Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The Gopis’ Feelings of Separation
The gopis of Vrndavana were so attached to Krsna that they were not satisfied simply with the rasa dance at night. They wanted to associate with Him and enjoy His company during the daytime also. When Krsna went to the forest with His cowherd boy friends and cows, the gopis did not physically take part, but their hearts went with Him. And because their hearts went, they were able to enjoy His company through strong feelings of separation. To acquire this strong feeling of separation is the teaching of Lord Caitanya and His direct disciplic succession of Gosvamis. When we are not in physical contact with Krsna, we can associate with Him like the gopis, through feelings of separation. Krsna’s transcendental form, qualities, pastimes, and entourage are all identical with Him. There are nine different kinds of devotional service. Devotional service to Krsna in feelings of separation elevates the devotee to the highest perfectional level, to the level of the gopis.
It is stated in Srinivasacarya’s prayer to the six Gosvamis that they left the material opulences of government service and the princely status of life and went to Vrndavana, where they lived just like ordinary mendicants, begging from door to door. But they were so much enriched with the gopis’ feelings of separation that they enjoyed transcendental pleasure at every moment. Similarly, when Lord Caitanya was at Jagannatha Puri, He was in the role of Radharani, feeling the separation of Krsna. Those who are in the disciplic succession of the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya should also feel the separation of Krsna, worship His transcendental form and discuss His transcendental teachings, His pastimes, His qualities, His entourage and His associations. The spiritual masters should enrich the devotees to the highest devotional perfection. Feeling constant separation while engaged in the service of the Lord is the perfection of Krsna consciousness.
The gopis used to discuss Krsna amongst themselves, and their talks were as follows. ”My dear friends,“ one gopi said, ”do you know that when Krsna lies on the ground He rests on His left elbow, and His head rests on His left hand? He moves His attractive eyebrows while playing His flute with His delicate fingers, and the sound He produces creates such a nice atmosphere that the denizens of the heavenly planets, who travel in space with their wives and beloved, stop their airplanes, for they are stunned by the vibration of the flute. The wives of the demigods who are seated in the planes then become very much ashamed of their singing and musical qualifications. Not only that, but they become afflicted with conjugal love, and their hair and tightened dresses immediately loosen.“
Another gopi said, ”My dear friends, Krsna is so beautiful that the goddess of fortune always remains on His chest, and He is always adorned with a golden necklace. Beautiful Krsna plays His flute in order to enliven the hearts of many devotees. He is the only friend of the suffering living entities. When He plays His flute, all the cows and other animals of Vrndavana, although engaged in eating, simply take a morsel of food in their mouths and stop chewing. Their ears raise up and they become stunned. They do not appear alive but like painted animals. Krsna’s flute playing is so attractive that even the animals become enchanted, and what to speak of ourselves.“
Another gopi said, ”My dear friends, not only living animals, but even inanimate objects like the rivers and lakes of Vrndavana also become stunned when Krsna passes with peacock feathers on His head and His body smeared with the minerals of Vrndavana. With leaves and flowers decorating His body, He looks like some hero. When He plays on His flute and calls the cows with Balarama, the river Yamuna stops flowing and waits for the air to carry dust from His lotus feet. The river Yamuna is unfortunate like us; it does not get Krsna’s mercy. The river simply remains stunned, stopping its waves just as we also stop crying out of frustration for Krsna.“
In the absence of Krsna the gopis were constantly shedding tears, but sometimes, when they expected that Krsna was coming, they would stop crying. But when they saw that Krsna was not coming, then again they would become frustrated and begin to cry. Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead, the origin of all Visnu forms, and the cowherd boys are all demigods. Lord Visnu is always worshiped and surrounded by different demigods like Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, Indra, Candra, and others. When Krsna traveled through the Vrndavana forest or walked on the Govardhana Hill, He was accompanied by the cowherd boys. While walking, He played His flute, just to call His cows. Just by His association, the trees, plants and other vegetation in the forest immediately became Krsna conscious. A Krsna conscious person sacrifices everything for Krsna. Although trees and plants are not very advanced in consciousness, by the association of Krsna and His friends they also became Krsna conscious. They then want to deliver everything--whatever they have--their fruits, flowers, and the honey incessantly falling from their branches.
When Krsna walked on the bank of the Yamuna, He was seen nicely decorated with tilaka on His head. He was garlanded with different kinds of forest flowers, and His body was smeared by the pulp of sandalwood and tulasi leaves. The bumblebees became mad after the treasure and sweet nectar of the atmosphere. Being pleased by the humming sound of the bees, Krsna would play His flute, and together the sounds became so sweet to hear that the aquatics, the cranes, swans and ducks and other birds were charmed. Instead of swimming or flying, they became stunned. They closed their eyes and entered a trance of meditation in worship of Krsna.
