Do we have to necessarily follow the process followed by Gopa-kumāra?
Question: In Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛta, Gopa-kumāra had to undergo an extremely difficult process in order to attain the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Goloka Vṛndāvana, going from one planet to another, both in this world and in Vaikuṇṭha. Do we also have to go through such a process, or are we able to practice the limbs of bhakti from where we are?
Śrīla Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja: We will only have to undergo a journey similar to Gopa-kumāra’s if we do not have firm conviction that what Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught is the pure, topmost directive and it leads to the highest destination.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda has prayed to Śrīman Mahāprabhu:
May the son of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, Śrī Gaurahari, forever manifest within the innermost core of your heart. Adorned with the radiant splendor of molten gold, He has descended in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow upon the world that which has not been given for a long time—the beauty of His own brilliantly radiant ujjvala-prema-rasa bhakti —service in the highest mellow of amorous love.
In this verse, he has mentioned that Śrīman Mahāprabhu has appeared in this world to give something that has not been given in a long time: unnatojjvala-rasa, which is the property of Śrīmatī Rādhikā and the vraja-gopīs. This is a very high object.