(1) From the Book "Rishi-rupakhyana":

(1) Sri Narada said: O king of Mithila, please hear the story of the gopis that had been sages, a sacred story that removes all sins and increases one's love for Lord Krishna.

(2) In east Bengal lived a noble-hearted, learned, and wealthy gopa named Mangala. He was the master of nine-hundred-thousand cows.

(3) O king of Mithila, he had five thousand wives. One day all his wealth was destroyed by fate.

(4) Some of his cows were stolen by thieves and the rest were forcibly taken by the king. Now a pauper, Mangala was filled with sorrow.

(5) Ths sages of Dandakaranya, who by Lord Ramacandra's blessing were destined to become gopis, became the daughters of Mangala.

(6) When he saw his many daughters, Mangala-gopa became filled with sorrow. Miserable in his poverty and tormented with headaches and diseases, Mangala spoke.

(7) Sri Mangala said: What shall I do? Where shall I go? Who will take away my sufferings? Now I have no wealth, no opulences, no dynasty, and no strength.

(8) How will my daughters marry if I have no wealth? If even the next meal is uncertain, where is the hope to gain wealth?

(9) Now that I am suddenly poor, how will I make my daughters happy by marrying them to wealthy and powerful kings?

(10) As Mangala was thinking in this way, a gopa from Mathura district came to his home.

(11) Sri Narada said: From an elderly pilgrim named Jaya, who was the wisest of the wise, Mangala had heard of the fabulous wealth of King Nanda.

(12) After some thought, the pauper Mangala sent his beautiful-eyed daughters to King Nanda's circle.

(13) In King Nanda's home the girls, now decorated with jewels, milked the cows in the barns.

(14) Gazing at handsome Sri Krishna, and remembering their previous birth, the girls daily worshiped the Yamuna to attain Krishna.

(15) One day the large-eyed and dark-complexioned goddess Yamuna appeared before them and offered to give them a benediction.

(16) They said, "May Sri Krishna, the son of Vraja's king, become our husband."
Yamuna replied, "So be it," and suddenly disappeared.

(17) Later, in the month of Kartika, in the rasa-dance circle, Lord Krishna danced with them as Indira do in heaven.

(2) From Brahma Samhita (5.37):

"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, residing in His own realm, Goloka, with Rädhä, resembling His own spiritual figure, the embodiment of the ecstatic potency possessed of the sixty-four artistic activities, in the company of Her confidantes [sakhis], embodiments of the extensions of Her bodily form, permeated and vitalized by His ever-blissful spiritual rasa."

  Srimad Bhagavatam  (10.29.9) as explained by Srila Vishvanatha Chakravati :

“In this context we will make our analysis according to the method described in Srila Rüpa Gosvämi’s Ujjvala-nilamani.  There are two categories of gopis:  the eternally perfect (the nitya-siddhas) and those who have become perfect by practicing bhakti-yoga (the sädhana-siddhas).
The sadhana-siddhas are of two categories: those who belong to special groups and those who do not.
And there are also two classes of the gopis belonging to special groups: namely the sruti-cäris, who come from the group of the personified Vedas, and the rishi-caris, who come from the group of sages who saw Lord Ramacandra in the Dandakaranya forest.

(4) From Padma Purana:

‘It is understood that some of the gopis are personified Vedic literatures, while others are reborn sages, daughters of cowherds, or demigod maidens.  But by no means, my dear King, are any of them ordinary humans.’ Here we are informed that although the gopis appeared to be human cowherd girls, they actually were not. Thus the contention that they are mortals is refuted.

“The daughters of cowherds, referred to here as gopa-kanyas, must be eternally perfect, since we never hear of them having executed any sadhana. Their apparent sadhana of worshiping goddess Katyayani in the role of gopis merely manifests their manner of playing like human beings, and the Bhägavatam narrates the account of this worship only to show how they had fully taken on the role of cowherd girls.

“That the gopa-kanya gopis are actually nitya-siddhas, eternally perfect devotees of the Lord, is established by a statement in Brahma-samhita (5.37)—ananda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhavitab... proves that they are the Lord’s spiritual pleasure potency.

(5) Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda:

“ ‘Even though they were in the company of their cowherd husbands, by the power of Yogamaya the gopis remained unsullied by sexual contact with them; rather, they were situated in purely spiritual bodies that Krsna enjoyed. On the night they heard the sound of Krsna’s flute, their husbands tried to stop them, but by the merciful assistance of Yogamaya the sadhana-siddha gopis were able to go forth to their beloved, together with the nitya-siddha gopis.

“ ‘Other gopis, however, because of not getting the good fortune of associating with the nitya-siddha gopis and other advanced gopis, had not achieved the stage of prema, and so their contamination was not completely burned away. They entered the company of their cowherd husbands and, after sexual union with them, gave birth to children. But a short time later even these gopis developed their purva-raga by hankering intensely for the physical association of Krishna—a hankering they acquired by associating with the advanced gopis.  Becoming worthy recipients of the mercy of the perfected gopis, they assumed transcendental bodies fit to be enjoyed by Krishna, and when Yogamaya failed to help them overcome their husbands’ attempts to keep them from going out, they felt themselves cast into the worst calamity. Viewing their husbands, brothers, fathers and other family members as enemies, they came close to dying.

Just as other women might remember their mothers or other relatives at the time of death, these gopis remembered the sole friend of their very life, Krishna, as stated in the present verse of the Bhagavatham, beginning with the word antar.

“ ‘It is implied that those ladies were not able to exit because they were held back by their husbands, who were standing before them with sticks in their hands, scolding them. Although these gopis were perpetually absorbed in love for Krishna, at that particular time they meditated upon Him and cried out within: “Alas, alas, O only friend of our life! O ocean of the artistic skills of Vrndavana forest! Please let us become your girlfriends in some future life, because at this time we cannot see Your lotus-like face with our eyes. So be it; we shall look upon You with our minds.” Each of them lamenting to herself in this way, the gopis stood with their eyes shut and meditated deeply upon Him.’”

As well as these sakhis there are also very young maidservants called Manjaris who serve Radha Krishna in their most intimate pastimes.


Radharani eight confidential associates, ie, Astha Sakhis. They are:  Lalita, Vishaka, Campakalata, Sudevi, Rangadevi, Tungavidya, Citra and Indulekha.