One gopi said, ”My dear friend, Krsna and Balarama are nicely dressed with earrings and pearl necklaces. They enjoy Themselves on the top of Govardhana Hill, and everything becomes absorbed in transcendental pleasure when Krsna plays on His flute, charming the whole created manifestation. When He plays, the clouds stop their loud thundering, out of fear of Him. Rather than disturb the vibration of His flute, they respond with mild thunder and so congratulate Krsna, their friend.“
Krsna is accepted as the friend of the cloud because both the cloud and Krsna satisfy the people when they are disturbed. When the people are burning due to excessive heat, the cloud satisfies them with rain. Similarly, when people in materialistic life become disturbed by the blazing fire of material pangs, Krsna gives them relief. The cloud and Krsna, having the same bodily color also, are considered to be friends. Desiring to congratulate its superior friend, the cloud poured not water but small flowers and covered the head of Krsna to protect Him from the scorching sunshine.
One of the gopis told mother Yasoda, ”My dear mother, your son is very expert among the cowherd boys. He knows all the different arts, how to tend the cows and how to play the flute. He composes His own songs, and to sing them He puts His flute to His mouth. When He plays, either in the morning or in the evening, all the demigods, like Lord Siva, Brahma, Indra and Candra, bow their heads and listen with great attention. Although they are very learned and expert, they cannot understand the musical arrangements of Krsna’s flute. They simply listen attentively and try to understand, but become bewildered and nothing more.“
Another gopi said, ”My dear friend, when Krsna returns home with His cows, the footprint of the soles of His feet--with flag, thunderbolt, trident, and lotus flower--relieves the pain the earth feels when the cows traverse it. He walks in a stride which is so attractive, and He carries His flute. Just by looking at Him we become lusty to enjoy His company. At that time, our movements cease. We become just like trees and stand perfectly still. We even forget what we look like.“
Krsna had many thousands of cows, and they were divided into groups according to their colors. They were also differently named according to color. When He would return from the pasturing ground, He would find all the cows gathered. As Vaisnavas count 108 beads, which represent the 108 individual gopis, so Krsna would also chant 108 different groups of cows.
”When Krsna returns, He is garlanded with tulasi leaves,“ a gopi describes Him to a friend. ”He puts His hand on the shoulder of a cowherd boy friend, and begins to blow His transcendental flute. The wives of the black deer become enchanted upon hearing the vibration of His flute, which resembles the vibration of the vina. The deer come to Krsna and become so charmed that they stand still, forgetting their homes and husbands. Like us, who are enchanted by the ocean of the transcendental qualities of Krsna, the she-deer become enchanted by the vibration of His flute.“
Another gopi told mother Yasoda, ”My dear mother, when your son returns home, He decorates Himself with the buds of the kunda flower, and just to enlighten and gladden His friends, He blows His flute. The breeze blowing from the south pleases the atmosphere because it is fragrant and very cool. Demigods like the Gandharvas and Siddhas take advantage of this atmosphere and offer prayers to Krsna by sounding their bugles and drums. Krsna is very kind to the inhabitants of Vrajabhumi, Vrndavana, and when He returns with His cows and friends, He is remembered as the lifter of Govardhana Hill. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the most exalted demigods like Lord Brahma and Lord Siva come down to offer their evening prayers, and they accompany the cowherd boys in glorifying the qualities of Krsna.
“Krsna is compared with the moon, born in the ocean of the womb of Devaki. When He returns in the evening, it appears that He is fatigued, but He still tries to gladden the inhabitants of Vrndavana by His auspicious presence. When Krsna returns, garlanded with flowers, His face looks beautiful. He walks into Vrndavana with a stride just like the elephant and slowly enters His home. Upon His return, the men, women, and cows of Vrndavana immediately forget the scorching heat of the day.”
Such descriptions of Krsna’s transcendental pastimes and activities were remembered by the gopis during His absence from Vrndavana. They give us some idea of Krsna’s attraction. Everyone and everything is attracted to Krsna--That is the perfect description of Krsna’s attraction. The example of the gopis is very instructive to persons who are trying to be absorbed in Krsna consciousness. One can very easily associate with Krsna simply by remembering His transcendental pastimes. Everyone has a tendency to love someone. That Krsna should be the object of love is the central point of Krsna consciousness. By constantly chanting the Hare Krsna mantra and remembering the transcendental pastimes of Krsna, one can be fully in Krsna consciousness and thus make his life sublime and fruitful.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Thirty-fifth Chapter of Krsna, “The Gopis’ Feelings of Separation.”