The gopīs began to imagine the great functions in the city of Mathurā. Kṛṣṇa would pass through the streets, and the ladies and young girls of the city would see Him from the balconies of their respective houses. Mathurā City contained different communities, known then as Daśārha, Bhoja, Andhaka and Sātvata. All these communities were different branches of the same family in which Kṛṣṇa appeared, namely the Yadu dynasty. They were all expecting the arrival of Kṛṣṇa. It had already been ascertained that Kṛṣṇa, who is the resting place of the goddess of fortune and the reservoir of all pleasure and transcendental qualities, was going to visit Mathurā City.
The gopīs then began to condemn the activities of Akrūra. They stated that he was taking Kṛṣṇa, who was more dear than the dearest to them and who was the pleasure of their eyes. He was being taken from their sight without their being informed or solaced by Akrūra. Akrūra should not have been so merciless but should have taken compassion on them. The gopīs went on to say, “The most astonishing feature is that Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda, without consideration, has already seated Himself on the chariot. From this it appears that Kṛṣṇa is not very intelligent. Yet He may be very intelligent—but He is not very merciful. Not only Kṛṣṇa but all the cowherd men are so callous that they are already yoking the bulls and calves for the journey to Mathurā. The elderly persons in Vṛndāvana are also merciless; they do not take our plight into consideration and stop Kṛṣṇa’s journey to Mathurā. Even the demigods are very unkind to us; they are also not impeding His going to Mathurā.”
The gopīs prayed to the demigods to create some natural disturbance, such as a hurricane, storm or heavy rainfall, so that Kṛṣṇa could not go to Mathurā. They then began to consider, “Despite our parents and guardians, we shall personally stop Kṛṣṇa from going to Mathurā. We have no alternative but to take this direct action. Everyone has gone against us to take away Kṛṣṇa from our sight. Without Him we cannot live for a moment.” The gopīs thus decided to obstruct the passage through which the chariot of Kṛṣṇa was supposed to pass. They began to talk among themselves: “We have passed a very long night—which seemed only a moment—engaged in the rāsa dance with Kṛṣṇa. We looked at His sweet smile and embraced Him and talked with Him. Now, how shall we live even for a moment if He goes away from us? At the end of the day, in the evening, along with His elder brother Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa would return home with His friends. His face would be smeared with the dust raised by the hooves of the cows, and He would smile and play on His flute and look upon us so kindly. How shall we be able to forget Him? How shall we be able to forget Kṛṣṇa, who is our life and soul? He has already taken away our hearts in so many ways throughout our days and nights, and if He goes away, there is no possibility of our continuing to live.” Thinking like this, the gopīs became more and more grief-stricken at Kṛṣṇa’s leaving Vṛndāvana. They could not check their minds, and they began to cry loudly, calling the different names of Kṛṣṇa, “O dear Dāmodara! Dear Mādhava!”
The gopīs cried all night before the departure of Kṛṣṇa. As soon as the sun rose, Akrūra finished his morning bath, got on the chariot and started for Mathurā with Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Nanda Mahārāja and the cowherd men got up on bullock carts after loading them with big earthen pots filled with yogurt, milk, ghee and other milk products, and then they began to follow the chariot of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. In spite of Kṛṣṇa’s asking the gopīs not to obstruct Their way, they all surrounded the chariot and stood up to see Kṛṣṇa with pitiable eyes. Kṛṣṇa was very much affected upon seeing the plight of the gopīs, but His duty was to start for Mathurā, for this was foretold by Nārada. Kṛṣṇa therefore consoled the gopīs. He told them that they should not be aggrieved: He was coming back very soon after finishing His business. But they could not be persuaded to disperse. The chariot, however, began to head west, and as it proceeded, the minds of the gopīs followed it as far as possible. They watched the flag on the chariot as long as it was visible; finally they could see only the dust of the chariot in the distance. The gopīs did not move from their places but stood until the chariot could not be seen at all. They remained standing still, as if they were painted pictures. All the gopīs decided that Kṛṣṇa was not returning immediately, and with greatly disappointed hearts they returned to their respective homes. Being greatly disturbed by the absence of Kṛṣṇa, they simply thought all day and night about His pastimes and thus derived some consolation.