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Narrations on the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krishna.

Vastra-harana-lila - Margasirsha-Agrahayana-Katyayani vrata

Jagat - Fri, 26 Nov 2004 07:20:19 +0530
The month of Margasirsha is stated by Krishna in the Gita to be his vibhuti--mAsAnAM mArgazIrSo'ham. Margasirsha means "the beginning of the path."

Margasirsho is also known as Agrahayana, which means "the beginning of the year." So traditionally, this month was the beginning of the calendar year. To be honest, I don't know of any calendar that counts its year beginning with this month, as all of India's calendars have different starting points. Perhaps Elpis can shed some light on this question.

At any rate, though this month obviously has some glories attached to it, the Haribhaktivilasa has comparatively little about it as an important time for performing specific Vaishnava vratas. According to Sanatan's tika, the Varaha Purana recommends a dasavatara-vrata that is to be performed on the sukla-dvadasi of each month throughout the year starting with Margasirsha.

Other than this, it is advised that one perform a standard Vaishnava vrata--i.e., a morning bath, eating simple food only once a day, engaging in hearing and chanting in the association of Vaishnavas.

The HBV section on Margasirsha ends with the first verse of Bhag. 10.22, without further comment. This chapter of the Bhagavatam is, of course, the Vastra-harana, for the gopis who wished to have Krishna for their husband and worshiped the goddess Katyayani to that end.

In honor of this lila, I thought I would, over the next month, post one verse from the Bhagavata lila each day, adding a commentary based on the ten commentaries used by the Gaudiyas (not touching any of the others, at least not this time).

I will add the relevant Gopala Champu section. If anyone wants to add portions of the Tiruppavai, by which this lila was most probably inspired, please feel free. But rather than overloading, let's stretch everything over the entire month.

The Bhagavata pastime contains 28 verses, which is close enough to a month.

Jai Radhe!!
Elpis - Fri, 26 Nov 2004 08:09:44 +0530
QUOTE(Jagat @ Nov 25 2004, 08:50 PM)
Margasirsha means "the beginning of the path."

Well, mArgazIrSa means "of or pertaining to mRgazIrSa," which is one of the nakSatras.

Margasirsho is also known as Agrahayana, which means "the beginning of the year." So traditionally, this month was the beginning of the calendar year. To be honest, I don't know of any calendar that counts its year beginning with this month, as all of India's calendars have different starting points.

One can easily get lost in the confusing variety of calenders used in India. I would not say that agrahAyana was traditionally the beginning of the year. There are calenders for which this is true, yes, but are plenty of other calenders for which it is not true.
Jagat - Fri, 26 Nov 2004 08:25:59 +0530
For which one is it true?
Kalkidas - Fri, 26 Nov 2004 13:56:45 +0530
QUOTE(Jagat @ Nov 26 2004, 01:50 AM)
In honor of this lila, I thought I would, over the next month, post one verse from the Bhagavata lila each day, adding a commentary based on the ten commentaries used by the Gaudiyas (not touching any of the others, at least not this time).

Dear Jagatji,

Would you be so kind to list these ten commentaries? I've heard about three or four commentaries on Bhagavata, so it'd be very interesting to know about all of them. Thanks.
Jagat - Fri, 26 Nov 2004 21:56:20 +0530
I am not even sure I have them all.

(1) Sridhar Swami :: Bhavartha-dipika.

(2) Vamsidhar Goswami. This is a nineteenth century commentary, and I don't know much about him, but he occasionally makes interesting additons and clarifies Sridhar's commentary.

(3) Srinath Chakravarti :: Chaitanya-mata-manjusa. Srinath Chakravarti was Kavi Karnapur Goswami's guru. On the whole, it is pretty succinct. Nevertheless, it appears that Jiva Goswami wrote his Brihat-krama-sandarbha commentary after studying this, as many of the novel ideas followed by Srinath have been expanded on and dealt with there.

(4) Sanatan Goswami :: Brihad-vaishnava-toshani. One sometimes hears of a Laghu-vaishnava-toshani, but it may just be (5). I have been having a hard time ascertaining which commentary precedes the other. I suppose it will eventually become fully clear to me as all the little clues add up. At the present moment, I am taking Brhad as Sanatan's and VT as Jiva's annotations to Sanatan's commentary. But sometimes it really looks the other way round.

(5) Jiva Goswami :: (Laghu)Vaishnava-toshani. I still haven't gotten to a place of complete clarity with the Vaishnava-toshani. I don't know whether there are two or three of them. For the moment I have just the two.

(6) Jiva Goswami :: Krama-sandarbha. This is Jiva's Sat-sandarbha reformatted to follow the sequence of verses in the Bhagavatam. There is more in the Krama-sandarbha, usually of the nature of commentary on the alternative readings, etc, but I have noticed that there is often less also.

(7) Jiva Goswami :: Krama-sandarbha* . The approach to the Tenth Canto also seems to be different for some reason. Thus Sat-sandarbha commentaries on Tenth Canto verses are often left blank in the published Krama-sandarbha. I have therefore made a point of inserting the Sat-sandarbha texts as an appendix to the Krama-sandarbha in the Tenth Canto, as they do not simply repeat any of Sri Jiva's other commentaries.

(8) Jiva Goswami :: Brihat-krama-sandarbha. This has been mentioned above in (3). This is probably Jiva's last commentary. It is, like Krama-sandarbha, rather spotty in the Tenth Canto. Some entire chapters have no BkS. I believe that BKS is also only for the Tenth Canto.

(9) Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur :: Sarartha-darsini.

(10) Baladeva Vidyabhushana :: Vaisnava-nandini. Baladeva is somewhat disappointing. He is usually derivative of Vishwanath and rarely adds much insight. The edition I am using seems to be cut off somewhere before the rasa lila, but I don't know if that is because there is no more or that the publication is defective.

(11*) There are also other commentaries on portions of the text. I am transcribing Narayan Bhatta's Rasikollasini for the Rasalila. He is officially a Gaudiya, but seems to be heavily influenced by the Vallabhi line.

(12*) Prabodhananda has also written a commentary to 10.87 (Sruti-stuti).

(13*) In an earlier part of the Bhagavatam, I have included Srinivasa Acharya's commentary on the Catuhsloki, rather than posting it separately.

The Vallabhis have about twice as many commentaries as the Gaudiyas.
Kalkidas - Fri, 26 Nov 2004 23:35:13 +0530
Thanks, Jagadji.

I assume, that by Vallabhis you mean Pustimargiyas and their Subodhini by Sri Vallabhacarya and Sri Vitthalanatha Gosvami?
Jagat - Sat, 27 Nov 2004 09:15:11 +0530
This is the introduction to the Katyayani vrata from the Gopala Champu. As I said, I will be giving the verses from the Bhagavatam, plus commentaries.

Chapter Twenty-one

Attracting all the lovely girls by stealing the clothes of the virgins

This chapter is based on Bhagavata Purana 10.22, which contains material original to the Sanskrit Puranas. Hardy (Viraha-bhakti, New Delhi: OUP, 1983, 512ff) discusses the antecedents of this material in South Indian Vaishnava literature, particularly the Tirupavvai of Anöal. Jiva’s version naturally shows no awareness of the Tamil material. The subject is the gopis’ performance of rites to have Krishna as their husband and Krishna’s fulfillment of that desire by stealing the gopis’ clothes. Jiva’s version shows much influence from Sanatana’s Vaishnava-toshani. Sanatana distinguishes the gopis whose clothes were stolen from those previously encountered in chapter 15, the “song of the flute” (i.e., BhP 10.21). He also provides new information about the young boys who accompany Krishna on this adventure. Other details in this chapter are completely original to Jiva, i.e. how the gopis came to be performing the vrata at Vrinda’s instance. The banter between Krishna and the gopis is expanded in an original manner by Jiva. The second part of this chapter contains an entirely new portion (based again on hints given in Bhagavata Purana and Vaishnava-toshani) describing the important event of Krishna and the gopis’ first face to face meeting, particularly Krishna’s first meeting with Radha.

[1] Then Snigdhakantha(1) spoke again,

[2] Another group of girls(2) from various different families of Vraja were born after the time when Garga had confused the residents of Vraja; (3) all of these fortunate virgins were naturally inclined to loving Krishna. As they approached the age of puberty they began to feel certain desires which are described as follows:
[v1] When these virgin girls began to find pleasing
the idea that Krishna should be their husband,
their intelligence became constantly absorbed
in seeking ways to achieve this end.
They were like the beauties of the moon
in the waning fortnight of its monthly cycle,
becoming progressively thinner in the darkening universe.
[3] They secretly supplicated various deities with the object of having Krishna as their husband, but they were confused in the apparent failure of these efforts. [4] Each of them prayed as as follows:
[v2] “May I make my residence
in the home of the lords of Vraja;
may they become my parents-in-law
and Krishna my husband, birth after birth.” (4)
[5] Some time afterwards, these girls met each other near the Yamuna. [6] This is entirely appropriate, for,
[v3] If many people simultaneously seek out the same goal,
then they come into contact with each other,
though they may come from differing places,
just as students meet at the residence of their guru.
[7] When these girls did meet, they immediately felt a deep empathy for each other.
[v4] Just as the meeting of clouds results in rain pouring down,
though their waters have been collected from different places,
so too, it was with these gopis and their affection [for Krishna].
[8] When this friendship was established, they revealed their heartfelt desires to each other. For,
[v5] Though the hearts of those in love may be concealed,
they are clear to those with the same feelings.
And if they should meet with one another,
could anything possibly remain hidden?
[9] As they were there blurting out their heart’s desire to each other and weeping, practically paralyzed by the approach of the final stage of separation, their ever well-wisher Vrinda arrived at their side in the dress of a woman ascetic. [10] Vrinda had been thinking, “The mutual love of these girls and the playboy of Vraja possesses an indescribable power to bring them together. [11] This love is so awake that it is weightier than the common affection of other people in this world. For this reason, they should worship some other god, rather than Krishna personally.” (5)

[12] Upon arrival amongst the gopis, Vrinda accepted their respectful greetings and gave them her blessings according to the usages. Then she said: [13] “I am a resident of this forest and I couldn’t help seeing how you are suffering due to your love. My heart has been torn with compassion and so I have come here to you. I ask you to carefully hear from me my knowledge of magical ritual by which you will be able to fulfill your desires. It will not require an excessive effort as you shall only have to exert yourselves for a month. [14] I learned of these things from the compassionate Yogamaya, the repository of all spells and incantations, after I supplicated her through austerities.”

[15] Thus thinking of their welfare, Vrinda initiated the gopis by whispering the sacred syllables into their ears according to the appropriate ritual as well as instructing them in the rules and regulations for austerities meant to accompany the chanting of the mantra. She then disappeared. As soon as she left, the gopis joyfully immersed themselves in applying her instructions. For,
[v6] The glory of their not insignificant quantities of love for Krishna
always helped them to tolerate every suffering;
it made them worthy of the performance of the religious act,
and even took on the form of a pure joyfulness.
In this religious performance, Vrinda herself was the guru,
the supreme energy of Vishnu was the object of worship(6)
and the holy spell given by Vrinda
contained everything that they desired.
So, what could be a greater source of joy than this?


1. Snigdhakantha and his brother Madhukantha are the alternating narrators of the Gopala Champu. The recital is taking place in Nanda Maharaja’s court in Goloka where it is being attended by Radha and Krishna and all their associates. Jiva makes the point that the activities in the prakaTa-lila are even more attractive than those in Goloka, thus making the hearing of those adventures appealing even to the residents of the eternal abode. The two brothers are disciples of Narada and are identified with Nalakuvara and Manigriva, two demigods who were delivered by Krishna in the dama-bandhana-lila. In their prayers spoken at the time of their deliverance, these two brothers prayed for the opportunity to glorify Krishna’s pastimes. This was granted by allowing them to speak the Gopala Champu. RETURN

2.Sanatana’s lengthy commentary at BhP 10.22.1 establishes that these gopis are unmarried, whereas Radha and the other gopis described in the rasa lila were already married. These gopis, according to Sanatana, have been described in BhP 10.21 and in GCP 15. Ujjvala-nilamani (3.19) describes the two kinds of parakiya. The kinds of purva-raga are also distinguished. VT 22.1: evaM prAyo vrajAntarAd AgatAnAM vyUDhAnAM pUrvAnurAgaM zarat-prasaGge varNayitvA hemanta-prasaGge kumArINAM pUrvAnurAga-pratikriyAm Aha—hemanta ity AdinA | tad idaM varga-dvayaM zrI-hari-vaMze viviktaM—yuvatIr gopa-kanyAz ca rAtrau saGkAlya kAla-vit [ha.vaM. 63.18] ity anena |

nanu, tata Arabhya nandasya [bhA.pu. 10.5.18] ity AdinA zrI-rAdhikAdInAM parama-ramAtvaM sthApitaM, yad-vAJchayA zrIr lalanAcarat tapaH [bhA.pu. 10.16.36] ity anena ca zrI-vrajendranandanasya tad-eka-preyasItvaM darzitaM, nAyaM zriyo’Gga [bhA.pu. 10.47.61] ity AdinA darzayiSyate ca, dAmodarAdhara-sudhAm api gopikAnAM [bhA.pu. 10.21.8] ity anea ca tad eva dRDhIkRtaM rAsa-prasaGge kRSNa-vadhva iti vakSyate Agame cAnyAspRSTa-tan-nitya-preyasItvena ca tad-upAsanA vidhIyate, zrImad-dazAkSarasya tan-nAma-vyAkhyAsu gautamIye zrI-nAradena gopikAnAM patir eveti paryApanaM kRtam | brahma-saMhitAyAM zriyaH kAntAH kAntaH parama-puruSaH ity AdinA tathaiva nizcIyate tApanI-zrutau ca, sa vo hi svAmI bhavati iti tad eva sAkSAt zrUyate | tathA, yad-dhAmArtha-suhRt-priyAtma-tanaya-prANAzayAs tvat-kRte [bhA.pu. 10.14.34] ity AdinA tat-pitRbhiH zrI-kRSNAd anyatra tad-eka-yogyAnAM tAsAM dAnaM na zraddhIyate, dAne ca sati, jahyAm asUn vrata-kRzAn zata-janmabhiH syAt ity Adi-zrI-rukmiNI-vacanavat tad-ekAlambanaM jIvanam api na sambhAvyate, anya-puruSa-sambandhena tu sutarAm | tarhi katham ucyate vyUDhAnAm iti ? atra samAdhIyate—tat-tac-chrutArthAnupapatty-arthApatti-pramANeNa lIlA-zaktyaivamAyAdi-dvArA mithyaiva tat-prapaJcitaM yatra tat-pitaraz ca tAz ca sarve vraja-vAsinaz ca tathAbhUtA bhrAntA tathApi svAbhAvika-vAsanA-mayyA zrI-kRSNaika-pratyAzayA tA api jIvanaM rarakSuH puruSAntara-sambandhaz ca tAsAM sadRk-kalpanayA mAyayaiva babhUvuH nivArita iti labhyate | tathA ca—

nAsUyan khalu kRSNAya mohitAs tasya mAyayA |
manyamAnAH svapArzvasthAn svAn svAn dArAn vrajaukasaH || [bhA.pu. 10.33.37]

ity upalakSaNIkariSyate | tad etad api, yathAdhano labdha-dhane vinaSTe tac cintayAnyan nibhRto na veda [bhA.pu. 10.32.20] itivat tAsAm utkaNThA-vardhanArtham eva | atra ca vyUDhA-kumArI-bhedena dvidhA sthitis tu vaicitrI poSArtham eveti dik rAsa-prasaGge tu vizeSataH sthApayiSyate ||

3. In the fifteenth chapter of the Purva Champu, Jiva describes how Vasudeva learns that the parents of the gopis in Vraja seek to arrange the marriage of their daughters with Krishna. He sends Garga, his priest, to thwart these plans by warning Nanda that if Krishna marries these girls, a curse will fall on the family and they will be forever separated from their son. When Nanda tells the gopis’ parents of the danger, they all agree to marry their daughters to other cowherd men. RETURN

4. The gopis’ prayer to Katyayani is given in the Bhagavata as follows: “O Goddess! Make the son of the the cowherd Nanda our husband.” (BhP 10.22.4). RETURN

5. The point here seems to be that in view of the profundity of the gopis’ love for Krishna, they should not approach him directly as a common person would, but rather seek the intervention of some deity to unite them. RETURN

6. Katyayani vaishnavi shaktiH. (VT 22.1) Jiva doesn’t specify the name Katyayani here. In Rupa Gosvami’s poetry, Candravali and her group worship Gauri, while Radha and her followers generally worship Suryadeva. RETURN
Jagat - Sat, 27 Nov 2004 09:27:12 +0530
I'll try to translate some of that commentary tomorrow. Good stuff!! The whole thing is actually already available for those who are impatient:
Jagat - Sat, 27 Nov 2004 23:24:08 +0530
Here is the Bhagavatam text with all available commentaries. It has not been proofread fully, I'll repost at the end of the month.

Proofread right through.

I am uploading another version of the file, which is still imperfect, but changes were made on the last few verses. There is a problem with Brihat-vaishnava-toshani on verses 26 and 27 that I did not quite figure out.
Attachment: Bhagavata_vastra_harana.doc
Jagat - Sun, 28 Nov 2004 10:13:28 +0530
|| 10.22.1 ||

user posted image

hemante prathame mAsi nanda-vraja-kumArikAH |
cerur haviSyaM bhuJjAnAH kAtyAyany-arcana-vratam ||

In the first month of the winter
the young virgins of the cowherd clan
began a vow of worshiping Katyayani
promising to eat nought but gruel.

(1) hemante prathame mAsi. We’ve already said everything that needs to be said. The first month of the Indian winter is Margasirsha, and this is the month designated as Krishna’s vibhuti in Gita 10.35. Srinath Chakravarti suggests that it is because of this lila that the month was given its special status. Jiva in Brihat-krama-sandarbha accepts that insight.

The previous chapters (20-21) described the rainy season and the autumn (in the veëu-géta). Now the hemanta season is being described. The Gopala Champu changes the lilas’ order substantially (Bhag. 21, 24-28, 22-23, 29ff), some of which is discussed in the above note 1.

The previous chapter described the pUrva-rAga activities of the married gopis and now this chapter will be about a different group, the unmarried gopis. Everyone quotes Harivamsa 2.20.18 to show that these two categories existed in Vraja (yuvatIr gopa-kanyAz ca).

I’ll skip Jiva’s comments here, because he focuses principally on the problem of stating that any of the gopis were married to anyone else. He follows his usual arguments here, but let’s leave it. You can read about that on my webside in the article Does Krishna marry the gopis in the end?.

(2) nanda-vraja-kumArikAH (or some read nanda-gopa-kumArikAH.

nanda-vraja. There are two possibile interpretations here, according to Sanatan: either that the married gopis came from outside Vraja, as was the usual case for marriages. and that these were therefore the gopis from within the vraja, who were ineligible to be married with Krishna, but who were nevertheless attached to him. Or, they may have been related to Krishna on his father’s side, which was similarly considered an ineligible match.

On the other hand, they could have quite eligible (as nanda could have been used to indicate that Krishna’s father took pleasure in contemplating his marriage with them.)

The word kumArikA would mean virgin. Vamsidhara suggests that they are post-adolescent (prApta-yauvanA nAryaH). But Sanatan says that the diminutive –ka would indicate that they were still pre-adolescent (prAyo bAlya-vivakSayA). He also suggests that it could mean that though they had been expecting betrothal to Krishna, their parents had already arranged marriages for them elsewhere. But lacking the bravery that comes with age, they had been unable to express themselves to Nanda or anyone else.

Sanatan gives a third possible meaning, kutsito mAraH kAmadevaH saundaryeNa yAbhya iti “They made Cupid himself look ugly by their beauty”, hinting that they were indeed quite worthy of Krishna himself.

(3) haviSyAnna. Sanatan only says briefly that this would refer to the harvest crops of the season along with milk products. Vamsidhara quotes HBV 13.10-13 along with some other sources to give a more detailed list of what is acceptable as haviSya, principally barley or rice, along with certain pulses; many vegetables, including gourds and spinach are prohibited. The principal prohibition appears to be fried foods. Gur etc. are permitted.

(4) The word vrata by definition indicates accepting some hardship (kRcchra)

(5) kAtyAyanI is described by most as “Vaishnavi shakti,” but Sanatan directly names Parvati. Baladeva indicates Yogamaya by mentioning the parA zakti, jAnAty ekA parA kAntam, which would indicate Radha. But this seems farfetched. I think that we must accept that Yogamaya is being spoken of here.

The only person who touches on this is Jiva in Brihat-krama-sandarbha. He glosses the meaning of their worship of Katyayani as follows: “We are young girls and out of fear of our parents, we cannot seek out a go-between who would convey our feelings to Krishna or his parents to let them know what we think. Neither do we have any older girlfriends who would be bold enough to do so. And even if some of us did, we don’t think that we would dare even tell them what we feel. So the only way that we can make our love bear fruit is to approach Katyayani and ask her to act as a go-between on our behalf. So let us take up this vrata to that end.” This then is the purpose of this vrata, not to ask for Katyayani to fulfil the specific desire to have Krishna as their husband, as that would have been there automatically anyway. In other words, since it was their natural mood, they were still too young, and had real desire been there, appearing in them before they were of age, that would have been grAmya.


Here is the rather delightful presentation of Sri Jiva in Gopala Champu.

[16] Therefore, they waited until the first day of the waning moon at the beginning of the month of Margasirsha(7) when they joined together to began the vrata. In the early morning when the dawn’s pinkish colours were spreading through the sky, they called each other from their houses and then set off toward the Yamuna. As they walked, they held hands and teased each other by exposing their own goals in songs such as this one(8):
[v7a] “The wearer of the forest garland,
the source of all auspicious qualities
and possessor of the greatest virtues,
will marry you, my friend. (Refrain)

[v7b] The delighted king of Vraja
will joyfully spread the news of the wedding.
When they hear the announcement, your parents
will be so happy they will give generous gifts in charity.

[v7c] Krishna himself will will conceal his pleasure,
becoming angry at the jokes of his friends.
At the precise moment designated by the astrologers,
He will dress appropriately for his own wedding.

[v7d] His dress will be golden, flecked with the blue of his body,
the source, as it were, of the cloud and lightning’s beauty.
He will wear a yellow shirt to cover his chest
and be wrapped in a delightful cloth of multiple colours.

[v7e] He will wear a crown, a tiara and diadem,
which will join the string of pearls decorating his hair.
His cheeks will be adorned by his earrings,
and the colour of his lower lip brighter than betelnut.

[v7f] To wipe the juice off his lips he will hold a handkerchief;
and his neck ornament will imitate a festival of pearls.
His arm will be decorated with armlets, bangles and rings,
and made more beautiful by the golden bracelet on his wrist.

[v7g] A great pearl will cover his heart, along with a necklace
and various garlands, including one of forest flowers.
His waist will also be brightened by a jewelled chain
and he will be flooded by the light of the ornaments on his feet.

[v7h] Bedecked in this way, he will be the most wonderful sight,
the like of which has never before been seen anywhere.
We will be so proud, for though covered with decorations,
Krishna’s body itself will be the true ornament.

