Dear Mataji Paramesvari,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
That one has to take birth in one of Krishna’s pastimes as a condition to go back to the spiritual world is one of the many concepts I heard in my youth but that never found hard evidences in Guru, Sastra, Sadhu, our final authorities.
In the early times that was a joke in our movement that we could write a book about the things that Srila Prabhupada said that never said.
I am not saying that this is one of those, but if you or anyone could provide me with an evidence I’d be more than happy to accept it. Certainly it doesn’t sound logical….
A nice definition of prema is given in the Caitanya Caritamrita (Adilila 4.165)
ātmendriya-prīti-vāñchā — tāre bali ‘kāma’
kṛṣṇendriya-prīti-icchā dhare ‘prema’ nāma
“The desire to gratify one’s own senses is kāma [lust], but the desire to please the senses of Lord Kṛṣṇa is prema [love].”
So the difference between Kama and prema is clear. In kama to be happy you have to get personal satisfaction. In prema you don’t care about your own happiness but you only care about Radha Krishna’s.
Srila Prabhupada furtherly explains (Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 13):
“In Sanskrit this highest stage (of love) is called premā, premā can be defined as love of God without any expectation of exchange or return. Actually the words premā and love are not synonymous, yet one can say that premā is the highest stage of love. One who has attained premā is the most perfect human being. Only by the association of pure devotees can one develop a taste for Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and when he tries to apply Kṛṣṇa consciousness in his life, he can achieve everything up to the stage of bhāva and prema.”
If prema is the “highest stage”, then there must be lower stages.
Prema can only be experienced by pure devotees, not by anyone else. The verse atah sri-krishna-namadi is clear on this point.
Once one is at the level of suddha-bhakti there is no difference between the body you have or the place you are living in, because you are on the absolute platform. You can experiment prema anywhere in the universe and in any body and you will be able to withstand it because everything surrounding the pure devotee acts on a absolute platform.
Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
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