29. The Rasa Dance: Introduction
29 / The Räsa Dance: Introduction
In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam it is stated the räsa dance took place on the full moon night of the çarat season. From the statement of previous chapters, it appears that the festival of Govardhana Püjä was performed just after the dark moon night of the month of Kärttika, and thereafter the ceremony of Bhrätådvitéya was performed; then the wrath of Indra was exhibited in the shape of torrents of rain and hailstorm, and Lord Kåñëa held up Govardhana Hill for seven days, up until the ninth day of the moon. Thereafter, on the tenth day, the inhabitants of Våndävana were talking amongst themselves about the wonderful activities of Kåñëa, and the next day, Ekädaçé was observed by Nanda Mahäräja. On the next day, Dvädaçé, Nanda Mahäräja went to take bath in the Ganges and was arrested by the men of Varuëa; then he was released by Lord Kåñëa. Then Nanda Mahäräja, along with the cowherd men, was shown the spiritual sky.
In this way, the full moon night of the çarat season came to an end. The full mmoon night of Äçvina is called çärad-pürëimä. It appears from the statement of Çrémad-Bhägavatam that Kåñëa had to wait another year for such a moon before enjoying the räsa dance with the gopés. At the age of seven years, He lifted Govardhana Hill. Therefore, the räsa dance took place during His eighth year.
From Vedic literature it appears that when a theatrical actor dances among many dancing girls, the group-dance is called a räsa dance. When Kåñëa saw the full moon night of the çarat season, He decorated Himself with various seasonal flowers, especially the mallikä flowers, which are very fragrant, He remembered the gopés' prayers to goddess Kätyäyané, wherein they prayed for Kåñëa to be their husband. He thought that the full night of the çarat season was just suitable for a nice dance. So their desire to have Kåñëa as their husband would then be fulfilled.
The words used in this connection in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam are bhagavän api. This means that although Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He has no desire that needs to be fulfilled because He is always full with six opulences. Yet He wanted to enjoy the company of the gopés. Bhagavän api signifies that this is not like the ordinary dancing of young boys and young girls. The specific word used in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam is yogamäyäm upäçritaù, which means that this dancing with the gopés is on the platform of yogamäyä, not mahämäyä. The dancing of young boys and girls within this material world is in the kingdom of mahämäyä, or the external energy. The räsa dance of Kåñëa with the gopés is on the platform of yogamäyä. The difference between the platform of yogamäyä and mahämäyä is compared in the Caitanya-caritämåta to the difference between gold and iron. From the viewpoint of metallurgy, gold and iron are both metals, but the quality is completely different. Similarly, although the räsa dance and Lord Kåñëa's association with the gopés appear like the ordinary mixing of young boys and girls, the quality is completely different. The difference is appreciated by great Vaiñëavas because they can understand the difference between love of Kåñëa and lust.
On the mahämäyä platform, dances take place on the basis of sense gratification. But when Kåñëa called the gopés by sounding His flute, the gopés very hurriedly rushed towards the spot of räsa dance with the transcendental desire of satisfying Kåñëa. The author of Caitanya-caritämåta, Kåñëadäsa Kaviräja Gosvämé, has explained that lust means sense gratification, and love also means sense gratification--but for Kåñëa. In other words, when activities are enacted on the platform of personal sense gratification, they are called material activities, but when they are enacted for the satisfaction of Kåñëa, then they are spiritual activities. On any platform of activities, the principle of sense gratification is there. But on the spiritual platform, sense gratification is for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, whereas on the material platform it is for the performer. For example, on the material platform, when a servant serves a master, he is not trying to satisfy the senses of the master, but rather his own senses. The servant would not serve the master if the payment stopped. That means that the servant engages himself in the service of the master just to satisfy his senses. On the spiritual platform, the servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead serves Kåñëa without payment, and he continues his service in all conditions. That is the difference between Kåñëa consciousness and material consciousness.
It appears that Kåñëa enjoyed the räsa dance with the gopés when He was eight years old. At that time, many of the gopés were married, because in India, especially in those days, girls were married at a very early age. There are even many instances of a girl giving birth to a child at the age of twelve. Under the circumstances, all the gopés who wanted to have Kåñëa as their husband were already married. At the same time, they continued to hope that Kåñëa would be their husband. Their attitude toward Kåñëa was that of paramour love. Therefore, the loving affairs of Kåñëa with the gopés is called parakéya-rasa. A married man or a wife who desires another wife or husband is called parakéya-rasa.
