Thus hearing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, speaking to pacify them, the gopīs became very much pleased. They became completely relieved of the great suffering of separation, not only by hearing the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead but also by touching His hands and legs. After this, the Supreme Personality of Godhead began His rāsa dance. A dance in the midst of many girls is called a rāsa dance. So Kṛṣṇa began to dance among the most beautiful and fortunate girls within the three worlds. The gopīs of Vṛndāvana, who were so attracted to Him, danced with Kṛṣṇa, hand in hand.
Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa dance should never be compared to any kind of material dance, such as a ball dance or a society dance. The rāsa dance is a completely spiritual performance. In order to establish this fact, Kṛṣṇa, the supreme mystic, expanded Himself into many forms and stood beside each gopī. Placing His hands on the shoulders of the gopīs on both sides of Him, He began to dance in their midst. The mystic expansions of Kṛṣṇa were not perceived by the gopīs because Kṛṣṇa appeared alone to each of them. Each gopī thought that Kṛṣṇa was dancing with her alone. Above that wonderful dance flew many airplanes carrying the denizens of the heavenly planets, who were very eager to see the wonderful dance of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs. The Gandharvas and Kinnaras began to sing, and, accompanied by their respective wives, all the Gandharvas began to shower flowers on the dancers.
As the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa danced together, a very blissful musical sound was produced from the tinkling of their bells, ornaments and bangles. It appeared that Kṛṣṇa was a greenish sapphire locket in the midst of a golden necklace decorated with valuable stones. While Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs danced, they displayed extraordinary bodily features. The movements of their legs, their placing their hands on one another, the movements of their eyebrows, their smiling, the movements of the breasts of the gopīs and their clothes, their earrings, their cheeks, their hair with flowers—as they sang and danced these combined to appear like clouds, thunder, snow and lightning. Kṛṣṇa’s bodily features appeared just like a group of clouds, the gopīs’ songs were like thunder, their beauty appeared to be just like lightning in the sky, and the drops of perspiration visible on their faces appeared like falling snow. In this way, the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa fully engaged in dancing.
The necks of the gopīs became tinted with red due to their desire to enjoy Kṛṣṇa more and more. To satisfy them, Kṛṣṇa began to clap His hands in time with their singing. Actually the whole world is full of Kṛṣṇa’s singing, but it is appreciated in different ways by different kinds of living entities. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham (BG 4.11). Kṛṣṇa is dancing, and every living entity is also dancing, but there is a difference between the dancing in the spiritual world and that in the material world. This is expressed by the author of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, who says that the master dancer is Kṛṣṇa and everyone else is His servant. Everyone is trying to imitate Kṛṣṇa’s dancing. Those who are actually in Kṛṣṇa consciousness respond rightly to the dancing of Kṛṣṇa: they do not try to dance independently. But those in the material world try to imitate Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The living entities are dancing under the direction of Kṛṣṇa’s māyā and are thinking that they are equal to Kṛṣṇa. But this is not a fact. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, this misconception is absent, for a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness knows that Kṛṣṇa is the supreme master and everyone else is His servant. One has to dance to please Kṛṣṇa, not to imitate or attempt to become equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The gopīs wanted to please Kṛṣṇa, and therefore as Kṛṣṇa sang, they responded and encouraged Him by saying “Well done! Well done!” Sometimes they presented beautiful music for His pleasure, and He responded by praising their singing.