Recently a very good friend asked: what does it mean to “practice affectionate emotions for Krsna.”
In the 12th chapter of Gita, 8th and 9th texts there is a reply to your question, more or less. 8 says, “mayy eva mana ādhatsva mayi buddhiḿ niveśaya.” This describes the objective view of affectionate emotions for Krsna. The objective view is that when there are affectionate emotions for Krsna, the mind and intelligence will be entangled in Krsna. In other words it will be difficult to stop thinking about Krsna.
Text 9 says, “atha cittaḿ samādhātuḿ na śaknoṣi mayi sthiram. abhyāsa-yogena tato mām icchāptuḿ dhanañjaya.”
This means – if you cannot have affectionate emotions for me yet – do “abhyaasa” of those emotions – and this will give you the “iccha” to get them.
Abhyaasa means: drills, repetitions, habits, exersizes. Thus in other words text 8 says, “please do raganuga for me.” text 9 says, “if you cant, please do vaidhi for me.” What is vaidhi-sadhana – it is the exercise and practice and drills of the spontaneous emotions for Krsna.
To sum up – how do we practice affectionate emotions for Krsna? We take an activity which is *symptomatic* of emotion, and do it by force of will. In other words we intentionally emulate (since “imitate” has a bad connotation) the symptoms of emotion for Krsna. For example – the primary, primary primary symptom of being in love with someone is that you can not stop for a moment from thinking about and talking about that person. Therefore we practice this by willfully chanting japa and by doing Nama-rupa-guna-lila sankirtana AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, hopefully 18 hours a day, if not 24.
The result of imitating/emulating divine emotion is “iccha” – you get the strong “itch” the strong desire and ambition and conviction that, “I want the REAL THING.” This icha is synonymous with lobha – which is the key that opens the door to real emotional service to Krsna – raganuga sadhana.
To give a example, in closing, to bring it down to earth. Suppose an 8th grade boy starts talking like a “gangsta” – “yo, whaddup.” “yo ho, you look FIIIINE today.” “where my peeps at up in dis joint?” and all that ridiculous banter. At first it is just a pure imitation. He thinks the rappers on MTV are totally cool so he decides to imitate them as far as he is able. However as this imitation continues for a month or so, he starts to think, “yo dawg, i’m not legit… i need to take dis shizzle to da next level.” You see, by continued emulation/imitation it is entirely natural that one develops “iccha” to be more genuine and real and legit and get the real thing. Thus we find imitation and adulation of criminal-culture to be a warning sign that in a significant portion of the imitators, actual attitudes and behavior will change and soon it will no longer be an act for those who were more serious and passionate in their desire to emulate. This is the natural sequence of how something practiced becomes something internalized and is the similar psychological principle by which vaidhi SHOULD lead to raganuga if we do it well.