Question: Meeting Krishna Higher Than Separation from Krishna?
There is a certain group of devotees who teach that meeting with Krishna is higher than the mood of separation from Krishna, and that separation only serves as an impetus for meeting with Him. So is it true that meeting with Krishna is higher than separation from Krishna?
Answer: Loving Emotions Are Higher in Separation
Those who teach that the loving emotions experienced in meeting Krishna are a higher ecstasy than the ecstatic emotions tasted by the pure devotees in separation from Krishna are not teaching according to the principles of our Gaudiya sampradaya, the line of succession coming from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
This is confirmed by an explanation given by Srila Prabhupada in London on 29 August 1971 on the occasion of Radhastami, Srimati Radharani's appearance day:
"As Radharani is always in feelings of separation of Krishna, similarly, in the position of Radharani, Lord Caitanya was feeling separation of Krishna. That is the teaching of Lord Caitanya, feelings of separation, not meeting. The process of devotional service taught by Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His disciplic succession is how to feel separation from Krishna. That is Radharani's position, always feeling the separation."
Srila Prabhupada explains why separation from Krishna is more ecstatic than meeting with Krishna as follows in his purport to Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi Lila, Chapter 4, Text 31:
"The spontaneous attraction of Sri Krishna for His dearest parts and parcels generates an enthusiasm that obliges Sri Krishna and the gopis to meet together. To celebrate this transcendental enthusiasm, there is need of a sentiment of separation between the lover and beloved. In the condition of material tribulation, no one wants the pangs of separation. But in the transcendental form, the very same separation, being absolute in its nature, strengthens the ties of love and enhances the desire of the lover and beloved to meet. The period of separation, evaluated transcendentally, is more relishable than the actual meeting, which lacks the feelings of increasing anticipation because the lover and beloved are both present."
While in the material world, meeting one's beloved is considered to be enjoyment and separation from one's beloved is taken to be suffering, in the ecstasy of love of God the emotion of being separated from Krishna and hankering to meet Him is more intense that the loving emotions tasted when meeting Him. And since in spiritual life the ecstasy comes from the love of Krishna not from sense gratification, in spiritual life separation from Krishna is a higher ecstasy than meeting Krishna.
Even the material world we can see that the loving emotions expressed by two lovers when they are separated and writing each other love letters are more intense than the loving emotions expressed when they are in each other's presence. This is why in Krishna's pastimes the paramour love between Radha and Krishna is considered higher than the domesticated husband-and-wife love between Krishna and Rukmini. Paramour love means that they are mostly separated, while married love means that they remain together. In other words, the fact that the love between Radha and Krishna is considered higher than the love between Rukmini and Krishna supports the principle of love in separation being higher than love in meeting.
In this connection Srila Prabhupada also states in his purport to Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi Lila, Chapter 4, Text 108 as follows:
"Those under the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu can understand that His mode of worship of the Supreme Lord Krishna in separation is the real worship of the Lord. When the feelings of separation become very intense, one attains the stage of meeting Sri Krishna. So-called devotees like the sahajiyas cheaply imagine they are meeting Krishna in Vrindavana. Such thinking may be useful, but actually meeting Krishna is possible through the attitude of separation taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu."
So instead of cheaply imagining that we have met with Krishna, we should try to increase our feelings of separation more and more. In this way we shall become qualified to some day personally meet Krishna face to face. If we follow the pathway of sahajiyas cheaply imagining that we have had Krishna's darshan, we will never become qualified to actually meet Krishna.