Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: Krishna and the Gopis in Moonlight – LXV

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nilanjana retells the story of Krishna and the gopis on a moonlit night, elaborating on the Leela or the cosmic game, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

Sukha explained, “The gopis were ignorant and completely under the veil of prakriti1. They were simple people with basic understanding. They did not understand philosophy or spirituality. Yes, they craved for him like they would for an earthly lover. Since Krishna was aparabrahman who had assumed a human form, this craving modified itself to bhakti (devotion) and they attained moksha. Any kind of emotion for the parabrahman – like hatred, love, lust – does not really matter. What matters is that one is focused on divinity! Sishupal hated Krishna so he kept on thinking about him. That way even he got liberated. Anybody who has constant love or constant hatred or constant anger or any other emotion where one keeps on thinking about divinity all the time is sure to get liberated.”

Parikshit nodded as Sukha went on explaining, “So, the gopis surrounded Krishna, lost in the music of his charming flute. He asked them what he could do to please them. In the middle of the night, having left their home, families, household chores they have just come to visit him.  He asked them if they did not remember their social and familial obligations. He reminded them that they are bound by great devotion for him. That devotion is good enough. However, this love may not be considered right by many.

The gopis stood there as if carved by stone. They felt frustrated. Many of them started crying. Krishna could see the tears glistening in their eyes. They told Krishna that they did not come here to listen to a sermon on socially appropriate behavior. They came to meet Krishna hoping he would never abandon them. They reminded Krishna that learned men have said that one should abandon the bondages and set one’s mind on the eternal one. They have also been told that Krishna is the eternal one. They said that they were happy and content with regular life unless Krishna came on. Now they only love him and pine for his love. They desire him. Krishna, with all his compassion, accepted their love. He danced with each and every gopi and enjoyed their company.

Gradually, ego and pride took over. Each gopi began to think that Krishna belongs only to her.

Suddenly, Krishna vanished from their presence… 

 [To be continued] 

  1. Prakriti – In Sankhya philosophy, Prakriti is Nature as distinguished from Purusha (another name of the cosmic spirit) – the original source of the material world consisting of the three gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas).  Gunas – Literally means qualities or attributes. There are 3 kinds of gunas:
  2. i) Sattvaguna or sattva – This is the highest of the 3 gunas. It indicates goodness and purity;
  3. ii) Rajoguna or rajas – This is the second, indicating activity (when on a positive swing) and restlessness (when negative);

iii) Tamoguna or tamas – This is the lowest one indicating rest (when positive) and lethargy (when negative).

All the three take turns to dominate the human mind.

Footnote: Srimad Bhagavatam is often called the Bhagavad Purana. Authored by Ved Vyasa, the stories are about the various avatars(incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, also known as Narayana. These stories are narrated by Ved Vyasa’s son Sukhadeva to King Parikshit.

©Nilanjana Dey

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A story-teller at heart, Nilanjana Dey is on a journey to experiment with fiction and poetry. Her first novel, largely aimed towards children, is titled ‘The Adventures of Puti – The Cheese Trail’. Her poems have been published at various prestigious portals. An alumni of English Literature from Jadavpur University (Kolkata), she is a marketing and communication professional based in Mumbai. She volunteers with a Mumbai based NGO working with the marginalised sections of the society.