Actually, Kåñëa is the husband of everyone because He is the supreme enjoyer. The gopés wanted Kåñëa to be their husband, but factually there was no possibility of His marrying all the gopés. But because they had that natural tendency to accept Kåñëa as their supreme husband, the relationship between the gopés and Kåñëa is called parakéya-rasa. This parakéya-rasa is ever-existent in Goloka Våndävana in the spiritual sky where there is no possibility of the inebriety which characterizes parakéya-rasa in the material world. In the material world, parakéya-rasa is abominable, whereas in the spiritual world it is present in the superexcellent relationship of Kåñëa and the gopés. There are many other relationships with Kåñëa: master and servant, friends and friend, parent and son, and lover and beloved. Out of all these rasas, the parakéya-rasa is considered to be the topmost.
This material world is the perverted reflection of the spiritual world; it is just like the reflection of a tree on the bank of a reservoir of water: the topmost part of the tree is seen as the lowest part. Similarly, parakéya-rasa, when pervertedly reflected in this material world, is abominable. When people, therefore, imitate the räsa dance of Kåñëa with the gopés, they simply enjoy the perverted, abominable reflection of the transcendental parakéya-rasa. There is no possibility of enjoying this transcendental parakéya-rasa within the material world. It is stated in Çrémad-Bhägavatam that one should not imitate this parakéya-rasa even in dream or imagination. Those who do so drink the most deadly poison.
When Kåñëa, the supreme enjoyer, desired to enjoy the company of the gopés on that full moon night of the çarat season, exactly at that very moment, the moon, the lord of the stars, appeared in the sky, displaying its most beautiful features. The full moon night of the çarat season is the most beautiful night in the year. In Indian there is a great monument called Taj Mahal in Agra, a city in the Uttar Pradesh province, and the tomb is made of first-class marble stone. During the night of the full moon of the çarat season, many foreigners go to see the beautiful reflections of the moon on the tomb. Thus this full moon night is celebrated even today for its beauty.
When the full moon rose in the east, it tinged everything with a reddish color. With the rising of the moon, the whole sky appeared smeared by red kuìkuma. When a husband long separated from his wife returns home, he decorates the face of his wife with red kuìkuma. This long-expected moonrise of the çarat season was thus smearing the eastern sky.
The appearance of the moon increased Kåñëa's desire to dance with the gopés. The forests were filled with fragrant flowers. The atmosphere was cooling and festive. When Lord Kåñëa began to blow His flute, the gopés all over Våndävana became enchanted. Their attraction to the vibration of the flute increased a thousand times due to the rising full moon, the red horizon, the calm and cool atmosphere, and the blossoming flowers. All these gopés were by nature very much attracted to Kåñëa's beauty, and when they heard the vibration of His flute, they became apparently lustful to satisfy the senses of Kåñëa.
Immediately upon hearing the vibration of the flute, they all left their respective engagements and proceeded to the spot where Kåñëa was standing. While they ran very swiftly, all their earrings swung back and forth. They all rushed toward the place known as Vaàçévaöa. Some of them were engaged in milking cows, but they left their milking business half finished and immediately went to Kåñëa. One of them had just collected milk and put it in a milk pan on the oven to boil, but she did not care whether the milk overboiled and spilled--she immediately left to go see Kåñëa. Some of them were breast feeding their small babies, and some were engaged in distributing food to the members of their families, but they left all such engagements and immediately rushed towards the spot where Kåñëa was playing His flute. Some were engaged in serving their husbands, and some were themselves engaged in eating, but neither caring to serve their husbands nor eat, they immediately left. Some of them wanted to decorate their faces with cosmetic ointments and to dress themselves very nicely before going to Kåñëa, but unfortunately they could not finish their cosmetic decorations nor put on their dresses in the right way because of their anxiety to meet Kåñëa immediately. Their faces were decorated hurriedly and were haphazardly finished; some even put the lower part of their dresses on the upper part of their bodies and the upper part on the lower part.
