“he kåñëa karuëä-sindho

déna-bandho jagat-pate

gopeça gopikä-känta

rädhä-känta namo ‘stu te”

“ayatäà suratau paìgor mama manda-mater gaté

mat-sarvasva-padämbhojau rädhä-madana-mohanau”




preñöhälébhiù sevyamänau smarämi”

“çrémän räsa-rasärambhé vaàçé-vaöa-taöa-sthitaù

karñan veëu-svanair gopér gopénäthaù çriye ‘stu naù”


This is the verse from Caitanya-caritamrita by Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami

“çrémän räsa-rasärambhé vaàçé-vaöa-taöa-sthitaù

karñan veëu-svanair gopér gopénäthaù çriye ‘stu naù”


Comprehending the Divine Nature of Rasa Lila:

That standing under the Vamsivata tree, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Gopinath plays upon his divine flute attracting the hearts of all the damsels of Vrindavan. This beautiful shloka is specially illustrating the divine Lila; that we are celebrating in this most auspicious night. It is Sharad-Purnima. It described in the 10th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, the story of Lord Sri Krishna’s Rasa Lila with the damsels of Vraja. Before discussing this supremely holy pastime of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we must first, comprehend the divine nature of this beautiful historical event.


Spiritual life is a science. Krishna says in Gita:

“räja-vidyä räja-guhyaà

pavitram idam uttamam

pratyakñävagamaà dharmyaà

su-sukhaà kartum avyayam”

(BG_ 9.2)

This knowledge is the king of knowledge. It is the supreme education. It is the most perfect and pure of all knowledge because it gives direct perceptions of the self realization. When we approach the knowledge of Srimad Bhagavatam, we must approach it as a science.

The Need to Learn the Basic in order to advance:

In the science of mathematics, first of all you must have the proper books and you must also have a proper teacher to instruct you, that is why we go to school. In the school we are given the authorized books and they are being taught by an authorized teacher. But there is also a very systematic arrangement in each school, as to how we gradually progress from one stage of the subject matter to the next. Just like we never take a four year or five year child and sit him in a college IIT to sit and hear about advanced Trigonometry in the process of mathematics- because he will simply misunderstand everything. It will beyond his comprehension. Therefore you have to take such a child and give him the basic books of arithmetic, the basic books of grammar and have the teacher come down to his level to teach him. Someone may ask that the teacher has a PhD in mathematics and he is teaching 1+1=2, 2+2=4, 3+3=6. If the teacher does not come down to the level of the student, then the student cannot understand.

Therefore, those who are most divinely compassionate souls and who are fully realized in the divine loving service of the Supreme Lord may come to this world and they come down to our level to teach us the basic ABCs. It is based on to tell us about their realizations with God, we might enjoy it but won’t be able to understand or digest it. So such enjoyment, what is the use? Just like a child sitting in the trigonometry class simply enjoying all the far words, he has never heard before. He is gaining no benefits. He may enjoy this, but you sit in your first standard and you learn.

So Srimad Bhagavatam is spoken by the great professor Sukhdev Goswami and he specifically begins in the first canto and he describes the greatness of God. What is the spiritual nature? How God is the supreme controller of everything? How He has created everything? How He has completely transcendental to all of the conditions of material existence? How He is perfect and complete and everything He does is utterly perfect and complete. It is described that we should first learn Bhagavad-Gita that is the preliminary ABCs of self realization and from Bhagavad-Gita, and then we should approach the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam and begin to study the first verse and gradually progress to higher and higher levels of understanding.

Onetime, I was speaking in University and there was one professor of Hinduism. He got his PhD in Banaras University; this was in America in Ashlee Kentucky. The professor came to me and said, “Why are you worshiping Krishna? Of all the Gods, why Krishna? He is such a lusty boy. He is going in the middle of the night. He is meeting other men’s wives and he is dancing with them and embracing with them”. He said, “I have done my dissertation in the 10th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. I know what kind of person thisKrishna is. He is hiding in the bushes with Sri Radharani. What is this? What kind of God is this? He is not even following the basic principles of mundane morality. Why of all Gods, you have chosen Krishna? I think you are crazy”. I asked him, “Have you studied Bhagavad-Gita”?

