tad-gunan eva gayantyo
Srimad-Bhag. 10.30.43 and Brhad-bhag. 2.7.134
“Those vraja-gopis who had fully given their hearts to Sri Krsna would imitate His manner of speaking and His activities. Since they had offered their very souls to Him and always sang His glories, they completely forgot themselves and their family interests.”
In the gradual development of bhakti, from nistha comes ruci, where it becomes tasteful. From ruci comes asakti, where one will have no desire to leave it. Then comes bhava, and then prema, sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, and in some cases even mahabhava, where one receives the pinnacle of experience of Krsna. Possessing this mahabhava, the gopis’ minds and hearts became so absorbed in Krsna that they could no longer be considered their own.
If you place a piece of cotton on a few drops of water, the water is immediately absorbed into it. Similarly, the water of the gopis’ hearts was immediately absorbed into the Krsna-cotton in such a way that it was as if their individual existences were lost. If someone is fortunate enough to receive Krsna’s direct darsana or to hear about Him from a rasika Vaisnava, then they may also experience this same absorption. Singing about His virtues more and more, they at once became tad-atmikah—they completely forgot their own bodies, their bodily relations, their homes, everything.
Bhakti Rasayana, page 92