[v7i] Then people will see him on a jewelled bullock cart,
accompanied by those dear to him.
As he stands on the cart, surrounded by his friends,
they will shower him with flowers and song.

[v7j] Krishna himself will feel great joy at the sounds
of hundreds of musical instruments and the moving cart.
When you hear these sounds, my friend,
you will be affected intensely, though you feign calm.

[v7k] When he arrives at your doorstep, my friend,
you will cast off the swoon of happiness that has engulfed you;
your entire family will come forth to greet him,
while the red-lipped women sing songs.

[v7l] They will come close to him, playing upon their instruments
and singing songs which are almost insulting in nature; (9)
they will gaze upon him while performing the lustration ceremony,
offering auspicious articles and showering him with flowers.

[v7m] When the blackish groom is led to the wedding pavilion,
then you, woman, will be overcome with happiness.
When it is time to offer respects the King of Vraja and his group,
there will be mirth and jocularity, oh beautiful one.

[v7n] When the preliminary rituals have been properly completed,
they will bring you there with your treasure, (10)
place you, the object of your groom’s love
in front of him, your body faint with expectation.

[v7o] Your father will give your limp hand
into Krishna’s hand and sprinkle it with water.
At that moment of great joy,
who will know what you are feeling?

[v7p] What more can I say? I see your lovely wedding with him
as though it has already taken place.
[17] When they arrived at the Yamuna it was still early. They quickly finished singing their song and in childish enthusiasm threw off their clothes on the beach. Then, in a festive mood, they all simultaneously jumped into the stream. After they had bathed, they dressed in the very same clothes since shastra says that even an unwashed silk cloth is to be considered pure. They then worshipped the goddess in a form made in the sand(11) and concentrated on their mantra. After completing all these rituals, they went home.



7. October-November. Also known as Agrahayana. RETURN

8. BhP 10.22.6: “Arising at dawn, they walked hand in hand, singing songs about Krishna, toward the Yamuna where they would bathe.” RETURN

9. This description is true to the tradition of the North Indian wedding, which is still preserved, at least in the village society. These songs are usually a critique of marital relations and may include much innuendo about sexual matters. RETURN

10. Her dowry. RETURN

11. BhP 10.22.2-3: “They would bathe in the Yamuna before dawn and then make a deity of Katyayani in the sand which they worshiped with sandalwood pulp, garlands, lamps, and offerings of fruits and rice, etc.” RETURN

Jagat - Mon, 29 Nov 2004 09:56:12 +0530
Day 3. Not a great deal of commentary today.

|| 10.22.2 ||

user posted image

AplutyAmbhasi kAlindyA jalAnte codite’ruNe |
kRtvA pratikRtiM devIm Anarcur nRpa saikatIm ||

They submerged themselves in the Yamuna
as soon as the first light of dawn showed itself.
Then they made an image of the goddess out of sand,
and worshipped it, O King.

Only Sanatan and Jiva in the two Vaishnava-toshanis have said anything about this verse. The Gopala Champu has really included these ideas in the passage already quoted above.

Jiva says, “Having explained the depth of their anuraga, Shukadeva now describes how they performed their vrata for the benefit of those who would like to follow their example.” The next three and a half verses describe the way the gopis performed their vrata. Sanatan says that their submerging themselves in the cold water completely naked before the sun came up was a sign of the hardships they accepted for the sake of the vrata.

Both Sanatan and Jiva say the making of a sand murti of the goddess was for the rapid realization of their goals. Jiva says the name of the site was known in his time as “Ghatta-vasini Devi Ghat.”

Sanatan paraphrases Shukadeva: “O king! These girls are worshipable by all the worlds, and yet they were engaged in worshiping the goddesses out of their love for Krishna. Just look at the greatness of their anxiety.”

Jiva does the same, "O King, even though these girls had not yet reached puberty, look at the depth of their love to worship in this way. Just imagine how much Krishna must have been charmed to see it."


I am not quite sure what significance there is in the sand murti, but both commentators are saying that by using sand to make the image, they were guaranteeing the rapidity of success in their endeavor. Perhaps the rapidity was only in the making of the image.
Madanmohan das - Mon, 29 Nov 2004 23:55:09 +0530
Very interesting.
Jagat - Tue, 30 Nov 2004 07:17:44 +0530
Day 4. Again, not much commentary here.

|| 10.22.3 ||

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gandhair mAlyaiH surabhibhir
balibhir dhUpa-dIpakaiH |
uccAvacaiz copahAraiH
pravAla-phala-tuNDalaiH ||

They worshiped the deity with aromatic substances
and fragrant flower garlands, lamps and incense,
all kinds of offerings, some rare, some commonplace,
newly-grown leaves, fruits and rice.

Sanatan says that the order of the offerings is all mixed up here--showing that the gopis themselves were mixed up due to their minds being distracted by their love for Krishna, making them forgetful.

The adjectives, "fragrant, some rare, some commonplace" apply to all the offerings.
Jagat - Wed, 01 Dec 2004 09:40:25 +0530
Day 5 (253)

|| 10.22.4 ||

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kAtyAyani mahAmAye mahA-yoginy adhIzvari |
nanda-gopa-sutaM devi patiM me kuru te namaH |
iti mantraM japantyas tAH pUjAM cakruH kumArikAH ||

The virgins worshiped the Goddess,
Repeatedly chanting this mantra:
"O Katyayani! O Mahamaya ! O great yogini !
O supreme goddess of all this world!
Please, make the son of Nanda Gopa our husband.
We bow down to you with this prayer."

Everyone has commented extensively on this verse here, and I'll try to give this information in some kind of structural form.

(1) In Krama-sandarbha (and LVT), Jiva says that this mantra was one of those formulaic prayers with a fill-in-the-blank for the name. So any girl could use the same prayer to chant "Make Devadatta my husband." I actually have a book of charms like this, with the respective yantras that one draws and puts the name of the person being charmed or subjugated. Devadatta is the Sanskrit equivalent of "John Doe." (In Brihat-krama-sandarbha, Jiva contradicts himself and says that this was a mantra of their own composition.)

At the end of his commentary, Sanatan adds these two alternatives about the mantra, "Narada is the Rishi of this ancient mantra (i.e., the seer to whom this mantra was revealed), so there is no point in imagining all these meanings. Then again, some people say that these gopis in a previous life were the rishis in the Padmapurana story, who during Rama's incarnation had this mantra revealed to them."

Jiva (BKS) continues by saying that if they were following a mundane ritual to the material goddess Mahamaya, this was a sign that the gopis were acting like ordinary human beings, lila. Even so, he prefers to think they were in fact worshiping the Svarupa Shakti. This is something that he elaborates on further in the Laghu-Vaishnava-toshani. This is also followed by Vishwanath and is the principal point that the BBT edition elaborates on. Since this is an extensive discussion and a little off topic, I'll leave it alone. Anyone interested can look at the BBT edition and get an idea of what is there.

Jiva's conclusion in the LVT is also briefly summarized in the BBT edition, i.e. the gopis worship is exclusive devotion to Krishna, even if they appear to worship another goddess. If taken as a human-like pastime, the gopis show that they would do anything out of love for Krishna, go to any lengths to get him. Rupa Goswami has written some particularly nice verses in this mood in the Hamsaduta (82-83), where Radha is being described by Lalita--

Sometimes she offers her respects
to those sages of unfailing words,
seeking advice on how she can get you back;
she sometimes tries to please the mystics
who know various spells,
thinking that surely there must be some mantra
that she can chant which will force you to return;
sometimes she humbly renders service to those
who know the art of using potions;
she prays devotedly to Parvati Devi
for the benediction of seeing you again.
Oh Krishna! That poor girl sees
nothing of merit anywhere in this world
due to being upset by your absence.

Oh enemy of Kamsa!
These days, my dearest friend
spends all her time at Nandisvara,
worshipping you as she remembers you,
as the protector of the animals of Braj,
as one sporting a fresh peacock feather in his headdress,
as one engaged in such whimsical sports
that cause the lust of all women to increase,
as one whose form is more beautiful
than that of a new rain cloud
and who is always enjoying new loving affairs.
All she wants is to be able to have you by her side again
and that is all she prays for,
whether to you, or to Shiva, or to any other god.

This latter verse from Hamsaduta actually has a double meaning in which all the adjectives can be applied equally to both Shiva and to Krishna. The above version focuses on the Krishna interpretation. I really should have done it the other way round, as it follows the verse about Parvati.


(2) Katyayani == The etymology is given by Srinath as "the one who has unlimited (kati kati) places of residence (ayanAni). In other words "all-pervading."
KS kAtyAyanI vaiSNavI zaktiH | LVT says that the name comes from having appeared in the descendancy of the sage known as Katyayana. Thus the meaning taken from this name is "giver of the greatest religious teachings." This is given as a name of Parvati, but I am not sure how that has anything to do with the sage Katyayana, a name more usually associated with a grammarian


(3) nanda-gopa-sutaM patiM me kuru

Katyayani says back to the gopis: "Why are you praying to me?"

"I want to have the son of Nanda as my husband."

This is actually in the singular (me) rather than the plural, because the gopis were so close in spirit that they spoke as one soul. Or, Sanatan suggests, that out of fear of competition from the others, each wanted Krishna for herself alone, and so mentally prayed for Krishna to be her husband.

(BVT) "Nanda is a cowherd and we are cowherd girls. So we are suited for each other."

(yad vA) Or, gopa can also mean king. "Nanda is our king, so it is difficult to get the king's son for a husband. This is why we have to come to you O goddess, because it is such a difficult thing to achieve."

(yad vA) Or, "Krishna is a cowherd boy, and in this dress as a cowherd, he looks so nice and plays so wonderfully that he has completely charmed us. This is why we are praying to have him as our husband. And furthermore, we want to always see him in that form."

(LVT) By saying the son of Nanda Gopa, the gopis are showing that Krishna is the fitting object of their love, and that this form is the most attractive and relishable for them.


(4) Mayamaya

Now Katyayani says, "Well that's pretty difficult to achieve, you know. What makes you think that you can get that by worshiping me?"

So the gopis answer, "You are Mayamaya, the great magician. You can make the impossible happen. That's what maya means, and you are Mahamaya. So of course you can accomplish this."

BKS. "O Mahamaya! You are the Lord's own eternal, conscious and joyful potency. We are deserving and worthy of Krishna, so you are really should give us some of your power."


(5) Mahayogini

Now Katyayani says, "Is it possible for such a boon to be given simply through magical power? Don't you need Krishna's mercy, or the mercy of one of his devotees?"

The gopis answer, "You are the Mahayogini, the great-yogini." The great yoga is bhakti-yoga. You are a great bhakti-yogini, and this means you are a great Vaishnavi. So we think you can do it."

(BVT) Katyayani : "But he doesn't need a wife."

The gopis: "O Mahayogini! You can do the impossible!"


(6) Adhisvari

(BVT) Katyayani: "I am afraid of Mahalakshmi."

The gopis: "O Adhisvari! You are the greatest goddess. You are even more opulent than she, so what do you have to be afraid of?"

(Srinath) Katyayani: "If that's so, do you think that I will do anything for you after being given these pitiful offerings? Do you think I'll be satisfied?"

The gopis: "O Adhisvari! You are the supreme Goddess. What do you need of so many offerings? You already have everything!"

(LVT) Katyayani (testing them) "Why don't you worship some other god or goddess?"

The gopis: "O Adhisvari! No deity stands above you."


(7) Devi

(Both BVT and LVT) Katyayani : "Well why don't you just worship him. He's the one you want."

(BVT) The gopis : "O Devi! You are effulgent (devi can also be derived from the verb dyu, to shine) with devotion to him. It is better to worship a devotee than to worship Krishna directly. We know that you alone will be able to see all our desires fulfilled."

(LVT) The gopis : "Devi! You know the moods of play (the verb div means to play). It is against the principles of good taste to tell a boy directly how you feel. You know that."


Vishwanath's version:

Gopis: "O Katyayani ! Make the son of Nanda Gopa my husband."

Katyayani: "Why are you saying 'make'? Do you think I am completely independent? I could perhaps inspire your parents to do something, but that is all. Perhaps you should ask me to 'give him' or 'cause him to become' or some other more indirect kind of involvement." [I don't really see how "give" is less direct than "make"]

The gopis: "O Mahayogini! You alone can bring us together." [The verb root yuj means to join, so here Vishavanath is interpreting Mahayogini as "great matchmaker."] You can do this directly. Why go to all the trouble of getting our parents involved in this. We are too anxious and eager to wait for all these intermediate steps. Besides, Krishna has not even been invested with the sacred thread as yet, so how can he get married? So, Devi, arrange for us to be married according to the Gandharva rite--a love marriage. You are the great Goddess, so nothing is outside the realm of possibility for you."

Katyayani: "Your parents don't know that you are thinking of Krishna as your husband, so how can you possibly fulfill your desire of embracing him in a congenial way?"

Gopis : "You are Mahamaya. Please bewilder my parents with your illusory powers so that they never even think of marrying me off to any other cowherd. And that my parents never get wind of what we are up to with Krishna."

Or, the word devi is taken to mean "one who plays with human beings, making them act in certain ways." In this case, "We want Krishna to be our husband, but he will be our husband whether we are officially married or not. So even if we do marry some other cowherd, there is no harm in it."

[VCT then follows LVT in discussing the identity of this Katyayani, identifying her as Yogamaya, or Krishna's svarupa shakti.]


Baladeva's language is different, but the ideas are pretty much the same as VCT. He does have before Mahamaya--

Katyayani: "Unless you have a marriage in front of witnesses like the Fire God, the Brahmins, and your gurus, it will be very difficult to get the desired association with Krishna. So why are you asking to be married in the Gandharva manner?"

Gopis "O Mahamaya, you have great mystic powers, so please bewilder my parents so they never think of marrying us off to anyone else.
Jagat - Thu, 02 Dec 2004 05:06:09 +0530
Day 6. Early posting meant for tomorrow, Thursday.

|| 10.22.5 ||

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evaM mAsaM vrataM ceruH
kumAryaH kRSNa-cetasaH |
bhadra-kAlIM samAnarcur
bhUyAn nanda-sutaH patiH ||

In this way, the young gopis followed their vow
for a whole month, absorbed in thought of Krishna.
They perfectly worshiped the goddess Bhadrakali,
praying for Nanda’s son to become their husband.

Only Sanatan has anything substantial to say here:

“The purpose of this verse is to indicate just how quickly the gopis attained glorious success in the following of their vow. "The whole month" means through the month of Margasirsha which, being Krishna’s vibhuti (mAsAnAM mArgazIrSo’ham – Gita 10.35), was a special and propitious time.

Bhadrakali is also known as Mangala Chandi, in other words, Katyayani. But the name Bhadrakali can be broken down as follows: bhadra = “auspicious” or “superior”; ka means happiness, Ali is a collective noun, indicating plurality; so, "that deity from whom one gets great amounts of superior or auspicious joy is called Bhadrakali."

SamAnarcuH ("perfectly worshiped") means that the gopis performed the vrata perfectly, observing all the rules over the one month period. Or, the same word could mean that even though they were worshiping Katyayani, they were in fact worshiping Krishna. This is why when it was time for them to receive the fruit of their vrata, it was Krishna himself who came to award it. Because Or, it could mean that because they were absorbed in thought of Krishna, they were completely pure in heart, and this is why the vrata was perfectly performed. Or, though their hearts were pure by always thinking of Krishna, they were even more especially conscious of him by praying to have him as their husband. Since this was the goal of their puja, it was “perfectly worship” of Bhadrakali. As such, since the vrata had all virtues, they were assured of receiving the full benefits they sought.

Someone may wonder how someone endowed with intelligence could have had such exceeding enthusiasm to attain a goal that was so distant and unattainable. But Krishna is all attractive, and so the gopis, whose minds were absorbed in thought of him had no time for weighing the pros and cons of their actions. This statement of anxious love is meant to avise us of the gopis' steadfastness in following the vow through worship of the Deity and of Krishna, both.
Advitiya - Fri, 03 Dec 2004 02:04:29 +0530
Early posting! We can hardly keep up reading! smile.gif
Jagat - Fri, 03 Dec 2004 09:38:28 +0530
Day 7 (319)

|| 10.22.6 ||

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uSasy utthAya gotraiH svair
anyonyAbaddha-bAhavaH |
kRSNam uccair jagur yAntyaH
kAlindyAM snAtum anvaham ||

Every day, they rose early in the morning,
called out to each other; then arm in arm,
and singing Krishna’s names and glories
they went to the Yamuna, where they bathed.

Jiva in LVT says: “Shukadeva had forgotten to mention all the preliminaries before the puja, as he often gets the order mixed up due to his ecstatic love. So here he is telling us what went before.” [This also explains why in the Gopala Champu, the natural order of events was followed, rather than the order of the Bhagavatam verses.]

gotraiH : Gotra is a word that has numerous meanings, but here it is taken as "names" by Sridhar and most others. The image of Krishna’s friends coming in the morning to wake him up, or to call him to go out herding the cows is a beautiful one. This is equally charming. This sweet friendship of young gopis joined in their common cause. Vishwanath paraphrases, “Dhanya ! Where are you? Why are you late? Are you coming?”

Jiva (LVT): They were calling to each other to get various things done (“Have you got the flowers?” “Did you make garlands?” “Do you have the other paraphernalia?” etc.)

Srinath takes gotraiH to mean brothers. “They went with their younger brothers of a much younger age, as is the custom seen even today. Since they will be bathing without any clothes on, they would not be shy in front of small children.” Jiva accepts this possiblity in BKS.

kRSNaM ca gAyantyaH : In the previous verse it was said that they were absorbed in thought of Krishna. Here it is said that they also sang about him. This shows another element in the virtue of their vows and worship.

anyonyAbaddha-bAhavaH : They held tightly onto each other’s arms, perhaps because it was so early that it was still dark outside and the girls were afraid of slipping and falling. Or perhaps it was because they might become so absorbed in chanting Krishna’s names and pastimes that were afraid they might lose consciousness and trip and fall down. Or it may just have been out of affection for one another. This mutual affection was another sign that the vrata was being carried out perfectly. (Sanatan)

The word uccaiH (“loudly”) could mean that they were calling each other to gather together before going, or just out of absorption in the singing. (Srinath, BKS) “free of any self-consciousness.”
Madanmohan das - Sat, 04 Dec 2004 02:39:24 +0530
Just felt inspired to insert a few slokas from Sri Sanatana's "Krsnalilastava".
The purpose being, as the auther states in his invocation, "pranAmAnanda siddhaye" To accomplish the joy of making pranam.

gopakanyAvrataprIta prasIda varadesvara/
kadambArUda vande tvAm citranarmotki-kovida/
gopIstava-vilubdhAtman gopIkAyAcitAmsuka//
skandhAropita-gopastrI-vastra sasmitabhAsana/
gopInamaskriyArdestha gopyeka-karavandita//
gopyAnjali-visesArthin gopakanyA namaskrta/
gopIvastrada he gopIkAmitAkAmitaprada//
gopIcittamahAcora gopakanyAbhujangama/
dehi svagopIkA-dAsyam gopIbhAva-vimohita//

Jagat - Sat, 04 Dec 2004 04:19:22 +0530
Thanks for that MM. The best stuff is about to start... We come to the end of the vrata itself, and Krishna will soon appear.

Day 8 (358)

|| 10.22.7 ||

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nadyAM kadAcid Agatya
tIre nikSipya pUrvavat |
vAsAMsi kRSNaM gAyantyo
vijahruH salile mudA ||

They descended to the river
and threw off their clothes on the bank.
Then, singing Krishna’s glories,
they joyfully frolicked in the water.

kadAcit “some time, one day,” i.e., the last day of the vrata, which was the full moon day. Sanatan says that this could also have been the dvadasi, as by some calculations the month ends and begins with the dvadasi. On the last day of a vrata, there is something called the avabhRtha-snAna, which includes waterplay.

VCT: For the sake of this festive occasion, the kumaris invited other gopis who had the same desires as they to be united with Krishna (Vamsidhara names Radha, VCT only has Srimati, which might be a name, or a reference to Radha, as Vamsidhara glosses it. We’ll take this under advisement, as they say.)

pUrvavat : As on the other days, they were completely undressed in the water.

mudA : Their joy was in part due to the fact that they had executed their vrata with no disruptions or imperfections, and that it had come to completion.

gAyantyaH : Singing about Krishna and playing in the water made them forget how cold it was. Jiva in LVT makes the point that their singing of Krishna made them completely oblivious to their bodies, or rather that their bodies, minds and words were all simultaneously focused on one thing. In other words, they had transcended any dualities of body and mind.

In BKS, Jiva adds, they were young enough to have no fear of their elders, so they sang loudly.

Gopala Champu 21.18 : They continued on in this way for an entire month. When the last day of the month came, they were filled with the greatest joy because they knew that on that day the ritual performance would be completed. In that mood they played in the water of the Yamuna for a little longer, feeling no reservations, for they were in a lonely place far away from anyone.
Jagat - Sun, 05 Dec 2004 19:53:32 +0530
Day 9 (403)

This is still pretty rough and I am still a little dissatisfied with my understanding of one or two points, especially from Srinath's commentary. And sorry about the delay. The commentaries are a bit longer than other days. BBT version covers some of the points.


|| 10.22.8 ||

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bhagavAMs tad abhipretya
kRSNo yogezvarezvaraH |
vayasyair AvRtas tatra
gatas tat-karma-siddhaye ||

The Lord knew all this, being Krishna
the master of all masters of yoga,
and so, surrounded by his friends, he went there
to give them the fruit of their ritual.

Jiva (Brihat-krama-sandarbha) : The gopis are eternally perfect, they need no vratas for them to quickly realize their heart’s desire. The vrata was in fact simply an occasion for this to take place. That will now be shown beginning with this verse.

bhagavAn kRSNaH yogezvarezvaraH

(Sridhara): “Being the master of all masters of yoga, he had the power to fulfill all their desires.” karma-siddhaye means to “for the success or perfection of their work,” in other words the fruit of their labor, which in this case is their ritual performances.

Jiva (LVT) perhaps gets it best, “Therefore the Lord (bhagavAn), even though naturally always possessing opulences like that of omniscience, due to having the same intention as the gopis in the performance of their vrata, was able to understand..."

abhipretya The more familiar meaning of this word is “to go near, or to intend.” But here it appears that Panini 1.4.32, “to approach with one’s mind” is intended. So it’s not exactly “knowing”, or even “learning.” There is the element of intentionality. “Krishna, being the master of all masters of yoga, intending to [do] that...” Which leaves a bit of mystery, and leaves a problem, because his intention is expressed later tat-karma-siddhaye.

Sanatan simply glosses as jJAtvA, however. “The gopis never openly told anyone that they were performing the Katyayani vrata in order to fulfill the desire to attain their soul (Krishna) as their husband, because these girls (who are most worshipable to us) were supremely clever in the matters of rasa (parama-vidagdhA). Krishna however learned of this somehow through their acts [or the effects that its performance was having on them]. How was he able to know something that was so secret? He is the all-knowing Lord, who possesses all opulence.”

