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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Ananda Vrindavana Champu > 17 Rasa Dance Begins

Chapter Seventeen

The Rasa Dance Begins



After breaking the pride of all the devatas headed by Brahma, Krishna  conquered the god of love. Seeing the beautiful full moon night of the  sarad season, Krishna desired to enjoy the rasa dance. In this  transcenden­tal pastime, Krishna tested the enchanting power of His coveted  compan­ion the flute, embraced all the young gopis in His arms, and  relished the pure love of the Vraja kumaris, who had previously worshiped  Katyayani without deviation. By this time, the Vraja kumaris' attraction to Krishna flowed like a  rush­ing stream of nectar. The fruit of their prema had been maturing from  the day that Krishna accepted them. Understanding that their prema had  rip­ened, Krishna thought, "Tonight I will enjoy rasa-lila with My dearest  Radhika, the gopis, and all of these young girls." To facilitate His  pastime, He lengthened the night to the equal the duration of Brahma's  night.


He strengthened the determination of the young girls who had been kept in  their parents'houses on previous nights. On that night, the young girls,  being maddened with the desire to please Krishna, easily overcame all  obstacles and took shelter of the forest. Those effulgent, well-behaved  young gopis, whom He had already accepted, quickly ran into the forest.  Seeing them standing before Him like the presiding deities of the full  moon night, eager to satisfy His desires, Krishna said, "You have come here  with great endeavor."


After saying this, Krishna thought how to keep His promise to them. Know­ing  their intentions and Krishna's desire to enjoy intimate pastimes with them,  Yogamaya, the Lord's own internal potency, made all necessary  arrangements. The nights in which Krishna enjoyed His rasa-lila surpassed  the splendor of the spring, summer, and autumn seasons combined. The best  flowers of those three seasons simultaneously bloomed and inun­dated the  forest with incomparable aromas. The pleasing, indistinct sounds of  cuckoos vibrated in all directions. The south wind blew gently carrying  the fragrance of honey-laden madhavi blossoms. Swarms of intoxicated young  bees moved among the mallika creepers drinking the nectar from the  half-opened blossoms. Their loud buzzing resembled the trumpeting  conchshell of the spring festival. Lazy herons and love-crazed ducks swam  about in the various lakes. Bees played in the blooming clumps of lotus  flowers. The bright full moon rose quickly and moved into position for its  ser­vice. Rising in the pink sky, it looked like a round dye tub for Cupid  to  color the cloth of the hearts of young men and women. It looked like a  golden earring reflected on the passion-flushed cheeks of the goddess of  fortune. The rising moon appeared like a copper clock in the sky  an­nouncing the time for relishing the sweet rasa dance. The moon appeared  like the blissful face of the wife of Indra, the Lord of the eastern  direc­tion. As the moon, anxious to see Krishna, continued rising it turned yellow in  color like fresh sprouts. Millions of stars twinkled attractively in the  clear autumn sky. The moon appeared like a swan dyed yellow from touching  the pollen of the golden lotus flowers growing in the lakes of the eastern  direction. It appeared like an offering of butter churned from the ocean  of yogurt by the embodiment of time.

As the moon continued its upward journey, it turned more and more white in  color. It looked like a white pavilion of the king of seasons sup­ported  by the ropes of its fine rays. Just as lovers burning in separation often  look through half-closed eyes, similarly, at this time due to its  bril­liant rays, one could only view the moon through squinting eyes. The  full moon looked like a plump white dove sitting in his nest of the sky  fixed in the pavilion of the universe.

The moon and its spots looked like a crystal box with reflections of betel  nuts on it. But if you say that a crystal box does not move, then we say  that the moon appears like a sparkling silver boat crossing the ocean of  the sky under the direction of the captain of time. If you say that the  spots on the moon make it inauspicious, then we say that it is still  beautiful and auspicious. It is just like a silver pot decorated with  ornamental leaves belonging to the bride of the night.


The moon glitters like the diamond earring of the playful Lord Balarama.  It is like an egg produced by the swan of fame of the autumn season. The  moon is like a cool, soft pillow to relieve Cupid's fever caused by his  own pride. It is like a malati mala tied in the hair of the spotless  effulgence of the goddess of twilight. This indicates that chaste women  worship the moon. Against the dark blue sky the white moon appears like  the Pancajanya conchshell hanging on the darkened body of Vishnu. It is the  silver umbrella of Cupid. Materialists are satisfied with the successful  'harvests produced by its nourishing rays.

It looks like a splendid crystal bowl holding ghee for ayajna. The moon,  situated in the milky ocean of the sky, is like an oyster-shell box filled  with priceless pearls. It is the looking glass of the goddess of  auspicious-ness, the candana tilaka on the maiden of the night, or a city  of camphor to soothe the eyes. The beautiful full moon appears like a huge  white lotus floating in a lake of bliss, a pile of foam on the ocean of  sweetness, or the palace of the goddess of beauty.


The full moon looks like a sandy bank of the Akash Ganga (milky way). Just  as love-intoxicated cuckoos are always ornamented with sweet coo­ing, the  moon is decorated with fifteen attractive phases. Just as a pious king is  endowed with treasures collected from His circle of followers, the moon  possesses an orb of radiance. Just as Rama always accompanies Laksmana and  the sarasa bird always stays with his wife, similarly, the moon always  exists with its spots. Just as a devotee removes misery and gives joy to  the earth, the moon relieves suffering and gives happiness. Just as a  sadhu's good instructions act as medicine to cure a person's faulty  intelligence, similarly, the moon gives herbs and plants as medi­cines to  cure all diseases. Just as Kamadeva stimulates desires, the moon increases mutual  attrac­tion. As a man of discrimination destroys the darkness of  ignorance, the moonlight removes the darkness from the earth. As Sugriva  is the master of his wife named Tara, similarly, the moon is the lord of  the stars (tara). Though the ocean is always filled with sharks and snakes  (sada ahi makara), the moon is always full of cooling rays (sada hema  kara). In this way, the moon, replete with all good qualities and  auspiciousness, illuminated Vrndavana with its rays of light.In the  splendid sarad season the king of the stars gradually rose to the top of  the sky. The moonlight filtering through the leaves and creepers created a  wonderful combination of shading and lighting. The moon rays seemed to be  coming through a sieve and spreading in a thousand pencil rays across the  forest floor. Acting as a skillful light designer, the moon produced a  perfect atmosphere for the auspicious rasa dance.The moon hung from the  umbrella of the sky, which was embellished with the pearl-like stars. The  effulgent rays of the moon seemed like the filaments of a huge camara  belonging to the demigods. The moon re­sembled a white lotus flower strung  on a white silk thread through the center of an umbrella of pearls formed  by the stars in the sky. Eager to enliven the earth, the moon emanated a  unique radiance, which soothed and satisfied the minds of the people, and  churned the hearts of all beau­tiful ladies. The intoxicating nectar of  the full moon maddened the world with desire.


