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Raasa LeelA of Krishna with the Gopis of Brindavan - series of four articles on the Raasa Leela

anuraag - Thu, 12 Aug 2004 00:24:59 +0530

This is the first of a series of four articles on the
Raasa Leela.
(Krishna Janmashtami is two months from now).

The fervent devotion to Krishna of the celebrated
milk-maids (Gopis or Gopikas) of Brindavan, and
particularly of RadhA the most prominent of them all, is
the best example of mAdhura-bhakti (Devotion through Love)
for all time. There is a large variety of legends and
representations of this bhakti in painting and sculpture
that spreads through every part of India. The first poetic
expression of the RadhA-Krishna story was in the
Gita-GovindaM of Jayadeva (12th century A.D.). The
principal character in that poem is RadhA, the beloved of
Krishna. She spoke no word except prayer. She moved no step
except towards Krishna. She saw and heard only Krishna. She
spoke only of Him, to Him, for Him, whoever might be in her
vicinity. Krishna filled her heart entirely. This
magnificent poem is held in high respect and is sung all
over India particularly in congregatory singing of Bhajans,
the singers often reaching heights of ecstasy. This lyrical
extravaganza of Jayadeva is delightful poetry without
inhibitions. It is at the very center of religious poetry
in the Bhakti tradition, though it may be considered erotic
from a Victorian viewpoint. It is venerated as God’s own
writing. The singing and dancing associated with this poem
are so absorbing not only in its music and rhythm but also
in its lyric that describes the love-sport of Radha and

What is the origin or source of all this? Is it Jayadeva’s
imagination, fancy or invention? No. It all goes back to
Shrimad BhagavataM of Vyasa. In the tenth skanda of
Bhagavatam, there are five chapters (#s 29 to 33) known as
‘RAsa-panchAdhyAyi’. These five chapters describe the Raas
LeelA of Krishna with the Gopis of Brindavan. But wait,
before we come to that, we must tune our minds the right
way in order to appreciate it all.

So let us go back to the famous story of Krishna’s theft of
the clothes of the Gopis while they were bathing in the
river. (Bhagavatam, Skanda X, Ch.22). It looks like an
immoral story, with a child of six as the central figure.
It is spoken of as though he were a full-grown man,
insulting the modesty of women. Look at Annie Besant’s
handling of this story. She writes:

‘The Gopis were Rishis, and the Lord Supreme as a babe is
teaching them a lesson. But there is more than that. There
is a profound occult lesson behind the story. When the Soul
is approaching the Supreme Lord at one great stage of
initiation, it has to pass through a great ordeal. Stripped
of everything on which it has hitherto relied, stripped of
everything that is not its inner self, deprived of all
external aid, of all external protection, of all external
covering, the soul itself, in its own inherent life, must
stand naked and alone, with nothing to rely on save the
life of the Self within it. If it flinches before the
ordeal, if it clings to anything to which it has hitherto
looked for help, if in the supreme hour, it cries out for
friend or help, or even the Guru himself, the soul fails in
that ordeal. Naked and alone it must go forth, with
absolutely none to aid it save the divinity within itself.
And it is that nakedness of the soul as it approaches the
supreme goal, that is told of in that story’.

This defence of the conceptual fabric of Hindu spirituality
is important for the proper understanding of the Raas LeelA
of Krishna. In addition, there is another perspective that
should never be missed in any discussion of the Raas LeelA.
It is the divinity of Krishna himself.

The first description of His birth comes to us from the pen
of Vyasa himself in his famous Bhagavatam. It was on that
Ashtami day after Shravan Poornima, when the moon was in
the asterism Rohini that Krishna was born in that famous
prison of Kamsa of Mathura. According to the hair-raising
description of that birth in the Shrimad Bhagavatam, tenth
canto, third chapter, it was in the dense darkness of that
fateful night, the Lord appeared – mark the word, appeared,
not born – as an unusual child from the womb of Devaki,
just like the moon rising on the eastern horizon! Oh, what
a sight it was! Continues the BhagavataM: (X – 3 -9,10):

