The gopīs had come to Kṛṣṇa to enjoy His company, to dance with Him, embrace Him and kiss Him, and when Kṛṣṇa began to receive them very officially, showing all kinds of etiquette, they were surprised. He was treating them like ordinary society women. Therefore they began to smile among themselves, and though they very eagerly listened to Kṛṣṇa talk in that way, they were surprised. Then Kṛṣṇa began to instruct them: "My dear friends, you must know that it is now the dead of night and the forest is very dangerous. At this time all the ferocious jungle animals—the tigers, bears, jackals and wolves—are prowling in the forest. Therefore it is very dangerous for you. You cannot select a secure place now. Everywhere you go you will find that all these animals are loitering to find their prey. I think, therefore, that you are taking a great risk in coming here in the dead of night. Please turn back immediately, without delay."
When He saw that they continued to smile, He said, "I very much appreciate your bodily features. All of you have nice, very thin waists." All of the gopīs there were exquisitely beautiful. They are described by the word sumadhyamā; the standard of beauty of a woman is said to be sumadhyamā, when the middle portion of the body is slender.
Kṛṣṇa wanted to impress on them that they were not old enough to take care of themselves. Actually, they required protection. It was not very wise for them to come in the dead of night to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa also indicated that He was young and that they were young girls. "It does not look very well for young girls and boys to remain together in the dead of night." After hearing this advice, the gopīs did not seem very happy; therefore Kṛṣṇa began to stress the point in a different way.
“My dear friends, I can understand that you have left your homes without the permission of your guardians; therefore I think your mothers, your fathers, your elder brothers and even your sons, and what to speak of your husbands, must be very anxious to find you. As long as you are here, they must be searching in different places, and their minds must be very agitated. So don’t tarry. Please go back and make them peaceful.”
When the gopīs appeared to be a little bit disturbed and angry from hearing the free advice of Kṛṣṇa, they diverted their attention to looking at the beauty of the forest. At that time the whole forest was illuminated by the bright shining of the moon, and the air was blowing very silently over the blooming flowers, and the green leaves of the trees were moving in the breeze. Kṛṣṇa took the opportunity of their looking at the forest to advise them. "I think you have come out to see the beautiful Vṛndāvana forest on this night," He said, "but you must now be satisfied. So return to your homes without delay. I understand that you are all very chaste women, so now that you have seen the beautiful atmosphere of the Vṛndāvana forest, please return home and engage in the faithful service of your respective husbands. Some of you must have babies by this time, although you are very young. You must have left your small babies at home, and they must be crying. Please immediately go back home and just feed them with your breast milk. I can also understand that you have very great affection for Me, and out of that transcendental affection you have come here, hearing My playing on the flute. Your feelings of love and affection for Me are very appropriate because I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All living creatures are My parts and parcels, and naturally they are affectionate to Me. So this affection for Me is very welcome, and I congratulate you for this. Now you can go back to your homes. Another thing I must explain to you is that for a chaste woman, service to the husband without duplicity is the best religious principle. Not only should a woman be faithful and chaste to her husband, but she should also be affectionate to the friends of her husband, obedient to the father and mother of her husband, and affectionate to the younger brothers of her husband. And most importantly, a woman must take care of her children."
In this way, Kṛṣṇa explained the duty of a woman. He also stressed the point of serving the husband: “Even if he is not of very good character, or even if he is not very rich or fortunate, or even if he is old or invalid on account of continued diseases, whatever her husband's condition, a woman should not divorce her husband if she actually desires to be elevated to the higher planetary systems after leaving this body. Besides that, it is considered abominable in society if a woman is unfaithful and goes searching for another man. Such habits will deter a woman from being elevated to the heavenly planets, and the results of such habits are very degrading. A married woman should not search for a paramour, for this is not sanctioned by the Vedic principles of life. If you think that you are very much attached to Me and you want My association, I advise you not to personally try to enjoy Me. It is better for you to go home, simply talk about Me and think of Me, and by this process of constantly remembering Me and chanting My names you will surely be elevated to the spiritual platform. There is no need to stand near Me. Please go back home.”
The instruction given herein by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to the gopīs was not at all sarcastic. Such instructions should be taken very seriously by all honest women. The chastity of women is specifically stressed herein by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore this principle should be followed by any serious woman who wants to be elevated to a higher status of life. Kṛṣṇa is the center of all affection for all living creatures. When this affection is developed for Kṛṣṇa, one surpasses and transcends all Vedic injunctions. This was possible for the gopīs because they saw Kṛṣṇa face to face. This is not possible for any women in the conditioned state. Unfortunately, sometimes a rascal, following the philosophy of monism, or oneness, very irresponsibly takes advantage of this rāsa-līlā to imitate the behavior of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs, entice many innocent women and mislead them in the name of spiritual realization. As a warning, Lord Kṛṣṇa has herein hinted that what was possible for the gopīs is not possible for ordinary women. Although a woman can actually be elevated by advanced Kṛṣṇa consciousness, she should not be enticed by an imposter who says that he is Kṛṣṇa. She should concentrate her devotional activities in chanting about Kṛṣṇa and meditating upon Kṛṣṇa, as is advised herein. One should not follow the men called sahajiyās, the so-called devotees who take everything very lightly.
When Kṛṣṇa spoke in such a discouraging way to the gopīs, they became very sad, for they thought that their desire to enjoy the rāsa dance with Kṛṣṇa would be frustrated. Thus they became full of anxiety. Out of great sadness, the gopīs began to breathe very heavily. Instead of looking at Kṛṣṇa face to face, they bowed their heads and looked at the ground, and they began to draw various types of curved lines on the ground with their toes. They were shedding heavy tears, and their cosmetic decorations were being washed from their faces. The water from their eyes mixed with the kuṅkuma on their breasts and fell to the ground. They could not say anything to Kṛṣṇa but simply stood there silently. By their silence they expressed that their hearts were grievously wounded.