|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Other Scriptures by Acharyas > Biographies of Acharyas > Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati > Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura > The Erotic Principle|
The Erotic Principle
and Unalloyed Devotion
The Pastimes of Shri Krishna with the milkmaids of Vraja as explained by the Shrimad Bhagavatam are neither history nor allegory. They are not history because they are transcendental, whereas our so-called history is only a record of our experience of this world in terms of the egotistic principle. They are not allegory for the reason that they happen to be the actual Concrete Reality of which this world is the perverted reflection. As a matter of fact, it is this world, and its happenings, that are really allegory which misrepresent our function, and deludes us into the acceptance of this perverted existence. The proper function of our souls is to serve the Absolute in obedience to the commands of Himself, conveyed through Himself. in the Form of His devotees.
The sexual principle is a misunderstood symbol of Reality. It can no more be banished from our consciousness than consciousness itself. The male and female forms are also not the sole and distinctive possessions of this world. There is Reality behind them as well. The soul has a body which is symbolized by the female form and which is absolutely free from any unwholesome material association. Our present objection to the female form is due to the egotistic principle which for the same reason does not object, or rather, readily enough adopts the male form as more properly representing the pure little soul. This repugnance to the female form prevents us from an unprejudiced examination of the female sex as a necessary factor of our conception of amorous love. This amorous love is the highest subject of human poetry and the most powerful factor in all human activities. Its worthlessness is not established by the mere refusal to recognize it as a part of our nature. It would be much more to the purpose to try to understand what it really is. The Shrimad Bhagavatam is the only book that furnished a satisfactory answer to this all-important question.
The worship of Shri Radha Krishna is held by some modern thinkers to be dangerous, and even immoral. They apparently take exception to the erotic element, which is the prominent aspect of the highest worship of Shri Radha Krishna.
Shri Krishna Chaitanya teaches us that it is obligatory for everyone to pay homage to spiritual amour which characterizes the highest service of the Divine Person. This is the central topic of Shrimad Bhagavatam which treats of the transcendental service of the Personal Absolute.
Spiritual amour is the best mode of service of the Fullness of Divine Personality. In other words, the real Nature of Divine Personality can never be fully understood by those who are unable to appreciate the pre-eminent excellency of His Service by amorous love.
The conception of personality that is available to us in this world necessarily refers to the gross human physique joined to the convention-ridden human mentality. These two are the definite contents of the conception. The functions of such personality can have meaning only if they, supply the needs of such body and mind. man is connected with the entities of this world by five varieties of relationship for the satisfaction of the needs of his body and mind. These five modes exhaust all possible forms of such relationship. A person may stand in the relationship of impartiality to other human beings. he takes the help of non-animate entities in a spirit of strict impartiality. The emotional forms of relationship may be said to begin with the relationship of the servant towards his master. This is characterized by the sentiment of distant respect for the master. The relationship of friendship is closer than that of servitude. Parenthood is still more intimate. Consorthood as of the wife or mistress to her husband or lover is the most intimate and comprehensive form of relationship possible with another entity. The chain of relationships is completed by the reciprocal relationships of master to servant, of friend to friend, of son to his parents, of husband or lover to his wife or sweet-heart.
There is no reason for disbelieving that the aforesaid five forms of relationship are also inseparable concomitants of the personality of the Absolute free Being from the fetters of the gross physical body and materialized mind. The personality of the absolute infinitesimal or the unalloyed soul should also be in a position to function in a fully wholesome and unrestricted manner, in terms of his spiritual body and mind.
Spiritual Personality is identical with the principle of unobstructed cognition. As complete intimacy must necessarily characterize the complete scriptural relationship, the condition of a wife or mistress is thus traced to be the highest natural state, and one that is also realizable only in the predominated Absolute Infinity and also, by incorporation with the latter, in the absolute infinitesimal.
It is not, or course, possible for the mind of man to have the true conception of the actual nature of the unalloyed spiritual function. Such spiritual realization is possible only through the spiritual senses of the unconditioned soul. The functioning of the spiritual senses, in its turn, ensures the freedom of the soul from all unwholesomeness and limitation in a way that is exactly the opposite of the activities of the present senses which create and multiply the restrictions of the conditioned state.
