The Gopis of Braj represent the greatest example of the spiritual ideal2 min read

The wild, restless inner instrument of the mind of man, no matter who it belongs to, can be easily transformed into an intensely concentrated state, in which, it is almost impossible for anyone else to divert the attention of the mind from its one and only chosen object.

That state is the state of deep love. Even the most unregenerate and unspiritual man, when he is deeply in love, shows a capacity for one-pointed concentration and focussing of the mind which leaves his companions in awe and wonder at the mystery of it. The state of being in love is indeed a great mystery.

It is, at once, the glory of human life and one of the forces which most powerfully undermine man’s empirical and materialistic outlook. It is no respecter of conventions or of the social proprieties, and it has a profound spiritual significance and purpose.

On an emotional plane, it is an expression of the dimly recognised unity which Man feels when he catches a glimpse of the infinite beauty and bliss, which is hidden as Paramatman in the hearts of all beings. As such, it is ultimately a recognition, however unconscious it may be, of the presence of Shri Hari in the object of love.

Hence it is that the mystics of the Sufi and Hindu tradition come to speak of the path in terms of the love of the soul and its Lord.

The Gopis of Braj represent the greatest example of this spiritual ideal, because such was their overpowering love for Shri Hari that they achieved the state of entire self-forgetfulness, which is itself Nirvana. This is not the path of the intellectual.

When Prince Uddhava went to visit the Gopis, he was full of his own intellectual understanding of the Truth and considered himself an intimate friend of Shri Krishna. But he found that the simple Gopis, who had no pretensions to any learning or even to literacy, were incomparably greater devotees of the Lord than he was and had, in their spiritual attainments, passed far beyond the stations to which he had attained.

This is the significance concealed in the Ras Lila. In their loving absorption in the Lord as Shri Hari, the simple, true-hearted Gopis had found the easy way to achieve the highest spiritual state.

All the difficulties which had still to be encountered by the intellectual Prince Uddhava were to them non-existent.

It is said that in the love-play with Shri Krishna in the great dance fully half of Kali Yuga passed away in what seemed only one night. The meaning is the same. If we can find the easy way through love God to focus the mind on the Lord in his universal aspect, then the limitations of Sansara will be ameliorated .