“dehino ‘smin yathä dehe

kaumäraà yauvanaà jarä

tathä dehäntara-präptir

dhéras tatra na muhyati”

(BG_ 2.13)

Do you know you are not this body? Do you know you are the eternal soul? Do you understand these basic principles of Bhagavad-Gita? Have you studied under a teacher? He said, “No”. I said, “What kind of professor are you”? You have jumped to the higher subject matter and you know nothing about the preliminary elementary basics. Therefore how will ever understand these high subject matters? Then he looked at me and said, “I am sorry. I would like to discuss this matter further with you but my wife is waiting for me for dinner. If I do not get home right the way, she will become very angry”. Then I said, “Alright, this is your realization, you go home”.


Can one imitate God?

You see, this Rasa Lila is a very, very high subject matter. Through reading Bhagavad-Gita in the s11th chapter, we see how Krishna manifests the Viratrupa; the universal form, where everything is within Him. He is the supreme controller of everything that exists. You may call yourself god, but can you reveal to us the universal form. That is the different betweenKrishna and us. If you are god, show us your universal form. First we must understand how great is God? How divine, pure, and supreme that everything He does and everything He says? He is the absolute truth. He is the cause of all causes. Everything is emanating from Him.

“mattaù parataraà nänyat


mayi sarvam idaà protaà

sütre maëi-gaëä iva”


Krishna says there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rest upon Me as pearls are strung on a thread. “ahaà sarvasya prabhavo mattaù sarvaà pravartate” I am the source of all material and spiritual world. Everything emanates from Me.

Sometimes people like to perform Rasa Lila. There is a class of man called prakrita sahajias and one man will gather so many unmarried girls and he will say, “I am Krishna. You are Krishna. We all areKrishnas. But I am playing the role ofKrishna. So let us now we perform the Rasa Lila together”. This is very common. But what I say to you is that Krishna is Gopijana-Vallabha; that means He is the enjoyer of Gopis. But He is also Girivardhari, which means He is the lifter of Govardhana. You cannot do everything whatKrishnadoes. So do not try to imitate some of things that He does. When He was seven years old, He lifted Govardhana Hill. When He was eight years old, He performed the Rasa Lila in that order. So first, you go to Vrindavan and lift the Govardhana Hill with your little finger of the left hand and you hold it for seven days. You can hardly walk around Govardhan hill without being tired. Go ahead, lift it up with left finger of your left hand and hold Govardhan for seven days without even exerting any energy. After that, one year later, you could dance with Gopis.

Krishna is God. He is the Supreme Absolute Truth. We must understand His perfectly pure position. This divine pastime which we are about to narrate in summary is a very holy and sacred Lila between the Lord and the most feasting pure and exalted of all transcendental yogis in all of existences; the Gopis of Vrindavan. The Gopis of Vrindavan, they are coming from one of the two places. They are descending from the perfect abode of the highest Vaikuntha planet Golok Vrindavan, just to assist the Lord and in His divine Lila or in many, many years birth they have been yogis and completely purified their lives, detaching themselves from all material desires from sense gratification and awakening the highest principles of the love of God within their hearts. They are not ordinary women. They have no desire for sense gratification. Their only desire is to pleaseKrishna. This is the supreme reciprocation of divine love. Sukhdev Goswami explains that anyone who jumps to the tenth canto and jumps to the Rasa Lila and enjoys reading this Lila thinking that this is a Lila about some nice ordinary boy named Krishna dancing with these Gopis. Such a person is drinking poison. That will kill their spiritual inclinations. This is very, very exalted subject matter. So it is described by Srila Sukhdev Goswami to Maharaja Parikshit and try to understand who Sukhdev Goswami is and who Parikshit Maharaj is. Who are the personalities discussing this Rasa Lila?

