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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).

But as old Epics and shastra said that those are wifes of krishna.

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  • Gopies wanted Krishna would love only me and that's why they behave like they are Lord Krishna's wife. According to ancient shastra Bhagvadgeeta says The 16000 wives of Krishna were not the Gopis of Brindavan. They were princesses captured by Narakasura and freed by Krishna in battle. ref: Bhagavata.
    – Keneth
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 19:09

3 Answers 3

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  1. The 16000 wives of Krishna were not the Gopis of Brindavan. They were princesses captured by Narakasura and freed by Krishna in battle. ref: Bhagavata purana

  2. Gopis do exemplify Suddha bhakti and their relationship to Krishna is not that of the material world. It is divine, esoteric and can be understood through study and penance. Many commentators on the Bhagavata purana have expounded on gopi bhakti/rasa leela etc. as sublime , divine communion of the jeevatma with the paramatma.

  3. In the concept of madhura bhakti, all creatures (male and female) are wives of the paramAtma because we are representative of prakRti and are sustained by paramAtma. Also, it is the nearest equivalent of the closest human relationship one can imagine.

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  • You should cite sources. Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 18:10
  • Why did you remove that Srimad Bhagavatam link? It seemed perfectly valid to me: "There Lord Kṛṣṇa saw sixteen thousand royal maidens, whom Bhauma had taken by force from various kings.The women became enchanted when they saw that most excellent of males enter. In their minds they each accepted Him, who had been brought there by destiny, as their chosen husband. With the thought “May providence grant that this man become my husband,” each and every princess absorbed her heart in contemplation of Kṛṣṇa." That webpage gives the original Sanskrit as well. Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 17:31
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According to Krishna Bhagavatam, the wives were real and lived with Krishna at his palace:

https://gaudiya.redzambala.com/srimad-bhagavatam/srimad-bhagavatam-canto-10-chapter-80.html

VERSE 10.80.16-17

trīṇi gulmāny atīyāya tisraḥ kakṣāś ca sa-dvijaḥ vipro ’gamyāndhaka-vṛṣṇīnāṁ gṛheṣv acyuta-dharmiṇām

gṛhaṁ dvy-aṣṭa-sahasrāṇāṁ mahiṣīṇāṁ harer dvijaḥ viveśaikatamaṁ śrīmad brahmānandaṁ gato yathā

The learned brāhmaṇa, joined by some local brāhmaṇas, passed three guard stations and went through three gateways, and then he walked by the homes of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s faithful devotees, the Andhakas and Vṛṣṇis, which ordinarily no one could do. He then entered one of the opulent palaces belonging to Lord Hari’s sixteen thousand queens, and when he did so he felt as if he were attaining the bliss of liberation.

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Krishna had mainly eight wives , So he was called as Ashtabharya (ashta=eight, bharya=wife) because of that. Different scriptures list their names differently. According to Bhagavata purana names of the eight wives in order were

  • Rukmini,
  • Satyabhama,
  • Jambavati,
  • Kalindi,
  • Mitravinda,
  • Nagnajiti,
  • Bhadra and
  • Lakshmana.

The demon king Narakasura had kidnapped 16,100 (some sources say 16,000 probably for the sake of ease) women and held them in his captivity in his capital Pragjyotisha.

After krishna released 16,100 women that Narakasura had in captivity. When krishna asked them to return to their houses, they refused. They were aware that the society of that age would not take back those who were taken by another man. So they were left with nowhere to go.When Krishna asked them what they wanted to do, they all wanted Krishna to marry them.

Krishna married them all at the same auspicious time assuming that many bodies, so they could gain status of married women and live in the society with honor again. Krishna constructed them each a palace with huge gardens full of colorful flowers, It was impossible to live with each of them so he created 16100 forms of himself so that he could treat them all in the same manner as his 8 wives. Scriptures say that each of them had 10 sons and 1 daughter.

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  • You should cite sources. Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 18:11
  • @Keshav - Why down vote? What is written as answer is absolutely right as per Srimad Bhagavata Purana and other puranas also.
    – user808
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 18:35
  • @Krishna I didn't downvote it, but in any case I wasn't disputing the correctness of the answer. It's just that answers on this site are supposed to be backed up with sources (preferably scripture), so I was just asking the user to add sources. Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 19:44

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