After a long preparation finally I have started writing this post on the top secret of Bhagwat Purana, i.e; Maha Raas leela. As per the Bhagwatam this is the most secret Lila and one who reads the entire 5 chapters of Raas Leela, attains the full result of reading entire Bhagwatam. So dear devotees, please clear all your confusions and misconceptions regarding this Raas Leela. Lord Krishna performed this Raas Leela with Braj Gopis, now you might want to know who these gopis were and how they got the access to this Raas leela which was simply inaccessible for any demigods, even Lord Shiva also took part in this leela, but in disguise of a Gopi, except Shiva & Parvati no other demigods were able to join the Maha Raas, all of them were witnessing the entire leela staying at the Swarga itself and they simply showered the flowers upon Krishna & Gopis from Swarga Loka(heaven) during the raas nritya (Dance of Rasa).
What is Raas?
When one Nat(Male dancer) dances with innumerable Natis(female dancers) then it’s called the Raas.
Who are these Gopis?
First of all, Gopis are not mere the village girls of Braj, rather actually they are the ones who had been appeared through the energy of Krishna’s own Hladini shakti (Joy-rendering power or mental companion potency), Radha rani is the symbol of this Hladini Shakti. These Gopis were the most beautiful among 3 worlds, there love for Krishna was so pure and transcendental that even Bramha, Mahadev and others always expected the dust of Braj gopi’s feet. The Love of all those gopis were simply unconditional (nishkam prem), they expected nothing in return from Krishna, all of them were waiting since many yugas just to enjoy the company of Krishna in Raas leela. In their previous birth these Gopis were the sages of Dandakarnya, when Lord Rama Chandra visited the Dandakaranya during his 14years of exile then these sages were witnessing how nicely & delicately Mata Sita was serving the lord Rama, then these sages too possessed the same feelings of serving to Lord Rama being his wives, Lord Rama knew their feelings for him, so then he told those sages to wait till Dwapar yug when he will appear again on this earth as Lord Krishna, then being the Lila Purushottam he will accept all of those sages as his wives and will dance during the Raas Leela. So these Gopis were nothing but the sages who were waiting for long. Lord Rama could not accept them in Treta Yuga as he was playing the role of Maryada Purushottam then and he promised to have only one wife in that period, being Rama he never showed any of his magical power, he always used to hide his actual identity of Ultimate God head, but during Dwapara yuga he never hidden the fact that he is the ultimate God head, in each step he had shown his true power, be it was Maa Yashoda or Nandji, Kangsha or Arjuna. When Lord Krishna was dancing with these Gopis then there were crores of Gopis irrespective of ages, some of them were of 12 years old, few were of 25, 40 or even of 80. They all had the one feelings in their heart that Krishna is the Jagatpati(Ultimate Master of this universe) and they are nothing but mere servants to him. So to offer their seva (service) and just to give pleasure to the Lord they wanted the company of Krishna. The gopis were not only the Brahm gyani (knower of God), but crossing that level they already turned into the Brahm Premi (lover of God). Neither they had any material needs to fulfill, nor they wanted to satisfy their senses, they were just the pure lovers of Krishna.
How old Krishna was during Raas Leela?
Krishna was mere 8 years old when he played the Raas leela, he raised the Giriraj when he was 7 years old and the Raas leela took place after 1 year of that, so Krishna was not more than 8 years old then.
Purpose of this Raas Leela:
Mainly 2 reasons were there behind performing the Raas leela.
1) Fulfillment of the wishes of Gopis: Regarding this I have already explained that when the sages of Dandakaranya observed how nicely Sitadevi was serving to Lord Rama then they also wanted to become women and serve to Lord Rama as his wives, Ram Chandra blessed them with this boon that in Krishna avatar all the sages will become the Gopis and Krishna will accept all of them as his wives. In Bhagwatam we have also seen this Gopis to perform the worship to Devi Katyayani or Durga, during performing the one month long worship they prayed and chanted the following mantra “O goddess Katyayani, O great potency of the Lord, O possessor of great mystic power and mighty controller of all, please make the son of Nanda Maharaja my husband. I offer my obeisances unto you.”, it’s not the fact that they did not know that Krishna is the Paramatma, but out of their pure love they accepted Lord only as the Nanda Nandan & Yashoda Nandan. During this one month period the gopis ate only non-spiced rice, by the side of Yamuna’s riverbank they made the idol of Devi Katyayani or Durga with earth dug and offered worship with simple items like sandal pulp, lamp, fruits, fresh leaves and flowers.They prayed to Devi Katyayani with the strong and pure feelings for Krishna and just prayed to get him as their husband. At last the Devi Durga became happy and appeared before them and granted them their desired boon. She also said that in coming Sarad Purnima night all the Gopis will get Krishna as their husband. According to few sages it is also said that it is not the Katyayani who appeared and granted the benediction, rather it was Krishna himself who came in during the Gopi’s Cheer haran or Vastra Haran leela and later he granted them the boon, because being Paramatma he already was aware of the reason of 1 month long worship. But you should not think that Devi Durga was not pleased with the devotion of Gopis, but as per rule until a vrat or puja process is being completed, before that no benediction can be granted, but here Krishna, the prime goal of Gopis himself came and promised that they will get himself soon during the Sarad Purnima.
