By Swami Harshananda
Gopigitā literally means ‘song of the gopīs’. It is also referred as Gopikāgītā. It is the prayer-hymn of the gopīs contained in the tenth skandha of Vaiṣṇava scripture and has only 19 verses. These verses are highly poetic and full of pathos.
Types of Gītā
The Bhagavadgitā has created a prodigious impression on the authors of later years, so they have produced their own Gītās in its imitation. The Gitās in the well-known Vaiṣṇava scripture include:
- The Bhāgavata
- The Kapilagita
- The Gopīgita
- The Uddhavagita
One night the Gopīs of Vraja (Vṛndāvana) rush to Kṛṣṇa, who was sitting on the bank of the river Yamunā, bewitched by the music emanating from his flute. He nonchalantly advises them to return home. Since they are deeply in love with him, they refuse. Then Kṛṣṇa sports with them for some time. This rouses their pride and superiority-complex. So, Kṛṣṇa suddenly disappears from there. They madly search for him weeping and wailing piteously, smitten with anguish. When unable to find him, they assemble together on the sandy bank and start singing prayers to him. This prayer of Gopīs form the Gopigitā.
Though the Gopīs were longing for reunion with him, they were fully conscious of him being the Supreme Lord of the universe and the inner Self of all of them.
With regards to the propriety of Kṛṣṇa’s ardent play with them, Śuka gives a detailed explanation in reply to the questions raised by the king Parīkṣit. The love of the Gopis towards Lord Kṛṣṇa has been categorized as ‘madhura-bhāva’ or ‘bridal mysticism’ which has also been recognized by Christianity and Sufism.
- Gopigitā chapter 31
- All verses are in the Triṣṭubh meter except one
- Bhāgavata 10.31.1-19
- Gopigitā verses 4, 9 and 18.
- Gopigitā 10.33.27-40
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore