The Chaste Ladies of Pure Love
This painting is by Jnananjana Das, available here as the original oil painting, 24x35 inches in size.
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Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī tells us that when all desire for fame and honor is removed from our heart, the pure lady of spiritual love, sādhu premā, can enter. It is significant that he uses the feminine form of the word rather than the more commonly used premā.
This painting shows the ultimate feminine expressions of love for Kṛṣṇa, the cowherd girls, decorating and dressing each other solely for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure, just as the sādhu premā prepares our pure heart to welcome the Lord. Here are some summaries and excerpts from various sources upon which the painting is based.
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s lecture on The Nectar of Devotion on November 12, 1972, in Vṛndāvana: “The gopīs used to dress themselves so that Kṛṣṇa will feel satisfied, satisfaction. For Kṛṣṇa’s satisfaction. They used to dress for Kṛṣṇa’s satisfaction. That is, of course, very difficult to understand. But we should learn from the śāstras. The gopīs had no sense gratification desire. They wanted to satisfy Kṛṣṇa.”
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 18.101: “Then they [the gopīs] all bathed again, and after putting on dry clothing, they went to a small jeweled house, where the gopī Vṛndā arranged to dress them in forest clothing by decorating them with fragrant flowers, green leaves and all kinds of other ornaments.”
Govinda-līlāmṛta 15.99, 108: “Everyone proceeded to the lotus temple in the southwest corner of Rādhā-kuṇḍa…According to the season, the principal gopīs decorated Rādhā in different combinations of matching flowers. Afterwards, the attendants mañjarīs of the gopīs tastefully dressed them.”
Caitanya-carita of Murāri Gupta, 10.16–25: “The mañjarīs, endowed with jewel-like attributes, enhanced the stunning beauty of Rādhā’s limbs with ornaments made of flowers whose natural beauty surpassed the opulence of costly jewels. Some gopīs retied their braids after drying their hair. While holding mirrors in their right hands, the gopīs used their left hands to replace the scattered locks that had fallen over their foreheads. The dressing place seems to be the capital of Cupid. One sakhī looked superb with her unbound hair. Yet to display her artistry she had her mañjarīs skillfully tie it up. After dressing each other, the sakhīs happily approached Kṛṣṇa.”