Sukadeva Goswami said, “Oh Pariksit Maharaja  the Gopis found the footprints of Krsna and Srimati Radhika. They proceeded a little further and  found Srimati Radhika weeping and lamenting in separation. They had been searching for Krsna in the forest and found footprints that had the symbols which are present on the bottom of Krsna’s feet. They then proceeded forward and found a broken garland and flowers, and could also smell the fragrance of Krsna’s limbs, from this they concluded that Krsna was close-by. They proceeded further and could not see Krsna, but they did find His dear most sakhi, whom Krsna had originally left the rasa dance with, and She was lying there on the ground.

GOPIS COULD SMELL KRSNA’S FRAGRANCE

Srila Jiva Goswami prabhu says here in his Vaisnava Tosani commentary, that the Gopis could understand that Krsna was close by. They could smell the fragrance from His limbs, and from this they could understand that He was not far away. They thought; “Oh now He is so close”. As they proceeded further, they found Krsna’s dear-most sakhi, Srimati Radhika who was senseless on the ground in separation. Now the Gopis had a mood of empathy towards Her and in separation from Krsna, they were all feeling sad together. A sad person can understand another person’s sadness. A happy person cannot experience this properly. The intense state of separation that Srimati Radharani exhibited was witnessed by the Gopis and now they all had a similar mood. They began to speak amongst each other. Some of the Gopis were in Radharani’s group, the ‘radha-paksa gopis’, and were happy knowing that Krsna had taken Srimati Radharani with Him. However, when they saw that Krsna had left Her, they also became extremely sad and began to lament in separation. Before the ‘radha-paksa gopis’, were not lamenting as much because they knew that Krsna had gone with Radharani.

MOOD OF FRIENDSHIP AND AFFECTION PREVAIL

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that when they were searching and going through the forest, a short distance from Krsna’s footprints, they found a very effulgent Gopi shining effulgently like electricity. She was lying on the ground in a kunj. At that time even the vipaksa-sakhis (those Gopis who are opposed), had a mood of affection towards Her.

There are four groups of Gopis, ‘tatashta, svapaksa, suhrt and vipaksa’. Also, there were those in, ‘daksina-bhava and vamya-bhava’, submissive mood and contrary mood. They all saw Srimati Radhika and when they had Her darsana their hearts had become purified by their separation, lamentations and meditations on Krsna. Now they didn’t have a mood of envy, jealousy or competitive spirit towards Srimati Radhika. They now had the mood of friendship and affection. Also, they now developed a mood of faith towards Srimati Radhika, and as a result of this, they had a means to receive the mercy of Srimati Radhika. We are present in this world but we do not think of anyone as a Vaisnava or a bhakta. We cannot recognize anyone in the family of bhaktas, therefore we have no faith in any Vaisnava.

NEVER A HERO IN YOUR OWN HOME TOWN

It is said; ‘garki jogi jogra…kacid’. In Hindi there is a saying, that a person in their own village, town or family may be very glorious, but these people will not understand their real glories. But people in other area’s, will recognize them to be such a great personalities, they will understand their real glory. Like a candle will be dark at the base but the light spreads everywhere else in all directions.

The Gopis thought Radharani was just another Gopi like them. They knew She was very exalted but not that She was the ‘dear-most’ of Sri Krsna. When their hearts became cleansed by the fire of separation, then they found Srimati Radhika lying on the ground in a state of separation, and hearing Her prayers, their hearts became pure, and thus they became free of any jealousy or envy towards Her. When they went close to Srimati Radhika they could hear Her prayer.

When the Gopis came close to Radharani, they helped Her return to her senses. The Gopis surrounded Srimati Radhika and asked Her what had happened. She said; “I also committed some offense. I told Krsna that I could not walk any further, I am tired, and if You want Me to go further, then You will have to carry Me on your shoulders. Krsna then sat down and said; ‘Ok sit on My shoulders’, but as I climbed up onto a rock to climb on His shoulders, He disappeared”.