The Exalted Personalities- Sukhdev Goswami and Maharaj Parikshit:

Sukhdev Goswami is a perfectly purified and liberated soul. When he was in the womb of his mother, he was Brahman realized, he had already attained Mukti. Therefore he felt, why should I come out of this womb of my mother because this world is full of so much bondage and so much entanglement? There are so many distractions to take my mind away from this mukti; the Brahman realization. So he remained within the womb of his mother for sixteen long years and his father Vedavyas, he was begging his son, come out. Finally, Vedavyas began to narrate the beautiful pastimes of Krishna. When Sukhdev Goswami heard that, he was thinking that the pastimes of Bhagvan Sri Krishna is so sweet, so pleasing to the heart, that I do not even care for mukti, after hearing this. The pleasure of bhakti is hundreds and billions of times more pleasing than the exalted position of Mukti. So he came out of the womb and he left his father’s house and just started going into the forest. He was a naked sixteen year old boy. The father was chasing after him, after all a father waiting sixteen years for a boy, wants to treat him as a son for sometime. So as he was chasing through the forest, they came to one pond of water. In that pond of water, there were all these young girls bathing and they were bathing without any clothes. When Sukhdev Goswami came, they all just began to smile amongst each other as he walked by. Then Vedavyas came behind him looking and when they saw Vedavyas, they became frightened. Immediately there was a disturbance and they all started putting on their clothes and said, “Why have you come? Vedavyas could not understand. What is this? He said, “My son, he is only sixteen and he is your age. He is naked. Why are you all not disturbed, when he came? I am old enough to be your father. Why are you disturbed, when I come?

So the Gopis, they could understand the mind of Sukhdev Goswami. You see, women have a very special mystic power to understand the minds of men and it is a special god given gift. I was told by one sadhu one time, that if you want to understand who is a true brahmacäré you have to ask the matajis. The other brahmacärés they cannot understand. But the woman knows the mind of a man. Woman can evaluate the motivations of a man and women also use this mystic power. Just like in marriage, it is the common fact that women is very expert at controlling her husband and her expertise is that by appearing to be under his control, she controls him. So every husband in every family is saying, “Yes! I am the controller of my family and the wife; she is simply smiling within her hearts and saying, “Yes, yes, you are the controller”. But in her heart, she knows that he is like a puppet in my hand. Matajis is that not what it is? This is the great illusion of family life, that the man he is thinking, “I am the controller of this family. Just see how nicely I am controlling everything around me”. But all the brahmacärés and the sanyasis they see that he is simply being controlled by his wife and his wife, she is secretly keeping a very secret, how he is being controlled”. Everybody sees except him.

So these young girls; they had this perception and they told Vedavyas that Sukhdev Goswami is completely pure. He does not even see the difference between a male and a female. To him there is no difference. He only sees the soul. But you Vedavyas, you are also a perfectly liberated soul but because you are a family man, you must make distinction between male and female. Therefore we are ashamed to be before you. We are not ashamed to be before Sukhdev Goswami. He is completely purified soul. This is the quality of the person, who is speaking Srimad Bhagavatam. Do you think Sukhdev Goswami would be interested in speaking about some mundane lusty activities between boys and girls in the forest?

Maharaj Parikshit; he left all the pleasures of his family, all the pleasures of being a king of the world. He left everything to sit at the bank of Ganges to fast for seven days, only to hear the perfect glories of the lord from the highest elevated Paramhamsa saints. Do you think that the subject matter between such exalted personalities are the subject matters of what they saw on television last night or some ordinary mundane novel written by some ordinary mundane person? Their discussion is in the highest, pure, spiritual truth in all of existence.


The Irresistible Call of Krishna:

So Sukhdev Goswami describes to Maharaj Parikshit. On this most sacred and holy evening on the full moon night of the month of Kartik, Sharad Purina, in the forest of Vrindavan the moon is rising on the eastern horizon. It is a beautiful golden color and all around the whole atmosphere is surcharged. The sky; it seems as if it is painted by the beautiful, beautiful golden illuminating aura of the moon. The birds are singing with sweet sounds; most pleasing to the ears. The wind in its charming way is blowing through the leaves and the trees are singing a beautiful song. Indeed of all nights, this is considered to be the king of all beauty. The whole forest of Vrajdham was intoxicated with the sweetness of this most auspicious evening and thus within the heart of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Shyamsundar awoke the desire to enjoy the beautiful Lila of the Rasa Dance with His most beloved Gopis.

