Lectures by Srila Ananta das Babaji, December 2016

The following links are translations of Gurudeva’s Katha on  “Caitanyastakam” (of Srila Rupa Goswami from his “Stavamala”) during Param Gurudeva’s Tirobhava Mahotsava 2016

December 1st to December 10th 2016












Thank you Sakhi Shiromani Didi

Siddha Śrī Kṛṣṇa dāsa Bābā’s description of Śrī Janmāṣṭamī līlā

Śrī Janmāṣṭamī Līlā

Kṛṣṇa’s birthday festival takes place on the eighth day of the dark lunar quarter of the month of Bhādra, corresponding with the month of August, sometimes September. Siddha Śrī Kṛṣṇa dāsa Bābājī here narrates both the celebration in Navadvīpa in Gaura-līlā and the celebration in Vraja in Kṛṣṇa-līlā.

On the first day of the dark lunar quarter of the month of Bhādra an orchestra (playing different drums as well as wind-instruments like Śānāi) sits down in Nanda Mahārāja’s house and starts playing auspicious music. From that day on until the sixth day (ṣaṣṭhī) arrangements are being made to beautify the palace of Nanda Mahārāja and the whole village of Nandīśvara. A wonderful canopy adorned with jewelled strings is hung over the courtyard, each door and gate is flanked by banana-trees and jugs filled with mangoes and flags are flapping here and there. The houses of all the citizens and all the marketplaces are also beautified like this. The royal roads and all the other pathways are sprinkled with fragrant water. Visitors cannot understand in which home the great festival is going on.

In the evening of the sixth lunar day Śrī Nanda Mahārāja sends his invitations  – to the men through Śrī Subhadra (the cousin of Kṛṣṇa and the husband of Kundalatā) and to the women through Dhaniṣṭhā (the daughter of one of Kṛṣṇa’s wet-nurses). Śrī Subhadrajī first goes to Vṛṣabhānupura, or Varsānā, and tells Mahārāja Vṛṣabhānu: “The day after tomorrow is Kṛṣṇa’s birthday, and on this occasion Śrī Nanda Mahārāja has invited you, saying: “This abode is yours, enjoy it as if it’s yours, I don’t know anything (in terms of ‘yours’ and ‘mine’)! Please come tomorrow morning to Nandīśvara and make this invitation a success!” In the same way Dhātrī-kanyā Dhaniṣṭhā extends Mother Yaśodā’s invitation to Mother Kīrtidā. The same kind of invitation is announced in Yāvaṭa (the abode of Abhimanyu, Śrī Rādhikā’s husband) and to all other friends and relatives.

(On saptamī, aṣṭamī and navamī, that is, on Janmāṣṭamī and the preceding and following days, Kṛṣṇa does not go out to herd the cows and Śrī Rādhikā dwells in Nandagrāma). Continue reading

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi, verse 13


O Queen of Vṛndāvana! When Madhupati (Kṛṣṇa, the rasika bee) holds Your most cooling lotus-feet, which are filled with the honey of nectarine love taste, to His heart He extinguishes the terrible fire of His desire. I take shelter of these feet!


Commentary: Śrīpāda suffers of separation from Svāminī and humbly prays:
“O Svāmini! Cast Your favorable glance on Your lowly maidservant!”

One may ask: “Svāminī’s compassion is unlimited, how can She stay at ease while Her maidservant suffers so much?”
The answer to this question is:
One must experience separation in order to increase the happiness of union.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī teaches us:

na vinā vipralambhena sambhoga puṣṭim aśnute
kāṣāyite hi vastrādau bhūyan rāgo vivardhate
(Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi, Śṛṅgāra bheda)

“Just as one can remove the dirt from a cloth with alkali and thus can not only give it its original color back, but can even make its color brighter than it was before washing it, so also one cannot nourish the experience of meeting without first feeling separation.”
(The word rāga means both ‘colour’ and ‘love’, Ed.) Continue reading

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi, verse 12



When will the auspicious glance of the young goddess of the bower-cottage of Vṛndāvana, Whose restless eyes are swaying on the waves of the swelling ocean of rasa, Kṛṣṇa’s limbs, fall on me?