While all the gopés were hurriedly leaving their respective places, their husbands, brothers and fathers were all struck with wonder to know where they were going. Being young girls, they were protected either by husbands, elderly brothers or fathers. All their guardians forbade them to go to Kåñëa, but they disregarded them. When a person becomes attracted by Kåñëa and is in full Kåñëa consciousness, he does not care for any worldly duties, even though very urgent. Kåñëa consciousness is so powerful that it gives everyone relief from all material activities. Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé has written a very nice verse wherein one gopé advises another, "My dear friend, if you desire to enjoy the company of material society, friendship and love, then please do not go to see this smiling boy Govinda, who is standing on the bank of the Yamunä and playing His flute, His lips brightened by the beams of the full moonlight." Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé indirectly instructs that one who has been captivated by the beautiful smiling face of Kåñëa has lost all attraction for material enjoyments. This is the test of advancement in Kåñëa consciousness: a person advancing in Kåñëa consciousness must lose interest in material activities and personal sense gratification.
Some of the gopés were factually detained from going to Kåñëa by their husbands and were locked up by force within their rooms. Being unable to go to Kåñëa, they began to meditate upon His transcendental form by closing their eyes. They already had the form of Kåñëa within their minds. They proved to be the greatest yogés; as is stated in the Bhagavad-gétä, a person who is constantly thinking of Kåñëa within his heart with faith and love is considered to be the topmost of all yogés. Actually, a yogi concentrates his mind on the form of Lord Viñëu. That is real yoga. Kåñëa is the original form of all Viñëu tattvas. The gopés could not go to Kåñëa personally, so they began to meditate on Him as perfect yogés.
In the conditioned stage of the living entities, there are two kinds of results of fruitive activities: the conditioned living entity who is constantly engaged in sinful activities has suffering as his result, and he who is engaged in pious activities has material enjoyment as a result. In either case--material suffering or material enjoyment--the enjoyer or sufferer is conditioned by material nature.
The gopé associates of Kåñëa, who assemble in the place where Kåñëa is appearing, are from different groups. Most of the gopés are eternal companions of Kåñëa. As stated in the Brahma-saàhitä, änanda-cin-maya-rasa-pratibhävitäbhiù: in the spiritual world the associates of Kåñëa, especially the gopés, are the manifestation of the pleasure potency of Lord Kåñëa. They are expansions of Çrématé Rädhäräëé. But when Kåñëa exhibits His transcendental pastimes within the material world in some of the universes, not only the eternal associates of Kåñëa come, but also those who are being promoted to that status from this material world. The gopés who joined Kåñëa's pastimes within this material world were coming from the status of ordinary human beings. If they had been bound by fruitive action, they were fully freed from the reaction of karma by constant meditation on Kåñëa. Their severe painful yearnings caused by their not being able to see Kåñëa freed them from all sinful reactions, and their ecstasy of transcendental love for Kåñëa in His absence was transcendental to all their reactions of material pious activities. The conditioned soul is subjected to birth and death, either by pious or sinful activities, but the gopés who began to meditate on Kåñëa transcended both positions and became purified and thus elevated to the status of the gopés already expanded by His pleasure potency. All the gopés who concentrated their minds on Kåñëa in the spirit of paramour love became fully uncontaminated from all the fruitive reactions of material nature, and some of them immediately gave up their material bodies developed under the three modes of material nature.
Mahäräja Parékñit heard Çukadeva Gosvämé explain the situation of the gopés who assembled with Kåñëa in the räsa dance. When he heard that some of the gopés, simply by concentrating on Kåñëa as their paramour, became freed from all contamination of material birth and death, he said, "The gopés did not know that Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They accepted Him as a beautiful boy and considered Him to be their paramour. So how was it possible for them to get freed from the material condition just by thinking of a paramour?" One should consider here that Kåñëa and ordinary living beings are qualitatively one. The ordinary living beings, being part and parcel of Kåñëa, are also Brahman, but Kåñëa is the Supreme--Parabrahman. The question is, if it is possible for the devotee to get free from the material, contaminated stage simply by thinking of Kåñëa, then why not others who are also thinking of someone? If one is thinking of a husband or son, or if anyone at all is thinking of another living entity, since all living entities are also Brahman, then why are they not all freed from the contaminated stage of material nature? This is a very intelligent question, because the atheists are always imitating Kåñëa. In these days of Kaliyuga, there are many rascals who think themselves to be as great as Kåñëa and who cheat people into believing that thinking of them is as good as thinking of Lord Kåñëa. Parékñit Mahäräja, apprehending the dangerous condition of blind followers of demonic imitators, therefore asked this question, and fortunately it is recorded in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam to warn innocent people that thinking of an ordinary man and thinking of Kåñëa are not the same.
