tad vraja-striya äçrutya
käçcit parokñaà kåñëasya
When the young ladies in the cowherd village of Vraja heard the song of Krsna’s flute, which arouses the influence of Cupid, some of them privately began describing Krsna’s qualities to their intimate friends. (SB 10.21.3)
tad varëayitum ärabdhäù
The cowherd girls began to speak about Kåñëa, but when they remembered His activities, O King, the power of Cupid disturbed their minds, and thus they could not speak. (SB 10.21.4)
The Gopis Assemble Together
When the news “Krsna is leaving” echoed around Nanda-grama, its inhabitants immediately rose from their duties to stream out their doors and down the pretty lanes to have vision of their beloved Kanai. As a river of men, women, children, and elders flooded down Nandisvara Hill, their lotus eyes emitted a second current of tears, which wet their colorful garments and quickly took shelter of the calm Krsna ocean.
After binding Him with amulets for protection, taking vows for His quick return, and giving Balarama instructions for His welfare, mother Yasoda gave her permission to the many boys anxious to depart with her son.
While the happy gopas with their many cows moved forward like waves in the ocean of milk, the people of Vraja, stunned by the prospect of His separation, walked slowly, as if under a spell. Reassuring them again and again of His speedy return, Sri Krsna bade goodbye with His loving glances, cheerful smile, and expressive gestures.
Looking in all directions, Govinda saw the leading women of Vraja like Arhba, Kilimba, Rohini, and Yasoda straining to catch a last glimpse of Him. Young children still in their mothers’ arms,
unable to join with Him, cried torrents of tears. The many gopi group-leaders like Mangala, Syamala, Bhadra, Pali, Candravali, and Srimati Radharani stood speechless, like wives whose husbands had gone.
Sri Krsna then sprinkled the eyes of the gopis, which were like thirsty cataka birds, with the stream of His nectarean glance. He announced His departure, and they in turn conferred their consent with bashful, sidelong glances. Keeping the cows in front, Balarama to His right, and the gopas crowding all around, Hari headed for the forest, attracting the minds of all the vraja-vasis.
When Sri Krsna passed out of view, the vraja-vasis became despondent and, losing all purpose in life, stood motionless, like an ocean of statues. Their luster dried up like the rivers in summer, and their eyes became lifeless, as if possessed by spirits. Sri Krsna, who knew of their condition, desired to give them fresh hope. Placing His horn, Mandaghosa, to His lips. He blew it, destroying all inauspiciousness and giving joy to His village folk.
The vraja-vasis remained as they stood, stunned and unwilling to move, giving the image of a still picture or a land possessed by spirits. When they received Sri Krsna’s encouraging message, they took their bodies to Nanda-grama, although their minds had gone with Him to the forest. Returning to the village, the elders took bewildered Nanda and Yasoda, the gopis carried their unconscious yuthesvaris, the young boys cried hand in hand, and unhappy Kundalata escorted Radha and Her girlfriends. In this way, the mechanical movements of the vraja-vasis were performed out of habit, like one doll accompanying another.
When the unconscious gopis were returned home, their friends washed their faces, massaged their feet, and gradually revived them from their swoon. Although in the midst of village activity, the gopis heard nothing, their ears covered by an impenetrable deafness. Suddenly, before their mothers-in-law could complain of their absence, the mystical call of the flute entered the gopis’ ears, giving them a new hope.
Being called by Sri Krsna, some girls climbed the roofs of their houses, others entered the residential courtyard, certain gopis left to meet in a secluded garden, and a few gazed out their windows
The Gopis Assemble Together
with longing. Offering prayers to the creator, by whose grace they possessed ears to hear Vamsidhara, all the senses of those gopis took on the auditory quality, and they became immersed in the sound of the flute.
By the agency of Yogamaya, the gopis, though far from lotus-eyed Sri Krsna, envisaged the scene (described in verses 1 and 2) as He entered the forest of Vrndavana, playing His flute and accompanied by His friends and cows.
Srila Prabhupada describes the gopis’ initial reaction to hearing the flute in the following way: “After hearing the vibration of Krsna’s flute, the gopis in Vrndavana remembered Him and began to talk amongst themselves about how nicely Krsna played. When the gopis were describing the sweet vibration of Krsna’s flute, they also remembered their pastimes with Him; thus their minds became disturbed, and they were unable to describe completely the beautiful vibrations.” , ; .. Verse 3 of this chapter of Srimad-Bhagavatam sayss’, ; . • ‘ ! . , “sir.. tad vraja-striya asrutya ; venu-gitam smarodayam kascit paroksam krsnasya •’: sva-sakhibhyo ‘nvavarnayan
“When the young ladies in the cowherd village of Vraja heard the song of Krsna’s flute, which arouses the influence of Cupid, some of them privately began describing Krsna’s qualities to their intimate friends.” (Bhag. 10.21.3)
The good fortune of the gopis is incomprehensible to Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, who incessantly covet their complete attachment to Sri Krsna. With their cuckoo-like voices choked with emotion, the gopis constantly sing His glories while milking the cows, churning butter, or cleaning their houses. Even the great devotee Uddhava Mahasaya, Sri Krsna’s cousin and advisor, prays to become a clump of grass to secure the dust of their lotus feet. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Sri Krsna in the mood of the gopis, has conclusively instructed that their mode of worship supersedes all others.
The verses of Venu-gita proudly proclaim the devotional attitude of the gopis. A comparable desire to serve Krsna will manifest and grow in the heart of the reader who is desirous of such perfection. Later in Krsna book (Chapter 46) Srila Prabhupada writes, “The gopis of Vrndavana have set the standard of devotion for the whole world. By following in the footsteps of the gopis, and by constantly thinking of Krsna, one can attain the highest perfection of spiritual life.”
; East of Vrndavana forest, across the River Yamuna, living on leaves and roots for ten thousand years, Laksmi-devi once performed austerities to enter into the circle of Sri Krsna’s gopis. When the master of the gopis became pleased with her. He appeared in His two-armed form. His body curved in three places, wearing flower garlands and playing His flute. Devi was overwhelmed by the sight of Govinda. After bowing before Him and taking the dust of His feet, she requested He grant her desire.
Sri Krsna, who is always favorably disposed to His devotees and reciprocates with their slightest service, regretfully expressed His inadequacy. Because she maintained a conceit as the goddess of fortune, imbued with a mood of awe, Laksmi-devi was not qualified to adopt the bhava of a gopi.