The fully wise man of this world is a spiritual zero. This has been established in strict conformity with empiric logic, by Buddhistic thought. The goal of all activities on the mundane plane is represented by the balanced neutral state as the resultant of simultaneous working of an infinity of mutually hostile tendencies.
Consorthood, as of the wife or mistress of this world, is not eligible by itself to set the tune for other relationships. Mundane consorthood is compelled to shrink at least outwardly, into the strictly private and personal corner of the affairs of this world. It is not welcomed for influencing other activities in an explicit manner. It can act openly only within the limits of extreme privacy. It is regarded as a sign of abnormality to be influenced in the greater affairs of life by the advice of wife or mistress on the score of amorous relationship.
Consorthood is nevertheless recognized as imparting its deepest charm to life in a world in which it would not be worth living being devoid of this form of relationship. Every one in this world is however, compelled to repress, more or less, the working of this admittedly deepest principle of his individual nature on account of the opposition of the uncongenial environment in the shape of the defective natures of organs through which and the objects towards which if has to be excercized. But this cannot condemn the principle itself which is, as a matter of fact, the ruling force of life. It operates with no less of predominance, but with less weight of responsibility, by being driven underground by the blind opposition of an unsympathizing environment and instrumentals.
Should we deliberately deny ourselves the benefit of the guidance of well-considered opinion in this most vital and important affair of life? But as a matter of fact, all the great religions scrupulously avoid and forbid any examination of this all-important subject. The worship of Shri Radha-Krishna is the only exception to this rule.
The worship of Shri Radha-Krishna has been subject to much easily avoidable misunderstanding that has been bred by sheer misunderstanding and of sheer ignorance, and easily welcomed prejudices. The personality of Shri Krishna, the Eternal Divine Lover of Shri Radhika, the premier spiritual male of the Realm of Vraja which is the Eternal Abode of the Divine Pair as depicted in Shrimad Bhagavata, has been supposed as an unworthy conception of the Absolute Personality, and even as of historical survival of the myth of a national hero of the times of promiscuous sexuality and primitive barbarism.
Hostility to the Divinity of Shri Krishna is entertained on the ground that morality should constitute the kernel and pervading principle of religion. We should not, however, forget that this advertised morality is at best only a regulative and restrictive principle. We are so much wedded to the indispensible nature of this moral regulation that it requires no small effort of the imagination on our part to admit that the moral intervention would be uncalled for and harmful but for the actually defective nature of our present environment and sense organs. It would be irrational to seek to do away with moral regulation so long as we are compelled to remain in our present defective condition. But there must surely be a plane which is free from all defects, being the natural and eternal sphere of the activities of our unadulterated spiritual nature. The plane of Divinity is superior to that of our unconditioned souls. There is no need for any form of restrictive morality in the spiritual world where the soul is not subject to the limiting operation of his present material and mental adjuncts. The stream of Viraja encompassing the mundane sphere effectively prevents the importation of any mundane defects into the Transcendental Realm. In the stream of Viraja morality and immorality are alike washed off the spiritual form of the soul. It is the plane of salutary sterilization of all mundane qualities.
The moral principle presupposes the existence of a strong and spontaneous tendency to evil as being innate to human nature. The good in this world is in a state of perpetual conflict with dominating evil. Moral regulation thus becomes the indispensible and permanent outward expression of the suppressed good life.
On further analysis, however, we discover that the moral judgement can take its stand only on an attenuated form of the evil which its ostensibly seeks to eradicate. It does not advocate the acceptance of the substantive good. What it chooses to call goodness is only relatively and tentatively lesser evil. The substantive good has remained and will also ever remain an open issue, if we are content to be finally guided by a purely restrictive moral code. The above difficulty and insufficiency of the immoral code are most clearly realized in practice by every sincere person. To tell the truth it can never be good in itself. Empiric morality, as synthesis, is a counsel of expediency for the establishment of a certain radically defective kind of social living. Does not the existence of such positive regulation obstruct the practice of real goodness? The goodness that is producible by the so-called moral regulation is not substantively different from wickedness.
