There are many so-called devotees who artificially think of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes, which are known as aṣṭa-kālīka-līlā. Sometimes one may artificially imitate these, pretending that Kṛṣṇa is talking with him in the form of a boy, or else one may pretend that Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa both have come to him and are talking with him. Such characteristics are sometimes exhibited by the impersonalist class of men, and they may captivate some innocent persons who have no knowledge in the science of devotional service. However, as soon as an experienced devotee sees all of these caricatures, he can immediately evaluate such rascaldom. If such a pretender is sometimes seen possessing imitative attachment to Kṛṣṇa, that will not be accepted as real attachment. It may be said, however, that such attachment is like giving a future hope to the pretender, so that he may eventually rise onto the actual platform of pure devotional service.
This imitative attachment can be divided into two headings—namely, shadow attachment and parā (transcendental) attachment. If someone, without undergoing the regulative principles of devotional service or without being guided by a bona fide spiritual master, shows such imitative attachment, it is called shadow attachment. Sometimes it is found that a person actually attached to material enjoyment or salvation has the good fortune to associate with pure devotees while they are engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord. By the good grace of the Lord one may also cooperate and join in the chanting. At that time, simply by the association of such pure devotees, the moonlike rays from their hearts reflect on him, and by the influence of the pure devotees he may show some likeness of attachment caused by inquisitiveness, but this is very flickering. And, if by the manifestation of such shadow attachment one feels the disappearance of all material pangs, then it is called parā attachment.
Such shadow attachment or parā attachment can develop by associating with a pure devotee or by visiting holy places like Vṛndāvana or Mathurā; or if an ordinary man develops such attachment for Kṛṣṇa and fortunately performs devotional activities in the association of pure devotees, he can also rise up to the platform of pure devotional service. The conclusion is that transcendental attachment is so powerful that even if such attachment is seen manifested in some common man, by the association of a pure devotee it can bring one to the perfectional stage. But such attachment for Kṛṣṇa cannot be invoked in a person without his being sufficiently blessed by the association of pure devotees.
As attachment can be invoked by the association of pure devotees, so attachment can also be extinguished by committing offenses at the lotus feet of pure devotees. To be more clear, by the association of pure devotees attachment for Kṛṣṇa can be aroused, but if one commits offenses at the lotus feet of a devotee, his shadow attachment or parā attachment can be extinguished. This extinguishing is like the waning moon, which gradually decreases and at last becomes darkness. One should therefore be very careful while associating with pure devotees to guard against committing an offense at their lotus feet.
Transcendental attachment, either shadow or parā, can be nullified by different degrees of offenses at the lotus feet of pure devotees. If the offense is very serious, then one's attachment becomes almost nil, and if the offense is not very serious, one's attachment can become second-class or third-class.