Unless one follows in the footsteps of the gopis, he cannot attain the service of the lotus feet of Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja

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Expressions researched:
"Unless one follows in the footsteps of the gopis, he cannot attain the service of the lotus feet of Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja"

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Madhya-lila

Unless one follows in the footsteps of the gopīs, he cannot attain the service of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja. If one is overcome by knowledge of the Lord's opulence, he cannot attain the Lord's lotus feet, even though he is engaged in devotional service.
CC Madhya 8.230, Translation and Purport:

“Unless one follows in the footsteps of the gopīs, he cannot attain the service of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja. If one is overcome by knowledge of the Lord's opulence, he cannot attain the Lord's lotus feet, even though he is engaged in devotional service.

One can worship Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa by the process of vidhi-mārga, worshiping the Lord with regulative principles according to the instructions of the śāstra and the spiritual master. But the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, cannot be directly worshiped by this process. The dealings between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs are devoid of the opulences of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa. The process of vidhi-mārga, following the regulative principles, is utilized in the worship of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, whereas the process of spontaneous service—following in the footsteps of the gopīs, who are the denizens of Vṛndāvana—is transcendentally more advanced and is the process whereby Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are worshiped. One cannot attain this elevated position while worshiping the Lord in His opulence. Those attracted by the conjugal love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa must follow in the footsteps of the gopīs. Only then is it possible to enter into the Lord's service in Goloka Vṛndāvana and directly associate with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.