General Description of All The Gopis


The Gopis

According to Shrila Rupa Gosvami there are three categories of gopis: Sadhana siddhas, Nitya-siddhas and Devis. The sadhana-siddhas such as the Dandakaranya sages, the Personified Vedas and other perfected sages became gopis by engaging in devotional service. Nitya-siddha or nitya priya are the eternally dear liberated gopis of whom Shrimati Radharani and Candravalli are chief. The Devis became gopis in the following way. By a plenary expansion Shri Krishna incarnates in the heavenly planets to please the demigods. His eternally dear, liberated gopi associates also appear with Krishna by their partial expansions as demigoddesses. The residents of the heavenly planets who understand the real identity of these "demigoddesses" can take birth in Vraja-bhumi as gopi friends of these liberated gopis. Countless gopis inhabit the spiritual planet of Krishnaloka, but for a reference point, the SKANDA PURANA states that there are three billion gopis, of which eight are principal.

Nitya-priya, the Eternally Dearest Gopis

"The personal associates of Radharani, the gopi damsels of Vraja, are direct expansions of Her body. These expansions of Shrimati Radharani are necessary for enhancing the pleasure po­tency of Shri Krishna. Their transcendental exchanges of love are the superexcellent affairs of the pastimes of Vrindavana. By these expansions of Shrimati Radharani's personal body, She helps Lord Krishna taste the rasa-dance and similar other activities" (CC Adi 4.81p.)."The pastimes of Shrimati Radharani and Krishna are self-effulgent. They are happiness personified, unlimited and all-powerful. Even so the spiritual humors of such pastimes are never complete without the gopis, the Lord's personal friends. Without the gopis, these pastimes between Radha and Krishna cannot be nourished" (CC Madhya 8.203v.). "The nitya-priya gopis are transcendental reservoirs of eternal beauty, expertise, all spiritual qualities and the great opulence of intense love for Krishna" (UN)."I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Radharani, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency (hladini). Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa" (BS). "All the other gopis help increase the joy of Krishna's pastimes with Radharani. The gopis act as instruments of Their mutual enjoyment" (CC Adi 4.217v.).

Five Groups of Gopis

The gopi friends of Shri Radha are divided into five groups that always attract Lord Madhava with their superexcellent tran­scendental qualities and beautiful personal embellishments. 1) Sakhis-are ordinary female friends like Vrnda, Dhanishta and Kusumika. 2) Nitya-sakhis-eternal friends like Manimanjari and Kasturi. 3) Prana-sakhis--intimate bosom friends "as dear as life" like Sashi, Mukhi, Vasanti and Lasika. 4) Priya-sakhis—dear friends like Kamala, Madhavi and Malati. 5) Parama-prestha-sakhis—are the foremost, dearest and most beloved friends of Shri R.adha represented by the asta-sakhis (eight main gopis): Lalita, Visakha, Citra, Campakalata, Tungavidya, Indulckha, Rangadevi and Sudevi.The asta-sakhis display the zenith of spiritual love for the Div ine Couple, Shri-Shri Radhika-Krishnacandra. To increase the transcendental ecstasy of Radha and Krishna, the parama-prestha sakhis show partiality; sometimes they favor Krishna, sometimes Radha. "These eight gopis are the leaders of all the other gopis. In whatever time, place, or circumstance, these gopis are placed, their most exalted and intense love for the transcendental Divine Couple is always very easy to sec" (UN). Although these eight gopis are the leaders of many other gopis, because they are very greedy to earn Shri Radha's love ; they always prefer to serve under the group and command of Shri Radha and try to please Her in every way possible.

Besides these five categories, there are hundreds of groups °f beautiful doe-eyed gopis with hundreds and thousands of charming girls in each group. There are actually unlimited groups with 100,000 gopis in each group. Some of the gopi group leaders act as Shrimati Radharani's friends, some are neutral and some like Candravalli, Padma and Saibya are Radha's rivals.