So He stood in His three fold bending form. His hair bedecked with peacock feathers and He began to play upon His celebrated flute; the most charming fifth note which captivates the hearts and minds of all living beings. The ambrosial sound of the celestial flute of Sri Shyamsundar utterly foliated every molecule and every atmosphere of Vrindavan. Then when it enters into the ears of the Gopis, they were wishing millions and billions of years and when they went through their ears into their hearts, their minds and their hearts became conquered by the sweet love. That was their most cherished pleasure of life within their own hearts. Whatever their occupations were, they could not even consider any importance. They simply ran to meet withKrishna. They understoodKrishnais calling. He is calling for us. Not a single Gopi was thinking let us enjoy with Krishna. But their feeling was let us give pleasure toKrishna. Our heart, our soul and our life is simply to give pleasure toKrishna. Our only desire, our only ambition is give pleasure to Sri Krishna.

So it is described that some of the Gopis were milking the cows, because after all in the evenings, it is the most auspicious time for milking the cows. The Gopis, half finished milking the cows, and when they heard the flute of Sri Krishna, they could not even consider taking the time to even take the bucket away from the cows. They just left the bucket, left the cow and ran to the forest. Other Gopis were cooking milk. It is described by Sukhdev Goswami that one Gopi had the milk boiling and she was stirring and when she heard Krishna’s flute, she did not turn off the fire, she did not even remove the pot, she did not even remove the spoon. She just left it to boil over and ran into the forest to meet with Krishna, Sri Gopinath. Another Gopi, she was serving her father in law, her husband and brother in law nice Prasad and when the sound of the flute entered into her heart, she did not even consider what anyone would say. She just put down the pots and ran out through the door. Everyone were looking and saying, “You cannot go. You will stay with us.” But she did not have the time to even hear their words. Another Gopi was breast feeding her own baby. You know how much a mother is naturally attached to her infant child. She was feeding the milk from her breast to her baby child and when she heard the celebrated flute of Sri Krishna she gently placed her child aside and ran to the forest. She did not consider who will take care of my baby. She only consideredKrishnais calling. Some of the Gopis were about to take rest with their husbands and when Krishna’s flute entered into their lives, they simply left their husbands behind to run to the forest to meet Sri Shyamsundar.

It is described that some of the Gopis; their protectors, their fathers, their husbands were so much against their going to see Krishna that they forcibly captured them and locked them in the rooms, so that they could not escape. And those Gopis; their minds were so fixed with intense feelings of separation from Krishna that they could not maintain their lives, but they gave up their material bodies. This is the eagerness, the intensity of the damsels of Vrindavan. Their first priority in life was to please Krishna and when Krishna calls nothing can stand between them.

We find that often times the call of God comes to one’s life and when the call of God comes into your life nothing can hold you back. There is a saying, “When the call of God comes into one’s life, it is like the call of death. It must be obeyed”. So the Gopis were running through the forest. They were in such a commotion to meet with Krishna; they were thinking we should look very nice for Krishna. So they began decorating their faces and putting on nice clothes. But they were so anxious to meet withKrishnathat, they could not do anything properly. Some of them put the top part of their clothes on the bottom part of their body and the bottom part of the clothes on the top part of their body. Some of them were putting up their cosmetics and they only put half the lips and half the eyes. It was quite a scene.


Krishna’s preaching to the Gopis:

And deeper, deeper and deeper into the jungle they ran until they came upon the blessed Vamsivata tree. There was the beautiful form of Govinda, charmingly glancing upon them with his lotus like eyes and He began to speak. “My dear Gopis, it is very nice of you to have come to meet with Me here, in the middle of the night, but this is a very dangerous place. You are all young girls. You have no power to protect your selves. There are lions, there are tigers and there are wolves and the jackals all around. They are all hungry to find some prey. You should go home immediately where it is safe and protective. Besides that, do you not understand that you are chaste woman and you have husbands and protectors? Not only it is unsafe and dangerous, but it is completely against all religious principles for you to be coming in to the forest in the middle of the night to meet another man.

In so many waysKrishnawas preaching to them to go home. He said, “Yes, I know you all want to see the beauty of the Vrindavan forest on this most auspicious night. So you have seen the beauty now you go home. Not only that my dear Gopis, I can understand that you have sacrificed everything only for my sake. You are my surrendered devotees. I have called you and you have given up all considerations of all other responsibilities, just to please Me. Now I am pleased and now you go home.