Actually, even thinking of the demigods cannot compare with thinking of Kåñëa. It is also warned in the Vaiñëava Tantra that one who puts Viñëu, Näräyaëa, or Kåñëa on the same level of the demigods is called a päsaëòa, or a rascal. On hearing this question of Mahäräja Parékñit, Çukadeva Gosvämé replied, "My dear King, your question is already answered, even before this incident."
Because Parékñit Mahäräja wanted to clear up the situation, his spiritual master answered him very intelligently, “Why are you again asking the same subject matter which has already been explained to you? Why are you so forgetful?” A spiritual master is always in the superior position, so he has the right to chastise his disciple in this way. Çukadeva Gosvämé knew that Parékñit Mahäräja asked the question not for his own understanding, but as a warning to the future innocent people who might think others to be equal to Kåñëa.
Çukadeva Gosvämé then reminded Parékñit Mahäräja about the salvation of Çiçupäla. Çiçupäla was always envious of Kåñëa, and because of his envy Kåñëa killed him. Since Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Çiçupäla gained salvation simply by seeing Him. If an envious person can get salvation simply by concentrating his mind on Kåñëa, then what to speak of the gopés who are so dear to Kåñëa and always thinking of Him in love? There must be some difference between the enemies and the friends. If Kåñëa's enemies could get freed from material contamination and become one with the Supreme, then certainly His dear friends like the gopés are freed and with Him.
Besides that, in the Bhagavad-gétä Kåñëa is called Håñékeça. Çukadeva Gosvämé also said that Kåñëa is Håñékeça, the Supersoul, whereas an ordinary man is a conditioned soul covered by the material body. Kåñëa and Kåñëa's body are the same because He is Håñékeça. Any person making a distinction between Kåñëa and Kåñëa's body is fool number one. Kåñëa is Håñékeça and Adhokñaja. These two particular words have been used by Parékñit Mahäräja in this instance. Håñékeça is the Supersoul, and Adhokñaja is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, transcendental to the material nature. Just to show favor to the ordinary living entities, out of His causeless mercy, He appears as He is. Unfortunately, foolish persons mistake Him to be another ordinary person, and so they become eligible to go to hell. Çukadeva Gosvämé reconfirmed that Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, imperishable, immeasurable, and free from all material contamination.
Çukadeva Gosvämé continued to inform Mahäräja Parékñit that Kåñëa is not an ordinary person. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, full of all spiritual qualities. He appears in this material world out of His causeless mercy, and whenever He appears, He appears as He is without change. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gétä. There the Lord says that He appears in His spiritual potency. He does not appear under the control of this material potency. The material potency is under His control. In the Bhagavad-gétä it is stated that the material potency is working under His superintendence. It is also confirmed in the Brahma-saàhitä that the material potency known as Durgä is acting just as a shadow which moves with the movement of the substance. The conclusion is that if one somehow or other becomes attached to Kåñëa or attracted to Him, either because of His beauty, quality, opulence, fame, strength, renunciation or knowledge, or even through lust, anger or fear, or affection or friendship, then one's salvation and freedom from material contamination is assured.
In the Bhagavad-gétä, Eighteenth Chapter, the Lord also states that one who is engaged in preaching Kåñëa consciousness is very dear to Him. A preacher has to face many difficulties in his struggle to preach pure Kåñëa consciousness. Sometimes he has to suffer bodily injuries, and sometimes he has to meet death also. All this is taken as a great austerity on behalf of Kåñëa. Kåñëa therefore has said that such a preacher is very, very dear to Him. If Kåñëa's enemies can expect salvation simply by concentrating their minds on Him, then what to speak of persons who are so dear to Kåñëa? The conclusion should be that the salvation of those who are engaged in preaching Kåñëa consciousness in the world is guaranteed in all circumstances. But such preachers never care for salvation, because factually one who is engaged in Kåñëa consciousness, devotional service, has already achieved salvation. Çukadeva Gosvämé therefore assured King Parékñit that he should always rest assured that one attracted by Kåñëa attains liberation from material bondage because Kåñëa is the transcendental master of all mystic power.