Commentary: By Śrīmatī’s grace Śrīpāda now sees another transcendental picture: He sees Śrī Rādhā passionate¬ly going out to meet Kṛṣṇa in some bowerhouse at noontime. This love-journey is really astonis¬hing: On one hand She is eager to meet Kṛṣṇa, on the other hand She’s afraid, and the course of Her journey is also very difficult. People say that love has a tender taste and has an amazing power!

mātha hi tapana, tapata patha bāluka,
ātapa dahana vithāra
nonika putali tanu, caraṇa kamala janu,
hari hari! premaka gati anivāra!
kānu paraśa rase, paravaśa rasavati,
vichurala sakala vicāra

“The sun shines on the head and burns the sand on the road, spreading itself in the sky like a burning canopy. Her body is as soft as butter and Her feet are as tender as lotus-flowers. Hari! Hari! The course of love cannot be stopped! This amorous girl gives up all considerations, desiring to be touched by Kṛṣṇa!”

Śrīmatī conquers all obstacles because Her desire to serve Kṛṣṇa is so strong, and so She easily reaches the trysting bower. When eager Śyāma sees Rādhā’s moon-like face in the bower He becomes most happy. That moon causes waves of beauty to swell on the matchless ocean of sweetness that is Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the very form of all nectarean spiritual flavours. The Upaniṣads say: raso vai sah “God is taste” and ānandaṁ brahma “God is bliss”. A devotee can relish Kṛṣṇa’s sweetness according to the amount of love he has for Him, and Rādhā has the greatest love for Him, so She can also relish His sweetness to the utmost. Seeing Kṛṣṇa’s sweet, beautiful smile and His playful eyebrows, Śrīmatī is agitated with feelings of love for Him. How many sweet plays the glances of Vilāsinī maṇi’s eyes manifest! Her eyes are like fishes that swim in the waves of the ocean of Nāgara rāja’s beauty. How many beautiful pictures can She draw in Kṛṣṇa’s heart with Her eyes!

Instead of prema lola vilocanāya, Śrīpāda writes praṇaya lola vilocanāya, because when the love becomes very great the lover considers the beloved’s body, mind and heart to be non-different from his own body, mind and heart. (Such is the definition of the word praṇaya) Today Nāgarī-maṇi (Rādhā, the jewel of lady-loves) is very generous, She has given up Her usual unsubmissive mood and allowed Her gallant to control Her. Her eyes are restless out of love. How many amorous moods She shows with that fickleness! With Her eyes She offers an oblation of love to Her lover. How beautifully She walks, sits and uses Her face and eyes, arousing amorous desires in Her lover! The maidservant understands that Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s love play is imminent, so she goes out of the kuñja. How beautiful is the yugala vilāsa! The fortunate maidservant can watch it through the latticed windows of the bowerhouse. When the love play is over, the maidservant comes inside the kuñja and sees Śrīmati sitting on the love bed. It is as if streams of sweetness are gushing from Her limbs. Nāgara is enchanted. Through Śyāmasundara, the maidservant experiences that Śrīmatī looks like the young presiding goddess of the kuñja. The sweetness of Her limbs illuminates the kuñja. The enchanted Nāgara insatiably relishes the sweetness of Śrīmatī’s form.

In his sādhaka consciousness, Śrīpāda humbly prays: “When will the favorable glance (puṇya dṛṣṭi) of Śrī Rādhā fall on me?” The word puṇya can mean ‘beautiful’, ‘favorable’ or ‘auspicious’. “When will She redeem me from my wretched condition and take me to Her auspicious kingdom of transcendental pastimes?”

sukhamoy vṛndāvane, naola nikuñjavane,
kunjeśvarī kṛṣṇa priyatamā
rasābdhi taraṅga sama, dṛṣṭibhaṅgi manorama,
praṇaya cancala vilocanā.

sei līlāmayī devī, puṇyadṛṣṭi mora prati,
koribe ki karuṇā svabhāve
deha mana indriyādi, prema sevā upayogi,
hoibe ki dāsīpada lābhe

