Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja : On Raganuga-bhakti – there is aisvarya in Vraja, but it is always covered with madhurya
The gopis continued, “Rama was so cruel and lusty. Why did He cut Surpanakha’s nose and ears? He purposely marred her, just to make her ugly so that no one would ever marry her, and even her husband would not keep her. In her next birth Surpanakha came as Kubja, who was again so ugly that no one would marry her. So see what kind of person He is. See how cruel He is.
“Then, in Satya-yuga, Krsna came as Vamana, and for no good reason He cheated Bali Maharaja, telling him, ‘I will take only three steps of land.’ Bali Maharaja agreed, ‘Yes, I will give you this.’ But when Vamana began to take His steps, He became so tall that with two steps He covered all three planetary systems and pierced the covering of the universe with the toes of His left foot. He then needed somewhere to place His foot for His third step, and Bali Maharaja offered himself, but still He was not satisfied. He tied Bali up and threw him down to hell.
“That is what we know about that person, so we will not make any reconciliation with Him. Go away from here at once.”
This is what Srimati Radhika was saying to the bumble-bee.
Here, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti states that the gopis heard from Paurnamasi that Krsna is God, that He came as Rama, Vamana, and all other incarnations, but nonetheless they personally recognized Him only as their lover.
In this way, there is aisvarya in Vraja, but it is always covered with madhurya. Moreover, this aisvarya-bhava in the gopis comes only in viraha-bhava, in their mood of separation, not in meeting. Their aisvarya-bhava is like a piece of grass in three or four manas [1 mana = 40 kilos] of milk as the milk is being boiled over a very big fire. After much time, when that milk becomes very hot and begins to boil, the piece of grass comes up, but at once goes down.
So only in the heat of separation is that ‘grass’ of aisvarya-bhava seen in the gopis. It is not visible all the time. Moreover, even when there is aisvarya, the gopis love Krsna only as their lover. They never think of Him as God.
When aisvarya is anukula…
Sripad Madhava Maharaja: Favorable.
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: When aisvarya is favorable to nara-lila, in other words, when Krsna continues to act like an ordinary human, then it is madhurya.
Here is an example of the madhurya-bhava that is sometimes in the heart of Devaki and Arjuna. For instance, when Krsna was sitting on the chariot, Arjuna told Him, “O Krsna, take my chariot to the middle of the battlefield.” And Krsna did that. But then, when Arjuna saw the Visvarupa, Krsna’s universal form, he became very nervous and said, “I will not address You as ‘Friend.’ You are God Himself.”
Burijana dasa: Aisvarya covered him.
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Aisvarya was more powerful. Arjuna was overpowered by aisvarya and forgot that Krsna was his friend. Arjuna’s mood, as well as the mood of all other associates in Dvaraka-lila, is full of aisvarya. Sometimes there is madhurya, but it is always defeated by aisvarya.
In nara-lila the devotee thinks that Krsna is the lover of the gopis, and He is Radha-kanta, the lover of Srimati Radhika. So, just as the gopis in nara-lila serve Radha and Krsna, we should also serve Them, as manjaris. This is the meaning of vraja-lokanusaratah.
Nanda Baba, Yasoda, and the gopis have a relationship with Krsna as human beings even though they are not humans – this is nara-lila.