Of the varistha
gopis, Lalita is the most important, being the leader and controller. She and
the other eight principal gopis, the other gopis and the manjari have forms that
are for the most part like the transcendental form of Srimati Radharani, the queen
Lalita is famous
as Srimati Radharani's constant companion. Her complexion is like the yellow pigment
gorocana and her garments are like peacock feathers. Her mother is Saradi-devi
and her father is Visoka. Her husband is named Bhairava. He is a close friend
of Govardhana-gopa. Her age is 14 years, 8 months and 27 days. Her home is in
Yavata and her nature is vama-prakhara. In gaura-lila, she has assumed the form
of Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami.
The beauty of all
the other gopis appears to be conserved in the form of Lalita-devi. She is contrary
and hot-tempered by nature. In an argument, her mouth becomes bent with ferocious
anger and she expertly speaks the most outrageous and arrogant replies. When the
arrogant gopis pick a quarrel with Krsna, she is at the forefront of the conflict.
When Radha and Krsna meet, she audaciously remains standing a little away from
Lalita-devi is full
of ecstatic love for the Divine Couple. She is expert at arranging both Their
meetings and Their conjugal struggles. Sometimes, for Radha's sake, she offends
Lord Madhava. With the help of Purnamasi-devi and the other gopis Lalita arranges
for the meetings of Radha and Krsna. She carries the parasol for the Divine Couple,
she decorates Them with flowers, and she decorates the cottage where They rest
at night and rise in the morning.
On the northern
petal of Ananga-sukhada Kunja, there is a beautiful kunja covered with various
kinds of flowers and trees. This place is known as Lalitanandada Kunja and it
is the color of lightning. The lovely Lalita Sakhi always lives here. She has
a beautiful bright yellow (gorocana) complexion and wears a dress the color of
peacock feathers. She is adorned with celestial ornaments and personifies the
type of bhava known as khandita. She and Sri Krsna are very, very dear to each
other and her seva is to bring camphor and tambula to Him.
The chief sakhis
in Lalita’s group are Ratnarekha (Ratnaprabha), Ratikala, Subhadra, Candrarekhika
(Bhadrarekhika), Sumukhi, Dhanistha, Kalahamsi and Kalapini.
Visakha is the second
most important of the eight varistha-gopis. Her attributes, activities and resolve
are all much like those of her friend Lalita. Visakha was born at the exact same
moment as her dear friend, Srimati Radharani, appeared in this world. Visakha's
garments are decorated with stars and her complexion is like lightning, being
cream-colored with a tinge of red (gaurangi). She is 14 years, 2 months and 15
days in age. Her father is Pavana, the son of the sister of Mukhara-gopi, and
her mother is Daksina-devi, the daughter of the sister of Jatila. Her husband
is Bahuka (Vahika-gopa). Her residence is cloudlike in color. She appears in gaura-lila
as Sri Ramananda Raya.
the intimate friend of the Divine Couple. Although she is more exalted than the
younger gopis (the gopi messengers lead by Vrnda devi), she also takes up the
work of carrying messages between Radha and Krsna and she is the most intelligent
and expert of all the gopi messengers. Loquacious Visakha is expert at joking
with Lord Govinda, and she is the perfect counsellor of the Divine Couple. Being
expert at all aspects of amorous diplomacy, she knows all the arts of how to conciliate
an angered lover, how to bribe him, and how to quarrel with him.
Visakha is very
dear to Sri Krsna and has the bhava known as svadhina-bhartrka. Her seva is dressing
and decorating. In Sri Visakha’s yutha the chief sakhis are Malati, Madhavi,
Candrarekha, Subhanana, Kunjari, Harini, Surabhi and Capala.
Campakalata is the
third of the varistha-gopis. Her complexion is the color of a blossoming yellow
campaka flower and her garments are the color of a blue-jay's. She is one day
younger than Srimati Radharani, and her age is 14 years, 2 months and 13 1/2 days.
Her father is Arama, her mother is Vatika-devi and her husband is Candaksa. Her
qualities are much like those of Visakha. In gaura-lila she appears as Sri Sivananda.
her activities in great secrecy. She is expert at the art of logical persuasion,
and she is a skilled diplomat who knows how to thwart Srimati Radharani's rivals.
Campakalata is expert
at collecting fruits, flowers, and roots from the forest. Of all the gopis who
are appointed as protectoresses of the trees, creepers, and bushes of Vrndavana,
the leader is Campakalata-devi. She is an expert cook who knows all the literatures
describing the six flavors of gourmet cooking. She is so expert at making various
kinds of candy that she has become famous by the name Mistahasta (sweet hands).
