There is a supreme symptom of ecstatic love which is called mahābhāva. This mahābhāva expression was possible only in Rādhārāṇī, but later on when Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya appeared to feel the mode of love of Rādhārāṇī, He also expressed all of the symptoms of mahābhāva. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says in this connection that when the symptoms of ecstatic love become the most bright, that stage is accepted as mahābhāva.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī further analyzes the ecstatic loving expression into four divisions which are called sāttvābhāsā.
Sometimes impersonalists who are not actually in devotional service may also exhibit such symptoms of ecstatic love, but this is not accepted as actual ecstasy. It is a reflection only. For example, sometimes in Vārāṇasī, a holy city for impersonalist scholars, there may be seen a sannyāsī crying from hearing the glories of the Lord. Impersonalists also sometimes chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and dance, but their aim is not to serve the Lord. It is to become one with the Lord and merge into His existence. Rūpa Gosvāmī therefore says that even if the reactions to chanting are manifested in the impersonalist's body, they should not be considered to be symptoms of actual attachment, but reflections only, just like the sun reflected in a dark room through some polished glass. The chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, however, is so nice and transcendental that it will eventually melt even the hearts of persons who are impersonalists. Rūpa Gosvāmī says that the impersonalists' symptoms are simply reflections of ecstatic love, not the real thing.
Sometimes it is found that when staunch logicians, without any trace of devotional service and without actually understanding the transcendental glories of the Lord, sit down to hear the glories of the Lord, they appear to be melting and shedding tears. In this connection there is a statement by a devotee who is addressing the Lord thusly: "My dear Mukunda, I cannot properly express the glories of Your pastimes. Even when the nondevotees hear of Your glorious pastimes they become affected and shed tears and start to tremble." Such nondevotees are not actually melted; they are hard-hearted. But the influence of the glories of the Lord is so great that even the nondevotees sometimes shed tears.