tam-adbhutaM bAlakam-ambujekshhaNaM
catur-bhujaM shankha-gadAry-udAyudhaM /
shrIvatsa-lakshhmaM gala-shobhi-kaustubhaM
pItAmbaraM sAndra-payoda-saubhagaM //
tvishhA parishhvakta-sahasra-kuntalaM /
virAjamAnaM vasudeva aikshhata” //

meaning, Vasudeva saw that wonderful child with four hands,
holding a conch, a mace, a chakra and a lotus; with
Srivatsa emblem on His chest; with Kaustubha gem on the
neck; with cloth of golden hue; as beautiful as the blue
water-filled cloud; with dense hair flowing around amidst
the adornments of crown and ear-rings radiant with precious
gems; and excellently brilliant with bracelets around the
hip and arms.

Either you believe in all this or you don’t. If you don’t
believe in all this then Raas LeelA of Krishna is also a
fiction in the imagination of Vyasa and there is nothing
more to discuss except some poetry in the literature. If
you believe in all this, then Raas-LeelA of Krishna should
also be believed to be true. Not only should it be believed
to be a true happening but you also get a justification for
it. So when doubts arise as to the good or bad of Raas
LeelA, remember, you have accepted that the birth of
Krishna in the above manner is true and that means Krishna
is the all-powerful Absolute Divine.

A discussion of Raas-LeelA thinking that Krishna was an
ordinary person like you and me is a misnomer and a
non-issue. We shall not enter the discussion of Raas-LeelA
that way. We shall only discuss Raas-LeelA, with the full
conviction that Krishna is the Absolute Transcendental
Divinity that is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent.
Lacking this conviction we would have denied ourselves the
fundamental eligibility to discuss Raas LeelA, and more so
the prerequisites to be able to appreciate it.

Now let us come to the actual story part.....

(To be Continued)

PraNAms to all devotees of Lord Krishna


Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
My website on Science and Spirituality is
anuraag - Thu, 12 Aug 2004 00:36:03 +0530
Raasa LeelA of Krishna with Gopis of Brindavan - 2 of 4


Now let us come to the actual story part. Remember Krishna
was a ten-year old boy at that time. Probably even less.
The Gopis of Brindavan did a month-long Katyayani vrata.
The purpose: To get Lord Krishna as their husband (pati, in
Sanskrit). The vrata itself was a very complicated one:
Bathing in the Yamuna at daybreak, making an image of the
Goddess Parvati with sand on the river bank and
worshipping Her with all the formalities. It was at the end
of this month-long worship, the incident (as described
earlier) of the robbing of their clothes by the Lord
happened. The Lord chastised them that they had no business
to bathe naked in the river, particularly when they were
supposed to be engaged in this Katyayani vrata. After
telling them that his treatment of them was in punishment
of their misbehaviour, he gave them back their clothes;
but also promised them that very soon their desire for
sporting with the Lord, for which they did the Katyayani
vrata, would be fulfilled. And in this context, he makes a
very important statement which is significant for our
understanding of the Ras Leela:

‘In the case of whomsoever that has turned their minds
towards Me, the desire or lust that thereby arises in them
would not result in bad, just as a fried or baked seed
would not sprout again’
(X -22 – 26):

na may-yAveshita-dhiyAM kAmaH kAmAya kalpate /
bharjitA kathitA dhAnA prAyo bIjAya neshhyate //

Note: Recall that all books of Vedanta tell us how a man of
wisdom (Brahma-jnAni) has no karma chasing him, because they are
like a fried seed in his case and it will not sprout!

The night of that fulfillment arrived in the autumn
following. The requisites for the divine play were all
created by Him by His mAyA. “yogamAyAm-upAshritaH”
(resorting to His yoga-mAyA) says the text (10-29-1). On
that moonlit night, His melodious note on His flute, played
in the woodlands adjoing the Yamuna, went all the way to
the ears of the gopis and enraptured them. It pleasantly
distracted every one and everything from normal activity
and enchanted them to revel in ecstasy. Even shrubs and
trees, flowers and leaves, birds and animals ‘stood
enchanted’ with that rapturous divine musical rendering.

