Pradyumna: "Translation: Let my mind be fixed upon Lord Sri Krsna, whose motions and smiles of love attracted the damsels of Vrajadhama (the gopis). The damsels imitated the characteristic movements of the Lord (after His disappearance from the rasa dance)."
Pradyumna: By intense ecstasy in loving service, the damsels of Vrajabhumi attained qualitative oneness with the Lord by dancing with Him on an equal level, embracing Him in nuptial love, smiling at Him in joke, and looking at Him with a loving attitude. The relation of the Lord with Arjuna is undoubtedly praiseworthy for devotees like Bhismadeva, but the relation of the gopis with the Lord is still more praiseworthy because of their still more purified loving service. By the grace of the Lord, Arjuna was fortunate enough to have the fraternal service of the Lord as chariot driver, but the Lord did not award Arjuna with equal strength. The gopis, however, practically became one with the Lord by attainment of equal footing with the Lord. Bhisma's aspiration to remember the gopis is a prayer to have their mercy also at the last stage of his life. The Lord is satisfied more when His pure devotees are glorified, and therefore Bhismadeva has not only glorified the acts of Arjuna, his immediate object of attraction, but has also remembered the gopis, who were endowed with unrivalled opportunities by rendering loving service to the Lord. The gopis' equality with the Lord should never be misunderstood to be like the sayujya liberation of the impersonalist. The equality is one of perfect ecstasy where the differential conception is completely eradicated, for the interests of the lover and the beloved become identical.
Prabhupada: So Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu said ramya kacid upasana vrajavadhu-vargena ya kalpita, and there is no better method of worship than the system invented by the gopis. So gopis invention of worshiping Krsna was to remain always Krsna conscious without any material profit. That is the super excellence of (the) gopis. They never expected any return from Krsna. That was not their business. "Krsna, we have done so much for You, You cannot give me this benediction?" No, they never asked like that. That is the first-class worship. "Krsna, You take whatever you like from us, but we do not ask anything, neither we have any need." This is gopis' worship. We have got everything to give You and we have no need to ask You. This is gopis' worship.
Generally, they worship God, needy artah artharthi. Artah means diseased, artharthi means in need of money. People generally go to church (or) temple when they are suffering from some ailments or need of money, these two classes. Another two classes, jijnasuh jnani. Jnani means who is after pure knowledge and jijnasuh means inquisitive -- what is the nature of God. These are, they are higher section but they are not bhaktas. Just like there are many philosophers, they also talk of God, but they are not bhaktas. But because they are talking of God, they are getting some benefit. Just like if you handle with fire, you perceive some warmth automatically. So these four classes of man they are not bhaktas, devotees, artah, artharthi, jnani, and jijnasuh. But because they come to Krsna for some benefit, somehow or other they offer their service, because praying is also another service. There are nine kinds of services: sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam, arcanam vandanam [SB 7.5.23]. Vandanam, this is also service. But because this service is rendered for some motive to mitigate the sufferings, artah artharthi, or to satisfy some inquires, they are not pure devotion.
So the gopis' activities, they are the supreme platform of pure devotion. There is no other business, there is no other business. Gopis, they are not interested to know philosophically whether Krsna is God. Although they are seeing every step, Krsna is God. Mother Yasoda is that Krsna is God. Gopis also gopi-jana-vallabha giri-vara-dhari. Krsna is lifting the Govardhana Hill, who can do it except God? They are seeing it, still they do not know that Krsna is God. Krsna is wonderful, that's all. They do not like to know whether Krsna is God or not. They want to love Krsna. Krsna may be God or not God, it doesn't matter. Just like if you love somebody, what he is, is he rich man, poor man, educated or non-educated? There is no consideration. Love has no such thing, consideration. Similarly, gopis' love for Krsna was pure. There was no consideration that Krsna was God, therefore they wanted to dance with Him. No, Krsna wanted to dance with them, therefore they came to Krsna. Krsna is now calling by the vibration of His flute at this dead of night. So, all these young girls, they are all married -- some of them are mothers -- so immediately (they) left their home. That is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Some of them were cooking, some of them were feeding, breast-feeding the children, some of them were feeding the husband or the father. In this way everyone was engaged, but as soon as Krsna's flute was heard at dead of night, they left home immediately. All the guardians. Generally in India for young girls, the guardians are the father, the husband, the brother, all male members they forbid, "Where you are going? Where you are...?" Nobody cares. No love for so-called children, no love for home, no love for brother, father or no respect. Krsna. That is gopis' super-excellence. So that is being explained, and Bhismadeva, at the point of his death, he is relishing. These are to be learned. Unless we are practiced to think of Krsna always, how at the time of death we can think of Him? Therefore Kulasekhara says:
krsna tvadiya-padapankaja-panjarantamMaharaja Kulasekhara king, a great devotee, is praying to Krsna, "Krsna, this is the opportune time. Now I am healthy. I am quite in good health so let me die immediately, thinking of You, because my whole purpose is to think of You, of Your pastimes, at the time of death. So generally, at the time of death, kapha-vata-pittaih, the whole system becomes disarranged. There are coughing, there are headache, there is some pain, this is general system. Sometimes they are so intolerable that the man who is going to die, he cries. The system within the body is so complicated that at any time it can be disarranged, and it becomes a great source of pain. So, at the time of death means, the arrangement becomes so dangerously painful, that one leaves this body, "No more." This is death. This bodily arrangement becomes so painful. Just like one commits suicide. When the situation is too much painful he wants a rescue by committing suicide. Similarly, when the bodily pains are too severe, then the living entity can not live in this body. Tyaktva deham, he gives up this body. So we have to give up this body, that we forget.
adyaiva me vissatu manasa-raja-hamsah
kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te
People have become so misguided, they are memorizing. In our country some astrologer has said that one big politician, he has become one of the two dogs in Scandinavia! Now here for this material body, they have erected museum, and statues, and being worshiped by so many methods, but the spirit soul -- which was the politician actually, not this body -- he has taken birth as a dog. This is the understanding. Where the politician has gone and how what he is doing, they do not know. But they are concerned with the body. My Guru Maharaja used to say, (aside:) yes? "That one man is drowned, and another brave man comes -- I'll save him." As he jumps over the water and brings the coat and shirt, "Now this man is saved." So what people will say, what a nonsense he is, he has brought his coat and shirt and the man is saved? Similarly, these rascals, they are dealing with the coat and shirt of the living entity but they have no knowledge in the university or anywhere where the soul has gone.
These rascals have no knowledge. They are simply concerned with this external body. Those who are interested only with this external body, not those who are, ninety-nine percent population, they are interested in this bodily concept of life. Perhaps we are the only institution in the world which is teaching that you are not this body. This is the wonder of Krsna Consciousness movement. We are the only institution throughout the whole world that we are teaching people that "My dear sir, you are not this body. You are different from the body, and after death you get another body." Tatha dehantara-praptir. Simple education in the Bhagavad-gita. They do not understand. There are big, big scholars, rascals, all rascals. Our difficulty is these rascals are going on as scholar, dehatma-buddhih. Their life is bodily concept of life and they are passing as scientists, scholars, leaders, politicians and they are leading us andha yathandhair. They are blind and they are leading us, so we have, we are also put into difficulty. So only this Krsna Consciousness movement can save the human civilization and get him raised to the platform of the gopis. We have got such nice thing, these gopis' unalloyed Krsna love. That is wanted.
Thank you very much. (end)
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.9.40 -- New York, May 22, 1973