CC Madhya 8.83
taṭa-stha hañā vicārile, āche tara-tama
“It is true that whatever relationship a particular devotee has with the Lord is the best for him; still, when we study all the different methods from a neutral position, we can understand that there are higher and lower degrees of love.
In this regard, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains that this verse does not advocate the whimsical invention of some methods of love of Godhead. Such inventions cannot be accepted as topmost. Indeed, such concoctions are not recommended in these verses. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has said in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.101):
aikāntikī harer bhaktir utpātāyaiva kalpate
He clearly mentions in this verse that one must refer to the Vedic literatures and other, supplementary literatures and follow the conclusion of the Vedas. An invented devotional attitude simply creates disturbances in the transcendental realm. If a person overly addicted to family life takes to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Kṛṣṇa consciousness to earn a livelihood, his activity is certainly offensive. One should not become a caste guru and sell mantras for the benefit of mundane customers, nor should one make disciples for a livelihood. All these activities are offensive. One should not make a livelihood by forming a professional band to carry out congregational chanting, nor should one perform devotional service when one is attached to mundane society, friendship and love. Nor should one be dependent on so-called social etiquette. All of this is mental speculation. None of these things can be compared to unalloyed devotional service. No one can compare unalloyed devotional service, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, to mundane activities. There are many unauthorized parties pretending to belong to the Śrī Caitanya cult, and some are known as āula, bāula, kartābhajā, neḍā, daraveśa, sāṅi, sahajiyā sakhībhekī, smārta, jāta-gosāñi, ativāḍī, cūḍādhārī and gaurāṅga-nāgarī.
Moreover, there are those who take the caste gosvāmīs’ opinions of such parties as bona fide, comparing these opinions to those of the six Gosvāmīs, headed by Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātana. This is simply another cheating process. There are also nondevotees who compose unauthorized songs, who establish different temples for money, who worship the Deity as priests for salaries, who accept caste brahmanism as all in all, and who do not know the value of a pure Vaiṣṇava. Actually the caste brāhmaṇas of the smārta community are opposed to the principles of the Sātvata-pañcarātra. Furthermore, there are many Māyāvādīs and those overly addicted to material sense enjoyment. None of these can be compared to a person who is purely engaged in preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Every Kṛṣṇa conscious person is constantly endeavoring to utilize different transcendental devices in the service of the Lord. Such a devotee renounces all material enjoyment and completely dedicates himself to the service of his spiritual master and Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He may be a perfect celibate, a restrained householder, a regulated vānaprastha or a tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī in the renounced order. It doesn’t matter. The pseudo transcendentalists and the pure devotees cannot be compared, nor can one argue that a person can invent his own way of worship.
The purport in presenting this verse necessitates explaining the comparative positions of the transcendental mellows known as śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya. All these rasas, or mellows, are situated on the transcendental platform. Pure devotees take shelter of one of them and thus progress in spiritual life. Actually one can take shelter of such spiritual mellows only when one is completely uncontaminated by material attachment. When one is completely free from material attachment, the feelings of the transcendental mellows are awakened in the heart of the devotee. That is svarūpa-siddhi, the perfection of one’s eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord. Svarūpa-siddhi, the eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord, may be situated in any one of the transcendental mellows. Each and every one of them is as perfect as the others. But by comparative study an unbiased person can realize that the mellow of servitorship is better than the mellow of neutrality, that the mellow of fraternity is better than the mellow of servitorship, that the parental mellow is better than that of fraternity, and that above all other mellows is the mellow of conjugal love. However, these are all spiritually situated on the same platform because all these relationships of perfection in love are based on a central point — Kṛṣṇa.
These mellows cannot be compared to the feelings one derives from demigod worship. Kṛṣṇa is one, but the demigods are different. They are material. Love for Kṛṣṇa cannot be compared to material love for different demigods. Because Māyāvādīs are on the material platform, they recommend the worship of Śiva or Durgā and say that worship of Kālī and Kṛṣṇa are the same. However, on the spiritual platform there is no demigod worship. The only worshipable object is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore although there is no difference between a devotee in śānta-rasa or dāsya-rasa, vātsalya-rasa or mādhurya-rasa, one can still make a comparative study of the intensity of love in these different transcendental positions. For example, it may be said that dāsya-rasa is better than śānta-rasa, yet transcendental love of God is there in both of them. Similarly, we can judge that love of Godhead in fraternity is better than love of Godhead in neutrality and servitorship. Similarly, love of Godhead in parental affection is better than love in fraternity. And, as stated before, love of God in the conjugal rasa is superior to that in the parental rasa.
The analysis of different types of love of Godhead has been made by expert ācāryas who know all about devotional service on the transcendental platform. Unfortunately, inexperienced and unauthorized persons in the mundane world, not understanding the transcendental position of pure love, try to find some material fault in the transcendental process. This is simply impudence on the part of spiritually inexperienced people. Such faultfinding is symptomatic of unfortunate mundane wranglers.