“When will this playful goddess, the bowergoddess of blissful Vṛndāvana’s fresh bowerhouses, Kṛṣṇa’s Beloved, Who is naturally full of compassion, cast a favorable glance at me that is like a wave on the ocean of rasa, with Her loving restless beautiful eyes? When will I become qualified for Her loving service as a maidservant, with body, mind and senses? ”

eteko lālasā mone, mad īśvarī śrī caraṇe,
kṛpāmayi koro avadhāna
bhaṇe śrī prabodhānanda, ohe bhānu kulacanda,
kṛpā vinu gati nāhi āna

“This is the desire on my mind: O my merciful goddess! Please hear my prayer at Your beautiful lotus-feet! Śrī Prabodhānanda says: O moon of king Vṛṣabhānu’s dynasty! I have no other shelter but You!”

The mercy of the Lord completely erases the candidate’s unworthiness.

The vine of devotion, which Śrīman Mahāprabhu gave to the people of the world, yields the fruit of brilliant rasa, the amorous love of Vraja, particularly the rasa of the most confidential personal service of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, named mañjarī-bhāva-sādhanā.

This great gift was not given before by any other descension of God; even the wise men who were experts in devotion to God did not know this secret fruit of the vine of devotion. They used to practice vaidhi-bhakti, regulated devotion to God, out of fear and respect for the Supreme Lord, and even if there were any rāga-bhaktas in the Vraja-bhāva before Mahāprabhu’s descension, they all would be serving Kṛṣṇa in the mood of a servant or a friend. Nobody knew the secret of the sweet devotional love of the gopīs for Kṛṣṇa, what to speak of the topmost mādana-mahā-bhāva of Śrī Rādhā, the crown jewel of all the gopīs!
The wish-yielding vine of devotion revealed by Mahāprabhu was also hidden in the Vedas.

In the pre-Caitanya era there was a cult of sakhī-bhāva (love for Kṛṣṇa as a participating amorous consort) preached by great devotees like the poet Jayadeva, Caṇḍīdāsa, Vidyāpati, Bilvamaṅgala and others, but the mañjarī-bhāva-sādhanā, the personal and exclusive service of Śrī Rādhā, was a new gift, introduced by Śrī Gaurasundara and the ācāryas who took shelter of His lotus feet.
The seed of this vine of devotion is given by a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava saint or guru and it is sprinkled by the water of hearing, chanting and remembering, so that the vine will ultimately bear the ripened, delicious fruits of rādhā-dāsya-bhāva.

One may ask now: “Why did Śrīman Mahāprabhu reveal this confidential bhakti-kalpalatā, which is not perceived even by the great sages or the Vedas, to the degraded and sinful people of the present age of Kali (quarrel)?
The plain reason is that Śrīman Mahāprabhu is the fully independent and most merciful descension of God, therefore it is said here: kṛpālus tāṁ gauḍe prabhur ati kṛpābhiḥ prakaṭayan.
“The completely independent and capable Śrīman Mahāprabhu has most mercifully revealed this in Bengal.”
The mercy of the Lord completely erases the candidate’s unworthiness. The kṛpā-sakti (power of compassion) is the crown jewel of all the Lord’s innate potencies and makes Him truly worthy of the title Bhagavān, the Qualified One.

Srila Ananta das Babaji

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi, verse 11



When will that Rādhikā, Who is recognisable amongst the gopīs by the effulgence coming from the moonstone like toenails on Her lotus-feet, and Who is the very form of the essence of rasa and full passion, ever bestow Her mercy upon Me?


