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CC Ādi 4.178


যে যথা মাং প্রপদ্যন্তে তাংস্তথৈব ভজাম্যহম্‌ ।
মম বর্ত্মানুবর্তন্তে মনুষ্যাঃ পার্থ সর্বশঃ ॥ ১৭৮ ॥


ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
mama vartmānuvartante
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ


ye — those who; yathā — as; mām — to Me; prapadyante — surrender; tān — them; tathā — so; eva — certainly; bhajāmi — reward; aham — I; mama — My; vartma — path; anuvartante — follow; manuṣyāḥ — men; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; sarvaśaḥ — in all respects.


“In whatever way My devotees surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.”


Kṛṣṇa was never ungrateful to the gopīs, for as He declares to Arjuna in this verse from the Bhagavad-gītā (4.11), He reciprocates with His devotees in proportion to the transcendental loving service they render unto Him. Everyone follows the path that leads toward Him, but there are different degrees of progress on that path, and the Lord is realized in proportion to one’s advancement. The path is one, but the progress in approaching the ultimate goal is different, and therefore the proportion of realization of this goal — namely the absolute Personality of Godhead — is also different. The gopīs attained the highest goal, and Lord Caitanya affirmed that there is no method of worshiping God higher than that followed by the gopīs.