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Gopi Geet - An epitome of devotion

Feb 16th, 2024 | 3 Min Read
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Category: Philosophy of Divine Love

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Language: English

The Shrimad Bhagavatam (Śrīmadbhāgavatam / श्रीमद्भागवतम्) is revered as a profound manifestation of Shree Krishna. Among its chapters, the Raas Panchadhyayi (rāsa Panchādhyāyī / रास पञ्चाध्यायी) spans from the 29th to the 33rd Chapter, encapsulating the essence of divine love. The Gopi Geet (Gopīgīt / गोपीगीत) expounded in the initial 19 verses of the 29th Chapter holds a significant place within this sacred scripture, which is considered to be the Nectar of Devotion. Regarded as the life force, or prāna, of the entire text, the Raas Panchadhyayi is viewed as the vital essence, with the Gopi Geet shining as the supreme jewel adorning Krishna's divine crown. 

Amid the Raas Leela, the Gopis are beset by pride, believing that the Shree Krishna is captivated by their love and beauty, making them the most fortunate. To humble their pride, Lord Shree Krishna vanishes from the scene. Overwhelmed by the agony of separation, the Gopis call out to Shree Krishna, leading to the creation of the Gopi Geet.

Who are the Gopis of Vrindavan?

The Gopis are divine beings of exceptional stature. In the path of devotion, the Gopis hold the highest regard. Brahma ji laments in the Vrihad Vaman Puran (Vṛhadvāmanapurāṇa / वृहद्वामनपुराण), "Despite 60,000 years of devout penance, I fail to attain even a speck of dust from the Gopis' feet." Uddhav ji aspires to be a blade of grass in Braj, worthy of the sacred dust from the Gopis' divine feet. In his Bhakti Darshan Sutras, Narad Ji says: यथा ब्रज गोपीकानां (Yathā Braj Gopikānām), which means, "To witness the true essence of devotion as described in my sutras, one needs to turn to the Gopis of Braj."

The name "Gopi" refers to someone who keeps their affection hidden. This is similar to a bright flame kept behind protective walls, which would lose its brilliance if exposed to the elements. Gopis are people who secretly nurture their deep love for Lord Krishna.

Similarly, Shree Krishna escapes from the confines of Mathura's prisons and seeks refuge in Braj to evade Kaṃsa. The Gopis, skilled at devotion, recognise Krishna's greatness and secretly participate in his divine activities while concealing his presence. They also nurtured their deep affection for him.

Self Less Love of the Cowherd Girls of the Braj and its qualities

The love exhibited by the Gopis is a profound and virtuous display of devotion. Their affection is solely directed towards pleasing their beloved without any hint of self-serving motives. They prioritise the happiness of Shri Radha Krishna above all else, devoting themselves entirely to orchestrating moments for their divine pastimes, aiming to enhance the mutual love and joy between the two. 

The ethos of Gopis' selfless divine love embodies three fundamental qualities:

  1. They consistently offer everything to the divine couple with pure intentions.
  2. They joyfully engage in activities to delight the divine pair, unwavering in their dedication regardless of the attention received in return, devoid of any desire for personal gratification.
  3. They harbour a deep sense of unworthiness in serving their beloved Shree Krishna or Swamini Shri Radha Rani, attributing their ability to contribute to the couple's pleasure solely to their benevolence and grace. They consider it a great privilege to serve in any capacity, irrespective of their physical proximity to the divine couple.

In a touching depiction, a Gopi implores Lord Krishna, "O my beloved Shyam Sundar! When you go into the forest to graze the cows, our hearts ache from the separation all day long. Just imagining your bare feet walking on thorns and stones in the forest fills us with sorrow. In the evening, when you return, we long to bow down and tenderly touch your lotus feet, yet refrain for fear of causing even the slightest discomfort to your delicate soles."

The poignant narrative illustrates the Gopis' ability to rise above their pain while enduring the agony of separation, focusing instead on their beloved Krishna's well-being. The profound love and selflessness portrayed represent an unparalleled level of emotion and devotion understood only by a Gopi.

In conclusion, Gopi Geet is a timeless testament to the power of love and surrender in the path of devotion. Through its verses, we are reminded of the eternal bond between the devotee and the divine, transcending time and space limitations and ultimately leading us towards Divine Bliss.

 

Read also

Lecture series on Gopi Geet by Swami Mukundananda

Gopi Geet lyrics in Sanskrit with English and Hindi meaning