Gopi-prema is highest

Our revered spiritual masters used to narrate one topic as an illustration to understand the highest pre-eminence of the gopis. Once, Sri Krishna displayed the pastime of having a severe headache in His palace at Dwaraka. At that time Sri Narada Muni came to meet Krishna and was perplexed to hear about His headache. Narada had never heard of such a thing before and was at a loss to ascertain what to do. Witnessing restlessness of his beloved Master, Narada asked Krishna, “O beloved Master, You are the Supreme Lord, You are omniscient, so please tell me the remedy of the disease of Your headache.” Krishna replied, “There is one panacea for getting recovery from this headache. If you can bring the dust of the feet of a devotee and apply that to my head, I shall be cured.”

Narada Muni was contemplating, ‘I am a devotee, but how can I give the dust of my feet on the head of my Most Revered Supreme Lord. If I do this, I shall go to inferno.’ Thus he went to Satyabhama, Rukmini and the other sixteen thousand one hundred six consorts of Krishna to ask for the dust of their feet. However, no queen of Krishna agreed to give the dust of their feet. How can a chaste wife allow the dust of her feet to be applied to the head of her object of worship, her husband? They all chastised Narada for this impossible proposal. When Narada, with frustration of heart, returned to the palace to meet Sri Krishna, Krishna made the pastimes of being more restless. Seeing this Narada became confounded. To console Narada, Krishna said, “O Narada, there are some devotees in Vrajadham, who have love for me. If you go there and ask for foot-dust, they will give you. Don’t be worried.”

When Narada reached Vrajadham on Krishna´s advice, all of Krishna’s personal associates surrounded him with eagerness to know about the well-being of Krishna. Perceiving the extreme anxiety and worries of the gopis, Narada remained silent. After being repeatedly asked, Narada finally said: “Krishna had serious headache.” On hearing this some of the gopis fainted. Some other gopis said with great regret: “When Krishna is ill, why have you come here leaving Him behind?” Then Narada replied that Krishna assured him that if he could get the dust of the feet of a devotee to be put on His head, Krishna would recover from His headache. The gopis immediately retorted and said, “O Naradji, you are a devotee, you could have given the dust of your feet, and there were so many queens in Dwaraka, they could have given.”
Narada said, “How can a servant put the dust of his feet on the head of his Master? How can the wives of Krishna put the dust of their feet on the head of their respected husband?” The gopis were irritated by Narada’s reply and said: “Ah! So long you have given trouble to Krishna unnecessarily. You can take dust of our feet as much as you want and immediately go there to put it on the head of Sri Krishna. If by our foot-dust Krishna gets relief, we are ready to embrace the condemnation of hell for eternity.”
This, then, is the extraordinary specialty of gopi-prema. The gopis do not consider their own difficulty, but want the satisfaction of Krishna alone.

Excerpt from “Harikatha and Vaishnava Aparadha” by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj