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