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Painting of Krishna with Gopis in the forest of Braj
Other namesKrishnasakhi, Krishnapreyasi
Sanskrit transliterationGopi
Venerated inRadha Vallabh Sampradaya, Nimbarka Sampradaya, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Pushtimarg
AffiliationAvatar of Radha,[1] Krishnaism, Vaishnavism
AbodeGoloka, Vrindavan, Barsana
TextsBrahma Vaivarta Purana, Garga Samhita, Gita Govinda, Bhagavata Purana, Tiruppavai
RegionBraj region
TempleAshtasakhi Temple in Vrindavan
FestivalsSharad Purnima, Kartik Purnima, Holi, Lathmar Holi
Personal information

Gopi (Sanskrit: गोपी, IAST: Gopī) or Gopika in Hinduism are worshipped as the consorts and devotees of Krishna within the Vaishnavism and Krishnaism traditions for their unconditional love and devotion (Bhakti) to god Krishna as described in the Sanskrit scriptures like Bhagavata Purana and other Puranic literature.[2] Gopis are often considered as the expansion of goddess Radha, the chief consort of Krishna.[3][4] The Raslila of gopis with Krishna has inspired various traditional performance art forms and literatures.[5]

According to Indian philosopher, Jiva Goswami, gopis are considered as the eternal beloved and manifestations of the internal spiritual potency of Krishna. Among the gopis, Radha is the chief gopi and is the personification of the bliss potency (hladini shakti) of Krishna.[6] She alone manifests the stage of mahabhava, or supreme love for Krishna, and holds a place of particularly high reverence and importance in a number of religious traditions.[7]


Gopi (गोपी) is a Sanskrit word originating from the word Gopa. In Hinduism, the name Gopika or Gopi is especially used to refer the milkmaids of Braj region.[8] The word Gopis in the plural refers to the group of cowherd women who possess devotion toward Krishna. When it is used in the singular ("Gopi"), it generally refers to Radha, who was the Krishna's favourite gopi.[9]

Prominent gopis[edit]

The prominent gopis of Vrindavan are total 108 in numbers. They share the eternal intimate friendship with Radha Krishna. No one can equal or exceed the love they bear for the divine couple.[10] Out of 108 gopis, the primary eight gopis are considered as the foremost of Krishna's devotees after goddess Radharani who is considered as the chief of gopis. Their names are as follows:[11]

  • Radha (Chief gopi, Krishna's favourite)
  • Lalita
  • Vishakha
  • Champakalata
  • Chitra
  • Tungavidya
  • Indulekha
  • Rangadevi
  • Sudevi

All the eight primary gopis are together called as the Ashtasakhis (eight friends) of Radha and Krishna.

Unconditional love[edit]

Radha Krishna with gopis

According to Hindu Vaishnava theology, the stories concerning the gopis are said to exemplify Suddha-bhakti which is described as 'the highest form of unconditional love for God (Krishna). Their spontaneous and unwavering devotion is described in depth in the later chapters of the Bhagavata Purana, within Krishna's Vrindavan pastimes and also in the stories of the sage Uddhava.[11]

For Vaishnava traditions, the most important representation of the gopis' love and devotion for Krishna is a story in the Bhagavata Purana (10.29-33) by the name of Rasa Lila Panchadhyaya, which translates as "the five chapters on the story of the rasa dance". The bhakti or devotion that the gopis express in this story is believed by the Chaitanya tradition to exemplify the highest form of bhakti. In the story, Krishna's flute music attracts the gopis' attention, making them leave behind their families and homes so that they can enjoy devotion of Krishna[9]:

Upon hearing that sweet music,

their passion for him swelling,

The young women of Braj whose

minds were captured by Krishna,

Unaware of one another,

ran off toward the place

Where their beloved was waiting,

with their earrings swinging wildly (Bhagavata Purana 10.29.4)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Phyllis G. Jestice (2004). Holy People of the World: A Cross-cultural Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 316–317. ISBN 1576073556.
  2. ^ Walters, Holly (2016-12-01). "Playing God: Participant Frameworks in the Ras Lilas of Krishna". The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. 28 (2–3): 135–144. doi:10.3138/jrpc.28.2-3.3611. ISSN 1703-289X. S2CID 192161968.
  3. ^ Jestice, Phyllis G. (2004). Holy People of the World: A Cross-cultural Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 316–317. ISBN 978-1-57607-355-1.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  4. ^ Hawley, John Stratton (1992). At Play with Krishna: Pilgrimage Dramas from Brindavan. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 17. ISBN 978-81-208-0945-1. Radha expresses herself in the multiple forms of gopis
  5. ^ Mohapatra, J. (2013). Wellness In Indian Festivals & Rituals. Partridge Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-4828-1690-7.
  6. ^ Mohanty, Prafulla Kumar (2003). "Mask and Creative Symbolisation in Contemporary Oriya Literature : Krishna, Radha and Ahalya". Indian Literature. 47 (2 (214)): 181–189. ISSN 0019-5804. JSTOR 23341400.
  7. ^ Francis Bryant, Edwin (2007). Krishna: A Sourcebook. United States of America: Oxford University Press. p. 382. ISBN 978-019-514891-6.
  8. ^ Walters, Holly (2016-12-01). "Playing God: Participant Frameworks in the Ras Lilas of Krishna". The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. 28 (2–3): 135–144. doi:10.3138/jrpc.28.2-3.3611. ISSN 1703-289X. S2CID 192161968.
  9. ^ a b Schweig, Graham M. (2007). "Chapter 18: The Divine Feminine in the Theology of Krishna". In Bryant, Edwin (ed.). Krishna : a sourcebook. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 448–450. ISBN 978-0-19-972431-4. OCLC 181731713.
  10. ^ "Gopis".
  11. ^ a b Ph.D, Lavanya Vemsani (2016-06-13). Krishna in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names: An Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names. United States of America: ABC-CLIO. pp. 107–108. ISBN 978-1-61069-211-3.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)

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