The Perfect Reply of the Gopis:

The Gopis began to cry. They looked to the ground like shy village girls, they began to draw pictures on the ground with their toes and then they looked towards Krishna and they replied, “But Krishna, your words are like arrows into our hearts. You say that we should be attached to our family members, but why should we be attached to our family members? Who are our family members? The fact is my dear Krishna; your presence in our hearts gives them life. You are the Paramatma. As soon as you leave anyone’s heart, that person becomes a dead corps. Who is in love with dead corps? However beloved someone is, when you leave their hearts, we have no affection for that body. We either put it in the river, or bury it in the ground, either feed it to the birds or we burn it to the fire. We have no affection for our body. So actually, who is it that we really love. It is you within their hearts. It is the life force the soul which is the part of you. So therefore Krishna; you are the only object of everyone’s love at all times and you are the supreme Purusha, you are the supreme enjoyer, you are the husband of all living beings and all living beings are your wives. They are all meant for your enjoyment. You are the supreme father, the supreme husband, the supreme protector, the supreme object of everyone’s love. So Krishna, we are not doing anything wrong coming for you.

When you watered the root of the tree, every part of the tree is nourished. All of our family members and everyone else are your parts and parcels. If we satisfy you, everyone will experience the ultimate ecstasy and enjoy in life.”

“devarñi-bhütäpta-nåëäà pitèëäà

na kiìkaro näyam åëé ca räjan

sarvätmanä yaù çaraëaà çaraëyaà

gato mukundaà parihåtya kartam”


It is described that we have so many obligations in this world. Obligations to the society, obligations to the politicians, obligations to our ancestors, obligations to your family members, obligations to the demigods, obligations to everybody who gives you any favors in your life. “gato mukundaà parihåtya kartam”. This means that if you satisfy Krishna all your obligations are fulfilled. So the Gopis spoke like this before Krishna.

Krishna is bound by the Love of his Devotees:

When Krishna saw how deeply and sincerely they wanted to please Him and serve Him and give Him pleasure, even the heart of God becomes melted by such bhakti.Krishnais the supreme controller of all controllers. But He is controlled by the love His devotees. That is His nature. He is Bhaktvastala. What does that mean? It means that he is always subordinate to the love of His devotees.

When Mother Yashoda wanted to bindKrishnawith rope, who can bind God? He is keeping everybody in the bondage of his external energy; Maya. Arjuna saw the Virat Rupa, where thousands and millions of soldiers were being devoured by the mouth of this most terrible form; the form of time, the form of death. Mother Yashoda was just a simply a Gopi. How can she bind that personality who is the source of the Virat Rupa? Because of her love, because of her Bhakti that same Supreme Godhead agreed to be bound by the rope of her love. Therefore Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita “bhaktyä tv ananyayä çakya aham evaà-vidho ‘rjuna” It is only by pure devotion, it is only by pure love that I can be understood as I am. So the Gopis dwelt in the heart of Krishna by their eagerness to serve Him with devotion. Try to understand the most exalted position of the Gopis.


The Ultimate Renunciation of the Gopis- the Supreme Manifestation of Love:

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who was Krishna Himself, He explains that there is no devotion superior to the devotion of the damsels of Vraja Dham. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a sanyäsé of the highest order and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained that the ultimate state of renunciation was exhibited by the Gopis of Vrindavan. And Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained that His line or His sampradaya all sanyasis must meditate on the renunciation of the Gopis. This is a very transcendental conception that, sanyasis of the highest order who have given up everything in this world, they are meditating on beautiful young girls for leaving their husbands and going into the forest to dance with another man. This is the meditation of the greatest sanyasis. Why is that- because the quality of the renunciation of the Gopis has never been seen any where to such an extent. Not only did they give up all protection, their family members rejected them when they went into the forest that means they had nothing. They were to be living in the forest with tigers, lions, jackals with no home to return for the pleasure of Krishna.

They were giving up all their comforts, all the enjoyments of life for the pleasure of Krishna. They put aside all attachments of personal relationships for the pleasure ofKrishna. But these things are not very difficult compared to the supreme manifestation of their love that they were willing to even give up their pride, their prestige. There was nothing more difficult than this- because to a cultured lady in the civilized society there is nothing more precious and valuable than her chastity. Just like Draupadi, how much she understood that to be seen necked before these other men in the assembly of Kurus was billions and billions of times worse than death. For a woman to lose her chastity is unimaginable.


