Srimad Bhagavatam 01.10.28 - Purification necessary for going to Spiritual World (download mp3)
by Keshav Chandra Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
samarcito hy asya gṛhīta-pāṇibhiḥ
pibanti yāḥ sakhy adharāmṛtaṁ muhur
vraja-striyaḥ sammumuhur yad-āśayāḥ
O friends, just think of His wives, whose hands He has accepted. How they must have undergone vows, baths, fire sacrifices and perfect worship of the Lord of the universe to constantly relish now the nectar from His lips [by kissing]. The damsels of Vrajabhūmi would often faint just by expecting such favors.
Religious rites prescribed in the scriptures are meant to purify the mundane qualities of the conditioned souls to enable them to be gradually promoted to the stage of rendering transcendental service unto the Supreme Lord. Attainment of this stage of pure spiritual life is the highest perfection, and this stage is called svarūpa, or the factual identity of the living being. Liberation means renovation of this stage of svarūpa. In that perfect stage of svarūpa, the living being is established in five phases of loving service, one of which is the stage of mādhurya-rasa, or the humor of conjugal love. The Lord is always perfect in Himself, and thus He has no hankering for Himself. He, however, becomes a master, a friend, a son or a husband to fulfill the intense love of the devotee concerned. Herein two classes of devotees of the Lord are mentioned in the stage of conjugal love. One is svakīya, and the other is parakīya. Both of them are in conjugal love with the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. The queens at Dvārakā were svakīya, or duly married wives, but the damsels of Vraja were young friends of the Lord while He was unmarried. The Lord stayed at Vṛndāvana till the age of sixteen, and His friendly relations with the neighboring girls were in terms of parakīya. These girls, as well as the queens, underwent severe penances by taking vows, bathing and offering sacrifices in the fire, as prescribed in the scriptures. The rites, as they are, are not an end in themselves, nor are fruitive action, culture of knowledge or perfection in mystic powers ends in themselves. They are all means to attain to the highest stage of svarūpa, to render constitutional transcendental service to the Lord. Each and every living being has his individual position in one of the above-mentioned five different kinds of reciprocating means with the Lord, and in one’s pure spiritual form of svarūpa the relation becomes manifest without mundane affinity. The kissing of the Lord, either by His wives or His young girlfriends who aspired to have the Lord as their fiance, is not of any mundane perverted quality. Had such things been mundane, a liberated soul like Śukadeva would not have taken the trouble to relish them, nor would Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu have been inclined to participate in those subjects after renouncing worldly life. The stage is earned after many lives of penance.