strīṇāṁ sva-dharma iti dharma-vidā tvayoktam
astv evam etad upadeśa-pade tvayīśe
preṣṭho bhavāṁs tanu-bhṛtāṁ kila bandhur ātmā
Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Soul of all souls, their dearmost friend and well-wisher. As stated in the Eleventh Canto of the Bhāgavatam (11.5.41):
na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
“O King, one who has given up all material duties and has taken full shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who offers shelter to all, is not indebted to the demigods, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind or even one’s forefathers who have passed away. Since all such classes of living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, one who has surrendered to the Lord’s service has no need to serve such persons separately.” Authority descends from the author of all existence, the Supreme Lord. Natural figures of authority such as husbands, mothers, government leaders and sages gain their power and authority from the Supreme Lord and should thus represent the Absolute Truth to those who follow them. If one wholeheartedly engages in loving service to the original, Supreme Truth, one need not indirectly serve the Absolute Truth through the above-mentioned secondary authorities.
Even a soul surrendered to God, however, continues to serve the spiritual master, who is a direct, not an indirect, representative of the Supreme Lord. A bona fide ācārya, or spiritual master, is the transparent medium leading the disciple to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. All indirect authorities become obsolete when one is directly in touch with the Absolute Truth. The gopīs wanted to explain this basic point to Kṛṣṇa, and some of the bolder young girls among them attempted to defeat Śrī Kṛṣṇa with His own statements, as exemplified in this verse.