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How should we approach the rasa-Iila?
1) The rasa-lila is a completely spiritual pastime with no tinge of material lust. So we can begin to appreciate this sublime and pure pastime only when our heart is purified of all traces of desire for sense enjoyment. We should therefore perform our prescribed duties in accordance with the scriptures so as to purify our hearts and not even dream of imitating the rasa-lila. But if someone tries to imitate the rasa dance as young people do in the Dandiya rasa or Holi, he will be completely frustrated in his futile attempts to enjoy. Such programs pass off as cultural programs, but they are actually nothing except a naked exhibition of the lust in young boys and girls.Lord Krishna declares that in the Bhagavad-gita (16.19-20) such people will be cast perpetually into the darkest regions of existence.
tan aham dvisatah kruran samsaresu naradhaman ksipamy ajasram asubhan asurisv eva yonisu
asurim yonim apanna mudha janmani janmani mam aprapyaiva kaunteya tato yanty adhamam gatim
"Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men. are cast by iMe into the ocean of material existence. into various demoniac species of life. Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence."
2) Submissive hearing of the rasa-lila pastime is recommended by Shukadeva Gosvami as the medicine for curing the disease of lust.
vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca vishnoh sraddhanvito 'nushrnuyad atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam hrid-rogam ashv apahinoty acirena dhirah
"Anyone who faithfully hears or describes the Lord's playful affairs with the young gopis of Vrindavana will attains the Lord's pure devotional service. Thus he will quickly become sober and
conquer lust, the disease of the heart. "(Shrimad-BhagavatamlO. 33.39)
This sort of purification is never possible if one hears from professional reciters who delve into the confidential pastimes of the Lord just for entertainment and vicarious pleasure. It is possible only when one hears from a bona fide devotee of the Lord coming in disciplic succession. The Krishna book written by Srila Prabhupada is ideal in this regard. In this summary study of the tenth canto, Srila Prabhupada's purports help us to understand the esoteric pastimes of the Lord in a lucid and authoritative manner.
3) We can appreciate the rasa-lila only when we thoroughly understand the position of Lord Krishna. We should therefore perform sadhana-bhakti to enter into an understanding of the supreme position of the Lord. The Shrimad-Bhagavatam describes ten tattvas such as sarga (primary creation), visarga (secondary creation) etc. Nine of these tattvas depend on the last tattva, ashraya (the shelter), which is the Supreme Lord. Only after elaborately explaining the supreme position of the Lord in the first nine cantos does Shukadeva Gosvami describe the confidential pastimes of the Lord in the tenth canto. Atter we understand that the Supreme Lord is the source of everything. He is the supreme proprietor, the supreme controller and the supreme enjoyer, then we can appreciate how wonderful it is that the same Supreme Lord is playing the role of a naughty son, an intimate friend or a conjugal lover. For example, after we come to know how the President of a country has the whole army, navy, air force and the entire administration at his fingertips, then if we see a child riding on the back of that same President, having made him like a carrier elephant, will we not appreciate it as something wonderful?
In a world that is full of sense-gratification, the only way we can become free from the propensity for sense-gratification is by associating with pure-hearted devotees and by serving in their association. Gradually the venomous tendency to enjoy will die and the flowerlike tendency to serve will blossom. Only when we come from the platform of lust to the platform of love can we begin to respectfully appreciate the exalted pastimes of the Lord and His dearmost devotees.