No sooner the Gopis heard the music of His flute, than
they were all captivated by the symphony of joy that
emanated from it. They came from all sides to the spot
where He was playing the flute. Some were milking their
cows, some were serving food to their husbands, some were
keeping busy with their cosmetics, some were cleaning
their houses, -- but all of them dropped their work just
where it was and ran towards Krishna. Their husbands,
brothers and parents did try to stop them but of no avail.
The minds of the Gopis had been lured away by the music of
the flute and by the thought of Lord Krishna and they
forgot all about themselves.

Some of the gopis, however, could not manage to get out of
their houses, and instead they remained home with eyes
closed, meditating upon Him in pure love. For these gopis
the intolerable separation from their beloved caused an
intense agony that burned away all impious karma
(“tIvra-pApa-dhutA-shubhAH” – X-29-10). By meditating upon
Him they realized His embrace, and the ecstasy they then
felt exhausted their material piety. Although Lord Krishna
is the Supreme Soul, these girls simply thought of Him as
their lover and associated with Him in that intimate mood.
Thus their karmic bondage was nullified and they abandoned,
as it were, their gross material bodies.

At this point, King Parikshit asks a pertinent question to
Sage Suka who is narrating the story: O sage, the gopis
knew Krishna only as their lover, not as the Supreme
Absolute Truth. So how could these girls, their minds
caught up in the waves of worldly love, free themselves
from material attachment? And the Rishi replies: Since
even Sisupala, who hated Krishna, achieved perfection, then
what to speak of the Lord’s dear devotees. The Supreme Lord
is inexhaustible and immeasurable, and He is untouched by
Prakrti because He is its controller. His personal
appearance in this world is meant for bestowing the highest
benefit on humanity. Persons who constantly direct their
lust, anger, fear, protective affection, feeling of
impersonal oneness or friendship toward Lord Hari are sure
to become absorbed in thought of Him. You should not be so
astonished, Oh King, because you are the unique one who had
the benefit of seeing His beatific presence even while you
were in your mother’s womb. (X-29-13 to 16).

Krishna saw them all coming, and when they had gathered, he
told them to go back. He waved them back saying that their
first duty was in their home with their husbands and
relatives. He says: “I know you have ties of attachment for
Me. It is but proper. All creatures in the world will find
delight in Me (‘prIyante mayi jantavaH’ : X-29-23). But
your duty is elsewhere. For a woman from a respectable
family, petty adulterous affairs are always condemned. They
bar her from heaven, ruin her reputation and bring her
difficulty and fear”. And He ends this sermon by making a
famous declaration (X-29-27) which He himself repeats

shravaNAt darshanAt dhyAnAt mayi bhAvo’nukIrtanAt /
na tathA sannikarshheNa pratiyAta tato gRhAn //

“Transcendental love for Me arises by the devotional
processes of hearing about Me, seeing My Deity form,
meditating on Me and faithfully chanting My glories. The
same result is not achieved by mere physical proximity. So
please go back to your homes”.

But the Gopis don’t listen. To his argument that their duty
is to their husbands and families, they reply that He is
the pati, the husband of the entire world and therefore of
them all, and so their first duty is to Him. “Not only
that, Oh Lord, our minds which were all along with our
families and our work have now been totally captivated by
You. Our hands and feet are not ours. Our minds are not
ours. They are all yours. They refuse to do any work which
is not directed at You. So don’t throw us back. Deign to
accept us as your servants”. And they were steadfast in
this determination. Seeing their steadfastness, Krishna
decided to please them.

iti viklavitaM tAsAM shrutvA yogeshvareshvaraH /
Prahasya sadayaM gopIH AtmArAmo’pyarIramat // X-29-42

Smiling upon hearing these despondent words from the gopîs,
Lord Krishna, the supreme master of all masters of mystic
yoga, mercifully satisfied them, although He is Himself

He was Himself AtmArAma, that is One who is fulfilled in
Himself, by Himself for Himself. He has nothing to obtain
which He does not already have. (cf. nAnavAptam-avAptavyam,
... Gita III-22). When He thus moved in intimate terms with
the Gopis, very soon they thought highly of themselves.
They thought they were the greatest women on Earth. And the
Lord became aware of their pride and arrogant thought, and
intending to bless them with the right kind of
spirituality, immediately vanished!

