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The Call Of The Flute

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Sharad Raas


The sun was slowly setting over the land of Vrindavan, radiating its warm, golden hues all over the lush green land, forming mesmerizing patterns of light and dark on the Earth’s surface. It was the evening of Sharad Poornima, and the full moon was set to rise in its divine glory, illuminating the land below with its shimmering beams. The gentle ripples in the water of the Yamuna and the cool breeze rustling through the forests spread a blanket of tranquility over the serene village, ready to welcome the ethereal glow of the full moon night. But the restlessness in the minds of the Gopis was not to be calmed that evening! It had been almost a year since they completed their Katyayini Vrat, a form of worship to mother Parvati, to attain Her grace in order to get Lord Krishna as their soul beloved. Krishna’s promise to the Gopis that He would make them His own was also almost a year old as well! “Has Krishna really forgotten His promise?” This question had constantly distressed one young Gopi all day. When she looked out into the moonlight, she saw the mystical orb glowing with the red effulgence of newly applied sindoor (vermillion), as if it was the face of Goddess Lakshmi Herself! Perhaps, this beautiful day of Sharad Poornima could be the day! She could tell that it was going to be the most special day of her life, in fact the most special day in several lifetimes! As she was going about her chores, a faint music of the flute filled the air. It was so melodious that she could not take her attention off of it! Even when it became slightly louder, nobody else in her household seemed to be able to hear it! Was she losing her mind? She could not understand! Perhaps it was the call of her beloved Krishna! Her mind became fixated on the Lord. No longer could she continue with her chores as she ran towards the door.

Another Gopi was putting her son to sleep when the melodious notes of the heavenly flute pierced her heart. She ran to the window and looked out. Yes, Krishna was calling her. She rushed out without a care for her child and her family. Yet another Gopi was massaging her husband’s feet and another friend of her was anointing her eyes with kohl when the magical flute smeared nectar in their ears. Yes, Maa Katyayini had granted their wish. Each one of them knew that Krishna was playing the flute for her. They ran out forgetting their homes, families and friends. One Gopi was unable to get out but her heart had already crossed the doorstep and had taken off in the direction of the sound. She couldn’t bear this intense agony of separation from Shri Krishna. As she meditated on Him and yearned for His divine love, the intense pain of separation that she suffered burned all her material piety! Her soul could no longer be restrained. It left her material body to merge permanently with her love! Such was the love of the Gopis for Sri Krishna. They had observed Katyayini Vrat. They saw Krishna everywhere around them as their hearts melted in the supreme soul. The pangs of separation, the fire of devotion, their love for Him bound their hearts with Krishna. They were no ordinary women. They were exalted personages. The five chapters of Srimad Bhagavatam, known as the 'Rasa Panchadhyayi' is called the ‘prana’ or the vital breath of Srimad Bhagavatam. The greatest devotees of God are portrayed in the personality of the Gopis, and the reaction of God to the devotees is the reaction of Krishna to the Gopis. The Gopis rushed to have a glimpse of Krishna and poured their heart out. But Krishna lectured them saying that women should noy stray out of their houses at night leaving their fathers and husbands. A woman’s place is in her home. The Gopis replied that Krishna had conquered their hearts and He was the supreme object of their love. Their hands and feet refused to move from that place. Responding to their appeal Krishna got down on the bed of the river Yamuna and sported with them on the sands, casting sweet glances and fulfilling their wish.

The Gopis felt blessed but this privilege that they enjoyed went into their heads. They began to think that they were the most loved by Sri Krishna. Krishna cannot withstand pride and hence he suddenly made himself invisible. Being unable to bear the separation they began searching for him. They went from place to place, hugging stones and trees, thinking them to be Krishna. They ran aimlessly like crazy, totally unmindful of what they were saying or doing. They sang His praises and enacted the stories they had heard about His feats. They became so absorbed in Him that they forgot their homes altogether. Their loud wailing, egoless sincere appeal brought back Sri Krishna in their midst. He looked heavenly, dazzling like a thousand suns and moons. Seeing Him, the new found joy of the Gopis was as great as the sorrow they had left behind. Then started the 'Rasa Kreeda' dance where every Gopi felt as if Krishna was dancing only with her. The Gopis formed themselves into a ring. Between every two of them was Krishna. They found Krishna to their left and to their right. The Lord was bound by their love.

There is a sweetness that permeates human life, and in its absence the most powerful men look bitter. It is the lack of affection, lack of love that brings distress. Love is a greater essential than all the power, authority and wealth of the world.

Image Courtesy: Batagopal Tripathy

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