Ecstasy. That trance like state when a person transcends normal consciousness. A state of consciousness when the spiritual awareness is at its zenith and the feeling of extreme love and euphoria sweeps over.
This is a tale of the gopis of Vrindavan and the pure ecstasy that they experienced in the embrace of their divine Krishna.
The gopis of Vrindavan were splashing about in the river Yamuna and as usual their discussion had veered to their favorite – Krishna!
“Have you seen his beautiful eyes? See how they dance with mischief!” said one.
“Ah! How they sparkle!” said another excitedly, “and his lips are like the bud of the lotus, and when he smiles, a thousand lotuses bloom in my heart,” she swooned and the others burst out laughing.
Their banter went on and on and they forgot all about the special vrata they had intended to keep for Maa Katyayani.
Who could ever have enough of the blue God?
“Aren’t you supposed to be hurrying up to offer your prayers to Maa Katyayani?” mocked Krishna perched on the branch right above them. “And here you are indulging in mindless gossip,” he chided them.
A collective sigh and a scream went out. “You are watching us bathe? How shameless!” they chorused. But deep inside their hearts, they were enjoying being watched by him as bathed naked in the river.
“Kaanha, do you know why we are offering our prayers today? So that we may join you in holy union!” and they all burst out laughing again.
“So come out and pray then,” he teased back, “Let me see who offers the most sincere prayers.”
Suddenly one of them realized that the clothes that they had left on the banks of the river were gone.
“Kaanha did you steal our clothes?” she asked.
He waved out a couple of their clothes from the branch above. “Here they are. Come and get them,” he teased.
They pleaded and prayed, they begged and bowed, but he refused to budge. Finally, covering themselves with their bare hands they emerged out of the water one by one.
“Why did you make us do this Kaanha? they cried as he handed them back their clothes.
“You said you want to come to me, didn’t you?” he asked.
“Yes, Kaanha, but do you want us to come to you naked?” they were still wincing at the humiliation.
“When the soul approaches the Supreme lord, it must be stripped of everything. It must be bereft of all that is not part of its inner-self, all that is just an external covering, the ego, the pride, the anger, the shame, the deceit, the ignorance, the pretense of goodness, and impurity of body, mind and soul. It must stand naked and alone, with nothing to save the life within itself. And only then will divinity come forth as its savior.”
He paused and smiled. “The clothes were merely symbolic, my sweet Gopis.”
Tears welled up in their eyes, and they bowed before him in reverence.
That night, he granted them their wish of merging with him. As moonlight flooded the woodlands, he played his melodious flute, enrapturing the gopis and drawing them to him like bees to nectar. Even shrubs and trees, flowers and leaves, and birds and animals, stood enchanted by the rapturous divine musical rendering.
As they stood around him with their eyes closed, meditating upon him, they realized his embrace; a rain of ecstasy drenched their souls and their material piety felt exhausting.
What ensued was the divine raas-leela when each Gopi had her own Krishna and he soaked them individually in his love.
An enchantment so divine that it cleansed their souls and an ecstasy so profound that they could want nothing more.
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