Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī has remarked that Kṛṣṇa is self-sufficient—He is ātmārāma. He doesn’t need anyone else for His satisfaction. Because the gopīs wanted Kṛṣṇa as their husband, He fulfilled their desire. When Kṛṣṇa saw that the gopīs were tired from dancing with Him, He immediately began to wipe His hands over their faces so that their fatigue would be relieved. In order to reciprocate the kind hospitality of Kṛṣṇa, the gopīs began to look at Him lovingly. They were overjoyed by the auspicious touch of the hand of Kṛṣṇa. Their smiling cheeks shone with beauty, and they began to sing the glories of Kṛṣṇa with transcendental pleasure. As pure devotees, the more the gopīs enjoyed Kṛṣṇa’s company, the more they became enlightened with His glories, and thus they reciprocated with Him. They wanted to satisfy Kṛṣṇa by glorifying His transcendental pastimes. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all masters, and the gopīs wanted to worship Him for His unusual exhibition of mercy upon them.
The gopīs and Kṛṣṇa entered the water of the Yamunā just to relieve their fatigue from the rāsa dance. The lily-flower garlands around the necks of the gopīs were strewn to pieces due to the gopīs’ embracing the body of Kṛṣṇa, and the flowers were reddish from being smeared with the kuṅkuma on their breasts. The bumblebees were humming about in order to get honey from the flowers. Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs entered the water of the Yamunā just as an elephant enters a water tank with his many female companions. Both the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa forgot their real identities, playing in the water, enjoying each other’s company and relieving the fatigue of rāsa dancing. The gopīs began to splash water on the body of Kṛṣṇa, all the while smiling, and Kṛṣṇa enjoyed this. As Kṛṣṇa was taking pleasure in the joking words and splashing water, the demigods in the heavenly planets showered flowers. The demigods thus praised the superexcellent rāsa dance of Kṛṣṇa, the supreme enjoyer, and His pastimes with the gopīs in the water of the Yamunā.
After this, Lord Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs came out of the water and began to stroll along the bank of the Yamunā, where a nice breeze was blowing, carrying the aroma of different kinds of flowers over the water and land. While strolling on the bank of the Yamunā, Kṛṣṇa recited various kinds of poetry. He thus enjoyed the company of the gopīs in the soothing moonlight of autumn.
Sex desire is especially excited in the autumn season, but the wonderful thing about Kṛṣṇa’s association with the gopīs is that there was no question of sex desire. It was, as clearly stated in the Bhāgavata description by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, avaruddha-saurata—the sex impulse was completely controlled. There is a distinction between Lord Kṛṣṇa’s dancing with the gopīs and the ordinary dancing of living entities within the material world. In order to clear up further misconceptions about the rāsa dance and the affairs of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs, Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the hearer of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, told Śukadeva Gosvāmī, “Kṛṣṇa appeared on the earth to establish the regulative principles of religion and to curb the predominance of irreligion. But the behavior of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs might encourage irreligious principles in the material world. I am simply surprised that He would act in such a way, enjoying the company of others’ wives in the dead of night.” This statement of Mahārāja Parīkṣit’s was very much appreciated by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. The answer anticipates the abominable acts of the Māyāvādī impersonalists who place themselves in the position of Kṛṣṇa and enjoy the company of young girls and women.
The basic Vedic injunctions never allow a person to enjoy sex with any woman except his own wife. Kṛṣṇa’s appreciation of the gopīs appeared to be distinctly in violation of these rules. Mahārāja Parīkṣit understood the total situation from Śukadeva Gosvāmī, yet to further clarify the transcendental nature of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs in the rāsa dance, he expressed his surprise. This is very important in order to check the unrestricted association with women by the prākṛta-sahajiyās.
