Bhagavan said to the Gopis, “Oh Gopis you are great sadhus. You know the sadhu-kritya or the real engagement of sadhus, and you follow this.”
Some people have knowledge but they don’t follow. Some people follow but they don’t have proper knowledge. There are others who have proper knowledge and follow but they think that if they teach others what they are doing they will become bound by them, so they don’t teach others. This is one kind of hypocrisy. If you know good things, then you should tell good things, you should not hide them. If you say, “Oh if I tell people they will become disturbed with me,” the Gopis are not like that.
Sukadeva Goswami explains that the Gopis would share katha with each other in this way they would make a strong community group. Then there was no one else to criticize or disturb them. In Vraja there is no-one there who criticizes Krsna, only the two widows Jatila and Kutila. The mother widow and the daughter widow. They think, “I am so chaste.” But they have such a wicked intelligence that they have no business except for criticizing others, that is their only activity. They wear white cloth but inside of them there is so much filth that even a washerman would not be able to clean it. A washerman could try to clean so much but he would not succeed. He would say; “I cannot do it. I am accustomed to cleaning so much cloth, but I cannot clean your filthy cloth, no matter how hard I try.”
Bhismadeva praises Sri Krsna saying; “These Gopis are not like paid maid-servants or a wife. They are great sages who have embraced the Lord in their hearts, and have offered themselves completely in His service. They are self-realized souls and not the objects of anyone’s enjoyment. They have accepted Krsna as their most dearly beloved, and because of keeping Him in their hearts, they have become decorated with all kinds of good qualities.
For Krsna’s pleasure the Vraja-devis were very attached to glorifying HIm. Inside of their beautiful sweet voices all the love in their hearts manifested through their tone, melodies, words and singing.
When the Gopis would dance and sing with sweet voices, this would come to Sri Krsna and make Him completely filled with joy and happiness and He would also begin to dance. Sri Krsna’s heart being touched by the Gopi’s sweet words and singing said; “Now your love has come through the air in the form of your singing and has come and touched My heart. Your singing and the love from your hearts is so pure and has come into My heart and given Me great happiness.”
As long as we have ulterior desires, that place, that person, that environment all becomes impure. When we are free from anyabhilasa – material desires – then our hearts naturally become filled with joy and also those surrounding you also become filled with joy.
WHAT CHANGES IN SADHU SANGA?
When Ramacandra went to Agastya Muni’s ashram He saw that the tigers there didn’t have a violent mood towards the deer, there didn’t seem to be a competitive spirit among them and they were sleeping and taking food together. Ramacandra said, “I see no bheda bhavana – sense of distinction between one another or fighting spirit.”
The sages came to Rama and offered Him arati and washed His feet. Then Ramacandra began to glorify Agastya Rsi, He said; “Agastya Rsi doesn’t possess any hatred or jealousy, nor does he have any bad qualities. When a place becomes a storehouse of bad qualities then anyone who resides there automatically becomes full of bad qualities. On the other side, because Agastya Rsi himself is a storehouse of good qualities, then everyone in his ashram has received these qualities by his association.
Therefore the lions and tigers and vicious predator animals no longer have any violent mood of fighting and attacking other animals. When Rama came, they all approached Him and began to recite Vedic stutis. Who taught them this? How much can one person speak? If someone is absorbed in bhajan, and he has reached the higher states of that bhajan and pure bhakti, then simply by thinking of him, we will become filled with all good qualities, the qualities of the Devas. We become ornamented with all glories.
Animals do not know how to speak but they came to the ashram of Agastya Rsi even for their food. What happened? The lions saw deer there and thought they would come and eat them, but instead they began to lick and smell the deer. Why? In that ashram there was no cruelty, no hatred, no malice. Material qualities were not able to be active there. This was by the power of that sage’s sadhana, austerities and spiritual practice.