What was unattainable for the wife of Lord Narayana, however, can be achieved by the sincere sadhaka through the grace of Guru and Gaurahga. By performing nama-sankirtana and hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam under their guidance, anyone, even in this age of Kali, will achieve the topmost perfection. This special benediction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, through the line of Gaudiya Vaisnava aeon/as, is presented by Srila Prabhupada by way of ISKCON and its publications.
; The morning departure for the pasturing grounds is called gocaran. Other than the cowherd boys and the cows, all the vraja-vasis sorrowfully remain behind to execute their duties, even though they all desire to be with Sri Krsna. To mitigate the pain of separation during His absence, they chant His names, speak of His pastimes, and constantly long for His return. In Vrndavana, Sri Krsna is the cynosure of all living beings, both moving and non-moving. They love Him as their folk hero, renowned for His beauty, grace, kindness, and extraordinary strength.
The Gopis Assemble Together
Among the vraja-vasis are the many girls who have come of age and covet the impossible desire to secure Govinda as their beloved. What is impossible in the realm of the relative is the pleasure of Sri Krsna in service to His devotees. To secure the gopis’ love. He who is known as the butter thief and has stolen their hearts by His beautiful features now steals their simple minds and becomes famous as Citta-Hari.
How many elder gopis of Vraja, always affectionate to their own children, their hearts overflowing with love for Gopala, did not covet Him as their own child? Within their hearts, they had an overwhelming desire to bathe, dress, feed, and hold Him as their own. Can such desires be fulfilled without disturbing mother Yasoda’s exclusive maternal mood? For Him who knows every?-thing, nothing is impossible.
When Lord Brahma checked the gopas’ lunch, kidnapping them while Hari searched for cows, Krsna expanded Himself into the forms of all the cowherd boys. To fulfill the desire of the gopis, Sri Krsna perfectly duplicated the form, dress, mannerisms, voice, and ornamentation of each cowherd boy. However, the mothers were unable to understand that their children were now all Gopala.
During the year Lord Brahma kept the cowherd boys in a cave, Sri Krsna played the role of the gopas. Like a high tide caused by the full moon, the Moon of Gokula swelled the ocean of love in the gopis’ hearts. In this way, the seemingly impossible desire of the mothers was fulfilled by Sri Krsna. For Him who is controlled by their love, nothing is impossible in giving pleasure to His devotees.
Now, by their intense desire to be with Him, the minds of the young gopis follow Sri Krsna, passing from forest to forest. Thus, Sukadeva Gosvami says, tarn anudruta-cetasah, their minds chased after Him. Fully absorbed in thoughts of Him, the gopis, who are like perfected yogis, begin to describe the sound of the flute.
Although Sri Krsna and His entourage are out of sight, the sound of the flute remains the mischievous messenger, the source of hope, and the life force of the gopis. Referring to the word anvavarnayam, Srila Prabhupada says that the gopis do not hear the flute’s vibration but remember its song from the past. In a second reading, Sanatana Gosvami opines that the gopis speak while hearing the flute and seeing the pastime. The aggressive vibration of the
flute succeeds in securing permanent residence within the gopis’ ears, whether they narrate the events of the past or present.
Lord Caitanya compares the flute song to a bird that enters the gopis’ ears and creates a nest. This nest obstructs all other sounds and subdues their ability to concentrate on other things. Like beings possessed by ghosts, they constantly hear the hypnotic melody of the flute resounding throughout their beings.
Under the narcotic effects of the flute, some gopis have been seen to stand by a stove stirring milk that is boiling over, give senseless replies to questions by in-laws, stand like stone statues in open courtyards, or speak of intimate topics in a public place. By such events, the vraja-vasis fear that evil spirits in the village or some physical disorders are driving their daughters mad.
The words venu-gitam smarodayam indicate that the vibration of the flute is occasioned by the powerful influence of smara, or Cupid. This is also known as kama, or transcendental loving affection in the conjugal mood. As the all-powerful sun is always in the sky but only periodically visible, kama always shines in the gopis’ hearts, although not always manifest. Under the influence of dawn, the sun invariably rises over the horizon for all to see. Similarly, the sound of the flute always brings forth kama from the gopis’ hearts, causing its symptoms to appear within their limbs, words, and behavior. The word smarodayam explains why the gopis are inspired to act and speak as they do.
. The definition of spiritual love in its most general sense is prema. The vibration of the flute acts just like Cupid and gives rise to the conjugal form of prema within the gopis, known as kama, or madhurya-prema. Because the love of the vraja-vasis is free of any taint of reverence, it is unique in its spontaneity. This prema is favored by Sri Krsna above any form of devotion that is mixed with feelings of awe.
In appreciation of the love of the vraja-vasis, Sri Krsna thinks, “The whole universe is filled with the conception of My majesty, but such love weakened by the sense of magnificence does not satisfy Me. If a devotee takes Me to be the Supreme Lord and himself as My subordinate, I cannot become subservient to, or controlled by that love, for My natural characteristic is to reciprocate with the mellow in which My devotee worships.
The Gopis Assemble Together
“If a devotee cherishes pure loving devotion to Me, thinking of Me as his son, friend, or beloved, regarding himself as important and considering Me as equal or inferior, I become subordinate to him. For example, thinking Me utterly helpless. Mother sometimes binds Me as her son, and at other times she protects Me. ”’
“My friends Sridama and Subala climb on My shoulders in pure friendship, saying, ‘What kind of big man are You? You and I are equal.’ Then, if My beloved consort reproaches Me in a sulky mood. My mind is stolen from the reverent hymns of the Vedas.
“The vraja-bhava, which finds its shelter in these pure devotees, causes Me to sport in ways unknown even in Vaikuntha. Indeed, even I am amazed by its mysteries. By the influence of yogamaya, the gopis are inspired with the sentiment that I am their paramour. Fully absorbed in this mood, our minds are always captivated by each other’s beauty and qualities. Our pure attachment unites us at the expense of moral and religious duties, and divine destiny sometimes brings us together and sometimes separates us.
“In this way, I taste the essence of all these rasas and thus favor all My eternal associates. When submissive devotees hear about the pure love of the residents of Vraja, they will also worship Me on the path of spontaneous love, abandoning all religious rituals and fruitive activity.”
