Transcendental Affection (Servitude)
The transcendental mellow of affection has been accepted by authorities like Śrīdhara Svāmī as a perfectional stage of devotion. It is just above the humor of neutrality and is a requisite for the development of the serving humor. In literature such as Nāma-kaumudī this state of existence is accepted as continuous affection for or attraction to Kṛṣṇa. Authorities like Śukadeva consider this stage of affection to be in the neutral stage, but in any case this affection is relished by the devotees in different transcendental tastes, and therefore the general name for this state is affection, or pure affection for Kṛṣṇa.
Devotees engaged in servitude are attached to Kṛṣṇa in the affection of reverence. Some of the inhabitants of Gokula (Vṛndāvana as exhibited on earth) are attached to Kṛṣṇa on this platform of affection in reverence. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana used to say, “Kṛṣṇa is always manifest before us with a complexion like a blackish cloud. He holds His wonderful flute in His lotus hands. He is dressed in yellow silks and bedecked with a peacock feather on His head. When Kṛṣṇa walks near Govardhana Hill with these personal features, all the inhabitants of the heavenly planets, as well as the inhabitants of this earth, feel transcendental bliss and consider themselves the eternal servants of the Lord.” Sometimes the devotee becomes filled with the same awe and reverence by seeing a picture of Viṣṇu, who is dressed like Kṛṣṇa and who has a similar complexion. The only difference is that Viṣṇu has four hands, in which He holds the conch shell, the disc, the club and the lotus flower. Lord Viṣṇu is always decorated with many valuable jewels, such as the candrakānta stone and the sūryakānta stone.
In the Lalita-mādhava by Rūpa Gosvāmī there is the following statement by Dāruka, one of the servants of Kṛṣṇa: “Certainly Lord Viṣṇu is very beautiful with His necklace of kaustubha jewels, His four hands holding conch shell, disc, club and lotus flower, and His dazzlingly beautiful jewelry. He is also very beautiful in His eternal position, riding upon the shoulder of Garuḍa. But now the same Lord Viṣṇu is present as the enemy of Kaṁsa, and by His personal feature I am completely forgetting the opulence of Vaikuṇṭha.”
Another devotee once said, “This Supreme Personality of Godhead from whose bodily pores come millions of universes, permanently rising, who is the ocean of mercy, who is the owner of inconceivable energies, who is always equipped with all perfections, who is the origin of all incarnations, who is the attraction for all liberated persons – this very Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme controller and the supremely worshipable. He is all-cognizant, fully determined and fully opulent. He is the emblem of forgiveness and the protector of surrendered souls. He is munificent, true to His promise, expert, all-auspicious, powerful and religious. He is a strict follower of the scripture, He is the friend of the devotees, and He is magnanimous, influential, grateful, reputable, respectable, full of all strength, and submissive to pure love. Surely He is the only shelter of devotees who are attracted to Him by the affection of servitorship.”
The devotees of the Lord in servitude are divided into four classes: appointed servants (such as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, who are appointed to control the material modes of passion and ignorance), devotees in servitude who are protected by the Lord, devotees who are always associates and devotees who are simply following in the footsteps of the Lord.
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