Srimad Bhagavatam 11.12.12 - Accepting Krishna as Our Real Husband (download mp3)
by Akrura Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
ta navidan mayy anusanga-baddha-
dhiyah svam atmanam adas tathedam
yatha samadhau munayo ’bdhi-toye
nadyah pravista iva nama-rupe
My dear Uddhava, just as great sages in yoga trance merge into self-realization, like rivers merging into the ocean, and are thus not aware of material names and forms, similarly, the gopis of Vrndavana were so completely attached to Me within their minds that they could not think of their own bodies, or of this world, or of their future lives. Their entire consciousness was simply bound up in Me.
The words svam atmanam adas tathedam indicate that while for ordinary persons one’s personal body is the most near and dear thing, the gopis considered their own bodies to be distant and remote, just as a yogi in samadhi trance considers ordinary things around his physical body or his physical body itself to be most remote. When Krsna played on His flute late at night, the gopis immediately forgot everything about their so-called husbands and children and went to dance with Lord Krsna in the forest. These controversial points have been clearly explained in the book Krsna, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The basic explanation is that Lord Krsna is the source of everything, and the gopis are the Lord’s own potency. Thus there is no discrepancy or immorality in the almighty Personality of Godhead’s loving affairs with His own manifest potency, the gopis, who happen to be the most beautiful young girls in the creation of God.
There is no illusion on the part of the gopis, for they are so attracted to Lord Krsna that they do not care to think of anything else. Since all existence is situated within the body of Lord Krsna, there is no loss for the gopis when they concentrate on the Lord. It is the nature of very deep love to exclude all objects except the beloved. However, in the material world, where we try to love a limited temporary object such as our nation, family or personal body, our exclusion of other objects constitutes ignorance. But when our love is intensely concentrated on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the origin of everything, such concentration cannot be considered ignorance or small-mindedness.
The example of the sages in samadhi is given here only to illustrate exclusive concentration on a single object. Otherwise, there is no comparison between the ecstatic love of the gopis and the dry meditation of the yogis, who merely try to understand that they are not their material bodies. Since the gopis had no material bodies to become detached from and were personally dancing with and embracing the Absolute Truth, one can never compare the exalted position of the gopis to that of mere yogis. It is stated that the bliss of impersonal Brahman realization cannot be compared to even an atomic fragment of the blissful ocean of love of Krsna. Intimate attachment is like a strong rope that binds the mind and heart. In material life we are bound to that which is temporary and illusory, and therefore such binding of the heart causes great pain. However, if we bind our minds and hearts to the eternal Lord Krsna, the reservoir of all pleasure and beauty, then our hearts will expand unlimitedly in the ocean of transcendental bliss.
One should understand that the gopis were not in any way inclined toward impersonal meditation, in which one denies the reality of variegated creation. The gopis did not deny anything; they simply loved Krsna and could not think of anything else. They only rejected whatever impeded their concentration on Lord Krsna, cursing even their own eyelids, which blinked and thus removed Krsna from their sight for a split second. Srila Rupa Gosvami has stated that all sincere devotees of the Lord should have the courage to remove from their lives anything that impedes their progressive march back home, back to Godhead.