And then begins a long wailing and searching, by the Gopis.
They could not stand this separation from the Lord. They
lose their head and become really mad for Him. This is
called the experience of ‘viraha’, separation. It is said
by all exponenets of bhakti that the highest form of bhakti
is the experience of this viraha from the Lord. We think we
are all very devoted to God. But do we feel the pangs of
separation from Him as the gopis felt?

People say God does not take the offering we give Him ; but
do we offer it the way Sabari offered Him?
[ “lok kahte hai bhagwAn khAte nahiM;
kyA haM shabarI kI taraH khilAtehaim?” ]

People say that God does not come to our rescue; but do we
call Him with that conviction and pangs of anxiety that
was characteristic of Draupadi’s call?
[ “lok kahte hai bhagwAn Ate nahiM;
kyA haM draupadI kI taraH bulAte haiM?”]

People say that God does not bless us; but do we love Him
with that intensity of Radha’s love?

[“lok kahte hai bhagwaan prasAd karte nahiM;
kyA ham rAdhA kI tarah pyAr karte haiM?”]

PraNAms to all devotees of Krishna.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
anuraag - Thu, 12 Aug 2004 00:44:17 +0530
Raasa Leela of Krishna with Gopis of Brindavan - 3 of 4


To continue our story. The Gopis keep roaming about in
the woods, searching for Him. In the process of this
roaming, they identify the footsteps of their Lord and
try to follow those footsteps. Lo and behold! They do not
find their Lord but they find one more pair of footsteps
side by side with the Lord’s footsteps! And they look at it
carefully. They recognise it as a woman’s footsteps. Their
jealousy knows no bounds. How come! One of their own group,
has found it possible to be with the Lord and is now
enjoying the privilege of His company all alone! What a
supreme fortunate circumstance for her! She must be the
most beloved of Krishna among all of them!

On the other hand that single gopi who was with Krishna had
an interesting experience. She certainly enjoys the company
of the Lord, all alone. But that very enjoyment puffs up
her head and she tries to aspire for more of the Lord
than the others. Instead of walking up along with the Lord,
she suggests to Him that He may carry her on His
shoulders, and to her great satisfaction the Lord agrees to
do that. He says “Alright, get up on my shoulders” and he
poses for her. But when she attempts to climb up on His
shoulders, He is no more there – He has vanished! That was
the end of her puffed up pride! And the rest of the
company joins her now and together they all search for the

Incidentally, this single gopi is perhaps the Radha of
later literature. The name Radha does not occur in the

When finally the moon went behind the clouds and there was
no more moonlight, they all returned to their starting
place and spent their time talking about Krishna. Their
minds absorbed in thoughts of Him, they conversed about
Him, acted out His pastimes and felt themselves filled with
His presence. They no more remembered their homes as they
loudly sang the glories of Krishna's transcendental
qualities: The shloka which says this, namely,

tan-manaskAs-tad-AlApAs-tad-viceshhTAs-tad-AtmikAH /
tad-guNAn-eva gAyantyaH nAtmAgArANi sasmaruH // X-30-43

is one of the most famous quotes from Shrimad Bhagavatam,
because it characterises the supreme prema-bhakti of the
Gopis. It is considered to be at the apex of all bhakti
forms. In fact, it reflects exactly what Krishna himself
describes in the Gita (V-17):

tad-buddhayas-tad-AtmAnas-tan-nishhTAs-tat-parAyaNAH /
gacchanty-apunar-AvRttiM jnAna-nirdhUta-kalmashhAH //


Those who have their intellect absorbed in That, whose Self
is That, who are steadfast in That, who have That as their
supreme Goal-they attain the state of non-returning, their
dirt having been removed by Knowledge.