As to yogezvarezvara, Jiva says (LVT) “yogezvarezvara = worshiped by those who through yoga had acquired mystic powers like that of omniscience. This shows his power to himself bestow benefits to the worshipers of other gods, as well as to simultaneously steal the clothes of all the gopis. What is the reason? Because he is Krishna, who is known to be like that.” [Like what? Not exactly clear.]

Vishwanath elaborates on this idea as follows: “That he is the master of the masters of yoga indicates not only his all-knowingness, but also his ability to fulfill the desires of every one of them, the capacity to steal all of their clothes, which have been placed exactly where he can see them, as well as the power to make these girls, whose sense of shame was so great that they would rather give up their bodies than to compromise their chastity, come out of the water and bow down to him, and finally, after seeing every limb of their bodies in complete seclusion, after they have completely given themselves to him, to leave them without actually enjoying physically with them as they desired.”

vayasyair AvRtaH : “surrounded by his friends.” The word vayasya means friend, but it has a definite connotation of “those who are equal in age.” This idea is problematic for some of the commentators, especially Srinath, who quotes Dhvanyäloka 3.14a anaucityAd Rte nAnyad rasa-bhaGgasya kAraNam “There is no other cause for the disruption of rasa than impropriety (anaucitya).” The Dhvanyaloka is one of the most important works on rasa, that influenced all other books that followed. “Aucitya” as a necessarry element of rasa can be said to have developed into a separate school. Modern literature tends not to seek rasa in the ideal, but in the real, and complexity and contrast form a big part of the aesthetic experience. So for the modern mind, emotional release most likely comes as a result of some kind of impropriety. The presence of Krishna’s friends at the rather private madhura lila of the vastra-harana would be innapropriate and whatever “rasa” might be there would be impure.

In order to find a solution, Srinath suggests that vayasyaiH means “[the qualities or activities] connected to his age.” So, “in order to complete the girls’ ritual, covered himself in the qualities of his youthful age.” Srinath gives a few other complicated grammatical alternatives, including—AvRta = A + avRta = “absolutely NOT accompanied by his friends.”

Jiva as usual follows Srinath in his Brihat-krama-sandarbha, but he first picks the last alternative mentioned by Srinath, “bringing not even one friend with him.” And he quotes the same Dhvanyaloka verse. He does give preference however to a kind of combination of Srinath’s other interpretations: “Or, vayasyaiH means the various desires, curiosity, playfulness, etc., that were the natural result of his age. So he came there out of the attraction to the gopis born of these desires, choosing (vRta) to bring fulfilment to their ritual performance.”

(Usually when a list of alternatives is given, the last item is the one prefered by the commentator.) There is a bit of grammatical jugglery going on in this version proposed by Srinath and followed by Jiva, and I am not sure that I fully understand how it works. It requires reinterpreting the words AvRta and gataH, and even changing them around in the word order. It is not particularly satisfying for that reason, though interesting.

Sanatan says, “All these friends were necessary to help Krishna collect so many gopis’ clothes. This did not include those who had sisters amongst the girls,” That rather interesting caveat does not seem a particularly satisfying and Jiva does not even touch on this.

Sri Jiva’s personally prefered interpretation, and the one he follows in the Gopala Champu, is given in Laghu Vaishnava Toshani. For the longest time, I had been reading Laghu Vaishnava Toshani as Sanatan’s BVT, and thus thinking that many of the ideas in GC were coming from there. Here, it is clear that Jiva’s interpretation is his own, unless I can find some other antecedent somewhere else.

At any rate, since boys will be mentioned in the next verse, they cannot be explained away by some word jugglery. So Jiva bases his solution on this verse found in the Gautamiya Tantra:

dAma-sudAma-vasudAma-kiJkiNIr gandha-puSpakaiH |
antaHkaraNa-rUpAs te kRSNasya parikIrtitAH |
AtmAbhedena te pUjyA yathA kRSNas tathaiva te ||

Dama, Sudama, Vasudama and Kinkini, along with Gandha and Pushpaka (?) are famous as Krishna’s inner organs (antaHkaraNa). Being non-different from Krishna, they are as worshipable as he.

Jiva glosses “inner organ” as “intelligence, ego, heart and mind” respectively. (See Gopala Champu below.) He takes them along for a few extra laughs.

In the Gopala Champu, Jiva further says that the boys are only four or five years old. Vishwanath states that they are even younger--only two or three years old and unable to really make the distinction between male and female. He quotes a nice verse from the Krama-dipika (3.21), which is also quoted in Haribhaktivilasa (5.189), which clearly shows the young age of boys surrounding Krishna. This is taken from the lengthy dhyana of Krishna connected to the 18-syllable mantra.

vyAlola-kiGkiNi-ghaTA-ghaTitair aTadbhiH |
mugdhais tarakSu-nakha-kalpita-kaNTha-bhUSair
avyakta-maJju-vacanaiH pRthukaiH parItam ||

[(roughly) One should meditate on Krishna surrounded by little boys [pRthuka] with chubby thighs, with a string tied around the waist with bells jingling on them, ankle bells, neck ornaments out of tiger claws, and whose sweet voices are not fully formed.

In his usual fashion, Baladeva says “they are only three or four years old.” He does add that they are naked (dig-vasana). Anyway he makes clear the point that otherwise there would be no rasa.



[19] In the meantime, the son of the king of Vraja, who had previously learned of all these goings on, was pleased.(13) On that day, he took four small boys along with him and went to the place where the girls were bathing. There he attentively watched them in secret.

[20] The four boys, whose names were Daman, Sudaman, Vasudaman and Kinkini, are known by the writers of the tantras to be the external manifestations of Krishna’s intelligence, ego, mind and thoughts.(14) From the moment of their departure, the boys, being only four or five years old, enthusiastic in their mutual friendship and daily nourished by Krishna’s love, kept on asking him “Where are we going?” until they finally arrived at the Yamuna.

Note 13. BhP 10.22.8: Note that Jiva has not reproduced the reference to Krishna’s omniscience (yogezvarezvaraH). This is typical of the Gopala Champu, where most of the aisvarya references found in the Bhagavatam are effaced.

Note 14. These four are said to be priya-sakhas in RKDD 2.30. Sudaman is given special treatment 2.40-1. The naming of these boys is based on Sanatan’s comment on 10.22.8. The reference to the Tantras and the identification with the catur-vyuha come from a Gautamiya-tantra verse also found in Vaishnava-toshani. Sanatan also mentions that these boys are only four or five years old, which makes their presence completely inoffensive. Vishwanath Cakravartin further reduces their age to two or three years to clarify that they would not even be able to differentiate between men and women, etc.
Madanmohan das - Mon, 06 Dec 2004 23:07:42 +0530
More! more, I prithee, more.

I'm sure I read somewhere that the boys were at a disadvantage point as it were and could not see the girls, but could see and hear Krsna as he was KadambAruda or up the Kadamba tree. Would they not find it an amusing curiosity? But would never dream of looking themselves.(?) I can certainly feel to some extent why the commentators took care with this because there is perhaps a chance of some kind of rasAbhAsa. From the mula text it would seem that they were contemporaries of Krsna.
Jagat - Mon, 06 Dec 2004 23:09:09 +0530
Day 10 (444)

I am sorry that due to time pressures, I have not been able to do as thorough a job on this verse as I have on previous days. The commentaries are much lengthier than usual, though you wouldn’t know it from the BBT Version. This verse is discussed in Priti-sandarbha, section 376, which summarizes the entire Vastra-harana lila. Anyway, I have to do this. This is my Katyayani vrata and I don’t want it to fail.


|| 10.22.9 ||

user posted image

tAsAM vAsAMsy upAdAya nIpam Aruhya satvaraH |
hasadbhiH prahasan bAlaiH parihAsam uvAca ha ||

Picking up and taking their clothes,
he quickly scurried up a kadamba tree.
Laughing with his giggling friends ,
he began teasing the gopi girls.

Srinath : In the previous verse, Srinath did not like the idea that Krishna had come there with friends, so here he interprets bAlaiH as the “gotras” mentioned in verse 6. In Srinath’s understanding, these boys were guarding the gopis’ clothes. Laughing and playing amongst themselves, even though they saw Krishna take them, they only laughed. When Krishna saw they were saying nothing, he also laughed, thinking, “I haven’t been seen by the gopis, but when they see that their clothes are gone, they’ll be worried. But what do I care for their worries?

Priti-sandarbha 376: This comes in the discussion of the various manifestations or exchanges between Krishna and the Gopis. This is known as sringara and is the subject of the Ujjvala –nilamani, chapter 15. Even though this supreme love for Krishna is present in the gopis, this pastime is undertaken in a spirit of shyness so that Krishna may be allowed to relish the revelation of their love. This is a particular aspect of the pUrva-rAga known as “the breaking of shame.” In UN 15.71, the ten stages of the Purva-raga are listed. [There are four kinds of separation: each of them have ten states or aspects, known as “smara-dazA.”]

nayana-prItiH prathamaM cintA-saGgas tathA saGkalpaH |
nidrA-cchedas tanutA viSaya-nivRttis trapA-nAzaH |
unmAdo mUrcchA mRtir ity etAH smara-dazA dazaiva syuH ||

(1) The delight of seeing, (2) Thinking of uniting with the beloved. (3) Determination or making a decision to do something about it. (4) Disruption of sleep. (5) Waning away (losing weight). (6) Detachment from other pleasures. (7) Loss of shame. (8) Madness. (9) Loss of consciousness. (10) Death.

Of all these different revelations of love, the loss of shame is the most powerful for young girls from respectable families. But they may also go as far as accepting death. Krishna here engaged in joking in order to expose their intense feelings for him.

VCT: These little boys were so small that they were constantly laughing without any reason, so he laughed even more loudly with them (the pra- prefix adds the sense of “more so”). So what was the joking that he engaged in:

“O girls of Braja! Who put all all these clothes here in this tree? Do you know or not? I was grazing the cows some distance from here, and I saw that this kadamba tree was full of colorful cloth, I though it was blossoming with all kinds of differently colored fruits and flowers. Amazed and joyful, I quickly ran here and climbed the tree to see what they were.”

Gopis: “Those are our clothes.”

Krishna: “Don’t say that! If they’re yours, how did they get up here on the branches of this tall tree?”

Gopis: “Come on! You stole them and put them there yourself.”

Krishna: “True, true. I think you are just working up the courage to go to Mathura and complain to King Kamsa that the son of Nanda is a thief.”

Gopis: “Come on, just look at the clothes and tell us whether they are men’s or women’s clothes.”

Krishna. “I have. O intelligent girls! They are women’s clothers alright. But are you the only women in the world? There is no one else?”

Gopis: “Of course there are. But in this lonely forest, there is no one but us. Who would come into this isolated place.”

Krishna. “Are you the only ones who like to find a place to play in privacy ?”

Gopis: “You are looking at everything upside down. We did not come here to play, but to worship the deity in this kadamba tree, Durga.”

Krishna. “So, you are the only Durga devotees in the area?”

Gopis. “There is no one here but us.”

Krishna. “O foolish girls! Didn’t you know that the wives of the demigods come here every night to worship this Durga.

Gopis. “So what if they worship Durga? Did they get undressed and leave their clothes when they left?”

Krishna: “You don’t know anything. They will be coming back at night to do puja, so they had the goddess of the forest put their clothes in the tree’s branches for safekeeping.”

Baladeva : Simply paraphrases Vishwanath.

nanv, asmadIyAny amUni vAsAMsi iti cet, katham atyuccAsu zAkhAsv arUDhAni ? nanu bhoH krodhas te mAbhUd amUni strI-vAsAMs yeva kiM na paricinoSi cet, kim iha vizvasmin yUyam eva striyaH sthaH, na tv aparAH santi ? nanu vraja-kumArIr asmAn vinAsmin nirjane kAH striyo vihartum Agaccheyur iti cet, yuSmAn vinA kim anyA nirjana-vihAriNyo na bhaveyuH | nanv atra vihartuM vayaM nAgacchAmaH, kintu nIpa-devatAM durgAm arcitum iti cet, kiM tad-arcikA nAnyAH santi ? iti tasmAd apsarobhiH prati-nizIthaM durgArcanIbhir adyatane nizIthe tAm arciSyantIbhiH snAtvA paridhAtum amUn Asu zAkhAsu sthApitAnIti ||9||


Gopala Champu

[v8] Upon arriving, the clever Krishna
signalled the four boys not to laugh;
then, keeping low so as not to be seen,
he stole all of the gopis’ clothes. (15)

[v9] Grabbing them, he quickly climbed into a kadamba tree
where he and the boys laughed aloud.
When they heard the laughter, the gopi girls
at once looked up in fear. (16)

15. 10.22.9A: “Taking their clothes, he immediately climbed a kadamba tree.”

16. 10.22.9B: “And joking with the boys, he began to tease the girls.”
Jagat - Tue, 07 Dec 2004 19:24:59 +0530
This portion of Gopala Champu should really have gone with yesterday's verse:

[v10] They recognized the deep-voiced laughter
possessed of a beauty inconceivable in anyone but Krishna
and looked at one another innocently.
But when they noticed that their clothing was not there,
they lowered their prominent breasts into the water;
where their upturned faces made a mockery of lotus flowers.

[v11] No one mistook their faces for a patch of lotus flowers,
for it was the hemanta season when there are none;
nevertheless, they still made a mockery of them.

[v12] For a moment they stood in mid-stream, lowering their eyes,
but as they started to feel the cold,
they looked up at the kadamba tree
where Krishna, previously hidden, had now come out in the open,
and was sitting on a branch in order to be seen by them.

[v13] Krishna looked down from the kadamba tree
at the faces of the girls standing in the water,
and his eyes became like the bumblebees
that drink the nectar of the lotus flower.
Meanwhile, the eyes of the girls became like the cataka birds
who look thirstily at the cloud.

And then,

[v14] the little boys laughed uproariously,
and the girls became enraged.
They said, “These deeds of yours
are sure to be well thought of by the villagers.”

[21] The boys, who had long been trained by Krishna, answered them. [22] Their first response was as follows:

[v15] “We haven’t got the slightest idea
about what deeds should or should not be done.
But we have come here to learn from you
and we have certainly been doing so.”

[23] Embarrassed by the boys’ words, the gopis looked at each other before saying,

[v16] “It doesn’t matter who has taught you,
we see that you have learned your lessons well.
Go and repeat them in the village;
that will surely enhance your guru’s reputation.”

[24] The little boys again repeated what Krishna told them to say:

[v17] “We don’t know why
you reproach us in this way,
for you are amphibious creatures
while we are residents of the treetops.” (17)

[25] The girls answered,

[v18] “You climb trees and this is indeed
the appropriate display of a plunderer’s prowess.
Having been robbed, however, our poverty
is proven by our immersion in the water.”

[26] Then Krishna himself spoke, feigning anger and surprise, “Of what exactly have you been robbed?”

[27] The gopis said, “You’ve got a nerve! How could our clothes (ambara) have just disappeared when we are so numerous and there are so many of them, and so colorful?”

[28] Krishna said, “You sky-dressers; and anyway, how could anyone steal the sky (ambara) (18) and hide it somewhere?”

[29] The gopis answered,
[v19] “You have the ability to turn even clothing into the sky.
But Damodara, to what great heroism does your act of theft attest?

[30] Krishna smiled and said, “These girls who are immersed in water are not really nude. I was just saying that as a joke. You boys observed what was done by these girls, who only appear to be the picture of innocence but are in fact quite wicked by nature. Just for fun, I had scattered some expensive pieces of cloth here and there, putting bunches in some places single pieces in others. Then these guilty girls, the daughters of poor men, collected these clothes and put them on, even though they recognized them as being mine. They then dove into the water in order to hide from me and my friends. The clothes can clearly be seen through the clear waters of the Yamuna; they have a color like gold and appear like letters of the alphabet(19) as they adhere to their bodies in the water. Therefore, boys, jump into the water, take every one of them by the hand and bring them here to me.”

[31] As soon as they received this order, the obedient boys jumped down to the riverbank. But there they hesitated for a moment, causing the gopi girls to goad them on: [32] “What are you stopping for? You have nothing to worry about, come on.” [33] Then they said to their own girlfriends, “Grab those plunderers and give them the pleasure of standing in the water up to their necks.”

[34] Then they turned to the boys and said,

[v20] “By Katyayani’s mercy,
we will be able to drag into the water
even that person from whom you study
how to steal clothes and women.”

[35] When the boys heard this, they hastily scrambled back up the kadamba tree. [36] Krishna laughed aloud and then said, “You are haughty because of your splendid beauty, so be it. We shall see how much divine power you have accumulated [from service to Katyayani and her mantra]. We shall just stay up in this tree, living in the air, as it were, for as long as you remain in the water.”

[37] Accepting his answer, the gopis revealed what was in their hearts by a verse which contained a hidden meaning,

[v21] “One who is sitting in a boat (or tree)
need have no fear of the river waters.
On the other hand, need we ask
whether those who have consecrated
their bodies to the middle of the stream
have any relation to the river?
[Is there anything left ungiven by the girl
who has given her body to her groom?]” (20)

[38] Then, with both humour and compassion, Krishna said to the girls, who were trembling on account of his moonlike face and the icy cold waves of the river. [39] “Oh, weak women! Your limbs have been enfeebled by the cold, so come right out of the water.” (21)

[40] Frowning, they answered, “Why are you asking us to come out?”

[41] Krishna said, “Come and take your clothes from me. They had been stolen by a dryad, but I quickly took them back from him.”

[42] The girls said, “And what else are we to expect from you?” [43] They moved forward slightly from within the water with their hands spread. Krishna motioned with his finger and urged them, “O lotus-eyes, come closer.”

[44] Their suspicions did not abate. They asked, “Why are you so eager to invite us?”

[45] Krishna said, “So that I can better see you and give you your clothes.”

[46] They said, “Would that be proper then?”

[47] Krishna said, “So that no one takes too many clothes and so that they don’t get mixed up.”
Jagat - Sun, 12 Dec 2004 19:54:42 +0530
|| 10.22.10 ||

user posted image

atrAgatyAbalAH kAmaM svaM svaM vAsaH pragRhyatAm |
satyaM bruvANi no narma yad yUyaM vrata-karzitAH ||

O powerless girls! Come here
and take each your clothes as you desire.
I must speak truthfully and would not joke,
for you have become thin from your vrata.

Though Krishna says he is not teasing, in the previous verse, Shukadeva said he was. So this and the next verse are indeed to be seen as teasing.

atrAgatya :: Krishna is showing that he wants to get a really good look at them. (LVT)

abalAH : By saying abalAH, which means "the weak" and is an accepted synonym for woman, Krishna is indicating that they are at his mercy and that there is nothing they can do. (Sanatan).

VCT. VCT: If the gopis say, we cannot go, then Krishna answers, “O weak women! I think that you have been further weakened by your vrata and so are unable to come here.” Or, “If you don’t come I won’t give you your clothes. I am strong and you are weak, so what will you be able to do against me?”

OR “Seeing you so weak and emaciated makes me feel compassion, respect and that makes me feel an obligation to act justly.”

kAmaM is an adverb in this verse. It means "as much as you want, to your heart's desire, or certainly." Sanatan takes the last meaning and interprets it "I will not stop you or create any obstacles in your way."

Krishna is telling them to come quickly, trying to show that he is really indifferent to them and to the theft of their clothes. In other words, he could never have done it, but had seen from afar that someone stole them and hung them in the tree.

svaM svaM :: "each your own". Sanatan and everyone else say, "you should not come individually, nor in small groups of two or three, but all together."

VCT: Krishna is saying, “Each take your own clothes”because he is teasing them, saying, “I cannot trust any of you. You might become greedy and take clothes that aren't your own. Besides, you must give a little reward to me for having taken care of your riches while you were bathing, a necklace or something will do.”

satyaM bruvANi bruvANi (or more correct bravANi) is an imperative form. "I must speak the truth." The implications of the imperative form are not dealt with it seems.

"If you object and say, 'It is dishonorable to lie to women, and you are a joker by nature, so we don't really believe you.' I say, 'I am telling the truth. Why? Because you are emaciated from your vrata and it is not right to mock those who are facing hardship.' The teasing is that the gopis are in a state of constant ecstasy due to the character of devotion itself, especially at this moment, so there is no possibility that they would be emaciated." (bhakti-vizeSa-svabhAvena sadA parama-hRSTAnAM tAsAM vrata-kRzatvAdy-adarzanAt -- Sanatan).

Comment: When I think of the suffering of Radha, it is hard not to think that this is something they feel in very real terms.

(LVT) Gopis: "You are just teasing us." K. "No I'm not." G. "We don't believe you." K. "Look, you are weak because you are still young and haven't reached puberty yet. On top of that you have been emaciated by your vrata. How could anyone joke with you? That would be terribly wrong." Here again, Krishna is still feigning innocence in the theft of the clothes and indifference to them in order to embroil them even more deeply in their love. But at the same time, he is calming this feeling by a fear-giving kind of teasing when he hints, “What can you do now?”

Alternatively, the gopis might be thinking, “If this is not a game, then why should we come out of the water, etc.” Krishna is saying, “You are weak women, and on top of that you have been further weakened by your austerities. Now if some wicked man or monkey should come and take your clothes while you are busy playing and inattentive to them, then how will that look for me, the king’s son who is sworn to the protection of his subjects. It would be quite shameful. This is why I took them, and not as a joke.”

(VCT) satyam can mean zapathaM, or promise. “I swear I am not joking.”

Baladeva : “We will only come if you close your eyes. But we cannot believe the words of a cheater like you.” “But I promise you I am not joking. I will give you your clothes just as I said I would.”


Gopala Champu

[48] The gopis then said to one another, “You foolish girls! This is all a plan to cheat us!”

[49] Krishna showed them the clothes and, biting his tongue,(22) said, “I am telling you the truth, not lies.”

[50] The girls again surmised that something was not above board and said to each other, “O foolish ones, this is all his joke. Can’t you see how obviously he is trying to conceal his laughter?”

[51] With a smile, Krishna concealed his purpose and again spoke sweet and enchanting words, “Oh my, no no! This is not a joke. You have become thin due to following your vrata and so you deserve great compassion, and not more suffering.”(23)

[52] The girls said,

“First he covets other people’s clothes,
and then he goes ahead and takes them;
now suddenly he is so compassionate
for those who are naked and freezing--
is that not supremely unusual?”

(22) To show that he is shocked by their suggestion that their might be any improper intention on his part.

(23) BhP 10.22.10: “O powerless girls! Come and take your clothes as you desire. I tell you this truthfully. I would not joke with you because you have become thin from your vrata.”


I have been trying to avoid repetition by taking highlights from each of the commentaries. But it may be more confusing that way, for various reasons. Perhaps I should revert to the natural process of just translating each commentary as a whole.
Jagat - Tue, 14 Dec 2004 05:06:27 +0530
Day 12 (611)

|| 10.22.11 ||

user posted image

na mayodita-pUrvaM vA anRtaM tad ime viduH |
ekaikazaH pratIcchadhvaM sahaivota sumadhyamAH ||

Never before have I uttered a lie
and all these companions of mine know it.
So one by one come, or come together,
and claim your clothes, my thin-waisted beauties.

Srinatha continues to insist that these boys are part of the gopis’ entourage (tad ime tAvakA eva).