When all the gopés assembled, as described, before Kåñëa, He began to speak to them, welcoming them as well as discouraging them by word jugglery. Kåñëa is the supreme speaker; He is the speaker of the Bhagavad-gétä. He can speak on the highest elevated subjects of philosophy, politics, economics--everything. And He also spoke before the gopés who were so dear to Him. He wanted to enchant them by word jugglery, and thus He began to speak as follows.
"O ladies of Våndävana," Kåñëa said. "You are very fortunate, and you are very dear to Me. I am very pleased that you have come here, and I hope everything is well in Våndävana. Now please order Me. What can I do for you? What is the purpose of coming here in this dead of night? Kindly take your seats and let Me know what I can do for you."
The gopés had come to Kåñëa to enjoy His company, to dance with Him, embrace Him and kiss Him, and when Kåñëa began to receive them very officially, showing all kinds of etiquette, they were surprised. He was treating them as ordinary society women. Therefore they began to smile among themselves, and they very eagerly listened to Kåñëa talk in that way. When He saw that they were smiling at Him, He said, "My dear friends, you must know now that it is the dead of night, and the forest is very dangerous. At this time all the ferocious jungle animals, the tigers, bears, jackals and wolves, are prowling in the forest. Therefore it is very dangerous for you. You cannot select a secure place now. Everywhere you go you will find that all these animals are loitering to find their prey. I think, therefore, that you are taking a great risk in coming here in the dead of night. Please turn back immediately, without delay."
When He saw that they continued to smile, He said, "I very much appreciate your bodily features. All of you have nice, very thin waists." All of the gopés there were exquisitely beautiful. They are described by the word sumadhyamä; the standard of beauty of a woman is said to be sumadhyamä when the middle portion of the body is slender.
Kåñëa wanted to impress on them that they were not old enough to take care of themselves. Actually, they required protection. It was not very wise for them to come in the dead of night to Kåñëa. Kåñëa also indicated that He was young and that they were young girls. "It does not look very well for young girls and boys to remain together in the dead of night." After hearing this advice, the gopés did not seem very happy; therefore Kåñëa began to stress the point in a different way.
"My dear friends, I can understand that you have left your homes without the permission of your guardians; therefore I think your mothers, your fathers, your elderly brothers or even your sons, and what to speak of your husbands, must be very anxious to find you. As long as you are here, they must be searching in different places, and their minds must be very agitated. So don't tarry. Please go back and make them peaceful."
When the gopés appeared to be a little bit disturbed and angry from the free advice of Kåñëa, they diverted their attention to looking at the beauty of the forest. At that time the whole forest was illuminated by the bright shining of the moon, and the air was blowing very silently over the blooming flowers, and the green leaves of the trees were moving in the breeze. Kåñëa took the opportunity of their looking at the forest to advise them. "I think you have come out to see the beautiful Våndävana forest on this night," He said, "but you must now be satisfied. So return to your homes without delay. I understand that you are all very chaste women, so now that you have seen the beautiful atmosphere of the Våndävana forests, please return home and engage in the faithful service of your respective husbands. Some of you must have babies by this time, although you are very young. You must have left your small babies at home, and they must be crying. Please immediately go back home and just feed them with your breast milk. I can also understand that you have very great affection for Me, and out of that transcendental affection you have come here, hearing My playing on the flute. Your feelings of love and affection for Me are very appropriate because I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All living creatures are My parts and parcels, and naturally they are affectionate to Me. So this affection for Me is very much welcome, and I congratulate you for this. Now you can go back to your homes. Another thing I must explain to you is that for a chaste woman, service to the husband without duplicity is the best religious principle. A woman should be not only faithful and chaste to the husband, but affectionate to the friends of her husband, obedient to the father and mother of the husband, and affectionate to the younger brothers of the husband. And most importantly, the woman must take care of the children."
