Katyayani Vrata


Chapter Twenty-one contains twenty verses, describing how Krishna entered the forest of Vrindavana in the autumn, playing His flute, and how He attracted the gopis, who were singing His glories. The Twenty-second Chapter contains thirty-eight verses, describing how the gopis prayed to the goddess Katyayani to obtain Krishna as their husband and how Krishna later stole the garments of the gopis while the gopis were bathing in the Yamuna.

Srimad Bhagavatam 10th Canto 22nd Chapter Summary by HDG Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 


Krishna Steals the Garments of the Unmarried Gopis

This chapter describes how the marriageable daughters of the cowherd men worshiped Katyayani to get Lord Sri Krishna as their husband, and how Krishna stole the garments of the young girls and gave the girls  benedictions.

During the month of Margasirsha, every day early in the morning the young daughters of the cowherds would take one another’s hands and, singing of Krishna’s transcendental qualities, go to the Yamuna to bathe. Desiring to obtain Krishna as their husband, they would then worship the goddess Katyayani with incense, flowers and other items.

One day, the young gopis left their garments on the shore as usual and began playing in the water while chanting of Lord Krishna’s activities. Suddenly Krishna Himself came there, took away all the garments and  climbed a nearby kadamba tree. Wanting to tease the gopis, Krishna said, “I understand how fatigued you gopis are from your austerities, so please come onto the shore and take back your clothes.”

The gopis then pretended to become angry and said the cold water of the Yamuna was giving them great pain. If Krishna did not give them back their garments, they said, they would inform King Kamsa of all that had happened. But if He did give the clothes back, they would willingly carry out His orders in the mood of humble servants.

Sri Krishna replied that He had no fear of King Kamsa, and that if the girls really intended to follow His command and be His maidservants they should each immediately come onto the shore and take their respective garments. The girls, trembling from the cold, climbed out of the water with their two hands covering their private parts. Krishna, who felt great affection for them, again spoke: “Because while executing a vow you bathed in the water naked, you have committed an offense against the demigods, and to counteract it you should offer obeisances with joined palms. Then your vow of austerity will achieve its full result.”

The gopis followed this instruction and, folding their hands in respect, offered obeisances to Sri Krishna. Satisfied, He gave them back their clothing. But the young girls had become so attracted to Him that they could not leave. Understanding their minds, Krishna said that He knew they had worshiped Katyayani to get Him as their husband. Because they had offered their hearts to Him, their desires would never again become tainted by the mood of materialistic enjoyment, just as fried barleycorns can no longer grow into shoots. Next autumn, He told them, their most cherished desire would be fulfilled.

Then the gopis, fully satisfied, returned to Vraja, and Sri Krishna and His cowherd friends went off to a distant place to graze the cows.

Sometime later, when the boys felt disturbed by the great heat of summer, they took shelter at the base of a tree that stood just like an umbrella. The Lord then said that the life of a tree is most excellent, for even while feeling pain a tree continues to protect others from heat, rain, snow and so on. With its leaves, flowers, fruits, shade, roots, bark, wood, fragrance, sap, ashes, pulp and sprouts, a tree fulfills the desires of everyone. This kind of life is ideal. Indeed, said Krishna, the perfection of life is to act with one’s vital energy, wealth, intelligence and words for the benefit of all.

After the Lord had glorified the trees in this way, the entire company went to the Yamuna, where the cowherd boys let the cows drink the sweet water and also drank some themselves.

SB 10.22.1.
sri-suka uvaca
hemante prathame masi
cerur havishyam bhunjanah

Sukadeva Gosvami said: During the first month of the winter season,the young unmarried girls of Gokula observed the vow of worshiping goddess Katyayani. For the entire month they ate only unspiced khichri.