Brihad-Vaishnava-Toshani (Sanatan). Since [in the previous verse] Krishna had evidently been teasing, the girls thought he must be lying. So Krishna had to say, “No. That which I just said before was not a lie.” Or, “I have never before spoken a lie.” [udita-pUrvam, “spoken before.”] This is well known by my companions. Since we do all our stealing together, they know everything there is to know about me.

Gopis. “Well your friends are no doubt just like you.” [So how can we trust anything they say?”]

Krishna, “So come here one by one and take your clothes. *If anyone does not get her own clothes, then it will be proved that I have spoken an untruth.”

Or these words can be read as intending, “Why delay? My words are true and there is no impurity in my heart.”

“SumadhyamAH” means “thin-waisted ones.” i.e. “I am interested in seeing the beauty of your thin waists. I don’t really have any need for these clothes.”

Laghu-Vaishnava-Toshani (Sri Jiva) : Follows Sanatan word for word up to asterisk (*). “Those who come first can report to the others if anything goes wrong [if I act other than according to my word] and the others need not come.” Even so, no one wants to be the first to come out of the water or to come alone, and if anyone did come, it would still be difficult for anyone else to follow, so Krishna offers the alternative—“Or you can come in groups.”

Krishna says, “SumadhyamAH!” Here again he is hinting that beings so thin and having stood in the cold water for a long time, had brought out his compassion. But the deeper meaning is “I am interested in seeing the beauty of your thin waists. I don’t need these clothes at all.”

Brihat-krama-sandarbha (Sri Jiva): The gopis don’t joke back, so shouldn’t the Lord simply put the clothes back where they were and leave? But instead Krishna says, “No. I am truthful. I have never spoken an untruth. So girls, when I said to come and take your clothes, I was not trying to deceive you. I could not do otherwise than what I said. A person who is truthful would never go against his own principles. Everyone knows that I keep my word. That is why I said that ‘I must speak the truth.’”

When Krishna says, “I never tell an untruth,” this could be considered needless repetition, but in fact this is the better rasa. “So come and take your clothes individually or together.

Vishwanath: Gopis: “You are a liar and we don’t believe you.” Krishna bites his tongue and says, “No. I have never before told a lie. Not in my entire life up to this date. I couldn’t even recognize a lie!”

Gopis “Prove it.”

Krishna, “Well these boys could testify to that. They are very straightforward. They are little boys, so it’s in their nature to accept things as they see them.”

Gopis, “Why don’t you just throw the clothes into the water from afar. Or have the little boys bring them to us?”

Krishna, “Oh no! That would never do. I can’t tell which clothes are whose. So how do you expect us to be able to give them properly. We are honest people and we don’t touch anything belonging to another, even with the tips of our finger. It’s better if you come here and pick out which clothes belong to whom. I will neither take nor give away anything that belongs to someone else. I’ll not even touch it, that’s my rule.”

Gopis, “We are respectable girls. We know you have some tomfoolery planned here. That’s what we’re afraid of, so we refuse to go near you.”

Krishna. “Just come one by one. Someone who is inferior or less important can go first. If I don nothing untoward with her. Or you can come in groups simultaneously, as it would be impossible for me to do anything naughty if you came like that.

“Oh Sumadhyamas! The head is called the “supreme limb” (uttamanga). So you are compassionately showing me your faces. The “middle” (madhyama) part of your bodies is by definition inferior. So what should be the problem of showing me the middle part of your bodies when you are already showing your heads? Why be shy about that?”


Gopala Champu

[53] “Well, whatever. Be honest with us, Krishna. Since when have you started telling us the truth?”

[54] Krishna said, “I have never ever spoken an untruth.”

[55] The girls said, “Who says?”

[56] Krishna laughed and said, “You are simply trying to create unnecessary trouble ! If you think I am up to something, then ask these boys who are very devoted to moral principles.” (24)

[57] The gopis answered with a laugh with a laugh, “These boys certainly seem to have taken on your inner essence and vocation.”(25)

[58] Krishna said, “You whose waists are so thin they can be encircled by a hand! If you don’t believe me, then please observe with your own eyes. You don’t all have to come forward, but can just select a representative from amongst yourselves.” (26)

24. 10.22.11a: “These boys know that I have never spoken a lie.”

25. Evidently a reference to their being the four aspects of Krishna's "inner organ" or antaHkaraNam.

26. 10.22.11b: “O thin-waisted ones! You can either come forward one at a time or in groups.”
Jagat - Tue, 14 Dec 2004 10:06:33 +0530
Day 13 (650)

|| 10.22.12 ||

tasya tat kSvelitaM zrutvA bAlAH prema-pariplutAH |
vrIDitAH prekSya cAnyo’nyaM jAta-hAsA na niryayuH ||

Hearing Krishna’s joking words,
the girls were flooded with feelings of love;
shyly, they looked at one another and started to giggle,
but did not come out of the water.

Srinath: Srinath has an interesting take on this verse. I don’t know what tradition he came from, but he says that this verse gives a description of a tenth rasa known as prema. This is totally new for me. This rasa’s sthayi bhava is called “mama-kAra” which would mean possessiveness, or more correctly, “sense of relationship.” The Alambana is Krishna, the uddipana, in this verse, is Krishna’s joking words. The anubhavas described here are the girls’ looking at one another (and laughing). The vyabhichari is their shyness or embarrassment. These various secondary bhavas feed the basic mood of possessiveness, producing the rasa known as prema. This is not the erotic mood, so when it says that the gopis attained perfection through “desire” (kAma, 7.1.30), that refers to different gopis, not these. These gopis are the one’s refered to in the verse 11.12.8, “kevalena hi bhAvena” “They attained him through love alone.”

BKS takes a small portion of Srinath, accepts the idea of prema-rasa, but does not give the above details.

BVT: “Flooded with feelings of love.” The gopis naturally felt love for Krishna all the time, as did all cowherd girls, but on hearing Krishna’s joking words, a special feeling overwhelmed them. They started to giggle but did not come out of the water, because they became shy on looking at each other. Or, when they did not come out of the water they looked at one another and realized they all had the same idea. Or, because they were overwhelmed with love, they became shy and this made them laugh, or smile.
Or, even though they may have wanted to come out of the water, when they looked at each other, that reminded them that they were completely naked and this made them shy. For this reason when they looked at each other they started to giggle and did not come out of the water.

VCT: On hearing Krishna’s joking words, they became drenched in love. [I admit something is not clicking for me in this sentence : manyAmahe imam eva kAntaM sukhayitum asmAkam ahaMtAspadAny anurUpANi kiM bhaviSyanti” iti mano’nu-lApAnandena magnAH. Let's try this:] "I wonder whether our self-centered actions will be appropriate for pleasing this our [only] lover." So thinking and saying to one another, they were immersed in joy.

I understand this as follows: The gopis were immersed in joy at the inevitability of having to do as Krishna had instructed them. Even though it was horrific to think of standing naked in front of another man, they recognized this as an egocentric consideration that would have to be given up if they were to achieve Krishna's happiness, their real reason for being. This excited them and so they felt overflooded by love.

For those who wondered about what was here before, that was a classical Freudian slip. I was literally falling asleep at the keyboard and something from the very upper surfaces of my subconscious produced a sentence that had literally nothing whatsoever to do with the Bhagavatam. For those who missed it, don't ask!

Their shyness was expressed as follows: “Lotus-eyed one! Krishna is calling you.” “O moon-face, You go, you will be able to drink that nectar.” In this way they bantered back and forth, but no one came out of the water.


Gopala Champu simply quotes the exact verse from the Bhagavatam here.

BBT version. Is this just plucked directly from Krishna book. It says that this is from Vishwanath's commentary, but as you can see from above, it's not.

"The gopis were from most respectable families, and they might have argued with Krishna: 'Why don't You simply leave our clothes on the bank of the river and go away?'

"Krishna might have replied, 'But there are so many of you that some of the girls might take clothes belonging to another.'

"The gopis would reply, 'We are honest and never steal anything. We never touch another's property.'

"Then Krishna would say, 'If that's true, then simply come and get your clothes. What is the difficulty?'

"When the gopis saw Krishna’s determination, they were filled with loving ecstasy. Although embarrassed, they were overjoyed to receive such attention from Krishna. He was joking with them as if they were His wives or girlfriends, and the gopis' only desire was to achieve such a relationship with Him. At the same time, they were embarrassed to be seen naked by Him. But still they could not help laughing at His joking words and even began to joke among themselves, one gopi urging another, 'Go ahead, you go first, and let us see if Krishna plays any tricks on you. Then we will go later.' "

Apparently the BBT Bhagavatam pages are down. I am sure that is temporary.
Jagat - Tue, 14 Dec 2004 20:49:46 +0530
Day 14 (687)

|| 10.22.13 ||

evaM bruvati govinde narmaNAkSipta-cetasaH |
AkaNTha-magnAH zItode vepamAnAs tam abruvan ||

When Govinda had finished speaking,
the gopis were confused by his teasing.
Immersed in the cold water up to their necks,
they shivered and began to speak.

Srinath: Previously it was said that they were in the water up to their chests, but as soon as they heard Krishna’s voice, they had gone in up to their necks. Their shivering was caused by both the cold and their love.

BVT (Sanatan): The name Govinda is used here in the sense of “go = words”, Krishna is known as Govinda because of his mastery of speech. AkSipta should be taken to mean “attracted”. The gopis’ minds were attracted by his teasing. This is why they were able to answer. Otherwise, they would have remained silent out of shyness. Their shivering was caused by going deeper into the water, because out of shyness they wished to cover their breasts.

LVT (Jiva). Follows Sanatan.

BKS adds: They spoke in the hopes that if Krishna saw them shivering he would quickly give them their clothes. Or, this is a natural description with no underlying meaning. AkSiptam should be taken to mean “disturbed” or “confused.”

VCT: Krishna spoke many kinds of joking words. His name Govinda means that he always finds the right sweet and humorous words. Here are some of the joking exchanges they had (or might have had):

Krishna: “O lotus eyed gopis! If you don’t come then I will make a hammock and pillow out of your clothes and go to sleep. I have been up all night and I am getting mighty tired.”

Gopis: “O Gopala! Your cows have gone into a cave looking for grass. You’d better go quickly and turn them back.”

Krishna: O gopi girls! You have to go home quickly to do your housework. Don’t cause your parents and other elders any anxiety.”

Gopi: “O Krishna with the peacock-feathered crown! It’s been a month since we went home. We are doing the Katyayani vrata on the orders of our parents and elders. Now that we are finished the Katyayani vrata we are still going to spend another month in the cold water.”

Krishna: “Truly you are great ascetics. Just seeing you has influenced me to give up my attachment to house and home. I think that I too will spend a month living out in the open. If you would permit, I think that I might even come down from this tree and join you in the river for your austerity month of living in the water.”

These kinds of exchanges agitated their minds, and fearful that Krishna would come into the water, they retreated until it reached their throats, and they began shivering from the cold, as well as fear, excitement and expectation.


Gopala Champu

[v24] They felt too shy to go on shore,
while in the water it was very cold:
both these conditions simultaneously caused them to freeze.
So, unable to move from the river, they began to speak.
Jagat - Wed, 15 Dec 2004 19:12:10 +0530
Day 15 (717)

|| 10.22.14 ||

mAnayaM bhoH kRthAs tvAM tu nanda-gopa-sutaM priyam |
jAnImo’Gga vraja-zlAghyaM dehi vAsAMsi vepitAH ||

Oh! Please dear one! Do not do us an injustice.
You are the son of Nanda and very dear to us.
We know you are respected everywhere in Vraja,
so please gives our clothes for we are trembling with the cold.

Sridhara : The most mugdhAH (most innocent) among them spoke. Vamsidhara explains mugdhA as those who have just begun puberty.

Srinath : First to speak are those who were already siddha (from previous lives). They spoke diplomatically (sAma)*. “Don’t do an injustice.” This is the way we know you, so don’t give us cause to know you otherwise. The word “anga” is an affectionate way of addressing someone. Or it could be read together with vraja, the latter being a collective noun, anga meaning limb. “All your limbs are praised,” in other words, “possessing extraordinary beauty.” Priyam can mean “charming” as well as “beloved.” So give us our clothes. If you are dear to us, how can you do something that brings us grief? Can’t you see we’re shivering. We won’t be able to stay this way much longer.”

Sama refers to the first of the four upAyas or negotiating tactics. This is the use of diplomacy—a conciliatory or friendly tone. The others are dAna (bribery), bheda (divide), and daNDa (force or the threat of force).

BVT: Their first words are spoken diplomatically (sAma). By using the negative imperative (mA) they show their inquietude and the severity of Krishna’s misdeed. To confirm this feeling they say “bho!” “Anga” however is an address of loving affection, and is therefore repeated. [I can’t see where this is repeated. I don’t see an alternative reading either.] We know you as the son of Nanda Gopa, so you are the son of a cowherd, as we are daughters of cowherds. Therefore it is inappropriate for you to treat us with such injustice. Or, Nanda is the one who brings joy to the entire cowherd community (nandayati vrajam iti nandaH). He is the king of the cowherds and you are his son. We, on the other hand, are your subjects, so you should be merciful to us. By making us suffer, you will surely cause displeasure to your father. Or “gopa” means protector. You are [like your father] the life and protection of all the residents of the vraja or cowherd community. So it is quite improper for you to act contrary to this role.

Furthermore, we know you to be dear and sweet. So it is quite unjust to act in ways thar are not dear and sweet.

Furthermore, we know you to be respected by everyone in the cowherd community. So it makes no sense that you should behave in a way that will call down its opprobrium.

For we are shivering. and you should be kind to those who are shivering.

Or, this whole statement should be taken as having a sarcastic twist: “We know you are really dear and praised by everyone, because you do stuff like steal people’s clothers and then leave them to shiver in freezing water up to their necks. [Real sweet.]”

LVT substantially follows Sanatan.

BKS: What did the gopis say? “Oh! Do not do us an injustice.” Their first words are conciliatory as is appropriate in any kind of negotiation. “O Krishna! Don’t do us an injustice. We know you as someone who does not act unjustly, for you are the son of the king of the cowherds.” The gopis would actually have said “vraja-rAja-sutam” [Out of respect, young girls would not use the given name of a superior.]; this should be understood as the poet [Shuka’s] paraphrasing with the synonym “nanda-gopa-sutam” “The job of a prince is not to do injustice, but to protect others from the unjust. You are most dear to everyone, and so you are praised by them. No one praises someone who acts unjustly, so please don’t do so.”

VCT: The gopis becgin diplomatically, “Don’t do us an injustice.”

Krishna, “You girls are foolish and don’t really know me. How could you dare accuse me of injustice.”

Gopis: “We know you are respected everywhere in Vraja. We don’t know anyone else in the cowherd community, because you are famous everywhere, being the son of King Nanda. The word gopa can also mean king. So you are praised by even the meanest Vrajavasi just for that. But moreover, you are dear.”

Krishna: “You are not very intelligent. If I am the king’s son, then I must be righteous. If I were not righteous then I would not be praised by the Vrajavasis, nor would I be dear to them.”

Gopis: “It is true that we are women and not especially experienced in speaking. So please forgive us any offense and just give us our clothes. We’re freezing.” And so they try to elicit his compassion. [Showing how this is sAma.]


Gopala Champu

[v25] “Krishna, you are the jewel of the family of the king of Vraja,
you are the object of the affection and respect
of the entire community.
Since we are becoming more and more
disturbed by the great cold, we beg of you:
please, please give us our clothes
and don’t commit an injustice.”

[59] Krishna said, “What injustice of mine has come to your attention? Rather, I have come to your aid as I thought proper because you are from good families and your clothes had been stolen by the wood fairies. Surely you don’t think that someone like myself could possibly have the slightest interest in your rather inferior clothing? If you were therefore to give me a little something to keep us happy, then under its intoxicating influence we will try to counteract the wood-fairy’s enmity.”

[60] When they heard this, Katyayani’s votaries considered as follows: “Krishna is trying to bring the desire which we have nurtured in our minds out into the open. It would appear that this is a propitious moment to declare ourselves. We were waiting for some pretext to do so, and that pretext has now come to us of its own, for the extreme cold is really beginning to frighten us.”

[61] They then turned to Krishna and said, “Our lives are being threatened by the cold winds that blow all around us. Therefore don’t make futile jokes that break our hearts, but give us our clothes. We shall do whatever you demand of us, even if it means that we must accept the blemish to our reputations.”

[62] Krishna smiled and said, “If you are willing to give me what I want, then you must become my maidservants.”
Jagat - Fri, 17 Dec 2004 11:11:13 +0530
Day 16. (741)

|| 10.22.15 ||

user posted image

syAma sundara te dAsyaH karavAma tavoditam |
dehi vAsAMsi dharmajJa no ced räjJe bruvAmahe ||

O beautiful one, we would be your maidservants.
So we will do what you say.
You know right from wrong, therefore give us our clothes.
If you don’t, we shall tell the king.”

It should be noted that there is a common alternative reading here, “zyAmasundara.” Everyone notes this as an alternate reading, but Sanatan is the only one who accepts it as primary. Sanatan says that "syAma sundara" is Chitsukha’s reading, which he or Jiva generally note.

Sridhara: This is the bolder among the gopis speaking. The king they are threatening to speak to may be Nanda, may be Kamsa.

Vamsidhara has a rather lengthy commentary here: His definition of prauDhA is one I have never seen before: “Women who are expert in all the kinds of games that exclusively have their husband as object are called prauDhA. In other words, their expertise in all these games is due to the fact that they do not engage in them with anyone but their own husbands. Since prostitutes and unfaithful wives are not exclusively devoted to their husbands, this definition is not overinclusive. [This is a rather odd statement, since it is usually prostitutes and unfaithful women who are identified as having a more “mature, confident, bold, fearless, aggressive, etc., attitude towards sexuality. I’ll have to look around to see where he gets this definition. Here is something Apte dug up—

ASoDazAd bhaved bAlA viMzatA taruNI matA |
paJca-paJcAzatA prauDhA bhaved vRddhA tataH param ||

Up until the age of sixteen, she is a girl (bAlA). Until twenty, she is a young woman (taruNI). Until 55 she is a prauDhA or mature woman. Then after that, she is old.]

V. says that the gopis realize that Krishna will not be afraid of his father, so they are threatening to tell Kamsa.

Now he comes up with something interesting but weird here. He attributes this idea to “someone” (kecit), and I haven’t got the time to dig through all the commentaries from other sampradayas, but it sounds like something Vallabha might say: “This verse represents attitudes pertaining to the four castes. “We are your slaves” is the statement of shudra girls. “We will do as you say” that of vaishyas. “Give us our clothes” that of brahmins. “If you don’t,” etc., that of kshatriyas.

na jAra-jAtasya lalATa-zRGgaM
kula-prasUtasya na pANi-padmam |
yathA yathA muJcati vAkya-jAlaM
tathA tathA tasya kule pramANam ||

“A bastard does not have a horn sticking out of his forehead. A noble son does not have lotus hands. It is the words that come out of one’s mouth that determine one’s nobility.”

Now here comes a reference that I am not familiar with: Apparently Kalidas once in the assembly of King Bhoja defined the caste of various people by their speech. The verse he spoke is given here for the reader’s amusement:

abhUt prAcI piGgA rasa-patir iva prAzya kanakaM
gata-cchAyaz candro budha-jana iva grAmya-sadasi |
kSaNAt kSINAs tArA nRpataya ivAnudyamaparA
na dIpA rAjante draviNa-rahitAnAm iva guNAH ||

The east became yellow, just like quicksilver that has consumed gold
The moon has lost its luminosity, like a wise man in the association of vulgar persons.
The stars became wan, like kings who make no effort to protect their kingdom.
And there is no candlelight, just as there is no virtue in those without wealth.

In this verse, shudras, brahmins, kshatriyas and vaishyas. [Something not clicking here.]

Vamsidhar further breaks up bravAmahe, separating “he” as a sign of agitation. He argues that the use of the active rather than the middle voice is appropriate in the situation, where Krishna is being threatened.

Srinath: Others amongst the gopis said, “O beautiful one!” This shows that they are revealing their desire. “We would become your maidservants, so we will do what you ask. Therefore give us our clothes, for you know right from wrong. One who knows right from wrong will never take his maidservant’s clothing, but will give her clothes. That’s the religious way.”

Or, saying “dharmajna” is being stated sarcastically (kAkUkti means changing the voice intonation to convey a meaning different from the one evident in the words themselves.) Some of the bolder girls (mukharA) say, “If you don’t give us our clothes, we will tell Nanda.” Although all the gopis are very softhearted by nature, there are some with different personalities. So some of them may say like this, but in fact, how will they come out of the water completely naked to go and complain to the king? On the other hand, they could be threatening to send the little boys who have come with them. [Remember this is Srinath’s interpretation from the beginning.]

BVT: Now the gopis try bribery (dAna). [Remember, this is the second of the four means of diplomacy—“persuasion, bribery, threats, and force.”] “O Shyamasundara, we are your servants, and we will prove it by henceforth doing whatever you ask.” Or, uditam can mean “glories” (udita can be derived from the verb root vad “speak”, or from ud/i to rise up, like in udaya. But this has a secondary meaning of glory, like “mahodaya”), so “we will announce your glories.” It should be added, “being your servants.” So the idea of bribery is in their giving of themselves.

Now some of the gopis turn to threats by saying “You know right from wrong.” So you should fear the irreligiousness of looking at naked women and stealing their stuff. But realizing that Krishna might not fear the unseen law of karma, they threaten him again by saying they will tell the king. In this way there are really two kinds of threat.

All this was already discussed above when the gopis said Krishna’s virtues are praised throughout the cowherd community (verse 14). “We will tell the king.” Here this is to Nanda. But this refers also to the previous verse [This is a little odd, as Sanatan here starts refering back to the previous verse.] where it was said that “We know you are the dear son of Nanda.” The implication is that Krishna will learn through love rather than force. Or, once again, the implied reference to being a cowherd is a veiled insult—you act like this because you only have cows for company. Or, you are praiseworthy only because of your physical appearance, and not because of any virtues you may have. Dharmajna is a sarcastic statement. They really want to say, “You have abandoned righteousness.

Thethree adjectives (in the previous verse) are all meant to indicate that Krishna is a worthy husband for the gopis. Now in this verse, Syamasundara, furthe indicates the same. When they say, “We are your maidservants” they are saying we are worthy of being your wives. “As your maidservants, we will do whatever you ask,” indicates their special kind of devotion. “Since you know right from wrong, you should not ignore those who are surrendered to you. Otherwise we will tell the king, Dharmaraja. In other words, we will die and meet Yamaraja.”

LVT follows Sanatan closely. But adds at the end, from verse 12, the gopis are showing the characteristics of the kilakinchita anubhava. Which is defined as follows in Ujjvala-nilamani 11.44.

garvAbhilASa-rudita-smitAsUyAbhaya-krudhAm |
saGkarI-karaNaM harSAd ucyate kila-kiJcitam ||

"Pride, desire, crying, smiling, envy and anger,
when all mixed together out of excitement,
it is called kilakinchitam."

BKS: Some others say “O beautiful one. We shall become your servant girls.” If Krishna should say, “What need do you have of clothes? And what need do you have of your chastity?” In expectation of this, the Gopis say, “We will do whatever you ask.” Others however abandon this diplomatic way of speaking and threaten, “If you won’t give us our clothes when we act nice, then we’ll have to tell the king.