This kind of total absorption in God is the ultimate in
Bhakti. That is why the Gopis are cited as the supreme
example of self-effacing bhakti. There have been several
types of devotees all over time and all over the world. But
the Lord values only such selfless bhakti. The bhakti of
the gopis is unique in all of history, because, they did
not achieve that kind of superlative approbation from the
Lord by any of the usual means of spiritual living, namely,
charity, ritual sacrifice, ritualistic vrata, religious
discipline, penance, philosophical speculation, or yogic
practice. None of these they had. None of these can give
that kind of union with the Lord as the constant mental
association with Him that they did have. (Narayaneeyam:

aikyaM te
tvat-sangenaiva gopyaH kila sukRti-tamAH
prApur-Ananda-sAndraM /
bhakteSh-vanyeShu bhUas-svapi bahu-manuShe bhaktim-eva
tan-me tvad-bhaktim-eva dRDaya hara gadAn kRShNa
vAtAlayesha //

That state of supremely blissful union with Thee, which is
difficult to obtain through (disciplines like) charity,
(ritual) sacrifices, observance of vows, self-control,
austerities, knowledge (sAnkhya), and yoga, was attained by
the blessed gopikas of Brindavan, through just personal
attachment to Thee as their own beloved. Numerous are Thy
other devotees, but it is this loving personal devotion of
the gopikas that has received Thy highest appreciation.
Therefore Oh Krishna, Oh Lord of Guruvayoor, May Thou
strengthen devotion in me and destroy my ailments.

In fact this underscores the importance of personal
involvement with the Lord in intimate terms, from the heart
of hearts. All the formalities of our religious observances
pale into insignificance before such a personal
relationship with God. Whatever we may do, we must strive
to see that this innate feeling of love for the Lord
becomes the undercurrent. This is the only thing He asks
from us. More than intellectual understanding of the
various nuances of scriptures and philosophy, what He
expects from us is this self-negating love for Him and all
that stands for Him, namely, the universe. One may recall
here Gita IX – 34:

manmanA bhava madbhakto madyAjI mAM namaskuru /
mAmevaiShyasi yuktvaivaM AtmAnaM mat-parAyaNaH //

meaning, Saturate your mind with me; be devoted to me; work
for me; bow down to me; having thus united your whole self
with me, taking me as the supreme Goal, you shall come unto
me. This self-negating love has been defined by Narada in
his bhakti-sutra, as follows (Sutra 54):

guNa-rahitaM kAmanA-rahitaM pratikShaaNa-vardhamAnaM
avicchinnaM sUkShma-taram anubhava-rUpaM.

Meaning, (This pure love is) without attributes, without
the poison of desire, every moment increasing, unbroken,
subtlest, and of the nature of sheer immediate experience.

In fact almost every exponent of bhakti says the same

Let us come back to the story. The Gopis, having lost track
of Krishna in the physical world, spend their time now
singing about Him in all ecstasy. This singing as told in
18 delightful verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam is called
“gopikA-gItaM”. It is chapter 31 of Skanda 10. In
traditional India these 18 verses are usually taught to
young girls for them to obtain the fullest grace of God,
particularly with respect to their marriage. Jayadeva’s
Gita Govindam derives inspiration from this. Let us see
just three shlokas out of the 18. In the practical
performace of the dance of gopikA-gItaM it is common to use
the word ‘kRshhNa’ repeatedly to keep the beat:

jayati te’dhikaM (kRshhNa) janmanA vrajaH
shrayata indirA (kRshhNa) shashvad-atra hi /
dayita dRshyatAM (kRshhNa) dikshhu tAvakAH
tvayi dhRtAsavaH (kRshhNa) tvAM vicinvate // (X-31-1)

O beloved, Your birth in the land of Vraja has made it
exceedingly glorious, and thus Indirâ, the goddess of
fortune, always resides here. It is only for Your sake that
we, Your devoted servants, maintain our lives. We have been
searching everywhere for You, so please show Yourself to

na khalu gopikA (kRshhNa) nandano bhavAn
akhila-dehinAM (kRshhNa) antar-Atma-dRk /
vikhanasArthito (kRshhNa) vishva-guptaye
sakha udeyivAn (kRshhNa) sAtvatAm kule // (X-31-4)

You are not actually the son of the gopî Yas'odâ, O friend,
but rather the indwelling witness in the hearts of all
embodied souls. Because Lord Brahmâ prayed for You to come
and protect the universe, You have now appeared in the
Sâtvata dynasty.

tava kathAmRtaM (kRshhNa) tapta-jIvanaM
kavibhir-IDitaM (kRshhNa) kalmashhApahaM /
shravaNa-mangaLaM (kRshhNa) shrImad-AtataM
bhuvi gRNanti te (kRshhNa) bhuridA janAH // (X-31-9)

The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your
activities are the life and soul of those suffering in this
material world. These narrations, transmitted by learned
sages, eradicate one's sinful reactions and bestow good
fortune upon whoever hears them. They are filled with
spiritual power. Certainly those who spread the message of
Godhead must have been munificent.

