Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains the depth of separation felt in vātsalya-rasa.
Kṛṣṇa Himself appeared as Śrī Gaurāṅgadev, as well as Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. Kṛṣṇa took the heart and halo of Rādhārāṇī and appeared as Śrī Gaurāṅgadev. Later, after His sannyās, He became Śrī Chaitanyadev.
There is an expression of Rādhārāṇī in Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta:
“We are not considering our own heart’s pain; when we see the face of Mother Yaśodā—the condition of Mother Yaśodā without Your presence here, our hearts break again and again. We cannot tolerate that pain. We can tolerate our own pain, but we cannot tolerate seeing the pain of Mother Yaśodā.”
We can see that the situation of Mother Śachī when Śrīman Mahāprabhu took sannyās was similar to that of Mother Yaśomatī when Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvan. When Śrīman Mahāprabhu decided to take sannyās, He told five people. One of them was Mother Śachī, and when she heard, she fainted. Mahāprabhu showed her His divine form and said, “Who are you? And who am I?” Then Mother Śachī felt some nourishment for the time being, but when Mahāprabhu left, Mother Śachī fell into a coma-lika condition. She was seated outside the house in the middle of the night as Mahāprabhu left. She fell into a coma-like state when she saw Him leaving. Mahāprabhu touched her lotus feet and then left. Mother Śachī did not express anything at that time.
In Vraja Dhām, when Kṛṣṇa left, Mother Yaśomatī and Nanda Mahārāj reacted similarly. There is some speciality here [in the separation felt within vātsalya-rasa], and that same speciality is present in the Pastimes of Mahāprabhu.
Kṛṣṇa told Rādhārāṇī, “To maintain Your affectionate form, I am worshipping Nārāyaṇ every day, and I am getting some power from Nārāyaṇ.” Kṛṣṇa did not say, “I have My own power”, He said, “Every day I am going to Vraja Dhām, I am playing with You, and You are enjoying with Me. But when I come back to Dvārakā, You feel as though it was only a dream. But it is not a dream; it is truth!”
Mahāprabhu also performed these types of Pastimes, and He sent Dāmodar Paṇḍit to Mother Śachī in Nabadwīp and told him, “When My mother makes offerings to Nārāyaṇ and thinks of Me, I come there and take prasādam. Really, I am taking prasādam there. My mother thinks it is an illusion, but it is not. It is truth! She thinks that she may have forgotten to making an offering for Nārāyaṇ, but this is not the case. When She offers food, I go there, take the prasādam, and then come back here. I did this on this particular day. Remind My mother of this, and then she will believe it.” Mahāprabhu instructed Dāmodar Paṇḍit to give Mother Śachī this message.
We always remember Rādhārāṇī, Her associates, and the other Vraja-gopīs, but we forget Nanda Mahārāj and Yaśomatī Mayī. But Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī mentioned:
When Rādhārāṇī asked this question, Kṛṣṇa gave a very sweet answer: “I am going to Vraja Dhām every day, but You are thinking it is an illusion or a dream. It is not; truly it is Me!” To answer Her, Kṛṣṇa spoke this verse, which is found in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam:
diṣṭyā yad āsīn mat-sneho bhavatīnāṁ mad-āpanaḥ
“You all have incomparable devotion, and I cannot give you anything in return for it. Generally, divine devotion to Me gives everyone ecstasy, but I get ecstasy from your devotion. This is My situation.”
Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī gave a very nice explanation of this verse in Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta:
He said, “Hearing this verse, Rādhārāṇī believed, ‘What Kṛṣṇa is saying is the truth’, and the pain in Her heart was gone.”
Every verse within what Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī expressed in this section of Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta is extremely beautiful and good. We could never have conceived of the meanings he has given. We know Sanskrit and the meanings of the verses he quoted, but that is not sufficient; deeper and deeper meanings are there—the deepest meaning is there—and Kavirāj Goswāmī has revealed it.
We are always hearing about Rādhārāṇī and the gopīs, but there is this one expression of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī about Yaśomatī:
Rādhāraṇī said to Kṛṣṇa, “We are so sad. We sometimes faint in separation from You, but that is not the most extreme sadness for us. Our most extreme sadness is seeing the face of Mother Yaśomatī.”
Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu gave great respect and honour to Mother Śachī. He gave as much honour as is possible for a sannyāsī to give—He gave everything, and He gave even more than that. The cause of that is this [the cause of Mahāprabhu showing great honour to Mother Śachī is the great depth of Her love in separation].
Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī understood this very well, and whenever he composed verses in glorification of Chaitanyadev, he would bow down to Mother Śachī.
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śachī-nandanaḥ
Śachī Nandan Gaurahari [‘Śachī’s son Gaurahari’] was always Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī’s ideal. Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī knew the importance of the Lord’s relationship with Mother Śachī, and we have seen that our Guru Mahārāj also knew this same line.
Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī praised Mother Śachī everywhere, and identified the Lord as Śachī Nandan Gaurahari [‘Śachī’s son Gaurhari’] because no one can tolerate what Śachī Devī did. She tolerated everything so that the world would be blessed. Also, Mother Śachī knew that Mahāprabhu Śrī Chaitanyadev is not only a Yuga-avatār; she knew he was tasting a higher type of ecstasy in the Gambhīrā. Mother Śachī would get news of this almost every week.
This is the divine gift of our Guru Mahārāj to us, and to understand it, we must take shelter of the conception of Mahāprabhu given by Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur and Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, who gave us so many books and so many songs. Everything they have written is very, very perfectly expressed.
Excerpted from Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj’s lecture on of 14 June 2007 and presented in remembrance of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s acceptance of sannyās and Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj’s vision that the intensity of not only madhura-rasa, but also vātsalya-rasa, in the Pastimes of Śrīman Mahāprabhu surpasses the rasa tasted within all others Avatārs and Pastimes of the Lord.