In his statement, Mahārāja Parīkṣit has used several important words which require clarification. The first word, jugupsitam, means “abominable.” The first doubt of Mahārāja Parīkṣit was as follows: Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had advented Himself to establish religious principles. Why then did He mix with others’ wives in the dead of night and enjoy dancing, embracing and kissing? According to the Vedic injunctions, this is not allowed. Also, when the gopīs first came to Him, He gave instructions to them to return to their homes. To call the wives of other persons or young girls and enjoy dancing with them is certainly abominable according to the Vedas. Why should Kṛṣṇa have done this?
Another word used here is āpta-kāma. Some may take it for granted that Kṛṣṇa was very lusty among young girls, but Parīkṣit Mahārāja said that this was not possible. He could not be lusty. First of all, from the material calculation He was only eight years old. At that age a boy cannot be lusty. Āpta-kāma means that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is self-satisfied. Even if He were lusty, He doesn’t need to take help from others to satisfy His lusty desires. The next point is that, although not lusty Himself, He might have been seduced by the lusty desires of the gopīs. But Mahārāja Parīkṣit then used another word, yadu-pati, which indicates that Kṛṣṇa is the most exalted personality in the dynasty of the Yadus. The kings in the dynasty of Yadu were considered to be the most pious, and their descendants were also like that. Having taken birth in that family, how could Kṛṣṇa have been seduced, even by the gopīs? It is concluded, therefore, that it was not possible for Kṛṣṇa to do anything abominable. But Mahārāja Parīkṣit was in doubt as to why Kṛṣṇa acted in that way. What was the real purpose?
Another word Mahārāja Parīkṣit used when he addressed Śukadeva Gosvāmī is suvrata, which means to take a vow to enact pious activities. Śukadeva Gosvāmī was an educated brahmacārī, and under the circumstances it was not possible for him to indulge in sex. This is strictly prohibited for brahmacārīs, and what to speak of a brahmacārī like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. But because the circumstances of the rāsa dance were very suspect, Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired for clarification from Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Śukadeva Gosvāmī immediately replied that transgressions of religious principles by the supreme controller testify to His great power. For example, fire can consume any abominable thing; that is the manifestation of the supremacy of fire. Similarly, the sun can absorb water from a urinal or from stool, and the sun is not polluted; rather, due to the influence of the sunshine, the polluted, contaminated place becomes disinfected and sterilized.
One may also argue that since Kṛṣṇa is the supreme authority, His activities should be followed. In answer to this argument, Śukadeva Gosvāmī has very clearly said that the īśvara, or supreme controller, may sometimes violate His own instructions, but this is possible only for the controller Himself, not for the followers. Unusual and uncommon activities by the controller can never be imitated. Śukadeva Gosvāmī warned that the conditioned followers, who are not actually in control, should never even imagine imitating the uncommon activities of the controller. A Māyāvādī philosopher may falsely claim to be God or Kṛṣṇa, but he cannot actually act like Kṛṣṇa. He can persuade his followers to falsely imitate the rāsa dance, but he is unable to lift Govardhana Hill. We have many experiences in the past of Māyāvādī rascals who delude their followers by posing themselves as Kṛṣṇa in order to enjoy rāsa-līlā. In many instances they were checked by the government, arrested and punished. In Orissa, Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda punished a so-called incarnation of Viṣṇu who was imitating the rāsa-līlā with young girls. There were many complaints against the so-called incarnation. At that time Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was a magistrate, and the government deputed him to deal with that rascal, and he punished him very severely. The rāsa-līlā dance cannot be imitated by anyone. Śukadeva Gosvāmī warns that one should not even think of imitating it. He specifically mentions that if, out of foolishness, one tries to imitate Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa dance, he will be killed, just like a person who wants to imitate Lord Śiva’s drinking of an ocean of poison. Lord Śiva drank an ocean of poison and kept it within his throat. The poison made his throat turn blue, and therefore Lord Śiva is called Nīlakaṇṭha. But if any ordinary person tries to imitate Lord Śiva by drinking poison or smoking gañjā, he is sure to be vanquished and will die within a very short time. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s dealings with the gopīs occurred under special circumstances.