The word hemante refers to the month of Margasirsha from approximately the middle of November to the middle of December, according to the Western calendar. In Volume One, Chapter Twenty-two, of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Srila Prabhupada comments that the gopis “first ate havishyanna, a kind of food prepared by boiling together mung dal and rice without any spices or turmeric. According to Vedic injunction, this kind of food is recommended to purify the body before one enacts aritualistic ceremony.”

SB 10.22.2-3

aplutyambhasi kalindya
jalante codite ‘rune
kritva pratikritim devim
anarcur nripa saikatim

gandhair malyaih surabhibhir
balibhir dhupa-dipakaih
uccavacais copaharaih

My dear King, after they had bathed in the water of the Yamuna just as the sun was rising, the gopis made an earthen deity of goddess Durga on the river bank. Then they worshiped her with such aromatic substances as sandalwood pulp, along with other items both opulentand simple, including lamps, fruits, betel nuts, newly grown leaves, and fragrant garlands and incense.

The word balibhih in this verse indicates offerings of clothing,ornaments, food and so on.

SB 10.22.4
katyayani maha-maye
maha-yoginy adhisvari
nanda-gopa-sutam devi
patim me kuru te namah
iti mantram japantyas tah
pujam cakruh kamarikah

Each of the young unmarried girls performed her worship while chanting the following mantra. “O goddess Katyayani, O great potency of the Lord, O possessor of great mystic power and mighty controller of all, please make the son of Nanda Maharaja my husband. I offer my obeisances unto you.”

According to various acaryas, the goddess Durga mentioned in this verse is not the illusory energy of Krishna called Maya but rather the internal potency of the Lord known as Yoga-maya. The distinction between the internal and external, or illusory, potency of the Lord is described in the Narada-pancaratra, in the conversation between Sruti and Vidya:

janaty ekapara kantam
saiva durga tad-atmika
ya para parama saktir

yasya vijnana-matrena
paranam paramatmanah
mahurtad deva-devasya
praptir bhavati nanyatha

ekeyam prema-sarvasva
svabhava gokulesvari
anaya su-labho jneya
adi-devo ‘khilesvarah

asya avarika-saktir
yaya mugdam jagat sarvam
sarve dehabhimaninah

“The Lord’s inferior potency, known as Durga, is dedicated to His loving service. Being the Lord’s potency, this inferior energy is non different from Him. There is another, superior potency, whose form is on the same spiritual level as that of God Himself. Simply by scientifically understanding this supreme potency, one can immediately achieve the Supreme Soul of all souls, who is the Lord of all lords. There is no other process to achieve Him. That supreme potency of the Lord is known as Gokulesvari, the goddess of Gokula. Her nature is to be completely absorbed in love of God, and through Her one can easily obtain the primeval God, the Lord of all that be. This internal potency of the Lord has a covering potency, known as Maha-maya, who rules the material world. In fact she bewilders the entire universe, and thus everyone within the universe falsely identifies himself with the material body.”

From the above we can understand that the internal and external, or superior and inferior, potencies of the Supreme Lord are personified as Yoga-maya and Maha-maya, respectively. The name Durga is sometimes used to refer to the internal, superior potency,as stated in the Pancaratra: “In all mantras used to worship Krishna, the presiding deity is known as Durga.” Thus in the transcendental sound vibrations glorifying and worshiping the Absolute Truth, Krishna, the presiding deity of the particular mantra or hymn is called Durga. The name Durga therefore refers also to that personality who functions as the internal potency of the Lord and who is thus on the platform of suddha-sattva, pure transcendental existence. This internal potency is understood to be Krishna’s sister, known also as Ekanamsa or Subhadra. This is the Durga who was worshiped by the gopis in Vrindavana. Several acaryas have pointed out that ordinary people are sometimes bewildered and think that the names Maha-maya and Durga refer exclusively to the external potency of the Lord.

Even if we accept hypothetically that the gopis were worshiping the external Maya, there is no fault on their part, since in their pastimes of loving Krishna they were acting as ordinary members of society.