So there have been three kinds of statement, spoken by the gentler gopis, the tougher ones, and those in between. Verse 14 was the in-betweens. The gentler ones spoke the first half of this verse. The second half by the toughter ones (mukharA). The statement dharmajna is a joke, since he is acting contrary to religious principles. A really religious person would not take the servant girls clothes, but would give them gifts. Such things would be spoken by cleverer girls than those rather innocent ones who spoke the first part of the verse.

VCT: The gopis go on with the diplomatic tone. We will become your servants. You are the king’s son, and we are subjects, so to serve you is our duty. In fact however, by this statement, they are surrendering themselves completely, giving themselves to Krishna. (Nothing much else here.)


Gopala Champu

[63] The girls then thought, “This fellow is really expert at getting to the essence of things. Whatever, we shall play along with his joke and joyfully accept what he wants.” [64] Aloud they said to him, “We shall become your maidservants.” (29)

[65] Krishna again smiled and said, “Then before anything else, you must approve everything I have said.”

[66] The girls looked at one another and then, lowering their eyes, said, “As you wish; we shall do whatever you say.”

[67] When Krishna remained silent despite his own desire, they continued, “You know the principles of religion; therefore give us our clothes.” [68] The underlying mood of this statement is, “Don’t prepare to act against the essence of righteousness by breaking the promise you have made to accept us.”(30)

[69] Since Krishna remained silent, a secretive smile of amusement on his face, the gopis went on, “If you don’t, we shall tell the king.” [70] With this statement too they only meant to frighten Krishna, who was without fear. They did not in fact intend to tell on him.(31) [71] Moreover, by saying “the king,” they specified neither KaMsa or Nanda, intentionally leaving it ambiguous, thinking, “Let Krishna think of the king of whom he has the most fear.”


(29) Sections 64, 66, 67 and 69 contain direct quotes of each quarter of BhP 10.22.15: “zyAmasundara, we are your slaves. We will do what you say. You know religious principles, therefore give us our clothes. If you don’t, we shall tell the king about your misdeeds.” The reading JIva follows is a variant: syAma sundara te dAsyaH rather than zyAmasundara te dAsyaH.

(30) VT: anyathA nagna-strI-sandarzanena para-sva-haraNAdinA ca dharmato bhayam iti bhAvaH “Otherwise, your religious principles are endangered by your acts of looking at naked women and stealing other people’s property.”

(31) SanAtana writes that the gopis observed that Krishna did not seem to have any fear of divine forces, so they decided to threaten him with worldly punishment.
Jagat - Sat, 18 Dec 2004 02:14:09 +0530
Day 17 (761)

The last two lines of this verse do not appear in every translation. But all the commentaries deal with them, so they are accepted readings.

|| 10.22.16 ||

zrI-bhagavAn uvAca—
bhavatyo yadi me dAsyo mayoktaM vA kariSyatha |
atrAgatya sva-vAsAMsi pratIcchantu zuci-smitAH |
no cen nAhaM pradAsye kiM kruddho rAjA kariSyati ||

The Lord said,
“If you are really my maidservants,
then you will do whatever I tell you.
So, come here and ask for your own clothes
And don’t forget to smile sweetly,
otherwise, if you don’t, I won’t give them.
What will an angry king be able to do?

Usually verses introduced with zrI-bhagavAn uvAca are taken to have greater significance. Certainly the first two lines can be taken as having a wider, universal

Srinath: “I tell the truth, as I said, I have never told a lie (verse 11). You on the other hand do not tell the truth, for you just said that you were my maidservants and would do anything I asked, but that doesn’t make sense. Why? Because ‘If you are really my maidservants, then you will do whatever I tell you.’ If you come to take your clothes, I will give them.”

Here, using the pronoun “I” shows that Krishna is independent. [It is not always necessary to use the pronoun in Sanskrit, as the verb itself indicates clearly who is the subject.] I am a knower of dharma, as you have said. This is my nature (dharma) to not reward people who don’t do as I tell them. And as far as your threat to tell the king, I am not afraid. You go and tell him everything you want, for what will any angry king be able to do to me?”

BVT: Krishna uses the polite form of address bhavatyaH in order to show affectionate respect to his devotees. “You come here, because I am not going to throw these clothes into the water for you. It is proper for you to come and take your own clothes. O you with sweet smiles! (zuci-smitAH) When I see you with such innocent smiles, I can understand that you aren’t really being troubled by the cold. Your shivering is just pretend.”

So when Krishna says, “Accept my instructions, come here and take your clothes,” he is just cleverly looking for another way to get them out of the water.

Or, “you with sweet smiles” means, “You had better smile or I won’t give you your clothes if I see you looking unhappy about this.” This is another bit of joking.

pra-dAsye “I will give completely.” The prefix pra gives the sense of completion or perfection. So the implication is, “If I should somehow give you your clothes, I might tear them into bits, or give the wrong clothes to the wrong person. And what will the king of the cowherds do about it, even if he gets angry? Nothing. I am his son and he loves me too much.

There is an underlying meaning here also: “You with sweet smiles” indicates that these girls are beautiful enough to be wed to Krishna. “So even if I accept you without marriage, what will Yamaraj do to either me or to you, angry though he may be?”

And saying that, Krishna takes some of the clothes to make a seat for himself, others to make a canopy, and yet more to make flags and festoons on the tree’s branches and twigs. Others he took to make himself a swing, on which he was swinging back and forth, and yet others he threw down onto the ground. In verse 18, it is said, “He took them on his shoulder.”

LVT: Pretty much the same as Sanatan, except he explains the very last line: “... he took them on his shoulder” means he had to gather them up again.

BKS: Krishna answers back to their statement in verse 17 in order to defeat their argument. “If you are my maidservants, then you should most certainly do as I ask. So why aren’t you? So I repeat, come here and take your clothes. O thin-waisted ones! (sumadhyamAH – he appears to be reading something different from zuci-smitAH) If you say that it is impossible for you to do so, well too bad, I will not give you your clothes. If you don’t come to take them, I will not give them. If you tell the king, he will get angry. And if he is angry, what will he be able to accomplish?”

VCT: Krishna’s answer is meant to leave the gopis incapable of answering. “First of all, this was a test of your sincerity. But since you have failed, I shall not give you your clothes. So here is another test of your religiousness, but if you don’t smile but show mournful faces, I shall not give you your clothes.” The word zuci (“pure”) in zuci-smitA is synonymous with “erotic.” So these smiles are born of your romantic affection for me. [Baladeva lists the synonyms: zRGgAraH zucir ujjvalaH]“Finally, let this be a lesson. You should try to deal with me diplomatically and not with threats.


Gopala Champu

[72] Krishna answered accordingly, “Well! When exactly are you going to become my maidservants? And just when do you intend to obey me? I don’t understand you. If what you say is true, then you have no recourse but to come out of the water and take your treasures, wearing a smile and with not even a hint of ill-feeling. On the other hand, if you do not do so, and have been prattling false intentions, then how can we help you, as you are essentially irreligious? “(32)

[73] Seeing that the gopis were nevertheless still not coming on to dry land, Krishna spoke again with apparent toughness, “Look, it is you who have been nourishing false hopes. We are not begging to establish a relation with you, for girls are a source of bondage. Rather,

[v26] “You should understand
I am doing all this out of compassion;
if you do not do as I ask,
then I shall give you nothing at all.
What will even an angry king be able to do about that?”(33)

32x.22.16: “If you are really my maidservants, then you must do whatever I tell you. So, smile, come here and take back your clothes.” Sanätana says, “In other words, Krishna is telling them that if they don’t smile, he won’t give them their clothes.”
33The last two lines of this verse are a direct quote of x.22.16C
Jagat - Sat, 18 Dec 2004 03:33:26 +0530
Day 18 (771)

|| 10.22.17 ||

user posted image

tato jalAzayAt sarvA dArikAH zIta-vepitAH |
pANibhyAM yonim AcchAdya protteruH zIta-karzitAH ||

Then out of the water, came all
the girls, trembling with the cold.
They covered their yonis with both hands
and stepped on shore, suffering from the cold.

Vamsidhar glosses yoni as “smara-mandiram” (“The temple of Cupid.”)

Srinath: Says the second zIta has the meaning “weariness.” Dictionary indeed has “dull, sluggish, apathetic, sleepy.” (I admit I did not know this.) “They were weary, and this cause them to become wan. Here weariness is a specific consequence of their ecstatic feelings.”

BVT : “Then” means “after seeing his persistence.” The word dArikA means girls, but of an age close to that of Krishna. Even though they were shivering, they still covered their private parts with their hand. Their trembling could be seen as a sattvika-bhava. zIta-karzitAH means “permeated inside and out by the cold.”

BKS: Seeing his determination, even though they knew they were being asked to do something they shouldn’t, because it was the Lord’s order and because of their love for him, they did it anyway. [bhagavad-AjJayA ; This could be the significance of bhagavAn introducing the previous verse.] Follows Srinath for the second meaning of zIta. The use of the dual (“both hands”) showing an excess of shyness. [Though I believe it is customary to use one arm to cover the breasts and a hand for the yoni. Using both hands seems like an inefficient method. wink.gif But Jiva has thought of this. See below in Gopala Champu.]

VCT: The girls turned to each other and said, “Friends! We have been defeated by Krishna’s words. If we delay any longer, someone is going to pass this way and then we will really be in a pickle. Besides, our desire to attain Krishna’s touch has become so powerful; it will not allow us to remain immersed here to die. Fate has written something on our foreheads that we cannot erase. So let us submit to our most beloved Krishna’s obstinacy and send our own stubbornness to hell. Let us bid adieu to our shame, close our eyes and, as if we are in the dark, cover our bodies and come out of the water.” When they had conferred amongst themselves and come to this conclusion, they came on shore and stood beside Krishna .


Gopala Champu

[74] In this [previous] statement also, Krishna was using the word “king” as a stratagem. Then, again becoming conscious of the gopis’ silence, he understood that they were still afraid. Since Krishna was in fact most civilized and compassionate, he promised to return the clothes. The girls felt that Krishna’s promise was credible and, even though their bodies were almost immobile due to shyness, they came out of the water in order to eliminate the distress of the cold and recover their well-being. Even though this is true, the real reason for their actions should be understood as follows:

[v27] “If the object of our prayers comes to fruition,
then we shall keep our bodies alive; if not, we won’t.”
This was the commitment they had made to their vow.
If they were unsuccessful in achieving it,
then what shame would they feel in being unclothed?
The cold was only a pretext for their movement.

In other words, if they were ready to die in order to achieve their goal, then what was a little nekkedness? It's like this famous verse:

govinde svayam akaroH sarojanetre
premAndhA varavapur arpaNaM sakhi |
kArpaNyaM na kuru darAvaloka-dAne
vikrIte kariNi kim aJkuze vivAdaH ||

O lotus-eyed beauty! You yourself
were blind with love for Govinda,
and so you made a gift to him of your body.
And now you are being miserly with your glances;
does it make sense to bicker about the goad
after one has already sold the elephant?

(Padyavali 198)

[75] Even so, when they finally came up out of the water, their bodies were still not entirely uncovered. Rather,

[v28] The girls used their hands to cover themselves in front,
and their spreading hair to cover the upper body;
they placed the smallest girls in front of them,
and came out of the water, bent over like hunchbacks.34


34. 10.22.17: Then all the girls came out of the water, trembling with the cold. They covered their pubic region with their hands and stepped on shore.
Jagat - Sat, 18 Dec 2004 07:37:44 +0530
Day 19 (801)

|| 10.22.18 ||

user posted image

bhagavAn AhatA vIkSya zuddha-bhAva-prasAditaH |
skandhe nidhAya vAsAMsi prItaH provAca sa-smitam ||

The Lord saw how they felt defeated,
and was pleased by their pure and unaffected manner.
He placed their clothes on his shoulder
and spoke to them with a smile in his voice.

The word AhatA has been controversial, the controversy beginning with Sridhara, who glosses this (incomprehensibly) as Isad-akSata-yoni “having slightly unbroken hymens,” which sounds like being partly pregnant. (kSata-yoni means a girl who has lost her virginity.) Looking at it again, I guess it could mean “whose virginity had not even slightly been lost” which is pretty awkward. Vamsidhara interprets Sridhara as kRtAlpa-nidhuvanAH which means, “having only engaged in a little bit of sex.” That explains why nobody has followed Sridhar here. I guess they are all “prostitutes” for not following their Swami.

The word hata comes from the root han, which means to kill or injure. But the primary meaning of Ahata is “struck, beaten, injured, crushed, destroyed.” These meanings all seem legitimate, so I don’t understand why the various alternative meanings.

Srinath: AhatAH means A (completely) hatAH (overcome) by the force of joy, or the fatigue of the cold, or by shame. Or, AhatA can mean AgatA, coming, which is a legitimate meaning of this verb root. Or A means completely, + ahatAH (undisturbed, undamaged). Therefore he looked at them completely. Therefore they were pure, in other words in a state of consciousness that was completely free of any impurity or material desire. Krishna was pleased by this. So he smiled and spoke. Doing what? Putting the clothes on his shoulder. This is the idea here: At this time they Krishna did not receive their direct touch, but an indirect one through their clothing. By putting them on his shoulder, he revealed that he sought the joy of their embrace.

BVT: Their pure mood was either love or their desire to have him as their husband. Krishna was pleased with them even before, but now that he saw they had come (AhatA) to him, he was especially pleased, so he gathered their clothes and placed them on his shoulder. Then, in order to perfectly teach them each individually of the treasure of love, using the expression of logic, he smiled and said that which will follow in the next verse, which also contains a hint of teasing.

Or, alternatively, the reason he put the clothes on his shoulder was because he was pleased with their pure mood and manner. The reason he smiled when he spoke was that he was pleased (prIta). This also hints at the teasing words that will follow, because this loving pleasure inevitably leads to such teasing. Krishna’s ability to put so many clothes on his shoulder at once is an instance of his divine power (aisvarya) being manifested in the midst of a human (laukika) pastime. This was hinted at in the beginning of the chapter (verse 8, yogezvarezvaraH).

LVT: Jiva here argues that one may object to the interpretation of AhatA as AgatA, for it does not appear with this meaning anywhere in the Vedic literature or the various lexicons. So enough with the poetic license already! (kAvya-kUpa-vartinAm idaà matam, literally, “This opinion is that of people who are in the deep well of poetic thinking.”) He cites the Mahabhashya which states elaborately what is meant by “aprayukta”: A word is considered “unused” if it does not appear anywhere with that meaning. The lexicons (Visva-prakasa) give the following definition: AhataM guNite’pi syAt tADite’py Anake’pi ca “It can be used in the sense of (1) multiplied, (2) beaten, and (3) a kind of drum.” In this case, it could be said that the gopis their shame was multiplied. Or, the lexicographer Kshiraswami says it can mean “made to sound (like beating on a drum)” in which case it means that Krishna saw that they were becoming famed through this action, and this created a sense of wonder in him. So enough with the fancy interpretations!

Krama-sandarbha : AhatA means AgatA, or it means “troubled by the cold.” [I favor something along the lines of this last definition.]

BKS. Seeing them coming to him like that, the Lord said. (AhatA = AgatA). [Arguing with himself in LVT] The flaw of being aprayukta only applies to poetic works, and not in the writings of the Rishis, such as this. Alternatively, “troubled by their embarrassment.” Alternatively, “completely undisturbed or undamaged.” (This and Srinath above seem to be reading as AhatAvIkSyaH, which is not a corroborated reading. “Krishna can be seen by those who are completely undisturbed.” This also seems completely irrelevant.

“Placed on his shoulders.” Krishna first stole the clothes and placed them in the kadamba tree. Now by the glory of their love he has placed these clothes, which exude the perfume of their bodies, on his shoulder, for he gets the pleasure of touching them by touching their clothing. Therefore, this brings him pleasure...

Sridhar Swami’s interpretation needs to be considered. The gopis covered their yonis with both hands out of shyness, so he could not have seen them to make that judgment.

Priti-sandarbha 377: Shukadeva reveals Krishna’s intention in this pastime as follows. The word AhatA means either “having come” or that they were slightly bent over out of humility due to the shame that remained even after they had renounced their shame to go to him. This is the nature of women in general. The gopis mood was pure because they had thus revealed their great anxiety to be with Krishna and the simplicity of their love. Krishna have developed an attachment for them on relishing this most luminous mood of love.

VCT: When Krishna saw that they were A “completely” hatA “dead, destroyed,” because having to abandon the natural shyness is worse than death for a chaste young girl, but still they did it because he had asked them to. This mood of love is completely pure, and this love was pleasing to Krishna. So he place their clothes on his shoulder in order to get a whiff of their bodily fragrance. His deep affection was shown by his placing even their lower garments on his shoulder. Then he spoke, giving advice to the gopis. He thought, “These girls have completed a vow that is very difficult for any woman to do, simply out of an obligation born of love for me. Now I would like to see the extent of the power of their love for me, which will not consider whether they can or cannot do something that is extremely difficult for anyone to do.” Smiling, he said, “You yourselves said you would do whatever I asked you to do. So now I am going to test you. If you pass this test, then I will give you my soul, my mind, my life and my body.


Gopala Champu

[76] Krishna’s small companions said with shouts and laughter, “Look, Krishna! Just look! These girls are so frightened that they have thrown off the stolen clothes in the water and are coming ashore.” Krishna watched them and became truly compassionate after having the following thoughts:

[v29] “The gopis’ bodies are as beautiful as that of the moon,
on account of having the same characteristics.
Nevertheless, because they have not been defaced in any way,
they are in fact more beautiful than the moon.(35)_0

[v30] “These girls, born of pious families,
would ordinarily have prefered to destroy their bodies
rather than sacrifice their modesty,
and yet they have accepted to come before me in this condition.
fearing that otherwise I would turn away from them;
seeing their eagerness overcome their hesitancy,
even the midst of distress, my mind becomes agitated.”

[77] “Even so, I would like to see them make it even more clear how determined that they are to have me, as well as hear them joke, making fun of my ill-behavior and touching the soul of their desires, for though they have come out of the water, they seem still to be submerged in hesitation and so they are helping each other to cover their nakedness.”

Note 35. 10.22.18: “The Lord saw how they felt defeated and at the same time was pleased by their pure and unaffected manner. He placed their clothes on his shoulder and spoke to them with love in his voice.”

The humor in this verse hinges on the use of the word Ahata, found in the BhP original and a matter of debate in the commentaries. Jéva has taken the word on another route, contrasting two different meanings of the compound ähata-lakñaëatayä. Otherwise, the verse is a rather typical virodhäbhäsa (“apparent contradiction”): they are both comparable to the moon and more beautiful than the moon because of possessing the quality of ähata-lakñaëa, “possessing the the marks or characteristics” in the first instance, or “completely free from all blemish” in the second.
Jagat - Sat, 18 Dec 2004 07:49:47 +0530
Churning it out today. Playing catchup. Nine days left, ten verses. I haven't had much time to reflect; so I am really stuck on those gopis walking arm in arm to the Yamuna in the pre-dawn dark, their brightly colored ghaghras flowing behind them, their anklebells and waist bells jingling, teasing each other about their love for Krishna and singing songs of love for him.

May I be a blade of grass on which they tread.
Jagat - Mon, 20 Dec 2004 00:26:55 +0530
Day 20 (865)

|| 10.22.19 ||

user posted image

yUyaM vivastrA yad apo dhRta-vratA
vyagAhataitat tad u deva-helanam |
baddhvAJjaliM mUrdhny apanuttaye’MhasaH
namo’dho-vasanaM pragRhatAm ||

You were performing religious rituals,
yet you went into the water without any clothes on.
This was an affront to the god of the waters.
So to rid yourselves of the offense,
fold your hands over your heads,
bow to the ground; then you can take back your skirts.

There is an alternative reading here: vo for dho in the last line. This seems to me to be a better reading, but is not accepted by Sridhar or most of the Gaudiyas. I fail to see the relevance of “lower garments” (which I have translated as “skirts”). “vo” would just mean “your.”

In this verse, the question that arises in my mind is what exactly is meant by "namo." I would not think that this means bowing from a kneeling position or a prostration, but simply the folding of the hands and bowing slightly, as Indians still do today when doing their namaskaras. This explains all the variants much better: By having them place their hands over their heads, Krishna is going to get a good frontal look. Using one hand, just bowing the head, just saying the words "namo namaH" will not be sufficient.

Srinath : "You are girls from good society, but you entered the waters naked." The word “u” is simply a vocative address, or it could be an emphatic particle. "An affront to the gods is a sin and therefore must be counteracted by folding the hands over the head; then you can take your lower garments." Or, "First fold your hands over your head and bow." The reason that “lower garments” are mentioned is this: “When you pay your obeisance in the way I ask you, then I will give you your skirts, but not your blouses or shawls." This is more flirtatious teasing. Or the word “adho” should be read with “namo”, “Pay your obeisances on the ground.”

If the gopis says, "Such obeisances [since we are still naked] will just be an offense to another deity. Our first affront was to Varuna, the presiding deity of the waters, which was an offense. [Now this will be to another.]"

"But if you pay obeisances to me in the way I request, then I will be pleased with you, and any offense to any other deity will be pardoned."

BVT: If the gopis should say, “We are just girls, so no harm has been done.” Krishna answers, “But you have taken up a vow” [So how can you claim to be little girls when you have taken up such a determined act. Besides, if you have taken up a vow, it is the vow that is important, not the person performing it. The vow is either carried out or it is not.] I would not chastise you just on the basis of my perceptions.”

The use of deva [in the masculine] indicates that either all the gods [the use of deva being generic to include all the gods] would be affronted. This general use of the word deepens the sense of wrongness in their act. [It is not specific to this deity, but to all deities. Hence, worse.] Or, it could be a reference to the deity of the waters, Varuna, who is being affronted. Or, the term “deva-helana” could be a technical term refering to the offense of failing to maintain the vrata in all respects.

When Krishna tells them to fold their hands, he says, “over your heads” and not elsewhere. Krishna is the “rasika-siromani” and he makes this demand to fulfill his own special desire [to see them in their natural glory, etc.]. On top of that, he tells them to offer their namaskaras. But when he sees that they are about to do so with only one hand, he cites the Vishnu-smriti (cited in HBV 8.406) that paying obeisances on one hand is condemned. And just in case they would pay their namaskars with their hands lower down, he tells them to put them over their heads.

Or “adho” means “below the kadamba tree where I am sitting”. In other words, “Come here closer so that I can get a better look at you.” And paying your obeisances with your hands, then take your clothes with your hands.

Or, the word “adho” is to be read with “vasanam”, meaning the lower vestment. “You won’t get your upper cloth (uttariya) in the same way. Therefore, since the uttariya is not included, the word vasanam is in the singular, that everyone will get a single piece of cloth.

Krama-sandarbha : When Krishna says take your lower garment, it seems cruel, for he is saying he will only give them some of their clothes [and not the rest, for which he will apply other conditions.]

