Srimad Bhagavatam 10th Canto 22nd
by HDG Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Kåñëa Steals the Garments of the Unmarried Gopés
This chapter describes how the marriageable
daughters of the cowherd men worshiped Kätyäyané to get
Lord Çré Kåñëa as their husband, and how
Kåñëa stole the garments of the young girls and gave
the girls benedictions.
During the month of Märgaçérña, every day early in the morning the young daughters of the cowherds would take one another’s hands and, singing of Kåñëa’s transcendental qualities, go to the Yamunä to bathe. Desiring to obtain Kåñëa as their husband, they would then worship the goddess Kätyäyané with incense, flowers and other items.
One day, the young gopés left their garments on the shore as usual and began playing in the water while chanting of Lord Kåñëa’s activities. Suddenly Kåñëa Himself came there, took away all the garments and climbed a nearby kadamba tree. Wanting to tease the gopés, Kåñëa said, “I understand how fatigued you gopés are from your austerities, so please come onto the shore and take back your clothes.”
The gopés then pretended to become angry and said the cold water of the Yamunä was giving them great pain. If Kåñëa did not give them back their garments, they said, they would inform King Kaàsa of all that had happened. But if He did give the clothes back, they would willingly carry out His orders in the mood of humble servants.
Çré Kåñëa replied that He had no fear of King Kaàsa, and that if the girls really intended to follow His command and be His maidservants they should each immediately come onto the shore and take their respective garments. The girls, trembling from the cold, climbed out of the water with their two hands covering their private parts. Kåñëa, who felt great affection for them, again spoke: “Because while executing a vow you bathed in the water naked, you have committed an offense against the demigods, and to counteract it you should offer obeisances with joined palms. Then your vow of austerity will achieve its full result.”
The gopés followed this instruction and, folding their hands in respect, offered obeisances to Çré Kåñëa. Satisfied, He gave them back their clothing. But the young girls had become so attracted to Him that they could not leave. Understanding their minds, Kåñëa said that He knew they had worshiped Kätyäyané to get Him as their husband. Because they had offered their hearts to Him, their desires would never again become tainted by the mood of materialistic enjoyment, just as fried barleycorns can no longer grow into shoots. Next autumn, He told them, their most cherished desire would be fulfilled.
Then the gopés, fully satisfied, returned to Vraja, and Çré Kåñëa and His cowherd friends went off to a distant place to graze the cows.
Sometime later, when the boys felt disturbed by the great heat of summer, they took shelter at the base of a tree that stood just like an umbrella. The Lord then said that the life of a tree is most excellent, for even while feeling pain a tree continues to protect others from heat, rain, snow and so on. With its leaves, flowers, fruits, shade, roots, bark, wood, fragrance, sap, ashes, pulp and sprouts, a tree fulfills the desires of everyone. This kind of life is ideal. Indeed, said Kåñëa, the perfection of life is to act with one’s vital energy, wealth, intelligence and words for the benefit of all.
After the Lord had glorified the trees in this way, the entire company went to the Yamunä, where the cowherd boys let the cows drink the sweet water and also drank some themselves.
hemante prathame mäsi
cerur haviñyaà bhuïjänäù
Çukadeva Gosvämé said: During the first month of the winter season, the young unmarried girls of Gokula observed the vow of worshiping goddess Kätyäyané. For the entire month they ate only unspiced khichré.
The word hemante refers to the month of Märgaçérña—from approximately the middle of November to the middle of December, according to the Western calendar. In Volume One, Chapter Twenty-two, of Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Çréla Prabhupäda comments that the gopés “first ate haviñyänna, a kind of food prepared by boiling together mung däl and rice without any spices or turmeric. According to Vedic injunction, this kind of food is recommended to purify the body before one enacts a ritualistic ceremony.”
jalänte codite ‘ruëe
kåtvä pratikåtià devém
änarcur nåpa saikatém
gandhair mälyaiù surabhibhir
My dear King, after they had bathed in the water of the Yamunä just as the sun was rising, the gopés made an earthen deity of goddess Durgä on the riverbank. Then they worshiped her with such aromatic substances as sandalwood pulp, along with other items both opulent and simple, including lamps, fruits, betel nuts, newly grown leaves, and fragrant garlands and incense.