In this way, Kåñëa explained the duty of a woman. He also stressed the point of serving the husband: "Even if he is not of very good character, or even if he is not very rich or fortunate, or even if he is old or invalid on account of continued diseases, whatever her husband's condition, a woman should not divorce her husband if she actually desires to be elevated to the higher planetary systems after leaving this body. Besides that, it is considered abominable in society if a woman is unfaithful and goes searching for another man. Such habits will deter a woman from being elevated to the heavenly planets, and the results of such habits are very degrading. A married woman should not search for a paramour, for this is not sanctioned by the Vedic principles of life. If you think that you are very much attached to Me and you want My association, I advise you not to personally try to enjoy Me. It is better for you to go home, simply talk about Me, think of Me, and by this process of constantly remembering Me and chanting My names, you will surely be elevated to the spiritual platform. There is no need to stand near Me. Please go back home."
The instruction given herein by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to the gopés was not at all sarcastic. Such instructions should be taken very seriously by all honest women. The chastity of women is specifically stressed herein by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore this principle should be followed by any serious woman who wants to be elevated to a higher status of life. Kåñëa is the center of all affection for all living creatures. When this affection is developed for Kåñëa, then one surpasses and transcends all Vedic injunctions. This was possible for the gopés because they saw Kåñëa face to face. This is not possible for any women in the conditioned state. Unfortunately, by imitating the behavior of Kåñëa with the gopés, sometimes a rascal takes the position of Kåñëa, following the philosophy of monism or oneness, and he very irresponsibly takes advantage of this räsa-lélä to entice many innocent women and mislead them in the name of spiritual realization. As a warning, Lord Kåñëa has herein hinted that what was possible for the gopés is not possible for ordinary women. Although a woman can actually be elevated by advanced Kåñëa consciousness, she should not be enticed by an imposter who says that he is Kåñëa. She should concentrate her devotional activities in chanting and meditating upon Kåñëa, as is advised herein. One should not follow the men called sahajiyä, the so-called devotees who take everything very lightly.
When Kåñëa spoke in such a discouraging way to the gopés, they became very sad, for they thought that their desire to enjoy räsa dance with Kåñëa would be frustrated. Thus they became full of anxiety. Out of great sadness, the gopés began to breathe very heavily. Instead of looking at Kåñëa face to face, they bowed their heads and looked to the ground, and they began to draw various types of curved lines on the ground with their toes. They were shedding heavy tears, and their cosmetic decorations were being washed from their faces. The water from their eyes mixed with the kuìkuma of their breasts and fell to the ground. They could not say anything to Kåñëa, but simply stood there silently. By their silence they expressed that their hearts were grievously wounded.
The gopés were not ordinary women. In essence they were on an equal level with Kåñëa. They are His eternal associates. As it is confirmed in the Brahma-saàhitä, they are expansions of the pleasure potency of Kåñëa, and as His potency they are nondifferent from Him. Although they were depressed by the words of Kåñëa, they did not like to use harsh words against Him. Yet they wanted to rebuke Kåñëa for His unkind words, and therefore they began to speak in faltering voices. They did not like to use harsh words against Kåñëa because He was their dearmost, their heart and soul. The gopés had only Kåñëa within their hearts. They were completely surrendered and dedicated souls. Naturally, when they heard such unkind words, they tried to reply, but in the attempt torrents of tears fell from their eyes. Finally they managed to speak.
"Kåñëa," they said, "You are very cruel! You should not talk like that. We are full-fledged surrendered souls. Please accept us, and don't talk in that cruel way. Of course, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and You can do whatever You like, but it is not worthy of Your position to treat us in such a cruel way. We have come to You, leaving everything behind, just to take shelter of Your lotus feet. We know that You are completely independent and can do whatever You like, but we request You, don't reject us. We are Your devotees. You should accept us as Lord Näräyaëa accepts His devotees. There are many devotees of Lord Näräyaëa who worship Him for salvation, and He awards them salvation. Similarly, how can You reject us when we have no other shelter than Your lotus feet?
