One old man was told by a young man: "Just see how this child—only three years old—is so jubilant! Simply by seeing Kṛṣṇa he is running so swiftly, making a tumultuous sound. Just see!" This is an instance of neutral ecstatic love in the heart of a child, without any specific subdivision. Due to the different types of attraction for Kṛṣṇa, there are different varieties of devotees. Their symptoms are manifested transparently, just like jewels.
It is said that a great devotee brāhmaṇa would sometimes address the Supreme Personality of Godhead as master, and sometimes he would joke with the Lord, using different kinds of familiar words; sometimes he would protect the Lord with a filial affection, and sometimes he would cry out to the Lord, addressing Him as his beloved; and sometimes he would meditate on the Lord as the supersoul. This means that the brāhmaṇa expressed his ecstatic loving symptoms in different ways at different times. But in each instance, because of ecstatic love, the brāhmaṇa merged himself in the ocean of happiness and became situated in pure love. Thus he was a transparent medium, like a jewel that shows reality in varying colors according to its own nature.
When the great sage Nārada was glorifying the pastimes of the Lord with his vīṇā, the four Kumāras, headed by Sanaka, although merged in the impersonal conception of Brahman, were trembling all over. Another devotee once exclaimed, "Although I can achieve liberation simply by serving the devotees, my mind is still very much anxious to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose bodily complexion is just like a dark cloud." When a devotee is so anxious to contact the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that can also be accepted as a symptom of neutral love.
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.