According to the relationship between Govinda and His devo” tee, prema is of varying kinds. The parental prema of mother Yasoda is known as vatsalya-prema, and the prema of the cowherd boys is sakhya-prema, or love in friendship. Similarly, the madhurya-prema of the gopis is a conjugal relationship known as kama, or transcendental lust. Those possessed of such love are called kamatmika devotees and are considered transcendentally most attractive to Sri Krsna.
The kamatmika devotees are of two types: those who have a direct relationship with Sri Krsna and those who share the amo-» rous mood without any direct contact. This later category of gopis is known as manjans. Although they are assistants to Lalita or Visakha, their spiritual experience is not less than those of Sri Krsna’s associates. By their selfless service, they are rewarded with the same loving feelings.
The Cupid mentioned by the word smara is not he who incites lusty feelings in the hearts of conditioned souls. Because the gopis
are liberated souls, beyond the touch of material nature, they cannot be contaminated by the lust born of passion. M
There are several persons who bear the name Cupid. One Kamadeva is a demigod in charge of inciting lusty desires within conditioned souls. He is the cause of generation and is referred to in the Gita with the words prajanas casmi kandarpah. Once this Kamadeva, accompanied by many female associates, sought to distract Lord Siva from his meditation. Mahadeva became angry at the disturbance and immediately incinerated Cupid’s body with his glance. As a partial expansion of Vasudeva, this Kamadeva again merged in the body of the Lord and was subsequently reborn as Pradyumna, the first son of Rukmini.
According to Sri Jiva Gosvami, Pradyumna of the catur-vyuha is the original prototype Cupid, who is a plenary expansion of Vasudeva. He is the source of the demigod burned by Lord Siva and an eternal associate of the Lord. As the power of seeing is the origin of the eyes, Sri Krsna is the inciting power of Cupid and is known as the ever-fresh transcendental Cupid of Vrndavana, Vrndavana aprakrita navamta madana. It is He who is the origin of all forms of Kamadeva.
The Smara referred to in this verse of Venu-gita is Sri Krsna, the Cupid of a supremely transcendental nature, who, through the medium of the flute, ever increases His influence on the gopis. This is the meaning of the word smarodayam.
The different symptoms of smarodayam have been described by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura in the following way: caksu-ragah prathamam cittasangas tata ‘tha sankalpah nidra-cchedas tanuta visaya-nivrttis trapanasah/ unmado muriccha mrtir ity etah smara-dasa dasaiva syuh. “First comes attraction expressed through the eyes, then intense attachment in the mind, then determination, loss of sleep, becoming emaciated, disinterest in external things, shamelessness, madness, becoming stunned, and death. These are the ten stages of Cupid’s effects.”
One may well ask what mystical substance is present in the vibration of the flute to induce the appearance of such extraordinary symptoms. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says the sound of the flute is related to the essence of Sri Krsna’s opulences. His unparal-
The Gopis Assemble Together
leled beauty. When a pure devotee is touched by this divine potency, he experiences many extraordinary transformations.
Sri Krsna, the undisputed master of unlimited universes and possessor of all strength, wealth, fame, knowledge, and renunciation, is only partially known through these ever-triumphant potencies. Complete appreciation of His glory is achieved by taking shelter of His mind-enchanting beauty, the source of all opulence and a resident of His extraordinary form.
The cardinal nature of this beauty is its supreme sweetness. This sweetness is the essence of all that is sweet, it puts to shame all sweet things, and it is the ability to taste sweetness where it exists. The sweetness of Sri Krsna radiates its essential nature through a subtle effulgence, which spreads out from His transcendental limbs and resembles a gentle golden glow.
The most exquisite part of Govinda’s form is His radiant face. The sweetest part of Krsna’s moonlike face is His enigmatic smile, which is the silver moonshine of His countenance and spreads its nectar throughout the world. Without the radiance of Krsna’s smile, sugar would be bitter, honey would be sour, and nectar devoid of taste.
When the moonshine of His smile and the illumination of His form are combined, they resemble the aroma of camphor. When this camphor enters the flute through Sri Krsna’s lips, it emerges as an inexplicable vibration that forcibly attracts the minds of those who hear it.
As words carry the purport of thought, as the mind is understood through the eyes, as a smile conveys the feelings of the heart/ similarly, the flute sound transmits the beauty of Sri Krsna. It enters through the ear and installs Him within the temple of the heart. When the gopis hear, taste, smell, see, and touch that form of beauty, it ignites the lamp of kama, which glows ever brighter in their hearts.
The gopis are the ever-amenable subject of Cupid’s onslaught, and Sri Krsna is the accommodating performer who delights them daily. However, the narration of Venu-gita describes an especially significant event. According to Sanatana Gosvami, this occasion reveals a special wonder, bhdva-visesa, in the flute playing of Sri
Krsna. On this beautiful autumn morning He plays with extraordinary style and unprecedented affection the gopis are compelled to comment.
While leaving for the forest, Sri Krsna saw the gopis grieve at their impending separation. Remembering their pale faces and sorrowful glances. His butter-like heart melted, and He sent a soothing message of love through the medium of the flute.
Sri Krsna desired to openly express His unfailing love for the gopis. Without reservation. He saturated the holes of His flute with the overflowing nectar of His heart and produced such a special sound that it startled all living beings. The cows turned their heads as they walked, the cowherd boys smiled among themselves, the trees and creepers waved in the wind, the flute shivered in its ‘ecstasy, and the master of all enchantment, Sri Krsna, dearly longed for the position of the gopis.
The special bhava of the flute wound its way like a mystical snake of enchantment, searching for the mice-like hearts of the gopis, secluded in the hole-like homes of their in-laws. When this vibration found its gopi victims, it caused the deep ocean of their love to swell and the great waves of their kama to rise to their throats.
Not everyone who hears the sound of the flute is affected equally. Just as Sri Krsna reciprocates the nature of His devotees’ love, so does His flute. For the gopis, the vibration of the flute is extremely aggressive, forcibly inducing ecstatic symptoms unknown by the queens of Dvaraka or His friends in Vraja. The selfless nature of their love allows them to relish Sri Krsna’s beauty and the vibration of His flute in a way incomprehensible to others.
The doe-eyed gopis are on the outskirts of their villages, and Sri Krsna and His flute are far, far away. With the bridge of their powerful love, the gopis cross the boundaries of space and time to hear and see their beloved. According to the aeon/as, this takes place by the special desire of Sri Krsna and the extraordinary power of the gopis’ bhdva.
