There is some apparent contradiction between those two of your statement. Could you kindly clear it out?
“If we are very eager for something, then we understand that it is a treasure of a higher level. We long for a treasure that is far better and higher than we are. We cannot claim it or claim that we deserve it. Such a mood would disqualify us.”
“Being able to relate to our Supreme Lord is our natural right, the right of the soul. Try to discover our divine self in relation to Krishna. Let us make a loving request to Krishna. Let us remind ourselves again and again that we belong to Krishna and ultimately Krishna also belongs to us.”
There is no real contradiction between those two distinct levels of approach. Although it looks apparently contradicting because there are two different levels of relating to Krishna. They are looking a little bit contradictory, but actually in reality there is no contradiction. They are simply of distinct levels, different ways of how to approach to Krishna. But both ways that I have described are actually interrelated and both moods are well accommodated, well embraced in the world of pure devotional service, the world of loving dedication to Krishna. What to speak more about contradicting – it is rather the opposite way.. they are interrelated, serving different distinct levels of relationship with Krishna.
Just as for example in the scriptures sometimes it may look like that the activities of dasya rasa devotees are contradicting to the activities of devotees in sakhya rasa, vatsalya rasa and what to speak more of madhurya rasa. In general, the level of dasya rasa is full of reverence and so much respect and humility and the pure mood of servitude compared to sakhya rasa or vatsalya rasa levels of the relations with Krishna. It is quite different in sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya rasas – they have more loving claim, they find themselves in the relation to Krishna as their beloved friend, beloved son, beloved consort… so they have a relationship with so much loving claim and the character of such claim is quite different from the claim of enjoying temperament that, “I am the master, I am qualified, I have the power to claim over.” No. This claim is full of loving dedication. Then only such a claim a devotee can have in his or her life in relation to Krishna when he is already situated on the level of a loving dedication with the pure spirit of dedicated love, love with devotion. Then that claim which is the great treasure and great attainment through raga-marga (but not through vidhi-marga) has been described in my Hari-katha.
So one is representing the level of sadhaka, sadhana from the beginning i.e. starting on the neophyte level, advancing through madhyama adhikari level and high-class madhyama adhikar, then approaching towards uttama adhikar. The other one is more related with raga-marga mood. But in both categories loving humility is there, which is the opposite of false pride, it is completely free of it. There is no material ego that “I am the enjoyer, I deserve it, it is my right, I am so qualified through some relation to the Supreme Lord!” with some mood of arrogance caused by false pride. So that has been totally dismissed in the first part that you have quoted. If one has that kind of claim with arrogance and false pride, he totally disqualifies.
But the mood of loving dedication, mood filled with a spirit of pure dedication, pure devotion is completely different, almost opposite to the nature of the claim with arrogance and false pride that “I am qualified! I own it! I can own it with my own ability!” So although the approach from the dasya rasa level and the approach from the sakhya, vatsalaya and madhurya rasa levels appear to be a bit, and sometimes even very contradictory with each other, they are actually not. They are rather interrelated and sometimes complementary to each other.
Therefore mahabhagavata devotees like Raghunath Das Goswami, devotees of pure madhurya rasa give so much honor and respects to the dasya rasa.
“sakhyaya te mama namo ‘stu namo ‘stu nityam
dasyaya te mama raso ‘stu raso ‘stu satyam”
– Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, Vilapa-Kusumanjali 16
Great devotees of sakhya rasa, vatsalya rasa and madhura rasa are often found to be giving much honor to the level, service and activities of dasya rasa.
There is absolutely no contradiction between this two descriptions at all. But they are distinct from each other. They are on distinct levels of a relational approach with regard to Krishna. That’s all. And both of them are well embraced through the interrelationship by the complimentary ways, and complimentary mellows. There are lots of examples in the lives and precepts of the mahajanas – pure devotees and holy scriptures. But even in the description of the second quoted paragraph, where I am talking about the claim – obviously that claim is filled with the spirit of dedicating love, devoting love, not like exploiting or enjoying kind of claiming love.