Using only the skill of her hands, she can artistically fashion things from clay.
On the southern
petal of Madana-sukhada Kunja lies Kamalata Kunja, the home of Sri Krsna’s
beloved Sri Campakalata. This extremely blissful kunja is the color of molten
gold. Campakalata, who loves Krsna very much, personifies the stage of a nayika
known as vasaka-sajja. Her nature is vama-madhya, and her seva is to offer jewelled
necklaces and to fan with a camara. The chief gopis in Campakalata’s yutha
are Kurangaksi, Suracita, Mandali, Manimandana, Candika, Candralatika, Kandukaksi
Citra is the fourth
of the varistha gopis. Her beautiful saffron complexion resembles the color of
kunkuma, and her garments are the color of crystal. She is 26 days younger than
Srimati Radharani, being 14 years, 7 months and 14 days of age. Her father is
Catura, the paternal uncle of Suryamitra. Her mother is Carcika-devi and her husband
is Pithara. She is an adhika-mrdvinayika, and her home is in Yavata. In gaura-lila
she appears as Sri Govindananda.
She and Sri Krsna
are very affectionate toward each other, and she is very devoted to her seva of
bringing cloves and garlands. She is especially expert in the lover's quarrel
between Radha and Krsna (the third of the six definitions of the word abhisarana).
When Lord Madhava is full of bliss, she becomes satisfied.
Citra-devi can read
between the lines of books and letters written in many different languages, perceiving
the hidden intentions of the author. She is a skilled gourmet and can understand
the tastes of various foods made with honey, milk, and other ingredients simply
by glancing at them. She can nicely make various kinds of nectarean beverages.
(There are also eight other gopi maidservants, headed by Rasalika-devi, who are
expert at making various nectarean beverages.)
Citra-devi is expert
in playing music on pots filled with varying degrees of water. She is learned
in the literature describing astronomy and astrology, and she is well versed in
the theoretical and practical activities of protecting domestic animals. She is
especially expert at gardening. There are other gopis who mostly collect transcendental
herbs and medicinal creepers from the forest and do not collect flowers or anything
else. Citra-devi is the leader of these gopis. The chief gopis in Sri Citra’s
yutha are Rasalika, Tilakini, Saurasen, Sugandhika, Vamani, Vamanayana, Nagari
Tungavidya is the
fifth of the varistha gopis. Her complexion is the color of kunkuma and the fragrance
of her body is like sandalwood mixed with camphor. Her dress is pandu-mandana
(pale yellow). She is fifteen days younger than Srimati Radharani, and her age
is 14 years, 2 months and 22 days. She wears white garments. Her parents are Puskara
and Medha-devi and her husband is Balisa. On the western petal of Madana-sukhada
Kunja lies the extremely beautiful crimson-colored Tungavidyanandada Kunja, where
Sri Tungavidya Sakhi always resides. In gaura-lila she appears as Sri Vakresvara
She loves Sri Krsna
very much and, filled with eagerness for that prema, she exhibits the bhava known
as vipralabdhatva. She is very devoted to her seva of dancing and singing, and
is a celebrated music teacher who is expert at playing the vina and singing in
the style known as marga. She has full faith in Krsna. She is very expert at arranging
the meetings of the Divine Couple. She is learned in rasa-sastra (transcendental
mellows), is learned in the eighteen branches of knowledge, in niti-sastra (morality),
dancing, drama, literature and all other arts and sciences.
and expert at dissimulation, Tungavidya is one of the leaders of the gopis. Some
of the sakhis in Tungavidya’s yutha are Manjumedha, Sumadhura, Sumadhya,
Madhureksana, Tanu madhya, Madhusyanda, Gunacuda and Varangada. These gopis are
the best of dancers. They are musicians expert at playing the mrdanga and singing
in recital halls. They are especially engaged in fetching water from the streams
in Vrndavana. Eight gopi messengers headed by Manjumedha-devi are especially expect
at arranging political alliances (sandhi) the first of diplomatic maneuvers in
the art of politics between Radha and Krsna.
Indulekha is the
sixth of the varistha gopis. She has a lemon-yellow (tan) complexion and wears
garments the color of a pomegranate flower. She is three days younger than Srimati
Radharani, being 14 years, 2 months and 10 1/2 days of age. Her parents are Sagara
and Vela-devi and her husband is Durbala. On the southeastern petal of Madana-sukhada
Kunja lies the golden-colored Purnendu Kunja, where Sri Indulekha lives. In gaura-lila
she appears as Vasu Ramananda.
a deep love for Sri Krsna and possesses the prosita-bhartrka-bhava. She often
serves Krsna by bringing Him nectar-like delicious meals. She is vama-prakhara
and her principal seva is fanning with a camara.
