As Lord Krishna danced in the midst of the Gopikas, He looked like a shining emerald set in gold. As for the Gopikas, they were untutored in dancing. They danced, only because the Lord gave them the capacity to dance. It seemed as if He were dancing with so many mirror images of Himself. No Gopika remained unpaired with Krishna. Every Gopika had a Krishna beside her, elaborated Sankararama Dikshitar, in a discourse.

Seeing the dark hued dancing Krishna, peacocks were deceived into thinking that rain-bearing clouds had arrived, and they too spread their tails and danced joyfully. The love of the Gopikas for the Lord is held out as an example of what love for the Lord should be like. One of the verses in Krishna Karnamrutam, which prays for Krishna’s protection, describes Him as the One who was worshipped by the glances of the Gopikas. Leela Sukhar describes Krishna as the bhagadheya — good fortune — of the Gopikas. Describing the dance of the Lord, Narayana Bhattathiri says that all aspects of that divine dance were worthy of contemplation and meditation. The sweet notes which the Lord produced on His flute were matched by the pleasant singing of the Gopikas. The steps the Gopikas took in the course of the dance were like rhythmic beats for the dance. The Gopikas clapped their hands in joy and this, together with the jingling sound of their bangles, added to the musical effect. Celestial beings turned out to witness this dance.

Leela Sukhar could have described Krishna’s appealing good looks in countless ways, but he chose to describe them in the context of the Gopikas for so great was their love for the Lord. He says the songs of the Gopikas were sweet like honey for the presence of Krishna in their midst delighted them. Leela Sukhar talks of life becoming fruitful when he talks of the singing of the Gopikas. Life becomes meaningful only when we sing of the Lord.

The Gopikas were constantly thinking of the Lord, singing of Him, and when He reappeared, after a period of absence, they danced with Him. Their dance is the highlight of Srimad Bhagavatam.

More In: Faith | Friday Review