To be Humble- the hardest thing in this World:

The Gopis were even willing to sacrifice the pride and prestige of being chaste women for the pleasure of Krishna. Pride is the ultimate bondage of this world. It is the most difficult thing to give up. The hardest thing in this world is to be humble. We see even in the spiritual circles, sometimes a person gives up all, sometimes a king goes to the forest to become a mendicant. He gives up all his wealth. He gives up all his material ties. He is fasting, hardly eating nothing but a few grains or rice or a little water a day. He is depriving himself of money, he is depriving himself of sleep, and he is depriving himself of food and in his heart he is thinking, “Yes, I am very great and I am very spiritually advanced. Just see what I have done”. There is nothing more dangerous. There is nothing more unsatisfying to the God than pride which is within our heart.

I remember one time, a devotee was fasting like anything and when he would see the other devotees eating, he would be thinking, “Just see how they are enjoying so much sense gratification”. But I am not.” Because if your fasting is making you proud that you are better than somebody else, then your fasting is simply feeding your pride. Your pride is getting fat as anything, although your body is becoming very, very lean and thin. So what is the use?

“tåëäd api sunécena

taror iva sahiñëunä

amäninä mänadena

kértanéyaù sadä hariù”

(Cc. Ädi 17.31)

Lord Chaitanya said that if you want to chant the name of God constantly you must become more humble than the blade of grass, more tolerant than the tree, ready to offer all respects to others and expect no respect for oneself. Only in this way, you can chant the name of the God constantly. Pride is very difficult to give up in this world. Sometimes, we think that I am becoming very humble, but then Krishna tests you. If someone says something against you that is not true, then you go, “what? How can you say like that? Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know what I have done?” Sometimes pride is like a sleeping serpent. As soon as someone steps on it, it just raises its hood and strikes, like a sleeping Cobra. Pride is very difficult to over come. But the damsels of Vraja, they exhibited the ultimate manifestation of humility. For Krishna’s sake and for the pleasure of Krishna, they were willing to be considered by their own loved ones and by the whole of the society to be prostitutes. They did not care, if that is what it took to please Krishna.

But of course, those who understand the subtle principles of Yoga, they understand that the Gopis are the supreme topmost of all yogis.


When Pride enters, Krishna leaves immediately:

Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita,


“yoginäm api sarveñäà


çraddhävän bhajate yo mäà

sa me yuktatamo mataù”

(BG_ 6.47)

Of all yogis one who thinks of Me with great devotion and faith, that person is the highest of yogis and most intimately united with me in Yoga. Who is more immersed with the faith and devotion in Krishna than the Gopis? So Krishna being satisfied by this great devotion; Bhakti, He began to roam through the forest with the damsels of Vraja. They were dancing together, singing together. But thenKrishnasensed that there was another type of pride in the heart of the Gopis. Can you imagine Krishna is a very, very He wants everything. They have already given up everything for Him. They have already given up everything we are talking about for millions of times more and they were dancing with Krishna only for His pleasure. Then the Gopis began to think and Krishna could understand their hearts because He is within their hearts. They were thinking that,” Yes, Krishna has chosen only me. I am very fortunate. I am very special.” A devotee does not think, “I am special”. A devotee thinks “Krishnais special. Out of his causeless mercy even me, I am nothing”. But if we really think I am very special.Krishnahas seen. Krishna has thus learnt the truth, who I am or what a great person I am! The world does not know. But Krishna knows, what I have given, what I have done, and who I am?” Krishna cannot even tolerate the pride in Gopi’s hearts. When pride enters into your hearts,Krishnaleaves. So Krishna disappeared from the site of the Gopis.


Gopis in Separation:

They became mad in separation. Where is our lord? Where is our Thakurji, Shyamsundar? Where he has gone? Then they began to search through the forest, running in all directions, looking here and looking there that they could not find their beloved Sri Krishna anywhere. Thus in an urgent, in a helpless condition, they began to approach all the moving and nonmoving beings in the forest, begging, “Can you help us in finding Krishna.” They went to the trees, the creepers, the plants, “Have you seen the lotus eye Nandanandan”? Has He passed this way? Please before we die of separation; give us some direction where He has gone? But the trees and the creepers had nothing to say. The Gopis were pleading with them. How can you be so cruel, answer us. Where is the darling of mother Yashoda?