 Commentary: Once more Śrīpāda becomes aware of Kṛṣṇa’s Vāsantī Rāsa, His vernal Rāsa līlā. Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs stand in a circle, gopī kṛṣṇa gopī kṛṣṇa. Their effulgence is illuminating Śrī Vṛndāvana. Śrī Śuka Muni, the speaker of Śrīmad Bhāgavata, was enchanted by this beauty and said:

tatrāti śuśubhe tābhir  bhagavān devakī sutaḥ
madhye maṇīnāṁ haimānāṁ  mahā marakato yathā
(Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.33.6)

            “Lord Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devaki, looked very beautiful between the gopīs, exactly like an emerald locket in a necklace of jewels and gold.” How sweetly the gopīs are dancing!

pāda nyāsair bhuja vidhutibhiḥ sasmitair bhrū vilāsair
bhajyan madhyaiś cala kucapaṭaiḥ kuṇḍalair gaṇḍa lolaiḥ
svidyan mukhyaḥ kavara rasanā granthayaḥ kṛṣṇa-vadhvo
gāyantas taṁ taḍita iva tā megha-cakre virejuḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.33.8)

“With their playful steps, the motions of their hands, the playful movement of their eyebrows, accompanied with graceful smiles, bending waists, shaking breasts and the fluttering skirts of their garments, earrings swinging against their cheeks, perspiring faces, and their braids and girdle loosened (because of their swift movement) and singing Kṛṣṇa’s glories, the gopīs, who are Kṛṣṇa’s actual brides, shone brightly like flashes of lightning in a mass of clouds.”

maṇḍalībandhe gopīgaṇa korena nartana;
madhye rādhā saha nāce vrajendranandana
(Caitanya Caritāmṛta)

            “The gopīs danced in a circle and the prince of Vraja danced with Rādhā in the middle of that circle”  Śrīpāda, in his form of a kiṅkarī, sees how wonderfully sweet is Rādhā’s artful dancing and he (she) keeps his glance completely fixed on Her lotus-feet, that shine like freshly blooming red lotus-flowers, of which each toe is a petal and each toenail shines like a moonstone. Śrīpāda is enchanted by this vision. How sweet is the jingling of Rādhā’s jewelled anklebells and how wonderful Her jewel like toenails shine with them! We have seen the thundering lightning dazzling in our eyes and causing our hearts to tremble with terror, but the lightning like dazzling of Rādhikā’s toenails, that tremble along like thundering lightning-vines while Her anklebells jingle along, pleases our eyes and makes our hearts play in the wonderful waves of blissful rasa. In this way the maidservants experience that Śrī Rādhā is the very form of an ocean of the essence of the rasa of anurāga. When the ocean of anurāga swells because ever new waves of bhāva come up in it it is called mahābhāva and Śrī Rādhā is the personification of that mahābhāva. What to speak of Rādhikā’s other limbs, the maidservants are already enchanted by the trembling of Her sweet jewel like toenails, that outshine the effulgence of all the other gopīs, that dance around Her in the great circle of the Rāsa dance! Therefore Śrīpāda says: “I see the wonderful trembling of Rādhā’s toenails shining amongst the gopīs.” There is also another explanation of this verse possible: In the previous verse Kṛṣṇa anxiously fell at Rādhā’s feet in the presence of Her maidservants and prayed to Her for the festival of just one of Her embraces. At that time Kṛṣṇa’s form, which is the essence of the ocean of anurāga rasa, became beautifully reflected tenfold on Rādhikā’s ten jewel-like toenails, much to the pleasure of the sakhīs and manjarīs’ eyes. Kṛṣṇa is called the essence of the ocean of anurāga rasa because it is this passion (anurāga) with which He anxiously prays to Rādhikā for a festival of embraces. That is visible on His face, in His eyes and on each of His limbs. The sakhīs and manjarīs see Him as love of Rādhikā personified. His desires are not fulfilled by falling at Rādhikā’s feet alone, so He divides Himself in ten to take shelter of Her feet in this way! Another definition of anurāga is given in ‘Ujjvala Nilamaṇi’:

sadānubhūtam api yaḥ  kuryan nava nava priyam
rāgo bhavan navanavaḥ so’nurāga itīryate

            “That love which makes one experience the beloved as being ever-fresh and which is itself also fresh at every moment, is called anurāga.” In the stage of anurāga the increase of desire is so strong that the forms and qualities of the beloved appear as ever fresh at every moment. One can measure one’s taste by one’s thirst. A person who has no thirst will not even enjoy drinking an ocean of nectar. How much desire Kṛṣṇa shows for attaining one single embrace of Śrīmati’s! Anurāga causes the lover and beloved to control Each other* and therefore Kṛṣṇa can justly be called ‘the ocean of the essence of anurāga rasa’, because He is controlled by Śrīmatī’s love to the utmost! Suddenly the transcendental vision disappears and Śrīpāda, returning to his sādhaka level, humbly prays: sā rādhikā mayi kadāpi kṛpāṁ karotu  – “Will that Rādhikā ever give me Her mercy?”