It is necessary to fix our attention on this positive issue. Is the act of procreation of offspring good or evil? Is amour to be condemned or acclaimed? Can a questionable principle of blind regulation supply the answer to these real problems of life?
Amour is a hard fact of life. It is probably the controlling fact. Why should it be capable of doing harm? Or, should it be checked because of the inopportune character of our present organs and environment? Can a policy of repression of a really good principle be sanitary in the long run? Is it not tantamount to refusal to think about the proper solution? Would it be honest or helpful, for humoring this criminal indolence, to gag those who put forward sound proposals for the real solution?
True, the religions have systematically avoided to think positively on this fundamental issue. They have prescribed only regulations of the present evil life engendered by the uncongenial nature of the present environment and the defective character of our mind and body. This is not even a negative help, if it be the only provision. The disease is marked, but no effort is made for its cure. But disease cannot be healed by a policy that refuses on principle to contemplate the restoration of healthy activity.
The question thus resolves itself into enquiry, “How can the fullest or natural use of this amorous aptitude be secured.” Aesthetics does not provide the answer. Aesthetics cannot overlook nor heal the really unwholesome side of the mundane principle that is the only subject matter of its examination. The ethical answer, which is more to the point in one respect has already been considered and rejected.
Medical science, Biology and Eugenics confine themselves to the bodily consequence of the principle of amour and the reaction of these on the mind. They also cover much less ground than Ethics.
The positive answer of the whole issue, which is given only by Shrimad Bhagavata, has been accepted and explained by Shri Krishna Chaitanya. That answer elucidated by the Teachings of Shri Krishna Chaitanya is prevented from being misunderstood by His Own Illustrative Career.
Any person, who has taken the trouble of reading the accounts of the Career of Shri Krishna Chaitanya penned by His associates and their spiritual successors, must be struck with the total absence of the erotic element in His Career. Shri Krishna Chaitanya never mixed with women on the footing of sexual intimacy. His conduct is disappointing to those who expect to find a rich harvest of erotic activities from the fact that He poses as the Teacher of the amorous service of Divinity, by His Own Practice. The same characteristic trait is also noticeable in the careers of all bona fide followers of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. Shri Krishna Chaitanya categorically distinguishes the function of spiritual service or bhakti from karma (fruitive activity) and jnana (gnostic asceticism). He tells us that the methods of work and knowledge are the complementary aspects of the deceiving worldly function; that neither of them has anything to do with bhakti which is the proper function of the soul of his own transcendental plane. The conduct of a bona fide devotee has only external resemblance is due to the fact that the spiritual principle is distortedly reflected in the latter. When the spiritual activities of the unalloyed soul manifest themselves for the same reason, to the mundane vision of conditioned souls, in the forms of the corresponding mundane activities.
Spiritual manifestation on the mundane plane does not involve the transformation of spiritual activities into mundane. Those activities retain their uncontaminated transcendental character even when they chose to appear to the view of the people of this world apparently in the identical forms of the events of this world. The impression, that is naturally received by the conditioned soul from the experience of such manifestation of spiritual events, does not appear as that of transcendence to the mundane aptitude of the person experiencing the same. That is to say it does not appear to him as different from ordinary mundane occurrences. But, even this direct testimony to the contrary notwithstanding, spiritual events ever remain what they are viz. transcendental and inaccessible to the eclipsed cognitive faculty of the conditioned state, even when they are enacted on this mundane plane in the view of the people, and do not seem to differ in their judgement in any way from ordinary mundane occurrences.
The correspondence between the two must be both possible and inevitable, if we bear in mind the fact the Reality is necessarily One. The Transcendental Realm is the recognizable face of the Reality. The mundane realm is the same entity offering its deluding face to the unnatural approaches of perversely disposed souls. The mundane world is not unreal. The deluding power of the Reality has also got its own plane of activity. But the plane of activity of the deluding face of the Divine Power is different from the plane of operation of the enlightening face of the same. There is an inconceivable correspondence is expression between the two faces of Power which is one at bottom.