With the use of the word kascit, Sukadeva Gosvami indicates that “some” of the gopis describe the sound of the flute, not all. Rupa Gosvami explains this as the principle of svajdtiya snigdha:
an exchange takes place among those of a similar disposition. The gopis of Vrndavana are not all of the same mood. To facilitate Krsna’s desires for endless variety, different groups of devotees exhibit different sentiments of devotion. In their discussions, the gopis will discuss with those of a similar bhava.
Of the many gopis in Vraja, it is seen that some are older, others younger, some are right wing and others left wing, some are inclined to Sri Krsna and others are inclined to His main consorts. It is a matter of transcendental variety, which ever characterizes the spiritual realm and facilitates individuality in His pure service. When they hear the song of the divine flute, the gopis of the same age as Sri Krsna experience a rise in their kama, while the associates of Yasoda reciprocate in vatsalya-bhava.
The divisions among the Vraja gopis according to age, bhava, and orientation are described by Srila Rupa Gosvami in Ujjvala-nilamani. The groups are called yutha and are led by a yuthesvari like Radharani or Candravali. Further divisions according to finer distinctions give rise to sub-groups, which are know as ganas. It is in these ganas that the gopis are speaking about Govinda, the flute’s vibration, and His many wonderful associates. Srimati Radharani ‘speaks to Her friends Lalita and Visakha, knowing such exchanges will make Her sakhis happy, and by the happiness of Her friends, Radhika’s own happiness increases. In this way, they all enjoy the sound of the flute with ever-increasing relish.
One day, on the bank of the Alakananda-Ganga, beside the temple of Hari-Hara, where two great banyan trees mark the place of Lord Gaurasundara’s resting place in the Godruma-dvipa of Sridhama Mayapur, a meeting of illustrious Vaisnavas took place. It was the year 1829 Sakabda, nearing Gaura Purnima, the date of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s birth.
Ten disciples of the renowned Kedamatha Datta Thakura Bhaktivinoda were retracing the place of Lord Caitanya’s
The Gopis Assemble Together
Navadvipa pastimes. They took darsana of Lord Hari-Hara and, sitting beneath the shade of those great trees, read the mahatmya of that place and then sang the beautiful songs from Gitavali.
While absorbed in the devotional mood of the bhajanas, those saints were unaware how time was passing. The birds sang happily in the trees, the spring breeze carried the scent of the river, and many cows grazed in the nearby pastures. Seeing some sadhus engaged in sat-sanga, the local villagers presented them with fruits and yogurt with great respect. After offering these gifts to Lord Gaura, they honored the remnants, washed themselves, and rested briefly before continuing their happy association.
Among them, Gokula dasa Sastri was the most learned and senior member. He had seriously imbibed the teachings of his Gurudeva through regular association, a study of his books, and personal bhajana. Sitting among his associates, fingering his japa-mala, he contemplated a discussion that had taken place earlier that morning. The subject was the nature of the prakata and aprakata lild of the Lord.
At that time Ciranjiva dasa, a young man from the area of Mathura, was prompted to conclude the discussion glorifying the Lord’s abode. He said, “Sastriji, will you not give us a final summary of our earlier talk regarding the manifest and unmanifest nature of Vraja-dhama? I, for one, am very keen to have a clear understanding of this topic, and I know that our Godbrothers are equally eager. Please be kind to enumerate the siddhanta on this topic for our benefit.”
Encouraged by the Vaisnavas, all elevated sadhakas faithful to their guru and free of unwanted habits, Gokula dasa Sastri offered pranamas to Sri Guru and Gauranga and spoke as follows: “\ shall first quote from the Kalyana-kalpataru of our revered Gurudeva. Then I shall recount in detail what I have heard him explain on this subject to his most qualified son and disciple, Bimala Prasada Datta. Srila Gurudeva writes, ‘Krsna’s pastimes appearing in the material world and His simultaneous pastimes in Goloka are one and the same truth. Being non-different, they are simply two different manifestations of the same lila. The eternal pastimes in Goloka are the abode of the eternally liberated servitors, whereas
the manifest pastimes in the material world are the refuge for all the bound-up conditioned living entities. Therefore, Vrndavana is the living entity’s original home manifesting its own eternally true
nature within the dead material world/”
Ciranjiva dasa, who had inaugurated the discussion, applauded Sastriji and said, “This explanation is truly brilliant. Now, please tell us what elaboration you have heard on this sutra from
Bowing his head in respect to the Vaisnavas, Gokula Sastri Continued, “Sri Krsna’s lila is of two types. That which is manifest in this material world is known as prakata, or manifest. That which appears only in the transcendental Goloka is known as aprakata. When the prakata pastimes are displayed to conditioned souls, it is done within the projection of Goloka Vrndavana and is known as the prakata-dhama. The eternal pastimes of Sri Krsna that take place in Goloka are invisible to the conditioned souls and the sadhakas of this world. That realm is known as aprakata-dhdma. Dear friends, know well that there is only one lila, which is called manifest when visible to the inhabitants of prakata-dhama and unmanifest when invisible to them.”
Ciranjiva folded his hands and asked with enthusiasm, “What do you mean by saying there is no difference between the manifest and unmanifest lila7 Since the qualification to enter the manifest and unmanifest realms are different, there must be some difference in the respective pastimes they host.”
“What you say is true!” replied Gokula Sastri. “However, emphasis should be placed on the oneness of the lila. The difference between the manifest and unmanifest aspects should be viewed in
terms of where that lila takes place.”
The devotees, looking at each other, were somewhat perplexed. Gokula Sastri smiled and continued, “The aprakata-lila is completely transcendental, having no contact with the phenomenal world. But the prakata-lila is the projection of the transcendental onto the plane of the phenomenal, and thus, both material and spiritual exist simultaneously. When the aprakata-dhdma descends on earth, it becomes the prakata-dhama, but there is no influence of the material on the spiritual. Rather, the portion of the material world where Krsnaloka descends becomes spiritual.”
The Gopis Assemble Together
The devotees exchanged gestures of understanding while Ciranjiva das prodded a little further, “Now I understand that while the spiritual lila of the Lord is one, it appears in the phenomenal and spiritual realms and thus, there appear differences. Now, please be specific and explain what those differences between prakata and aprakata lilas are.”
