When Kṛṣṇa entered the lake of Kāliya, His intimate friends became so perturbed that their bodily colors faded, and they all produced horrible gurgling sounds. At that time all of them fell down on the ground as if unconscious. Similarly, when there was a forest fire, all of Kṛṣṇa's friends neglected their own protection and surrounded Kṛṣṇa on all sides to protect Him from the flames. This behavior of the friends toward Kṛṣṇa is described by thoughtful poets as vyabhicārī. In vyabhicārī ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa there is sometimes madness, dexterity, fear, laziness, jubilation, pride, dizziness, meditation, disease, forgetfulness and humbleness. These are some of the common symptoms in the stage of vyabhicārī ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa.
When there are dealings between Kṛṣṇa and His friends which are completely devoid of any feelings of respect and they all treat one another on an equal level, such ecstatic love in friendship is called sthāyī. When one is situated in this confidential friendly relationship with Kṛṣṇa, one shows symptoms of love such as attraction, affection, affinity and attachment. An example of sthāyī was exhibited when Arjuna told Akrūra, "My dear son of Gāndinī, please ask Kṛṣṇa when I shall be able to embrace Him in my arms."
When there is full knowledge of Kṛṣṇa's superiority and yet in dealings with Him on friendly terms respectfulness is completely absent, that stage is called affection. There is one brilliant example of this affection. When the demigods, headed by Lord Śiva, were offering respectful prayers to Kṛṣṇa, describing the glorious opulences of the Lord, Arjuna stood before Him with his hand on His shoulders and brushed the dust from His peacock feather.
When the Pāṇḍavas were banished by Duryodhana and forced to live incognito in the forest, no one could trace out where they were staying. At that time, the great sage Nārada met Lord Kṛṣṇa and said, "My dear Mukunda, although You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the all-powerful person, by making friendship with You the Pāṇḍavas have become bereft of their legitimate right to the kingdom of the world—and, moreover, they are now living in the forest incognito. Sometimes they must work as ordinary laborers in someone else's house. These symptoms appear to be very inauspicious materially, but the beauty is that the Pāṇḍavas have not lost their faith and love for You, in spite of all these tribulations. In fact, they are always thinking of You and chanting Your name in ecstatic friendship."
Another example of acute affection for Kṛṣṇa is given in the Tenth Canto, Fifteenth Chapter, verse 18, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In the pasturing ground Kṛṣṇa felt a little tired and wanted to take rest, so He lay down on the ground. At that time, many cowherd boys assembled there and with great affection began to sing suitable songs so that Kṛṣṇa would rest very nicely.