[Excerpt from Srila Gurudeva: Around the World, Holland 1996, the first book in a series of volumes on Srila Gurudeva’s world preaching tours.]
So, if the gopis and Krsna were married in Vrndavana, then the gopis should be considered equal to Satyabhama, Rukmini, and all the 16,108 queens of Dvaraka. There would be no difference between them at all. Why are Srimati Radhika and the gopis superior to the queens of Dvaraka? But Jiva Gosvami was initiated by Rupa Gosvami; he was the disciple of Rupa Gosvami. Then why did he say that the gopis were married to Krsna? He said so for those who are juniors and not so qualified. But, he is also true. By the angle of vision of siddhanta, he is right. Rupa Gosvami spoke from the angle of vision of prema; both are right. As a siddhanta, Jiva Gosvami is telling the same as what Rupa Gosvami has said. Jiva Gosvami has given one proof:
In childhood, when Krsna was a boy of one or two years, Nanda Baba took Him and went to bathe in Bhandiravana, which is a very dense forest. The sky was full of clouds and heavy rainfall looked immanent. It was the winter season.
Nanda Baba thought, “What to do? Heavy rain is coming; a strong wind is blowing also.”
In the meantime, a very beautiful girl came and She was the daughter of Vrshabhanu Maharaja. She was Srimati Radhika who was a very little girl. She did like so and Krsna came out of the hands of Nanda Baba and caught the hands of Srimati Radhika. She at once took Krsna and vanished and went into a dense forest. There was a very big banyan tree there and this tree was called, “Bhandiravata.” It was within two-three miles. And there, Brahma at once came with the four Vedas in four hands. He began to recite mantras and all the sakhis came as well. Krsna became a kisora i.e. He became fourteen years of age. And, Srimati Radhika became thirteen years of age. And They gave each other garlands and this is a kind of marriage. The marriage was done; but only Srimati Radhika, the gopis, and Krsna knew. Nanda Baba or anyone else could not know. But the marriage was done.
Hence, Jiva Gosvami said, “Oh the marriage was done.”
It is right and one thing more. When Brahma stole all the cowherd boys and the calves, he kept them in a cave. Then for one year, Krsna became all the cowherd boys and calves. He even became their clothes, Vamsi (flute), and blankets. He became their everything. No one knew this fact. They thought that their children and calves were their usual selves. In one year, the priest of the Yadavas i.e. Gargacarya declared, “This is a very pious year. In this year, any father and mother can give their daughters in marriage to any gopa (cowherd boy). And the result of the marriage will be very good. It will be auspicious. The girls will never be widows and they will be so wealthy. Lakhs and lakhs of cows will be theirs.” At that time there was no other source of wealth; the cows were one’s wealth. Hence, it has been told, “Go-dhana.”
So, all the gopis were married to Krsna. But Krsna was in other forms i.e. He was in the forms of all the cowherd boys. So marriage was also done there. But no one knew that Krsna had become all the gopas, hence all the gopis were married to Krsna. But in fact, the marriage was done. We should also know who the gopis were. Who is Srimati Radhika? In the Brahma Gayatri, it is said, “Bhargo devasya.”
devasya krsnasya bhargah
The potency of Krsna, the power of Krsna, the energy of Krsna is Srimati Radhika. She cannot be differentiated from Krsna. Like heat and light cannot be separate from fire. The sun and its rays cannot be separate. They cannot be separated; they are one. Just as they cannot be separated, similarly we cannot separate fire and its energy that is heat. Do you know what musk is? It comes from the navel of the deer. The fragrance of the musk and the musk itself cannot be separated. But, anyhow the potency can be separated. How can it be done? Start a fire and go some distance from it. Heat is coming from the fire and you can feel its warmth. But the fire is located in one place. If the heat is not different from fire, then how can the heat come to you despite the source of it i.e. the fire being located in one place? There is some difference. But without fire, heat cannot exist on its own. There is difference and non-difference; both exist at the same time. So, Srimati Radhika and Krsna are different and non-different from one another. Actually, They are not different. But for the sake of vilasa (pastimes), They become different. So, all the gopis are the kayavyuha, the manifestations of Srimati Radhika. They are not like us souls. They are not jivas. They are the internal potency of Krsna. You should know this.
Yasoda Maiya, Nanda Baba, Sridhama, Subala, and all the gopis are not souls. They are the energy of Krsna. And the most prominent energy is Srimati Radhika. All the gopis are Her manifestations. All Her moods are manifested in all the gopis. Why? For vilasa. A creeper without leaves, fruits, flowers, and manjaris is devoid of beauty. Thus, all the gopis have come from Srimati Radhika. They are themselves Srimati Radhika. There is no difference between the leaves and the tree or the creeper. There is no difference but there is some difference. This is called acintya-bheda-abheda tattva. Our mind and body are separate from the soul. This is not acintya-bheda-abheda.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]