Indulekha is contrary
and hot-tempered by nature. She is learned in the science and mantras of the Naga-sastra,
which describes various methods of charming snakes. She is also learned in the
Samudraka-sastra, which describes the science of palmistry. She is expert at stringing
various kinds of wonderful necklaces, decorating the teeth with red substances,
gemology and weaving various kinds of cloth.
In her hand she
carries the auspicious messages of the Divine Couple. In this way she creates
the good fortune of Radha and Krsna by creating Their mutual love and attraction.
Indulekha-devi is fully aware of the confidential secrets of the Divine Couple.
Some of her friends are engaged in providing ornaments for the Divine Couple,
others provide exquisite garments, and others guard their treasury.
In Sri Indulekha’s
yutha the chief gopis are Tungabhadra, Citralekha, Surangi, Rangavatika, Mangala,
Suvicitrangi, Modini and Madana. The group of gopis headed by Tungabhadra-devi
are the friends and neighours of Indulekha. Among these gopis is a group, headed
by Palindhika-devi, which acts as messengers for the Divine Couple.
Rangadevi is the
seventh of the varistha gopis. Her complexion is the color of a lotus filament
and her garments are red like a jaba flower. She is seven days younger than Srimati
Radharani, and is 14 years, 2 months and 4 1/2 days of age. Her parents are Karuna-devi
and Rangasara, and her husband is Vakreksana.
On the southwest
petal of Madana-sukhada Kunja lies the dark blue, cloudlike Sukhada Kunja, where
Sri Krsna’s beloved Sri Rangadevi always resides. She possesses the utkanthita-bhava,
and in every way she is very attached to Sri Krsna. Her seva is offering candana,
and her nature is vama-madhya. In Kali-yuga she appears in gaura-lila as Govindananda
qualities are much like those of Campakalata. She is always like a great ocean
of coquettish words and gestures. She is very fond of joking with her friend Srimati
Radharani in the presence of Lord Krishna.
Among the six activities
of diplomacy she is especially expert in the fourth: patiently waiting for the
enemy to make the next move. She is an expert logician and because of previous
austerities she has attained a mantra by which she can attract Lord Krsna.
The chief gopis
in Sri Rangadevi’s yutha are Kalakanthi, Sasikala, Kamala, Prema Manjari,
Madhavi, Madhura, Kamalata and Kandarpa-sundari. Kalakanti-devi is the leader
of the eight most important friends of Ranga-devi. These friends are all expert
in the use of perfumes and cosmetics and burning aromatic incense, carrying coal
during the winter and fanning the Divine Couple in the summer. Ranga-devi's friends
are able to control the lions, deer and other wild animals in the forest.
Sudevi is the eighth
of the varistha gopis. She is sweet and charming by nature. She is the sister
of Rangadevi. Her husband is Vakreksana, the younger brother of Bhairava. Her
marriage with Vakreksana was arranged by his younger brother. Her form and other
qualities are so similar to those of her sister Rangadevi that they are often
mistaken for one another. Like Rangadevi, she has a complexion the color of a
lotus stamen and wears a dress the color of a red jaba flower. Being slightly
older than her sister, her age is 14 years, 2 months and 4 days. On the northwest
petal of Madanananda Kunja lies the beautiful emerald-colored Vasanta-sukhada
Kunja, the residence of Sri Sudevi. In gaura-lila she appeared as Sri Vasudeva
She is very loving
toward Sri Hari, and possesses the bhava known as kalahantarita. Her seva is to
bring water. Sudevi always remains at the side of her dear friend Srimati Radharani,
and arranges Radharani's hair, decorates Her eyes with mascara, and massages Her
She is expert in
training male and female parrots and she is also expert in the pastimes of roosters.
She is an expert sailor and she is fully aware of the auspicious and inauspicious
omens described in the Sakuna-sastra. She is expert at massaging the body with
scented oils, she knows how to start fires and keep them burning and she knows
which flowers blossom with the rising of the moon.
The principal gopis
in Sri Sudevi’s yutha are Kaveri, Carukavari, Sukesi, Manjukesika, Harahira,
Harakanthi, Haravalli and Manohara. Kaveri-devi and the other friends of Sudevi
are expert at constructing leaf-spitoons, playing music on bells and decorating
couches in various ways. Sudevi's friends are also entrusted with the decoration
of the Divine Couple's sitting place. Sudevi's friends act as clever spies, disguising
themselves in various ways and moving among Radharani's rivals (Candravali and
her friends) to discover their secrets. Sudevi's friends are the deities of Vrndavana
forest and they are charged with the protection of the forest birds and bees.
© Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.