The word balibhiù in this verse indicates offerings of clothing, ornaments, food and so on.
patià me kuru te namaù
iti mantraà japantyas täù
püjäà cakruù kamärikäù
Each of the young unmarried girls performed her worship while chanting the following mantra. “O goddess Kätyäyané, O great potency of the Lord, O possessor of great mystic power and mighty controller of all, please make the son of Nanda Mahäräja my husband. I offer my obeisances unto you.”
According to various äcäryas, the goddess Durgä mentioned in this verse is not the illusory energy of Kåñëa called Maya but rather the internal potency of the Lord known as Yoga-mäyä. The distinction between the internal and external, or illusory, potency of the Lord is described in the Närada-païcarätra, in the conversation between Çruti and Vidyä:
saivä durgä tad-ätmikä
yä parä paramä çaktir
präptir bhavati nänyathä
anayä su-labho jïeya
yayä mugdaà jagat sarvaà
“The Lord’s inferior potency, known
as Durgä, is dedicated to His loving service. Being the Lord’s potency,
this inferior energy is nondifferent from Him. There is another, superior
potency, whose form is on the same spiritual level as that of God Himself.
Simply by scientifically understanding this supreme potency, one can immediately
achieve the Supreme Soul of all souls, who is the Lord of all lords. There
is no other process to achieve Him. That supreme potency of the Lord is
known as Gokuleçvaré, the goddess of Gokula. Her nature is
to be completely absorbed in love of God, and through Her one can easily
obtain the primeval God, the Lord of all that be. This internal potency
of the Lord has a covering potency, known as Mahä-mäyä,
who rules the material world. In fact she bewilders the entire universe,
and thus everyone within the universe falsely identifies himself with the
From the above we can understand that the internal and external, or superior and inferior, potencies of the Supreme Lord are personified as Yoga-mäyä and Mahä-mäyä, respectively. The name Durgä is sometimes used to refer to the internal, superior potency, as stated in the Païcarätra: “In all mantras used to worship Kåñëa, the presiding deity is known as Durgä.” Thus in the transcendental sound vibrations glorifying and worshiping the Absolute Truth, Kåñëa, the presiding deity of the particular mantra or hymn is called Durgä. The name Durgä therefore refers also to that personality who functions as the internal potency of the Lord and who is thus on the platform of çuddha-sattva, pure transcendental existence. This internal potency is understood to be Kåñëa’s sister, known also as Ekänaàçä or Subhadrä. This is the Durgä who was worshiped by the gopés in Våndävana. Several äcäryas have pointed out that ordinary people are sometimes bewildered and think that the names Mahä-mäyä and Durgä refer exclusively to the external potency of the Lord.
Even if we accept hypothetically that the gopés were worshiping the external Mäyä, there is no fault on their part, since in their pastimes of loving Kåñëa they were acting as ordinary members of society. Çréla Prabhupäda comments in this regard: “The Vaiñëavas generally do not worship any demigods. Çréla Narottama däsa Öhäkura has strictly forbidden all worship of the demigods for anyone who wants to advance in pure devotional service. Yet the gopés, who are beyond compare in their affection for Kåñëa, were seen to worship Durgä. The worshipers of demigods also sometimes mention that the gopés also worshiped goddess Durgä, but we must understand the purpose of the gopés. Generally, people worship goddess Durgä for some material benediction. Here, the gopés could adopt any means to satisfy or serve Kåñëa. That was the superexcellent characteristic of the gopés. They worshiped goddess Durgä completely for one month in order to have Kåñëa as their husband. Every day they prayed for Kåñëa, the son of Nanda Mahäräja, to become their husband.”
The conclusion is that a sincere devotee of Kåñëa will never imagine any material quality to exist in the transcendental gopés, who are the most exalted devotees of the Lord. The only motivation in all their activities was simply to love and satisfy Kåñëa, and if we foolishly consider their activities to be mundane in any way, it will be impossible for us to understand Kåñëa consciousness.
evaà mäsaà vrataà ceruù
bhüyän nanda-sutaù patiù
Thus for an entire month the girls carried out their vow and properly worshiped the goddess Bhadrakälé, fully absorbing their minds in Kåñëa and meditating upon the following thought: “May the son of King Nanda become my husband.”