(To be concluded in one more post)

PraNAms to all devotees of Krishna. Radhe Krishna.


Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
anuraag - Thu, 12 Aug 2004 21:34:49 +0530
Raasa LeelA of Krishna with Gopis of Brindavan: 4 of 4.


At the end of it all, Krishna reappears. The Gopis are agog
with excitement. It was as if their lives returned to them
(“tanvaH prANaM iva AgataM” X-32-3). All the varieties of
human emotions that can arise at such an event are
described here without inhibitions. It is a no-holds-barred
description. At the end of it all, Krishna, whose seat is
in the hearts of great yogis, now sits encircled by these
gopis on an elevated sand dune on the bank of Kalindi, lit
up splendidly by the abundant autumnal moonlight and starts
talking with them in very intimate terms. It is said that
each gopi had the feet of the Lord on her lap.

Mark this statement. Here starts the full sway of the mAyA
of the Lord. There were at least a hundred gopis. In fact
the numbers that are mentioned in the Bhagavatam will make
our heads reel. Anyway there were several of them. If each
one had the feet of the Lord on her lap, and if each one
was having the feeling that the Lord was talking to herself
with His feet on her lap, the Lord must have replicated
himself as many times as there were gopis there. This point
is mentioned when the actual Raas Leela starts, but even
here the magic of the mAyA has started!

Now Krishna starts talking. In fact they have raised an
important question for Him to answer. Some people
reciprocate the affection only of those who are
affectionate toward them, while others show affection even
to those who are indifferent or inimical. And yet others
will not show affection toward anyone. Dear Krishna, please
properly explain this matter to us.(X-32-16), say the
Gopis. And He explains very patiently, in shlokas 17 to 22:

So-called friends who show affection for each other only to
benefit themselves are actually selfish. They have no true
friendship, nor are they following the true principles of
religion. Indeed, if they did not expect benefit for
themselves, they would not reciprocate. Some people are
genuinely merciful or, like parents, naturally
affectionate. Such persons, who devotedly serve even those
who fail to reciprocate with them, are following the true,
faultless path of religion, and they are true well-wishers.
Some people, being spiritually self-satisfied, do not
reciprocate others' affection because they want to avoid
entanglement in mundane dealings. Other persons do not
reciprocate simply out of envy or arrogance. And still
others fail to reciprocate because they are materially
satisfied and thus uninterested in new material

I do understand that simply for My sake you had rejected
the authority of worldly opinion, of the Vedas and of your
relatives. But I acted as I did only to increase your
attachment to Me. Even when I removed Myself from your
sight by suddenly disappearing, I never stopped loving you.

Therefore, My beloved gopîs, please do not harbor any bad
feelings toward Me, your beloved. I will not be able to
repay My debt for your spotless service, even within a
lifetime of Brahmâ.

(na pâraye 'ham niravadya-samyujâm
sva-sâdhu-krityam vibudhâyushâpi vah) X-32-22

Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have
worshiped Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are
difficult to break. Therefore please let your own glorious
deeds be your compensation.

This passage speaks volumes about the love of the gopis
towards Krishna and how he acknowledged it. It is the
charter that gives the universally glorified sanctity to
the spotless Krishna-Bhakti of the Gopis. Great devotees
are not great because they call themselves so (if at all),
but because the Lord calls them great!

