TEXTS 204-205
sakhi vina ei lilaya anyera nahi gati
sakhi-bhave ye tanre kare anugati
radha-krsna-kunjaseva-sadhya sei paya
sei sadhya paite ara nahika upaya
sakhi vinawithout the gopis; ei lilayain these pastimes; anyeraof others; nahithere is not; gatientrance; sakhi-bhavein the mood of the gopis; yeanyone who; tanreLord Krsna; karedoes; anugatifollowing; radha-krsnaof Radha and Krsna; kunja-sevaof service in the kunjas, or gardens, of Vrndavana; sadhyathe goal; sei payahe gets; seithat; sadhyaachievement; paiteto receive; araother; nahikathere is not; upayameans.
"Without the help of the gopis, one cannot enter into these pastimes. Only he who worships the Lord in the ecstasy of the gopis, following in their footsteps, can engage in the service of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in the bushes of Vrndavana. Only then can one understand the conjugal love between Radha and Krsna. There is no other procedure for understanding.
The means for returning home, for going back to Godhead, is devotional service, but everyone has a different taste in the Lord's service. One may be inclined to serve the Lord in servitude (dasya-rasa), fraternity (sakhya-rasa), or paternal love (vatsalya-rasa), but none of these can enable one to enter into the service of the Lord in conjugal love. To attain such service, one has to follow in the footsteps of the gopis in the ecstasy of sakhi-bhava. Then only can one understand the transcendental mellow of conjugal love.
In the Ujjvala-nilamani, Srila Rupa Gosvami advises:
samyag vistarika sakhi
visrambha-ratna-peti ca
One who expands the conjugal love of Krsna and His enjoyment among the gopis is called a sakhi. Such a person is a confidential gopi in the conjugal affairs. Such assistants are like jewels in the form of Krsna's confidantes. The actual business of the sakhis is described thus in Ujjvala-nilamani:
mithah prema-gunotkirtis
tayor asakti-karita
abhisaro dvayor eva
sakhyah krsne samarpanam
chidra-samvrtir etasyah
paty-adeh parivancana
siksa sangamanam kale
sevanam vyajanadibhih
tayor dvayor upalambhah
sandesa-presanam tatha
prayatnadyah sakhi-kriyah
In the conjugal pastimes of Krsna, Krsna is the hero (nayaka), and Radhika is the heroine (nayika). The first business of the gopis is to chant the glories of both the hero and the heroine. Their second business is to gradually create a situation in which the hero may be attracted to the heroine and vice versa. Their third business is to induce both of Them to approach each another. Their fourth business is to surrender unto Krsna, the fifth is to create a jovial atmosphere, the sixth to give Them assurance to enjoy Their pastimes, the seventh to dress and decorate both hero and heroine, the eighth to show expertise in expressing Their desires, the ninth to conceal the faults of the heroine, the tenth to cheat their respective husbands and relatives, the eleventh to educate, the twelfth to enable both hero and heroine to meet at the proper time, the thirteenth to fan both hero and heroine, the fourteenth to sometimes reproach the hero and heroine, the fifteenth to set conversations in motion, and the sixteenth to protect the heroine by various means.
Some material sahajiyas who cannot actually understand the pastimes of Radha and Krsna manufacture their own life-styles without referring to authority. Such sahajiyas are called sakhi-bheki, and sometimes they are called gaura-nagari. They believe that the material body, which is fit to be eaten by jackals and dogs, is enjoyable for Krsna. Consequently they artificially decorate the material body to attract Krsna, thinking themselves sakhis. But Krsna is never attracted by the artificial grooming of the material body. As far as Srimati Radharani and Her gopis are concerned, their bodies, homes, dresses, ornaments, endeavors and activities are all spiritual. All of these are meant to satisfy the spiritual senses of Krsna. Indeed, they are so pleasing and endearing to Krsna that He is subjugated by the influence of Srimati Radharani and Her friends. They have nothing to do with anything mundane within the fourteen planetary systems of the universe. Although Krsna is attractive to everyone, He is nonetheless attracted by the gopis and Srimati Radharani.
One should not be misled by mental concoctions, supposing his material body to be perfect and deeming oneself a sakhi. This is something like ahangrahopasana, that is, a Mayavadi's worship of his own body as the Supreme. Srila Jiva Gosvami has cautioned mundaners to abstain from such conceptions. He also warns that thinking oneself one of the associates of the Supreme without following in the footsteps of the gopis is as offensive as thinking oneself the Supreme. Such thinking is an aparadha. One has to practice living in Vrndavana by hearing about the talks of the gopis with Krsna. However, one should not consider himself a gopi, for this is offensive.

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