üñasy utthäya gotraiù svair
kåñëam uccair jagur yäntyaù
kälindyäà snätum anvaham
Each day they rose at dawn. Calling out to one another by name, they all held hands and loudly sang the glories of Kåñëa while going to the Kälindé to take their bath.
nadyäù kadäcid ägatya
tére nikñipya pürva-vat
väsäàsi kåñëaà gäyantyo
vijahruù salile mudä
One day they came to the riverbank and, putting aside their clothing as they had done before, happily played in the water while singing the glories of Kåñëa.
According to Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura, this incident occurred on the day the young gopés completed their vow, which was a full-moon day. To celebrate the successful completion of their vow, the girls invited young Rädhäräëé—the daughter of Våñabhänu and the special object of their affection—along with other important gopés, and brought them all to the river to bathe. Their playing in the water was meant to serve as the avabhåtha-snäna, the ceremonial bath taken immediately upon the completion of a Vedic sacrifice.
Çréla Prabhupäda comments as follows: “It is an old system among Indian girls and women that when they take bath in the river they place their garments on the bank and dip into the water completely naked. The portion of the river where the girls and women take bath was strictly prohibited to any male, and this is still the system. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, knowing the minds of the unmarried young gopés, awarded them their desired objective. They had prayed for Kåñëa to become their husband, and Kåñëa wanted to fulfill their desires.”
bhagaväàs tad abhipretya
vayasyair ävåtas tatra
Lord Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and master of all masters of mystic yoga, was aware of what the gopés were doing, and thus He went there surrounded by His young companions to award the gopés the perfection of their endeavor.
As the master of all masters of mystic power, Lord Kåñëa could easily understand the desires of the gopés, and He could also fulfill them. The gopés, like all young girls from respectable families, considered the embarrassment of appearing naked before a young boy to be worse than giving up their lives. Yet Lord Kåñëa made them come out of the water and bow down to Him. Although the bodily forms of the gopés were all fully developed, and although Kåñëa met them in a secluded place and brought them fully under His control, because the Lord is completely transcendental there was not a trace of material desire in His mind. Lord Kåñëa is the ocean of transcendental bliss, and He wanted to share His bliss with the gopés on the spiritual platform, completely free of ordinary lust.
Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura explains that the companions of Kåñëa mentioned here were mere toddlers two or three years old. They were completely naked and were unaware of the difference between male and female. When Kåñëa went out to herd the cows, they followed Him because they were so attached to Him that they could not bear to be without His association.
täsäà väsäàsy upädäya
népam äruhya satvaraù
hasadbhiù prahasan bälaiù
parihäsam uväca ha
Taking the girls’ garments, He quickly climbed to the top of a kadamba tree. Then, as He laughed loudly and His companions also laughed, He addressed the girls jokingly.
svaà svaà väsaù pragåhyatäm
satyaà braväëi no narma
yad yüyaà vrata-karçitäù
[Lord Kåñëa said:] My dear girls, you may each come here as you wish and take back your garments. I’m telling you the truth and am not joking with you, since I see you’re fatigued from executing austere vows.
na mayodita-pürvaà vä
anåtaà tad ime viduù
I have never before spoken a lie, and these boys know it. Therefore, O slender-waisted girls, please come forward, either one by one or all together, and pick out your clothes.
tasya tat kñvelitaà dåñövä
vréòitäù prekñya cänyonyaà
jäta-häsä na niryayuù
Seeing how Kåñëa was joking with them, the gopés became fully immersed in love for Him, and as they glanced at each other they began to laugh and joke among themselves, even in their embarrassment. But still they did not come out of the water.
Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura explains this verse as follows:
“The gopés were from most respectable families, and they might have argued with Kåñëa: ‘Why don’t You simply leave our clothes on the bank of the river and go away?’
“Kåñëa might have replied, ‘But there are so many of you that some of the girls might take clothes belonging to another.’
“The gopés would reply, ‘We are honest and never steal anything. We never touch another’s property.’
