The Eight Topmost Gopis


Lalita-devi


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 of Vrndavana.

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 them.

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-devi


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.

Visakha-devi is 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 (Campakamallika)


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.

Campakalata veils 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 and Sumandira.


Citra


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 and Nagavallika.


Tungavidya


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 Pandita.

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.

Being hot-tempered 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


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.

Indulekha-devi has 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

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 Ghosa.

Rangadevi's personal 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

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 Ghosa.

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 body.

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.

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