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The rasa dance.
There on the banks of the Yamuna, Krishna began the pastime of the rasa dance, in the company of those jewels among women, who joyfully linked their arms, forming a circle. Lord Krishna expanded Himself and entered between each pair of gopis, placing His arms around their necks. By dint of the Lord’s mystic power, each girl thought that Krishna was standing next to her alone. The demigods, along with their wives, soon crowded the sky in their celestial airplanes, and unlike the gopis, they could see how Krishna had expanded Himself. Drums resounded in the sky and showers of flowers rained down, while the chief Gandharvas and their wives sang of the Lord’s glories.
A great sound arose from the armlets, ankle bells and waist bells of the gopis as they engaged in the rasa dance. As the gopis sang in praise of Krishna- their feet danced, their hands gestured, and their eyebrows moved with their playful smiles. With their braids and belts tied tight, their waists bending, their faces perspiring, the garments on their breasts moving this way and that, and their earrings swinging on their cheeks, the gopis shone like streaks of lightning in a mass of dark clouds.
Eager to enjoy conjugal love, their throats colored with various pigments, the gopis sang loudly and danced. They were overjoyed by Krishna’s touch, and their songs filled the entire universe. Krishna would praise a particular gopi’s singing by saying, “Excellent! Excellent!” and He would clap his hands just to encourage her. Then, another gopi would slightly vary the melody, and Krishna would praise her as well.
When a gopi became tired from dancing, she would rest her arm on Krishna’s shoulder. At this time, the fragrance of Krishna’s body, which was like that of blue lotus-flowers mixed with sandalwood paste would overwhelm them with attraction so that their hair would loosen. When Krishna placed His arm around a gopi’s neck, her bodily hair would stand on end in jubilation, while she kissed His arm.
One gopi put her cheek on Krishna’s cheek, and Krishna gave her the betel nut that He was chewing. Another gopi became fatigued as she danced and sang, and so she placed Krishna’s comforting lotus hand upon her breasts. Having attained Lord Achyuta as their intimate lover, the gopis enjoyed great pleasure. They sang His glories, to the accompaniment of swarms of bees, as Krishna held their necks with His arms.
In this way, Lord Krishna took pleasure in the company of the young women of Vraja by embracing them, caressing them, and glancing lovingly at them as He smiled His broad, playful smiles. Factually, it was just as if a child were playing with his own reflection.
Being overjoyed at having Krishna’s personal association, the gopis could not prevent their hair, their dresses, and the cloths covering their breasts from becoming disheveled. Their garlands and ornaments also scattered. While observing the rasa dance from the sky, the wives of the demigods became entranced and agitated by lust. Indeed, even the stars and the moon were astonished.
When He saw that the gopis had become fatigued, Krishna mercifully wiped their faces with His comforting hand. In return, the gopis honored Krishna with their smiling glances that were sweetened by the beauty of their cheeks and the brilliance of their curly hair and golden earrings. Krishna’s garland had been crushed during His pastimes with the gopis and covered with the kunkum from their breasts.
To dispel the gopis’ fatigue, Krishna entered the water of the Yamuna. He soon found Himself being splashed on all sides by the gopis, who were laughing and looking at Him with love. As the demigods showered flowers from the sky, Krishna took pleasure in playing within the water like the king of elephants.
After coming out of the water, Krishna strolled through the forest by the riverside, followed by His entourage of bees and beautiful women, and the breeze there was very fragrant with the scent of flowers.
Sensing some displeasure in the minds of those who were not devotees in the audience, Maharaja Parikshit inquired, “The Supreme Lord descended on the earth to re-establish religious principles. Indeed, He is the original propounder of religion. How then could He have violated religious principles by touching other men’s wives?”
Shukadeva Gosvami replied, “The status of powerful controllers is not harmed by any apparent transgression of moral principles. They are just like fire that devours everything fed into it and yet remains unpolluted. However, one who is not a great controller should never imitate the behavior of such personalities, even mentally. One who does so, will meet with destruction, just as one who is not Rudra would destroy himself by trying to drink an ocean of poison. Instead of imitating, one should follow the instructions of such great personalities. Because this is the position of greatly empowered personalities, what then can be said of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself?”
After an entire night of Brahma had passed, Lord Krishna advised the gopis to return home. Although the gopis did not wish to do so, they complied with the Lord’s command.