Should a devotee in Gopi Bhawa dress like a Gopi? 15 Point Reply!
A girl devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krishna. Prabhuji a boy in my uncle’s apartment has started following Krishna consciousness. He is in class 11 now. He has recently taken initiation also ( not from Iskcon. But i find his way of worshipping wrong. He dresses himself as a gopi wears saree, sindoor paints his feet. I think he has also stopped going to school regularly. His parents support his devotion but they are against his dressing up like a girl. Even he behaves like a girl. His parents scolded him and did not allow him to do this so he ran away from home. His parents have brought him back with great effort. I talked to him and told him this is not right and he said he has developed gopi bhava and when we are not this body what does it matter how we dress. He said his guru supports him. Prabhuji is he right? If not then how can we convince him? Please help prabhuji, his parents are really concerned about him and he is there only child. Please keep me anonymous.”
Devotionally, we can’t comment against his activities of dressing like gopis because he must be very emotional and so young and hence he may dress like this.
(Why Krishna stole the clothes of Gopis while they were taking bath in the river Yamuna, although it is not ethical? READ HERE!)
But, as a practically thinking devotee, I do not support it because of these 15 reasons:
(i) Bhagavad Gita is the sole reference material for the devotees of Krishna. Krishna does not recommend Gopi Bhawa and dressings like women in Bhagavad Gita. He has just advised us to abandon all the varieties of religious practices and to surrender to Him. He did not even speak about wearing special clothes. Then, what to say about boys wearing women’s clothes!
(ii) Krishna has advised us to perform our assigned duties without attachments to the results.
(iii) Bhakti Yoga in kaliyuga is not sitting idle with any bhawa, but, to chant and sing Lord’s names and to spread His messages.
(iv) Too much of emotional approach in bhakti in kaliyuga may lead to getting cheated or losing our spirit to work and manage ourselves.
(v) They will find facing this world difficult.
(vi) That guru is committing a mistake of allowing a MINOR BOY to behave like a girl in Gopi bhawa. A minor boy may not be able to decide which path is right for him. He must be taken out from that guru.
(Who are gopis? Can I love Krishna like Gopis? But, my parents want me to marry a boy. What to do? READ HERE!)
(vii) Gopi Bhawa is not wearing clothes like Gopis. It is to develop Love towards Krishna like gopis. Since they took birth as women, they behaved like women. No male during Krishna’s descendance on earth behaved as female except one or two persons.
(viii) Even Sri Caitanya Maha Prabhu who was immersed in bhawa like Radharani did not wear women’s clothes. He remained as a male in his gros body outlook with sanyasi dress.
(ix) Neither Srila Prabhupada, not the ISKCON gurus encourage anyone to dress like Gopis to show our love to Krishna.
(x) Even other bonafide sampradhayas do not preach so. Sri Ramanuja too did not recommend it.
(Why Lord Shiva is worshiped as LINGA and why Gopis worshiped Shiva? READ HERE!)
(xi) That guru must be from any sampradhaya that is not a bonafide vaishnava sampradhaya.
(xii) Some fancy gurus may allow their disciples to act in women’s dress. No bonafide guru will encourage that.
(xiii) This point is not given to degrade Gopi bhawa, but, just to indicate one of the possibilities for his behaving so. Please do not get offended. In rare cases, this possibility too may be possible: Some times, even those who are affected psychologically behave so in women’s clothes. Or, He may have transgender signs in his body. It may also a reason. Again I say, this is just one of the least possiblility.
(PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES WHILE FIGHTING BETWEEN DEVOTION AND MATERIAL LIFE – A CASE STUDY! READ HERE!)
(xiv) That guru has committed a mistake by encouraging a minor boy like this who is not matured to take right decisions in life. In my view, minor children should be allowed to experience more and know the importance of taking diksha. If the diksha is given to minors unless there is very genuine reasons, there is a risk of changing his mind when he matures in age.
(xv) Just follow the recommendations of Srila Prabhupada (and some other pure bonafide acharyas such as Sri Ramanuja) that are perfect advices for a devotee to get the mercy of Krishna.
So, show this reply taking a print out or sharing in whatsapp to that devotee and his parents. You can share it even to his guru if possible because he is encouraging a minor boy to think like a woman.
Though Gopi Bhawa is part of Prema Bhakti, no need to dress like gopis. They can surrender to Krishna like Gopis.
See, I have hundred times told in my decade of service of preaching that ONLY THE INTERNAL BHAWA OF SURRENDER TO KRISHNA AND MATERIAL DETACHMENT IS IMPORTANT IN DEVOTION, NOT EXTERNAL SYMBOLS AND DRESSINGS LIKE THIS. IN FACT, ANY DRESS IS AN ATTACHMENT FOR A DETACHED DEVOTEE. HE SHOULD NOT HAVE ATTACHMENT EVEN ON SAFRON DRESS. HE SHOULD CONSIDER THE DRESS JUST AS A CLOTH TO HIDE THE SENSITIVE PARTS OF HIS BODY. NO MORE IMPORTANCE FOR CLOTHES.
Only because we give too much of importance for clothes even in devotional uniforms, some immatured (Not all) devotees try to show themselves as big devotees wearing the devotee clothes. The chances for Pride is possible even when we wear devotee dress.
So, Internal changes are very important. Then, wear devotee clothes because those uniforms will always remind you and help you to remain in a devotional feel.
NOW, I TELL THIS AS 101st TIME.
DEVELOP IN DEVOTION INTERNALLY, AND DO NOT GIVE TOO MUCH OF IMPORTANCE FOR OUTLOOK ALONE.
Hope you are clear now.
(Is it possible for me to meet Krishna and approach Him like a Gopi? READ HERE!)