Devotee 2: The gopis are Srimati Radhika’s expansions but the souls are not Her expansions. So how can they enter Vrndavana after attaining madhura-rasa?
Srila Gurudeva: You should see by the instance of the creeper. The creeper is lying down on the earth. If there is a tree, or a bamboo or anything to support the creeper, then the creeper will go up, otherwise not. So if the conditioned souls take the help of the lotus feet of Krsna, and the devotees like Lalita, Visakha, Citra, Subala, Sridhama, Nanda-Yasoda, then they will take the shelter of their lotus feet and from there they will enter Vrndavana.
Devotee 2: So the conditioned souls can go into madhura-rasa?
Srila Gurudeva: Yes. Certainly we can go. If we have come in the guidance of any bona fide rasik Vaisnava in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and by hearing the books of Svamiji, Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Caitanya Caritamrita, and Srimad Bhagavatam, we have a very strong desire or greed to have that mood, then practicing raganuga-bhakti we can go there; otherwise not. Without following and taking the shelter of the lotus feet of the gopis, we cannot go there. If you are taking the shelter and support of the lotus feet of the gopis and the Vrajavasis, then you can go there.
I think you have heard about the pastimes of Bharata Maharaja. He was a very big king. When he came to the age of fifty thousand years; at that time he was still young. He left his family, kingdom, and everything at that age and he became a saint. He went to the forest for austerities or for meditation. When he was doing his austerities, he reached the stage of bhava. You will have to know what bhava means. Without knowing terms like “Sraddha, nista, ruci, asakti, bhava, and prema,” you cannot enter the realm of bhakti. He was in the eighth stage—bhava. Prema was to come. But at the same time, he saw a deer that had fallen into the water and that was dying. He at once came and rescued it. He gave milk and supported it. When the deer became young, Bharata Maharaja’s attachment to it grew and he started treating it like his son, his adopted son. He was always remembering it. He left everything for that deer. When he used to meditate, the deer would at once come on his lap and used to rub itself on him as if to say, “Have love and affection for me. Teach me.”
Bharata Maharaja left his bhajana and sadhana. One day, his death came. That deer ran away with his group of deer. At the same time, Bharata Maharaja’s time of death drew near. Yet, he was remembering his deer anxiously. He thought, “Where is the deer?” When he was thinking like this, he at once died. At that crucial time of death, he remembered the deer. Hence, he became a deer in his next life. So, anyone who remembers anyone at the time of death will become like that. If one remembers his wife or beloved, or a lady, then he will become a lady. So if one remembers Krsna and His associates, then why will he not be like them? So he will become like them. If you are remembering the gopis that “We should serve like the gopis,” then you will also become a gopi. That is called, “Asta-kaliya-lila.” Asta-kaliya-lila means to meditate on Krsna’s pastimes twenty four hours a day. The devotee meditates on Krsna’s pastimes from His birth up to His last pastimes. So, if you are chanting and remembering Krsna in the same way i.e. your mind never goes here and there, then you will surely be that. There are so many histories and pastimes in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
There was a male who had so much love and affection for his wife. At the time of death, he remembered her and he became a female. There are so many instructions. So we should try to always remember Krsna. If our devotion matures, then our remembrance will save us and we can serve Krsna.