Then they went to the deer, “Oh lotus eyed dear, you are the innocent creature of the forest. You are always the favorite of Lord Sri Krishna. Have you see, where He has gone? Give us some indication. The fire of separation is burning in our hearts and if it is not quenched by the side of Krishna it will burn our very life to ashes. They were approaching the monkeys, the peacocks. They were approaching the sky; the stars, begging them please where is my beloved Krishna is? Where is that beautiful lifter of Govardhan Hill, Sri Giridhari? Then the Gopis in madness immersed in the thought of Krishna just to maintain or survive they had to enact His divine Lila amongst themselves.

One Gopi would pretend she was Kaliya; the serpent and another Gopi would start dancing on her head pretending she was Krishna. Another Gopi was pretending, she was Putana, “Yes, I have come to kill you with the poison from my breast.” Then another Gopi would begin to pretend she was Krishna and begin to suck. Now you will die Putana”. Another Gopi pretended that she was Trinavarta; the whirlwind and another Gopi came and got on her shoulder and threw her to the ground. In this way they were mad, searching here and there and everywhere. At last, they saw two sets of foot prints. One was that of Sri Krishna and one was that of the most special of all the Gopis, Srimati Radharani and the Gopis were thinking, “Just see He has gone with this other Gopi and let us follow”. So they began to follow the sets of foot prints, deeper, deeper into the forest. Then they noticed that the two sets of foot prints became one. But the one set of foot prints were deeper within the ground. The Gopis were very analytical. They were very scientific. They were discovering all these higher truths in life. It was being revealed within their hearts that the reason why this foot prints of the Lord Sri Krishna are now deeper in the ground because the Gopi who is with Him became tired and out of His love He has put her on His shoulders and He is carrying her. Therefore He is heavier. So they began to follow the set of foot prints deeper and deeper and deeper into the forest of Vrindavan. Then they noticed that right before them under a tree was that divine Gopi Srimati Radharani. She was sitting under that tree, tears flowing from her eyes like the rivers of Yamunä and Ganga and crying and crying and crying. Where is my Shyamsundar? Where is Thakurji; the Lord of my life? The other Gopis seeing her and they all began to cry and lament, how much separation she is feeling, even greater than us. They all got up and began to search for Krishna.


Nothing Else but the Pleasure of the Lord- The Ultimate Goal:

Now Krishna was hiding under a tree and all the Gopis were coming, He was thinking “They will find Me; I have to make some arrangement to disguise Myself”. So His beautiful Vrindavanchandra transformed into the munificent opulent Rupa of Lord Narayan, the Lord of Vaikuntha”. The Gopis with great respect and reverence bowed their heads to the feet of Lord Narayan. They saw Lord Narayan, “You are the Lord of the Universe, we offer our obeisances to you, have you seen Krishna? We are looking forKrishna. Please tell us, where has Krishna gone?” The Gopis were not concerned, even with Narayan. What to speak everything of this world. They cared nothing for Mukti; they cared nothing even for the lord of the universe. They were only thinking, how can we give pleasure toKrishna? The Gopis did not even know He was God. All they knew was that He isKrishna. All they are knew was that He is the love of our life. He is Vrindavanath.


Material Love and Transcendental Love- the Difference:

Maharaja Parikshit asked Sukhdev Goswami, “Why? If they did not even know that He was God and they just thought He was a boy, then why such an exalted position? That means if any girl thinks of another boy with such intensity that they will become so purified.” Sukhdev Goswami said, “The difference is that Krishna is God.Krishnais the supreme absolute truth.Krishnais the proprietor of all six opulence in full. All wealth, all knowledge, all strength, all beauty, all fame, and all renunciation are possessed by Krishna alone.” Then Sukhdev Goswami began to explain, “Just see Shishupal, who was envious of Krishna. He hated Krishna and he was always accusingKrishnabad things. He was always condemning. He was always criticizingKrishna. He did not accept Krishna as God. He considered thatKrishnais his competitor and his enemy. But because of he was always thinking of Krishna, when he died, he attained the perfection of liberation. That is the difference betweenKrishnaand an ordinary person of this world. ThereforeKrishnasays in Bhagavad-Gita

“man-manä bhava mad-bhakto

mad-yäjé mäà namaskuru

mäm evaiñyasi yuktvaivam

ätmänaà mat-paräyaëaù”

(BG_ 18.65)

Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer My homage ontoMe.In this way you will come to Me without fail. This is Krishna Consciousness.