Srila Prabhupada comments in this regard: “The Vaishnavas generally do not worship any demigods. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has strictly forbidden all worship of the demigods for anyone who wants to advance in pure devotional service. Yet the gopis, who are beyond compare in their affection for Krishna, were seen to worship Durga. The worshipers of demigods also sometimes mention that the gopis also worshiped goddess Durga, but we must understand the purpose of the gopis. Generally, people worship goddess Durga for some material benediction. Here, the gopis could adopt any means to satisfy or serve Krishna. That was the super excellent characteristic of the gopis. They worshiped goddess Durga completely for one month in order to have Krishna as their husband. Every day they prayed for Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, tobecome their husband.”

The conclusion is that a sincere devotee of Krishna will never imagine any material quality to exist in the transcendental gopis,who are the most exalted devotees of the Lord. The only motivationin all their activities was simply to love and satisfy Krishna, and if we foolishly consider their activities to be mundane in any way, it will be impossible for us to understand Krishna consciousness.

SB 10.22.5
evam masam vratam ceruh
kumaryah krishna-cetasah
bhadrakalim samanarcur
bhuyan nanda-sutah patih

Thus for an entire month the girls carried out their vow and properly worshiped the goddess Bhadrakali, fully absorbing their minds in Krishna and meditating upon the following thought: “May the son of King Nanda  become my husband.”

SB 10.22.6
ushasy utthaya gotraih svair
krishnam uccair jagur yantyah
kalindyam snatum anvaham

Each day they rose at dawn. Calling out to one another by name, they all held hands and loudly sang the glories of Krishna while going to the Kalindi to take their bath.

SB 10.22.7
nadyah kadacid agatya
tire nikshipya purva-vat
vasamsi krishnam gayantyo
vijahruh salile muda

One day they came to the river bank and, putting aside their clothing as they had done before, happily played in the water while singing the glories of Krishna.


According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, this incident occurred on the day the young gopis completed their vow, which was a full-moon day. To celebrate the successful completion of their vow, the girls invited young Radharani the daughter of Vrishabhanu and the special object of their affection along with other important gopis, and brought them all to the river to bathe. Their playing in the water was meant to serve as the avabhritha-snana,the ceremonial bath taken immediately upon the completion of a Vedic sacrifice.

Srila Prabhupada comments as follows: “It is an old system among Indian girls and women that when they take bath in the river they place their garments on the bank and dip into the water completely naked. The portion of the river where the girls and women take bathwas strictly prohibited to any male, and this is still the system.The Supreme Personality of Godhead, knowing the minds of the unmarried young gopis, awarded them their desired objective. They had prayed for Krishna to become their husband, and Krishna wanted to fulfill their desires.”

SB 10.22.8
bhagavams tad abhipretya
krishno yogesvaresvarah
vayasyair avritas tatra
gatas tat-karma-siddhaye

Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and master of all masters of mystic yoga, was aware of what the gopis were doing, and thus He went there surrounded by His young companions to award the gopis the perfection of their endeavor.

As the master of all masters of mystic power, Lord Krishna could easily understand the desires of the gopis, and He could also fulfill them. The gopis, like all young girls from respectable families, considered the embarrassment of appearing naked before ayoung boy to be worse than giving up their lives. Yet Lord Krishna made them come out of the water and bow down to Him. Although the bodily forms of the gopis were all fully developed, and although Krishna met them in a secluded place and brought them fully under His control, because the Lord is completely transcendental there was not a trace of material desire in His mind. Lord Krishna is the ocean of transcendental bliss, and He wanted to share His bliss with the gopis on the spiritual platform, completely free of ordinary lust.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that the companions of Krishna mentioned here were mere toddlers two or three years old.They were completely naked and were unaware of the difference between male and female. When Krishna went out to herd the cows, they followed Him because they were so attached to Him that they could not bear to be without His association.