RADHARANI EXPLAINS TO THE GOPIS HOW KRSNA LEFT HER

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu describes in his commentary that when the sakhis met with Radharani, they had a mood of friendship between one another, they all had the exact same mood. Radharani then spoke with tears in Her eyes. She said; “I don’t know how I went so far away from all of you. I was with Krsna, but then suddenly I realized I was all alone in the forest. Oh sakhis, what can I tell you? Madhava, who is the master of Laksmi Devi is filled with all good qualities. He is the master of all divine wealth. I don’t even understand how he brought Me aside, and then took Me out of the rasa dance. I couldn’t see that I was not with all of you. I was so absorbed in meeting Krsna, and being with Him.”,

When Krsna was dancing and singing with all the Gopis each Gopi felt Krsna was with them alone. Krsna was fully exhibiting His prowess in prema. With each Gopi, He was present and everyone had the mood that, “I am just with Krsna and Krsna is just with Me”. They did not see any of the other Gopis there.

Radharani said; “When He went with Me I couldn’t understand what was happening. Then when Krsna left Me, I was completely alone in the forest. I was so fortunate to have received such an exalted chance to be with Madhava, but then He left Me aside”.

In a mood of humility Radharani’s said; “Now I am a ‘duratma’. Krsna is present everywhere but still He has gone very far away from Me. Now I am a ‘duratma’.” If Krsna has left and gone far away from someone that person is called ‘duratma’, which means a wicked person. ‘Dur’ means far away. When the Gopis heard Radharani speak like this, they had a natural mood of friendship and love towards Her. They had a natural respect awaken. This would not be possible for Krsna.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that the Sakhis were loudly weeping and began to fan Srimati Radhika. Radharani then returned to Her senses. After this the Sakhis asked Her, “Oh tell us what happened. Where is Krsna?” Radharani then told Her Sakhis; “I don’t understand how I went so far away from you. I do not know any of this. However later I saw that I was all alone and I began to lament, and fell senseless on the ground. I have slighted all of you when I went alone with Krsna, but now Krsna has also left Me. Before He left all of you, but now He has also rejected Me. I had the mood that, ‘Krsna is leaving everyone else and took Me with Him, and all of you were left lamenting in separation’. I told Him I cannot go forward, if You want You can carry Me. This was My ‘kutilita’ crookedness. By this Krsna was perhaps slighted and therefore He left Me. Now I am experiencing extreme lamentation because Krsna has forsaken Me and gone.

This mood of humility is described by Sukadeva Goswami. Seeing Radhika’s separation, the mood of ‘viraha-rasa’ from Srimati Radhika went into the hearts of all the Gopis, and they developed an intense desire to serve and take shelter of Krsna. Now they began to pray to ‘Dayanidhi Rasika-sekhara’ Sri Krsna.

They began to think; “Meeting Krsna was His supreme mercy. We were not at all qualified, but by His great mercy He gave us His association and affection. Then we became proud and He left us again”.

FOREST JUNGLE BECOMES TOO DEEP, DARK, AND DENSE

Then Vraja-devis again started searching for Krsna. They saw the forest and jungle was now becoming very dark. They went into a dense area of the jungle and searched there. They thought Krsna must be hidden in the deep grove of the forest. “If we go further, He will go deeper and deeper into the dark forest, therefore we will not go any further to search for Him. They thought, “We will wait here. It is too deep and dark ahead”.

The Gopis had previously gone through all the different forests groves and caves, and they had searched everywhere for Krsna. They said; “Oh we have lamented so much in separation. We will now wait here”. Previously they had been ready to continue searching, and since they were now with Radharani, they went just a little ahead and decided to wait there.

In the Visnu Purana it states that when Krsna entered the deep forest grove it was the full moon night and it was very bright everywhere. Krsna thought they would easily find Him so he decided He must hide somewhere.

When the gopis went into the dark forest they saw there were no rays of the full moon there, so they returned to a brighter area of the forest, that was lit by the rays of the moon. They thought Krsna had hidden in the deep dark area of the jungle so they would not continue to search for Him, as it would not be proper. They thought; “We will arrange to somehow bring Krsna out. We will not run behind Him. Instead of going further into the dark forest, we will pray to Him and through that, He will come before us”.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that when they all again searched for Krsna, the rays of the moon were helping them as if they were saying, “Go and search. I am behind you like a searchlight. I am with you and helping you. Don’t worry.” Then they went further ahead and the forest became very deep and thick and the rays of the moon could not enter there. They thought, “Ok we will not proceed any further.”

