The Story of Maha Raas of Shri Krishna and Gopis
Maha Raas was solemnized by Shri Krishna and Gopis in Vrindavan, by Balkrishna at the age of 8 years 3 months while Radharani was 3 years 3 months only (on October 3, 3222 BC on Kartika Purnima).
Goverdhan episode developed trust in the minds of Gopis that Balkrishna is almighty. This sowed the seeds of love and devotion among their minds. Initially, love starts between two persons. As love intensity grows, feeling of oneness develops. Intensity of devotion increased gradually in the minds of Gopis leading to restlessness. This restlessness was due to separation from almighty and not worldly desire or passion.
Dongra ji Maharaj has explained about the Gopis as under:
Gopis are of two types’ viz. Nityasiddha (नित्यसिद्धा) and Sadhansiddha (साधनसिद्धा). Nityasiddha Gopis are Shrutiroopa (श्रुतिरूपा), Rishiroopa (ऋषिरूपा), Sankeernroopa (संकीर्णरूपा), anypoorva (अन्यपूर्वा) and ananypoorva (अनन्यपूर्वा). Sadhansiddha Gopis were that who’s Sadhna (spiritual elevation) was not yet completed.
Balkrishna asked them to return their homes. Shri Krishna said to Gopis, they would get more pleasure in separation than that of meeting. It was not proper to come here leaving their husbands and children at home. Gopis asked reason for saying this. Shri Krishna replied, body has husband, father etc. but Atman does not belong to father or husband etc. Atman’s duty is to meet almighty. Shri Krishna further said duty of women is to serve husband and children which purifies mind and pure mind attains almighty. Gopis said they have done renunciation of all desires from sense organs & mind and decided to surrender in the feet of almighty. Gopis further said, they are neither man nor woman but pure Atman. For thousands of births, they have waited for him. Shri Krishna said he could deliver them at their homes with the power of yoga. Gopis said it would deliver the physical bodies but not the minds. Gopis were adamant not to go back and preferred to die. They insisted for amrit (nectar) of divine love and wisdom so that feeling of duality eliminates.
Hearing all this, Shri Krishna accepted the defeat. He thought that devotion of Gopis is true and they would give up lives, if sent them away today. Almighty took many forms and did Maha Raas with each individual Gopi. Jivatmas met Parmatama. Narada ji regretted for being a man as he could not participate in Raas. Radha ji advised him to take bath in Radhakund. Narada ji after taking bath in Radhakund became Naradi.
Brahma ji and other deities beheld Raas. Brahma ji thought, although Shri Krishna and Gopis are desireless and flawless, yet Shri Krishna is for establishing virtues and Raas with others’ wives is not proper. Shri Krishna thought Brahma has not understood that this is not ordinary Raas Lila but dharma (Virtuous) Lila. Almighty did one trick. He gave his form of Krishna to all Gopis. Now, there was only Shri Krishna. Brahma ji understood that this is not ordinary Raas.
Shrimad Bhagwat Mahapuran by Shri Ramchandra Keshav Dongra ji Maharaj