So by that means only such claim is possible. We all need to discover our eternal relationship with Krishna through some claim with love dedication. That is the qualifying factor. If it is not there, then we cannot have that right. Arrogant claim, claim with the temperament of arrogant ownership, and the claim with the spirit of love dedication, devoting love are opposite to each other. Both are claims but of opposite character. That would be contradictory, but these two are not. Because in such claim here , I am promoting loving humility which is always there, humility with the spirit of dedicating love, devoting love, where the mood is to please the Beloved rather than self-enjoyment “everything has to be my way because I enjoy!” On the contrary, “The more I can please my beloved Lord through my dedicating love, the more I have the claim with Him that I belong to Him and thereby He also becomes belonging to me.”
Bhaktivinod Thakur explains through his song:
...ami to’ tomara, tumi to’ amara,
ki kaja apara dhane
bhakativinoda anande dubiya,
tomara sevara tare…
At some point on the high level of the raga marga relationship through the purest love dedication, devotees can have that claim that “I am fully belonging to you, oh my beloved Lord, and You are also belonging to me because You are none other than my beloved Master. So you cannot deny that relationship. By that means You are also belonging to me. First of all, I wholeheartedly, fully belong to You, so in reciprocation, through that relationship, You are also belonging to me as my most beloved Lord of my life and soul. It cannot be denied by You. It is a self-effulgent relationship. I have no other interest. What business do I have with different other things, which are separate from Your interest, my Lord, separate from You? I have no business other than engaging in pure loving services to You, to please You, my Lord. I have been disenchanted by other selfish things, by material stuff in my life. I have no interest in anything separate from You, from the interest of my pure love service to You. And by that means, You are also belonging to me.”
What I have explained now is more intense than what I am mentioning in the second section of the quoted text. But it gives the idea about what kind of loving claim I am talking about. I am not particularly explaining there about claims in sakhya rasa or vatsalya rasa or madhura rasa, which is the highest type of claim, but it is of similar characteristic. Raga marga and vidhi marga ways of approach are both interrelated and they are so friendly, they often help to promote each other, complementing and supplementing each other… Although in raga marga there is not much reverence, but there is much respect and an intense spirit of dedication and devotion in that love.
So wherever you find dedication, devotion in love, there cannot be but some humility. It has to be. There has to be tenderness, and softness with humbleness and humility, instead of the opposite manner – lording over with an arrogant approach, exploiting approach of “I am the enjoyer! I want to enjoy!” That kind of approach is totally disqualified. So, again, vidhi marga way and raga marga way rather supplement and complement each other. That natural loving humility is also there in the claim that I am describing here. Never without the spirit of loving humility.
Of course, when Ma Yashoda is chastising Krishna out of so much love, there is no humility. Sometimes even in sakhya rasa, vatsalya rasa and madhurya rasa level there are so many loving claims i.e. the positive claims out of intense love, and generally humility is not found there. It is because the humility has been replaced by purely dedicating love. This has to be realized, it is impossible to explain what it is. It is like one has to taste the rasamalai to understand the taste. One has to actually taste a delicious food to truly realize what it is, it cannot be fully explained. Similarly I cannot also fully explain by words how is the spirit, the taste, the character of love dedication, devoting love. Because of the intense devotion, humility is no more required there. Everything they do, they do for Krishna´s pleasure to the best of their abilities, wholeheartedly and without any selfishness – that’s the difference between lusty love and dedicating love for Krishna. Because there always present are so many wholehearted feelings to please the beloved Lord. So humility is not required in a separate way.