Therefore, when Divine Power really exposes the spiritual face of her activities to the view of spectators who happen to be under the power of Deluding Energy, the latter receive the impression of the identity of such manifestation with their experience of the operations of the deluding face of Divine Power. The vision of mundane spectators is not relieved of its mundane quality by the actual unenlightened vision, on their own plane, of revealed spiritual activity. They, indeed, witness the real spiritual activity but in an unnatural way by the operation of a specific aspect of Divine Spiritual Potency which does not admit any perversely disposed spectators to the uneclipsed vision of the Truth.
In order to obtain the uneclipsed view of spiritual entities, when they choose to reveal themselves to the eclipsed vision of conditioned souls, appearing to the latter in the forms of the corresponding mundane occurrences but being nevertheless categorically different from the same, it becomes incumbent on the conditioned soul to seek the help of the only method viz. that of being restored to his unconditioned state by being relieved of his obstructive mundane aptitudes.
As soon as the rational hankering for the adoption of such course arises in the conditioned soul, he is disposed to avail of the offered help of the spiritual entities themselves for being enlightened regarding the method to be pursued for obtaining his liberation from the abject, insurmountable thraldom of the deluding face of power. It is possible for the conditioned soul to find the true course only by the further special mercy of those very transcendental entities who so causelessly present themselves to his eclipsed vision. They have the power of showing their spiritual forms to him in such way that it would leave no doubt in his mind about the reality of their transcendental nature. It is only by such mercy that the conditioned soul is enabled to avail himself of the help placed within his reach by the descent of spiritual entities to this mundane plane for the purpose of bringing about his deliverance.
Spiritual Amour in the same way displays itself to the eclipsed view of mundane spectators in the forms of mundane events. But such revelation should not be accepted by the mundane faculties for reasons that should be quite obvious even to the unenlightened judgement of conditioned souls. Shri Krishna revealed His Amorous Pastimes in the Cycle of the Dwapara Age to the eclipsed view of the people of this world. But that did not enable them to recognize His Divinity, due to their nonacceptance of the proper method of approaching them.
We find from the Bhagavatam that the great devotee Shri Uddhava made his obeisances to the Gopis of Vraja saying, “These Damsels of Vraja are indeed most fortunate in this world and have made a real success of their lives here because they have achieved supreme Prema in Lord Govinda alone, Who is the Life of all beings. The salvationists who are afraid of births and deaths in this world, the Munis who have attained freedom from earthly bondage, and even we who are fortunate to have attained the company of Lord Shri Krishna, we all aspire after this Prema but we are not eligible for it. What use is there, therefore, of being a Brahmana by birth or by sacred-thread-ceremony or by Vedic sacrifices, or even being born as Brahma the creator of this Universe? For those who have attained Krishna-Prema are superior to all, even if they be born in any inferior caste!” From these utterances of Shri Uddhava it is proved that the Erotic-Love of the Vraja Gopis is the highest form of Prema.
Secondly the Rishis of Dandakaranya when they saw Beautiful Rama, there flared up in the hearts of these Rishis, who were practicing extremely hard penances, desires in the wake of the sentiments of association of the Vraja Gopis for enjoying the Person of Lord Krishna Whose charm and beauty far surpassed in near future Dvapara Age. Those Maharishis also prayed to Lord Rama in their mind that they might be born in Gokula females when the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna would make His Divine Descent, in Dvapara so that they might enjoy the Lord’s Charming Person. Lord Rama also, blessed them for the fulfillment or their mental prayer! They were thus born as females in the womb of the Gopis in distant Gokula, and somehow reached the famous Gokul of Lord Krishna and gained aprakrita bodies from the Vraja Gopis and attained Lord Krishna, Whose charm and beauty far excelled Those of Lord Rama.