NO COMPETITIVE SPIRIT
In Vraja there is no one who does not have complete love for Krsna. Some have vatsalya or parental love, others sakhya-bhava, or love in the mood of friendship. And some have love in the mood of servitude and others have love in the mood of a paramour or beloved. No one has a competitive spirit or thinks they are enemies.
They don’t think; “Oh you are very low and I am so great.” The sakhas don’t say to Krsna; “Oh what kind of big person do you think You are? Your father is the King Nanda-raja but You only have 9 lakhs cows, but my father has 11 lakhs cows. You are always coming to our houses and stealing butter but we don’t steal butter from Your house.” The Vrajavasis don’t have this critical mood towards one another. They don’t think, “Oh this person is very low and inferior.” When we develop this type of mood, we receive all kinds of suffering and give depression to ourselves. But in Vraja no one is like this because by keeping Krsna in their hearts, and staying nearby Sri Krsna, then all kinds of low and undesirable traits are lost.
If we look at all our qualities, do we think to ourselves how contemptible we are? Do we think how fallen I am? How despicable I am? Or do we climb atop the mountain of pride? Is that good for us? No! We have a relationship with God and we should know, “I am the servant of Krsna. I am Krsna das. I am very small, and He is the master.”
In this world even an ant does not think itself to be small. He thinks, “I am such a great ant.” He is always very proud. He does not have these good qualities, and he does not have anugatya. In Vraja no one is acting out of their independent will. They are all in anugatya. Without Krsna’s desire even Nanda Baba does not act without discussing with Krsna. Parjanya as well only acts after discussing with Nanda and Krsna. Whatever the Vraja-vasis do they will act only according to the desire and will of Krsna.
MEDITATE ON THE GOPIS
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains in the commentary on these verses of Sukadeva Goswami that the Gopis were filled with all kinds of good qualities so by meditating on them you will get kalyana – welfare. Even if you meditate on a worm or insect in Vraja you will get benefit.
In Rama-loka in Ayodhya, there are so many animals, like Hanuman, who is a monkey, Kaka-basundi, the crow, and many other bears, birds and squirrels. They all have so much love for Rama, and therefore Rama’s qualities enter within them. Simply by remembering such devotees, even though they are animals, you will become decorated with all their good qualities. Similarly if we remember the residents of Vraja then we will also develop all their transcendental characteristics.
Now the Gopis were dancing, while they were singing with very beautiful melodies. They danced in many wonderful varieties of ways. Who were they trying to attract? Were they trying to show off their skill to one another? Or were they trying to show off their expertise? No! They were doing kirtan only to satisfy Sri Krsna. By their loving mood they surpassed even the Vedic stutis. In the Vedic stutis there is the Sama Veda which is filled with different poetic songs. The singing of the Gopis was millions of times greater than the songs of the Sama Veda which have 16,000 raginis, and the Gopis were singing these different ragas in very beautiful and sweet melodies and tones.
This beautiful scene manifested in the rasa-sthali where Sri Krsna decorated everyone with His transcendental rasa. At that time Krsna said; “Oh sadhu, sadhu! How glorious your singing and dancing is!” He began to praise the gopis. The gopis seeing and hearing Sri Krsna’s dancing and singing, began to praise Krsna. They said; “How glorious Your singing and dancing is!”
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Sukadeva Goswami glorified Sri Vraja. Thinking of all the Vraja-devis glories he became so absorbed, that he began to speak about the wonderful traits of each of the different Gopis. At that time Pariksit Maharaja began to have direct realization of these in his heart. It was not that Sukadeva Goswami was only speaking these glories, but Pariksit Maharaja was actually having a direct spurthi, or darsana, in his heart of the Gopis. He developed sambandha jnana, a direct relation with them, and he knew Krsna would never be able to neglect him now. If someone takes shelter at the Gopis or Vraja-devis lotus feet, then it is impossible for Bhagavan to ever leave that person. In this way Sukadeva Goswami glorified the Gopis qualities and all the manifestations of the eightfold symptoms of ecstasy appeared.
Guruvarga ki Jaya! Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”. For more info contact: [email protected] )