“Then Kåñëa would say, ‘If that’s true, then simply come and get your clothes. What is the difficulty?’
“When the gopés saw Kåñëa’s determination, they were filled with loving ecstasy. Although embarrassed, they were overjoyed to receive such attention from Kåñëa. He was joking with them as if they were His wives or girlfriends, and the gopés’ only desire was to achieve such a relationship with Him. At the same time, they were embarrassed to be seen naked by Him. But still they could not help laughing at His joking words and even began to joke among themselves, one gopé urging another, ‘Go ahead, you go first, and let us see if Kåñëa plays any tricks on you. Then we will go later.’ ”
evaà bruvati govinde
vepamänäs tam abruvan
As Çré Govinda spoke to the gopés in this way, His joking words completely captivated their minds. Submerged up to their necks in the cold water, they began to shiver. Thus they addressed Him as follows.
Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura gives the following example of joking between Kåñëa and the gopés.
Kåñëa: O birdlike girls, if you do not come here, then with these garments caught in the branches I will make a swing and a hammock. I need to lie down, since I have spent the entire night awake and am now becoming sleepy.
Gopés: Our dear cowherd boy, Your cows, greedy for grass, have gone into a cave. So You must quickly go there to herd them back on the proper path.
Kåñëa: Come now, My dear cowherd girls, you must quickly go from here to Vraja and perform your household duties. Don’t become a disturbance to your parents and other elders.
Gopés: Our dear Kåñëa, we will not go home for an entire month, for it is by the order of our parents and other elders that we are executing this vow of fasting, the Kätyäyané-vrata.
Kåñëa: .My dear austere ladies, I too, by the strength of seeing you, have now developed a surprising mood of detachment from family life. I wish to stay here for a month and execute the vow of dwelling in the clouds. And if you show mercy to Me, I can come down from here and observe the vow of fasting in your company.
The gopés were completely captivated by Kåñëa’s joking words, but out of shyness they submerged themselves in the water up to their necks. Shaking from the cold, they addressed Kåñëa as follows.
mänayaà bhoù kåthäs tväà tu
jänémo ‘ìga vraja-çläghyaà
dehi väsäàsi vepitäù
[The gopés said:] Dear Kåñëa, don’t be unfair! We know that You are the respectable son of Nanda and that You are honored by everyone in Vraja. You are also very dear to us. Please give us back our clothes. We are shivering in the cold water.
çyämasundara te däsyaù
dehi väsäàsi dharma-jïa
no ced räjïe bruväma he
O Çyämasundara, we are Your maidservants and must do whatever You say. But give us back our clothing. You know what the religious principles are, and if You don’t give us our clothes we will have to tell the king. Please!
bhavatyo yadi me däsyo
mayoktaà vä kariñyatha
no cen nähaà pradäsye kià
kruddho räjä kariñyati
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: If you girls are actually My maidservants, and if you will really do what I say, then come here with your innocent smiles and let each girl pick out her clothes. If you don’t do what I say, I won’t give them back to you. And even if the king becomes angry, what can he do?
Çréla Prabhupäda comments, “When the gopés saw that Kåñëa was strong and determined, they had no alternative but to abide by His order.”
tato jaläçayät sarvä
päëibhyäà yonim äcchädya
Then, shivering from the painful cold, all the young girls rose up out of the water, covering their pubic area with their hands.
The gopés had assured Kåñëa that they were His eternal servants and would do whatever He said, and thus they were now defeated by their own words. If they delayed any longer, they thought, some other man might come along, and this would be unbearable for them. The gopés loved Kåñëa so much that even in that awkward situation their attachment to Him was increasing more and more, and they were very eager to stay in His company. Thus they did not even consider drowning themselves in the river because of the embarrassing situation.
They concluded that they could do nothing but go forward to their beloved Kåñëa, putting aside their embarrassment. Thus the gopés assured each other that there was no alternative and rose up out of the water to meet Him.
bhagavän ähatä vékñya
skandhe nidhäya väsäàsi
prétaù proväca sa-smitam
When the Supreme Lord saw how the gopés were struck with embarrassment, He was satisfied by their pure loving affection. Putting their clothes on His shoulder, the Lord smiled and spoke to them with affection.
