If we are attracted to a certain relationship, is our attraction to a certain relationship an indication?
It may or may not be because we are in the conditioned state. We may have a sentiment for a particular form of the Lord or an attraction for a particular relationship with the Lord, but it may not endure. It might be and indication but it might not be.
I’ve had the opportunity to watch babies and children of devotees grow up and quite often – now you know, there is Ramayan series, Mahabharata series, so many DVD series – so they watch them. I’ve seen usually the favorite is Rama. They like the idea of carrying bows and arrows and shooting demons and playing with monkeys. I’ve seen it. And very often parents will get them toy bows and arrows and they play being Rama and when they are with their friends they also play Rama lila. But I wouldn’t say that was an indication of their eternal relationship, that they are Rama bhaktas, but as children they like that idea shooting bows and arrows killing demons and playing with monkeys.
It depends on what it is. I wouldn’t discourage it, but at the same time I wouldn’t necessarily take it too seriously. But once a lady disciple asked Srila Prabhupada, “Does Krishna only have 16,108 queens?”And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Oh, you want to become one of Krishna’s queens? You can pray like that.”
Can we aspire and cultivate a specific relationship?
That is a good question, and that question is answered in scripture. For vaidhi sadhana bhakti, the adhikara or eligibility is shradha, but for raganuga sadhana bhakti the eligibility is lobha which is often translated as greed. And if someone has lobha then he naturally will be inclined to a particular relationship with a particular form of Krishna. So he will be very greedy to hear about Krishna’s pastimes with devotees in that mood. He would be very eager to hear about Krishna’s associates in that rasa and how they serve Him. He would be very eager to know everything – learn everything about it. And he will naturally envision himself in that position. But that happens spontaneously. And all the sastras, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, on down to Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Srila Prabhupada, they all say that until that comes you follow vaidhi sadhana bhakti.
But that appearance of lobha, it’s not that all of a sudden you have an intense lobha, there will be like a little of an awakening of lobha. And so there are descriptions in the sastras, in the books of our acharyas, how to practice when there is a degree of lobha but not full fledged very powerful lobha and it’s sort of a combination of vaidhi sadhana bhakti and raganuga sadhana bhakti. So yes, so even in raganuga sadhana bhakti there are degrees of intensity of lobha, and then there is degrees of advancement in practices – you know, there are more advanced practices and more preliminary practices. Preliminary is mainly hearing – hearing about the lord in those past times with those devotees and hearing about those devotees and their qualities and service and their moods.
So when you talk about cultivation there is quite a range of ways that you can cultivate that mood, but the first would be hearing. First would be hearing with that eagerness. But if that eagerness is not there for a particular relationship with Krishna or service to Krishna, if you’re not eager, then hearing will cleanse your heart and you will be eager. I think there is no harm in hearing.
The main danger is with madhurya rasa because of the resemblance to mundane sex. You can very easily be degraded by thinking of mundane sex. In that respect I would definitely be cautions. But others, vatsalya rasa, madhurya rasa – I think that would be quite harmless. It would be quite nice, matter of fact. Or you know, to be a queen of Dwaraka. But you know, I wouldn’t recommend that – I mean, if you have it in you then that’s something else, but otherwise I would stick to Krishna in Vrindavan. But like what Prabhupada said to that disciple in the early days, “So you want to be a queen of Krishna? You can pray like that.” Well that’s pretty innocent because it’s awe and reverence. We can say madhurya rasa in Dwaraka is like dasya rasa, you know, chaste wife serving husband.
And everything comes from the holy name. Deep chanting. Offenseless chanting. You know, intense focus on the holy name, that brings everything. That reveals Krishna’s form. In a general way we can say nama-rupa-guna-lila, His qualities, His pastimes. But then in that process, if eagerness awakens in you, it will be those particular names of Krishna that relate to that relationship, those particular forms of Krishna.
Krishna has three different ages in Vrindavan. There is kumara, that’s like a young child, baby Bala, then pagoda thats sort of a little older, and then kishori. So it’s described that those in vatsalya rasa who see Krishna as their child, they will tend to see Him in the bala age and stage. And those who are in sakhya rasa who see Him as a friend, an equal friend, they will see Him the pagoda age. And then those who see Him in the mood of madhyrya rasa they will see him kishori age.
So, the holy name, and nama-rupa-guna-lila that form and those qualities and those past times will be revealed to one who has greed for a particular relationship with Krishna in that reciprocal way. As one approaches Krishna, Krishna reciprocates. So if you want Krishna as the impersonal Brahmajyoti, He’ll reveal Himself as impersonal Brahman to you. If you to see him as localized Supersoul, He will reveal himself as Paramatma to you. If you want to see Him as Narayan, He will reveal Himself as Narayan. If you want to see him as Rama, He will reveal Himself as Rama. If you want to see Him as Krishna, He will reveal Himself as Krishna. If you want to see Him as your son, He will reveal Himself as baby Krishna. If you want to see Him as your boyfriend, cowheard boyfriend, He will reveal Himself in pagoda age. If you want to see Him as your lover, he will reveal Himself in kishori age. He will reciprocate with your desire and will reveal Himself accordingly.
But whatever your rasa is, whatever your mood is, you will still read Srimad Bhagavatam, you will still chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, still do all the same things, but the mood will change, and there might be a little shift of emphasis and focus, but otherwise it’s basically the same but just the mood is different. So read the Bhagavad Gita. But you will see meanings in the Bhagavad Gita that you did not see before. “Always think of me.” So, alright, we always think of Krishna, have to chant the holy names of Krishna, but when that mood arises, you will think if Krishna in that mood, in that way in terms of those pastimes with those devotees.