Gokula dasa Sastri said, “The prakata-lila and prakata-dhama witness a linear flow of Sri Krsna’s pastimes, which have a beginning marked by His appearance, a middle, which is His growth from infancy to youth, and an end, which is His inconceivable disappearance. On the other hand, the aprakata-lila is a continuous circular flow of pastimes in which Krsna is eternally a youth, with neither birth nor disappearance. Each day, different lilas are performed throughout eight periods of time, and in the same way, the yearly seasonal pastimes repeat themselves for eternity.
“For example, in the prakata-dhama, Krsna’s lila of herding the eows ends when He goes to Mathura, but in aprakata-dhdma it eternally goes on. The killing of demons is also a characteristic of the prakata-dhama, for no such animosity exists in the spiritual sky. Here is an example of the conditioned living entities serving the pastimes of the Lord by facilitating His fighting spirit. But this takes place only in prakata-dhama and prakata-lila.”
Ciranjiva dasa said, “It is clear that the pastimes of Sri Krsna manifest in different ways in the prakata and aprakata dhdmas. While in the former these pastimes appear temporarily, in the latter they exist eternally. Furthermore, the mission of killing demons and establishing religious principles, as well as birth and growth, characteristic of the phenomenal plane, are included as additional functions of the prakata-dhama.”
Gokula Sastri interrupted, “From the point of view of a particular universe, the prakata-lila seems to have a beginning and an end, although from the perspective of oneness, it is also eternal. Consider the example of the sun, which appears to rise and set from one country to the next but is in actuality situated in one place in the sky. The relative measurements of time, such as midday, are only appearances that arise due to the conditioning of the observer. In reality, the sun never moves nor is subjected to our perception of past, present, and future.
“From another perspective, the different parts of the day are always present in one country or another. Similarly, all aspects of the prakata-llla are always visible in one universe or another. In this way, Sri Krsna’s birth, the killing of Aghasura, and the liberation of the twin sons of Kuvera are also all eternal.”
All the devotees were very happy to have a clear explanation of the prakata and aprakata concepts. They could understand that the Original place of Sri Krsna’s pastimes is Goloka Vrndavana, where His eternal aprakata-lila takes place. When Sri Krsna appears in this world to attract conditioned souls to Him, the eternal pastimes become mixed with His mission of saving devotees and killing demons. This is known as prakata-llla. The place where such earthly pastimes take place is known as the prakata-dhama, which becomes the replica of the transcendental realm on earthly soil.
As the afternoon wore into the evening, many subjects relating to this topic were raised and answered. What is the nature of the dhama in the absence of the prakata-llla7 Is the aprakata-lila visible from the phenomenal sphere, and if so, how? How does a Vaisnava become qualified to see and enter the aprakata-lila and the aprakata-dhama? These and many other questions were placed by those inquisitive Vaisnavas to their senior, who answered that humble assembly as he had heard from his spiritual master.
In time, the dense darkness of night obscured the vision of each other’s forms, reducing the association of those blissful devotees to the soothing sound of Gokula Sastri’s voice. They entered the Lord’s temple and, sitting by the light of a single ghee lamp, continued their happy discussion deep into the night. In giving examples of the prakata-llla, Sri Gokula Sastri talked about the pastime of the flute as it took place within prakata Vrndavana almost fifty centuries earlier.
i Having been rediscovered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and systematically excavated by the Gosvamis, Vrndavana-dhama now remained the drstvdna-dhama, that dhama which is seen after the prakata-llla is no more. For those very fortunate souls who are beyond the influence of the material energy, that Vrndavana-dhama is where the aprakata-lila is eternally taking place. However, this aprakata-lila cannot be seen merely by devotional endeavor, but by the grace of the dhama.
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Speaking, such wonderful katha on the glories of Vrndavana, quoting the verses of Venu-gita one by one and giving e’xtensive explanations, Gokula Sastri eventually came to the fourth verse in which Sukadeva Gosvami says:
tad varnayitum arabdhah
smarantyah krsna-cestitam nasakan smara-vegena
“The cowherd girls began to speak about Krsna, but when they remembered His activities, 0 King, the power of Cupid disturbed their minds, and thus they could not speak.” (Bhag. 10.21.4)
Verses 3 and 4 describe the gopis’ attempts to speak of Sri Krsna. However, in Krsna book Srila Prabhupada says the gopis glorified His flute playing. Since Krsna and His flute are of the same absolute nature, there is no difference between the two. Thus, glorification of one is glorification of the other. In addition, topics relating to the song of the flute give the gopis ample opportunity to describe its master. The gopis want to speak about Krsna but cannot do so in the company of their seniors. Therefore, they glorify His flute playing and, in so doing, speak of Krsna in a covered way. They cannot suppress the emotions that fuel the urge to speak of Him, but in speaking, the gopis must cover their true feelings.
The process of speaking indirectly on a subject is common to the Vedas and is known as paroksa. Sri Krsna is very much attracted to such clever language, as is confirmed by Snmad-Bhagavatam in statements like yat paroksa-priyo devo bhagavan visva-bhavanah:
“…the Supreme Personality of Godhead… is celebrated to be known indirectly” (4.28.65), and paroksa-vada rsayah paroksam mama ca priyam: “…the Vedic seers and mantras deal in esoteric terms, and I also am pleased by such confidential descriptions.”
Why tise indirect language to speak in a covered way? The
answer lies in the nature of unwedded love in Vrndavana. The gopis are girls in the spring of youth. They are recently married and may even have babies. For them, Vedic culture forbids looking at, what to speak of glorifying, any man other than their husbands. However, in their transcendental relationship, the gopis love Sri Krsna with an attachment inconceivable to the greatest of mystics.
Thus, they must speak! Yet in speaking of Him, of whom everyone else speaks, they must be careful lest the true cause of their talk is exposed. Were the feelings of the gopis to become public, it would be a source of embarrassment for them and disgrace to their families. In this way, the language of the gopis remains confidential. It remains understood only by those who share the same mood.
The entirety of Venu-gita is spoken in the mood of paroksa-vada. To hide their exclusive attachment to Sri Krsna, the gopis speak of Krsna-Balarama and the cowherd boys. When speaking of the nectar of His lips, they glorify the fortune of the rivers. To meditate on His lotus footprints, they sing of the good fortune of this earth planet. To contemplate His blackish complexion, they describe the billowing clouds overhead. Indeed, every statement of the gopis is a hidden meditation upon Sri Krsna, disguised to protect themselves from outside criticism. They conceal the depths of their love from others, while giving vent to an irresistible urge to sing His glories with friends.
