Raas LeelA of
Now let us come to the actual story part. Remember
‘In the case of whomsoever that has turned their minds towards Me, the desire or lust that thereby arises in them would not result in bad, just as a fried or baked seed would not sprout again’
(X -22 – 26):
na may-yAveshita-dhiyAM kAmaH kAmAya kalpate /
bharjitA kathitA dhAnA prAyo bIjAya neshhyate //
Recall that all books of Vedanta tell us how a man of wisdom
(Brahma-jnAni) has no karma chasing him, because they are like
a fried seed in his case and it will not sprout!
The night of that fulfillment arrived in the autumn following. The
requisites for the divine play were all created by Him by His mAyA. “yogamAyAm-upAshritaH” (resorting to His yoga-mAyA) says the
No sooner the Gopis heard the music of His flute, than they were all captivated by the symphony of joy that emanated from it. They came from all sides to the spot where He was playing the flute. Some were milking their cows, some were serving food to their husbands, some were keeping busy with their cosmetics, some were cleaning their houses, -- but all of them dropped their work just where it was and ran towards Krishna. Their husbands, brothers and parents did try to stop them but of no avail. The minds of the Gopis had been lured away by the music of the flute and by the thought of Lord Krishna and they forgot all about themselves.
Some of the gopis, however, could not manage to get out of their houses, and instead they remained home with eyes closed, meditating upon Him in pure love. For these gopis the intolerable separation from their beloved caused an intense agony that burned away all impious karma (“tIvra-pApa-dhutA-shubhAH” – X-29-10). By meditating upon Him they realized His embrace, and the ecstasy they then felt exhausted their material piety. Although Lord Krishna is the Supreme Soul, these girls simply thought of Him as their lover and associated with Him in that intimate mood. Thus their karmic bondage was nullified and they abandoned, as it were, their gross material bodies.
At this point, King Parikshit asks a pertinent question to Sage Suka
who is narrating the story: O sage, the gopis knew
Krishna saw them all coming, and when they had gathered, he told them to go back. He waved them back saying that their first duty was in their home with their husbands and relatives. He says: “I know you have ties of attachment for Me. It is but proper. All creatures in the world will find delight in Me (‘prIyante mayi jantavaH’ : X-29-23). But your duty is elsewhere. For a woman from a respectable family, petty adulterous affairs are always condemned. They bar her from heaven, ruin her reputation and bring her difficulty and fear”. And He ends this sermon by making a famous declaration (X-29-27) which He himself repeats later:
shravaNAt darshanAt dhyAnAt mayi bhAvo’nukIrtanAt /
na tathA sannikarshheNa pratiyAta tato gRhAn // meaning,
“Transcendental love for Me arises by the devotional processes of hearing about Me, seeing My Deity form, meditating on Me and faithfully chanting My glories. The same result is not achieved by mere physical proximity. So please go back to your homes”.
But the Gopis don’t listen. To his argument that their duty is to their
husbands and families, they reply that He is the pati, the husband of the
entire world and therefore of them all, and so their first duty is to Him. “Not
only that, Oh Lord, our minds which were all along with our families and our
work have now been totally captivated by You. Our hands and feet are not ours.
Our minds are not ours. They are all yours. They refuse to do any work which is
not directed at You. So don’t throw us back. Deign to accept us as your servants”. And
they were steadfast in this determination. Seeing their steadfastness,
iti viklavitaM tAsAM shrutvA yogeshvareshvaraH /
Prahasya sadayaM gopIH AtmArAmo’pyarIramat // X-29-42
Smiling upon hearing these despondent words from the gopîs, Lord Krishna, the supreme master of all masters of mystic yoga, mercifully satisfied them, although He is Himself Self-satisfied.
For some pictures from the Iskcon archives on these scenes, go to Raslila pictures.
He was Himself AtmArAma, that is One who is fulfilled in Himself, by Himself for Himself. He has nothing to obtain which He does not already have. (cf. nAnavAptam-avAptavyam, ... Gita III-22). When He thus moved in intimate terms with the Gopis, very soon they thought highly of themselves. They thought they were the greatest women on Earth. And the Lord became aware of their pride and arrogant thought, and intending to bless them with the right kind of spirituality, immediately vanished!
And then begins a long wailing and searching, by the Gopis. They could not stand this separation from the Lord. They lose their head and become really mad for Him. This is called the experience of ‘viraha’, separation. It is said by all exponenets of bhakti that the highest form of bhakti is the experience of this viraha from the Lord. We think we are all very devoted to God. But do we feel the pangs of separation from Him as the gopis felt?
People say God does not take the offering we give Him ; but do we offer it the way Sabari offered Him? [ “lok kahte hai bhagwAn khAte nahiM; kyA haM shabarI kI taraH khilAte haim?” ].
People say that God does not come to our rescue; but do we call Him with that conviction and pangs of anxiety that was characteristic of Draupadi’s call? [ “lok kahte hai bhagwAn Ate nahiM; kyA haM draupadI kI taraH bulAte haiM?”].
People say that God does not bless us; but do we love Him with that intensity of Radha’s love? [“lok kahte hai bhagwaan prasAd karte nahiM; kyA ham rAdhA kI tarah pyAr karte haiM?”].
To continue our story, .....
Copyright © V. Krishnamurthy July 2004