Encouraged by the splendor of the full moon, Krishna took shelter of His  effulgent, all-enchanting flute. Endowed with matchless fame, Krishna's  flute pleases the minds of everyone, and forcibly attracts the young gopis  of Vrndavana. Without making any distinctions that flute enthuses  every­one in heaven and earth. Though Krishna's flute has the power to  attract all living entities, by the will of the Lord only certain ones  such as the deer, cows, birds, and young gopis can hear it. Seeing the rising moon, Krishna vibrated captivating tunes on His sweet  murali. Hearing it, each gopi thought that Krishna called her alone. As they  absorbed themselves in the blissful vibration, the gopis became oblivious  to all other sounds. Manifesting its own personality, the flute sound  tran­scended all obstacles and impediments in order to bring supreme  fortune to the gopis. The flute's sweet song uprooted the gopis' hearts,  drank up their intelligence, liquidated their self-control, and blurred  their vision. Their minds entered a state of insanity and their bodies  shook in ecstasy. They thought only of the path leading to Krishna. The  flute sounded a death­blow to proper conduct and family reputation. It was  the Agama sastra for destroying one's patience and self-control. It cast an unbreakable spell upon the Vraja gopis. Suffering intense pains  of lust from hearing the seductive calling of Krishna's murali, the gopis  de­sired only to meet Krishna. Though soft and sweet, the sound of the flute  acted like a mad elephant intent on enjoying his pastimes. Showing great  skill, he broke through the fences of their families, destroyed their  self-restraint, and turned the innocent young girls into wanton ladies.


The flute sound created extraordinary effects when it touched the ears of  that excellent gopi Radhika. It turned Her into an intoxicated person.  Becoming dizzy, Radharani lost all shyness and self-control. Her  intelli­gence bewildered; She uttered nonsense words. This state of  intoxication differed from the type caused by wine, which reddens the  eyes. Radhika's eyes did not turn red from the intoxicating sound of the  flute, but they filled with tears instead. But will the eyes not become  red from wiping away the tears of love?

The sound of Krishna's flute is the joy of all joys, the secret of all  secrets, the festival of all festivals, and the impeller of all impellers  to force one to meet with Him. Upon hearing their own names blended in the  melody of Krishna's flute, the Vraja kumaris, though far away from Krishna,  felt very close to their object of love. Although they had no prior  arrangement for a rendezvous, and though engaged in their daily chores,  all the gopis at once decided to go to Krishna. Immediately upon hearing the  dancing notes of the flute, the gopis left the village of Vrndavana. They  moved as if under the influence of a malefic star, or like puppets strung  on a single thread, or rain falling from a cloudless sky. Their  irrepressible prema flashed like lightning within them. The unexpected  appearance of their cherished object of love baffled their intelligence.


The gopis resembled golden creepers that had been broken and thrown into a  lake of intense attraction. They looked like land lotuses crushed by the  intoxicated elephants of their desires. Verily, they existed as the  em­bodiments of loving hankering. Due to their acute longing for Krishna,  the gopis lost all fear of criticism. The young girls looked immensely  beautiful with their earrings swinging as they moved hastily along the  path. They totally concentrated on the object of their desire. Pursuing  the sound of the flute, they appeared like golden lights shaking in the  wind, or flames spreading light in all directions. The sadhana siddha  gopis {sruti-caris & muni-caris) were one group among the many famous  Vraja gopis attending the rasa dance. These gopis happily spent their days  obeying their parents and performing their daily duties. But upon hearing  Krishna's flute song, they immediately abandoned their engagements of  cooking, milking cows, fetching water and so on. That alluring sound made  them fly in the sky on the wings of their anxious hearts. Some gopis left  rice boiling on the stove and quickly went to Krishna.


Others abruptly left the circle of their relatives and ran out to the  forest path. Some lotus-eyed gopis, who were feeding milk to the babies of  the married gopis, put them on the ground and raced away. The muni-cari  gopis, who had been the sages of Dandakaranya, maintained/?ara/crya bhava  for Krishna within the core of their hearts. Although carefully attending  their husbands, they left them immediately upon hearing the sweet melody  of Krishna's flute. They felt each moment away from Krishna to be like  mil­lions of years. Some of the muni-cari gopis were taking their evening  meals and joking with their families, but upon hearing Krishna's flute song  they instantly stopped eating and rushed off to Krishna.

When beckoned by the murali, the sruti-cari gopis, although having painted  sandal pulp designs on only one of their breasts, fled rapidly from their  houses. Forcibly attracted by the vibration of Krishna's flute, the older  sruti-cari gopis left the massaging of their maid servants aside and  has­tened to the forest without even buttoning their blouses. If the sadhana siddha gopis felt such affliction, one can just imagine the  condition of the eternal consorts of Krishna. The nitya-siddha gopis  pos­sessed totally auspicious, eternal spiritual bodies. Permeated with  joy, all their limbs longed for the sweet festival of Krishna's loving  embrace. In their anxiety to meet Krishna they dressed and ornamented  themselves in haphazard ways. They fastened their necklaces on their  waists, diamond belts on their chests, anklets on their arms, and  bracelets on their ankles. They set their hip ornaments in their hair and  their hair ornaments on their hips. Losing all sense of reality, the gopis  applied kajala to only one eye, aha to one foot, and kunkuma to one  breast. In this condition, their bodies looked even more attractive, and  clearly indicated their hearts' burning desire for Krishna.


