After searching for Kṛṣṇa here and there, the gopīs became fatigued, and then they began to talk like madwomen. They could satisfy themselves only by imitating the different pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. One of them imitated the demon Pūtanā, and one of them imitated Kṛṣṇa and sucked her breast. One gopī imitated a hand-driven cart, and another gopī lay down beneath the cart and threw up her legs, touching the wheels of the cart, as Kṛṣṇa did to kill the demon Śakaṭāsura. One gopī imitated child Kṛṣṇa and lay down on the ground, and one gopī became the demon Tṛṇāvarta and carried the small child Kṛṣṇa by force into the sky; and one of the gopīs began to imitate Kṛṣṇa while He was attempting to walk, ringing His ankle bells. Two gopīs imitated Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, and many others imitated Their cowherd boyfriends. One gopī assumed the form of Bakāsura, and another forced her to fall down as the demon Bakāsura did when he was killed; similarly, another gopī defeated Vatsāsura. Just as Kṛṣṇa used to call His cows by their different names, so the gopīs imitated Him, calling the cows by their respective names. One of the gopīs began to play on a flute, and another praised her the way Kṛṣṇa’s boyfriends praised Him while He played on His flute. One of the gopīs took another gopī on her shoulders, just as Kṛṣṇa used to take His boyfriends. Absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa, the gopī who was carrying her friend began to boast that she was Kṛṣṇa herself: “All of you just see my movement!” One of the gopīs raised her hand with her covering garments and said, “Now don’t be afraid of the torrents of rain and severe hurricanes. I’ll save you!” In this way she imitated the lifting of Govardhana Hill. One gopī forcibly put her feet on the head of another gopī and said, “You rascal Kāliya! I shall punish you severely. You must leave this place. I have descended to this earth to punish all kinds of miscreants!” Another gopī told her friends, “Just see! The flames of the forest fire are coming to devour us. Please close your eyes and I shall immediately save you from this imminent danger.”
In this way all the gopīs were madly feeling the absence of Kṛṣṇa. They inquired about Him from the trees and plants. In some places they found the imprints of the marks on the soles of His feet—namely the flag, the lotus flower, the trident, the thunderbolt, etc. After seeing those footprints, they exclaimed, “Oh, here is the impression of the marks on the soles of Kṛṣṇa’s feet! All the marks, such as the flag, the lotus flower, the trident and the thunderbolt, are distinctly visible here.” They began to follow the footprints, and shortly they saw another set of footprints beside them, and immediately they became very sorry. “Dear friends, just see! Whose are these other footprints? They are beside the footprints of the son of Mahārāja Nanda. It is certainly Kṛṣṇa passing through, resting His hand on some other gopī, exactly as an elephant goes side by side with his beloved mate. We must, therefore, understand that this particular gopī served Kṛṣṇa with greater affectionate love than ourselves. Because of this, although He has left us, He could not leave Her company. He has taken Her along with Him. Dear friends, just imagine how the dust of this place is transcendentally glorious. The dust of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa is worshiped even by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva and the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī. But at the same time, we are very sorry that this particular gopī has gone along with Kṛṣṇa, for She is sharing the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s kisses and leaving us aside to lament. O friends, just see! At this particular spot we do not see the footprints of that gopī. It appears that because there were some pinpricks from the dried grass, Kṛṣṇa took Rādhārāṇī on His shoulder. Oh, She is so dear to Him! Kṛṣṇa must have picked some flowers in this spot to satisfy Rādhārāṇī, because here, where He stood erect to get the flowers from the high branches of the tree, we find only half the impression of His feet. Dear friends, just see how Kṛṣṇa must have sat down here with Rādhārāṇī and tried to set flowers in Her hair. You can be certain that both of Them sat together here.” Kṛṣṇa is self-sufficient: He has nothing to enjoy from any other source. Yet just to satisfy His devotee, He treated Rādhārāṇī exactly as a lusty boy treats his girlfriend. Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He always tolerates the disturbances created by His girlfriends.
In this way, all the gopīs pointed out the faults of the particular gopī who had been taken alone by Kṛṣṇa. They said that this chief gopī, Rādhārāṇī, must be very proud of Her position, thinking Herself the greatest of the gopīs. “Yet how could Kṛṣṇa take Her away alone, leaving all of us aside, unless She is extraordinarily qualified and beautiful? She must have taken Kṛṣṇa into the deep forest and told Him, ‘My dear Kṛṣṇa, I am now very tired. I cannot go any further. Please carry Me wherever You like.’ When Kṛṣṇa was spoken to in this way, He might have told Rādhārāṇī, ‘All right, better get on My shoulder.’ But immediately Kṛṣṇa must have disappeared, and now Rādhārāṇī must be lamenting for Him, ‘My dear lover, My dearest, You are so fine and so powerful. Where have You gone? I am nothing but Your most obedient maidservant. I am very much aggrieved. Please come and be with Me again.’ Kṛṣṇa, however, is not coming to Her. He must be watching Her from a distant place and enjoying Her sorrow.”
All the gopīs then went further and further into the forest, searching out Kṛṣṇa, but when they learned that actually Rādhārāṇī was left alone by Kṛṣṇa, they became very sorry. This is the test of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In the beginning they were a little envious that Kṛṣṇa had taken Rādhārāṇī alone, leaving aside all the other gopīs, but as soon as they knew that Kṛṣṇa had also left Rādhārāṇī and that She was alone lamenting for Him, they became more sympathetic to Her. The gopīs found Rādhārāṇī and heard everything from Her—about how She had misbehaved with Kṛṣṇa and how She was proud and was insulted for Her pride. After hearing all this, they became actually very sympathetic. Then all the gopīs, including Rādhārāṇī, proceeded further into the forest, until they could no longer see the moonlight.