2) The incineration of Kaam Dev: The incineration of Kaam dev was one of the biggest reasons behind the Raas leela, because after the death of Godess Sati, lord Shiva started a yogic penance, but there was a demon naming Tarakasura who took opportunity of this incident and pleased Lord Bramha through penance, he asked for 2 boons, one was to become the most powerful man on earth and the other one was to be killed only by the son of Lord Shiva, because he thought probably after the death of Sati, Lord Shiva will never marry again. After getting this boon he started causing havoc to 3 worlds, he defeated many kings and attacked Swarga loka too, then all the demigods approached to Bramha and asked for a solution, then Bramha said that Devi Sati has already reborn as Devi Parvati, but Shiva is not interested to tie the knot and also does not want to be back in this world from Kailas, but Mata Parvati is already doing penance to get Shiva as her husband once again, so in this case Shiva’s penance should be stopped so that he can be brought back to this world again. Then all the demigods tried their level best to break his penance, but all of them had failed. Finally Bramha told demigods to take help of Kaam dev, then as per request, Kaamdev came along with his wife Rati and shot 5 arrows of flowers at Shiva’s heart in order to create the sexual urge in him, the purpose of demigods were fulfilled as Shiva’s meditation was interrupted, but the fuming Shiva then opened his 3rd eye and a blazing fire came out of it which burnt Kaam dev into ashes. When Rati lost her husband then she cried a lot and approached Shiva and requested him not to make her widow in this way, because her husband had no personal intention or purpose behind interrupting Shiva in his meditation, he just did so as per the instruction of Bramha and othr demigods. When Shiva got pacified then he said that he has not the capability to turn the ashes back into the previous body of Kaam dev, but Kaam dev has not died & still exists, for losing his body he has just become invisible, but Shiva also asked Rati not to worry, because in Treta yuga when Lord Krishna will appear then your husband will get a new body being his son whose name will be Pradyumna, in this way you will get back your husband once again.
So these above 2 points are the prime reasons for which Raas Leela was performed.
Kaam Dev challenged to Shri Krishna: There was a time when Kaamdev defeated almost everyone in this universe including Bramha also & as a result of this he started feeling very proud of himself, one day Devarshi Narad was traveling when Kaam dev appeared and challenged him and asked to fight with, in response to that Narad muni told that he is nothing but a mere sage, he is always engrossed in krishna devotion and listens to Krishna Katha only, so he is unable to fight, then Kaam dev was disappointed and told Narad muni that as he is not ready to fight with him then at least tell a person’s name who can fight with him. In response Narad muni told him that there is a child in Vrindavan whose name is Krishna, in the entire universe only he is someone who has the capability to fight with Kaam dev, listening to that Kaam dev told that in all 3 worlds no one could have defeated him, not even Bramha also, then how come a child of mere 8 years old will fight with him, then Narad muni assured him and told to have faith upon his words and go to Krishna.
During this moment Krishna was in Vanshivat area and was playing the flute under the Vat tree (Banian tree). Do you guys remember the banyan or Vat tree image which I circulated few days back among various groups on web? If any of you missed that post then here I am attaching the same image again. Through this post again I would request all of you that if you are visiting Vrindavan then please don’t miss out the Vat tree. Now coming back to the fact, when Kaam dev found the little boy playing flute then he asked his name and Krishna told him about his name. Then Kaam dev challenged him to fight, but Krishna said that war can take place between two equals only, then being a boy how come he will fight with Kaam Dev, then Kaam Dev told him not to make him confused and again invited him to fight, he further told that Narad muni has specifically told him that in this universe only you are capable to fight with me, so I am challenging you.
