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Sri Krsna with Radharani, Balarama, the Gopis, Cowherd Boys, Animals, and Paraphernalia

A devotee can be in a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of five different ways:

    • in a passive state (neutrality)
    • in an active state (servitorship)
    • as a friend (friendship)
    • as a parent (parental affection)
    • as a conjugal lover (amorous)

Our unique, individual relationship with the Lord is evoked by the perfection of devotional service. Unfortunately, in the present status of our conditioned life, we have not only forgotten the Lord, we have forgotten our eternal relationship with the Lord. By engagine in the process of devotional service, called svarupa, we can revive that eternal relationship.

"In the spiritual world there are five kinds of relationships with the Supreme Lord--santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya. The perverted reflections of these rasas are found in the material world. Land, home, furniture and other inert material objects are related in santa, or the neutral and silent sense, whereas servants work in the dasya relationship. The reciprocation between friends is called sakhya, the affection of a parent for a child is known as vatsalya, and the affairs of conjugal love constitute madhurya. These five relationships in the material world are distorted reflections of the original, pure sentiments, which should be understood and perfected in relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master. In the material world the perverted rasas bring frustration. If these rasas are reestablished with Lord Krsna, the result is eternal, blissful life."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila 1:56

"The transcendental rasas, or relationships, can be divided into five. The initial stage is called santa-rati, wherein one who is liberated from material contamination appreciates the greatness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who attains this stage does not exactly engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, for this is a neutral stage. In the second stage, which is called dasya-rati, a person appreciates his position as being everlastingly subordinate to the Supreme Lord, and he understands that he is eternally dependent on the causeless mercy of the Supreme Person. At that same time there is an awakening of natural affection, such as is felt by a son who grows up and begins to appreciate his father's benedictions. At this stage the living entity wants to serve the Supreme Lord instead of serving maya, illusion. In the third stage, called sakhya-rati, transcendental love is developed, and one associates with the Supreme on an equal level of love and respect. As this stage is further developed, there is joking and such relaxed exchanges as laughing and so on. On this level there are fraternal exchanges with the Supreme Person, and one is free from all bondage. At this stage one practically forgets his inferior position as a living entity, but at the same time he has the greatest respect for the Supreme Person.

In the fourth stage, called vatsalya-rati, the fraternal affection evinced in the preceding stage develops into paternal affection. At this time the living entity tries to be the parent of God. Instead of worshiping the Lord, the living entity, as a parent of the Supreme, becomes an object of worship for the Supreme Person. At this stage the Lord depends on the mercy of His pure devotee and puts Himself under the control of the devotee to be raised. The devotee in this stage attains the position wherein he can embrace the Supreme Lord and even kiss His head. In the fifth stage, called madhura-rati, there is an actual transcendental exchange of conjugal love between the lover and the beloved. It is at this stage that Krsna and the damsels of Vraja glanced at one another, for on this platform there is an exchange of loving glances, motions of the eyes, pleasant words, attractive smiles, etc.

Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 1

"There are five principal rasas: santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, madhurya. Here also, the same rasas are here, santa, dasya. Just like I am sitting in this comfortable seat. This is santa, santa-rasa. The throne is giving me service in silence. This is called santa-rasa. Above this, somebody is giving me flower, sandalwood. This is called dasya-rasa, serving. ....Than, again develop, sakhya-rasa, more intimate, friendly. Then vatsalya-rasa, more intimate. Just like the parental affection. And more intimate, conjugal love. Just like young boy, young girl, try to love one another. So these rasas are there. Vrndavana, Krsna is in love with the gopis. He is playing with friends, cowherd boys. His affectionate mother Yasoda, feeding Him, and there are servants also, serving Krsna. And the trees, the water, the flowers, they are serving silently. Panca-mukhya-rasa, five chief mellows, humors. The same thing is here also. Here also the santa-rasa, sakhya-rasa, dasya-rasa is there. But that is mixed with material cranks (grains?). Just like sweet rice. Sweet rice is very nice, but if it is mixed with some grains of sand, just imagine.

Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 06-16-72, Los Angeles

"These mellows cannot be compared to the feelings one derives from demigod worship. Krsna is one, but the demigods are different. They are material. Love for Krsna cannot be compared to material love for different demigods. Because Mayavadis are on the material platform, they recommend the worship of Siva or Durga and say that worship of Kali and Krsna are the same. However, on the spiritual platform there is no demigod worship. The only worshipable object is Krsna. Therefore although there is no difference between a devotee in santa-rasa or dasya-rasa, vatsalya-rasa or madhurya-rasa, one can still make a comparative study of the intensity of love in these different transcendental positions. For example, it may be said that dasya-rasa is better than santa-rasa, yet transcendental love of God is there in both of them. Similarly, we can judge that love of Godhead in fraternity is better than love of Godhead in neutrality and servitorship. Similarly, love of Godhead in paternal affection is better than love in fraternity. And, as stated before, love of God in the conjugal rasa is superior to that in the paternal rasa."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Madyam lila 8:83
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

Santa-rasa - Neutrality

Dasya-rasa - Servitorship

Sakhya-rasa - Friendship

Vatsalya-rasa - Parental Affection

Madhurya-rasa - Conjugal Love