Some gopis draped their upper garments around their legs, and their under  garments on their arms. It appeared their limbs behaved as two close  friends exchanging clothes with each other. They tied their sashes around  their ankles. As they walked, the tassels on the ends of these sashes slid  along on the ground. The gopis looked like freed elephants dragging their chains behind them. Some gopis held their untied sashes in their  lotus-bud hands as they ran excitedly down the footpath to meet Krishna. An excited gopi, who had applied wet lac dye to only one foot, stained one  side of the path as she raced down the path to Krishna. The young gopis  appeared as beautiful as Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas. With  their veils flapping in the pleasant breeze, the gorgeous bodies of the  gopis seemed like moving flags of Cupid, advertising their willingness to  submit to Krishna. The tinkling of anklets tied on one foot appeared to be  talking to a mute, since their constant clatter met no response from the  other foot. Their armlets haphazardly placed on only one arm made their  arms look more beautiful and auspicious. Even a branch from a celestial  tree could not compare with the loveliness of their limbs.


Though the sound of Krishna's flute entered both ears, some of the gopis  hung earrings on only one ear. They could not be blamed for this mistake  caused by the flute. After infatuating their hearts the flute song goaded  them quickly on the path to their beloved. Shot by the arrow of Cupid,  their minds reeled in agitation and their throats choked from the rapid  expulsion of their life airs. Swelling with expectancy and desire, the  gopis hastily left their houses. They looked like prisoners released from  a life sentence as they happily hurried into the forest. Darting here and  there, the restless glances of the gopis looked like a shower of blue  lotus petals initiating the festival of meeting Krishna. Although desirous, some groups of gopis could not meet Krishna. The husbands  of the married rsi-cari gopis prevented them from leaving the village. The  sruti-cari gopis, previously the personified Upanisads, were kept home by  their fathers, brothers and friends. Posing as well-wishers, these  relatives acted as their greatest enemies. Some of these gopis, how­ever,  who burned with attraction for Govinda, could not be stopped by anyone. Of  course, no one could stop the all-worshipable nitya-siddha gopis who  forever display the highest degree of ecstatic love, mahabhava. There are two types of love seen in the rsi-cari gopis. Those gopis who  had attained perfection in their love for Krishna after intense practice  en­countered no impediments in meeting the Lord. Other gopis who had not  quite perfected their love of Krishna could not get out of their houses.  Even though they used ladders to escape from their houses, their cruel  husbands still stopped them. Tolerating the obstructions caused by their  own imperfection, these unfortunate gopis entered a deep state of  medi­tation on Krishna. Such mental absorption brought them inconceivable  good fortune. Seeing that they could not go the forest with all their  friends, they felt totally useless and burned with unbearable sorrow in  separation from Krishna. This repentant mood exhausted their bad karmas and  freed them from all material contamination


By fully surrendering to Krishna they no longer felt the unhappiness caused  by depending on their husbands and friends. As the materiality of their  bodies diminished to nil, they experienced pralaya (devastation or the  final stage of developed emotions). Now that their karmic bonds were cut,  they gave up their bodies made of the three qualities of material nature,  just as a snake casts off its old skin. To attain the direct associa­tion  of Krishna, who is sought throughout the Vedas, they received gor­geous  spiritual bodies endowed with all auspicious attributes meant for serving  the Lord. Immediately, they joined the nitya-siddha gopis and bliss­fully  approached Krishna. Thus they achieved Krishna's association without giving up  their bodies or taking another birth.

It is not surprising that those with strong desires for material enjoyment  cannot attain liberation. Spiritual desires, however, are of a different  na­ture. Though spiritual desires are indestructible, they have the power  to completely destroy one's material qualities. By desiring to serve the  Lord the gopis received non-material bodies. Without following any other  pro­cess, these gopis proved that attraction to Krishna is the greatest  power in the universe.

Seeing the approaching gopis, Krishna, the younger brother of Balarama who  embodies all arts, decided to bewilder them by acting deceptively. Dressed  in shimmering yellow cloth, Krishna stood in an attractive three­fold  bending form on the bank of the Yamuna. Krishna spoke to discourage the  gopis with His words while simultaneously encouraging them with the hidden  meaning of His language. Noticing the joy and anticipation on their faces, Krishna said, "Please  come! Welcome! All good fortune to you! What can I do for you? Why have  you come here? Why don't you speak?"


Seeing their worried countenances, He continued, "O lotus-eyed girls! You  seem to be wandering about as if still trapped in your houses. If you say  that you have come here out of curiosity, I cannot believe you because of  your disarrayed clothing. It is not proper for women to look so odd in  public. Your beautiful ornaments are all in the wrong places on your  bod­ies. It seems you have decorated yourselves in a thoughtless way."O lotus-eyed girls, I am worried that your health is in great danger. By  running here so hastily, you appear on the brink of exhaustion. The drops  of perspiration hanging from your earrings seem like pearls. The artful  designs on your foreheads have become smeared. Due to heavy breathing your  soft lips appear dried out and your bodices are heaving."Reading their  minds, Krishna spoke more frankly, "Has something disas­trous happened? If  it had, your wanton actions would have made your husbands unhappy. How am  I to tell whether your actions are beneficial or harmful? Did you  half-ornament your bodies for fun? Or is everything disarrayed due to your  haste and longing to see Me?


"Actually it is not possible for someone trapped in a cave to suddenly  come out independently. I doubt your husbands gave you permission to go to  the forest. Maybe you gopis have come because of your desire to enjoy  independently. But how could that be, because this is not the proper time  for pleasure. Just see the inauspicious twilight is quickly approach­ing!  The forest is full of dangerous beasts. I feel no fear, but this is no  place for women to look for fun. It is certainly astonishing that you have  fearlessly come here. Please listen to Me. It will be better for you to  im­mediately leave this place."

