If one can fix his mind on Kṛṣṇa without deviation, he can attain a steadfast position in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, śānta-rasa. When one attains śānta-rasa, unflinching faith in Kṛṣṇa is established, and all material desires cease. These specific characteristics of śānta-rasa—unflinching faith in Kṛṣṇa and cessation of all desires which are not connected with Kṛṣṇa—are common to all other rasas as well, just as sound is generally present in all other elements (air, fire, water and earth) because it is produced from the sky. Similarly, these two characteristics of śānta-rasa are present in other transcendental relationships, such as dāsya (servitorship), sakhya (fraternity), vātsalya (paternal affection), and the madhura-rasa (conjugal love).
When we speak of non-Kṛṣṇa, or desire which has no connection with Kṛṣṇa, this does not mean that anything exists without Kṛṣṇa. Actually there cannot be anything "non-Kṛṣṇa" because everything is a product of the energy of Kṛṣṇa. Since Kṛṣṇa and His energies are identical, everything is Kṛṣṇa indirectly. For example, consciousness is common to every living entity, but when consciousness is purely centered on Kṛṣṇa (Kṛṣṇa consciousness), it is pure, and when consciousness is centered on something other than Kṛṣṇa, or when it is directed to sense gratification, it may be called non-Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Thus it is in the polluted state that the conception of non-Kṛṣṇa comes. In the pure state, however, there is nothing but Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Active interest in Kṛṣṇa—the understanding that Kṛṣṇa is mine or that I am Kṛṣṇa's, and that therefore my business is to satisfy the senses of Kṛṣṇa—is typical of a higher stage than the neutrality of the śānta-rasa. Simply by understanding the greatness of Kṛṣṇa, one can achieve the status of śānta-rasa, in which the worshipable object may be the impersonal Brahman or Paramātmā. Worship of the impersonal Brahman and the Paramātmā is conducted by those engaged in empiric philosophical speculation and mystic yoga. However, when one develops even further in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or spiritual understanding, he can appreciate that the Paramātmā, the Supersoul, is the eternal worshipable object, and he surrenders unto Him. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate (BG 7.19): "After many, many births of worshiping Brahman and Paramātmā, when one surrenders unto Vāsudeva as the supreme master and accepts himself as the eternal servitor of Vāsudeva, he becomes a great transcendentally realized soul." At that time, due to his thick and thin relationship with the Supreme Absolute Truth, one begins to render some sort of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus the neutral relationship known as śānta-rasa is transformed into dāsya-rasa, servitorship.
On the platform of dāsya-rasa, the greatest quantity of awe and veneration of the Supreme Lord is exhibited. That is, in the dāsya-rasa, the greatness of the Supreme Lord is appreciated. It should be noted here that on the platform of śānta-rasa there is no spiritual activity, but on the platform of dāsya-rasa, service begins. Thus in the dāsya-rasa the quality of the śānta-rasa is exhibited, and, in addition, there is consciousness of the transcendental taste of service.
Transcendental qualities are certainly present in the śānta-rasa and dāsya-rasa, but beyond these there is another quality, confidential attachment, which is pure transcendental love. This loving confidence in the Supreme Personality is technically known as viśrambha. On the platform of viśrambha, fraternity, there is no sense of awe or veneration towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus in the transcendental fraternal relationship known as sakhya-rasa, there are three transcendental characteristics: the sense of greatness, the sense of service, and the sense of intimacy without awe or veneration. Thus in the sakhya-rasa, the relationship of fraternity, the transcendental qualities are further increased.
Similarly, on the platform of paternal affection (vātsalya-rasa) there are four qualities. In addition to the three qualities already mentioned, there is the sense that the Supreme Lord is dependent on the mercy of the devotee. As a parent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotee sometimes chastises the Lord and considers himself to be the Lord's maintainer. This transcendental sense of being the maintainer of the supreme maintainer is very pleasing both to the devotee and to the Supreme Lord.
The Lord instructed Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī to write the transcendental literature named Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the science of devotional service, and indicate therein the substance of these five transcendental relationships. It is explained in that great literature how the transcendental relationship of śānta-rasa, taking the shape of unflinching faith in Kṛṣṇa, is further developed into dāsya-rasa with the spirit of service, and then to sakhya-rasa or undeterred fraternity, and further to the transcendental platform of paternal love, wherein one feels himself to be maintaining the Lord. All these relationships culminate on the highest platform of conjugal love (madhura-rasa), wherein all these transcendental relationships exist simultaneously.