Generally, a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa can be placed into one of three groups. One group consists of those who are completely dependent on the merciful affection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; another group consists of devotees who are dealing with Kṛṣṇa on friendly terms; and the third group consists of those who are dealing with Kṛṣṇa as His superior, with parental affection. These three classes of devotees gradually develop different relationships of transcendental mellow with the Personality of Godhead. When the attraction for Kṛṣṇa is based only on one particular humor, that is called kevala, or pure state. One in this pure state of devotional service gradually develops the desire to follow in the footsteps of an eternal associate of Kṛṣṇa, e.g., to follow in the footsteps of Rasāla, the personal attendant of Kṛṣṇa in Goloka Vṛndāvana, or to follow Kṛṣṇa's friends, like Śrīdāmā and Sudāmā, or to follow Nanda and Yaśodā, devotees in parenthood. Ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa is never manifested directly with Kṛṣṇa Himself. The devotee has to follow in the footsteps of the eternal associates of Kṛṣṇa in Goloka Vṛndāvana.
When transcendental humors in relationship with Kṛṣṇa become mixed (e.g., when the relationships with Kṛṣṇa in friendship, servitorship and parental love become mixed together), the result is called mixed humor or flavor. Such mixed transcendental flavors are manifested by such devotees as Uddhava, Bhīma and Mukharā, the personal attendant of Mother Yaśodā. Although devotional humors are sometimes found in mixtures, a particular humor is always found to be a prominent and constant factor. That prominent humor is to be accepted as the devotee's main relationship with Kṛṣṇa. For example, Uddhava is in relationship with Kṛṣṇa as a friend, but in Uddhava's character a trace of servitude to Kṛṣṇa is also visible. Such friendship is called friendship in reverence. The friendship typified by Śrīdāmā and Sudāmā, however, is the standard of friendship without any tinge of reverence.
Subordinate Ecstatic Love
The devotees who always think of Kṛṣṇa as a superior are in subordinate ecstatic love. To such a devotee the concept of inferiority to the Lord is very prominent, and he rarely takes interest in any other kind of transcendental loving humor with the Lord.
In the Mukunda-mālā-stotra compiled by King Kulaśekhara, one of the prayers says, "My dear Lord, You are the deliverer of living entities from the hellish condition of materialistic life, but that does not matter to me. Whether I am elevated to the heavenly platform or remain on this earthly planet or am dispatched to some hellish planet, that does not matter at all to me. My only prayer is that at the time of my death I may simply remember Your two beautiful feet, which are just like lotus flowers fructifying during the autumn season."