When Kṛṣṇa suddenly disappeared from the company of the gopīs, they searched for Him everywhere. After not finding Him anywhere, they became afraid and almost mad after Him. They were simply thinking of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa in great love and affection. Being absorbed in thought of Him, they experienced loss of memory, and with dampened eyes they began to see the very pastimes of Kṛṣṇa—His beautiful talks with them, His embracing, kissing and other activities. Being so attracted to Kṛṣṇa, they imitated His dancing, His walking and His smiling, as if they themselves were Kṛṣṇa. Due to Kṛṣṇa’s absence, they all became crazy; each one of them told the others that she was Kṛṣṇa Himself. Soon they all assembled together and chanted Kṛṣṇa’s name very loudly as they moved from one part of the forest to another, searching for Him.
Actually, Kṛṣṇa is all-pervasive: He is in the sky, and He is in the forest; He is within the heart, and He is always everywhere. The gopīs therefore began to question the trees and plants about Kṛṣṇa. There were various types of big trees and small plants in the forest, and the gopīs addressed them: “Dear banyan tree, have you seen the son of Mahārāja Nanda passing this way, laughing and playing on His flute? He has stolen our hearts and gone away. If you have seen Him, kindly inform us which way He has gone. Dear aśoka tree, dear nāga flower tree and campaka flower tree, have you seen the younger brother of Balarāma pass this way? He has disappeared because of our pride.” The gopīs were aware of the reason for Kṛṣṇa’s sudden disappearance. They could understand that when they had been enjoying Kṛṣṇa they thought themselves to be the most fortunate women within the universe, and since they were feeling proud, Kṛṣṇa had disappeared immediately just to curb their pride. Kṛṣṇa does not like His devotees to be proud of their service to Him. He accepts everyone’s service, but He does not like one devotee to proudly consider himself better than others. If sometimes there are such feelings, Kṛṣṇa ends them by changing His attitude toward the devotee.
The gopīs then addressed the tulasī plants: “Dear tulasī, you are much beloved by Lord Kṛṣṇa because your leaves are always at His lotus feet. Dear mālatī flower, dear mallikā flower, dear jasmine flower, all of you must have been touched by Kṛṣṇa while He was passing this way after giving us transcendental enjoyment. Have you seen Mādhava passing this way? O mango trees, O trees of jackfruit, O pear trees and āsana trees! O blackberries and bael trees and trees of the kadamba flower—you are all very pious trees to be living on the bank of the Yamunā. Kṛṣṇa must have passed through this way. Will you kindly let us know which way He has gone?”
The gopīs then looked upon the ground they were traversing and began to address the earth: “Dear earthly planet, we do not know how many penances and austerities you have undergone to be now living with the footprints of Lord Kṛṣṇa upon you. You are very jolly; the hairs on your body are these jubilant trees and plants. Lord Kṛṣṇa must have been very much pleased with you; otherwise how could He have embraced you in the form of Varāha the boar? When you were submerged in water, He delivered you, taking the whole weight of your existence on His tusks.”