“Radhe, Radhe!” We greeted the saintly Gopali Maa in the traditional way, as we stepped into her humble room in Radhakund, near Krishna’s boyhood town of Vrindavan.
The Ananda Monastery monks journeyed to Vrindavan to serve the widows who are supported by the Paramhansa Yogananda Public Charitable Trust. We were joined by Ananda friends from Kolkata and from the U.S. The time we shared with the widows was exceptionally inspiring, and a story to be told later.
Gopali Maa speaks only Bengali, though her obvious bliss in God needed no translating! She spends much of her time reciting passages from the Srimad Bhagavatam, along with descriptions of Radha, the gopi devoted to Lord Krishna. Radha is also worshipped as the Divine Mother herself by many devotees, especially in Radhakund and Vrindavan.
The childlike Gopali Maa is around 100 years old — I don’t think she knows what year she was born. Around age 14, she was initiated by her guru into sannyas. He also gave her a daily sadhana to practice, which she has done devotedly for the last 85 years.
Gopali Maa is a rare living example showing the fruits of 85 years of daily spiritual practice. She is unfailingly joyful, even blissful. Her eyes radiate divine light. Her smile captivates. Her laughter is like divine music. Her love for God comes through every single motion, word, and expression.
She shared her thoughts about leaving the body and this world:
“When I meet Radharaani as I cross over, She will ask me, ‘Did you sing for me everyday? Did you cry for me everyday?’ What if I say to Her that I didn’t sing bhajans?”
Dithi Mukherjee, the Ananda Kolkata friend who translated for us, described Gopali Maa thus:
“She is devoted to serving her Guru and Krishna-Radha. When she started describing Radha from the scriptures, she was enraptured in the light and drew me into those pools of love in her eyes. “
Gopali Maa said: “He is in all of us, in you and in me.” She had internalized this enough to kiss, and bow to, and caress each one of us as if we carried Her Lord in our beings.”
She said: “I don’t know how much longer I will be around, my Guru knows when I would leave. Bless me that I can go with “Radhe Radhe!” upon my lips.” She said this repeatedly, even in the last moments as we departed her kutir.”
Gopali Maa’s words echo those of other saints. Swami Kriyanandaji spoke similarly about his own passing. He said,
“You know when I die, assuming I go to the right place and it’s God I meet, I don’t think he’s going to be saying, “Hey, look at this guy. What’s he done? All these books, all this music. . . he’s started a community.” I don’t think he’s going to ask any of those things. He’s just going to say, “How much do you love Me?” You see, it isn’t what we do. It’s what we do with ourselves. It’s how much we learn to be in love with God, how much we can learn to change ourselves.”
Swamiji also spoke about people who had died, saw the ‘other side,’ and returned. Frequently they were greeted by an angelic presence asking the soul about their life. The predominant question was, “How much did you love?” Notably, these souls were never asked, ‘How hard did you work?,’ ‘How much money did you make?,’ or even ‘How many hours did you meditate?’
A saint often quoted by Swamiji was a simple priest in France two hundred years ago, the Cure d’Ars. He said:
“Did we but know how our Lord loves us, we should die of joy. Our only happiness on earth is to love God, and to know that God loves us. To be loved by God, to be united to God, to live in the presence of God, to live for God— oh, blessed life, and blessed death!”
“Poor little birds! You were created to sing, and you sing. Man was created to love God, and he loves Him not.”
What will we say when, as Gopali Maa described, God meets us as we cross over? How much did we love? Did we cry for God? Did we sing to God?
If we did, even beginning today — some day we will gaze in the mirror and see that very same divine light reflected in our eyes and face — that light which we saw in this child of God, on a blessed day in Radhakund.
Radhe Radhe !
Love is the only answer. ?
Radhey Radhey Sadly on that day at RadhaKunda despite being present missed meeting this great devoted evolved soul .May she be blessed in her light .Aum
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna,
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama,
Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Thankyou for giving us a divine glimpse of Gopali Ma. Aum Guru.?♀️
Very soothing effect of reading about Gopali Maa on me. Feel blessed.
This is the most blessed blog I’ve ever read. You have captured the heart of devotion Gopali Maa emanates. It gives much hope for us and gives inspiration for keeping our minds on God every day. We can start now. It is surely the path to final liberation. Thank you!
So humble, devotional and childlike Gopali Maa is. Thank you for reminding us to develop these Divine qualities in ourselves too.
Maa has spark in her eyes still and the look is inspiring.
OMG, enjoyed reading this blog ~ love this woman! Filled my heart full of LOVE! LOVE GOD!
Radhe Govinda…Radhe Gopala…?
Such inspiring words and deeds. It makes one want to sing Gods name so much more. In our work, friendships, trials and tribulations. All a manifestation for our education and entertainment:)
Earlier this year, during Ananda’s 50th anniversary celebration and dedication of the Temple of Light there were so many experiences of God’s Love. One experience in particularly happened during the setup for the Donor Dinner when a simple kiss on the temple of my forehead was given in the natural flow of us all being in service together. The sweetness and true feeling of unconditional LOVE filled every ounce of my being. It was as if time stopped and that everyone felt it. I mention this here because, I believe it was the same bliss. It became my drive and motivation that day!
Thank you Nayaswami Devarshi for sharing this soft, sweet devotional LOVE from Divine Mother.
I feel so blessed to have read about this great soul, what an inspiration she is to us all.
When I chose Radharani as my spiritual name, it was because my whole being resonated to the vibrations of this name, without even knowing who Radharani was. Later, when I began reading about Radharani and her love and devotion to Krishna, I understood why this name was so meaningful to me. Being one with God (Krishna), singing praises to God, feeling deep devotion to God in my heart and whole being, these are the most dominant desires I hold within.
This blog was so inspiring! I will now keep Gopali Maa as a living example of what I aspire to achieve and be in this life. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with all of us, Nayaswami Devarshi.
Thank you for this beautiful inspiration.
Jai Ma Gopali ! What a beautuful soul!
There’s so much love around us, we just need to open our hearts to see it. And, reach out our hands to feel it. Gopali Maa personifies boundless love. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story.
Thank-you for this inspiration, a beautiful reminder of how to live with God’s remembrance as we move through life… all else falls away..
Radhe Radhe! There is something so sweet in this name that you want to say it over and agin! Blessed is the Gopali Ma and her Love shining as inner eye! Love
What a story! The lesson is to love God; saturating ourselves with love for God…..very very inspiring!!!!Thank you
Radhe Radhe. Hari Bol. Love is the cause & it is the effect. Love is the Permanent & it is the temporary. Love is in the Silence & it is in the Celebrations. Love is in the laughter & it is in the tears. Love is Life & it is death. Love is the source of Creation & the Creator himself.
Joy Gurudev. ❤❤❤