sa na kamayamana nirodha-rupatvat
sa—that devotional service in pure love of God; na—not; kamayamana—like ordinary lust; nirodha—renunciation; rupatvat—because of having as its form.
There is no question of lust in the execution of pure devotional service, because in it all material activities are renounced.
In pure devotional service there is no question of sense gratification. Some people mistake the loving affairs between Krsna and the gopis (cowherd girls) for activities of ordinary sense gratification, but these affairs are not lustful because there is no material contamination. As Rupa Gosvami states in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.285),
“Although the dealings of the gopis with Krsna are wrongly celebrated by many as lust, great sages and saintly persons like Uddhava hanker for such loving affairs with Krsna.” Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, has therefore said,
“As there is a difference between iron and gold, so there is a difference between material lust and Krsna’s loving affairs with the gopis” (Cc. Adi 4.164). Although such loving affairs may sometimes resemble material lust, the difference is as follows:
“The desire to satisfy one’s own senses is called lust, while the desire to satisfy the senses of Krsna is called prema, love of God” (Cc. Adi 4.165).
The impersonalists cannot understand the principle of satisfying Krsna’s senses because they reject the personality of Godhead. Thus they think God has no senses and therefore no sense satisfaction. But the devotees simply want to satisfy the senses of the Supreme Lord, and so they take part in the pure activities of love of Godhead. There is no question of lust in that category of pure transcendental love.
Lust leads to fruitive activity for sense gratification. There are different kinds of duties for the human being, such as political obligations, performance of Vedic rituals, obligations for maintaining the body, and social formalities and conventions, but all such activities are directed toward satisfying one’s own senses. The gopis, however, simply wanted to satisfy Krsna’s senses, and thus they completely gave up the conventional path of social restriction, not caring for their relatives or the chastisement of their husbands. They gave up everything for the satisfaction of Krsna, showing their strong attachment to Krsna to be as spotless as washed white cloth.
It is said that when conjugal affection between a lover and beloved comes to the point of being destroyed and yet is not destroyed, such a relationship is pure love, or prema. In the material world it is not possible to find this kind of love, for it exists only between Krsna and His intimate devotees, such as the gopis. The sentiment between the gopis and Krsna was so strong that it could not be destroyed under any circumstances. Krsna praises the gopis’ pure love in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.32.22):
na paraye ’ham niravadya-samyujam
sva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vah
ya mabhajan durjaya-geha-srnkhalah
samvrscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna
“My dear gopis, I am not able to repay My debt for your spotless service, even within a lifetime of Brahma. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have worshiped Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are difficult to break. Therefore please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation.”
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