(Click to enlarge painting of Radha-Krishna and the gopis)

"In the history of the devotees there was one devotee of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Īśāna. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to give him some benediction. He was very poor man. Even his roof, thatched roof, that was not properly... There were so many holes. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, 'My dear Īśāna, if you like, you can take some benediction.' 'No, why I shall take benediction?' 'No, you have no roof even on your thatched house.' He said, 'Why? There are many birds. They are living on the tree. There is no roof at all. I have got roof with some holes, that's all. And they have no roof at all, so how they are living? For this purpose I shall ask You benediction? No, no, no.' In this way he refused. So that is pure devotion, that 'I shall not take any benediction from the Lord, but I shall give everything to God.' This is... There is competition. The Lord wants to give the devotee all opulences, and the devotee refuses to accept it. He wants to give his life and soul to the Lord. This is perfection. The gopīs, the gopīs, the ideal, the topmost devotee, they gave their everything to Kṛṣṇa, but they did not ask anything from Kṛṣṇa. Their honor, their body, their life—everything, sacrificed everything. Therefore Kṛṣṇa said to the gopīs that 'I have no power to repay your debt. You be satisfied with your own activity. I cannot give you anything.'

So this is the ideal devotion. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommended, ramyā kācid upāsanā vrajavadhūbhir yā kalpitā: 'There is no more better, sublime upāsana, worship, than it was conceived by the gopīs.' They did not want anything. They simply wanted to see Kṛṣṇa, how He is satisfied. Kṛṣṇa is away from home in the forest, and they are thinking, 'In the forest there are so many crags, so many stone chipped, and Kṛṣṇa's feet is so soft. How He is walking in the forest?' In this way they are crying. This is gopī, always Kṛṣṇa conscious, and how Kṛṣṇa is happy or not, that is their business. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommended, 'There is no better form of worship than it was done by the gopīs.' There are stages of devotees. So gopīs are the topmost, and amongst the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the topmost. Therefore there is no comparison of Rādhārāṇī's love for Kṛṣṇa. There is no comparison. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu took the part of Rādhārāṇī to understand Kṛṣṇa. So these are very confidential subject matter, but they are described in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, in the beginning. So that is the highest perfection, that don't ask anything from Kṛṣṇa. Try to make such arrangement that Kṛṣṇa may not give you anything; you give to Him."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, April 10, 1976)

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