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CC Madhya 13.24


tāṅhāra sammati lañā bhakte sukha dite
rathe caḍi’ bāhira haila vihāra karite


tāṅhāra sammati — her permission; lañā — taking; bhakte — the devotees; sukha dite — to please; rathe caḍi’ — riding on the car; bāhira haila — came out; vihāra karite — to perform pastimes.


Having taken permission from the goddess of fortune, the Lord came out to ride on the Ratha car and perform His pastimes for the pleasure of the devotees.


In this connection, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments that as an ideal husband, Lord Jagannātha remained fifteen days in a secluded place with His wife, the supreme goddess of fortune. Nonetheless, the Lord wanted to come out of seclusion to give happiness to His devotees. The Lord enjoys Himself in two ways, known as svakīya and parakīya. The Lord’s conjugal love in the svakīya-rasa relates to the regulative principles observed in Dvārakā, where the Lord has many married queens. But in Vṛndāvana the conjugal love of the Lord is not with His married wives but with His girlfriends, the gopīs. Conjugal love with the gopīs is called parakīya-rasa. Lord Jagannātha leaves the secluded place where He enjoys the company of the supreme goddess of fortune in svakīya-rasa, and He goes to Vṛndāvana, where He enjoys the parakīya-rasa. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura therefore reminds us that the Lord’s pleasure in parakīya-rasa is superior to His pleasure in svakīya-rasa.

In the material world, parakīya-rasa, or loving affairs with unmarried girlfriends, is the most degraded relationship, but in the spiritual world this type of loving affair is considered the supreme enjoyment. In the material world everything is but a reflection of the spiritual world, and that reflection is perverted. We cannot understand the affairs of the spiritual world on the basis of our experience in the material world. The Lord’s pastimes with the gopīs are therefore misunderstood by mundane scholars and word-wranglers. The parakīya-rasa of the spiritual world should not be discussed except by one who is very advanced in pure devotional service. The parakīya-rasa in the spiritual world and that in the material world are not comparable. The former is like gold, and the latter is like iron. Because the difference between the two is so great, they cannot actually be compared. However, just as a knowledgeable person can easily distinguish gold from iron, one who has the proper realization can easily distinguish the transcendental activities of the spiritual world from material activities.