Then Krishna said Okay, I am ready to fight, but war can be fought in 2 ways, i.e; Kila Yudh (war from the fort) & the other one is Maidan Yudh (war in the open battle field). Now you choose the option. Kaam dev wanted to know the nature of both types of wars, then Krishna explained as follows:
- Kila Yudh: Under this option you can fight with me when I will be with Radha Rani in Nikunj Van, at that point you can hit me with your 5 arrows, for a single second even if my heart or mind will go weak then you will win.
- Maidan Yudh: Under this option I will create a special night during Sarad Purnima and the night will last for 6 months, since it will be autumn so your job will be easy, it will be a full moon night when I will perform the Raas lila with crores of Gopis, there will be only one single male and that will be me.
So you can choose any option, thinking of the 2nd option Kaam dev thought that it will be the most easiest option to defeat Krishna, so he chosen the 2nd option. Then Krishna told that he has a condition, Kaam dev asked what that condition is, then Krishna told him that the person who will lose the challenge, will become the son of the winner. Kaam dev agreed to that.
Reason behind placing the condition: I already explained that Lord Shiva burnt Kaam dev into ashes for interrupting him in his meditation. But later he assured to devi Rati that only Krishna in Dwapar will bless Kaam dev with his body. So in order to fulfill Lord Shiva’s word to Rati, Krishna had to perform the Raas Leela and also had to mention about the condition to Kaam dev so that he gets back his lost body being the son of Krishna as Pradyumna.
Krishna calls Gopis: Finally the night of Sarad Purnima arrived when the full Moon delivered it’s rays in all 5 directions which covered the entire forest with it’s soft and loving rays. Many unseasoned flowers like Chameli, Mallika, Bela were bloomed on that night and the sweet scent of those had spread all over the forest, all these things were being organized by Yogmaya’s power (Radha rani) as per the wish of Krishna. Finally Krishna started playing his flute and the sweet tune gave bliss to all gopis and the total universe, it mesmerized them and increased their devotion further towards Krishna and the feelings to be with him. Krishna’s magical tune of flute fully controlled the minds of Gopis and they could not stop themselves from reaching the place. At that point of time many Gopis were busy in offering the grasses to cows, many were serving their husbands and in laws, many were boiling the milk, few were even feeding their milk to their babies, but the tune of the flute made them running towards the forest leaving everything. The family members of the Gopis simply could not understand why suddenly they all have started running together, because as those family members were not the devotees or pure lovers of Krishna so they could not listen to the flute tune. However, few Gopis were stopped by their husbands or brothers and they were locked in a room, but as those gopis were actually sages of Dandakaranya and were waiting particularly for that night only, so instantly they started meditating and their souls reached to krishna. So friends, just imagine the situation, the mortal body of those Gopis meant nothing to Krishna, but what was more important to him was their souls. The entire Raas lila was about the reunion of Atmaas with Paramatma (reunion of souls with the supreme soul).
Testing of Gopis: This part is the actual conversation that took place between Lord Krishna & Gopis, so the same thing has been presented here within the quoted parts. I have made no changes and mentioned the exact lines from Bhagwat Mahapuran.
Whenever any devotee tries to reach the pinnacle of devotion then before blessing God always tests him/her, here Krishna also did the same thing with Gopis. When the crores of Gopis reached to the Vansi Vat tree then Krishna first welcomed them, after that to check the intensity of their love for him
Krishna asked: “Why are you running towards me? Has any misfortune struck? You are alright? What can I do for you? It is not right for a woman to be alone in a dense jungle at this time of night. Have you come to admire the beauty? Well, then enjoy the splendor of the night and quickly return to your homes! Your husbands and children must be waiting for you!” When Krishna asked them to return to their homes then they felt humiliated, because it was Krishna only who called them by playing the flute. Those gopis started scratching the earth with their toes out of humiliation, but as they accepted Krishna as their husband with pure heart so they could not use any harsh words against him, Krishna further tried to make them understand and said that the Gopis truly belonged to their husbands only, the Gopis knew this truth, but being the Brahm gyani (knower of God) they also knew that their husbands are the masters of their material body only, not of souls. The true master of all souls are Krishna only. So they said the same thing to Krishna. There are specific words like “Dharam Patni” or “Dharam Pati”, the word “Dharam” means the false wife or false husband, the dharam word is used as the respective relation is being established by following all the vedic rituals and by making the Paramatma as witness, but it does not make the relation as true relation, this is the reason while praying we say to Krishna that “Tvameva Mata Ca Pita Tvameva. Tvameva Bandhu cha Sakha Tvameva, Tvameva Vidya Dravinam Tvameva, Tvameva Sarvam Mama Deva Deva”.
Then the Gopis further said to Krishna: “How can you ask us to return to the world, when you have promised union, to the one who worships you with love and faith? We have renounced all worldly pleasures for You! Only You reside in our heart!”