Paroksa also means that they spoke privately. Those gopis who share a common mood speak together about the flute and Sri Krsna. According to their bhava, different groups and sub-groups of gopis appreciate Krsna in different ways. Sukadeva Gosvami says, sva-sakhibyah. Those gopis who are in the same group or sub-group because of sharing a common attraction will meet privately and describe Krsna’s qualities with those they see as intimate friends, sakhis.
By describing Sri Hari’s flute playing, the gopis naturally describe His unlimited qualities, for the two remain inseparable. In this way, on the plea of discussing one thing they automatically speak of other things.
Because of the extraordinary qualities possessed by Sri Krsna, the vibration of Krsna’s flute has an extraordinary effect on all
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living entities. If one questions what uncommon qualities appear through His flute, the characteristic most evident to all is Govinda’s unique beauty. The mystical spell, so artistically woven by the sound of the flute through its mind-enchanting melodies, causes even inanimate objects like stones, lakes, and rivers to become affected in a supernatural way. One is led to inquire what extraordinary potency dwells within Sri Krsna that is not visible within the four-armed Lord of Vaikuntha, which empowers His flute to perform such amazing feats. In answer to this question, Sanatana Gosvami comments that Sri Krsna is the charming foun-tainhead of all allurement, who attracts all sentient and non-sentient beings. Small wonder, then, that when He pours His unparalleled potency into the holes of His flute, it becomes His empowered representative, exhibiting a unique enchantment in the all-enchanting realm of Vraja.
The gopis tell Sri Krsna’s mother, “Dear Yasoda, when your son plays on His little flute, the great demigods like Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, and King Indra, who are universal controllers and the most thoughtful of all scholars, become completely bewildered. Although they are very great personalities, by hearing the sound of your son’s flute, they become very grave, trying to understand the nature of its vibration. When, having studied it for a long time, they continue to remain baffled, they have no other recourse than to fold their hands and bow down, admitting their defeat.”
The dominant expression of love exhibited by the gopis in the words of Venu-gita is called purva-raga. This is the attachment that develops between a boy and girl prior to their actual meeting. Rupa Gosvami defines it in this way: “When attachment produced in both the lover and beloved before their meeting by seeing, hearing, and so on becomes very palatable by the mixture of four ingredients, such as vibhava and anubhava, this is called purva-raga.” (Ujjvala-nilamani) Because it is expressed in the absence of direct contact, purva-raga is a type of separation experienced as a stimulus for further meeting. Although Krsna and the gopis are eternally connected, whenever they meet, it is like the first time, as though they had never met before. It is through the emotions experienced in purva-raga, intensified to a pitch by separation, that eventual
meeting becomes most relishable. This is the ever-fresh nature of spiritual life.
Srimati Radharani had prior contact with Sri Krsna by repeatedly hearing His name from the inhabitants of Vrndavana, listening to the sound of His flute meandering across the pastures, and seeing a picture of Him drawn by Visakha. In this way. She became greatly attached to Hari without ever meeting Him. In fact, not knowing the one source of these three forms (name, flute, and likeness). She lamented at having become attached to three men. In Vidagdha-madhava 2.9, Radharani expresses this purva-raga in the following words: “Since I have heard the name of a person called Krsna, I have practically lost My good sense. Then, there is another person who plays His flute in such a way that after I hear the vibration, intense madness arises in My heart. And again, there is still another person to whom My mind becomes attached when I see His beautiful lightning effulgence in His picture. Therefore, I think that I am greatly condemned, for I have become simultaneously attached to three persons. It would be better for Me to die for this.”
At a later date, Sri Radha’s purva-raga developed further intensity as Her attachment and desire to meet Sri Krsna was fueled by the intrigues of Her friends. Since childhood, the song of His flute, the sound of His name, and the glories of His pastimes had conquered Radhika’s heart and installed Sri Krsna as its only Lord. Srimati Radharani was unhappy at having never met Her lover. Impelled by the desire to enjoy the rasa dance. She would lament with great tears in Her eyes, revealing Her heart to the creepers outside Her window.
Seeing Her unhappy condition. Her most intimate friends, Lalita and Visakha, entered the palace of Maharaja Vrsabhanu and approached Radhika in a secluded place. They said, “Sakhi Radhe! As Your intimate friends, we know what is in Your heart and desire Your satisfaction. He upon whom You constantly meditate, again and again passes by the great palace of Your father while herding many cows. If You place Your eyes by the lattices of this window facing west. You will see His handsome form, charming gait, and agreeable smile.”
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Sri Radhika replied with a sigh, “Please draw an elegant picture in His likeness, by which I can recognize Him. Certainly, I shall seek out His darsana as He passes this way.”
Lalita and Visakha, who ornament the directions encompassing Sri Radha/ drew a picture of Nanda Baba’s son as the unconquerable Cupid of Vraja, imbued with the sweetness of fresh youth. When Radhika saw that wonderful picture. She felt as if Her beloved had entered Her quarters. Shyly drawing the veil across Her face and overcome with great bliss. She continued to gaze at the picture in Her hands until She fainted. In Her swoon, Radha met Sri Krsna, who was dark as a monsoon cloud, dressed in yellow garments, and standing by the bank of the Yamuna. In that transcendental realm where She was uniquely alone with Sri Krsna, She demurely worshipped Him with an exchange of glances and smiles.
When the distant sound of the flute, which awakens all creatures at the time of creation, entered Her ears, Sri Radha arose from Her faint. Standing by the window with Lalita and Visakha, like the moon accompanied by it luminaries. She gazed at the master of Vraja walking the path by the palace. Glancing into Her love-moistened eyes, Sri Krsna became captivated. His heart reverberated the name of Sri Radha, His limbs became stunned, and His flute sat idle by His quivering lips. In this way, Cupid conquered Their hearts. Although They had never met, the volcano of Their mutual love, which was to explode in some predestined meeting, continued to seethe in the form of Their purva-raga.
As the gopis describe the flute, they remember Sri Krsna’s attributes, and as His qualities appear on their tongues, they remember His pastimes. Srila Prabhupada confirms that smarantyah krsna-cestitam means the gopis remembered the many activities Sri Krsna enacted with them. Since, in the definition of purva-raga, the devotee has not yet met Krsna, some reconciliation is required to understand how the gopis remembered pastimes with Him.
