Gopis, the beautiful damsels of Vrindavan who loved Sri Krishna with all their heart, soul and every breath, cornered His flute one day. Our saints say that there were vast numbers of them – across ages, with different names and forms, but linked together as one heart. The heart beating in Sri Krishna’s love.
“What is your secret? Tell us, tell us, tell us.” They yelled at the Flute in unison.
Alone in the middle of these beautiful young girls, the flute was flabbergasted. “Secret?” He muttered.
“Yes, secret.” Said Neeraja, a Gopi with gorgeous eyes that sparkled like thunder as she took Sri Krishna’s flute to task, “How come you are always with Sri Krishna. Touching what rightfully belongs to us? Never leaving Him?”
“What? How?” The flute stammered.
“Yes, yes,” Svelte Jhansi entered the conversation, “We are girls who love and pine for Him, every minute every day. And you, you…” Her voice broke.
“You hold on to His lips, and He puts you on His waist band when He is not using you,” Neeraja remarked.
“And, friends, do you know I have heard…” before the youngest Gopi Priya could finish, the others gathered around her, all ears. “I have heard that even at night too, the flute is by His pillow.” Priya glared at the flute along with all her Gopi sisters.
The flute prayed to the Master of the Universe and waited.
“Enough talk. Let’s get this flute to tell us, dear friends. Tell us, tell us, tell us.” It was Neeraja with sparkling eyes, back at the forefront of the conversation.
“What do you want to know?” The supremely blessed flute whispered.
“What did you do? To be so beloved to Him?” Towering over the flute and all the other girls, Nirmala spoke out.
“What did I do? Nothing. I didn’t do anything.” The flute blurted out.
“Then….how?” As if in answer to their silence and unasked question, the flute asked, “Do you want to know my story?” His sweet voice made the hearts of the Gopis melt. “Yes, please.” Was the unanimous response.
“I was just a bamboo stalk, a young one at that. Everyday Sri Krishna would walk by and all of us would pry to catch a glimpse of the Lord, His beautiful Lotus Feet, His smile, and pray for a touch of His gentle hands upon us, or maybe a smile.”
The flute paused to catch his breath as the Gopis cried, “And then?”
“One day, the Lord came close to me. I was standing in front of my father, the tallest and strongest bamboo stalk along the banks of River Jamuna. My heart was beating with joy nonpareil.”
The Gopis nodded; Sri Krishna has that impact, they knew. Just thinking of Him fills our heart with sweet joy.
The flute took a breath to relax. “Our Lord was looking in my direction, but I thought He must be looking at my father. “I need a favor.’ He said and I turned to look at my father and hear his response. But…but…”
His voice broke and the Gopis wondered, “Do even flutes cry, like us humans?”
“Let me make a long story short. Our Divine Master touched me and asked me if I would be His own.”
“We are His own already, aren’t we?” The Gopis asked each other as if in a daze.
“That is what I told Him and gently, oh so very gently, he took me in His hands and with tears in His eyes carved out a flute from my being.” Again the flute’s voice broke and the Gopis asked him, “Did it hurt you, is that why you are crying?”
“Oh no! I am crying at His tears. His love for me. I did not do anything and He took me, and even now I don’t do anything. Just stay in His hands. He plays me as He likes. His breath is my life. I don’t do anything.”
“You don’t do anything!” The Gopis repeated.
“I stay in His hands, and when He decides, our hearts’ beloved holds me in His waist band. When we go home, He puts me under his pillow. I don’t do anything.”
“You don’t do anything!” The Gopis said once more.
“Yes, dear Gopis. I am empty. He fills me.”
“You don’t do anything!”
“He holds me and keeps me where He likes. I stay there.”
“You don’t do anything!”
“I am His, to do as He pleases, when and how He likes.”
“Yes, we know now, dear flute,” The Gopis replied, “You don’t do anything.”
Would you like to join me, dear friends, in praying along with Gopis? To become empty. To do nothing. To let go of the ego, mental calculations, physical needs; Just be, empty. Ready to let the Universe make our lives a simple, sweet instrument in this magical cosmic symphony.
Sri Krishna Sharanam Mama