[There are inner meanings to the words Krishna speaks here to the gopis.  These hidden meanings reveal Krishna's heartfelt intentions to enjoy with  His eternal consorts. For example, in the previous section Krishna means to  say, "There is no cause to fear this forest. In Vrndavana there are no  ferocious and dangerous animals. Whether I am alone or with others, this  forest gives great pleasure. Since You have come to Me, You should have no  fear of this forest. Therefore, I recommend that you stay here with Me."]

Krishna: "O restless-eyed gopisl Perhaps you have come here with a de­sire  to see the forest flowers and smell their fragrance."

[Krishna really means, "Smelling the natural fragrance of your bodies has  excited My attraction. Now I do not know what will happen by looking at  you. Although you have seen the forest, you have not seen the creepers in  detail. Now listen to Me and understand all these things."]

Krishna: "Look! It seems that the intoxicated bees, humming within the  flowering creepers, are criticizing you like close friends. Therefore, you  should not stay here but go back to your homes. With their smiling  flow­ers the trees are also hinting that you should go home."

[Here Krishna means to say, "The bees are criticizing you for returning to  your houses. Though you desire to leave this place, the trees are  prevent­ing you with their flower smiles."]

Krishna: "Look! The rays of light passing through the leaves of the trees  and mixing with the shade at their bases looks so picturesque. The birds,  mistaking them for sesame seeds, are pecking at those spots of light. Oh!  Look there! Vrndavana is fragrant with sandalwood trees and filled with  the drawn out sounds of cuckoos. The gentle wind carries the sweet scent  of blue lotuses picked up from embracing the waves of the Yamuna. Though  the deep forest is very attractive on account of its variety of trees and  songbirds, it is not proper for women to come here alone in the dead of  night to see them. You should accept my words, go serve your husbands, and  respect your in-laws. Therefore go back to Vraja!"

[Krishna intends to say, "It is good that you have come here to see the  forest. Now just stay here with Me and do not go back to Vraja."]

After speaking to the married ladies, Krishna addressed the unmarried gopis,  "O young girls with beautiful smiles, please hear Me! The helpless babies,  and the young boys and girls are crying at home. Go feed them, milk the  cows, and let the calves drink their fill. Do not let your broad  intelligence fall into illusion."[The inner meaning here is, "Do not go  feed the children or milk the cows, and do not have doubts about My  fulfilling all your cherished de­sires."] Then Krishna spoke to all the  gopis; "Your mothers, fathers, brothers and husbands are looking for you  everywhere. Therefore You must return home. Do not pretend to be ignorant  by saying, 'We do not know any­thing.' "[Krishna is really saying, "You  should not fall into illusion and forget your desired goal. Please stay  here and realize all your desires."]

Krishna continued, "Please go! Do not stand here any longer! O lotus-eyed  gopisl I do not know why you are not moving from this forest. Why did you  come here in the first place? If you intended to see Me, then it has  already been fulfilled. You can see Me at any time. It is not right that  chaste women like yourselves see Me like this."[Here Krishna intends to say,  "Do not leave My forest grove but stay here a long time. O lotus-eyed  gopisl If you ask the reason for your coming here, then I will tell you.  You think I do not know your motives? I know everything. Just by seeing  you I am not satisfied, so we must engage in more confidential affairs. If  a person comes to you out of attraction, it is wrong to ask him to  leave."]

Krishna: "Direct association with Me does not give as much pleasure as  meditating upon Me, hearing about Me, and seeing My Deity form. There­fore  You should go home. O lotus-eyed gopisl It is not proper for persons such  as you to steal love from someone like Me."

[The inner meaning here is, "Direct association with Me is far superior to  meditating upon Me, hearing about Me, or seeing My Deity form. Therefore  do not go! O lotus-eyed girls, just stay with Me and plunder My love."]

Krishna: "O all-attractive gopis, you should not renounce your service to  your husbands. You are all following the path of morality. Women who love  their husbands should not act like persons addicted to sin."

[The inner meaning is, "The service you are giving to your husbands should  be rendered to Me. Now that I have seen you, I have lost interest in  anything else. Since you desire Me only and not your husbands, you should  not reject Me."]

Krishna: "A intelligent woman should never reject her husband even if he is full of faults, misbehaved, deaf, dumb, diseased, penniless, or like a  vine dropping all its flowers and about to die. What to speak of a husband  who is faultless. Certainly, he can never be given up. This is law of the  Vedas and the common tradition. Your pure character is imbued with these  two norms of conduct, yet you stand here fearlessly. Attraction to a man  other than one's husband is always dangerous. It is contrary to both  norms. Besides bringing defamation, it is condemned, especially for  persons like you."[inner meaning, "Since you are adhering to both  standards on this ex­traordinary night, you are safe and should stay here  with Me. The attrac­tion you have for Me will give peace of mind and  deliver you from all fear. You will not be criticized at all because you  are not acting against any principles."]Krishna: "A proper wife has only one  husband, and should not even look at another man. Chaste women do not do  what you are now doing. Re­specting My words, you should accept this  beneficial instruction and im­mediately leave this forest."


[inner meaning, "Ordinary women cannot even see Me, the best of hus­bands,  what to speak of touching Me! Nothing in the universe can com­pare with  your good fortune. Now follow My instructions and do not go home!"]

In this way, Krishna, the full moon of all sixty-four arts, stood  beautifully bedecked with a garland as He tested the gopis' love with His  clever riddles. His outer remarks directly opposed His inner motives.  Krishna's speaking resembled the autumn season where one gets relief from  the hot sun by entering the cool water of a deep lake. Krishna's behavior  resembled a jack-fruit, which is externally rough and prickly, but sweet  inside, or like a juicy coconut with a hard shell.

Knowing His nature, one should not give up thinking that He is too  difficult to attain. The intelligent and determined person can easily  pen­etrate His hard shell and taste the delicious interior. Krishna  resembles a banana flower that is soft and sweet within but hard on the  outside. Fear­ing the hard skin, one should not abandon the honey nectar  within.


One should bear whatever hardships come from external causes. Just like a  saskuli pistaka sweetmeat, Krishna concealed His soft interior with a rough  exterior. Whether for testing or joking, such instructions are al­ways  perfect when coming from the master of comedy. Through the spe­cial usage  of words, Krishna conveyed His inner attraction and attachment to the gopis  with external expressions such as, "Welcome, welcome," "It is wrong to be  attracted to other men," and "You should go."

