Krsna's Gopi Friends (Samaja)

The Skanda Purana states that out of many thousands of gopis, sixteen thousand are predominant; and out of 108 gopis, eight are still more prominent; out of eight gopis Radharani and Candravalli are prominent; and out of these two gopis, Radharani is the most prominent. Because Radha possesses all the charm and sweetness, She is the better of the two.

Krsna's contemporary gopi friends, who are the most exalted of the gopis, are divided into varistha (the most exalted ) and vara (exalted). Among all the gopis the most important are Srimati Radharani, Candravali, Bhadra, Syama and Palika. These gopis are full of all transcendental good qualities. Of these gopis Srimati Radharani and Candravali are the best. Each of them has millions of doe-eyed gopi followers. Because She possesses all charm and sweetness, Srimati Radharani is the better of the two. She is supremely famous. In the Sruti-sastra She is known by the name Gandharva-devi.

The varistha gopis are more famous than all the others. They are eternally the intimate friends of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, and no one can equal or exceed the love they bear for the Divine Couple. Of all Krsna's friends, the varistha gopis are the most worshipable. They are decorated with incomparable transcendental qualities, bodily beauty and all other charming opulences.

These gopi friends decorate their own dear friend Srimati Radharani. They cheat their husbands, parents and other guardians by going to meet Radha and Krsna, and they take Radharani's side whenever she has a lover's quarrel with Lord Hari.

These gopis assist Radha and Krsna in Their secret rendezvous, and carefully guard the secret of Radha's and Krsna's confidential pastimes together. They serve palatable meals to the Divine Couple and afterward relish tasting the remnants left by Them. Their minds are pure and they are very expert and intelligent, so they serve Radha and Krsna very appropriately. They please the Divine Couple by expertly singing, dancing and playing instrumental music. At the appropriate time they beg to be engaged in various appropriate services.

All the gopis are aware of these and all the other similar services and they actively serve Radha and Krsna by performing these activities. The gopis who are close associates of the Divine Couple are directly engaged in these services, whereas other gopis are not.

Some gopis serve the Divine Couple in the garden known as Madanonmadini, among the flowering creepers, betel creepers and betel trees. Some gopis are expert at playing various magic tricks, some are expert at composing riddles and some are appointed to provide betel nuts for the Divine Couple. All these gopis are the servants of Srimati Radharani. Other gopis are specifically the friends of Lord Baladeva. Lalita-devi is the leader and controller of all these exalted and worshipable young gopis.

Srimati Radharani's rival is Candravali. Among Candravali's friends are Padma, Syama, Saibya, Bhadra, Vicitra, Gopali, Palika, Candrasalika, Mangala, Vimala, Lila, Taralaksi, Manorama, Kandarpa-manjari, Manjubhasini, Khanjaneksana, Kumuda, Kairavi, Sari, Saradaksi, Visarada, Sankari, Kunkuma, Krsna, Sarangi, Indravali, Siva, Taravali, Gunavati, Sumukhi, Keli-manjari, Haravali, Cakoraksi, Bharati and Kamala. The gopis who are confidential friends of Radha and Krsna glorify their own group and criticize the followers of Candravali, Radharani's rival.

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