"The lovely-browed girls of Vraja are not so astonishing! They are transcendental; their minds and bodies are made for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure only! These girlfriends, that are equal to Śrī Radhika, are the pleasure potency (hlādinī śakti) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is like the moon for the lily-like gopīs. The essence of this potency is prema, love of God, which is comparable to a vine. This love is personified by Śrī Radha and they are the sprouts, leaves and flowers of this vine. When this love-vine is sprinkled by the nectar of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes, they become a hundred times happier than if they would be sprinkled themselves! This is not so astonishing!"
This verse seems to interrupt the flow of the aṣṭakāliya līlā. Does this discussion really take place or does the author just want to teach something here?"
Advaitadas: "Obviously the author wants to teach something here. It is not compulsory to read every verse of Govinda Līlāmṛta. Those who are well informed of the above facts can skip this verse if it interrupts their smaraṇa, and not only this one but any other verse that may not suit the feeling they wish to cultivate (within the parameters of good taste and sound morality and doctrine of course). Obviously the author here puts words in Nāndīmukhī's mouth. The truth is of course objective - in the Bhāgavata too, a verse may be spoken by Prahlād, Bhīṣma or Nārada, it doesn't matter so much - the teaching itself is what matters. It is universal and objective. In Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadas Kavirāja often quotes his own Govinda Līlāmṛta, putting such verses in the mouths of Mahāprabhu or the Goswāmīs, whereas the book was written nearly a century after Mahāprabhu's manifest pastimes. Of course, that does not mean that these teachings do not originate from Mahāprabhu - hṛdi yasya preranayā. Returning to the verses under discussion here, actually Govinda Līlāmṛta and related śāstras, like all the Mañjarī-booklets, are supposed to be read after deeply studying Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu and Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi, so that one has sound knowledge of rasa and bhāva. Often that proper sequence is not followed (sadly I didn't follow it either). One needs to study in sequence - first primary school, then high school and then college."
Bhakta: "Why is Kṛṣṇa blue?"
Advaitadas: anādir ādir govinda (Brahma Saṁhitā 5.1) - Kṛṣṇa has no beginning and where there is no beginning there is also no cause. The colour Śyāma, a deep indigo colour, is the most attractive colour and that, among others, makes Kṛṣṇa the Supreme God, as Rūpa Goswāmī has said: rasenotkṛśyate kṛṣṇam. In our Sampradāya God is supreme according to attractiveness."
Bhakta: "Why does Rādhā like Kṛṣṇa's Guñjā-Mālā?"
Advaitadas: "There is a sense of non-difference between Kṛṣṇa and His apparel. Devotees are named Pītāmbar Dās, Śikhi Puccha Dās or Maṇihār Dās. Why? Why be a servant of a yellow cloth, peacock feather or jewel necklace? Because these items are so connected with Kṛṣṇa that they are identified with Him personally. Earlier I have pointed out the insanity of dressing Kṛṣṇa up in bluejeans with a cellphone etc. See various blogs I made in June, 2006."
Bhakta: "If Kṛṣṇa needs the love of the gopīs, how can He be ātmārāma?"
Advaitadas: 'It is an inconceivable thing, but we must accept the verdict of the Bhāgavat and the commentators in it. ātmārāmo'pi līlayā (SB 10.33.20) 'Although Kṛṣṇa is ātmārāma (self-delighted) He still enjoyed loving pastimes with the gopīs.' Why? Lord Nārāyan tells Ambarīṣa Mahārāj: nāham ātmānam āśāśe mad bhaktair sādhubhir vinā (SB 9.4.64) 'I do not covet Myself without the saints who are My devotees', meaning: mat svarūpa-bhūtānandād api mad bhakta-svarūpānando'ti spṛhanīya (Viśvanātha ṭīkā) 'I yearn more for the bliss derived from My devotees than for My personal bliss-potency (internal potency)." The essence of the hlādini śakti (pleasure potency) is prema and that is more pleasing to Kṛṣṇa than His own eternal innate bliss-potency."
Bhakta: "There are quite a few Vaiṣṇava groups who discourage rāgānugā bhakti, līlā smaraṇam and gopī-bhāva."
Advaitadas: "Yes, I opposed such discouragement for years but disappointing experiences with both myself and others have caused me to soften my stance. I see it differently now - there is a scriptural truth and there is a practical truth about adhikāra for rāgānugā bhakti. From the purely scriptural point of view the discouragers may seem wrong but from the practical point of view they are bloody well right. It is sad but true. If, in the past few centuries, the rāgānugā doctrine was so badly abused in Bengal, which is after all a region of pious India, then what to speak of trying to introduce the rāgānugā-for-all doctrine in the lewd west? It is not an exaggeration to say that of the hundreds of westerners I have seen coming to Rādhākund in the last 30 years, aspiring to perform rāgānugā sādhana, just a handful of them are still practising anything at all now, and of those who have remained some preach disturbingly controversial things. Quite appalling. So 'practical truth' means 'yes, only lobha may be the gateway to rāgānugā bhakti, but better first become a pure devotee on the niṣṭhā or ruci level anyway, for the obvious reasons that the last 30 years have sadly shown us. 'lobha' has mostly turned out to be some fleeting sentiment or intellectual curiosity rather than something substantial. On top of it, some preach that in rāgānugā bhakti one does not follow the rules so strictly - making matters infinitely worse if your audience consists of American and European hippies. The 1-2% of sincere aspirants may ignore this sermon, of course, but they are exceptions rather than the rule. See my blogs of January 12, 13 and 26 (part 2), 2006 and June 16, 17, 19, 20, 22 and 23, 2006."