kamam krodham bhayam sneham
aikyam sauhrdam eva ca
nityam harau vidadhato
yanti tan-mayatam hi te
Persons who constantly direct their lust, anger, fear, protective affection, feeling of impersonal oneness or friendship toward Lord Hari are sure to become absorbed in thought of Him.
Lord Krsna is pure spiritual existence, and those who somehow or other become attached to Him, absorbed in thoughts of Him, rise to the spiritual platform. This is the absolute nature of the Lord’s personal association.
With this verse Sukadeva Gosvami answers King Pariksit’s question about the gopis. After all, Sukadeva has begun to narrate Krsna’s most intimate pastime, the rasa dance, and Pariksit is cooperating to remove the doubts of others who are hearing or who in the future may hear this astonishing story. Srila Madhvacarya has quoted a statement from the Skanda Purana that emphatically declares persons like the gopis to be liberated souls, beyond the pale of material illusion:
bhaktya hi nitya-kamitvam
na tu muktim vina bhavet
atah kamitaya vapi
muktir bhaktimatam harau
“Eternal conjugal attraction to Krsna, expressed in pure devotional service, cannot develop in one who is not already liberated. Thus those who are devoted to Lord Hari, even in conjugal attraction, are already liberated.
“Srila Madhvacarya then quotes from the Padma Purana to clarify the essential point that one cannot be liberated simply by lusting after Lord Krsna but rather only by possessing conjugal attraction in pure devotional service:
sneha-bhaktah sada devah
kascit kascin na kamena
bhaktya kevalayaiva tu
“The demigods are always affectionately devoted to the Lord, and the young ladies of heaven called Apsaras have lusty feelings toward Him, although some of them have pure devotion for Him untainted by material lust. Only these latter Apsaras are ready for liberation, because without bona fide devotional service one cannot possibly achieve liberation.”
Thus devotional service is not yogyam, or appropriate, unless free from material lust. One should not take cheaply the gopis’ achievement of personal association with Lord Krsna in a conjugal relationship. To show the gravity of direct relationship with the Lord, Srila Madhvacarya has quoted the following verses from the Varaha Purana:
brahmana me piteti ca
“The goddess Laksmi worships Lord Janardana as her husband, Lord Brahma worships Him as his father, and the other demigods worship Him as their grandfather.”
prapitamaho me bhagavan
iti sarva-janasya tu
guruh sri-brahmano visnuh
suranam ca guror guruh
“Thus people in general should think, ‘The Supreme Lord is my great-grandfather.’ Lord Visnu is the spiritual master of Brahma and thus the guru of the guru of the demigods.”
gurur brahmasya jagato
daivam visnuh sanatanah
ity evopasanam karyam
nanyatha tu kathañcana
“Brahma is the spiritual master of this universe, and Visnu is the eternally worshipable Deity. With this understanding, and not otherwise, one should worship the Lord.”
The above injunctions apply to sarva-jana, “all people in general.” Thus one should follow these injunctions until one achieves the exalted platform of intimate relationship with the Supreme Lord. There is abundant evidence that the gopis of Vrndavana were highly elevated, liberated souls, and thus their pastimes with Krsna are pure, spiritual affairs. Keeping this in mind, we can truly understand this chapter of the Srimad-Bhagavatam.