The commentator states that by the color of Syama-Krsna’s limbs, the whole area became filled with darkness, or the Syama color. The light of the moon was not working there, so the gopis did not enter the ‘Syama’, dark area of the forest.

Now their mood changed. Why?  They thought, “Krsna’s body is very beautiful and soft and Krsna will feel some suffering and disturbance. When they met with Radharani then after that they had this mood that, “Oh Krsna will have to wander here and there in the dark forest and He may hurt His limbs or feet.”

Sukadeva Goswami said, “Oh Pariksit Maharaja the Gopis mood up to this point had been different. Now after meeting with Srimati Radharani, their mood changed and their bodies were absorbed in searching for Krsna. Every pore of their body was absorbed in Krsna and they were singing about His lilas, pastimes and qualities. They had no awareness of their own bodies.

Sridhara Swami states that even after meeting Krsna and even after He left them, they never thought of their homes or anything else. They were one-pointedly absorbed in Krsna. They were moving here and there but they did not think of anyone else aside from Krsna. In ordinary separation one thinks of so many things naturally, but when one is fully ‘tadatmika’, one at heart, then other moods cannot possibly come into the heart.

GOPIS STOP SEARCHING AND RETURN TO THE YAMUNA

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu states that after the Vraja-devis searched from forest to forest, they thought of Krsna’s very soft feet and how He was wandering everywhere in the forest. And at the same time, we are trying to follow behind Him. He may step on sharp stones or thorns and there are many sharp stones and sharp blades of grass here that He could step on. Since He is barefoot, we should not search anymore. We will not make Him sad or suffer because of our own sadness. Instead we should begin kirtan of Krsna’s glories and meditate on Him. We can never find Him if we continue searching for Him like this, we do not have the strength. If we stay together and from deep within our souls, we meditate on Him, and pray to Him from the bottom of our hearts, then certainly Krsna will return to us, giving us His darsana. In this way the Gopis decided what to do.

They went back to the bank of the Yamuna where they were before. Previously, they had searched and gone very deep into the different areas of the forest, finally they came back to the bank of the Yamuna and in loud voices, began to sing Krsna’s glories. Every pore of the Gopis bodies was like prayer to Krsna, “When will He come? When will He come?”

Before they were always thinking of how they could meet with Krsna. He called them with His flute, they came and met with Him, and then He left. Now in great separation, sitting on the bank of the Yamuna, they all began to sing His glories.

Srila Sridhara Swami states here that when the Gopis came to the bank of the Yamuna, they began singing kirtans of Krsna’s glories. The mood that, “Certainly Krsna will come and give us His darsana”, became fixed in their hearts. At the time of ‘Katayani-vrata’, Krsna came to the bank of the Yamuna and during ‘Saradiya-rasa Purnima’, He also gave His darsana there. The Gopis felt that through kirtan, the power and rasa through which to attract Krsna would manifest.

Srila Jiva Goswami states that the Gopis searched everywhere for Krsna but now their mood changed. They thought, “We should sit. His feet are very soft and the sharp stones, thorns and grasses of the forest could cut them. It is like we are chasing Him and He is fleeing from us. He will suffer because of his so we should sit down and do kirtan and Krsna will come to us.” After they met with Srimati Radharani this faith came. They thought that certainly Krsna will come back to us. In this way they went to the bank of the Yamuna and in loud voices began kirtan to glorify Krsna.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says the gopis were saying, “Alas, Alas. For how long will we run here and there in the jungle? Wherever we go we are finding only sadness and suffering and we are giving Him suffering too by making Him run everywhere to hide from us.”

Those who become completely surrendered, the Lord will not be far away. There will be no need to chase the Lord. Therefore, we only need to perform ‘nama-sankirtana’. Krsna and His names are non-different. If you sit in a pure place with others and then all together sing ‘Krsna-kirtan’, then through the power of this kirtan, Krsna will definitely come, because He is non-different from his names.

In this way this chapter of Rasa-pancadhyayi is complete. This is the end of the third chapter of Rasa-pancadhyayi. Sukadeva Goswami described that the Gopis determined this best process to find Krsna which is Krsna-kirtan.

Guru varga ki Jaya! Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excepted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”. For more info contact: rasik@kripa.tv )