And now begins the Raas LeelA, the most enchanting of all
His leelAs. They all linked their arms together and thought
they were encircling Him. But actually between each pair of
gopis there was a Krishna. Each Gopi felt the left hand of
Krishna on her right shoulder and the right hand of Krishna
on her left shoulder. She was thinking therefore that
Krishna was dancing in front of her, facing her with His
hands on her shoulders. But what was happening was that she
had one Krishna on her left and another Krishna on her
right! The yogeshvara that Krishna was, he had enveloped
the entire assembly of Gopis in His mAyA and their minds
were not their own now. They thought whatever He wanted
them to think! But they all enjoyed an eternal bliss in
the play of Raas LeelA! There were actually three such
plays. One in water (‘jala-kRIDA), one in the woods
(‘vana-kRIDA’) and one on open ground (‘sthala-kRIDA’). The
night itself got extended because the elements had all
halted. Heaven and Nature watched this magnificent divine
romantic dance of the several Krishnas with the several
Gopis. And the beauty of it all was, that, back home, in
every house of the gopis, the gopi’s husband did not miss
his wife; as far as he knew she was there with him!. The
whole world was in trance, as it were! That was the
greatness of the Raas dance!

Well, let us come down to terra firma. When this whole
thing had been narrated by Suka, King Parikshit asks the
most relevant question: “Well, let me take it that Krishna
had nothing to achieve, because He is always
self-fulfilled. But what he did does not appear to be
ethical, from any worldly angle. Why, then, did he do
that? Should He not set the right example?” (X-33 – 27 to

Note that Parikshit’s question is not the question we
ourselves raised at the beginning of this article. We said
that we shall not be discussing this issue if it had the
assumption that Krishna was an ordinary human being. King
Parikshit postulates his acceptance of the divinity of
Krishna. But his question is: Why does the Lord set a bad
example for mankind?

And Suka answers: (X – 33 -30 to 38): The status of
Ishvara is not harmed by any apparently audacious
transgression of morality we may see in Him, for He is just
like fire, that devours everything fed into it and remains
unpolluted. We ordinary people should never imitate the
behavior of such ruling personalities, even mentally. If
out of foolishness an ordinary person does imitate such
behaviour, he will simply destroy himself, just as a person
who is not Rudra would destroy himself if he tried to drink
an ocean of poison. It is the words of Ishvara which we
should follow, not those of His actions which are
inconsistent with those words.
When these great persons who are free from false ego act
piously in this world, they have no selfish motives to
fulfill, and even when they act in apparent contradiction
to the laws of piety, they are not subject to sinful
reactions. How, then, could the Lord of all created beings
have any connection with the piety and impiety that affect
His subject creatures?

Material activities never entangle even the devotees of the
Supreme Lord, who are fully satisfied by serving the dust
of His lotus feet. Nor do material activities entangle
those intelligent sages who have freed themselves from the
bondage of all fruitive reactions by the fact that they
have disassociated themselves with their body, mind
intellect. Then, how could there be any question of
bondage for the Lord Himself, who assumes His
transcendental forms according to His own sweet will?

The Actionlessness of the Lord is well-known from his
statements in the Gita:

By Me was created the four varNas, in accordance with their
GuNas and karma. Know Me as its doer and know Me also as
the imperishable non-doer. (Gita IV-13)

Those works do not bind Me. I sit, indifferent as it were,
unattached to those actions. (Gita IX – 9)

In fact Actionlessness is a central concept in the
understanding of the actions of a man of wisdom
(brahma-jnAni). The nAhaM kartA (I-am-not-the-doer)
attitude is the core of all of Krishna’s advice to Arjuna.
For more on this, go to

He who lives as the sAkshhI (overseeing witness) within the
gopîs and their husbands, and indeed within all embodied
living beings, assumes forms in this world to enjoy
transcendental pastimes. When the Lord assumes a humanlike
body to show mercy to His devotees, He engages in such
pastimes as will attract those who hear about them to
become dedicated to Him.

For us, devotees of Krishna, we are told by Suyka himself,
that those who listen to these stories of this great Raas
LeelA of Krishna, will not only become great devotees of
the Lord, but would be able to conquer the ingrained lust
in the human psyche!

lokAs samastAs sukhino bhavantu.

Raadhe Krishna! It is said that Raadha was given a promise
by the Lord that for all time to come, Her name (Radha’s)
would be taken first before His own (Krishna’s) is taken!
Raadhe Krishna!

Note: All the four articles are available on the web
starting from the following page:

PraNAms to all devotees of Krishna.
Prof. V. Krishnamurthy