Empiricists, although they seem to recognize the necessity of being taught and trained in the affairs of this world, are unduly skeptical in regard to such training in spiritual matters, where its necessity is very much greater, because we happen to possess absolutely no knowledge of it. In the terra incognita of the spirit, it is indispensible to have a guide unless indeed, we persist to confuse the spiritual with the material end retain our faith in empiric efforts. But as a matter of fact, all predeliction for the limited shuts out the unlimited, not partially but radically, not quantitatively but categorically. Shrimad Bhagavata asks those who really want to serve Krishna to forego all thoughts of any advantage in the worldly sense, the conscious or unconscious, direct or vicarious, pursuit of which is the cause of all impurity and ignorance. This reform of life is the indispensible preliminary condition for obtaining any real knowledge of the Absolute and the nature and imperative necessity of such reform and also its practicability are clearly realized by close spiritual association with the good preceptor. It cannot be realized, unless and until one agrees with the sincerity of real conviction to receive it at his hands as a favor to which he can lay no claim on the strength of any worldly merit or demerit. It is only by such reasoned submission of the will to the process of enlightenment from above that any clouded vision can be cleared up. The Guru is not a mortal, erring creature like ourselves. He is the eternal servant of Krishna whom He sends into this world for the deliverance of causeless Divine mercy, in order to help us rise out of the depths of sin to our natural state of absolute purity by methods which are perfectly consistent with the principles of our really unbiased reason. So long as we refuse to listen to him, we are doomed to misunderstand everything.
In our present sinful state sex suggests the idea of sensuous impurity because our present itself is sensuous. The sense of impurity is really nothing but that of incongruity of any material, limited, unconscious substance with the nature of the human soul, we are not on the same plane with the object of our thoughts but are yoked to it in a most unnatural way. This longing is the feeling of impurity or repugnance. So long as we continue to look upon sex with an eye of longing we can never think of it in any other way. But this longing is also part of our present acquired nature and cannot leave us till we are enabled to lay this secondary nature itself. With this reform of nature our relation to the principle of sex also undergoes a complete transformation which is, however, otherwise incomprehensible to our present understanding. The female form of the human soul and Shri Krishna is not the relation between the material female form and its corresponding male form. The amorous Pastimes of Shri Krishna with the spiritual milkmaids of Vraja are not the amorous pastimes between male and female of this world. The amorous Pastimes of Shri Krishna are not a connection of the dismissed brain of the sensualist. The amours of this world could have no existence unless the substantive principle exists in Shri Krishna. But no one denies the existence and importance of the principle of amour in the realm of the Absolute in the perfectly wholesome form.
It is because we choose to regard as material the female form of the soul that we are shocked at what we suppose to be shameless sensuous proclivities of the transcendentalists. This is inevitable so long as we deliberately choose to nurse the error that the sex of our experience is the real entity and not its perverted reflection and imagine that we have been able to solve the problem of sex by transferring our sensuous activity from the body to the mind and by condemning as impure the excesses of the external sexual act on no consistent principle. Such bungling philosophy has not confined and will never convince anybody of the real nature and purpose of the sexual act. This is so because the sexual act is the eternal concomitant in this sinful world of the highest function of the spirit which can, therefore, be never minimized or abolished by all our empiric endeavors but the right understanding of which can alone save us from the terrible consequences of our present suicidal sexual follies.
The Personality of Shri Krishna Chaitanya is identical with and yet distinct from Shri Krishna. the Activities of Shri Krishna Chaitanya are, therefore, also identical with and yet distinct from the Amorous Pastimes of Shri Krishna. The Activities of Shri Krishna Chaitanya appear in the from that alone is capable of being received by the conditioned soul without any chance of muddling by his conditioned judgement.
The Mercy of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and His followers is lavished on all mundane entities in such unstinted profusion that no one should have any chance of missing the knowledge of the descended transcendental entities from whom the conditioned soul is to learn the method of his deliverance.
This mercy expresses itself in the visible form as the Activities of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and His bona fide followers. They teach conditioned souls the complete service of the Divinity by displaying to the eclipsed vision of the latter their own transcendental activities identical with the amorous performances of the spiritual milkmaids of Vraja. Those, therefore, who misunderstand the Doings of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and His associates, have to do so either through laziness, or by deliberate irrational hostility to manifest truth.