SB 10.22.9
tasam vasamsy upadaya
nipam aruhya satvarah
hasadbhih prahasan balaih
parihasam uvaca ha

Taking the girls’ garments, He quickly climbed to the top of a kadamba tree. Then, as He laughed loudly and His companions also laughed, He addressed the girls jokingly.

SB 10.22.10
atragatyabalah kamam
svam svam vasah pragrihyatam
satyam bravani no narma
yad yuyam vrata-karsitah

[Lord Krishna said:] My dear girls, you may each come here as you wish and take back your garments. I’m telling you the truth and I am not joking with you, since I see you’re fatigued from executing austere vows.

SB 10.22.11
na mayodita-purvam va
anritam tad ime viduh
ekaikasah praticchadhvam
sahaiveti su-madhyamah

I have never before spoken a lie, and these boys know it.Therefore, O slender-waisted girls, please come forward, either one by one or all together, and pick out your clothes.

SB 10.22.12
tasya tat kshvelitam drishtva
gopyah prema-pariplutah
vriditah prekshya canyonyam
jata-hasa na niryayuh

Seeing how Krishna was joking with them, the gopis became fully immersed in love for Him, and as they glanced at each other they began to laugh and joke among themselves, even in their embarrassment. But still they did not come out of the water.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains this verse as follows:

“The gopis were from most respectable families, and they might have argued with Krishna: ‘Why don’t You simply leave our clothes on the bank of the river and go away?’

“Krishna might have replied, ‘But there are so many of you that some of the girls might take clothes belonging to another.’

“The gopis would reply, ‘We are honest and never steal anything. Wenever touch another’s property.’

“Then Krishna would say, ‘If that’s true, then simply come and get your clothes. What is the difficulty?’

“When the gopis saw Krishna’s determination, they were filled with loving ecstasy. Although embarrassed, they were overjoyed to receive such attention from Krishna. He was joking with them as if they were His wives or girlfriends, and the gopis’ only desire was to achieve such a relationship with Him. At the same time, they were embarrassed to be seen naked by Him. But still they could not help laughing at His joking words and even began to joke among themselves, one gopi urging another, ‘Go ahead, you go first, and let us see if Krishna plays any tricks on you. Then we will go later.’ ”

SB 10.22.13
evam bruvati govinde
a-kantha-magnah sitode
vepamanas tam abruvan

As Sri Govinda spoke to the gopis in this way, His joking words completely captivated their minds. Submerged up to their necks in the cold water, they began to shiver. Thus they addressed Him as follows.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives the following example of joking between Krishna and the gopis.
Krishna: O bird like girls, if you do not come here, then with these garments caught in the branches I will make a swing and a hammock.I need to lie down, since I have spent the entire night awake and I am now becoming sleepy.

Gopis: Our dear cowherd boy, Your cows, greedy for grass, have gone into a cave. So You must quickly go there to herd them back on the proper path.

Krishna: Come now, My dear cowherd girls, you must quickly go from here to Vraja and perform your household duties. Don’t become adisturbance to your parents and other elders.

Gopis: Our dear Krishna, we will not go home for an entire month,for it is by the order of our parents and other elders that we are executing this vow of fasting, the Katyayani-vrata.

Krishna: .My dear austere ladies, I too, by the strength of seeing you, have now developed a surprising mood of detachment from family life. I wish to stay here for a month and execute the vow of dwelling in the clouds. And if you show mercy to Me, I can come down from here and observe the vow of fasting in your company.

The gopis were completely captivated by Krishna’s joking words, but out of shyness they submerged themselves in the water up to their necks. Shaking from the cold, they addressed Krishna as follows.

SB 10.22.14
manayam bhoh krithas tvam tu
nanda-gopa-sutam priyam
janimo ‘nga vraja-slaghyam
dehi vasamsi vepitah

[The gopis said:] Dear Krishna, don’t be unfair!  We know that You are the respectable son of Nanda and that You are honored by everyone in Vraja. You are also very dear to us. Please give us back our clothes. We are shivering in the cold water.