Krishna’s Tests:

So the Gopis bowed down to Narayan and their only question was, ‘have you seen Krishna?’ All respect to You, “Where is our beloved Nandanandan? Where is our beloved Vrindavan Bihari Lal? We only want to find out the enjoyer of Vrindavan. We are not concerned with the lord of the Universe. So Narayan with His four hands, He turned them all and said, “Yes, He has gone this way? And the Gopis thought, “Yes! “Om Namo Narayanah”. Then they ran looking forKrishna. Then Srimati Radharani came. When Krishna saw Srimati Radharani coming, He was thinking, “Yes, Now I must check her also”. So Srimati Radharani very humbly bowed her head and said, “O lord Narayan, have you seen the lotus eyed enjoyer of the forest of Vrindavan, Sri Krishna. Where has He gone?” In the presence of pure Bhakti of Srimati Radharani, Krishna, although as hard as He could was trying to maintain the disguise. His two extra arms unavoidably and uncontrollably just melted away. Then Srimati Radharani said, “Oh, You are Krishna”. Then Krishna revealed the result to all of the Gopis and they began to enjoy the beautiful forest of Vrindavan. In other words, all that pride was taken from the heart.

Krishna tests us, by not being present before us just to curb that pride within our heart. So that we understand that we are fully dependent on His mercy alone. We can only approachKrishnathrough His mercy alone. It is explained that Krishna and the Gopis they became very hot because they were dancing very nicely. So they went into the beautiful waters, the refreshing waves of Yamuna. And there they began to perform wonderful water sports flashing one another, smiling and laughing. Then they came out of the forest, river Yamuna and they began to dance. They danced and in that dance there were thousands of Gopis and Krishna expanded Himself. He was standing between each Gopi. Each Gopi as they were dancing was thinking thatKrishnais looking only at me. Krishna is smiling only at me.Krishnais dancing only with me.Krishnais enjoying my service, the service I am offering, how merciful and how causelessly merciful, He is. In this way Lord Sri Krishna completely satisfied all the desire of the Gopis to offer this loving devotional service to Him.


Lessons of Pure Devotional Service from this Glorious Night:

So on this beautiful night of Rasa Purnima, we can meditate on the beauty and the glories of surrender. Some people think that surrender means to give up everything and what we have. The fact is when we surrender everything for Krishna; you gain the supreme benediction of the eternal joy of the soul, the joy of love. Of course, after enjoying the Rasa Lila, the Gopis wanted the Rasa Lila to go on and on and on, they never wanted it to end. Krishna, by His mystic power allowed the Rasa Lila to go on for entire night of Brahma, which is several billions of years. But He stopped the rest of time. So after those billions of years of dancing with Krishna in the forest for that night of Brahma, when the Rasa Lila was over, He turned time back on and it was just the next morning for everyone us. This is called the achintya shakti. Krishna can do anything when we understand who is God; you understand there is nothing God cannot do. You cannot stop time even for even one second. ButKrishnastops time for several billions of years. Just to give His Gopis this enjoyment of dancing and serving in this way.

It is said, “When we surrendered toKrishna, you are never the loser”. When they went back home, they were accepted. Everything was very nice. So this is a night that we should reflect, how practically the Rasa Lila applies to our everyday life. The Rasa Lila is showing us the process of pure devotional service. We cannot imitate the Gopis of Vrindavan, but one thing we can do. We can humbly serve our guru maharaja and in this way we can follow in their foot steps. Through this process we can please Krishna. By pleasing Krishna, all of our desires will be fulfilled. Krishna performed the Rasa Lila, when He was eight years old. When you are eight years old, you are not thinking of enjoying women. Krishna enjoyed the Rasa Lila at this particular age, just to show the pure pristine quality of this most intimate reciprocation of pure spiritual emotion. The fact is that we should know thatKrishnais playing upon His flute for all of us. He is calling each and every one of us to enter His divine Lila simply, So must reciprocate. We must come to Him and then the supreme joy of life will unfurl before us right from within our own hearts.


Thank you very much.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.