Faith

Devotion of the Gopikas

When Lord Krishna left the Gopikas, they cried for Him. Even their crying was tuneful. When one cries for God, then the cries will be musical. But if God does not find a place in one’s heart, then even a trained singer’s singing will be unmusical and unattractive, said Sankararama Diskhitar in a discourse.

Even as the Gopikas cried out for Him, Krishna reappeared before them, with a smile on His face that had the capacity to dispel their sorrow. Krishna came with garlands and with such beauty as to even attract Manmatha, the God of love. Manmatha is the one who usually kindles desires in people’s hearts appearing unbidden. When they begin to admire someone’s beauty, he directs their minds towards the person they admire. No one is immune from his deeds. But while Manmatha is responsible for our desiring an object of love, can anyone cause desire in Manmatha’s heart? Yes, the One who can do such a thing due to His attraction and magnetic charm is Krishna.

So when Krishna reappeared before the Gopikas, their joy was boundless. They rose and ran towards Him. Each of them showed her happiness in one way or another. One smeared His face with sandal paste. One was so overwhelmed that she could only stare at Him. The Gopikas spread their shawls on the ground and made an ad hoc seat for Him. One of them scolded Him and said, “Do you think that your disappearance from our midst makes you a great person? If you are a brave man, try to run out of my heart!”

There is no bhakti that can be said to equal that of the Gopikas. It was love that expected nothing in return. A true devotee loves the Lord, not with the motive of getting something that will enrich his life on this earth. Such things do not matter to a devotee. His presence is the only gift the Lord can confer on the devotee.

The Gopikas were simple village women, and yet they set an example for the rest of us to follow. They loved the Lord, and never asked Him for anything whereas, we, who are incapable of caring for Him as the Gopikas did, are constantly making demands of Him.


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Printable version | May 13, 2022 1:53:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/devotion-of-the-gopikas/article4200465.ece