When Kṛṣṇa spoke in such a discouraging way to the gopīs, they became very sad, for they thought that their desire to enjoy the rāsa dance with Kṛṣṇa would be frustrated. Thus they became full of anxiety. Out of great sadness, the gopīs began to breathe very heavily. Instead of looking at Kṛṣṇa face to face, they bowed their heads and looked at the ground, and they began to draw various types of curved lines on the ground with their toes. They were shedding heavy tears, and their cosmetic decorations were being washed from their faces. The water from their eyes mixed with the kuṅkuma on their breasts and fell to the ground. They could not say anything to Kṛṣṇa but simply stood there silently. By their silence they expressed that their hearts were grievously wounded.
The gopīs were not ordinary women. In essence they were on an equal level with Kṛṣṇa. They are His eternal associates. As it is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā, they are expansions of the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa, and as His potency they are nondifferent from Him. Although they were depressed by the words of Kṛṣṇa, they did not like to use harsh words against Him. Yet they wanted to rebuke Kṛṣṇa for His unkind words, and therefore they began to speak in faltering voices. They did not like to use harsh words against Kṛṣṇa because He was their dearmost, their heart and soul. The gopīs had only Kṛṣṇa within their hearts. They were completely surrendered and dedicated souls. Naturally, when they heard such unkind words, they tried to reply, but in the attempt torrents of tears fell from their eyes. Finally they managed to speak.
“Kṛṣṇa,” they said, “You are very cruel! You should not talk like that. We are full-fledged surrendered souls. Please accept us, and don’t talk in that cruel way. Of course, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead and can do whatever You like, but it is not worthy of Your position to treat us in such a cruel way. We have come to You, leaving everything behind, just to take shelter of Your lotus feet. We know that You are completely independent and can do whatever You like, but we request You, don’t reject us. We are Your devotees. You should accept us as Lord Nārāyaṇa accepts His devotees. There are many devotees of Lord Nārāyaṇa who worship Him for salvation, and He awards them salvation. Similarly, how can You reject us when we have no shelter other than Your lotus feet?