Krishna asked Gopis: “What is the proof of what you claim?”
Gopis answered as: “You Yourself are the proof. You alone reside in our hearts! Now we have only one desire! That of merging in You! You are the husband of our Soul! Now that we have seen You, how can we desire anything else? Shall we ask You a question? What is the reward of a faithful wife?”
Krishna answered: “The mind becomes pure.”
The Gopis asked: “And what does one achieve when the mind is purified?”
Krishna answered: “One achieves the Lord!”
The Gopis said: “Then why should we go back to the world after we have come to you?”
Krishna said: “You can stay at home and achieve God! At home look upon everything as God Himself!”
The Gopis said: “Life after life we have prayed, but we did not even get a glimpse of You. Therefore we decided to become Gopis this life instead of Sages! We recognize ourselves to be the Soul, (not women), therefore we have to fulfill the duty of the Soul, which is to be ‘One’ with You! We do not desire to pray to your picture anymore! Do not forsake us! Make us Your own!”
Krishna said: “If you consider me your real Lord and Master, then I ask you to return to your husbands and children!”
The Gopis said: “We are tired of playing worldly games, life after life, but if You are ordering us, then we will have to go. However to operate in the world, we require our mind and intellect. They both are with you. You return our mind and intellect and we return to the world, to our husbands and children!”
Shri Krishna said: “I cannot return that to you, as once I steal your mind and intellect, it merges into me!”
The Gopis said: “Our feet are not ready to walk a step away from you”
Krishna said: “What if I sent you back to your homes by the power of my Yoga?”
The Gopis said: “You would be able to send our bodies there, but our mind would remain with You!”
After this long conversation finally Krishna was defeated and told them that he was actually testing them and started roaming around the forest with Gopis.
Krishna’s disappearance & Gopi Geet: After some time Gopis started feeling very proud of themselves, because they thought in this universe no one has the greater devotion for Krishna compared to them and as a result of that only the Paramatma himself is giving them the company. But Krishna being the Paramatma sensed their feelings and disappeared from there, when Gopis saw that Krishna has disappeared then they understood the mistake that they have committed, their heart filled with the feelings of repentance, they all started searching for Krishna in all the direction of the forests, they asked to the Lotus, leaves of trees, Tulsi, Ashoka, Pipal and many other trees, but no where they found Krishna, finally they noticed the footprint of Krishna which had all the pious symbols of Sankha, Chakra, Gada, Padma etc, but along with Krishna’s feet there were foot print of one more Gopi also, then they started feeling jealous and said among each other that the Gopi with whom Kanhah has disappeared must be very lucky and more than that she is the greatest devotee too as she did not posses the pride in her heart, this is the reason Krishna has taken her only along with him, but when further they tried to know the identity of that missing Gopi then they discovered that it was none other than the Radha Rani. Then their anger rose high, after following their footprints upto certain distance they noticed that the footprint of Radha Rani was dissapeared and on the other hand the footprint of Krishna became more heavy on the mud, so they understood that perhaps Radha rani got tired and on her request Krishna taken her on his shoulder, then on proceeding further gopis also witnessed the bent branches of trees and few flowers & fruits were fallen on ground. Actually Kishoriji was really enjoying the ride on Krishna’s shoulder and was plucking the fruits and flowers while moving. 🙂
But soon Gopis noticed a crying voice of someone who was asking for help, when gopis followed the direction then noticed that it was Radha Rani who was hanging from a branch, all gopis started telling that, “see, Kanhah has left her too in the mid forest”, then Radha Maa told them to help her first to get off, so all of them helped Radha Rani and later to see her condition all of their anger turned into sympathy and love. Actually when Radha Maa saw that Krishna has taken her only leaving every gopis then she too started feeling proud, when Krishna noticed the same problem in Radha Maa also, then he instantly left her too. So accompanied by Radha Maa all gopis started searching for Krishna more intensely, by the time all of them reached the bank of yamuna, by that time all of them got too much tired, then sitting by the Yamuna bank they all started crying and sang the song of separation which is known as the “Gopi Geet”. When the Gopis reached the level of such an intense pain which could have caused their death, then Lord Krishna reappeared before them. He expressed his sorrow to Gopis, but made them understood that whenever he notices slightest of the proud feelings in the heart of devotees then instantly he ruins it so that devotees remain pure.
If anyone wants to win over the Kaam or sexual urge then it is advised to read the Gopi geet on daily basis and it really works. Becaue the Gopis had the purest feelings in their heart for Krishna, so it’s Krishna’s blessing on Gopi geet which will help you too to win over Kaam dev.