In this regard, we should recall that purva-raga is a bhava, or mood possessed by all vraja-gopis. By manifesting a perception of having never met Sri Krsna, it maintains the ever-fresh nature of their loving exchanges. Srimati Radharani and all nitya-siddha
gopis possess the mood of purva-raga, although they are His eternal associates. The sadhana-siddhas are novices to Sri Krsna’s pastimes and have truly not met Him. Their purva-raga is a consequence of association with the eternal associates. In this way, either by direct experience or by association, under the influence of purva-raga the gopis begin to reflect on His pastimes.
In a subterranean lake beneath the waters of the Yamuna, accompanied by his many wives, lived the hundred-hooded serpent, Kaliya. Although very powerful and full of poison, he lived in constant fear of the bird carrier of Visnu, Garuda.
In his previous life, Kaliya was the great sage Vedasira, who was cursed to become a snake for his lack of hospitality to saints. Proud of his great venom and burdened by vaisnava-aparadha, Kaliya again offended Garuda and, although a great devotee in his previous life, he was unable to recognize Sri Krsna when He happily played in the waters of the Yamuna.
As Kaliya wrapped his powerful coils about the tender body of Hari, he felt great transcendental bliss. But the envy in his heart overwhelmed him, and thinking of himself as proprietor of his domain, he offended Sri Krsna as he had once offended his guests and Garuda. After languishing in the coils of Kaliya like Lord Visnu on the body of Ananta, Sri Krsna observed the anxiety-ridden vraja-vasis on the verge of death. Not wishing to cause further pain to His mother, Acyuta, who is unconquerable by physical strength, effortlessly freed Himself and exhibited His great dexterity in the art of dance.
As the vicious snake tried to bite Him, Sri Krsna, moving from one hood to another with lithesome grace and unparalleled speed, earned the name Nata-vara, the best of dancers. As bees fly from flower to flower even in the greatest wind, Sri Krsna placed His lotus feet on one hood and then another, even though the movements of Kaliya were beyond the power of vision. Moving His lotus
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feet with great speed, raising His knees high. His swaying waist was decorated with a golden sash. His arms sometimes raised and sometimes to the side, sometimes playing His flute and sometimes holding Kaliya’s tail, Sri Krsna put to shame Lord Siva’s tandava-nrtya. As His lotus feet touched the hoods of Kaliya, they created a charming sound, which constitutes the beats played by tablas.
While dancing in this way, Govinda pleased Himself, punished Kaliya, and satisfied the senses of His devotees. Observing the many young gopis gathered on the bank of the Yamuna, Sri Krsna displayed His dancing skills. As young boys try to make a favorable impression in the presence of young girls, Sri Krsna performed with a view to impress the gopis.
Having already heard of Him from others, having seen Him at a distance, or having engaged in His service, the gopis had fallen in love with the young gallant of Vraja. His death-defying dance in the coils of Kaliya was certainly an emotional and memorable occasion they could never forget. The sidelong glances with which He pierced their hearts, the gentle smile of confidence on His lips, and the constant movement of His limbs were all embedded in their hearts.
After the end of Krsna’s performance, when the Nagapatnis had offered many nice prayers, Kaliya begged forgiveness for his offense and left with his entire family for a remote place. Sri Krsna, who was cold from being in the water for a long time, climbed to the top of a nearby hill, where the sun-god appeared to warm Him with his rays. As night was drawing near, the vraja-vasis, who were too exhausted to return to their homes, camped on the sandy riverbank of the Yamuna with Gopala.
As they slept, the wind caused friction among the bamboo, from which a fire burst forth that resembled the inferno at the dissolution of the universe. Overcome with fear, the gopas and gopis took shelter of Sri Krsna, whose name is feared by fear personified. Saying, “Do not be afraid! Just close your eyes and I will save you,” Sri Krsna swallowed the inferno in its entirety. Once again, as the playful hero of Vrndavana, He entered into the hearts of the gopis through His pastimes of wonder.
One day, while herding His many beautiful surabhi cows with
the gopas, Sri Krsna approached the newly blossoming Talavana forest. The land was even, smooth, and expansive, while the earth was black, covered with durva grass, and full of ripe fruits. Out of fear of a demon named Dhenuka, the gopas were reluctant to enter, and even Sri Krsna stayed at the outskirts of the forest. Balaramaji, who is the fearless resort of all living entities, tightened the blue sash on His waist and callously entered the forest to collect its ripe fruit.
At that time the demon Dhenukasura, who was a friend of Kamsa, happened to be taking a midday nap. When he heard the sound of falling fruits, he became filled with anger and, appearing in the form of an ass, came before Balarama. Without any warning, he violently kicked His chest with his hind legs. Sri Balarama, smiling with the cooling effulgence of a hundred moons, began to chase Dhenuka around the forest. Catching the ass by his hind legs. He playfully threw him into a tala tree, which collapsed and made other trees also topple. Looking around, Sri Balarama was very pleased with the decorative damage to the forest. When the demon rushed towards Him for the second time. He caught Dhenuka and, whirling him above His head like a lotus, threw him a distance of eight miles.
Although Dhenukasura lost consciousness, he very shortly regained his ass senses, and manifesting a terrifying form with four horns, he began to chase the gopas. As Dhenuka chased the cowherd boys, angry Sridama hit him with a stick, Subala hit him with his fist, Stoka-krsna whipped him with a rope, and Arjuna and Amsu caught him together and threw him a great distance. Because the boys were the associates of Sri Krsna, by His grace, they were possessed of His own potencies.
While he was lying on the ground, Visala and Rsabha kicked the demon and called him foul names. Tejasvi jumped on him and tried to strangle him, Devaprastha slapped him on the cheeks, and meek Varuthapa threw his ball at him. Bewildered at the fierce attack of these simple cowherd boys, Dhenuka stood up, only to be grabbed with both hands by Sri Krsna. Whirled around mercilessly while the cowherd boys clapped, he was then thrown through the air onto Govardhana Hill.
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By the force of this attack, the demon lost consciousness for over an hour. After regaining his senses, he uprooted Govardhana Hill and threw it at Sri Krsna. Govinda playfully caught Giriraja and threw him at Dhenukasura’s head. At this time, Balarama grabbed the demon with both hands, threw him to the ground, and then punched him with His fist. With that punch, the demon breathed his last, and the demigods showered flowers and glorified Krsna-Balarama with music and songs.