"O dear Kåñëa," they continued, "You are the supreme instructor. There is no doubt about it. Your instructions to the women to be faithful to their husbands and to be merciful to their children, to take care of homely affairs and to be obedient to the elderly members of the family, are surely just according to the tenets of çästras. But we know also that all these instructions of the çästras may be observed perfectly by keeping oneself under the protection of Your lotus feet. Our husbands, friends, family members and children are all dear and pleasing to us only because of Your presence, for You are the Supersoul of all living creatures. Without Your presence, one is worthless. When You leave the body, the body immediately dies, and according to the injunction of the çästra, a dead body must immediately be thrown in a river or burned. Therefore, ultimately You are the dearmost personality in this world. By placing our faith and love in Your personality, there is no chance of our being bereft of husband, friends, sons or daughters. If a woman accepts You as the supreme husband, then she will never be bereft of her husband, as in the bodily concept of life. If we accept You as our ultimate husband, then there is no question of being separated, divorced or widowed. You are the eternal husband, eternal son, eternal friend, and eternal master, and one who enters into a relationship with You is eternally happy. Since You are the teacher of all religious principles, Your lotus feet first have to be worshiped. Accordingly, the çästras state, äcärya-upäsanä: the worship of Your lotus feet is the first principle. Besides that, as stated in the Bhagavad-gétä, You are the only enjoyer, You are the only proprietor, and You are the only friend. As such, we have come to You, leaving aside all so-called friends, society and love, and now You have become our enjoyer. Let us be everlastingly enjoyed by You. Be our proprietor, for that is Your natural claim, and be our supreme friend, for You are naturally so. Let us thus embrace You as the supreme beloved."
Then the gopés told the lotus-eyed Kåñëa, "Please do not discourage our long-cherished desires to have You as our husband. Any intelligent man who cares for his own self-interest reposes all his loving spirit in You. Persons who are simply misled by the external energy, who want to be satisfied by false concepts, try to enjoy themselves apart from You. The so-called husband, friend, son, daughter, or father and mother are all simply sources of material misery. No one is made happy in this material world by having a so-called father, mother, husband, son, daughter and friend. Although the father and mother are expected to protect the children, there are many children who are suffering for want of food and shelter. There are many good physicians, but when a patient dies, no physician can revive him. There are many means of protection, but when one is doomed, none of the protective measures can help, and without Your protection the so-called sources of protection simply become sources of continued distress. We therefore appeal to You, dear Lord of all lords, please do not kill our long-cherished desires to have You as our supreme husband.
"Dear Kåñëa, as women, we are certainly satisfied when our hearts are engaged in the activities of family affairs, but our hearts have already been stolen by You. We can no longer engage them in family affairs. Besides that, You are asking us repeatedly to return home, and that is a very appropriate instruction, but unfortunately we have been stunned here. Our legs have no power to move a step from Your lotus feet. Therefore, if even at Your request we return home, what shall we do there? We have lost all our capacity to act without You. Instead of engaging our hearts in family affairs as women, we have now developed a different type of lust which is continually blazing in our hearts. Now we request You, dear Kåñëa, to extinguish that fire with Your beautiful smile and the transcendental vibration emanating from Your lips. If You do not agree to do us this favor, we shall certainly be burned in the fire of separation. In that condition, we shall simply think of You and Your beautiful features and give up our bodies immediately. In that way we think it will be possible for us to reside at Your lotus feet in the next life. Dear Kåñëa, if You say that if we go home our respective husbands will satisfy the lusty flame of our desire, we can only say that that is no longer possible. You have given us a chance to be enjoyed by You in the forest and have touched our breasts once in the past, which we accepted as a blessing, as did the goddesses of fortune, who are enjoyed in the Vaikuëöhalokas by You. Since we have tasted this transcendental enjoyment, we are no longer interested in going to anyone but You for the satisfaction of our lust. Dear Kåñëa, the lotus feet of the goddess of fortune are always worshiped by the demigods, although she is always resting on Your chest in the Vaikuëöha planets. She underwent great austerity and penance to have some shelter at Your lotus feet, which are always covered by tulasé leaves. Your lotus feet are the proper shelter of Your servitors, and the goddess of fortune, instead of abiding on Your chest, comes down and worships Your lotus feet. We have now placed ourselves under the dust of Your feet. Please do not reject us, for we are fully surrendered souls.