Therefore, at the level of sakhya rasa, the beloved friends of Krishna also apparently do not have any humility. But they are wholeheartedly dedicated to please their Friend. If Friend is dissatisfied, they are brokenhearted. All their joy and bliss is gone away if they see that their Friend is even a little bit dissatisfied – not playfully displeased but actually displeased. Then Krishna has to pacify them and again enliven them by His loving friendship. At this moment immediately humility is coming. But to satisfy the need of Krsna-lila in sakhya rasa, humility cannot always come, because then there wouldn’t be a flow of equal friendship, any loving claim… that’s why humility is not there. But it is in the background, and as soon as Krishna´s friends sense that their beloved Friend is even a little bit dissatisfied, they automatically immediately feel humility. Therefore their loving claim is so qualified to become sakha with Krishna. They have a loving claim with purely dedicating friendship, so qualified! It is selfless, but on the other hand, it is self-full with the condition of pleasing Krishna. That is their self-full interest. But personally, they do not have any separate selfish interest to claim anything from Krishna.
Similarly, on the vatsalya rasa level, Krishna wants to relish mother Yashoda´s love in vatsalya love, not in love with humility. Rather He prefers that His mother comes up with so much loving claim of lovingly taking care of her beloved Son. So to satisfy that lila, to fulfill that desire of Krishna and His relish, mother Yashoda has been inspired to have such an intense loving claim in vatsalya rasa mood, free of humility.
What to speak more of madhurya rasa level! In it’s realm all rasas are included, starting from santa rasa up to pure vatsalya… all are included in the harmonious flow of the conjugal mood of madhurya rasa. All the rasas situated in madhurya rasa are actually of different relish, they are not the same because they are all tinged with the mood of madhurya rasa. They have completely different flavors, mellows and tastes, but they all are included in madhurya rasa. Srimati Radharani and gopis have so much humility because of their intense loving dedication in relation to Krishna. They are sometimes even crying in humility, so it is somewhat like a dasya rasa mood. Then sometimes they have a pure mode of friendship, but it is a high class of intense love-friendship, not found so prominently in other normal friends of Krishna. It is much higher than that. Their mood of friendship is embraced with conjugal love mood, transcendentally intense madhurya rasa mood, not just only sakhya rasa mood. That has to be understood properly. Sometimes Vraja-gopis have that kind of priya-narma sakha friendship – very intimate friendship. They also have sometimes vatsalya rasa – Srimati Radharani is becoming like a mother, taking care of Her beloved Lord like a mother – She is playing the role, but She is not a real mother like mother Yashoda. It has a different flavor and different mood. It has to be realized that there is so much difference in the mellows and nature between the love for Krishna of mother Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja and Srimati Radharani´s and Vraja-gopi´s vatsalya love for Krishna. They are quite distinct. If this is not properly understood, it would be clear rasabhasa. So devotees need to be very careful to understand vatsalya rasa in madhurya rasa and vatsalya rasa without madhurya rasa. Both are not one and the same.
Back to the point – on the level of madhurya rasa an intense love claim is found between both beloveds – the beloved Lord and Lord´s beloved servitors. Between both groups of beloveds so much loving claim is found in mutual reciprocations. It doesn’t flow just in one way. But in that loving claim sometimes humility is absent. It cannot directly come there because it would disturb the flow of that loving claim of that moment. But it is always there in the background. As soon as Krishna went away from rasa-dance festival, looking for Srimati Radha Thakurani, other Vraja-gopis became very depressed and broken-hearted and they started to wander around looking for Krishna, crying with so much humility and tender imploring. So it is there in an interwoven way. But that humility doesn’t always come into play, because the flow of loving claim would be disturbed. It is to satisfy the need of Krishnas lila, in the way how Krishna wants Vraja-gopis and Srimati Radharani to satisfy Him. That’s the way by which Srimati Radharani and Vraja-gopis also need to approach Krishna with that much loving claim, which is ultimately wanted by Krishna.. which is so much desired by Him. Therefore there is no direct place for humility there.
Ultimately, this is all of the transcendental characteristics, with characteristics of transcendental nectarean love mellows and it cannot be fully described, clarified, or explained. It has to be realized through taste.