On the mahāmāyā platform, dances take place on the basis of sense gratification. But when Kṛṣṇa called the gopīs by sounding His flute, they very hurriedly rushed toward the spot of the rāsa dance with the transcendental desire to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. The author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, has explained that lust means sense gratification, and love also means sense gratification—but for Kṛṣṇa. In other words, when activities are enacted on the platform of personal sense gratification, they are called material activities, but when they are enacted for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, they are spiritual activities. On any platform of activities, the principle of sense gratification is there. But on the spiritual platform, sense gratification is for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, whereas on the material platform it is for the performer. For example, on the material platform, when a servant serves a master, he is trying to satisfy not the senses of his master but rather his own senses. The servant would not serve the master if the payment stopped. That means that the servant engages himself in the service of the master just to satisfy his own senses. On the spiritual platform, however, the servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead serves Kṛṣṇa without payment, and he continues his service in all conditions. That is the difference between Kṛṣṇa consciousness and material consciousness.
As mentined above, it appears that Kṛṣṇa enjoyed the rāsa dance with the gopīs when He was eight years old. At that time, many of the gopīs were married, because in India, especially in those days, girls were married at a very early age. There are even many instances of a girl’s giving birth to a child at the age of twelve. Under the circumstances, all the gopīs who wanted to have Kṛṣṇa as their husband were already married. At the same time, they continued to hope that Kṛṣṇa would be their husband. Their attitude toward Kṛṣṇa was that of paramour love. Therefore, the loving affairs of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs are called parakīya-rasa. The attitude of a married man who desires another wife or a wife who desires another husband is called parakīya-rasa.
Actually, Kṛṣṇa is the husband of everyone because He is the supreme enjoyer. The gopīs wanted Kṛṣṇa to be their husband, but factually there was no possibility of His marrying all the gopīs. But because they had that natural tendency to accept Kṛṣṇa as their supreme husband, the relationship between the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa is called parakīya-rasa. This parakīya-rasa is ever-existent in Goloka Vṛndāvana, in the spiritual sky, where there is no possibility of the inebriety which characterizes parakīya-rasa in the material world. In the material world, parakīya-rasa is abominable, whereas in the spiritual world it is present in the superexcellent relationship of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. There are many relationships with Kṛṣṇa—master and servant, friend and friend, parent and son, and lover and beloved. Out of all these rasas, the parakīya-rasa is considered to be the topmost.
This material world is the perverted reflection of the spiritual world; it is just like the reflection of a tree on the bank of a reservoir of water: the topmost part of the tree is seen as the lowest part. Similarly, parakīya-rasa, when pervertedly reflected in this material world, is most abominable. Therefore when people imitate the rāsa dance of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs, they simply enjoy the perverted, abominable reflection of the transcendental parakīya-rasa. There is no possibility of enjoying this transcendental parakīya-rasa within the material world. It is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that one should not imitate this parakīya-rasa even in dream or imagination. Those who do so drink the most deadly poison.
When Kṛṣṇa, the supreme enjoyer, desired to enjoy the company of the gopīs on that full-moon night of the śarat season, exactly at that very moment the moon, the lord of the stars, appeared in the sky, displaying its most beautiful features. The full-moon night of the śarat season is the most beautiful night in the year. In the Indian city of Agra, in Uttar Pradesh Province, there is a great monument called the Taj Mahal, which is a tomb made of first-class marble stone. During the night of the full moon of the śarat season, many foreigners go to see the beautiful reflections of the moon on the tomb. Thus this full-moon night is celebrated even today for its beauty.
When the full moon rose in the east, it tinged everything with a reddish color. With the rising of the moon, the whole sky appeared smeared by red kuṅkuma. When a husband long separated from his wife returns home, he decorates the face of his wife with red kuṅkuma. This long-expected moonrise of the śarat season was thus smearing the eastern sky.