The perfect chant of the Name of Krishna is available to all souls, and it is identical with the amorous service of the spiritual milkmaids of Vraja. This is the sum and substance of the Teachings of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. Conversely, those, who do not perform the congregational chant of the Name of Krishna in the manner to realize the nature of Divine amour. Those who miss such realization, remain subject to the object thraldom of mundane lust.
The epistemology, that helps us to realize the truth of the above conclusion is in conformity with the requirements of the Absolute as distinct from the pursuit of the deluding knowledge of non-absolutes. In order to realize the nature of the spiritual function, it is only logical to use also spiritual means. The descent of the Divinity and His eternal servitors provide us with the requisite spiritual means in the available form. Shri Krishna Chaitanya teaches us how to avail of this help when it actually comes within our reach of its own accord.
The service that is offered to the Divinity and His servitors, when they choose to be accessible to us on the mundane plane, is no way different from what is offered by the fully liberated soul on the plane of transcendence. The function of the soul on the superior plane is distortedly reflected even in the unwholesome functions of the conditioned state. But until the constructive grossness of mundane corporeality and mentality are eliminated, they continued to obstruct the function of the soul on his own proper plane. This elimination is effected by the Grace of Godhead when He appears on this lower plane, and is inclined to confer His service on the conditioned soul. Those, who are not allowed by Godhead to approach Him, cannot recognize Him even when they see Him. Nobody can see Him as He is, even when he exposes Himself to the view of mortal eyes. This apparently self contradictory statement explained by the fact that there is actual correspondence between the formal aspect of mundane and spiritual experience. The conditioned soul also see the Divinity as He is, but only when He chooses to remove the barrier from the path of his vision and also by simultaneously manifesting His Descent to the mundane plane, and not otherwise.
The conditioned soul fails to see the Divinity when He exposes Himself to his view if he chooses quite irrationally to suppose Godhead to be a mundane entity i.e. an object which is capable of being approached for the practice of any of the five forms of mundane relationship by his mundane senses. The mistake is inevitable under the circumstances, unless Godhead chooses to relieve the spectator of the fetters of his limited existence.
For the purpose of the deliverance of the conditioned soul it is not necessary for the Divinity to end the worldly sojourn of the latter. That would be opposed to the Purpose of Divine Descent. Just as Godhead becomes visible to the conditioned soul without being transformed into any object of this world, in an exactly similar way the conditioned soul if lifted to the place of transcendence while continuing to appear as mundane to the external vision of mundane spectators.
One, who is enabled to have the real vision of the Divinity no longer need misunderstand the transcendental nature of His service. He is in a position also to render such service by his spiritual senses. But his activities still continue to appear as mundane to ignorant observers. This mistake is, however, capable of being removed if such activities of the real devotee are observed by a person with humility and by no other method. It is for affording the conditioned soul of this world the chance of thus observing the activities of Himself and His devotees that the Supreme Lord chooses to manifest His Appearance in this world.
We should now be in a some what better position to understand how the chanting of the Name Krishna in the company of transcendental devotees is identical with the performance of the amorous service of the spiritual milkmaids of the Realm of Krishna. The amorous service becomes realizable as the transcendental ward to the spiritual ear of the soul. There is no way of having access to the same as long as Krishna is not pleased to relieve us fully of the perverse inclinations of the conditioned state. But the chanting of the Holy Name without offense, that is in the company of self-realized souls and by the method followed by them, has the power to destroy the effects of our past atheistical activities and to relieve us from reversion to the mundane plane by imparting to us the positive eternal service of the Divinity, tentatively and symbolically during the mundane sojourn and fully on the termination of the allotted span of our mundane life brought about by the Will of Krishna.
The objections of certain Indians to the worship of Radha Krishna by the method of amorous love as practiced by the spiritual milkmaids of Vraja, will be found to be inapplicable if we seek to be enlightened about the actual meaning of the function by reverently listening to the account of the career of Shri Krishna Chaitanya from the holy lips of self-realized souls, without unduly relying on our mundane judgement which has no access to the plane of transcendence.
