A pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa resides in the district of Mathurā or Vṛndāvana and visits all the places where Kṛṣṇa's pastimes were performed. At these sacred places Kṛṣṇa displayed His childhood activities with the cowherd boys and Mother Yaśodā. The system of circumambulating all these places is still current among devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and those coming to Mathurā and Vṛndāvana always feel transcendental pleasure. Actually, if someone goes to Vṛndāvana, he will immediately feel separation from Kṛṣṇa, who performed such nice activities when He was present there.
Such attraction for remembering Kṛṣṇa's activities is known as attachment for Kṛṣṇa. There are impersonalist philosophers and mystics, however, who by a show of devotional service want ultimately to merge into the existence of the Supreme Lord. They sometimes try to imitate a pure devotee's sentiment for visiting the holy places where Kṛṣṇa had His pastimes, but they simply have a view for salvation, and so their activities cannot be considered attachment.
It is said by Rūpa Gosvāmī that the attachment exhibited by pure devotees for Kṛṣṇa cannot possibly be perfected in the heart of fruitive workers (karmīs) or mental speculators because such attachment in pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very rare and not possible to achieve even for many liberated persons. As is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, liberation from material contamination is the stage at which devotional service can be achieved. For a person who simply wants to have liberation and to merge into the impersonal brahma-jyoti, it is not possible to acquire attachment to Kṛṣṇa. This attachment is very confidentially kept by Kṛṣṇa and is only bestowed upon pure devotees. Even ordinary devotees cannot have such pure attachment for Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, how is it possible for success to be achieved by persons whose hearts are contaminated by the actions and reactions of fruitive activities and who are entangled by various types of mental speculation?
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.