Srimad Bhagavatam 01.09.40 - Importance of Devotees Association (download mp3)
by Dauji Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
kṛtam anukṛtavatya unmadāndhāḥ
prakṛtim agan kila yasya gopa-vadhvaḥ
Let my mind be fixed upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose motions and smiles of love attracted the damsels of Vrajadhāma [the gopīs]. The damsels imitated the characteristic movements of the Lord [after His disappearance from the rāsa dance].
By intense ecstasy in loving service, the damsels of Vrajabhūmi attained qualitative oneness with the Lord by dancing with Him on an equal level, embracing Him in nuptial love, smiling at Him in joke, and looking at Him with a loving attitude. The relation of the Lord with Arjuna is undoubtedly praiseworthy for devotees like Bhīṣmadeva, but the relation of the gopīs with the Lord is still more praiseworthy because of their still more purified loving service. By the grace of the Lord, Arjuna was fortunate enough to have the fraternal service of the Lord as chariot driver, but the Lord did not award Arjuna with equal strength. The gopīs, however, practically became one with the Lord by attainment of equal footing with the Lord. Bhīṣma’s aspiration to remember the gopīs is a prayer to have their mercy also at the last stage of his life. The Lord is satisfied more when His pure devotees are glorified, and therefore Bhīṣmadeva has not only glorified the acts of Arjuna, his immediate object of attraction, but has also remembered the gopīs, who were endowed with unrivalled opportunities for rendering loving service to the Lord. The gopīs’ equality with the Lord should never be misunderstood to be like the sāyujya liberation of the impersonalist. The equality is one of perfect ecstasy where the differential conception is completely eradicated, for the interests of the lover and the beloved become identical.