CHAITANYA LILA—KRISHNA LILA
The unprejudiced study of the Career of Shri Krishna Chaitanya offers the required help in the fullest measure. The esoteric reason of this is that Shri Krishna Chaitanya is Shri Krishna Himself. The associates of Shri Krishna Chaitanya are the same as the spiritual milkmaids and other servitors of Shri Krishna in Vraja. The Activities of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and His associates are also identical with and yet distinct from the Pastimes of Shri Krishna in Vraja. They can also show themselves to us if they choose to do so. They can come down to this plane for the purpose of showing themselves to us in the only form that is not capable of being misunderstood viz. as the activities of the self-realized souls. The speciality of the Appearance of Shri Krishna Chaitanya consists in this that Divinity Himself and His associates take the initiative for disclosing themselves to us by enabling us to regard them from the point of view that is necessary for such realization. The only thing needful is merely to adjust ourselves to the requirements brought home to us by such vision. Such adjustment is impossible under the guidance of deluded souls. The chance for self-deception is minimized if we avail ourselves of the interpretation of the career of Shri Krishna Chaitanya offered by the lives and writings of His associates and by those pure souls who faithfully live up to the Teaching handed down in their works for our eternal well-being.
So long as one is in the fetters of Maya and misidentifies oneself with one’s physical body and changeable mind, one must necessarily undergo the rudimentary way of Vaidhi Bhakti, controlled and guided by scriptural prescriptions supported by favorable arguments and reasons. Such a spiritual novice when he makes tangible progress in the long and scripturally controlled path of Vaidhi Bhakti may develop, listening to the Bhagavata and allied scriptures that deal with the transcendental Pastimes of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, a spontaneous and intensely eager craving in his or her heart for being enabled to follow in the footsteps of any of the Four Categories of the dearmost Associates of Lord Krishna in Vraja in regard to Their feelings and applied sentiments to the Dearest Shri Krishna, viz. Dasya (as a servant) Sakhya (as a friend), Vatsalya as parents or Madhura (as consorts). When such a longing for Vraja-Bhava is strongly and genuinely achieved, such an individual is no more bound by the restrictions of scriptural injunctions or human reasoning and arguments. The soul soars in the higher realm of burning feelings for the service of Lord Krishna in subordination to any of the Bhavas of the four categories of the eternal Associates of the Lord of Vraja, which may awaken normally in the heart without any forced imagination. Such a sadhaka i.e. practicing spiritual life, is no more and cannot be kept any more restricted by scriptural regulations and mere human waves of feelings. In this stage, the individual serves by words and deeds the Supreme Lord and His dearest Associates like Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatan in the same manner in which they had lived in this world, consonant with the basis directions of the scriptures, by chanting and listening to such scriptures like the Bhagavat that deal with the transcendental Pastimes of Lord Krishna in the company of His dearmost Associates. While maintaining a normal and restricted life of spiritual practices in body and words, the individual, in whom the intense longing for the bhavas of Ragatmika-Eternal-Associates of the Lord is awakened, conceives mentally, in accordance with the genuinely awakened Vraja-Bhava either as that of Gopi or Nanda-Yasoda or Shridham-Sudham, Citraka-Patraka, a siddhadeha—a permanent spiritual body, which shall correspond to and be favorable and fit for serving the Lord under guidance of the dearest one of the dearest Associate of Lord Krishna, for whose bhava a craving has been aroused in the heart of such individual so that he or she may engage himself or herself in the service of Lord Krishna and His dearest Associates in the particular sthayi-bhava as a servant or friend or as a maid, and such services are rendered mentally in the siddhadeha or spiritual body so conceived. Thus an individual, whether a man or a woman, in the stage of spiritual both in Vaidhi-Bhakti and Raganuga-Bhakti in the Sadhana stage, must necessarily serve God and His devotees by words and deeds in the physical body by chanting and listening to the Name of God, listening to the scriptures and by worshipping in the temple as prescribed by the scriptures.