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi, verse 10



O Śrī Rādhike! O jewel of play! When will I see You frowning Your eyebrows and hear You saying “no no!” (although You are actually very happy) when Kṛṣṇa, the best of lovers, falls at Your feet and begs You for a delicious festival of embraces?

Commentary: Śrīpāda returns to his siddha svarūpa. The more intense the transcendental vision is, the sweeter it is. There is no way to put such visions into words, only experienced devotees can understand that. By Śrīmatī’s grace, anxious Śrīpāda becomes conscious of another sweet pastime. He sees Śrīmatī eagerly hurrying to a forestbower to meet Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa has not yet arrived on that appointed place yet. Just to please Kṛṣṇa Rādhikā begins to decorate the place, being sure that He will come soon. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in ‘Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi’ (Nāyikā-bheda Prakaraṇa):

sva vāsaka vaśāt kānte sameṣyati nijaṁ vapuḥ
sajjīkaroti gehaṁ ca yā sā vāsaka sajjikā
ceṣṭā cāsyāḥ smara-krīḍā saṅkalpo vartma vīkṣaṇam
sakhī vinoda vārtā ca muhur dūtīkṣaṇādayaḥ

“The girl who goes out to meet Her lover and who decorates Her house (or bower) and Her body before He arrives, is called vāsaka sajjikā. She plans to have amorous plays with Him, looks down the road for Him to come, speaks about nice things with Her girlfriends and constantly looks out for Her messenger girls to return.”

The poet Vidyāpati colorfully describes how Śrīmatī plans the amorous play in the following way: “When He comes on My yard, I will slightly smile at Him. When He enthusiastically grabs Me, I will try My best to escape. When He tries to pull at My bodice, I will push His hands away and look at Him in a squinted way, and when He tries to approach Me, I will turn My head away and say: “No! No!” In this way many hundreds of waves of naughty plans flow in Śrīmatī’s heart, which is filled with passionate love for Kṛṣṇa. Śrīpāda, in his kiṅkarī form, is engaged in Śrīmatī’s service. The jewel of lovers arrives in the bower and seeing Him, Śrīmatī angrily gets up to go back home, chastising Her kiṅkarī with Her glances: “Why did you bring Me here? Quickly take Me back home!” Attracted to Śrīmatī’s sweetness Kṛṣṇa pulls at the edge of Her sārī, but Śrīmatī tugs back and says: “Leave it! Don’t touch Me! I’m a chaste housewife!”

Her face is illuminated with a slight, sweet smile mixed with feigned anger. How beautifully Her sweetness swells up! Kṛṣṇa, who is the very form of transcendental bliss, becomes obsessed with desire for union with Her. All Her activities are caused by Her mahā-bhāva, that’s why rasika śekhara is so enchanted. Śrīmat Rūpa Gosvāmī has defined a bold ladylove as follows in his ‘Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi’: bhūri bhāvodgamābhijṣṇ rasenākrānta vallabhā – “She is expert in showing strong emotions and she attacks her lover with rasa.”

