tested the  purity of your love. Attracted to Me, You submissively obeyed My  beneficial or­ders, and therefore I have manifested eternal love within  your hearts.

"Your desire is pure, eternally existing, and laden with rasa. I  recipro­cate differently with people in the mundane world. If a  pure-hearted per­son displays such intense desires, I will transform them  into prema. Then he will taste the blissful nectar derived from  experiencing My qualities. This well of nectar exists independently of any  other type of rasas. Even Laksmi-devi hankers for the love that you have  so clearly displayed. Just as rice paddy that is boiled in water or fried  in fire can never show the qualities of the seed, similarly, the lusty  desires of the common people can never sprout in the ocean of such supreme  rasa."


After hearing Krishna speak, the thoughtful girls appeared beautified with  the sweet fragrance of the vine of fickleness. Accepting the words of  their dearmost as truth, the gopis experienced both immeasurable joy and  agi­tation due to their intense longing for Krishna. Then the gopis cried  tears of happiness that seemed like the fluid dripping from the ears of a  lust-crazed elephant. Without responding to Krishna, the gopis just stood  for some time with a disturbed look in their eyes. Now that their vrata  was finished, the gopis felt surcharged with love and incredible bliss.  They murmured among themselves with voices as sweet as cooing birds.Krishna  continued, "Now return to Vrndavana. Soon we will enjoy to­gether during a  festive night. You have attained eternal perfection, so stop whispering  like thirsty cataki birds."With their sidelong glances and lips trembling  in love, the gopis appeared to be covering Krishna with a shower of blue  lotus petals and newly un­furled leaves. Pacified and pleased, the gopis  then returned to Vrndavana with great difficulty.