Rasa Lila is not Mundane Lust
Krishna is Bhagavan, the Supreme Person. When He incarnates on earth, all His activities are conducted by His yogamaya potency. He never comes in contact with mahamaya. We, who are residents of a material planet, are controlled by mahamaya. Our bodies and minds are both products of mahamaya. Beginning with identity, our thoughts and motivations are all false. We are not these bodies, but within them we are souls. Identifying with the body and the material world, our consciousness becomes absorbed within the material frame of reference. All our thoughts and aspirations in that state are tainted by transitory paradigms.In the sway of lust, we strive to be exploiters of the material energy. Lust is the urge to gratify our bodies and minds with gross and subtle material artifacts.
Krishna’s form is spiritual without any material covering. He is the Supreme Absolute Truth. His nature is bliss (anandmayobhyasat). Everything emanates from Him and is eternally connected with Him. The purpose of all existence is His pleasure. Every living entity is His part and parcel and everything in existence is His energy. His pleasure brings pleasure to everyone and everything. Just as all limbs of the body are enlivened when the stomach receives food, or all parts of the tree receive nourishment when the root is watered, similarly, all existence is invigorated when Krishna is pleased. That is Krishna’s Supreme position. He is the Supreme Enjoyer.
Krishna’s Rasa Lila was conducted on the yogamaya platform. The difference between the platforms of yogamaya and mahamaya is that on the mahamaya platform, everyone seeks his own pleasure, whereas on the yogamaya platform, everyone desires only to please Krishna. Though Krishna’s Rasa Lila may appear to be the dancing of mundane boys and girls who are each after their own happiness, but actually it is not. The difference is that of lust and love. In lust selfishness is prominent and in love it is the selfless desire to please Krishna that predominates.
Many sages wished to enjoy the association of Lord Rama in the tretayuga. Lord Rama promised them that when He would appear as Krishna, they could enjoy His association. All the sages after a prolonged interval finally got the opportunity to participate as Gopis in Krishna’s Rasa Lila. The sages who became Gopis were ordinary jivas who had elevated themselves by intense tapasya or austerity to transcend all material influence and be situated on the platform of love of God. Most of the Gopis were, however, expansions of Srimati Radharani, the Hladini Shakti or pleasure potency of Krishna. The Gopis were hence the most exalted souls in all existence- material and spiritual.
When Krishna played the flute in the forest on the full moon night of the autumn season (sharad purnima), the gopis abandoned their engagements and rushed to Krishna with a desire to please Him by dancing with Him. They wished to give Krishna conjugal pleasure. But, Krishna in a teasing spirit asked them to return home siting all kinds of moral reasons.
The Gopis were exalted personalities, though appearing as ordinary cowherd girls. They began expounding profound knowledge. They said all their obligations to their families and society were completely fulfilled by completely taking shelter of His lotus feet. They said, that they felt affection for their family members only on account of the presence of Krishna in their hearts. Without Krishna, their bodies would be dead to be burnt or thrown in the river. Thus Krishna was the actual object of their affection. They said that their relationship with Him was ultimate and eternal. He was their eternal Husband. Hence if they would accept His eternal relationship, they could never be separated, widowed or divorced. They would be eternally happy. They said in reality He was the only enjoyer. There was no distinction between men and women in relation to Him because they were both prakriti (marginal energy), meant to give Him pleasure.
The Rasa Lila is a dance in which the Supreme Enjoyer, Personality of Godhead took conjugal pleasure with His eternal parts and parcels in a dance that was conducted by His yogamaya, or internal potency. It is not a mundane affair between conditioned souls in the forms of men and women impelled by lust under the external energy, mahamaya.