Gopis are the Greatest Devotees of Krishna

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.22.20 - Gopis are the Greatest Devotees of Krishna (download mp3) , (download flv) and (download mp4)
by Srinathji Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.22.20
ity acyutenabhihitam vrajabala
 matva vivastraplavanam vrata-cyutim
tat-purti-kamas tad-asesa-karmanam
 saksat-krtam nemur avadya-mrg yatah

Thus the young girls of Vrndavana, considering what Lord Acyuta had told them, accepted that they had suffered a falldown from their vow by bathing naked in the river. But they still desired to successfully complete their vow, and since Lord Krsna is Himself the ultimate result of all pious activities, they offered their obeisances to Him to cleanse away all their sins.

The transcendental position of Krsna 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 Krsna. This does not mean that the Krsna 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 Krsna. Lord Krsna is God and therefore has no material desire to enjoy young girls in sexual affairs. As will be seen in this chapter, Lord Krsna 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 Krsna. In India there is a group called prakrta-sahajiya, who imitate these affairs of Krsna and try to enjoy naked young girls in the name of worshiping Krsna. 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 Krsna.

Five hundred years ago Krsna appeared as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who practiced strict celibacy throughout His student life and at the age of twenty-four took sannyasa, a lifelong vow of celibacy. Caitanya Mahaprabhu rigidly avoided contact with women in order to carry out His vow of loving service to Krsna. When Krsna 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 Krsna, 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 Krsna’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 Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: “The gopis were all simple souls, and whatever Krsna 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, Krsna, they immediately abided by His order. Thus they became the greatest lovers of Krsna, and His most obedient servitors.

“Nothing can compare with the Krsna consciousness of the gopis. Actually, the gopis did not care for Varuna or any other demigod; they only wanted to satisfy Krsna.”