BKS : What did Krishna say ? “You” are from highly respectable families. So such behavior is inappropriate for you.” “What do you mean?” “You have taken up vows, but you are bathing completely naked in these waters.” “But this is a local custom, so what fault is there?” “O virgins! This has been an affront to the god.” That is, the governing deity of the waters, Varuna. Or it could be a masculine noun standing in for a feminine Yamuna Devi, as sometimes happens in Sanskrit.

“So how can we counteract this sin?” “That’s easy. So do it. If you don’t then it will be impossible for your vrata to be seen through to success.” Then Krishna takes on the role of a Smarta brahmin, prescribing an atonement for them to follow. “Fold your hands over your head and bow down. Then take your clothes. [Jiva here follows the reading “vo” rather than “adho.”]

“Can’t we just say ‘namo namaH’ verbally and be done with it?” ask the gopis. “No. There are different kinds of atonements, primary and secondary. You have to follow the primary prescription and perform the obeisances with your bodies.” “But namaskara is a particular act that promotes an inner sense of penitence and humility. According to this understanding, the principal act of namaskara does not require joining the hands to the head.” But Krishna says, “Fold your hands over your heads.”

In the case where the text reads “adho” then it should be understood that Krishna is saying he will give only those clothes and not the uttariyas. This is his teasing.

VCT: Krishna. “Oh no! Oh no! You have committed a hidden offense, which has now become apparent. You have gone into the water unclothed, and for this reason the presiding deity of the waters, Varuna, or Narayan, has been offended.”

Gopis: “But this is a local custom, especially for young girls. So there has been no offense.”

Krishna tries to frighten them: “You have been performing religious rituals. You followed all these rules and now you have certainly ruined everything.”

Gopis: “Oh no! Oh no! This is a real mess! We won’t get the results of our penances! Though we are living, we are as good as dead. What is gained by keeping these bodies another moment?”

When Krishna saw them repenting in this way, losing color and dispirited, he said, “I had better do something before these girls give up their lives.” Suddenly becoming merciful, he himself gave them the process of atonement needed, first calming their spirits by saying, “O thin-waisted ones! Do not be afraid. When woman become a man’s maidservant, then he is to them the same as Narayan, who contains within himself all the gods. This is the injunction of the scripture. Furthermore, since Garga said “He will be equal to Narayan in virtue” (10.8.9), you should know that for you, I am your Narayan. Now you are standing directly before me, so to rid yourself of your offense, pay your obeisances and then take your skirts. The lower garments of a woman are of no use to me. The upper garments or shawls I could use myself, however, so I’ll keep those.”

Then when he sees them paying obeisances with their heads alone, he says, “No, no. Just bowing your heads is not enough.” Then when they tried to pay obeisances with only one hand, he said, “It says in the scriptures that paying obeisances with one hand is unacceptable. So fold both hands over your heads.” He said “over your heads” just in case they tried to fold their hands together lower down.


Gopala Champu

[78] Aloud, Krishna said, “Hey there you mischief-makers! Why are you all laughing? These girls may be unclothed, but because they have not yet reached puberty there is no fault.”(36)

[79] Then he climbed again to the crook of the tree where the clothes were hanging and, gathering them up, showed them to the girls. Then, in order to tighten the bonds of affection, he said with a smile,

[80] “I will certainly give you back your clothes because you have promised to become my maidservants. However, you did commit a fault in performing your rituals even though you received them from a proper teacher. This flaw was previously impossible to discern, but I have now been able to identify it and I must say I find it rather shocking. So please pay attention to me as I explain.

[v31] “You went into the water without any clothes on;
this was an affront to the god of the waters.
To correct the fault this brings to your religious observance,
place both hands over your heads and bow down to him.”(37)


(36) The Sanskrit word nagnikA can mean both a naked woman and a girl before menstruation.

(37) 10.22.19: “You were performing religious rituals, yet you went into the water without any clothes on. This was an affront to the god of the waters. So fold your hands on your heads and bow down to the ground to rid yourselves of the offense. Then you may take back your clothes.”


BBT edition: Krishna wanted to see the full surrender of the gopis, and thus He ordered them to offer obeisances with their palms joined above their heads. In other words, the gopis could no longer cover their bodies. We should not foolishly think that Lord Krishna is an ordinary lusty boy enjoying the naked beauty of the gopis. Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth, and He was acting to fulfill the loving desire of the young cowherd girls of Vrindavan. In this world we would certainly become lusty in a situation like this. But to compare ourselves to God is a great offense, and because of this offense we will not be able to understand Krishna 's transcendental position, for we will wrongly take Him to be materially conditioned like ourselves. To lose transcendental sight of Krishna is certainly a great disaster for one trying to relish the bliss of the Absolute Truth.


Some editions (that of Viraraghava Acharya) follow here with these three verses, which are most certainly prakSipta

ekena pANinA nemur ekenAcchAdya cAGganAH |
tA vIkSyovAca bhagavAn bhUyo dharmyam idaM vacaH ||
ekena pANinA yo vai praNamed devam acyutam |
tasya daNDaH kara-ccheda iti vedavido viduH ||
tasmAd ubhAbhyAM pANibhyAM praNamet svAminaM naraH |
tathA ca yUyaM kuruta tan me priyataraM bhavet ||

When the Lord saw that they were bowing with one had only, using the other to cover themselves, he gave them the following religious instruction: “You have bowed down to the infallible deity (Achyuta) withonly one hand. The knowers of the Veda say that this infraction is to be punished by cutting off the hand. So everyone should bow down to their master with both hands. If you do so now, that will be most pleasing to me.”

Vamsidhara quotes Haribhaktivilasa 8.389 (from Vishnu-smriti) in this connection :

janma-prabhRti yat kiJcic cetasA dharmam Acaret |
tat sarvaM niSphalaM yAti eka-hastAbhivAdanAt ||

“Whatever good deeds one may have mentally performed throughout one’s life is all lost when one offers obeisance with only one hand.”
Jagat - Tue, 21 Dec 2004 08:21:44 +0530
Day 21 (910)

|| 10.22.20 ||

ity acyutenAbhihitA vrajAbalA
matvA vivastrAplavanaà vrata-cyutim |
tat-pUrti-kAmAs tad-azeSa-karmaNAM
sAkSAt-kRtaM nemur avadya-mRg yataH ||

Hearing the infallible Lord’s words, the girls of Vraja
thought that their vows had all been ruined
by bathing naked in the river.
Desiring to correct the flaw in their religious acts,
they did exactly as he said and bowed down,
knowing that he would free them of all sin.

BVT: Nothing Krishna ever says wanders from the truth, therefore he is called Achyuta. The use of the word abalA to indicate the gopis once again indicates that they are ever unable to oppose his words.

KS: “sAkSAtkRtaM” “directly encountered.” means Krishna as their husband. In that form he is the destroyer of all flaws. This is how they perceive it.

VCT: The gopis decided, “May our caste, our families, our religious principles, our shame and embarrassment, all be destroyed, but may there be no imperfection in our vrata.” And so they did exactly as their beloved asked them. Since Krishna has told us that bathing naked causes the ruination of our vrata, we accept that. Now if we want to make up for the shortcomings of our vrata, then we should pay obeisances to him who is the direct fruit of all the component parts of this vrata.”

“What if even by getting the results of the vrata, some flaws still remain?” “That will not happen because Krishna is infallible, he will put an end to all such flaws. Those who receive his mercy there would be no question of any flaw resulting from obstacles to their vrata.

Baladeva: They bowed to Krishna because he is their master and the fruit of all their austerities, not Varuna. This showed that they were the best of knowers of spiritual truth, for it is said in the Smritis, “What remains to be gained for one in whom the Lord, Abode of the Goddess of Fortune, is pleased?” (Bhag. 10.39.2)

Vamsidhara quotes from the smritis:

snAnaM dAnaM tathA homam
zayanaM gamanaM bhujim |
vivastro na prakurvIta
kurvANaH pApakRd bhavet ||

Anyone who takes bath, gives in charity, performs a sacrifice, sleeps, eats or travels about without any clothes on becomes a sinner.


Gopala Champu

[81] The girls, being overwhelmed with great embarrassment and fear, having decided to do as they were told, first distracted the vision of the little boys by saying, “Look over there, someone is making a noise.”Then, on the principle that the husband is the wife’s god, they bowed down to Krishna in a spirit of playfulness, saying, “Lord, we offer salutations to you.”(38)

(38) 10.22.20: “Hearing Krishna’s words, the girls thought that their rituals had all been ruined by bathing naked in the river. Desiring to correct the flaw of all their religious acts, they did exactly as he said and bowed down, knowing that he would free them of all sin.”



The transcendental position of Krishna consciousness is clearly described here. The gopis decided that it was better to renounce their so-called family tradition and traditional morality and simply surrender unto the Supreme Lord Krishna. This does not mean that the Krishna consciousness movement advocates immoral activities. In fact, the devotees of ISKCON practice the highest standard of restraint and morality, but at the same time we recognize the transcendental position of Krishna. Lord Krishna is God and therefore has no material desire to enjoy young girls in sexual affairs. As will be seen in this chapter, Lord Krishna was not at all attracted to enjoying the gopis; rather He was attracted to their love and wanted to satisfy them.

The greatest offense is to imitate the activities of Lord Krishna. In India there is a group called Prakrita Sahajiya, who imitate these affairs of Krishna and try to enjoy naked young girls in the name of worshiping Krishna. The ISKCON movement sternly rejects this mockery of religion, because the greatest offense is for a human being to ludicrously imitate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the ISKCON movement there are no cheap incarnations, and it is not possible for a devotee of this movement to promote himself to the position of Krishna.

Five hundred years ago Krishna appeared as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who practiced strict celibacy throughout His student life and at the age of twenty-four took sannyasa, a lifelong vow of celibacy. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu rigidly avoided contact with women in order to carry out His vow of loving service to Krishna. When Krishna personally appeared five thousand years ago, He exhibited these wonderful pastimes, which attract our attention. We should not become envious or shocked when we hear that God can perform such pastimes. Our shock is due to our ignorance, because if we tried to perform these activities our bodies would be afflicted by lust. Lord Krishna, however, is the Supreme Absolute Truth and is therefore never disturbed by any material desire whatsoever. Thus, this incident — in which the gopis gave up normal standards of morality and, raising their hands to their head, bowed down in compliance with Krishna's order — is an example of pure devotional surrender and not a discrepancy in religious principles.

In fact, the gopis' surrender is the perfection of all religion, as Srila Prabhupada describes in Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: "The gopis were all simple souls, and whatever Krishna said, they took to be true. In order to be freed from the wrath of Varunadeva, as well as to fulfill the desired end of their vows and ultimately to please their worshipable Lord, Krishna, they immediately abided by His order. Thus they became the greatest lovers of Krishna, and His most obedient servitors.”

Jagat - Wed, 22 Dec 2004 19:35:42 +0530
Day 22 (947)

|| 10.22.21 ||

tAs tathAvanatA dRSTvA bhagavAn devakI-sutaH |
vAsAMsi tAbhyaH prAyacchat karuNas tena toSitaH ||

Seeing them bow down like this,
the Lord, the son of Devaki,
being pleased by them, showed compassion
and gave them their clothes.

Srinath: Seeing them first place their hands over their heads and then falling to the ground to pay obeisances. It is also possible to read the last three words as a single compound, karuNa-stena-toSitaH, “having pleased them by being a merciful thief” (which is pretty convoluted).

BVT: Then, when they paid their obeisances with their hands over their heads just as he had asked them, he gave them all their clothes, including both the upper and lower garments, calling out affectionately to each of them by name as he did so. Or, still in a teasing mood, he gave the wrong clothes, switching them around as he did. It should be understood that he had come down out of the kadamba tree. Why? Because he was compassionate. And because he was spontaneously pleased. Furthermore, he was the Lord, which means that he likes to reveal his own unlimited virtues. Because he is the son of Devaki, the implication being that this is why he was born in her womb. The name Devaki [as it applies to Yashoda] has been explained [several times] before. Krishna was pleased both by the gopis’ vrata and by their obeying his instructions.

LVT: Then, when they paid their obeisances in the way he had asked them, Krishna gave them all their clothes, including both the upper and lower garments, calling out affectionately to each of them by name as he did so, because is naturally compassionate, but having been pleased by the gopis, he become even more so. Out of his eagerness to see them in this way, Krishna had been acting in the spirit of a playboy (nAgara), but even so, he showed his naughty boy side. In other words, his own desires had been fulfilled by their particular state of mind born of their purva-raga, a fear with great anxiety to please Krishna, which overcame their pride and embarrassment.

Shukadeva uses the name Devaki-suta because he is speaking to Maharaj Parikshit. This is appropriate here because Parikshit is Kunti Devi’s great grandson and Subhadra’s grandson, his specific mood of love toward Krishna is in relation to that specific form (Alambana), so he reminded him of his relation to Krishna through Devaki, his great grandmother. This was all discussed at the beginning of the tenth canto. Shuka is saying, “Just imagine the glories of these gopis, who were able to disturb your Krishna to this extent by their love.”

BKS: The Lord was pleased by the gopis having paid obeisances to him in the way that he had asked and so he showed them his mercy. Being pleased by their obeisances, the Lord, who is naturally compassionate, became even more so. “Bhagavan” means “incontrovertible majesty.” “Devaki-suta” should be understood as previously (i.e., another name for Yashoda). Or the word should be taken as a single compound, containing three adjectives: “He was compassionate, a thief, and satisfied.” Or, it could be broken up as follows: karuNa-stenatA-USitaH. “possessing the qualities of a merciful thief.” In any of these cases, it may be considered that karuNa is a separate word, with the visarga dropped out of poetic license. [That’s unlikely.]


Gopala Champu

[82] Krishna then looked over their every limb with curiosity and desire and observed their affection for him as well as their artfulness. Feeling great pleasure, he returned each piece of cloth playfully to its proper owner. As he did so, he said, “By observing you intently I have easily been able to discern how you have long nurtured [your love for me]; do you think I would give you your clothes otherwise?” So satisfying them, he showed them his astuteness.
Jagat - Wed, 22 Dec 2004 20:23:54 +0530
The attached file of the Vastra-harana-lila at the top of this thread has been corrected and revised through to verse 23.
Jagat - Thu, 23 Dec 2004 00:09:30 +0530
Day 23 (990)

|| 10.22.22 ||

dRDhaM pralabdhAs trapayA ca hApitAH
prastobhitAH kRIDanavac ca kAritAH |
vastrANi caivApahRtAny athApy amuM
tA nAbhyasUyan priya-saGga-nirvRtAH ||

Although the gopis had been thoroughly cheated,
deprived of their modesty, ridiculed
and made to dance like marionnettes,
and though Krishna had stolen their clothing,
they did not feel at all resentful toward him,
for they were joyful to be with their beloved.

This is one of the occasions where everyone has remained fairly close to Sridhar, mainly because Sridhar has actually said something.

The word pralabdha has several meanings: Sridhar glosses “vaJcitAH” (cheated), but other meanings are upahasita (“mocked”), tiraskRta (“chastized”) and parAbhUta (“defeated”). See Bhag 4.7.10).

Sridhara indicates where each of the above took place: They were cheated in verse 19, when Krishna told them that they had committed an offense to the gods. In verse 16, their sense of modesty was challenged when Krishna told them to come and take their clothes. In verse 10, when Krishna said he was not joking, he was ridiculing them. And when he told them to fold their hands over their heads in verse 19, he was playing with them like puppets. Despite this, the gopis did not find fault with him.

Vamsidhara says that they did not find fault with him because of their love. The beloved finds even the pains inflicted by her lover to be a source of joy. [Sounds like masochism to me. There are likely limits to this principle.]

BVT : Suka is saying, in effect, to Parikshit, “O king! Just witness the wonders of this deepest love!” Or, describing Krishna’s enchanting powers, he says, as though envious of the gopis.” The word priya in the final compound can either directly refer to Krishna, or the “dear thing” they had attained, i.e., the event itself.

BKS : So the Lord had done the impermissible, and had made them also do the unpardonable. Even so they did not resent him. Jiva here defines pralabdha as upahasita (“mocked”), and prastobhitA (which Sridhar glossed as upahasita) as aparAdhI-kRtAH, or “styled as offenders, or made into offenders”). The order of ideas should be as follows: “Not only did Krishna take their clothes, but he also made fun of them, etc.” Even so, they did not resent him. Why ? Because they were joyful from the company of their beloved, thinking, “May this our beloved do as he pleases. We wanted to be with him, and now that is happening as we desired. So what if he does things that should not be done.” Thinking like this, they felt joyful.

Jiva has also commented on this verse in Priti-sandarbha 378 : When Krishna said in verse 19, “You have bathed naked, even though you are performing a strict vrata” he was teasing them in order to see the last vestiges of their shame disappear. Then in verse 20, the gopis did as he asked them. (Then follows Sridhar).

VCT: Sukadeva expresses joyful amazement that even thought their beloved Krishna had mistreated them in so many ways, the gopis took it all favorably, something that few others would be able to do. (The rest follows Sridhar)

Baladeva: Baladeva is the first to give any kind of warning to the ordinary jivas. He says that Krishna is perfect joy, and so does not depend on sense objects like women for pleasure like an ordinary jiva. If anyone should think this, they should refer to Brahma-samhita, where it is said that the gopis are an aspect of Krishna’s own svarupa shakti.


Gopala Champu

Even so,

[v32] Due to their love for him,
the gopis took even his contrary words as favorable
and appreciated them as sources of joy.
Just see how Krishna intoxicated the gopis
by stealing their clothes.


BBT Version

Srila Prabhupada comments, "This attitude of the gopis is described by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when he prays, 'My dear Lord Krishna, You may embrace Me or trample Me under Your feet, or You may make Me brokenhearted by never being present before Me. Whatever You like, You can do, because You have complete freedom to act. But in spite of all of Your dealings, You are My Lord eternally, and I have no other worshipable object.' This is the attitude of the gopīs toward Krishna."
Jagat - Thu, 23 Dec 2004 02:39:19 +0530
Day 24.

Please forgive me for the irregular postings of these verses. It has just been impossible for me to follow a regular schedule. Only four days left, and five verses, a couple of which are lengthy. Unfortunately this rush has made me unable to edit these translations or to provide my own commentary. Maybe next year, same time. It all depends on you, Katyayani! Hear me?

|| 10.22.23 ||

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paridhAya sva-vAsAMsi preSTha-saGgama-sajjitAH |
gRhIta-cittA no celus tasmin lajjAyitekSaNAH ||

After they had dressed themselves in their own clothes,
they were so attached to the company of their beloved
their minds were captivated and they could not move
and they remained there, looking shyly at him.

Sridhara : “sajjitA” = “vazI-kRtA.” Therefore, their minds were captivated and they could not move. The proof of their captivation was their shy glances at Krishna.

Vamsidhara : “Looking shyly” means that even though they tried to force themselves from looking at him, they could not hold back.

BVT : They dressed themselves in their own clothes: They took their own clothes, and where the wrong clothes had been given, they tried to identify which were which and exchanged them accordingly, then dressed themselves. The rest has been explained by Sridhara. Or, “They became completely attached to the association of their beloved Krishan. Thus they were able to attract the Lord’s mind. Thus a mutual feeling of special love arose, or, Krishna spoke to them in ways that were comforting, which calmed their spirits, and this made them look shyly. So they were unable to move away from that place, or from Krishna. (Though the word tasmin is in the locative, the meaning is ablative.) [Sanatan is reading tasmin with “no celuH” rather than “lajjAyitekSaNAH.” I don’t see why that’s necessary.)

LVT : Jiva here adds to BVT the following: When the gopis were dressed, the mortifying embarrassment they had felt at being naked left them, and so their minds were captivated, in other words, their feelings of love could arise. And so they lined up (sajjitAH) in the hope of taking his hand in marriage right there in secret. Lined up like that waiting, they did not move, but looked at him shyly. This is the anubhava known as vikRtam, which is described in the Ujjvala Nilamani 11.58.

hrI-mAnerSyAdibhir yatra nocyate sva-vivakSitam |
vyajyate ceSTayaivedaM vikRtaM tad vidur budhAH ||

When the beloved does not speak what is on her mind, due to shyness, anger or envy, but reveals her thoughts through her body language, that is called vikritam by the wise.

BKS : The Lord is all knowing, so he was able to recognize each gopi individually and, lifting them up with his own hand, give them their own clothes and then dress them. They did not move. Why ? Because getting their clothes was not the final goal for them. If it was, then their leaving immediately would have been appropriate. But Krishna had not taken only their clothes, but their minds as well. Therefore it is said, "gRhIta-cittAH." How so? They were attached to the company of their beloved. In other words, they were still hoping he would make love to them. This is why they looked at him shyly--their hearts were full of desire, and so their eyes were full of bashfulness.

VCT : Attached by the company of their beloved means that they had become extremely attached to him. Just as Krishna had stolen their clothes, he had also stolen their minds. In this way their mutual love was revealed, in other words, just as the gopis are reservoirs of love for Krishna, he is also a reservoir of love for them, for as Krishna understood, “These girls are completely attached to me,” the gopis also thought, “By Katyayani’s mercy, Krishna is attached to us.” When they realized this, their eyes were filled with shyness and, overwhelmed by the ecstatic symptom of jADya, they were unable to move. That shyness that had been ejected from their bodies by Krishna, that they had themselves chastized and driven far away, now returned and, taking the help of their eyes, led them back to Krishna, then receiving Krishna’s merciful benediction returned again into their bodies where it became even more dominant than it had been before. This particular poetic fancy can be inferred from the verse.


Gopala Champu

[83] When Krishna had descended from the tree,

[v33] In order to cover their nakedness,
the gopis took their clothes, extremely embarrassed.
Though they dressed themselves in a moment,
they revealed their most intimate feelings.

Though their faces were turned slightly away from Krishna,
the glances of the beautifully browed girls of Vraja
still found their way to him.
How wondrous the tortuous stirrings of desire!


BBT Version

By association with their beloved Krishna, the gopis had become more attached to Him than ever. Just as Krishna had stolen their clothes, He had also stolen their minds and their love. The gopis interpreted the whole incident as proof that Krishna was also attached to them. Otherwise, why would He have gone to the trouble of playing with them in this way? Because they thought that Krishna was now attached to them, they glanced at Him with shyness, and being stunned by the rising of their ecstatic love, they could not move from where they stood. Krishna had overcome their shyness and forced them to come out of the water naked, but now, having dressed properly, they again became shy in His presence. In fact, this incident increased their humbleness before Krishna. They did not want Krishna to see them staring at Him, but they cautiously took the opportunity to glance at the Lord.
Tapati - Thu, 23 Dec 2004 05:24:26 +0530

Thank you so much for this meditation on such a glorious pastime!
Jagat - Thu, 23 Dec 2004 07:01:45 +0530
Day 25 (1090)

Save-a de applause-a for de end-a.

|| 10.22.24 ||

user posted image

tAsAM vijJAya bhagavAn sva-pAda-sparza-kAmyayA |
dhRta-vratAnAM saGkalpam Aha dAmodaro’balAH ||

The gopis had undertaken their vow,
out of a desire to touch his feet,
The Lord knew the goal they sought
so he, Damodar, spoke to them as follows.

Sridhar: The name Damodar is recalled to remind us of Krishna’s favors to his devotees.

