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An Episode On Gopikas Devotion

Once Krishna feigned that he was suffering from a headache for which the cure was the application of the dust from the feet of a devotee to His head. Sage Narada sought to collect the dust froln Satyabhama, Rukmini and others, whom he regarded as great devotees of the Lord. But all of them declined to give dust from their feet because they considered it sinful to offer their dust to be placed on the Lord's head. Ultimately Narada went to the Gopikas, who did not have the slightest hesitation to offer the dust from their feet if only it would give immediate relief to the Lord, regardless of the consequences to themselves.

The Gopikas did not consider whether it was right or wrong for them to offer the dust of their feet. They were only concerned with giving relief to their Lord. 'Our entire life is dedicated to Krishna. His joy is ours.' This was the spirit of oneness with which they offered the dust of their feet. And that very moment Krishna was rid of His ailment. By the time, Narada reached Krishna, the Lord was found wreathed in smiles. Krishna told the sage: 'You are boasting that you are devotees of the Lord. But none of you has the utterly selfless devotion of the Gopikas.' Today, there are many who claim to be devotees of the Lord and close to the Lord. But few can be described as real devotees of God." Sai Baba, SS. 9/92, p. 217

"Follow My Footprints, You Shall Find Me"

"Krishna had always eluded the Gopikas after playing his mischief. But once, out of compassion for them, he wanted to provide a clue by which they could trace him. One day all lay in wait round their houses to catch Krishna. Krishna went into a house stealthily, broke a pot of milk and quietly hid himself. The Gopikas found that he had broken the pot and tried to trace him. The milk-white steps, which he had left, revealed to them his hideout. Then Krishna revealed to them the spiritual truth that if they cling to the Feet of the Lord they will realise Him. "Follow my footsteps and you shall find me.', Krishna told the Gopikas." Sai Baba, SS, 10/96, p. 257

"I Want To Remove The Burdens Borne By People And Not To Add To Them"

"Once a Gopika went to a well to bring two pitchers on her head. She wanted someone to place the other water-filled pitcher on the first one. At that time, Krishna came there and she asked him to place the other water-filled pitcher on the first one.

 

Krishna refused to do so. Soon another Gopika came along and helped the first Gopika. The Gopika carrying the two pitchers reached her home. Krishna followed her to the house and without even waiting to be asked he took the top pitcher from the Gopika's head and placed it down. She was surprised at Krishna's strange behaviour. She asked:

"Krishna! At the well, you refused to place the pitcher on my head when I appealed to you to help me. Now you took it down from the head without my asking. What is the inner meaning of this action? Krishna replied: "Oh Gopika! I want to remove the burdens borne by people and not to add to them.'" Sai Baba, SS, 4/92, p. 74

"This (Bhagavatham) sacred epic describes at length Gopikas' yearning for Krishna when He left Gokul for Mathura where he was fully involved in the affairs of the kingdom.

The Gopikas were unable to bear the pangs of separation from their dear Lord (Krishna) and were anxiously waiting for his return. The entire Gokul bore the look of a barren land. There was no dearth of food and comforts in Gokul, yet the Gopikas could not enjoy any of them as they thought life was not worth living without Krishna, whom they considered as their very life-breath. They lost their health and happiness, as they were unable to bear the pangs of separation from him. Krishna, being aware of Gopikas' plight, summoned His friend Uddhava and asked him to proceed to Gokul to console the Gopikas and give his message to them. Uddhava was a great philosopher and Jnani (one of wisdom). He realised that Krishna was omnipresent. As per the command of Krishna, he went to Gokul and conveyed Krishna's message to the Gopikas and Gopalas. He told them that they should not limit Krishna to a small physical frame thinking that he was present in Mathura. He tried to explain to the Gopikas that He is present everywhere. There is, therefore, no need for them to feel sorry that he is away.

Since the Gopikas had totally surrendered themselves to Krishna, they would not look at or talk to a stranger. So, they made a Bhramara (buzzing bee) as an intermediary and talked to Uddhava while addressing the bee. Having been used to worship Krishna's beautiful form, they could not really think of Krishna as a formless entity. Making fun of Uddhava's preaching, they asked, 'Do you practise what you preach? You are enjoying the proximity to our Lord Krishna, but are telling us to experience his attributeless and formless aspect. We don't want your preaching or philosophy. We are not interested in your formless, attributeless God. Bring our dear Krishna to us.' They said,' Krishna has stolen our heart and soul. We have only one mind and that has gone with Him to Mathura. We do not have another to listen to what you are preaching.'

The declaration of the Gopikas that they had only one mind made Uddhava recognise their one-pointed devotion. He realised that the pure, unsullied and eternal divine principle could be attained only through fixing the mind on God. The Gopikas lamented at their separation from Krishna and said, 'We want to see nothing but Krishna's beautiful form;

hear nothing, but melodious music flute and experience nothing but his divine love. We have cried for Krishna so much that our eyes are swollen and there is not a drop of tear left in them. How can the ship of your message sail in the dry sands of our hearts? So, go back to the place you have come from. We are not interested in the formless aspect of Divinity. We want to see the enchanting form of our Lord.' Hearing the words of the Gopikas, Uddhava realised that all his Jnana (wisdom) was worthless. He considered himself to be totally ignorant, as he had underestimated the love and devotion of the Gopikas for Krishna.

 

He stopped preaching and tried to hand over Krishna's letter to the Gopikas, saying that it contained Krishna's message for them. He wanted them to read it. They refused to accept the letter, saying that they could not read it, as they had no knowledge of Akshara (alphabet). But their minds were merged in the Akshara Swarupa (immortal form) of Lord Krishna. Uddhava was a bit angry with the Gopikas, thinking that they had no respect for even Krishna's message. Then one of the Gopikas started explaining, There is no point in accepting Krishna's letter as we, being illiterate, cannot read it. There may be one or two amongst us who can read. But we are afraid that our tears may drop on the letter and wash out words written in it. There is another reason too. Our whole body is heated up on account of separation from Krishna. So, it is possible that the letter may get burnt to ashes if our hands were to touch it. You are unable to understand our plight.'

They sent a message to Krishna addressing the bee, '0 bee! Why don't you go back and tell Krislma that He should look at us at least once? Can you not tell Krishna to illumine our dark hearts with his resplendent form? Our life has become like a dried tree. Please tell Krishna to put some life into it?' Thus, Gopikas always craved for divine proximity. That is the sign of true devotion. True philosophy comprises of establishing a relationship between the individual and God. The Gopikas never gave scope for narrow feelings. They aspired for the intimate relationship with God.

There is no place where God does not exist. But you cannot see God as long as there is the sense of 'I' (ego) in you. The Gopikas had absolutely no sense of ego. There 'I' had merged with Krishna. So long as there is ego in you, you will find only multiplicity. Once you realise that you and I are one; you will find unity everywhere, which is true and eternal." Sai Baba, SS, 1/2000, pp. 4-7

"The heart of Uddhava, who was considered one of wisdom, was transformed on seeing the love and devotion of the Gopikas for Krishna. He approached with a prayer that he may he blessed with at least a fraction of their devotion. Gopikas said, 'they had only one mind and that was centered on Krishna. But men have many minds! This statement of the Gopikas is in itself the highest philosophy." Sai Baba, SS, 1/2000, p. 9