The Gopis of Vrindavan

Source : Faith - The Hindu

Attaining oneness with Brahman is the ultimate goal of human existence and scriptures discuss the difficulties in this spiritual path. First of all, they say, Brahman is beyond their grasp, and they openly accept their inability to define this ineffable presence which nevertheless abides without any reservations in all aspects of creation. That is why it is said that trying to reach Brahman through sastras is difficult and confusing, while the path of love to Krishna can lead to the same realisation, pointed out Srimati Prema Pandurang in a discourse.

Gopi is a bhava not bound by any personality or gender. It is a concept of pure and selfless love for Krishna where karma, jnana and bhakti blend seamlessly. What greater fortune for them than being lured towards salvation by the child in Brindavan who comes to steal their hearts in the guise of stealing butter? Their very way of life that is centered on Krishna is constituted of that “yagna, dhana and tapas” — strictures laid down in the scriptures for all beings, which the Gita states are the only means by which the atma can be purified.

Though engaged in their household duties and commitments, their hearts and minds are one with Krishna. Worldly attachments and pulls are set aside when they rush to experience the call of the flute. In the realm of bhakti, all differences between individual bhaktas are dissolved and only friendliness prevails. All are conscious of the Supreme Lord and His munificence and compassion alone. There is a desire to celebrate His glory rather than be bogged down with the sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ that are difficult hurdles in the spiritual path. The love of the Gopis towards Krishna and their experience of Krishna are seen to be synonymous with the state of “Brahmanubhavam,” the highest state of realisation that all aspire for.

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