“Let Krishna tightly embrace this maidservant who has fallen at His lotus feet, or let Him trample Me or break My heart by never being visible to Me. He is a debauchee, after all, and can do whatever He likes, but still He alone, and no one else, is the worshipable Lord of My heart.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya 20.47)
आश्लिष्य वा पाद-रतां पिनष्टु माम्
अदर्शनान् मर्म-हतां करोतु वा
यथा तथा वा विदधातु लम्पटो
मत्-प्राण-नाथस् तु स एव नापरः
āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāṁ pinaṣṭu mām
adarśanān marma-hatāṁ karotu vā
yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo
mat-prāṇa-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ
Friend1: Let’s discuss a specific teaching that you come across when learning the science of self-realization, as taught within the Gaudiya-Vedanta tradition of spiritual life.
Friend2: Okay, which teaching would that be?
Friend1: The one that says that there is no such thing as love in the material world. What we know to be love is actually lust. The Sanskrit word is kama. It goes by other meanings, as well, such as desire and sex life.
Friend2: Do you take issue with that opinion? Do you not agree?
Friend1: It is difficult to comprehend. It is a blanket accusation, as well.
Friend2: People would take offense?
Friend1: I was offended, when I first heard it. All of those people I thought I “loved” – you’re telling me that is just lust?
Friend2: It is not difficult to understand.
Friend1: Yes, but before we get to the explanation, there is the other side to the teaching. The complementary principle is that the only true version of love applies to the relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna.
Friend2: Yes, and the Sanskrit word for that is bhakti. You could use bhava and prema, also.
Friend1: The idea is that prema is not tainted. When ascending to that platform of consciousness, you really do love someone else. You want only the best for them.
Friend2: As embodied by Shrimati Radharani. She is the topmost lover of God, though she is kind of like God Himself. The singular entity separated into two: one is the energetic and the other the energy.
Friend1: Shakti with Radharani and shaktiman with Krishna.
Friend2: There you go.
Friend1: Okay, but I might argue that the love I feel for someone else is entirely pure. I really do love so and so. Who are you to categorize it as lust, without knowing me or the person I love?
Friend2: It is simple to understand. This love you feel, it falls under the classical definition?
Friend1: Absolutely, but it is not exclusive to me. Every adult has experienced it to some degree.
Friend2: Alright, and have you ever hated someone?
Friend1: Hate is a strong word.
Friend2: Intensely disliked.
Friend1: Yes, of course.
Friend2: Has the same person been viewed in each category by you, at some point in time?
Friend1: You mean have I loved someone, only to intensely dislike them later on?
Friend1: Of course, but you don’t need my testimony to prove the principle. Divorce is based on the same sequence of events. Given the frequency of divorce, love turns to hate all the time.
Friend2: Prema, bhakti, never turns to hate. There is nothing that Krishna can do to turn away Shrimati Radharani. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu expresses a similar sentiment.
Friend1: He is supposed to be a combined incarnation of Radha and Krishna, correct?
Friend2: Yes. Mahaprabhu says that Krishna can do with Him whatever He pleases, but the devotion will remain. That is true love. Radharani does everything for the pleasure of Krishna. Her decorations, her cleanliness, her bashfulness, her cooking, her movements – everything is to make Krishna happy.
Friend1: I see, and we should follow in her footsteps?
Friend2: If you want to experience true love. Maybe the affection shown by the parents towards their children is similar, but we see even those relationships can turn sour. The parents disown the children, in spirit. They can’t stand being around them. They regret all the care and attention they offered during childhood.
Friend1: It is rare to see, but it certainly occurs.
Friend2: Kama is one of the defects to the material way of living. Kama is like a perverted version of prema. Spiritual life is for removing the perversion. When you truly love God, you will find a way to properly love everyone else, who have God inside of them. Occasions like Radhashtami allow us to celebrate love in its pure form, offered by the person who never seeks enjoyment for herself, directed to the person who never turns away genuine service.
On blessed Radhashtami day,
Fervently to pray.
That to one day feel,
Same pure love appeal.
So that no longer tainted,
And beautiful picture painted.
Of love and devotion true,
To Radha and Krishna two.