BVT: From seeing the specific mood of the gopis, Krishna had been able to directly understand the purpose of their undertaking the vrata. That is being shown here. “The desire to touch his feet” means that by becoming Krishna’s wives they wished to be as close to him through devotion as was possible.

Or, Krishna’s touch means that by accepting the position of husband in relation to them, he gives his very being to them. Desiring this, the gopis had taken up the vrata by following all kinds of regulations. The promise they made to themselves was that they would attain the touch of his feet.

The words “touching the feet refer to the specific kind of love they possess and Krishna’s consequently accepting the position of husband in relation to them. Here again the word “abalA” is used to refer to the gopis. This means that as young girls they had no independence. Still, being pleased with them, such mercy on them was completely reasonable [Jiva: because of their helplessness, Krishna recognized that they were completely dependent on him to fulfill their desire. Therefore his mercy was appropriate.] Or, abalA can be read as a bahuvrIhi compound, “Those whose strength was unequalled or surpassed by anyone.” This is reasonable too, because they were able to bring the Lord under their sway.

LVT: Pretty much exactly BVT. The name Damodara is used to show that they had loved Krishna in this way ever since he was a child and performed the Damodara pastimes.

VCT: “O Rasika-shekhara ! We have attained the results of our vrata, because you have played such a great scary trick on us, but our life airs did not leave our bodies. In fact, by your grace, they have been satisfied. Moreover, you got us to come out of the water and with all your clever words you got a good look at our entire bodies. Then you put our clothes on your shoulder, and then you gave them to us, along with the jewels of our own minds. As an answer to everything you have said to us, we give you these shy glances. We don’t know whether we have committed offenses to you, or whether we have been able to please you, for we are but foolish girls. But if you have something to say it in accordance with the time and place and in accordance with who we are. When you have said your piece, we will go home.” This is what is in the gopis’ minds as they await Krishna’s response, which will come over the next three verses.

Baladeva: The gopis are thinking something like, “We are your maidservants. When you have given us the service we seek, we will go home.” In view of this, Sukadeva speaks this verse. “Krishna knew that their purpose in performing the vrata was to have the touch of his feet, in other words, to become his wives. The name Damodar fits here because the gopis loved Krishna since he was a baby.

Vamshidhar: The gopis are here again called “abalA” because Krishna makes the weakest superior to the strong. Or, “a” stands for Vasudeva, “bala” for strength. Those who possess the strength of Vasudeva, i.e., the devotees who partake of Lord Vasudeva’s power, are the strongest of all. Bala can also mean ability or covering. So those who have Vasudeva as their covering or clothing have no desire for material clothing. Therefore, Krishna means, “You gave up your clothing on my word.”

Krishna became Damodar in order to bless Nalakuvara and Manigriva by giving them devotion, and also to show how he gives up his independence to an intimate devotee like Yashoda. In this form, he also acted to fulfill his devotee Narada’s promise.

Vamshidhar also cites Vijayadhvaja. “The words pAda-sparzaH refer to the touch of his body. As in polite speech, the feet are taken to represent the entire body when speaking of superior individuals. This is why expressions like Bhagavat-pada, Pujya-pada, Vishnu-pada, etc., are found in common parlance and in the scriptures. Similarly, sometimes synonyms of “pAda” are used, like caraNa. The principle is that sometimes the part can be taken to represent the whole.”


Gopala Champu

[v34] The reason Krishna had come there
--to bestow a boon on the gopis,
was completely forgotten in the moment
that his nostrils embraced the sweet fragrance
of nectar emanating from their lotus mouths.

And then,
[v35] Like a swarm of bees
flying toward a nectar-filled lotus,
the gopi virgins who sought a husband
surrounded Krishna and chose him.

[84] Seeing this, the soft-hearted boys said to each other, “There is nothing more for us to do here. Come on, let’s go.” They playfully pulled each other by the hands, clothes and belts, and left. Krishna who was more beautiful due to his charming act of stealing the clothes, prepared to give the boon he had promised the gopis. For,

[v36] Krishna the cowherd, knowing that
the girls had undertaken their vows
out of a desire to take his hand,
recognized that its perfect performance had made them worthy.

This verse paraphrases the Bhagavatam verse 24 above.

Jagat - Fri, 24 Dec 2004 05:21:10 +0530
Day 26 (1125)

|| 10.22.25 ||

saGkalpo viditaH sAdhvyo bhavatInAM mad-arcanam |
mayAnumoditaH so’sau satyo bhavitum arhati ||

O saintly ones! I knew why
you engaged in my worship.
I have approved of it,
and so it is sure to be.

Much of the commentary hinges on the word arhati, which has use in the Hinayana Buddhist tradition in the word arhat, meaning an enlightened person. The word means “deserve.” I have also used “merits.” The word sankalpa, which appeared in the previous verse also is an important one. When you start a vrata, you generally initiate it with a sankalpa mantra, in which you state what you are going to do and why you are doing it. So sankalpa really means “intent” or “wish.”

Sridhara : O saintly ones! Your vow was made in order to be able to worship me. Though you never said this aloud to anyone, I knew about it. And I approved of it, so therefore it merits becoming reality. Saying “merits” means that there is the possibility of its coming true, but not that it will necessarily happen fully in all respects (Atyantiko na bhaviSyatIti sUcitam). I find this last statement somewhat confusing. I wish he had given some explanation.

Vamsidhara usually confines himself to explaining Sridhar. He doesn’t help much, but shows that the definition of the verb /arh can be used in the sense of possibility (sambhAvanA) imagination (kalpanAya), and absolute certainty (Atyantika-sambhave), which seems to disagree with Sridhar.

Srinatha: “You are saintly because you made having me as your husband your goal. Any other choice of husband would be unfaithfulness. For women, worshiping me means serving my body with theirs. This objective has been approved or accepted by me. Why? Because I am the Supreme Truth, and because it was done in relation to me, it merits approval, for it deserves to come true. That means, from the very commencement it should produce the desired results.”

In other words, as stated elsewhere in the bhakti shastras—the very intent to engage in a particular service carries its results within itself. The trouble is not the result, but more the perception. It’s like having a diamond in one’s hand but not knowing what it is.

BVT: The Lord (Bhagavan) knew the hearts of the gopis, and so he tells them this. “’O saintly ones’ is an appropriate way of addressing you, for you are my eternal beloved and therefore situated within me. Thus I knew it was your objective to worship me, and I accepted and approved this goal. Therefore it should become true. In other words, this is an eternal truth, for I have made it true. (ataH satyo bhavitum arhati, nitya evety arthaH, satyIkRtatvAt |) [The concept of eternal time is a source of confusion. Whatever Krishna makes true is eternal.] Or, “I knew of your objectives, and so it should be approved by me, for it is of the nature of my worship.”

LVT: Krishna here shows that the gopis’ attainment of their desire goal is different from that of anyone else. “O saintly ones! O you whose beauty, virtue and actions are all the result of your supreme love!” Or, “O saintly ones, who are singularly devoted to me! Your desire to achieve my worship (mad-arcanam), in other words to serve me directly in a loving relationship to me as my wives, was known to me, and was entirely accepted by me. Indeed, I saw to its successful completion (bhadraM kRtam) and relished its performance because it led to the fulfillment of my own desires (svAbhilASa-siddhyA samAsvAditaH). Thus, because you have no other desire, and because it was approved by me, it merits becoming true, in other words, to remain forever true without wavering. In other words, what need is there for me or any other god to award you any other results or benedictions?”

Jiva here discusses the various definitions of “arhati” and comes to the conclusion that whatever a great soul states “should be true” is the same as saying that it is. So he is contradicting Sridhar Swami’s statement that the use of this verb somehow limits the absoluteness (Atyantika) of the benediction.

BKS: Seems exactly same as BVT, which is pretty unusual for BKS.

Priti-sandarbha (51) : In this verse, Krishna himself accepts the gopis. “The goal you had of worshiping me, to worship me as your husband, was known and accepted by me. Therefore such worships merits being always unwavering. Such a result for those who have such a supreme love for me should be sufficient, and in itself delightful, without any need for any other subsidiary awards. Why? See next verse.

VCT: “O saintly ones! You wanted to worship me, in other words, you wanted to serve me in ways that would bring me pleasure. Though you had this desire, you never spoke it aloud because you were shy. Even so, I knew what it was and I approved of it. Because I knew it was sincere, it was therefore true. [VCT is putting the words together a little differently.] And therefore it should come to be. Since you only think of my happiness, and since I am governed by the love of my devotees, there is no question of its not being. Here, Krishna kripa shakti made Krishna manifest more in them, made Krishna subjugated by their love, and then made the Lord absorbed in these pastimes; it manifested this particular opulence, then made Krishna aware that they were practicing this difficult vrata worshiping Katyayani for the sake of attaining him, and then caused him to award the results of their penance. The gopis remembered Garga’s words, “He will be equal to Narayan” and thought of him as their own Narayan.

Baladeva : “mad-arcanaM” = self-surrender for the sake of my pleasure. “It deserves to come to pass” Since you acted for my satisfaction, and since I am subjugated by your love, there is not the slightests doubt of it.


Gopala Champu

He did this by saying:

[v37] “That which appears to be worship of another
is usually done for one’s own benefit;
yet others who are absorbed in me
while appearing to be disinterested,
in fact do worship me.

I am the perfect example of the first of these two,
while you girls are the example of the second.
Therefore the purpose of your vow is pure
and most deserving of fulfilment.


BBT Edition

Just as Krishna is free of all impure desire, so are the gopis. Their attempt to gain Krishna as their husband was therefore motivated not by a desire for personal sense gratification but by their overwhelming desire to serve Krishna and to please Him. Because of their intense love, the gopis did not see Krishna as God but rather as the most wonderful boy in all creation, and being beautiful young girls, they desired only to please Him by loving service. Lord Krishna understood the pure desire of the gopis and was thus satisfied. The Lord could certainly not be satisfied by ordinary lust, but He was moved by the intense loving devotion of the cowherd girls of Vṛndāvana.

Jagat - Sat, 25 Dec 2004 21:38:34 +0530
Day 27 (1161) A long one today...

|| 10.22.26 ||

na mayy Avezita-dhiyAM kAmaH kAmAya kalpate |
bharjitAH kvathitA dhAnA prAyo bIjAya nezate ||

The desires of those absorbed in thought of me
are not to be considered material desire;
just as rice once fried and boiled
cannot later be used as seed.

Is this the climax of the chapter? Is this then the essential teaching that is being given? It would seem that from the point of view of the Bhagavatam, it is. Chapters 7.1, 10.29, 10.47, 11.12, amongst others, all repeat this teaching in connection with the gopis.

Take for example this one:

kvemAH striyo vana-carIr vyabhicAra-duSTAH
kRSNe kva caiSa paramAtmani rUDha-bhAvaH
nanv Içvaro’nubhajato’viduSo’pi sAkSAc
chreyas tanoty agada-rAja ivopayuktaH

Just look at these lowly forest women, who have been polluted by adultery, and then look at their most elevated feeling for Krishna, the Supreme Soul. Does this not show us that the Lord, if worshiped, even by one who has no knowledge of what he is, still attains the supreme good, just like a powerful medicine has an effect even on one who does not know what it is. (10.47.59)

For the author of the Bhagavatam, this is the moral. Desire in connection with Krishna ceases to function in the same way. There are a number of different interpretations here, particularly of kAmaH kAmAya kalpate, which I have translated “desires are not to considered material desire.”

BBT translation: The desire of those who fix their minds on Me does not lead to material desire for sense gratification, just as barleycorns burned by the sun and then cooked can no longer grow into new sprouts.

Sridhar In the previous verse Krishna said that the gopis desire deserved to become reality. Here he says why that is so. “The word kAmAya here means the experience of sense gratification.” In other words, desires to not lead to entanglement in gratification of the senses. In other words, this is because the power (mahimA) of the object of desire (viSaya) is itself the very cause of its pacification. This is followed by an example of how desire does not rise up again: grains such as barley that are fried, and then boiled, do not function as seed, i.e., they do not sprout. The use of the word prAya (“usually”) here means indicates that sometimes through one’s own desire they may rise up again.

Srinath: Why [did their desire deserve to become reality]? In answer to that, he spoke this verse. Kama here means sankalpa (their intent); such intentions would not lead to the revival of material desires. Because both the willer and the senses have already attained perfection. Once something has accomplished its purpose, it does not need to arise again and again. The example given is that of seeds that have been fried and boiled, which cannot therefore function as seeds. Similarly, desires in relation to me do not arise again.

BVT It took me a while to figure out Sanatan’s commentary here. He actually comments on verse 26 along with verse 27, because he says the former verse logically follows the latter. But it seems to make more sense including that commentary here where it belongs, at least in this format. Sanatan gives seven more explanations for kAmaH kAmAya kalpate, some quite unexpected. One day I'll have to come back and check these all out more closely. I think there are at least 12-14 different explanations altogether in the various commentaries.

Now the question is "How can the gopis’ sexual pleasure (kAma-sukha) be like this? [This is why I say that it doesn’t appear to be the true beginning of the commentary.] Lust is many-branched, unfocussed."

(1) First ofall, the words mayy Avezita-dhiyAM make it clear that there is no question of desire for any other object than Krishna, and within him, there is no desire for any other taste (rasAntara) [i.e., material or selfish pleasure]. Such desires [for Krishna] could never lead to vulgar sexual pleasures (grAmya-kAma-sukha). Why? Because this kAma [in relation to Krishna] is [in itself] the highest goal of life, due to its being entirely permeated by the joy of divine love.

(2) Alternatively, this statement (na… kAmaH kAmAya kalpate) is a rhetorical question based on intonation. In other words, « Kama means that which is desired. So how can it not be worthy of enjoyement? » In other words, it must be! The desires of those whose hearts are absorbed in Krishna should be fulfilled. The reason being that the desire of such a person fully absorbed in Krishna are a function of supreme prema that has matured by such absorption. This has been explained extensively in the Brihad Bhagavatamritam. [I’d like to know what he’s refering to here, exactly. It would actually be a good exercise to go through the Toshani and find all the references to BB and try to track them down.]

(3) Alternatively, do not even mundane desires [when in relation to Krishna] merit fulfilment in that way? For, being in relation to Krishna, they are also essentially free of any mundane tinge. So if that is the case, then how much more applicable it is to those such as the gopis whose love is so pure. This is the glory of the way that they desire Krishna.

The example here is given to show the attainment of the desire. bharjitA means sun-dried, which makes seed as dry as if it had been burned. Then afterwards, kvathitA, which means soaked as if boiled. So will seed be able to sprout after all that? Indeed it is capable of doing so.

(4) Or, what can be said? Every desire has its results, but those directed toward Krishna have even greater results. Therefore, the statement kAmaH kAmAya kalpate means that such desires to not result in achieving the intended goal alone, but others far beyond one’s expectations. Therefore in the case of these gopis who had asked to have Krishna as their husband, they attained him as their paramour instead, an experience that brought them even greater joy. The example is that a seed that has been fried and boiled will not sprout, but if dried and then soaked, it not only sprouts, but abundant fruit thereafter.

(5) It may be said that the desires of those whose consciousness is fixed in Krishna do not result in the various kinds of material sense gratification, but are they not capable of resulting in all things, desired and not expressly desired? Once again, through the intonation, this can be taken as a rhetorical question, the answer being, “Of course!”

(6) Or, kalpate may be taken to mean “worthy of becoming,” since worshiping Krishna in even the most perfunctory way still results in attaining results from Krishna that exceed all expectations. As will be said later on,

kAmaM krodhaM bhayaM sneham aikyaM sauhRdam eva ca |
nityaM harau vidadhato yAnti tan-mayatAM hi te ||

Those who constantly relate to the Lord through lust, anger, fear, affection, a sense of oneness, or friendship, become completely absorbed in him. (BhP. 10.29.15)

In the Seventh Canto it is also said, “Therefore fix your mind on Krishna by whatever means possible.” (tasmAt kenApy upAyena manaH kRSNe nivezayet, BhP. 7.1.31)

The Lord also said to Rukmini Devi,

ye mAM bhajanti dAmpatye tapasA vrata-caryayA |
kAmAtmAno’pavargezaM mohitA mama mAyayA ||

Although I have the power to award spiritual liberation, those absorbed in desire worship me with penances and vows in order to enjoy their lives as married couples. Such persons are bewildered by my Maya. (BhP. 10.60.52)

This verse is explained as follows: “The word dAmpatye here means “to enjoy their lives as married couples. A woman wants to enjoy her husband, and the man his wife. They worship the Lord with these desires as their goal, even though he can bestow liberation. In the Fifth Canto (5.6.17) it is said that the word apavarga means loving devotion (prema-bhakti). Krishna is the giver of this prema bhakti. Nevertheless, those who worship him [for other goals] they are bewildered by his Maya. In other words, whenever we see a condemnation of kAma, it refers to the desire for anything other than Krishna, which is an obstacle interfering with the attainment of the primary goal of life and is therefore not engaged in by those who relish the taste of devotion. This has also been explained there (?). But since you desire to have Krishna as your husband, it certainly does merit being fulfilled.

(7) Or, no desire [of someone fully absorbed in Krishna] merits being fulfilled as some other kind of sense enjoyment, but rather merits being transformed into prema and leading to the supreme joy. As stated by Krishna to Rukmini,

yAn yAn kAmayase kAmAn mayy akAmAya bhAmini |
santi hy ekAnta-bhaktAyAs tava kalyANi nityadA ||

Whatever pleasures you desire in order to develop love (akAma) for me, O Rukmini, O auspicious one! exist eternally in you already, for you are my unalloyed devotee. (BhP. 10.60.50)

This verse is explained as follows: “The word akAma means prema, because there is no other desire for any other fruit. Desires do, however, exist and they will grow. They will not however give other fruits, any more than seeds, which when they sprout eventually give forth the same kind of fruit, not something different. But since they are themselves enjoyable, they are capable of quickly bestowing the greatest joy.

LVT: Krishna explains the rationale behind approving their desire. “Those whose minds are absorbed in me, in other words, those who serveme even in their minds, for them alone desire, such as the desires to rule great kingdoms and possess great riches, are not seen as material desire, but are transformed into niSkAma bhakti for me. This was stated by Kardama Muni—

satyaM dizaty arthitam arthito nRNAM
naivArthado yat punar arthitA yataH
svayaM vidhatte bhajatAm anicchatAm
icchApidhAnaM nija-pAda-pallavam

It is true that Lord Krishna fulfills one’s desire whenever someone petitions him to do so. However, he does not award anything which, once having been received, will be asked for again and again. Even if these worshipers show no desire for his lotus feet, the Lord personally bestows this benediction on them, whereby they will forget all their transitory material desires. (SB 5.19.27)

“If this is true for the worship of Vishnu, then how much truer it must be for you, who consider service to me to be the only supremely meaningful purpose in life?”

The example given of how such desires cannot be taken as selfish desire is that of fried barley grains. By saying both fried and boiled, Krishna is exaggerating to make his point.

An alternative interpretation: “Those whose mind are absorbed in me” means “those who make me the one supremely meaningful purpose in life.” For them, the only desire is to have service to my lotus feet. Such desires can never be transformed into any other kind of desire, for they themselves are relishable. So if this applies generally, how much more so for these gopis. The example given is appropriate—barley grains when fried in ghee take on a good taste, and then when boiled again in gur, becomes delicious. Of course then they cannot be used as seed, but since they are themselves relishable, no problem. So Krishna is saying, “O gopis! Your desire for serving me in love has been prepared according to a recipe that has imbued it with a mood that leaves no place for any other kind of desire. This comes out of some special sweetness of mine.”

Later the gopis will express their appreciation for this sweetness in the following verse:

surata-vardhanaM zoka-nAzanaM
svarita-veNunA suSThu cumbitam |
itara-rAga-vismAraNaM nRNAM
vitara vIra nas te’dharAmRtam ||

O valiant one!
Please distribute to us the nectar of your lips,
the nectar that increases our desires to love you
and destroys all our lamentations;
the nectar that has been sweetened
by the touch of your vibrating flute,
and makes humanity forget all its other loves.

NON SEQUITUR: By the way, a funny thing happened yesterday. I was chanting this verse "surata-vardhanam" in the temple. It was so lovely to sing it aloud, so I found myself repeating it many times. It just so happens that this is the verse in the CC that Ramananda recites to Mahaprabhu while he is relishing prasad and thinking of Krishna’s lips. (Antya 16.117) When I had sung the verse several times and my eyes were closed in relish, I heard a "plop"! I looked up to see someone walking away. He had left a little package of prasadam on my folder. I burst out laughing it was so timely. Thanks to Mukunda Gauranga Das for his part in that bit of synchronicity.

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita explains how this mood is the supreme goal of life, as does the Bhagavata-sandarbha.

Furthermore, it is said,

etAH parAM tanu-bhRto bhuvi gopa-vadhvo
govinda eva nikhilAtmani rUDha-bhAvAH
vAJchanti yad bhava-bhiyo munayo vayaM ca
kiM brahma-janmabhir ananta-kathA-rasasya

These cowherd women are the most glorious of all embodied beings on this earth, for they have the most elevated feelings of love for Govinda, the soul of the unlimited creation. This is something which is wished for by the saints who fear material existence and by us, too. Oh! What is the use of a life as long as that of Brahma for one who is immersed in the joys of hearing about the Infinite Lord? (BhP 10.47.58)

If we follow logically the implications of this verse, then the gopis are the most peaceful, because even the peaceful munis who have transcended material existence desire their state of love. In view of this, how could they possible desire anything that will disrupt their inner peace? So it is concluded that their desires deserved to be realized.

Moreover, it is concluded that this pastime is transcendental because even though it reveal certain qualities of Krishna that are like thos of a charming playboy, they are in relationship to him, the Supreme Lord.

BKS : The question is “How can they have had the desire to enjoy physical union?” In answer, Krishna says, “For those whose hearts [read subconscious minds] are absorbed in me, any desire or purpose will not be taken as a desire. Intentionality is a function of the mind and is therefore impermanent. If such intentions are directed toward me, however, then they are eternal. Such intentions do not arise again, just like seeds that have been parched and then steamed cannot be used as seed; in other words, once the mental function of intentionality has been invested in me, it remains there and does not arise again [to be directed elsewhere]. It is thus permanent, because it does not change in the way that ordinary desires do.

Another interpretation is that “desires do not again become intentions.” The reason being that in relation to Krishna, as soon as one desires, one is fulfilled.

Yet another interpretation is, that if one’s mind is totally absorbed in Krishna, it is already full and completely satisfied. How then can any other desire manifest there? In the hearts of such devotees, they can never seek any other goal. The example can be applied to these interpretations also.

Priti-sandarbha (51) : “Those whose minds are absorbed in me, who are my single-minded devotees, for them alone does the desire or intent to worship me never become transformed into a yearning for something else, for it is in itself completely relishable. The example is given in the form on an arthAntara-nyAsa. [This is a figure of speech where an illustration is introduced without any direct grammatical relation to the matter at hand. i.e., there is no “like” or “as”, such as would be used in an ordinary simile. The translation, however, has made use of the words “just as.”]

