“Let my mind be fixed upon Lord Shri Krishna, 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].” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.9.40)
prakṛtim agan kila yasya gopa-vadhvaḥ
Friend1: Let me ask you about the tough issues.
Friend2: What, am I running for political office or something? You want to interview me about the issues of the day?
Friend1: Sort of, but not quite. I’m talking about key points from Vedic philosophy that aren’t so easy to digest at first.
Friend2: Like the women being less intelligent thing? That’s always going to offend some people. You have to understand that the Vedas handicap different body types for the living entities. It’s quite objective; not meant to put down anyone. The assessment relates to the potential for understanding Brahman, or the non-differentiated spiritual energy.
Friend1: I’m glad you gave that explanation, but it’s not what I was going to bring up. I’m talking about something even higher.
Friend1: Krishna’s pastimes with the gopis, the cowherd girls of Vrindavana.
Friend2: Ah, now I know what you are going to say.
Friend1: Maybe not. Obviously I know that the less intelligent will never be able to understand such an advanced topic. I know that the Shrimad Bhagavatam first dedicates nine cantos’ worth of verses to establishing Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Friend2: Scientifically establishes. Not just “Hey, Krishna is God because I say so.” The Bhagavatam explains how He is God. If you have heard everything properly you can reach no other conclusion.
Friend1: Okay, sure, I get that. Here’s the issue, though. When Krishna does something like dance with young girls in the middle of the bright moonlit night in autumn, doesn’t that go against morality? If Krishna is God, how can He engage in adharma, or irreligiousness?
Friend2: I’m sure you know the explanation to that one. Krishna is the object of dharma. He is never beholden to any rules. He makes the rules. Whatever He does is automatically in line with dharma. He is quintessential righteousness.
Friend1: There we go. That’s what I wanted you to say. I’m not disagreeing with you here, but there’s a common retort to that logic. It says that making Krishna above morality like you just did is rather convenient.
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: Employing the same practice, I could turn any person into God. If you find a shortcoming or two in the person I have deified, I can resort to my failsafe position that my guy is above righteousness. Do you see what I’m saying?
Friend2: I think so. People will say it’s a cheap excuse to make the son of Yashoda above the principles of morality. If He were truly God, He wouldn’t engage in bad behavior to begin with.
Friend1: Exactly. In addition, isn’t following dharma one way to establish someone as supreme? If a person lies, cheats and steals, doesn’t that mean they are not godly?
Friend2: You make good points. Under ordinary circumstances they would be valid, but I disagree with your premise.
Friend1: How so?
Friend2: Krishna’s dancing with the gopis does not go against dharma. It does not diminish His standing as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. On the contrary, those intimate dealings further substantiate the claim of the wise souls that Krishna is Bhagavan in the complete form, full of attractiveness.
Friend1: Care to elaborate?
Friend2: He will do anything for His devotees. He will marry over 16,000 wives if that’s what is desired on the other side. He will expand Himself into over one hundred identical forms so that each gopi feels they are dancing with Him alone. He will steal butter from the homes of the neighbors in order to give them delight. He has a specific form for worship suited for those who are dedicated to righteous principles. That form is Narayana, or the source of men. If you want to view God in a majestic way, where He can do no wrong as you define it, then there is worship of Lakshmi-Narayana available to you.
Friend1: I see.
Friend2: Worship of Krishna is more intimate. That’s why it takes longer to understand Him. His dealings with the gopis represent the height of compassion and are the very embodiment of dharma. He will do anything for His pure devotees. Knowing this, the wise take shelter of that jewel of Vrindavana.
For devotees Lord anything will do,
Including dancing with young girls too.
Surrendered souls they are,
Always in union with Him, even when far.
The less intelligent not knowing,
Thinking adharma when to forest going.
Knock against Him only would be found,
When if by rules themselves Krishna is bound.