"Dear Kåñëa, You are known as Hari. You destroy all the miseries of all living entities, specifically of those who have left their homes and family attachment and have completely taken to You. We have left our homes with the hope that we shall completely devote and dedicate our lives to Your service. We are simply begging to be engaged as Your servants. We do not wish to ask You to accept us as Your wives. Simply accept us as Your maidservants. Since You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead and like to enjoy the parakéya-rasa and are famous as a transcendental woman hunter, we have come to satisfy Your transcendental desires. We are also after our own satisfaction, for simply by looking at Your smiling face we have become very lusty. We have come before You decorated with all ornaments and dress, but until You embrace us, all our dresses and beautiful features remain incomplete. You are the Supreme Person, and if You complete our dressing attempt as the puruña-bhüñaëa, or the male ornament, then all our desires and bodily decorations are complete.
"Dear Kåñëa, we have simply been captivated by seeing You with tilaka and with earrings and by seeing Your beautiful face covered with scattered hair and Your extraordinary smile. Not only that, but we are also attracted by Your arms, which always give assurance to the surrendered souls. And although we are also attracted by Your chest, which is always embraced by the goddess of fortune, we do not wish to take her position. We shall simply be satisfied by being Your maidservants. If You, however, accuse us of encouraging prostitution, then we can only ask where is that woman within these three worlds who is not captivated by Your beauty and the rhythmic songs vibrated by Your transcendental flute? Within these three worlds there is no distinction between men and women in relation to You because both men and women belong to the marginal potency or prakåti. No one is actually the enjoyer or the male; everyone is meant to be enjoyed by You. There is no woman within these three worlds who cannot but deviate from her path of chastity once she is attracted to You because Your beauty is so sublime that not only men and women, but cows, birds, beasts and even trees, fruits and flowers--everyone and everything--become enchanted, and what to speak of ourselves? It is, however, definitely decided that as Lord Viñëu is always protecting the demigods from the onslaught of demons, so You have also advented in Våndävana just to give the residents protection from all kinds of distress. O dear friend of the distressed, kindly place Your hand on our burning breasts as well as on our heads, because we have surrendered unto You as Your eternal maidservants. If You think, however, that Your lotus-like palms might be burned to ashes if placed on our burning breasts, let us assure You that Your palms will feel pleasure instead of pain, as the lotus flower, although very delicate and soft, enjoys the scorching heat of the sun."
Upon hearing the anxious plea of the gopés, the Supreme Personality of Godhead began to smile, and being very kind to the gopés, the Lord, although self-sufficient, began to embrace them and kiss them as they desired. When Kåñëa, smiling, looked at the faces of the gopés, the beauty of their faces became a hundred times enhanced. When He was enjoying them in their midst, He appeared just like the full moon surrounded by millions of shining stars. Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead, surrounded by hundreds of gopés and decorated with a flower garland of many colors, began to wander within the Våndävana forest, sometimes singing to Himself and sometimes singing with the gopés. In this way, both the Lord and the gopés reached the cool sandy bank of the Yamunä where there were lilies and lotus flowers. In such a transcendental atmosphere, both the gopés and Kåñëa began to enjoy one another. While they were walking on the bank of the Yamunä, Kåñëa would sometimes put His arms around a gopé's head, breast or waist. Pinching one another and joking and looking at one another, they enjoyed. When Kåñëa touched the bodies of the gopés, their lust to embrace Him increased. They all enjoyed these pastimes. Thus the gopés were blessed with all mercy by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for they enjoyed His company without a tinge of mundane sex life.
The gopés, however, soon began to feel very proud, thinking themselves to be the most fortunate women in the universe by being favored by the company of Kåñëa. Lord Kåñëa, who is known as Keçava, could immediately understand their pride caused by their great fortune of enjoying Him personally, and in order to show them His causeless mercy and to curb their false pride, He immediately disappeared from the scene, exhibiting His opulence of renunciation. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is always full with six kinds of opulences, and this is an instance of the opulence of renunciation. This renunciation confirms Kåñëa's total nonattachment. He is always self-sufficient and is not dependent on anything. This is the platform on which the transcendental pastimes are enacted.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Twenty-ninth Chapter of Kåñëa, "The Räsa Dance: Introduction."