SB 10.22.15
syamasundara te dasyah
karavama tavoditam
dehi vasamsi dharma-jna
no ced rajne bruvama he

O Syamasundara, we are Your maidservants and must do whatever You say. But give us back our clothing. You know what the religious principles are, and if You don’t give us our clothes we will have to tell the king. Please!

SB 10.22.16
sri-bhagavan uvaca
bhavatyo yadi me dasyo
mayoktam va karishyatha
atragatya sva-vasamsi
praticchata suci-smitah
no cen naham pradasye kim
kruddho raja karishyati

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: If you girls are actually My maidservants, and if you will really do what I say, then come here with your innocent smiles and let each girl pick out her clothes. If you don’t  do what I say, I won’t give them back to you. And even if the king becomes angry, what can he do?

Srila Prabhupada comments, “When the gopis saw that Krishna was strong and determined, they had no alternative but to abide by His order.”

SB 10.22.17
tato jalasayat sarva
darikah sita-vepitah
panibhyam yonim acchadya
protteruh sita-karsitah

Then, shivering from the painful cold, all the young girls rose upout of the water, covering their pubic area with their hands.

The gopis had assured Krishna that they were His eternal servants and would do whatever He said, and thus they were now defeated by their own words. If they delayed any longer, they thought, some other man might come along, and this would be unbearable for them.The gopis loved Krishna so much that even in that awkward situation their attachment to Him was increasing more and more, and they were very eager to stay in His company. Thus they did not even consider drowning themselves in the river because of the embarrassing situation.

They concluded that they could do nothing but go forward to their beloved Krishna, putting aside their embarrassment. Thus the gopis assured each other that there was no alternative and rose up out of the water to meet Him.

SB 10.22.18
bhagavan ahata vikshya
suddha -bhava-prasaditah
skandhe nidhaya vasamsi
pritah provaca sa-smitam

When the Supreme Lord saw how the gopis were struck with embarrassment, He was satisfied by their pure loving affection. Putting their clothes on His shoulder, the Lord smiled and spoke to them with affection.

Srila Prabhupada comments, “The gopis’ simple presentation was so pure that Lord Krishna immediately became pleased with them. All the unmarried gopis who prayed to Katyayani to have Krishna as their husband were thus satisfied. A woman cannot be naked before any male except her husband. The unmarried gopis desired Krishna as their husband, and He fulfilled their desire in this way.”

For aristocratic girls like the gopis, standing naked before a young boy was worse than death, and yet they decided to give up everything for the pleasure of Lord Krishna. He wanted to see the power of their love for Him, and He was completely satisfied by their unalloyed devotion.


SB 10.22.19
yuyam vivastra yad apo dhrita-vrata
vyagahataitat tad u deva-helanam
baddhvanjalim murdhny apanuttaye ‘mhasah
kritva namo ‘dho-vasanam pragrihyatam

[Lord Krishna said:] You girls bathed naked while executing your vow, and that is certainly an offense against the demigods. To counteract your sin you should offer obeisances while placing your joined palms above your heads. Then you should take back your lower garments.

Krishna wanted to see the full surrender of the gopis, and thus He ordered them to offer obeisances with their palms joined above their heads. In other words, the gopis could no longer cover their bodies. We should not foolishly think that Lord Krishna is an ordinary lusty boy enjoying the naked beauty of the gopis. Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth, and He was acting to fulfill the loving desire of the young cowherd girls of Vrindavana. In this world we would certainly become lusty in a situation like this. But to compare ourselves to God is a great offense, and because of this offense we will not be able to understand Krishna’s transcendental position, for we will wrongly take Him to be materially conditioned like ourselves. To lose transcendental sight of Krishna is certainly a great disaster for one trying to relish the bliss of the Absolute Truth.