In his last life, this demon was the son of Bali Maharaja, and, while foolishly enjoying the company of many women on Gandhamadana Mountain, he was cursed by Durvasa Muni to become an ass. Because Sri Krsna had given Prahlada Maharaja the benediction that He would never kill His descendants, it was arranged that the demon be killed by the lotus hand of Sri Balarama.
At Dhenuka’s death, all the cows and gopas, their hearts overflowing with love, surrounded Sri Krsna and sang His glories with tear-filled eyes. This kirtana, cheering, and happy spirit prevailed until the boys triumphantly entered Vrndavana. Krsna7 s hair was decorated with peacock feathers, flowers, and the dust raised by the cows. While He blissfully played His flute, all His associates sang His glories and celebrated the death of Dhenukasura.
The vraja-vasis flocked to greet their Gopala and celebrate His victory over the demons. Srila Prabhupada explains that the gopis were not absent in that reception: “… they began to look at His face the way drones hover over the honey of the lotus flower.” The gopis smiled and laughed at Sri Krsna the way young girls do, and He exchanged sidelong glances with them, accepting their loving affection. These intimate exchanges were memorable events for the gopis, and they surfaced from the ocean of their hearts and were manifest in their pure minds.
In this way, the months of spring waned, and summer appeared. Krsna and Balarama continued to be the focus of countless adventures and the tireless shelter of the vraja-vasis. They rescued their kinsmen from many dangers, like the demon Pralamba and a second devastating forest fire. In each case, Sri Krsna’s achievement was an opportunity for the gopis to remember Him, as He
returned after the end of the day, surrounded by His friends, saving them once again from the burning fire of separation.
The most frequent opportunity for the gopis to be with Sri Krsna is the daily sortie and return from the pastures. The cows are the vraja-vasis’ means of livelihood, and Sri Krsna’s daily departure and return was a traditional community function. In the morning they would bid farewell, offering blessings and prayers for protection. In the evening they would gather along the roads in a grand reception. Since many extraordinary events regularly took place in Vrndavana, Sri Krsna’s return heralded the news and relieved their anxiety. On the pretext of welcoming Krsna and Balarama, the gopis, like everyone else, were always present on such occasions. But according to his or her individual relationship, each person went for a different reason.
The elders, headed by mother Yasoda, were concerned for the well-being of their boys, the children saw the older boys as heroes facing fierce demons, and the young gopis went under pretext, impelled by the secret love in their hearts. Their exchange of glances with Sri Krsna expressed more than countless words.
All of these pastimes appeared in the hearts of the gopis. Although Sri Krsna was no longer before them, by His remembrance they felt His association, and in this way, they were seeing Him once again. In such a condition, their subdued prema rose to their throats and obstructed their speaking. Srila Prabhupada describes the words nasakan smara-vegena viksipta-manaso nrpa as follows:
“When the gopis were describing the sweet vibration of Krsna’s flute, they also remembered their pastimes with Him; thus, their minds became disturbed, and they were unable to describe completely the beautiful vibrations.”
The word smara appears again in the phrase smara-vegena as “the force of Cupid.” In an earlier verse, it was Cupid who was said to appear. Now it is his effect on the gopis that is being described. As the sun begins to rise, its rays dissipate the darkness, awaken all creatures, and bring warmth to the world. Similarly, the sound of Sri Krsna’s flute kindles the influence of Cupid, confuses the minds of the gopis, and blocks their power of speech.
Although they desire to describe the sound of the flute, their
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words remain stuck in their throats. Of the different symptoms of ecstasy, this is known as gadgada or vag-gada, which means faltering of the voice. This choking of the voice due to which one is unable to express oneself is revealed in Sri Siksastaka. by Lord Caitanya. He prays for the symptoms present in the gopis with the following words:
vadanam gadgada-ruddhaya gird pulakairnicitam vapuh kada
tava nama-grahane bhavisyati
“My dear Lord, when will My eyes be beautified by filling with tears, that constantly glide down as I chant Your holy name? When will My voice falter and all the hairs of My body stand erect in transcendental happiness as I chant Your holy name?” (Siksastaka 6)
Srila Prabhupada says that the gopis “were unable to describe completely the beautiful vibrations.” The word “completely” indicates that they began to glorify the flute, but the effect of remembering Sri Krsna’s activities checked their efforts. The gopis became stunned, unable to speak further. Thus, their incomplete description of Sri Krsna remained stuck in their throats.
The development of loving sentiments in the heart, similar to those expressed by the vmja-gopis, is available to all devotees who hear these pastimes with faith and devotion. Sukadeva Gosvami does not reveal the exclusive experience of a select few in a bygone time. The spiritual experiences of love expressed by the gopis are accessible to all who hear the pastimes of Sri Krsna from Srimad-Bhagavatam. To exemplify this, Sanatana Gosvami points to the last word of the verse, nrpa, as an exclamation of ecstasy by Sukadeva Gosvami. By relating the experience of the gopis, he was also feeling their special bhava, and as a result of increasing smara, he almost fainted. To maintain his composure he called out, “0 King!”
This concludes the second chapter of The Song of the Flute, by a very insignificant disciple of His Divine Grace AC. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, which takes place in the prakata-dhama of Bhauma-Vrndavana, wherein the divine son of Nanda Maharaja, after taking His .cows to pasture and feeling great separation from His beloved gopis, composes a very special melody on His wonderful flute, which is saturated with the essence of His most extraordinary potencies. His unparalleled beauty, which is laced with His extraordinary attractiveness, for which He is known as Krsna and which is decorated with the many ornaments of His own heart’s affection for the gopis, which then penetrates their ghee-like hearts, already under the sway of the amorous attraction called purva-raga, and who are situated throughout Vraja in small groups of sakhis who become further aroused by the touch of the transcendental Cupid known as Smara, who only stalks the gopis of Vraja, never to go beyond its boundaries, because it is only they who desire His association for His pleasure alone, without personal motivation, although such association is accessible with difficulty due to the many obstacles posed by social customs, but is readily within reach by the constant remembrance of His many pastimes, such as His daily coming and going from the forests of Vraja, and although such lilas inspire them to speak of Him, the subsequent influence of ecstasy thwarts their plan, arresting their words in their beautiful throats, even though the gopis’ method of speech is to cover their intentions with a cloak of indirect language, by which they protect their deep feelings, which are certainly unknown to me but when felt by Sukadeva Gosvami, caused him to become overwhelmed and call out to his disciple in ecstasy, “Hey nrpa!”