(Click to enlarge painting of Radha-Krishna and the gopis)
"Knowledge of the Absolute Truth is specifically required for persons who want liberation from material existence. But one who has attained love for Kṛṣṇa is already on the platform of liberation. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, anyone engaged in unalloyed devotional service is to be considered situated on the transcendental platform of liberation. The gopīs did not actually feel any pangs of material existence, but they felt the separation of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa therefore said, 'My dear gopīs, to increase your superexcellent love for Me, I have purposely separated Myself from you so that you may be in constant meditation on Me.'
The gopīs are in the perfectional stage of meditation. Yogīs are generally more fond of meditating than of executing devotional service to the Lord, but they do not know that the perfection of the yoga system is the attainment of devotion. This constant meditation on Kṛṣṇa by the gopīs is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā to be the topmost yoga. Kṛṣṇa knew very well the psychology of women. When a woman’s beloved is away, she thinks of him more in meditation than when he is present before her. Kṛṣṇa wanted to teach through the behavior of the gopīs that one who is constantly in trance like the gopīs surely attains His lotus feet.
Lord Caitanya taught people in general the method of vipralambha-sevā, which is the method of rendering service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the feeling of separation. The six Gosvāmīs also taught worship of Kṛṣṇa in the feeling of the gopīs in separation. The prayers composed by Śrīnivāsācārya about the Gosvāmīs explain these matters very clearly. Śrīnivāsācārya said that the Gosvāmīs were always absorbed in the ocean of transcendental feelings in the mood of the gopīs. When they lived in Vṛndāvana they were searching for Kṛṣṇa, crying, 'Where are You, Kṛṣṇa? O gopīs, where are You? Where are You, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī?' They never said, 'We have now seen Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, and therefore our mission is fulfilled.' Their mission remained always unfulfilled; they never met Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa reminded the gopīs that at the time of the rāsa dance those gopīs who could not join Him for the rāsa-līlā gave up their bodies simply by thinking of Him. Absorption in Kṛṣṇa consciousness by feeling separation is thus the quickest method for attainment of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. By the personal statement of Kṛṣṇa, the gopīs were convinced about the strength of feelings of separation. They were actually experiencing the supernatural method of Kṛṣṇa worship and were much relieved by understanding that Kṛṣṇa was not away from them but always with them."
(Kṛṣṇa Book, Chapter 47)