Krishna spoke in a tricky way with the gopis in order to solve a difficult  problem. He wanted to create unity among the opposing parties of Radha and  Candravali so that everyone could fully taste the rasa. Superficially He  seemed indifferent, but within He relished the essence of sweetness.  Blinded by their attachment, the gopis only took the outer meaning. They  could not perceive the hidden reality of His words.

As their prospects for pleasure dried up, the gopis' suffering reached  intolerable proportions. On hearing Krishna's disheartening words, the gopis  felt as if they were stabbed by a million swords, stung by scorpions,  bitten by black snakes, burnt by raging fires, cut by lethal razors,  afflicted by high fevers, pierced by spears, or poisoned in every limb of  their bodies. The whole planet seemed empty, the three worlds hopeless,  the universe devoid of bliss, the directions burned with pain, and the  earth was a taste­less pile of ashes. They felt like they were dying a  slow death.

In those difficult moments, they lost consciousness and appeared like  dolls made only of hard bones. Within a few minutes they recovered from  fainting with the help of the goddess of consciousness. But due to the  emotions swirling in their hearts, they were hurled into an even more  extreme state of suffering. Tears streamed from their eyes, their faces  faded, their lips trembled, and drops of perspiration formed on their  cheeks. They breathed erratically, their limbs hung limply, and their  beau­tiful armlets slipped off their arms.The gopis felt ashamed of their  love since they did not give up their lives after hearing their lover's  indifferent words. Having accepted Krishna as their one and only shelter,  they now wanted to enter the lowest planet out of shame. They drew lines  on the ground with the toes of their lotus feet that shined like brilliant  five-pronged engraving instruments.

The life airs of the gopis, which were already fragile by nature, were now  broken to pieces by the axe of Krishna's harsh words. Although immensely  disturbed, their life airs could not escape because vapor blocked their  throats. As this vapor condensed, it poured from their eyes as tears. Dead  silent, the gopis looked like figures painted on the canvas of the sky.

The halahala poison of suffering, incapable of being contained within the  gopis' throats, dripped out of the doors of their eyes as tears mixed with  their kajala. Astonishingly, those tears disappeared when they fell upon  their tortured breasts. Did those tears enter their hearts that were  previously poisoned by the loss of their life airs? The hot breath rushing  out of their noses wilted their flower garlands and the delicate flower  petals of their lips.

Tears, stained black with kajala and looking like juice squeezed from the  essence of beauty, fell incessantly from the lotus faces of the grief  stricken gopis. Somehow this did not discolor their nose pearls. Although  their nose pearls resembled drops of liquid beauty, they did not fall like  their tears. Like seeds they waited to produce the fruits of prema rasa. •


Eager to reveal their individual emotional moods of pride or submis­sion,  and to transform the anxiety of love, the gopis replied to Krishna. Like the  sweet humming of bees mad to taste the honey of His face, the gopis tried  repeatedly to convey their exact desires. Filling the darkness with the  sparkle of their blackened tears, some submissive gopi group leaders such  as Bhadra spoke quietly conveying their sadness.

Padma and other submissive leaders, who have rows of radiantly white  bud-like teeth, darkened the night with their half-closed eyes that seemed  like blind bees supported by the fragrance of their faces. They spoke  im­pudently to Krishna. Some bold sakhis like Visakha spoke sweet words with  ornamental intonation. Her words, saturated with intense attraction,  es­caped the comprehension of Sarasvati.

Creating a forest of blue lotus flowers in the sky with their furtive  glances, and clusters of golden lotuses with their forms, some bold  leaders like Radhika spoke with ferocious anger. Overcome with pride and  posses-siveness, Radhika, Lalita, and Syama, their eyes reddened and their  faces sprinkled with hot drops of perspiration, spoke to Madhava in an  angry mood. The beautiful Candravali and other submissive sakhis  hesitatingly di­vulged their strong desires in soft voices full of  entreaty. Their breasts moistened with blackened tears, some of the Vraja  kumaris like Dhanya-sakhi, spoke in choked voices due to their infatuation  and uncontrollable attraction for Krishna.


Gopi Gita


As much as possible we will try to present what each of the distraught  gopis spoke to reveal their natural sentiments. Of course, even Brhaspati,  the guru of the devatas, would not attempt such a task, which requires  realization of srngara-rasa, the highest form of transcendental love. O  rasika Vaishnavasl Please do not make fun of my boldness. This is an  at­tempt to curb the pride of the so-called scholars of rasa. I commit no  offense in doing so, for though a person may be very unqualified,  insig­nificant, and prematurely eager, he can still aspire to taste that  rarest sweet substance of love.