Lord Shiva’s entry at Maha Raas: Krishna’s flute tune also captivated the mind of Lord Shiva in Kailas, when he saw Devi Parvati is getting prepared to join the Maharaas then he too expressed his wish to join, but Parvati told him that other than Krishna no other mail will have access to Raas, so you can’t join. Then Mahadev told her that “Devi, I had told you in past that I am beyond the concept of male & female, even I shown you my Ardhanariswar (half male and female) form also”. Then Parvati agreed and told him to dress up like a Gopi and follow her. Lord Mahadev then bathed in the river of Yamuna and by the grace of Yamuna Ji Shiva came out as Gopi and Yogmaya(Radha Maa) allowed him to access the Maha Raas. On arrival of Mahdev Krishna instantly recognized him though he was in disguise and later named Shiva as Gopeswar. At this Radha Rani got angry and asked Krishna why even after being with him for so many years instead of her the new Gopi got the name of Gopeswar, because the Gopeswar means the Lord or master of all Gopis. Then Krishna pacified Radha and revealed the actual identity of that Gopi as Devadidev Mahadev. If any of you are going to Vrindavan then please visit the Gopeswar temple where Lord Shiva today also standing as Gopi as per the request of Krishna, offer your pranama to Gopeswar Mahadev and take blessing of him.
The Maharaas began: And finally the time came when the Maha Raas began, as there were crores of Gopis so Krishna too made equal number of his forms and each Gopi got his own Krishna to dance with, but none of the Gopis were able to see the Krishna with any other Gopis, they all danced, the environment became divine, the sound of their anklet (payel) made such an ecstatic sound that covered the entire Vrindavan, all the demigods including Lord Bramha too came to see them dancing and later they too joined from the swarga loka (heaven). The Nag, Kinnar, Yaksh & everyone danced and showered flowers upon Krishna & Gopis. At times my Krishna was singing alone and later to please him Gopi also joined, the voice of Gopis were so much electrifying that it reached all 3 worlds.
Krishna danced with Gopis, he also danced with Mahadev too and when Gopis started becoming tired then they rested their head on Krishna’s shoulder. Friends, just feel the divinity… When Krishna touched Gopis then they started feeling a strange power of Lord within themselves and it was the reunion of souls with the one Supreme soul. Now simply I am getting out of words to explain further.. Later, when everyone got tired then all of them entered the Yamuna river and bathed, there Krishna was surrounded by Gopis, all of them were playing with Krishna by splashing water upon him. And after having bath they came out of the river and started walking for sometimes on the soft & wet sand of Yamuna, then Gopis with extreme care made a divine Aasana (puja mat) with their aanchal (upper part of saree or region or zone) for Krishna to be seated. And this is how those Gopis who were the sages of Dandakaranya, finally fulfilled their wishes to serve the Lord Krishna being his wives. At the end Kaam dev accepted his defeat and later he was born as the son of Krishna & Mata Rukmini, his name was Pradyumna. Finally Rati got his husband in the form of Pradyumna and this is how Lord Shiva’s words also became true.
Hope, this is very much clear now that the Raas leela was not the leela of Lust, rather it was just the opposite, i.e; win of Krishna over Kaam dev. But without knowing the actual fact or without reading the bonafide shastras many of us dare to raise finger against Krishna’s character, this is very sad and unfortunate my dear friends. I have a small question to all of you, more or less we all are having small 8/10 years old kids at our places, but though it’s kaliyug still have you seen as such any little kid to perform any sexual activity in this little age? If those kids at your places can dance freely and play with you & if those activities are not sexual activities then how come you are alleging my Krishna to be a perverted character? Remember, Krishna was the person who stood by Draupadi during her vastra haran. Actually Krishna is atmaram purush (one who remains satisfied within his soul only), he is the param yogi, so being the mere human being and with lack of knowledge sometime it becomes very tough for us to figure out the hidden significance of his Leela, nothing else. However, if this article has cleared all your doubts or misconceptions then please share this article using the social share buttons placed above. Because till date if any of you had possessed as such any negative feelings about Krishna or made any statement against him then you have already committed great sin, so by sharing this article help to stop others from committing such sinful activity. And my Krishna will really forgive you. Let’s come and chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra to clean our heart and move forward towards the lotus feet of Radha Madhav. Hare Krishna.
Note: If any of you wants to listen to the entire 5 chapters of Raas Pachyodhyay in Bengali then please send me an email, I will forward the media files to you through email & it will be totally at free of cost. Thank you.