The call of the flute was becoming unbearable, shaking their very existence. This was a call that couldn’t be ignored. It made them crazy, not able to carry on with their household chores anymore. They left their family, homes and ran helter-skelter following the flute. They dropped everything, ran through the dark, frightening forest and appeared before the master of the flute. There stood Shyamsundar, kissing the flute that played the nectarial notes, face encircled by curling locks of hair, cheeks beautified by earrings, with his bewitching smile and irresistible glance, his imposing arms holding the flute. But why did their beloved Krishna appear so distant? Why was he not pleased to see them? And what followed was even worse. Krishna, on seeing them asked brutally, “Why have you all come here, to such a dangerous place, in the dead of the night? Don’t you know that this forest is full of treacherous and savage creatures. Your family would be so worried looking for you. Your husbands and children will surely come searching for you. Please go and engage yourself in your household duties. Your primary duty is to serve your husband and children. So, go back to your homes.”
It felt as if the sky had fallen on their heads. All restraint broke loose. But the gopis were not normal people who could be preached. They answered back,
“How can you be so cruel? You are all powerful and aware of everything. How can you reject us, who have left everything and come to you. All we ask of you is to reciprocate our feelings as Lord Narayana reciprocates with His devotees and grants them liberation.
O dear Krishna! We know our duty is to faithfully serve our family, but why do you forget that you are the dearest friend of all embodied souls? You are our most intimate relative and the essence of our very self.
The yogis and the saints have recognised you as their true self and their eternal beloved. Why do you act differently with us when we leave everything and desire only your association?
चित्तं सुखेन भवतापहृतं गृहेषु यन्निर्विशत्युत करावपि गृह्यकृत्ये । पादौ पदं न चलतस्तव पादमूलाद् याम: कथं व्रजमथो करवाम किं वा
cittaṁ sukhena bhavatāpahṛtaṁ gṛheṣu yan nirviśaty uta karāv api gṛhya-kṛtye pādau padaṁ na calatas tava pāda-mūlād yāmaḥ kathaṁ vrajam atho karavāma kiṁ vā
- (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.29.34)
(You easily stole our minds that were absorbed in our households, as also our hands that were engaged in household duties. Our feet will not move one step away from your feet.)
We were engrossed in our family affairs till now but we are unable to focus on anything now. Your flute has stolen our minds and our hands and legs refuse to carry on with day-to-day work. We are here, in front of you and our feet won’t move a step away from your lotus feet. How can you expect them to take us back to our home in Brij? You grace all the lives in the forest by your presence. Even Goddess Lakshmi is exhilarated when she touches your lotus feet. She desires the dust of your lotus feet although she has to share this dust with Tulsi Devi. In the same way, we have approached the dust of your lotus feet. So, how can we, mere residents of Brij, go back without touching those lotus feet? Fulfilled by your touch, we cannot bear the presence of any other man in our lives.
O dear one! Intoxicated by the melody of your flute, which woman in all the three worlds will not deviate from her duties and responsibilities? Your beauty dazzles every nook and corner. The cows, deer, birds, every moving creature and even the trees that cannot move, become ecstatic seeing your magnificent form. We have abandoned our homes and families to come near your lotus feet with the only desire to serve you. Please show mercy and make us your maidservants.
O Shyamsundar! Please pour the nectar of your lips and subdue the fire that has been ignited in our hearts with your smiling glances and the sweet song of your flute. Or else, we will give up our bodies will incinerate in the flames of fire of separation from you. It is evident that you have taken birth in this world to wipe out the fear and sufferings of the residents of Vrij. So, why ignore us who have surrendered ourselves to you? O friend of the distressed, kindly place your lotus hands on the heads of your maid servants.”
The tenth canto, chapter twenty-nine of Srimad Bhagavatam, elucidates the ‘Pranaya Gita’ of the Gopis, celebrating the oneness of hearts between the lover and the beloved, between the gopis and their Krishna. It sings about the determination, courage, complete faith and trust of the gopis on Krishna. There is no hesitation, fear or distance in narrating their innermost desire before their love. They claim their right and seek equal treatment and reciprocation of their feelings.
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