SB 10.22.20
ity acyutenabhihitam vrajabala
matva vivastraplavanam vrata-cyutim
tat-purti-kamas tad-asesha-karmanam
sakshat-kritam nemur avadya-mrig yatah


Thus the young girls of Vrindavana, considering what Lord Acyuta had told them, accepted that they had suffered a falldown from their vow by bathing naked in the river. But they still desired to successfully complete their vow, and since Lord Krishna is Himself the ultimate result of all pious activities, they offered their obeisances to Him to cleanse away all their sins.

The transcendental position of Krishna consciousness is clearly described here. The gopis decided that it was better to renounce their so-called family tradition and traditional morality and simply surrender unto the Supreme Lord Krishna. This does not mean that the Krishna consciousness movement advocates immoral activities. In fact, the devotees of ISKCON practice the highest standard of restraint and morality, but at the same time we recognize the transcendental position of Krishna. Lord Krishna is God and therefore has no material desire to enjoy young girls in sexual affairs. As will be seen in this chapter, Lord Krishna was not at all attracted to enjoying the gopis; rather He was attracted to their love and wanted to satisfy them.

The greatest offense is to imitate the activities of Lord Krishna. In India there is a group called prakrita-sahajiya, who imitate these affairs of Krishna and try to enjoy naked young girls in the name of worshiping Krishna. The ISKCON movement sternly rejects this mockery of religion, because the greatest offense is for a human being to ludicrously imitate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the ISKCON movement there are no cheap incarnations, and it is not possible for a devotee of this movement to promote himself to the position of Krishna.

Five hundred years ago Krishna appeared as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who practiced strict celibacy throughout His student life and at the age of twenty-four took sannyasa, a life long vow of celibacy. Caitanya Mahaprabhu rigidly avoided contact with women in order to carry out His vow of loving service to Krishna. When Krishna personally appeared five thousand years ago, He exhibited these wonderful pastimes, which attract our attention. We should not become envious or shocked when we hear that God can perform such pastimes. Our shock is due to our ignorance, because if we tried to perform these activities our bodies would be afflicted by lust. Lord Krishna, however, is the Supreme Absolute Truth and is therefore never disturbed by any material desire whatsoever. Thus, this incident in which the gopis gave up normal standards of morality and, raising their hands to their head, bowed down in compliance with Krishna’s order   s an example of pure devotional surrender and not a discrepancy in religious principles.

In fact, the gopis’ surrender is the perfection of all religion, as Srila Prabhupada describes in Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: “The gopis were all simple souls, and whatever Krishna said, they took to be true. In order to be freed from the wrath of Varunadeva, as well as to fulfill the desired end of their vows and ultimately to please their worshipable Lord, Krishna, they immediately abided by His order. Thus they became the greatest lovers of Krishna, and His most obedient servitors.

“Nothing can compare to the Krishna consciousness of the gopis. Actually the gopis did not care for Varuna or any other demigod; they only wanted to satisfy Krishna.”


SB 10.22.21
tas tathavanata drishtva
bhagavan devaki-sutah
vasamsi tabhyah prayacchat
karunas tena toshitah


Seeing them bow down like that, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the son of Devaki, gave them back their garments, feeling compassionate toward them and satisfied by their act.


SB 10.22.22
dridham pralabdhas trapaya ca hapitah
prastobhitah kridana-vac ca karitah
vastrani caivapahritany athapy amum
ta nabhyasuyan priya-sanga-nirvritah


Although the gopis had been thoroughly cheated, deprived of their modesty, ridiculed and made to act just like toy dolls, and although their clothing had been stolen, they did not feel at all inimical toward Sri Krishna. Rather, they were simply joyful to have this opportunity to associate with their beloved.

Srila Prabhupada comments, “This attitude of the gopis is described by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu when he prays, ‘My dear Lord Krishna, You may embrace Me or trample Me under Your feet, or You may make Me brokenhearted by never being present before Me. Whatever You like, You can do, because You have complete freedom to act. But in spite of all of Your dealings, You are My Lord eternally, and I have no other worshipable object.’ This is the attitude of the gopis toward Krishna.”