Çréla Prabhupäda comments, “The gopés’ simple presentation was so pure that Lord Kåñëa immediately became pleased with them. All the unmarried gopés who prayed to Kätyäyané to have Kåñëa as their husband were thus satisfied. A woman cannot be naked before any male except her husband. The unmarried gopés desired Kåñëa as their husband, and He fulfilled their desire in this way.”
For aristocratic girls like the gopés, standing naked before a young boy was worse than death, and yet they decided to give up everything for the pleasure of Lord Kåñëa. He wanted to see the power of their love for Him, and He was completely satisfied by their unalloyed devotion.
yüyaà vivasträ yad apo dhåta-vratä
vyagähataitat tad u deva-helanam
baddhväïjalià mürdhny apanuttaye ‘àhasaù
kåtvä namo ‘dho-vasanaà pragåhyatäm
[Lord Kåñëa said:] You girls bathed naked while executing your vow, and that is certainly an offense against the demigods. To counteract your sin you should offer obeisances while placing your joined palms above your heads. Then you should take back your lower garments.
Kåñëa wanted to see the full surrender of the gopés, and thus He ordered them to offer obeisances with their palms joined above their heads. In other words, the gopés could no longer cover their bodies. We should not foolishly think that Lord Kåñëa is an ordinary lusty boy enjoying the naked beauty of the gopés. Kåñëa is the Supreme Absolute Truth, and He was acting to fulfill the loving desire of the young cowherd girls of Våndävana. In this world we would certainly become lusty in a situation like this. But to compare ourselves to God is a great offense, and because of this offense we will not be able to understand Kåñëa’s transcendental position, for we will wrongly take Him to be materially conditioned like ourselves. To lose transcendental sight of Kåñëa is certainly a great disaster for one trying to relish the bliss of the Absolute Truth.
ity acyutenäbhihitaà vrajäbalä
matvä vivasträplavanaà vrata-cyutim
säkñät-kåtaà nemur avadya-måg yataù
Thus the young girls of Våndävana, 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness is clearly described here. The gopés decided that it was better to renounce their so-called family tradition and traditional morality and simply surrender unto the Supreme Lord Kåñëa. This does not mean that the Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa. Lord Kåñëa is God and therefore has no material desire to enjoy young girls in sexual affairs. As will be seen in this chapter, Lord Kåñëa was not at all attracted to enjoying the gopés; rather He was attracted to their love and wanted to satisfy them.
The greatest offense is to imitate the activities of Lord Kåñëa. In India there is a group called präkåta-sahajiyä, who imitate these affairs of Kåñëa and try to enjoy naked young girls in the name of worshiping Kåñëa. 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 Kåñëa.
Five hundred years ago Kåñëa appeared as Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu, who practiced strict celibacy throughout His student life and at the age of twenty-four took sannyäsa, a lifelong vow of celibacy. Caitanya Mahäprabhu rigidly avoided contact with women in order to carry out His vow of loving service to Kåñëa. When Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa, however, is the Supreme Absolute Truth and is therefore never disturbed by any material desire whatsoever. Thus, this incident—in which the gopés gave up normal standards of morality and, raising their hands to their head, bowed down in compliance with Kåñëa’s order—is an example of pure devotional surrender and not a discrepancy in religious principles.
In fact, the gopés’ surrender is the perfection of all religion, as Çréla Prabhupäda describes in Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: “The gopés were all simple souls, and whatever Kåñëa said, they took to be true. In order to be freed from the wrath of Varuëadeva, as well as to fulfill the desired end of their vows and ultimately to please their worshipable Lord, Kåñëa, they immediately abided by His order. Thus they became the greatest lovers of Kåñëa, and His most obedient servitors.