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī writes in his Locana Rocanī commentary on this verse that rasa means the flavour of pure, selfless love. Her activities are only meant to please Kṛṣṇa.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the jewel of lovers, is so overwhelmed by the sweetness of Rādhā’s moods that He anxiously falls at Her feet and prays to Her for just one festival like embrace. This causes many more rasika feelings to arise in Śrīmatī’s heart, and these moods come out through Her beautiful face and Her beautiful eyes. Nevertheless She stubbornly says “No, no!”, enchanting Her lover with the sweet movements of Her eyebrows. Actually these gestures are only Her pretenses. She would actually feel very happy if Kṛṣṇa would touch Her and enjoy Her. Śrīpāda, as a kiṅkarī, knows this and calls Her therefore raṅganidhi, an ocean of playfulness. Openly Svāminī says “no! no!”, but in Her heart She says: “Yes, yes!” There is no “no” within that “no”, it is as if a “yes” has swallowed the “no”. She who is worshipping Kṛṣṇa is named Rādhikā. No other beautiful girl of Vraja can worship and enchant Kṛṣṇa as sweetly as She can, therefore She alone is named Rādhikā in Vraja, nobody else, and therefore Śrīpāda addresses Her in this verse as Śrī Rādhikā. Then Śrīpāda’s transcendental vision stops and He eagerly prays: “Ha Śrī Rādhike! When can I see these sweet gestures of Yours and when can I hear You say “no! no!” to Your lover when He starts to embrace You?”

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi, verse 9


O Mind! Leave all great things (or persons) far from you and go to Vṛndāvana with love, for there is a divine jewel, a nectar-stream of good moods named Rādhā there, Who redeems the sincere souls!


Commentary: Transcendental greed is the very life-force of rāga-bhakti. When a devotee becomes greedy after the pure loving mood of the eternally perfect associates of Kṛṣṇa in Vraja, he enters into the field of rāgānugā bhakti. When a materialistic person becomes greedy he becomes like mad and he forgets his body and everything related to it while searching for his wanted object. This is mundane greed. But that greed which appears in the heart at one moment and disappears again the next moment cannot be called real greed. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda writes in his ‘Rāga Vartma Candrikā’: atiśayena pravṛttiḥ syāt yathā kāmārthinaṁ kāmopāyeṣu – “The rāgānugā devotee is as absorbed in his desires for devotion as a lusty man is in thinking of the fulfillment of his desires.” Unless there is strong eagerness, the sweetness of rāga bhajana cannot be understood. The devotee always thinks: “When will I get the service of my Beloved?” This eagerness is the life-force of raga-practise. Continue reading

Deep Loving Thirst

A spiritual vision saves the life of a devotee who feels separation from the Divine Couple, and when there is any delay in that vision it becomes very difficult to tolerate the resultant misery.
The stories we hear in the confidential rāgānuga Vaiṣṇava history about Rūpa Gosvāmī’s strong yearning for Rādhā and Mādhava’s service and darśana are extraordinary, and they are an example that should be followed by all the rasika rāgānugā-devotees of the world. When aspirants discuss the topics of Śrīla Rūpa’s extraordinary ecstatic behavior the light on the path of rāga bhakti will shine for them, and when they meditate on this eager kind of devotion-in-separation they can also develop this transcendental yearning for the intimate love of Vraja within their hearts.

The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas worship in a spontaneous mood, not in a formal mood. To have a natural, deep loving thirst for the Lord is called rāga, and that rāga, that loving thirst creates the greatest absorption in God-consciousness. This passionate devotion is called rāgātmikā bhakti, according to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī:

iṣṭe svārasikī rāgaḥ paramāviṣṭatā bhavet
tanmayī yā bhaved bhaktiḥ sātra rāgātmikoditā
(Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.272)

iṣṭe gāḍha tṛṣṇā ‘rāgera’ – svarūpa lakṣaṇa;
iṣṭe ‘āviṣṭatā’ – taṭa-stha lakṣaṇa kathana
(Caitanya Caritāmṛta)

“The primary symptom of rāga bhakti is a deep thirst for the beloved Lord, and a marginal symptom is complete absorption in God-consciousness.” With ‘deep thirst’ is meant the intense and pure desire to make the Lord happy with one’s service; this is the main characteristic. The result of this strong desire is the complete absorption in God-consciousness. This is the marginal characteristic of rāga bhakti.

ākṛti prakṛti dui svarūpa lakṣaṇa;
kārya dvārā jñāna ei taṭastha lakṣaṇa

“Each thing can be recognized through its svarūpa lakṣaṇa and its taṭastha lakṣaṇa. The svarūpa lakṣaṇa is the shape and nature of the object and the external activities and symptoms are its taṭastha lakṣaṇa.”

Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī writes in Bhakti Sandarbha (310):
tatra viṣayinaḥ svābhāviko viṣaya saṁsar¬gecchātiśaya-mayaḥ premā rāgaḥ. yathā cakṣurādīnāṁ saundaryādau tādṛśa evātra bhaktasya bhagavatya api rāga ity ucyate
– “A materialist is naturally very fond of contacting his beloved sense-objects, and this is normally called rāga, or passion. Just as the eyes are naturally attracted to seeing beautiful objects, and they don’t have to be encouraged in this attraction, the devotee is also naturally attracted to the Lord. Such a ‘thirsty’ (eager) love is called rāga, and devotees who are endowed with such natural love are called rāgātmikā- devotees”.
Caitanya Caritāmṛta says:

rāgātmikā bhakti mukhyā vrajavāsī jane;
tāra anugatā bhakti rāgānugā nāme

“The main rāgātmikā- devotees are the inhabitants of Vraja, and devotion in their wake is called ‘rāgānugā bhakti’.” Śrīla Rūpa and Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī are the rāgātmikā Vraja-devotees that are followed by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Rāgānugā bhakti means to hear about their expert and anxious loving devotional service from the scriptures and from the mouths of the great devotees.

Srila Ananta das Babaji

Snippets Of Nectar

The desire to serve in one’s siddha deha in the wake of the gopīs’ feelings will remove the hardness from the heart and cause it to melt. Just as hunger helps one enjoying one’s dishes, similarly the desire to serve in the wake of the feelings of the kiṅkarīs helps one to relish the sweetness of Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava’s pastimes. Those who desire to serve in the wake of a particular feeling can relish the sweetness of transcendental pastimes. Those who do not see to that and just perform smaraṇa according to the prescribed rules can not relish the sweetness of these transcendental pastimes in this way. The aspirant should therefore, in his mentally conceived siddha deha, follow in the footsteps of a particular gopī who is eternally engaged in the loving service of the Yugala Kiśora. If there is any trouble for a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava in following in the wake of the feelings of the eternal rādhā-snehādhikā-maidservants like Śrīmatī Rūpa or Rati Mañjarī, and one is unable to clearly perceive one’s siddha seha, or to vividly remember the līlās, it is better not to over-endeavour in līlā-smaraṇa. Instead one may find great help in hearing about these pastimes from the mouths of the mahā bhāgava¬tas (great devotees), following in the footsteps of the gopīs in one’s meditations, reading books that describe and glorify the love of the gopīs and ardently praying for the attainment of gopī bhāva. Especially ardent prayer is very helpful for entering into līlā smaraṇa.

The bhajana of a sādhaka should be that natural. At first the sādhaka should endeavour to perform sāsaṅga bhajana (worship with attachment to the Lord), depending on the eternality of bhajana, but later their bhajana will become natural. Bhagavad-bhajana is not an activity of the material body’s senses and mind. By the grace of Śrī Guru, Vaiṣṇava and Śrī Bhagavān the conditioned soul becomes favorable to bhagavad-bhajana, and he becomes able to do so when, by the will of the Lord, his mundane mind, body and senses become identical with the Lord’s innate energy (svarūpa śakti). The name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord can not be heard, glorified or remembered by material senses of a human being. When the senses of the conditioned soul become favorable to bhagavad bhajana they become identical with the Lord’s innate energy and thus become able to perform bhajana in the form of hearing, chanting and remembering. As a result of constantly performing sādhana bhajana the mind and senses of the sādhaka become purified and their natural attachment to sense objects disappear. When attachment to the Lord thus awakens bhajana becomes natural. Gradually rati appears in the heart of the sādhaka and takes him along into the kingdom of transcendental visions. When prema appears even this preceding bliss (of the stage of rati) cannot be attained anymore in visions. Then the senses of the sādhaka become extremely eager to have the direct vision of the Lord and to render direct service to Him for His pleasure.

Srila Ananta das Babaji