SB 10.22.23
paridhaya sva-vasamsi
grihita-citta no celus
tasmin lajjayitekshanah


The gopis were addicted to associating with their beloved Krishna, and thus they became captivated by Him. Thus, even after putting their clothes on they did not move. They simply remained where they were, shyly glancing at Him.

By association with their beloved Krishna, the gopis had become more attached to Him than ever. Just as Krishna had stolen their clothes, He had also stolen their minds and their love. The gopis interpreted the whole incident as proof that Krishna was also attached to them. Otherwise, why would He have gone to the trouble of playing with them in this way? Because they thought that Krishna was now attached to them, they glanced at Him with shyness, and being stunned by the rising of their ecstatic love, they could not move from where they stood. Krishna had overcome their shyness and forced them to come out of the water naked, but now, having dressed properly, they again became shy in His presence. In fact, this incident increased their humbleness before Krishna. They did not want Krishna to see them staring at Him, but they cautiously took the opportunity to glance at the Lord.

SB 10.22.24
tasam vijnaya bhagavan
dhrita-vratanam sankalpam
aha damodaro ‘balah

The Supreme Lord understood the determination of the gopis in executing their strict vow. The Lord also knew that the girls desired to touch His lotus feet, and thus Lord Damodara, Krishna, spoke to them as follows.


SB 10.22.25
sankalpo viditah sadhvyo
havatinam mad-arcanam
mayanumoditah so ‘sau
satyo bhavitum arhati


[Lord Krishna said:] O saintly girls, I understand that your real motive in this austerity has been to worship Me. That intent of yours is approved of by Me, and indeed it must come to pass.

Just as Krishna is free of all impure desire, so are the gopis. Their attempt to gain Krishna as their husband was therefore motivated not by a desire for personal sense gratification but by their overwhelming desire to serve Krishna and to please Him. Because of their intense love, the gopis did not see Krishna as God but rather as the most wonderful boy in all creation, and being beautiful young girls, they desired only to please Him by loving service. Lord Krishna understood the pure desire of the gopis and was thus satisfied. The Lord could certainly not be satisfied by ordinary lust, but He was moved by the intense loving devotion of the cowherd girls of Vrindavana.


SB 10.22.26
na mayy avesita-dhiyam
kamah kamaya kalpate
bharjita kvathita dhanah
prayo bijaya nesate


The desire of those who fix their minds on Me does not lead to material desire for sense gratification, just as barleycorns burned by the sun and then cooked can no longer grow into new sprouts.

The words mayy avesita-dhiyam are very significant here. Unless one has achieved an advanced degree of devotion, one cannot fix the mind and intelligence on Krishna, since Krishna is pure spiritual existence. Self-realization is a state not of desirelessness but rather of purified desire, wherein one desires only the pleasure of Lord Krishna. The gopis were certainly attracted to Krishna in a mood of conjugal love, and yet, having fixed their minds and indeed their entire existence completely on Krishna, their conjugal desire could never manifest as material lust; rather, it became the most exalted form of love of Godhead ever seen within the universe.


SB 10.22.27
yatabala vrajam siddha
mayema ramsyatha kshapah
yad uddisya vratam idam
cerur aryarcanam satih

Go now, girls, and return to Vraja. Your desire is fulfilled, for in My company you will enjoy the coming nights. After all, this was the purpose of your vow to worship goddess Katyayani, O pure-hearted ones.


SB 10.22.28
sri-suka uvaca
ity adishta bhagavata
labdha-kamah kumarikah
dhyayantyas tat-padambhojam
kricchran nirvivisur vrajam


Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus instructed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the young girls, their desire now fulfilled, could bring themselves only with great difficulty to return to the village of Vraja, meditating all the while upon His lotus feet.

The gopis’ desire was fulfilled because Lord Krishna had agreed to act as their husband. A young girl can never spend the night with any man except her husband, and thus when Krishna agreed to engage the girls in the nocturnal rasa dance during the coming autumn season, in effect He was agreeing to reciprocate their love for Him in the role of a husband.