“Nothing can compare to the Kåñëa consciousness of the gopés. Actually the gopés did not care for Varuëa or any other demigod; they only wanted to satisfy Kåñëa.”
täs tathävanatä dåñövä
väsäàsi täbhyaù präyacchat
karuëas tena toñitaù
Seeing them bow down like that, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the son of Devaké, gave them back their garments, feeling compassionate toward them and satisfied by their act.
dåòhaà pralabdhäs trapayä ca häpitäù
prastobhitäù kréòana-vac ca käritäù
vasträëi caiväpahåtäny athäpy amuà
tä näbhyasüyan priya-saìga-nirvåtäù
Although the gopés had been thoroughly cheated, deprived of their modesty, ridiculed and made to act just like toy dolls, and although their clothing had been stolen, they did not feel at all inimical toward Çré Kåñëa. Rather, they were simply joyful to have this opportunity to associate with their beloved.
Çréla Prabhupäda comments, “This attitude of the gopés is described by Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu when he prays, ‘My dear Lord Kåñëa, You may embrace Me or trample Me under Your feet, or You may make Me brokenhearted by never being present before Me. Whatever You like, You can do, because You have complete freedom to act. But in spite of all of Your dealings, You are My Lord eternally, and I have no other worshipable object.’ This is the attitude of the gopés toward Kåñëa.”
gåhéta-cittä no celus
The gopés were addicted to associating with their beloved Kåñëa, and thus they became captivated by Him. Thus, even after putting their clothes on they did not move. They simply remained where they were, shyly glancing at Him.
By association with their beloved Kåñëa, the gopés had become more attached to Him than ever. Just as Kåñëa had stolen their clothes, He had also stolen their minds and their love. The gopés interpreted the whole incident as proof that Kåñëa was also attached to them. Otherwise, why would He have gone to the trouble of playing with them in this way? Because they thought that Kåñëa was now attached to them, they glanced at Him with shyness, and being stunned by the rising of their ecstatic love, they could not move from where they stood. Kåñëa had overcome their shyness and forced them to come out of the water naked, but now, having dressed properly, they again became shy in His presence. In fact, this incident increased their humbleness before Kåñëa. They did not want Kåñëa to see them staring at Him, but they cautiously took the opportunity to glance at the Lord.
täsäà vijïäya bhagavän
äha dämodaro ‘baläù
The Supreme Lord understood the determination of the gopés in executing their strict vow. The Lord also knew that the girls desired to touch His lotus feet, and thus Lord Dämodara, Kåñëa, spoke to them as follows.
saìkalpo viditaù sädhvyo
mayänumoditaù so ‘sau
satyo bhavitum arhati
[Lord Kåñëa said:] O saintly girls, I understand that your real motive in this austerity has been to worship Me. That intent of yours is approved of by Me, and indeed it must come to pass.
Just as Kåñëa is free of all impure desire, so are the gopés. Their attempt to gain Kåñëa as their husband was therefore motivated not by a desire for personal sense gratification but by their overwhelming desire to serve Kåñëa and to please Him. Because of their intense love, the gopés did not see Kåñëa as God but rather as the most wonderful boy in all creation, and being beautiful young girls, they desired only to please Him by loving service. Lord Kåñëa understood the pure desire of the gopés and was thus satisfied. The Lord could certainly not be satisfied by ordinary lust, but He was moved by the intense loving devotion of the cowherd girls of Våndävana.
na mayy äveçita-dhiyäà
kämaù kämäya kalpate
bharjitä kvathitä dhänäù
präyo béjäya neçate
The desire of those who fix their minds on Me does not lead to material desire for sense gratification, just as barleycorns burned by the sun and then cooked can no longer grow into new sprouts.
The words mayy äveçita-dhiyäm are very significant here. Unless one has achieved an advanced degree of devotion, one cannot fix the mind and intelligence on Kåñëa, since Kåñëa is pure spiritual existence. Self-realization is a state not of desirelessness but rather of purified desire, wherein one desires only the pleasure of Lord Kåñëa. The gopés were certainly attracted to Kåñëa in a mood of conjugal love, and yet, having fixed their minds and indeed their entire existence completely on Kåñëa, their conjugal desire could never manifest as material lust; rather, it became the most exalted form of love of Godhead ever seen within the universe.
yätäbalä vrajaà siddhä
mayemä raàsyathä kñapäù
yad uddiçya vratam idaà
cerur äryärcanaà satéù
Go now, girls, and return to Vraja. Your desire is fulfilled, for in My company you will enjoy the coming nights. After all, this was the purpose of your vow to worship goddess Kätyäyané, O pure-hearted ones.
ity ädiñöä bhagavatä
kåcchrän nirviviçur vrajam
Çukadeva Gosvämé said: Thus instructed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the young girls, their desire now fulfilled, could bring themselves only with great difficulty to return to the village of Vraja, meditating all the while upon His lotus feet.