Grains such as barley, when crushed and then parched, or fried in ghee, and then boiled in gur (jaggery), then cannot serve as seed. In other words, it cannot be used like barley seed to grow more barley. Rather, it is itself relishable. Similarly, for the gopis, serving Krishna was its own reward. The power of the object of their desire will bring them to peace from the turmoil of desire, so think the peaceful sadhus who observe them. Therefore in the verse from the Gopi-gita (10.32.14 quoted above), they say that Krishna’s lip nectar makes one forget all other desires (itara-rAga-vismAraNam) once it has been relished. Of course the same verse shows that there is a certain agitation in loving Krishna also, for it says “it increases desire” (surata-vardhanam).

VCT: “Even if one engages in my worship momentarily, with some ulterior motive, insincerely and improperly, it deserves to become a reality because of my transcendental qualities. In other words, I can make it so. So what to speak of the desire to worship me in pure souls like yourselves whose love for me has reached the supreme limit?

Lust (kAma) generally means a kind of cheating that is characterized by self-centered desires. Such lusts [in relation to Krishna] do not result in simple sense gratification (kAma), the kind of incomplete result that is usually their end, but through the glory of the object of these desires leads to their pacification. [VCT as usual follows Sridhara more closely than either Sanatan or Jiva.] The word grains here is taken to mean barley, for barley sprouts easily just on falling on muddy ground. If however, it falls on quartz or some other hard surface and is baked in the sun, and then soaked in the rain and steamed in the hot water, then it will never sprout. The word prAya should not be taken in a limiting sense (“almost”) but as meaning “just as,” as stated in the Medini lexicon.

Baladeva : That which you have stated is your goal, and not anything else. Those who make me their supreme goal in life and whose minds are ordered in that way, their desire to serve me exclusively in love cannot be transformed into any other kind of desire, for it is itself relishable. [i.e., it is itself the result.] If this is true for others, then how much more it is true for you. (etc., as usual, nothing much original in Baladeva.)


Gopala Champu

[v38] “Just as grains that have been well-fried in ghee
and then boiled completely in jaggery continue to look like seeds,
but cannot fulfill any such hope,
so too, the worship of those who hope only for me
leads to the fulfilment of no other hope,
but is itself joyfulness incarnate.
If this be true for them, then how much more so it is for you.(41)

[85] When they heard these words, the clear-complexioned gopis expected that moment when Krishna would accept them by saying “Let us then immediately perform the GAndharva marriage rites.”(42) This prospect led them to avert their glances in shyness.


(41) 10.22.26: “The desires of those who are absorbed in thought of me are not to be considered material desire; they do not have the same consequences any more than rice that has been fried and boiled can later be used as seed.”

(42) The gandharva rite refers to one of the eight types of marriage accepted by the Hindu tradition. It is now commonly referred to as the “love-marriage.” Gandharva-parva means immediate consummation without any other ritual.


BBT Edition

The words mayy Avezita-dhiyAm are very significant here. Unless one has achieved an advanced degree of devotion, one cannot fix the mind and intelligence on Krishna, since Krishna is pure spiritual existence. Self-realization is a state not of desirelessness but rather of purified desire, wherein one desires only the pleasure of Lord Krishna. The gopis were certainly attracted to Krishna in a mood of conjugal love, and yet, having fixed their minds and indeed their entire existence completely on Krishna, their conjugal desire could never manifest as material lust; rather, it became the most exalted form of love of Godhead ever seen within the universe.


Another thing that happened yesterday at the temple. After I had finished my meditation, I chanted the entire chapter right through. I wish I had done this every day, as it certainly helps keep the overview. Doing the commentaries like this makes you tend to miss the forest for the trees.

One thing I noticed was the frequent repetition of the word vAsAMsi, which made me think of the Gita 2.22. Could the entire story have a connection to this metaphor, clothes=body? That is not too farfetched. Bhaktivinoda Thakur writes in Sri Krishna Samhita (5.3-4)

yeSAM tu kRSNa-dAsyecchA vartate balavattarA |
gopanIyaM na teSAM hi svasmin vAnyatra kiJcana ||
etad vai zikSayan kRSNo vastrANi vyaharan prabhuH |
dadarzAnAvRtaM cittaM rati-sthAnam anAmayam ||

Those whose desire to attain service to Krishna is very strong must not hide anything [from him], either within themselves or elsewhere. In order to impart this teaching, the Lord stole the gopis’ clothes and beheld their uncovered hearts, the uncontaminated site of pure love.

At any rate, a reading substituting “body” for “clothes” might be illuminating. “Give us back our bodies, Krishna.” J

Jagat - Sun, 26 Dec 2004 06:01:51 +0530
Day 28 (1207)

Due to circumstances beyond my control, this and the next verse shall be even more rushed than before. My apologies. Next year, I'll edit the whole thing and add the missing portions.

|| 10.22.27 ||

yAtAbalA vrajaM siddhA mayemA raMsyatha kSapAH |
yad uddizya vratam idaM cerur AryArcanaM satIH ||

O pure ones, go home to Vraja now.
You shall enjoy with me on some future night;
you have achieved the goal,
for which you worshiped the goddess.

Sridhara : Here the word siddhAH (“successful, achieved the goal”) means that their desires had been fulfilled (pUrNa-manorathAH).

Srinath : How, then, was it that the gopis did not have their desires fulfilled right then? That is answered here. Krishna said, “Go home, girls.” The Vraja virgins fall into two groups—those who were already perfected beforehand, and those who attained perfection as a result of performing this vrata. Those who were already perfect beforehand performed the vrata with the others just for fun (kautuka-vazAt). abalA and siddhA are both vocatives.

“But how can we leave? You still haven’t give us what we were looking for.” Knowing they were thinking this, Krishna said, “I will enjoy with you on these nights, namely from this night onwards. For the time being, though, we have had physical association through your clothing.”

BVT: Krishna goes about fulfilling their desires: “You shall enjoy with me throughout the nights, in other words, you will enjoy playing with me in the Rasa Dance and will achieve a special kind of bliss. In this way, you will experience something beyond the ken of even Lakshmi Devi, as will be confirmed by Uddhava himself.

nAyaM zriyo’Gga u nitAnta-rateH prasAdaH
svar-yoSitAM nalina-gandha-rucAM kuto 'nyAH |
rAsotsave 'sya bhuja-daNDa-gRhIta-kaNTha-
labdhAziSAM ya udagAd vraja-sundarINAm ||

In the rasa dance, the Lord showed his favor to the beauties of Vraja by placing his powerful arms on their shoulders and dancing with each of them individually. This benediction of extreme love was never experienced by even Lakshmi Devi, what to speak of the goddesses in the heavenly planets -- though they have the delightful fragrance of lotus flowers. (SB 10.47.60)

BKS: “There is no reason for any doubt here. Your wishes have been fulfilled. So go home girls! O perfected ones! (reading it as a vocative). Today you have been perfected; in other words, you were not perfected before this moment.” When Krishna saw they were still not going, he spoke even more clearly, “O girls (abalA)! O virgins! You performed this vrata in order to be able to enjoy with me. Starting with this night tonight, you will enjoy with me every single night henceforth. O holy ones !” Or, satIH can be broken down as “sa” = with, and tIH “end, completion” and is used as an adjective describing the vrata itself. In other words, they had fulfilled their initiation in the vrata.

VCT: In order to show that the most auspicious time for first love is at night [It is still morning.], Krishna said, “Go home.” When Krishna says, “You have been perfected,” this is to show that the gopis are making a pretense of ordinary human actions as a way of enriching the pastime’s sweetness. “These nights” means that they are not far in the future.


Gopala Champu

But Krishna rather increased their good fortune by clarifying his intention to fulfill their desire as follow:

[v39] “Marriage consists of mutual acceptance,
the other things that follow are subsidiary to that.
It is the primary sense of marriage that has been fulfilled here;
so you have achieved your objectives
and may now return to the cowherd settlement.
We shall consummate it on some future night.” (43)


(43) 10.22.27: “Go home to Vraja now, girls. You have achieved the goal for which you worshiped the goddess and shall enjoy with me on some future night.” Jiva has incorporated aspects of Sanatan’s commentary here.


Jagat - Sun, 26 Dec 2004 06:08:51 +0530
Last day of vrata. And this I am afraid is it for the time being.

|| 10.22.28 ||

ity AdiSTA bhagavatA labdha-kAmAH kumArikAH |
dhyAyatyas tat-padAmbhojaM kRcchrAn nirvivizur vrajam ||

So ordained by the Lord
the young girls, their desires fulfilled
returned painfully to the Vraja
meditating on his lotus feet.


Gopala Champu

[86] When Krishna had made this promise to them, the girls found that their concentration on him became more intense. For as zuka has said,

Being thus ordered by the Lord,
the virgins, having attained their wishes,
returned painfully to Vraja,
meditating on his lotus feet.(44)

We shall here describe this return to the village:

[v40] With their eyes, they went
from Krishna’s eyes to the circle of his face,
from there to his arms, waist and hips,
from there to his thighs and then knees,
then finally they reached his two lotus feet.
Bending low with shyness, the doe-eyed maidens
constantly beheld every part of his body again,
even after leaving,
but the feet in particular remained permanently fixed
within their hearts.

[v41] Having stolen from the virgins
their minds as well as their clothes,
Krishna returned only the latter,
but not the former, as though
it were something formless that should be kept hidden.

[v42] If out of excitement these gopis then forgot
to perform the worship of the goddess
to complete the last day of the month’s observance
before returning to Vraja,
their monthly observance had been completed by Krishna.
All the acts of their vow had been performed out of love;
if they now received the joy of acceptance by Krishna,
the direct fruit of that love,
then what desire or sacrifice remained for them?

[87] Madhukantha said, “The goddess had enjoyed delicious sweets as offerings for an entire month, how is it that she did not come there herself to give the gopis the results of their observance?”

[88] Snigdhakantha replied,

[v43] “The goddess Durga wished to reveal
that the gopis desire alone had brought them fulfilment,
and not their worship of her.
Thus she did not appear to grant the boon,
but rather allowed the object of their desire do it himself.”

[89] Madhukantha said, “Surely Garga kept these girls at a distance from Krishna just as he had the others, and for the same reasons.” (45)

[90] Snigdhakantha answered, “That he did, but not directly.”

[91] Madhukantha asked, “How is that so?”

[92] Snigdhakantha answered, “Though Garga never even considered returning to Vraja because he was disturbed by the prospect of seeing Radha and the other chaste gopi women suffering, nevertheless, since he had sworn the king and queen of Vraja not to seek the performance of Krishna’s sacred thread ceremony or marriage, Nanda and YazodA were overwhelmed by the distress of not attaining Radha and the others as their daughters-in-law. These other gopis had discussed this amongst themselves and wanted to alleviate their pain [by marrying KRNa].”

[93] Madhukantha asked, “Then how is it that these girls were never married to other cowherds, unlike Radha and those of her group?”

[94] Snigdhakantha answered, “It is because they externally remained physically too young for marriage, while internally, they behaved as though they had already wed Krishna.”

[95] Madhukantha said, “Quite so, the immaturity of RâdhA’s group interfered with their understanding and led them into their conflictual situation of being married to other men. But this same external compromise could not take place in the latter group, for they had reached a state of awareness?”(46)


(44) This is a direct quote of BhP 10.22.28.

(45) Garga had told Nanda that if any cowherd girl were to marry Krishna, he would leave the cowherd community forever. This warning had frightened the gopis’ parents to withdraw their proposals of marriage for their daughters with Krishna and arrange marriages with other cowherds.

(46) In other words they were able to forestall the coming of puberty.


BBT Version

The gopis' desire was fulfilled because Lord Krishna had agreed to act as their husband. A young girl can never spend the night with any man except her husband, and thus when Krishna agreed to engage the girls in the nocturnal rasa dance during the coming autumn season, in effect He was agreeing to reciprocate their love for Him in the role of a husband.

Jagat - Sun, 26 Dec 2004 09:17:45 +0530
A few more revisions were made to the Sanskrit document posted earlier.
Madanmohan das - Sun, 26 Dec 2004 23:28:51 +0530
Could'nt wait to include this from Stavamala.

smerAbhih salile kalindaduhiturmagnAbhirAkandharam
skandhanyastasamastapattavasano narmoktibhangIpatuh/
nirvyAjam vrajakanyakAbhirasakrd bhavyAbhirabhyarthitah
pAyAt tungakadambasAkhisikharArudhas-trilokIm harih//

The Vraja-maidens stood smiling in the Kalindaduhita's waters upto their necks, while Hari placed their garments on the boughs of the tree, and showed his dexterity of wit with humorous discourse. Those maidens ernestly pleaded with him repeatedly to return their clothes, while he asscended a lofty branch of the Kadamba tree; may that Hari vouchsafe protection to the three worlds.

Sri Rupa

Madanmohan das - Tue, 28 Dec 2004 04:11:38 +0530
Is this finished or is there more? I guess it's never ending. Would it be possible to print it out on paper for more convienient reading?
Jagat - Tue, 28 Dec 2004 20:10:24 +0530
The lila ends at verse 28.

It would be nice to revise the whole thing. I will be adding something today at verse 26. I finally figured out what Sanatan was getting at, and there are seven more interesting explanations of "kAmaH kAmAya kalpate."

OK, That was added as of 8h30 pm. Eastern time, on Dec. 28, 2004.

I think I will have to leave it there for the time being. Please take everything with a grain of salt, as these are very rough translations, done pretty much on the fly, under the pressure of finishing it within the set time frame.
Jagat - Wed, 29 Dec 2004 00:23:04 +0530
Bhaktivedanta Swami purports to verses quoted in Laghutoshani at 10.60.50, which was found in BVT to 10.22.26. This replaces the Jagat-purana.


BhP 5.18.19
My dear Lord, You are certainly the fully independent master of all the senses. Therefore all women who worship You by strictly observing vows because they wish to acquire a husband to satisfy their senses are surely under illusion. They do not know that such a husband cannot actually give protection to them or their children. Nor can he protect their wealth or duration of life, for he himself is dependent on time, fruitive results and the modes of nature, which are all subordinate to You.

In this verse, Lakshmidevi (Rama) shows compassion toward women who worship the Lord for the benediction of possessing a good husband. Although such women desire to be happy with children, wealth, a long duration of life and everything dear to them, they cannot possibly do so. In the material world, a so-called husband is dependent on the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are many examples of a woman whose husband, being dependent on the result of his own fruitive actions, cannot maintain his wife, her children, her wealth or her duration of life. Therefore, factually the only real husband of all women is Krishna, the supreme husband. Because the gopis were liberated souls, they understood this fact. Therefore they rejected their material husbands and accepted Krishna as their real husband. Krishna is the real husband not only of the gopis, but of every living entity. Everyone should perfectly understand that Krishna is the real husband of all living entities, who are described in the Bhagavad-gita as prakriti (female), not purusha (male). In Bhagavad-gita (10.12), only Krishna is addressed as purusha:

paraḿ brahma paraḿ dhama
pavitraḿ paramaḿ bhavan
purushaḿ śaśvataḿ divyam
adi-devam ajaḿ vibhum

"You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all-pervading beauty."

Krishna is the original purusha, and the living entities are prakriti. Thus Krishna is the enjoyer, and all living entities are meant to be enjoyed by Him. Therefore any woman who seeks a material husband for her protection, or any man who desires to become the husband of a woman, is under illusion. To become a husband means to maintain a wife and children nicely by supplying wealth and security. However, a material husband cannot possibly do this, for he is dependent on his karma. Karmana-daiva-netrena: his circumstances are determined by his past fruitive activities. Therefore if one proudly thinks he can protect his wife, he is under illusion. Krishna is the only husband, and therefore the relationship between a husband and wife in this material world cannot be absolute. Because we have the desire to marry, Krishna mercifully allows the so-called husband to possess a wife, and the wife to possess a so-called husband, for mutual satisfaction. In the Ishopanishad it is said, tena tyaktena bhuñjitha: the Lord provides everyone with his quota. Actually, however, every living entity is prakriti, or female, and Krishna is the only husband.

ekale iśvara krishna, ara saba bhritya
yare yaiche nacaya, se taiche kare nritya
(Cc. Adi 5.142)

Krishna is the original master or husband of everyone, and all other living entities, having taken the form of so-called husbands, or wives, are dancing according to His desire. A so-called husband may unite with his wife for sense gratification, but his senses are conducted by Hrishikeśa, the master of the senses, who is therefore the actual husband.

BhP 5.18.20
He alone who is never afraid but who, on the contrary, gives complete shelter to all fearful persons can actually become a husband and protector. Therefore, my Lord, you are the only husband, and no one else can claim this position. If you were not the only husband, You would be afraid of others. Therefore persons learned in all Vedic literature accept only Your Lordship as everyone's master, and they think no one else a better husband and protector than You.

Here the meaning of husband or guardian is clearly explained. people want to become a husband, a guardian, a governor or a political leader without knowing the actual meaning of such a superior position. There are many people all over the world — indeed, throughout the universe — who claim for some time that they are husbands, political leaders or guardians, but in due course of time the Supreme Lord desires their removal from their posts, and their careers are immediately finished. Therefore those who are actually learned and advanced in spiritual life do not accept any leader, husband or maintainer other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Lord Krishna personally states in Bhagavad-gita (18.66), ahaḿ tvaḿ sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami: "I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions." Krishna is not afraid of anyone. On the contrary, everyone is afraid of Krishna. Therefore He can actually give protection to a subordinate living entity. Since so-called leaders or dictators are completely under the control of material nature, they can never give complete protection to others, although they claim this ability due to false prestige. Na te viduḥ svartha-gatiḿ hi vishnum: [SB 7.5.31] people do not know that real advancement in life consists of accepting the Supreme Personality of Godhead as one's master. Instead of deceiving themselves and others by pretending to be all-powerful, all political leaders, husbands and guardians should spread the Krishna consciousness movement so that everyone can learn how to surrender to Krishna, the supreme husband.

BhP 5.18.21
My dear Lord, You automatically fulfill all the desires of a woman who worships Your lotus feet in pure love. However, if a woman worships Your lotus feet for a particular purpose, You also quickly fulfill her desires, but in the end she becomes broken-hearted and laments. Therefore one need not worship Your lotus feet for some material benefit.

Śrila Rūpa Gosvami describes pure devotional service as anyabhilashita-śūnyaḿ jñana-karmady-anavritam [Madhya 19.167]. One should not worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead to fulfill some material desire for success in fruitive activities or mental speculation. To serve the lotus feet of the Lord means to serve Him exactly as He desires. The neophyte devotee is therefore ordered to worship the Lord strictly according to the regulative principles given by the spiritual master and the śastras. By executing devotional service in that way, he gradually becomes attached to Krishna, and when his original dormant love for the Lord becomes manifest, he spontaneously serves the Lord without any motive. This condition is the perfect stage of one's relationship with the Lord. The Lord then looks after the comfort and security of His devotee without being asked. Krishna promises in Bhagavad-gita (9.22):

ananyaś cintayanto maḿ
ye janaḥ paryupasate
teshaḿ nityabhiyuktanaḿ
yoga-kshemaḿ vahamy aham

The Supreme Lord personally takes care of anyone who is completely engaged in His devotional service. Whatever he has, the Lord protects, and whatever he needs, the Lord supplies. Therefore why should one bother the Lord for something material? Such prayers are unnecessary.

Śrila Viśvanatha Cakravarti Ṭhakura explains that even if a devotee wishes the Lord to fulfill a particular desire, the devotee should not be considered a sakama-bhakta (a devotee with some motive). In the Bhagavad-gita (7.16) Krishna says:

catur-vidha bhajante maḿ
janaḥ sukritino 'rjuna
arto jijñasur artharthi
jñani ca bharatarshabha

"O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me — the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute."

The arta and the artharthi, who approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead for relief from misery or for some money, are not sakama-bhaktas, although they appear to be. Being neophyte devotees, they are simply ignorant. Later in Bhagavad-gita the Lord says, udaraḥ sarva evaite: they are all magnanimous (udaraḥ). Although in the beginning a devotee may harbor some desire, in due course of time it will vanish. Therefore the Śrimad-Bhagavatam enjoins:

akamaḥ sarva-kamo va
moksha-kama udara-dhiḥ
tivrena bhakti-yogena
yajeta purushaḿ param

"A person who has broader intelligence, whether he is full of all material desire, is free from material desire, or has a desire for liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead." (Bhag. 2.3.10)
Even if one wants something material, he should pray to no one but the Lord to fulfill his desire. If one approaches a demigod for the fulfillment of his desires, he is to be considered nashṭa-buddhi, bereft of all good sense. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (7.20):

kamais tais tair hrita-jñanaḥ
prapadyante 'nya-devataḥ
taḿ taḿ niyamam asthaya
prakritya niyataḥ svaya

"Those whose minds are distorted by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures."

Lakshmidevi advises all devotees who approach the Lord with material desires that according to her practical experience, the Lord is Kamadeva, and thus there is no need to ask Him for anything material. She says that everyone should simply serve the Lord without any motive. Since the Supreme Personality of Godhead is sitting in everyone's heart, He knows everyone's thoughts, and in due course of time He will fulfill all desires. Therefore let us completely depend on the service of the Lord without bothering Him with our material requests.
Kalkidas - Wed, 29 Dec 2004 15:09:49 +0530
I deleted my post after considering.
Tapati - Thu, 30 Dec 2004 09:00:52 +0530

I guess all good things must come to an end, but I find myself wishing this was much longer. It is so beautiful! I understand, Jagat, that you are a perfectionist in your service, and you may not resist the temptation to return periodically and tinker here and there, but I hope you appreciate how wonderful this is, especially under the time pressure.

Thank you!
Anand - Thu, 30 Dec 2004 19:11:32 +0530
I guess all good things must come to an end,

Things come to an end when they cease being good.


Thank you for your presentation of a most beautiful subject.
Jagat - Thu, 30 Dec 2004 19:17:05 +0530
I am glad you enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun doing it. Like I said, it still needs a good edit because I was a little careless about consistency in translation. There were a few tricky bits, especially with the translation of kAma.

Madanmohan das - Fri, 31 Dec 2004 01:42:02 +0530
Dear Jagat, why not do a similar treatment for chapter 21 or 35 of the 10th skandha? without any deadlines or time schedhules. Just a suggestion, I know you're busy. Also, do have anymore pictures like the one "Jalkeli" that you posted there? I presume it was from some book or other.
Satyabhama - Fri, 31 Dec 2004 01:50:00 +0530
Also, do have anymore pictures like the one "Jalkeli" that you posted there? I presume it was from some book or other.

Yeah, that was my favorite, too! smile.gif
Jagat - Fri, 31 Dec 2004 06:10:59 +0530
Actually, that picture was provided by Satyabhama. So maybe she can tell you where she got it.

I was thinking about doing another chapter. 21 sounds good. But it may have to wait. By the grace of the Vaishnavas on this forum, I have been able to purchase a ticket to India, where I will be going on the 22nd of January.

I will have numerous concerns to see through before I can leave, not the least is a translation project that has been sitting on the back burners for several months now. So perhaps when I come back from India at the end of February.

Satyabhama - Fri, 31 Dec 2004 06:16:01 +0530
Actually, that picture was provided by Satyabhama. So maybe she can tell you where she got it.

No, not that one... this one:
Madanmohan das - Fri, 31 Dec 2004 21:23:37 +0530
yes! That one.