The most beautiful of all the gopis spoke first. "Alas, O Krishnacandra! You  should not deliberately hurl us into lamentation with your harsh words,  which burn our hearts like a painful ulcer. To please the earth, the cloud  showers rain not poison. Your words are illogical and senseless. When it  gets a chance to drink water from a cloud, even a lowly cataki bird gives  up his friends and relatives just as one vacates a dark hole."Though  angry, some other gopis spoke pleasing words in a humorous tone. "You have  taught us that the proper duty of a woman is to serve her husband, sons  and friends. As a siksa-guru, may You keep that instruction to Yourself.  For Your teaching does not apply to women like us."[As Krishna previously  spoke with hidden meanings, the gopis also have inner meanings to their  statements given here. The inner meaning to the previous sentence is  "First, You lure us innocent girls into a lonely forest at night. And then  You act like a guru, giving instructions about duty."]Then Krishna replies,  "Are you telling a hidden joke?" The gopi responds, "This is not a  joke!"One gopi said, "O Madhusudana! The aspersions You cast on us are  simply comical. Who is the lord of one who rejects her husband? You could  say that the son of another wife would take that role. But we will never  accept that, O lord of all creation. O ocean of perfect qualities, whose  feet are worshipped by Laksmi, You are the real master of all women. No  one but You can kill the enemy of our mental anguish."Another gopi said,  "O dear one! Any intelligent person is attracted you, the soul of the  three worlds. What intelligent woman will worship her husband, sons,  or,friends, who are merely temporal beings producing vari­ous miseries?  Worshiping You is the best path both for a simple or cul­tured person."O  remover of misery! You manifest unlimited variety in Your person­ality.  You alone attract our minds and should be our master. In compari­son with  You, the sweetest nectar means nothing to us. Be pleased with us, for  those who have surrendered unto You should not lose spirit and sink into  lamentation. We have come to You in the prime of our youth. Do not cut  down the tender creepers of our desires which are as fresh as lotus petals  covered with dew."Someone else said, "O Hari! After stealing our hearts  You have brought us here. How can we return to Vraja? O Lord, our feet  refuse to move one step from Your lotus feet. O gallant thief! It is not  proper for You to create a drought, for it will dry up the crops of  dignity in the minds of the married women."One other gopi said, "Wash off  the dirt of this duplicitous joking. Sprinkle nectar on our lips, which  are burning like fire and as red as ripe bimba fruits. Quickly extinguish  the fire caused by Your cruel, exasperating words. By giving up our bodies  in the fire of disappointment, which were kindled by the wood of Your  indifference toward us because of our improper de­sires, we will receive  new bodies to attain Your association. Then You will repent for murdering  innocent women. In any case, whether we are ac­cepted or rejected by You,  we will experience suffering because of the fear of separation from You."


Some other gopi said, "O one crowned with a peacock feather! Since we have  already felt unlimited bliss from touching Your lotus feet once be­fore,  we have no attraction for any other man. You are eternally situated as the  perfect form and shelter of matchless beauty. We attained so much pleasure  upon meeting You that we cannot think of touching another person.  Therefore please accept us! After crossing the material realm in order to  enjoy with You, we do not deserve to suffer in agony. Being dear to the  residents of Vrndavana, You should protect Your loving servants." In the  mood of reverential servants, the sniti-cari gopis said, "In this  Vrndavana, married women are attracted to Your lotus feet, just as  Laksmi-devi in Vaikuntha, though situated on Your chest, must compete with  Tulasi-devi to worship You. O deliverer of distressed and surrendered  souls, do not abandon us!"

Having similar desires, the muni-cari gopis said, "O ocean of mercy! We  left our houses and came to You. Be pleased with us, whose minds are  agitated due to the intoxicating bliss of tasting the petals of Your lotus  feet. O crest-jewel of all men! You have purchased us with Your reddish  lips, sparkling smile, pleasing youthful appearance, and Your nectarean  words, which have the power to destroy any amount of pain. Now engage us  in Your service. Our minds have become strong from receiving the merciful  sidelong glances of Your reddened eyes."


Other gopis with desires similar to the sruti-cari gopis said, "We have  become very greedy to please You after seeing Your sweet lips, nectarean  smile, and the swinging jeweled earrings reflected on Your cheeks. Our  hankering to serve You has been further enhanced by seeing Your pink lotus  hands and splendid arms which extend to Your knees, and which can deliver  anyone from fear. Please restore our lives with the honey of Your sweet  smile. Immediately embrace us in Your mind, as we are filled with love in  the mood of Your servants."

Then the nitya-siddha gopis said, "O opulent one, who bestows all  auspi-ciousness! O jewel among men! You are the abode of all good  qualities. Since You are all-attractive, what fault is there then if we  are attracted to You? Upon hearing the sound of the flute, what woman in  the three worlds would not become attracted? O glorious and beautiful one!  Who would not be lured from their position of chastity? Who would not  sacrifice their character, and give up the reputation of their family?


"Since You are the cause of all wonder in the eyes of the three worlds,  the reservoir of all auspiciousness, the shelter of absolute beauty, the  sweet­est of the sweet, and the pleasurable object of all the endeavors of  young women, even the female deer, birds and animals become struck with  love and show goose bumps on their bodies upon seeing You."

Again the sruti gopis spoke, "O great one! It is well known that you  destroy the suffering of the inhabitants of Vrndavana. You are the origin  of Narayana and the protector of the devatas. You cannot reject us,  there­fore, after we have come to You in the middle of this forest."O  friend of the distressed! Do not be so stubborn! O ocean of mercy! Please  place Your cooling lotus hands on our burning breasts and heads, and  remove the pain in our hearts. Delight our minds. May You be suc­cessful  in removing all of the pain from our hearts caused by Your indif­ference.  What more can be said?"

Then Radhika's inner circle of friends spoke to Krishna, "After putting the  bait of conjugal affairs on the hook of Your flute song, You pulled us  here with the rope of Your good qualities. Then after piercing us with the  rod of harsh words, You roasted us in the fire of indifference. Please  tell us why You did this."

Krishna replied, "My dear gopisl I play on My flute because of the  bound­less nature of My bliss. It is not My fault if married women become  agi­tated by the sound. Why are you finding faults in My flute which comes  from a pure family? It is not crooked but naturally straight and free from  knots throughout its length."


The gopis said, "You are at fault! Because when playing the flute, You  call out each of our names."

Krishna defends Himself by saying, "No, I do not blow into the flute at all.  The wind blows through the flute by itself and makes a sound. On its own,  the" flute clearly calls out your names because it knows all of you."

The gopis reply, "Even so, it is Your fault. As You are a respectable  personality, You should not associate with this unworthy flute. The flute  has many holes (faults), its limbs are hard, and it is hollow inside.  Obvi­ously Your flute is not born in a good family, and with its extremely  talk­ative nature it ruins the reputation of others. Therefore, Your flute  is not qualified to talk with cultured persons such as ourselves."

Krishna said, "O gopisl I see your great boldness in belittling the constant  companion of My lotus hands. This flute is the very form of bliss and  knowledge. It is the essence of all sound, the goddess of music, and the  cream of the Vedas and Upanisads. Out of great love for Me, it has taken  on a curious body with nine holes."


Although the word play of Radhika's associates had reached its limits,  Krishna, brimming with the greatest eagerness, persisted in delivering  clever retorts. When the gopis, the perfect embodiments of rasa, detected  a slight smile on Krishna's face they understood that the indifference of  the crest jewel of wit had come to an end. Full of desire to enjoy, that  conqueror of a thousand Cupids used the limit of intelligence to present  crazy, illogical arguments.