The gopés’ desire was fulfilled because Lord Kåñëa had agreed to act as their husband. A young girl can never spend the night with any man except her husband, and thus when Kåñëa agreed to engage the girls in the nocturnal räsa dance during the coming autumn season, in effect He was agreeing to reciprocate their love for Him in the role of a husband.
atha gopaiù parivåto
våndävanäd gato düraà
cärayan gäù sahägrajaù
Some time later Lord Kåñëa, the son of Devaké, surrounded by His cowherd friends and accompanied by His elder brother, Balaräma, went a good distance away from Våndävana, herding the cows.
Having described how Lord Kåñëa stole the garments of the young gopés, Çukadeva Gosvämé now begins introducing the description of Lord Kåñëa’s blessings upon the wives of some ritualistic brähmaëas.
chäyäbhiù sväbhir ätmanaù
drumän äha vrajaukasaù
Then the sun’s heat became intense, Lord Kåñëa saw that the trees were acting as umbrellas by shading Him, and thus He spoke as follows to His boyfriends.
he stoka-kåñëa he aàço
sahanto värayanti naù
[Lord Kåñëa said:] O Stoka Kåñëa and Aàçu, O Çrédäma, Subala and Arjuna, O Våñabha, Ojasvé, Devaprastha and Varüthapa, just see these greatly fortunate trees, whose lives are completely dedicated to the benefit of others. Even while tolerating the wind, rain, heat and snow, they protect us from these elements.
Lord Kåñëa was preparing to bestow His mercy on the wives of the hard-hearted ritualistic brähmaëas, and in these verses the Lord indicates that even trees who are dedicated to the welfare of others are superior to brähmaëas who are not. Certainly the members of the Kåñëa consciousness movement should soberly study this point.
aho eñäà varaà janma
su-janasyeva yeñäà vai
vimukhä yänti närthinaù
Just see how these trees are maintaining every living entity! Their birth is successful. Their behavior is just like that of great personalities, for anyone who asks anything from a tree never goes away disappointed.
This translation is quoted from Çréla Prabhupäda’s Caitanya-caritämåta (Ädi 9.46).
tokmaiù kämän vitanvate
These trees fulfill one’s desires with their leaves, flowers and fruits, their shade, roots, bark and wood, and also with their fragrance, sap, ashes, pulp and shoots.
dehinäm iha dehiñu
präëair arthair dhiyä väcä
It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.
This translation is quoted from Çréla Prabhupäda’s Caitanya-caritämåta (Ädi 9.42).
madhyato yamunäà gataù
Thus moving among the trees, whose branches were bent low by their abundance of twigs, fruits, flowers and leaves, Lord Kåñëa came to the Yamunä River.
tatra gäù päyayitväpaù
su-måñöäù çétaläù çiväù
tato nåpa svayaà gopäù
kämaà svädu papur jalam
The cowherd boys let the cows drink the clear, cool and wholesome water of the Yamunä. O King Parékñit, the cowherd boys themselves also drank that sweet water to their full satisfaction.
tasyä upavane kämaà
cärayantaù paçün nåpa
kñudh-ärtä idam abravan
Then, O King, the cowherd boys began herding the animals in a leisurely way within a small forest along the Yamunä. But soon they became afflicted by hunger and, approaching Kåñëa and Balaräma, spoke as follows.
Çréla Jéva Gosvämé explains that the cowherd boys were concerned that Kåñëa would be hungry, and thus they feigned their own hunger so that Kåñëa and Balaräma would make suitable arrangements to eat.
Thus end the purports of the humble
servants of His Divine Grace A . C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda
to the Tenth Canto, Twenty-second Chapter, of the Çrémad-Bhägavatam,
entitled “Kåñëa Steals the Garments of the Unmarried