‘A pure devotee’s attraction to Krsna in conjugal love is called devotional service in conjugal love. Although such conjugal feelings are not at all material, there is some similarity between this spiritual love and material activities. Therefore, persons who are interested in material activities are unable to understand this spiritual conjugal love, and these devotional reciprocations appear very mysterious to them. Rupa Gosvami therefore describes conjugal love very briefly.

The impetuses of conjugal love are Krsna and His very dear consorts, such as Radharani and Her immediate associates. Lord Krsna has no rival; no one is equal to Him, and no one is greater than Him. His beauty is also without any rival, and because He excels all others in the pastimes of conjugal love, He is the original object of all conjugal love.

In the Gita-govinda, by Jayadeva Gosvami, one gopi tells her friend, ‘Krsna is the reservoir of all pleasure within this universe. His body is as soft as the lotus flower. And His free behaviour with the gopis, which appears exactly like a young boy’s attraction to a young girl, is a subject of transcendental conjugal love.’ A pure devotee follows in the footsteps of the gopis and worships the gopis as follows, ‘Let me offer my respectful obeisances to all the young cowherd girls, whose bodily features are so attractive. Simply by their beautiful attractive features they are worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.’ Out of the young gopis, Srimati Radharani is the most prominent.

The beauty of Srimati Radharani is described as follows: ‘Her eyes defeat the attractive features of the eyes of the cakori bird. When one sees the face of Radharani, he immediately hates the beauty of the moon. Her bodily complexion defeats the beauty of gold. Thus, let us all look upon the transcendental beauty of Srimati Radharani.’ Krsna’s attraction for Radharani is described by Krsna Himself thus: ‘When I create some joking phrases in order to enjoy the beauty of Radharani, Radharani hears these joking words with great attention; but by Her bodily features and counterwords She neglects me. And I even possess unlimited pleasure by Her neglect of Me, for She becomes so beautiful that She increases My pleasure one hundred times.’ A similar statement is found in Gita-govinda, wherein it is said that when the enemy of Kamsa, Sri Krsna, emraces Srimati Radharani, He immediately becomes entangled in a loving condition that gives up the company of all other gopis.

In the Padyavali of Rupa Goswami, it is stated that when the gopis hear the sound of Krsna’s flute, they immediately forget all rebukes offered by the elderly members of their families. They forget their defamation and the harsh behaviour of their husbands. Their only thought is to go out in search of Krsna. When the gopis meet Krsna, the display of their exchanging glances as well as their joking and laughing behaviour is called anubhava, or subecstasy in conjugal love.

In the Lalita-madhava, Rupa Goswami explains that the movement’s of Krsna’s eyebrows are just like the Yamuna and that the smiling of Radharani is just like the moonshine. When the Yamuna and the moonshine come in contact on the bank of the river, the water tastes just like nectar, and drinking it gives great satisfaction. It is as cooling as piles of snow. Similarly, in the Padyavali, one constant companion of Radharani says, ‘My dear moon-faced Radharani, Your whole body appears very content, yet there are signs of tears in Your eyes. Your speech is faltering, and Your chest is also heaving. By all these signs I can understand that You must have heard the blowing of Krsna’s flute, and as a result of this, Your heart is now melting

(From A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Nectar of Devotion, ch.44 entitled, ‘Devotional Service In Conjugal Love’, pp.353-4)