Feeling self-satisfied, Krishna smiled and immediately caressed the best of  the gopis. Following the elephant of desire, He entered the midst of the

gopis and sported here and there in the ocean of their attraction. At that  time the birds loudly sang, "Victory! Victory!" The creepers smiled and  the leaves of the trees stood on end. Eager to talk among their friends,  the female deer gathered in groups to marvel at the scene. The joyous  flowers moistened the earth with their tears of dripping nectar. In the battle of love, the gopis, being completely endowed with prema,  served as wish-fulfilling gems satisfying Krishna's every desire for rasa.  Be­ing free from anger and full of all wonderful qualities, the selfless,  gopis united in friendship. Seeing Nandanandana anxious to play with the  gopis, Vrnda-devi and her vanadevis, the birds, beasts, and trees  submerged in an ocean of nectarean rasa. It seemed they now emerged from  that ocean with new bodies after having perished in the fire of separation  from Krishna. Appearing like a powerful new cloud surrounded by a garland of light­ning,  Krishna and the sweet-faced gopis flooded all directions with waves of bliss  as they played together. Bedecked with a beautiful garland extend­ing to  His feet and fanned by the wind from buzzing bees, Damodara walked amongst  the trees and creepers while the gopis enthusiastically praised His  character with sweet voices full of love. To increase their plea­sure,  Yogamaya acted invisibly and inconceivably to miraculously create the  perfect setting.

In great happiness, Yogamaya provided the gopis with dresses and  orna­ments just suitable for their evening pastimes in the forest. Until  now the gopis' clothes and ornaments appeared in disarray due to hastily  dressing and rushing from their homes upon hearing Krishna's beckoning  flute. Be­ing jewels in the battle of love, they qualified to be reborn in  all splendor. Ornamented in this way, Krishna blissfully milked the gopis'  pride.


Using His fingernail, Krishna wrote love messages on a leaf and gave it to  His beloved sakhis. Then He showed His expertise in personally decorat­ing  them. He picked the best flowers and creepers to make their bodices,  armlets, and other ornaments. Quickly He fashioned malati flower  neck­laces, kadamba forehead ornaments, sthala padma (land lotus)  earrings, kunda flower chokers, and waist-belts made from bakula, kesara,  and naga-kesara flowers. He tossed pollen over their hair, and colored  their cheeks with pollen from lodhra flowers. Then the gopis decorated  their cherished one. They hung kesara flowers on Krishna's ears, ketaki  flowers in His hair, and mallika necklaces on His chest. Some gopis put  asoka flowers on His turban. Other gopis offered Him yuthi flower bangles  and bracelets, and bound His belly with a belt of bakula flowers. Krishna's remarkable rasa-lila, which had now commenced, included four  different kinds of activities—forest pastimes, lovemaking, dancing, and  water sporting, which distinguished it from all other Mas.

In a lonely place in the forest, Krishna relished intimate pastimes with the  beautiful gopis of Vrndavana. As the maudlin sound of maddened bees and  cuckoos echoed through the trees, the gopis lost themselves in Cupid's  enchantment. Those beautiful ladies, whose brilliant golden complexions  conquered the pride of the moonlight, merrily sprinkled Krishna's body with  fine golden pollen from white lotus flowers. The jingling of the gopis'  bangles initiated a fresh battle of love.


Krishna retaliated by making some flower bombs and firing them at the gopis.  Although the gopis bombarded Him from all directions with flower pollen,  Krishna easily defeated them. Parrots and other birds shrieked, "Jaya! Jaya!  Jaya!" to announce Krishna's victory. Filled with a hero's pride, Krishna then  pounded Radhika and Her sakhis with a volley of flower bombs. But  Shrimati's angry sidelong glances crushed Him into submission. Then  Radhika's pet sarika birds warbled incessantly, "We have won! We have  won!"

In this way, Krishna engaged in newer and newer pleasure pastimes at every  moment. Radha plucked some fragrant, honey-filled punnaga flow­ers. When  startled bees darted from the flowers, She quickly pulled back Her lotus  hands and trembled in fright. Noticing this, Krishna shouted, "Hey there! No  wonder You are shaking since You have defeated the punnaga (best of men,  or white lotuses)!" As Krishna laughingly said this, Radhika shyly lowered  Her head and smiled.


Then the clever gopis, piercing Krishna's heart with the arrows of their  loving glances, took the flowers they had collected for making ornaments,  and pelted the Lord while shouting at Him with sweet voices. Meanwhile,  Radhika stood on Her tiptoes, and stretched up Her vine-like arms to pick  a special flower from a tree. Suddenly Her lower garment slipped off. As  She looked nervously, Krishna seized the opportunity to sneak up behind  Radhika and lift Her up. At this, Radha blushed in embarrass­ment. The intense unlimited happiness the gopis felt spread to the flowers. As a  result, the bees went mad from the naturally sweet scent of the flowers  and would not leave them. Similarly, the gopis became addicted to the  sweet pastimes they relished with the lord of their life.

Feigning a calamity, one gopi said, "Oh some pollen has fallen in my eye!"  Her bangles chimed as she pretended to rub her eye with her lotus hands.  With a look of concern, Krishna quickly approached her and said, "Oh no! Do  not be disturbed. Let Me see!" On the pretext of blowing away the pollen,  Krishna moved close to her face and planted a tender loving kiss on her eye.

In this festival of flowers, Krishna churned the waves of love in the hearts  of those gopis already overcome with love. Pleased by their bold glances,  Krishna desired to enjoy with them. The perfect time had come for delighting

in endless pastimes of love. When Radha tried to pick flowers beyond Her  reach, the trees behaved like close friends, and bent down their branches  so She could easily pluck them.


Fatigued from the flower fighting, Damodara and His band of loving gopis  walked to the Yamuna to sport in her refreshing waters. Under the rays of  the full moon, the banks of the Yamuna looked as white as fra­grant  camphor dust. The sandy banks were purified by the hand of Kalindi's waves  and caressed by a lotus-scented breeze. Admiring the pleasant set­ting,  Krishna and His divine consorts wandered along the splendid banks of the  Yamuna.

