Imitation of behaviour of gopis is a charlatan meditation of pastimes of Lord.
Last month someone told me about a high-ranking police officer who proclaims to be 'Radha, the consort of Lord Krsna. What's more is that this gentleman goes to his office and field vis its dressed in a sari with complete feminine make-up: vermilion on his forehead, lipstick, nose-ring, bangles, and ankle bells. A scarf over his head Completes the picture. Media has gone berserk covering his strange antics and there are nationwide discussions to find the cause of this 'hisroric phenomenon'. Experts from various fields have failed to arrive at a common conclusion. Some feel that it's a psychiatric syndrome, others consider it a publicity stunt, while his hapless wife calls it a ploy to mix freely with membes of the opposite sex. Intelligent members of the academic circle claim that it is a rare manifestation of the zenith of devot ional sentiment:
'Gopi Bhava', where the practitioner realizes that he/she is feminine consort of the supreme Lord Krsna. All this expert opinion has failed, however, to pacify the common Indian, who has been watching all this tamasha with a mixture of confusion, amusement, and frustration.
The Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy presents this phenomenon in its true light. Commenting extensively on this topic in his purports to Sri Caitanya Caritamrra , Srila Prabhupada describes gopis and their bhava. Chief among the internal associates of Lord Sri Krsna are the sakhis. Their service is to assitst Sri Radha Krsna in Their pastimes. The sakhis are situated completely on a spiritual platform without any trace of material sentiments or desires. Many apasampradayas (unauthorized disciplic traditions), propagate the cult of sakhi-bhava through their teachings. Far from being based on the eternal truths, their teachings are the products of overworked imaginations and sentimental outbursts.
They encourage their followers to dressup as females and imitate sakhis. Many illicit activities are also covertly carried out by such groups. Such people are known as 'sahajiyas'.
Every living entity has an eternal relationship with Lord Sri Krsna in the spiritual world. Primarily these relationships can be classified as belonging to anyone of the following five rasas-santa (neutrality), dasya (servitorship), sakhya (fraternity) , vatsalya (parenthood) and madhurya (conjugal love). By the process of devotional service, one can revive that svarupa (eternal constitutional laposition) in this very lifetime. Now one may ask that if a person realizes that his svarupa is that of a gopi in the spiritual world, then what is the trouble if he behaves like one? He is only carrying out his eternal service to the Lord.
Srila Prabhupada tells that the position of the gopis is exceedingly pure and worshipable. Just by external imitation of their dressing style or behavior we
cannot rise to their exalted position. Only by rendering devotional service unto the Lord and thereby purifying our heart by the causeless mercy of the Lord can we realize our eternal constitutional position. This is possible only chanting the holy names of the Lord, hearing about Him from the h oly scriptures, and rendering humble menial service under the instructions of a spiritual master coming in a bonafide disciplic succession
The relationship between the Lord and self-realized devotee is very intimate and confidential based purely on the platform of soul. Just as a chaste lady does not exhibit her charms to any other man except her husband, similarly a pure devotee does not reveal his/her heart felt devotional emotions to anyone except Lord krsna
Such a devotee while fulfilling his material responsibilities to the best of his abilities relishes his intimate relationship with Krsna within the core of his heart.
The sahajiyas act directly in contrast to this. Srila Prabhupada writes in the Caitanya Caritamrta (Madhya 8.204 – 205) – "Sahajiyas who cannot actually understand the pastimes of Radha and Krsna manufacture their own life-styles without referring to authority. They believe that the material body, which is fit to be eaten by
jackals and dogs, is enjoyable for Krsna. Consequently they artificially decorate the material body to attract Krsna, thinking themselves sakhis. But Krsna is never attracted by the artificial grooming of the material body. As far as Srimati Radharani and Her gopis are concerned, their bodies, homes, dresses, ornaments, endeavors and activities are all spiritual. All of these are meant to satisfy the spiritual senses of Krsna."
The great acarya Srila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji would call the activities of such people 'labour-pains of a barren woman'. On account of intolerable pain of child-birth, the mother cries out aloud. By seeing her condition if a barren woman also starts screaming loudly, will such screams result in a child-birth? The love expressed by sahajiyas is like the labour-pains of a barren woman which, however loudly they may shout will never culminate in the birth of krsna-prema.
Vamsi Vihari Dasa is the Asst. Editor of 'Bhagwad Darsana', the Hindi edition of Back To Godhead and serves fulltime at ISKCON Mumbai.