107. Nârada Made Wiser by the Gopîs  

To conquer egoism, no rigorous system of exercise or breath control is necessary. No, not even complicated scholarship. The gopikas confirm this truth. They were simple rural folk, untouched by the conclusions of deep study. Nârada was once so shocked at their ignorance of the science of spiritual progress that he volunteered to go among them and put them through some lessons in jñâna. He found, on entry into Vrindâvana, that the cowherd girls selling milk or curds in the streets forgot to shout the names of their ware but said: "Govinda, Nârâyana", instead, so immersed were they in God-consciousness. They did not know that they had sold off all the milk; they still wandered on, calling out the names of the Lord for the dust of Vrindâvana was so sacred for them. They had no vishaya-vasana, no wish for sensual pleasure; and so, they had no a-jñâna. Hence, Nârada concluded that they had no need for the lessons he had planned to give. He prayed to them to teach him the means of getting that yearning and that vision of the all-pervading Krishna.

There was a gopî, for example, called Saguna, who had no other thought than those related to Krishna. Now, every evening, it was the usual routine in Vrindâvana for every house-wife, to light the lamp from the flame of the lamp at the house of Nanda; they believed that getting light from the flame of the eldest and highest is auspicious. Saguna went with the lamp to Nanda's house and when she reached the house, her mind was lost in the thrill and joy of seeing the very house, where Krishna spent His childhood days, to which His pranks and prattle drew all the cowherd boys and girls. She stood there with her unlighted lamp for a long while, near the big oil lamp illumining the central hall. She was holding the lamp near the flame, but not near enough. She had her finger right over the flame. She was not aware that her finger was being scorched by the flame; she was too full of Krishna-consciousness to be aware of the pain. It was Yas'odâ who saw her plight and woke her from the reverie, or shall we say, 'vision'? For, to her, the house was alive with Krishna wherever her eyes turned. That is the thanmayathvam or identification one must achieve. There is no use if the fledgeling stays in the nest; it should develop wings and fly into the sky. There is no use if man grovels in the dust; he should see the distant goal, clear and grand; he should take to his wings and fly.