The gopis may be considered to be examples of spontaneous love in sensual attraction. The gopis are young girls, and Krsna is a young boy. Superficially it seems that the gopis are attracted to Krsna on grounds of sex. Similarly, King Kamsa was attracted to Krsna because of fear. Kamsa was always fearful of Krsna, because it had been foretold that his sister's son, Krsna, would kill him. Sisupala was also always envious of Krsna. And the descendants of King Yadu, due to their family relationship with Krsna, were always thinking of Him as one of their members. All of these different kinds of devotees have a spontaneous attraction for Krsna, in different categories, and they achieve the same desired goal of life.
The attraction of the gopis for Krsna and the affection of the members of the Yadu dynasty are both accepted as spontaneous, or raganuga. The attraction of Kamsa to Krsna in fear and the attraction of Sisupala in envy are not accepted as devotional service, however, because their attitudes are not favorable. Devotional service should be executed only in a favorable frame of mind. Therefore, according to Srila Rupa Gosvami, such attractions are not considered to be in devotional service. Again, he analyzes the affection of the Yadus. If it is on the platform of friendship, then it is spontaneous love, but if it is on the platform of regulative principles, then it is not. And only when affection comes to the platform of spontaneous love is it counted in the category of pure devotional service.
There may be some difficulty in understanding that both the gopis and Kamsa achieved the same goal, so this point should be clearly understood, because the attitudes of Kamsa and Sisupala were different from that of the gopis. Although in all these cases the focus is on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all of the devotees are elevated to the spiritual world, there is still a distinction between these two classes of souls. In the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that the Absolute Truth is one and that He is manifested as impersonal Brahman, Paramatma (Supersoul) and Bhagavan (the Supreme Personality of Godhead). Here is a spiritual distinction. Although Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan are the same-and-one Absolute Truth, devotees like Kamsa or Sisupala could attain only to the Brahman effulgence. They could not have realization of Paramatma or Bhagavan. That is the distinction.
An analogy can be given with the sun globe and the sunshine: to remain in the sunshine does not mean one has gone to the sun globe. The temperature of the sun globe is different from the temperature of the sunshine. One who has gone through the sunshine in jet planes or in spaceships has not necessarily gone to the sun globe. Although the sunshine and the sun globe are actually one and the same, still there is a distinction, for one is the energy and one is the energetic source. The Absolute Truth and His bodily effulgence are in the same way simultaneously one and different. Kamsa and Sisupala attained to the Absolute Truth, but they were not allowed to enter into the Goloka Vrndavana abode. Impersonalists and the enemies of the Lord are, because of attraction to God, allowed to enter into His kingdom, but they are not allowed to enter into the Vaikuntha planets or the Goloka Vrndavana planet of the Supreme Lord. To enter the kingdom and to enter the king's palace are not the same thing.
Srila Rupa Gosvami is trying here to describe the different achievements of the impersonalists and the personalists. Generally, those who are impersonalists and are inimical to the Supreme Personality of Godhead get entrance only into the impersonal Brahman, when and if they reach spiritual perfection. The impersonalist philosophers are in one sense like the enemies of the Lord, because the out-and-out enemies of the Lord and the impersonalists are both allowed to enter only into the impersonal effulgence of the brahma-jyotir. So it is to be understood that they are of similar classification. And actually the impersonalists are enemies of God, because they cannot tolerate the unparalleled opulence of the Lord. They try always to place themselves on the same level with the Lord. That is due to their envious attitude. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has proclaimed the impersonalists to be offenders of the Lord. The Lord is so kind, however, that even though they are His enemies, they are still allowed to enter into the spiritual kingdom and remain in the impersonal brahma-jyotir, the undifferentiated light of the Absolute.
Sometimes an impersonalist may gradually elevate himself to the personal conception of the Lord. Bhagavad-gita confirms this: "After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me." By such surrender, an impersonalist can be elevated to the Vaikunthaloka (spiritual planet) where, as a surrendered soul, he attains bodily features like those of the Lord.
In the Brahmanda Purana it is stated, "Those who have achieved liberation from material contamination and those who are demons and are killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead become absorbed in the Brahman concept of life and reside in the spiritual sky of the brahma-jyotir." That spiritual sky is far beyond the material sky, and it is confirmed also in Bhagavad-gita that beyond this material sky there is another, eternal sky. The enemies and the impersonalists may be allowed to enter into this Brahman effulgence, but the devotees of Krsna are promoted all the way to the spiritual planets. Because the pure devotees have developed their spontaneous love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are allowed to enter into the spiritual planets to enjoy spiritual bliss in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the Tenth Canto, Eighty-seventh Chapter, verse 23, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Vedas personified address the Lord in this way: "My dear Lord, yogis meditate upon Your localized feature, and thus they achieve the spiritual perfection of being merged in the impersonal brahma-jyotir. Persons who treat You as an enemy achieve the same perfection without meditating. The gopis, who are embraced by Your serpentine arms and who have such lusty attitudes, also achieve the same perfection. And as far as we are concerned, being different demigods in charge of the different parts of Vedic knowledge, we are always following in the footsteps of the gopis. Thus we hope to attain the same perfection." By "the same perfection" we must always remember the example of the sun and the sunshine. Those who are impersonalists can merge into the sunshinelike brahma-jyotir, whereas those who are in love with the Supreme Person enter into the supreme abode of the Lord, Goloka Vrndavana.
The "lusty attitude" of the gopis does not refer to any sort of sex indulgence. Srila Rupa Gosvami explains that this "lusty desire" refers to the devotee's particular attitude of association with Krsna. Every devotee in his perfectional stage has a spontaneous attraction to the Lord. This attraction is sometimes called the "lusty desire" of the devotee. The lust is the devotee's excessive desire to serve the Lord in a particular capacity. Such a desire may seem to be a desire for enjoying the Lord, but actually the endeavor is to serve the Lord in that capacity. For example, a devotee may be desiring to associate with the Personality of Godhead as His cowherd friend. He will want to serve the Lord by assisting Him in controlling the cows in the pasturing ground. This may appear to be a desire to enjoy the company of the Lord, but actually it is spontaneous love, serving Him by assisting in managing the transcendental cows.