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Lord Chaitanya was satisfied by Ramananda’s explanation of transcendental servitude to the Personality of Godhead, and He asked Ramananda to go still further. Ramananda then explained spontaneous loving service rendered by a friend of the Personality of Godhead. This is called sakhya-prema or the transcendental rasa of friendship with the Personality of Godhead.
Sakhya-prema is superior to dasya-prema in the following respect: Although in dasya-prema there is a transcendental relationship with Godhead as master and servant, it includes the sense that “God is my maker.” Thus in dasya-prema there is an awareness of the greatness of the Personality of Godhead, and as such dasya-prema is mixed with a sense of fear and reverence for Him.
In sakhya-prema, the sense of fear and reverence is completely absent. On the contrary, a sense of equality prevails in the sakhya-prema. This sense of equality is an advance over the dasya-prema. Here is a quotation from Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.12.11) on the subject of sakhya-prema:
ittham satam brahma-sukhanubhutya
dasyam gatanam para-daivatena
sardham vijahruh krita-punya-punjah
“The Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna, who is experienced by the empiric philosophers as an impersonal feeling of transcendental bliss, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead to the devotees related with Him as master and servant, and who is an ordinary human child to the people under the illusion of the external energy, was playing in the rasa of friendship with the cowherd boys of Vraja who obtained that stage of life after many, many virtuous acts accumulated in many, many lives.”