धिय: स्वमात्मानमदस्तथेदम् ।
यथा समाधौ मुनयोऽब्धितोये
नद्य: प्रविष्टा इव नामरूपे ॥ १२ ॥
dhiyaḥ svam ātmānam adas tathedam
yathā samādhau munayo ’bdhi-toye
nadyaḥ praviṣṭā iva nāma-rūpe
tāḥ — they (the gopīs); na — not; avidan — were aware of; mayi — in Me; anuṣaṅga — by intimate contact; baddha — bound up; dhiyaḥ — their consciousness; svam — their own; ātmānam — body or self; adaḥ — something remote; tathā — thus considering; idam — this which is most near; yathā — just as; samādhau — in yoga-samādhi; munayaḥ — great sages; abdhi — of the ocean; toye — in the water; nadyaḥ — rivers; praviṣṭāḥ — having entered; iva — like; nāma — names; rūpe — and forms.
My dear Uddhava, just as great sages in yoga trance merge into self-realization, like rivers merging into the ocean, and are thus not aware of material names and forms, similarly, the gopīs of Vṛndāvana were so completely attached to Me within their minds that they could not think of their own bodies, or of this world, or of their future lives. Their entire consciousness was simply bound up in Me.
The words svam ātmānam adas tathedam indicate that while for ordinary persons one’s personal body is the most near and dear thing, the gopīs considered their own bodies to be distant and remote, just as a yogī in samādhi trance considers ordinary things around his physical body or his physical body itself to be most remote. When Kṛṣṇa played on His flute late at night, the gopīs immediately forgot everything about their so-called husbands and children and went to dance with Lord Kṛṣṇa in the forest. These controversial points have been clearly explained in the book Kṛṣṇa, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. The basic explanation is that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the source of everything, and the gopīs are the Lord’s own potency. Thus there is no discrepancy or immorality in the almighty Personality of Godhead’s loving affairs with His own manifest potency, the gopīs, who happen to be the most beautiful young girls in the creation of God.
There is no illusion on the part of the gopīs, for they are so attracted to Lord Kṛṣṇa that they do not care to think of anything else. Since all existence is situated within the body of Lord Kṛṣṇa, there is no loss for the gopīs when they concentrate on the Lord. It is the nature of very deep love to exclude all objects except the beloved. However, in the material world, where we try to love a limited temporary object such as our nation, family or personal body, our exclusion of other objects constitutes ignorance. But when our love is intensely concentrated on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the origin of everything, such concentration cannot be considered ignorance or small-mindedness.
The example of the sages in samādhi is given here only to illustrate exclusive concentration on a single object. Otherwise, there is no comparison between the ecstatic love of the gopīs and the dry meditation of the yogīs, who merely try to understand that they are not their material bodies. Since the gopīs had no material bodies to become detached from and were personally dancing with and embracing the Absolute Truth, one can never compare the exalted position of the gopīs to that of mere yogīs. It is stated that the bliss of impersonal Brahman realization cannot be compared to even an atomic fragment of the blissful ocean of love of Kṛṣṇa. Intimate attachment is like a strong rope that binds the mind and heart. In material life we are bound to that which is temporary and illusory, and therefore such binding of the heart causes great pain. However, if we bind our minds and hearts to the eternal Lord Kṛṣṇa, the reservoir of all pleasure and beauty, then our hearts will expand unlimitedly in the ocean of transcendental bliss.
One should understand that the gopīs were not in any way inclined toward impersonal meditation, in which one denies the reality of variegated creation. The gopīs did not deny anything; they simply loved Kṛṣṇa and could not think of anything else. They only rejected whatever impeded their concentration on Lord Kṛṣṇa, cursing even their own eyelids, which blinked and thus removed Kṛṣṇa from their sight for a split second. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has stated that all sincere devotees of the Lord should have the courage to remove from their lives anything that impedes their progressive march back home, back to Godhead.