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Krishna, the son of Devaki and Vasudeva, is brought up in Gokula, and later Vrindavana, as the son of Nanda and Yashoda. Later Akrura, a Vrishni, comes and reveals to Yashoda and Nanda (and the rest of Vrindavana) that Krsna is actually the son of Devaki and Vasudeva, a Yadava Prince destined to end Kamsa's reign. This is generally visualized as a highly emotional scene, where many gopis are distraught and lamenting their fate.

But just a few days (or weeks) before, during the Rasa Leela, they sing the Gopika Gita, a gem of a prayer. In this prayer, which you can read here, the gopikas sing:

Na Khalu Gopikanandano Bhavan Akhiladehinam Antaratma Drk
Vikhanasarthito Vishvaguptaye, Sakha Udeyivaan Satvatam Kule


"You are not actually the son of the gopī Yaśodā, O friend, but rather the indwelling witness in the hearts of all embodied souls. Because Lord Brahmā prayed for You to come and protect the universe, You have now appeared in the Sātvata dynasty.

Earlier too, in the song known as Venu Gita, they say,

Vrndavanam Sakhi Bhuvo vVtanoti Kirtim
Yad Devaki Suta Padambuja Labdha Lakshmih

"O friend, Vṛndāvana is spreading the glory of the earth, having obtained the treasure of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devakī."

So, how do the gopikas know beforehand that Krsna is a son of Devaki and Vasudeva?

  • Why do some people write Krshna for Krishna?what significance does it carry? – Rickross Mar 27 '16 at 13:19
  • @Rickross No significance. It is just the diatrical way of writing. And I like that spelling – Surya Mar 27 '16 at 13:32
  • Perhaps Krishna told the Gopis his true identity, and perhaps the Gopis were upset that this was now public knowledge and that Krishna was going to leave them. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 27 '16 at 13:53
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    @Dr. Actually even Nanda was unaware of this secret. He seems to take it pretty sportingly though. – Surya Jan 11 '18 at 7:26
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    Yes can't imagine how Nand & Yashoda would have felt after having to let go of their son. Balarama at least was known as Vasudev and Rohini's son so that may have been different but finding about Krishna not being their own child would have been a heartbreak of sorts.. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Jan 11 '18 at 8:24
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It may be possible that gopis knew that Krishna took birth as Devaki's son and thus they may be speaking this way.

Another way to understand:

Vishwanath Chakravarty Thakur, a Gaudiya Vaishnava Acharya quotes from Vishnu Purana in Sarartha Darsini commentary of Srimad Bhagavatam to SB 10.21.10:

dve nāmnī nanda-bhāryāyā  yaśodā devakīti ca ataḥ sakhyam abhūt tasya  devakyā śauri-jāyayā

“The wife of Nanda had two names, Yaśodā and also Devakī. Therefore it was natural that she [the wife of Nanda] develop friendship with Devakī, the wife of Śauri [Vasudeva].”

Thus here son of Devaki could mean son of Yasoda.

Regarding SB 10.31.4 where Gopis say Krishna as not son of Yasoda,

Vishwanath Chakravarty Thakur explains it in two different ways:

First he explains 10.31.3 :

If you want to kill us, then why did you repeatedly save us from danger? It is not proper to save us and then kill us. You saved us from the water of the lake filled with Kaliya’s poison. You saves us from the vicious man eater, Aghasura the snake (vyala raksasa). You saved us from the rain poured down by Indra (varsadi). You saved us from Trnavarata (marut), from Indra’s thunderbolt, from the bull demon Aristasura (vrsa), from Vyomasura (mayatmaja), from some many types of fear (visvato). O best of men (rsabha) by killing the demons, by your personal protection, we, who have only you as our life, were saved. Though you protected all of vraja from the rain and other calamities, you also protected us. Putting our faith in you as our protector, we come to you for relieving us of the pain of being pierced by the five arrows of cupid, otherwise we will die in the flames of separation from you which are thousands of times more intense. Do you not fear the sin of killing our faith?”

Then he comments on 10.31.4:

First Explanation:

“O gopis, you speak without thoroughly investigating. I, son of Nanda, am the source of all bliss. You accuse me of the sin of killing women and destroying faith. Therefore, I will leave this place and hide myself so that for many births you will not see me.” Fearing such response from Krsna, the repentant gopis began to praise him in order to please him. “You are not the son of a cowherd woman, but rather the soul within each jiva, the form of Vasudeva who inspires the heart, who witnesses everything (drk). We have heard this from Baguri and Paurnamasi. Thus we speak under inspiration from you. Therefore do not be angry with us, but be pleased with us. We have also heard about the cause for your appearance. Please hear that.
Because Brahma (vikhanas) prayed for you to protect the universe (visva guptaye), you appeared in the womb of Yasoda.”

He gives an alternate explanation as follows:

“One cannot find the such suffering of the gopis among all men, devatas, animals or birds, yet seeing our suffering you are blissful. Therefore we conclude, you did not appear in the womb of Yasoda, who is sensitive to a particle of suffering in others. We do not see any of her good qualities in you.” “Then who am I?” “We think you are the soul pervading all entities (antaryami). The antaryami, though seeing all the sufferings of the jivas, resides there in the heart very comfortably. We do not know the reason for your appearing in this world, as you are so indifferent. Brahma, desiring the increase in the creation, prayed “Stay hidden (visva guptaye), because if you revealed yourself, all the jivas will get liberated by devotion to you, and will leave the universe. Though you appear, remain hidden, so that no one understands that you are the supreme Lord. What to speak of ordinary men, who disregard you as the Lord in your human like pastimes, even those surrendered to you will take on the role of demons (lika Jarasandha). Thus I will be able to carry out the creation.

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