SB 10.22.29
atha gopaih parivrito
bhagavan devaki-sutah
vrindavanad gato duram
carayan gah sahagrajah


Some time later Lord Krishna, the son of Devaki, surrounded by His cowherd friends and accompanied by His elder brother, Balarama, went a good distance away from Vrindavana, herding the cows.

Having described how Lord Krishna stole the garments of the young gopis, Sukadeva Gosvami now begins introducing the description of Lord Krishna’s blessings upon the wives of some ritualistic brahmanas.


SB 10.22.30
nidagharkatape tigme
chayabhih svabhir atmanah
atapatrayitan vikshya
druman aha vrajaukasah

Then the sun’s heat became intense, Lord Krishna saw that the trees were acting as umbrellas by shading Him, and thus He spoke as follows to His boyfriends.


SB 10.22.31-32
he stoka-krishna he amso
sridaman subalarjuna
visala vrishabhaujasvin
devaprastha varuthapa


pasyataitan maha-bhagan
sahanto varayanti nah

[Lord Krishna said:] O Stoka Krishna and Amsu, O Sridama, Subala and Arjuna, O Vrishabha, Ojasvi, Devaprastha and Varuthapa, just see these greatly fortunate trees, whose lives are completely dedicated to the benefit of others. Even while tolerating the wind, rain, heat and snow, they protect us from these elements.

Lord Krishna was preparing to bestow His mercy on the wives of the hard-hearted ritualistic brahmanas, and in these verses the Lord indicates that even trees who are dedicated to the welfare of others are superior to brahmanas who are not. Certainly the members of the Krishna consciousness movement should soberly study this point.


SB 10.22.33

aho esham varam janma
sarva -prany-upajivanam
su-janasyeva yesham vai
vimukha yanti narthinah

Just see how these trees are maintaining every living entity! Their birth is successful. Their behavior is just like that of great personalities, for anyone who asks anything from a tree never goes away disappointed.

This translation is quoted from Srila Prabhupada’s Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi 9.46).


SB 10.22.34
tokmaih kaman vitanvate

These trees fulfill one’s desires with their leaves, flowers and fruits, their shade, roots, bark and wood, and also with their fragrance, sap, ashes, pulp and shoots.


SB 10.22.35
etavaj janma-saphalyam
dehinam iha dehishu
pranair arthair dhiya vaca
sreya-acaranam sada

It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.

This translation is quoted from Srila Prabhupada’s Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi 9.42).


SB 10.22.36

iti pravala-stabaka-
tarunam namra-sakhanam
madhyato yamunam gatah


Thus moving among the trees, whose branches were bent low by their abundance of twigs, fruits, flowers and leaves, Lord Krishna came to the Yamuna River.


SB 10.22.37
tatra gah payayitvapah
su-mrishtah sitalah sivah
tato nripa svayam gopah
kamam svadu papur jalam

The cowherd boys let the cows drink the clear, cool and wholesome water of the Yamuna. O King Parikshit, the cowherd boys themselves also drank that sweet water to their full satisfaction.


SB 10.22.38
tasya upavane kamam
carayantah pasun nripa
krishna-ramav upagamya
kshudh-arta idam abravan


Then, O King, the cowherd boys began herding the animals in a leisurely way within a small forest along the Yamuna. But soon they became afflicted by hunger and, approaching Krishna and Balarama, spoke as follows.

Srila Jiva Gosvami explains that the cowherd boys were concerned that Krishna would be hungry, and thus they feigned their own hunger so that Krishna and Balarama would make suitable arrangements to eat.

Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A . C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to the Tenth Canto, Twenty-second Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled “Krishna Steals the Garments of the Unmarried Gopis.”

Note: Special thanks to Jaya Tirtha Caran prabhu from NZ for allowing us to use some of the content from his site to compile these pages.