The brilliance of the riverbank, matching the effulgence of the lovely  moonlit night, provided an ideal romantic atmosphere for a festival of  love. The playful lotus-eyed Krishna, who is the embodiment of sweetness,  totally fearless, ever blissful, and overwhelmed in love, mingled with the  different gopi group leaders, who murmured like affectionate parrots.  Krishna dallied here and there in the decorative kunjas that sheltered  vari­ous birds. Inside the flower cottages, Krishna freely enjoyed with His  be­loved gopis, the crest jewels among all women. Far greater than either  Rukmini or Laksmi, the Vraja gopis alone are qualified to serve that  aus­picious person with their auspicious bodies. Though the gopis' love  radi­ated the essence of purity, Krishna tainted their love with  overwhelming passion, in order to feel the pressure of their hard breasts  and experience their biting and scratching.

There are varieties of vaidagdhi (cleverness in love) depending on the  nature and age of the individual gopis. This artful skill in love produced  extraordinary joy in both Damodara and the gopis. For example, although  internally the gopis had strong desires for Krishna, when they spoke they  denied them. The unpredictable behavior of the gopis manifested natu­rally  from a mixture of their willingness to serve Krishna and their obsti­nacy  (vamya-bhava or stubborn reluctance).

Such actions as obstructing Krishna's advances with their hands to show  their shyness, casting angry glances without redness in the eyes, and  cry­ing without tears, which arose from their vamya-bhava, gave Krishna  im­mense satisfaction. The gopis' incessant criticisms of Krishna hid their  sweet smiles, and their knitted eyebrows communicated their false anger.  In reality, these expressions revealed the intense attachment to Krishna  they held in their hearts. The gopis would turn away when He tried to kiss  them. And they would cover their lips with their hands when He tried to  drink the nectar therein. They pushed Him away when He tried to em­brace  them. All such displays of unwillingness actually indicated consent to  their beloved. Desiring to lock them in His heart, Krishna surrounded the  gopis with His long, graceful arms and forcefully embraced them one by  one. Holding their braids in His left hand and raising their chins with  His right hand, Krishna lovingly gazed at their gentle bashful faces.  Relaxed as a lone bee engrossed in a cluster of lotus flowers, Krishna  happily tasted the nectar of the gopis' lips. After being embraced and  kissed by the supreme enjoyer, the gopis, being controlled by the joyous  fragrance of intoxicated love and filled with constant delight, acted like  submissive lovers.


Now Krishna scratched their lotus-bud breasts with His fingernails, as if  relieving the itch of attachment that had risen in their hearts. The  breasts of the gopis looked more attractive when decorated with these nail  marks shining with a copper hue. Their blossoming breasts seemed like  sprouts arising from the long dormant seeds of attachment sown in their  hearts. Krishna, whose touch bestows pleasure and removes all suffering,  excited their beautiful limbs with the touch of His delicate petal-like  fingers, which acted like a medicinal herb to cure all their afflictions. When His lotus hand touched their breasts, it moved around in continu­ous  circles. When His hand touched their thick braided hair, it caressed it  from end to end. Coming to their waists, His hand seemed to tire from the  broad expanse, arid took refuge in the lake of their navels, trying to  open them to reveal something within. Due to the intensity of love, the  gopis yielded to the fickleness of their minds, gave up all shyness, and  submerged in ecstasy. Washed in waves of beauty, they captivated the mind  of their beloved. With their sweet, tireless, vine-like arms the gopis  held Krishna in a tight embrace of love strengthened by contacting His  quali­ties. Such playful combat is considered an aspect of prema. It is not contrary  to conjugal rasa, but rather essential to it, being one of the pure  ingredi­ents of the total mixture. Immersed in this prema rasa, the gopis  repeat­edly kissed Krishna with their sweetly smiling lotus faces. When  Krishna lips were surrounded by the soft lips of the gopis and washed by the  brilliant radiance of their teeth, His face appeared like a rising moon  surrounded by thirsty cakora birds. Overwhelmed with the highest bliss,  the Krishna bee went mad with the desire to play in the garden of creepers  (the young gopis). He wanted to be tightly enveloped in the branches of  their arms, pressed strongly by the flower buds of their breasts, and to  be bruised by the thorns of their fingernails. The rasa-lila cannot take place unless the minds of all the gopis are in  harmony. To accomplish this and to make the all gopis of one mind through  the fire of separation, Krishna once disappeared from the assembly of His  conjugal lovers. In the battle of love the gopis had attained the highest  good fortune of tasting madhurya-rasa in the association of Krishna. Thus  the Vraja gopis showed indifference to the opulence of any women within in the three worlds.


They sailed in the turbulent currents of prema within the river of  love-madness, which is the natural habitat of the God of love. When He  broke the boat of the gopis' confidence, they had to bail out the water of  pride from their hearts. He purposely bewildered them by His own will, as  if placing them on a wheel and spinning them around. Just as badly  digested food produces laziness, the gopis' attainment of good fortune  weakened and withered away due the intoxication of pride. In treating the  disease of consumption due to pride, a person must be treated with a  nourishing herbal medicine to drive away the symptoms of disease. There is nothing to compare with the purity of a piece of white cloth.  Dyeing it with the juice of the lodhra plant will change its color. The  pu­rity of the gopis' love had been colored by the pride of love, which is  unfavorable for the growth of bliss. Krishna instantly created a situation  of pain in separation, which acted as a solvent to remove the false color. After spreading darkness amidst the moon light of the gopis' bliss, and  producing deadly kalakuta poison in the newly created milk ocean of the  gopis' love, Krishna, the embodiment of all arts, suddenly disappeared. The  thought of this happening seemed as unlikely as throwing fire on delicate  filaments of saffron, or lightning striking .without clouds, or the pain  of a snakebite without a snake.

Thus, the gopis experienced this torment in their hearts, which  con­stantly flowed with a variety of praiseworthy and pleasurable  pastimes.