The internet might not afford an appropriate venue for discussing such very important and heartfelt topics. Nonetheless I cannot restrain myself. I have seen too much doubt in the eyes of those who admire and gain great inspiration from Aindra Prabhu; and too much frustration in the hearts of even his dedicated and intimate friends and followers, at the challenge of addressing the topic. So please excuse my inability to refrain from posting this broadly. I do meekly beg that you step out of internet-mentality, and adopt your deeper calm, peaceful, devotional mood while reading and contemplating this post.
Unfortunately, some people have come under the sway of an impression that Aindra Prabhu’s spiritual aspirations are not exactly harmonious with what is known as the mañjarī bhāva of the rūpānugā sampradāya. It seems to me that this confusion initially arose as a sad consequence of a few vociferous people hastily skimming Aindra’s deep words, without the patience born of deep lobha and mature ruci, and still somewhat influenced by the habit of wanting to seem knowledgeable and authoritative whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Their specific misconception is that Aindra’s preference was for the service of Krishna rather than Rādhārāṇī. Although the language in Aindra’s book is certainly oblique, I must still say that only people who are too timid or uninterested could remain impressed with such a misconception after reading his own words on the subject:
Dear most merciful Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī! I will ever attach the desires of my heart, the activities of my perfect spiritual body, my eternal life, the transcendentally situated soul of my very being, my everything and my all-and-all to the shoreless nectar-ocean of the pastimes of Your tender lotus feet. By the unfailing influence of Your special causeless mercy upon me, my heart will be ever-increasingly overwhelmed with undeniable, transcendentally passionate loving attraction to the Lord of Your life. Still, I will never, abandoning the consideration of Your ultimate satisfaction, independently endeavor to please Your beloved Śyāma, even if He, in a secluded grove, unceremoniously tries to force Himself upon my frail existence. Śyāma belongs to You, and You, by Your boundless benignity, belong to me.
This sounds clear, but many readers again become confused when Aindra writes more specifically of his aspirations, for example his ardent hope to dance with Krishna during rāsa-līlā. Afraid or unable to probe deeply into such subjects, the masses of onlookers seem to superficially believe that love for Śrī Rādhā is separable, distinct, and different from love for Śrī Krishna. A kind person should warn them patiently that such an attitude is not only shallow; it is objectionable, being a mere hair’s breadth away from the kartābhajā apasiddhānta which loves and worships the devotee separately from Krishna.
We cannot deeply love any person without also loving the people and things that person deeply loves. I love my daughter very much. How much could you really love me if you remain insensitive and oblivious to my daughter? No one could possibly love anyone else more deeply and absolutely than Śrī Rādhā loves Śrī Krishna. Therefore it expresses an embarrassing lack of common sense to say that one can love and serve Śrī Rādhā without loving and serving Śrī Krishna, or that loving and serving Śrī Krishna is an indication of a lack of loving service to Śrī Rādhā.
Aindra expresses this here:
You will always be my supreme svāminī. My enthusiastic singing of His Holy Names; my earnest glorification and recollection of His form, qualities, and pastimes; my sincere friendships with His devotees; my ardent longing for His occasional encounter; my acceptance of His mercy upon Your ever-loyal, incorruptible, unalloyed maidservant – all will be done exclusively with the aim of satisfying You… to relieve the para-duḥkha-duḥkhī heartfelt anguish You feel when apprehending the disconsolate condition of His ever-insatiable transcendentally impassioned heart. He Svāminī Rādhe! I will thus have no separate interest apart from Your own.
There is another doubt. In Bhakti-Rasāmṛta-Sindhu 1.2.298-299, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī differentiates between those who aspire for direct union with Krishna (“sambhoga-iccha”) and those who desire to appreciate such things in a more subtle, sophisticated manner – through the persons who are expert in such things (“tad-bhāva-iccha”). Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī does not state it, but it seems to be the common understanding that the former is an aspiration for sakhī-bhava and only the latter is an aspiration for mañjarī-bhava. Even very learned and mature persons sometimes wonder which category Aindra falls into.
A patient reading of Aindra’s words, however, make it doubtless that he desires to approach a romantic relationship with Śrī Krishna only in the context of his relationship with Śrī Rādhā (Thus his aspiration is in the category of tad-bhāva-iccha / mañjarī-bhava). Here he states it directly, with explicit reference to the terminology of Bhakti-Rasāmṛta-Sindhu:
My dearmost beloved Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī! You undoubtedly relish ten million times the happiness of Your own intimate meetings with Śyāma by sharing Him with Your confidential companions! […and Śyāma also very highly desires the company of those who are exclusively devoted to you…] Therefore, from time to time You are thrilled to facilitate such a variety of happiness in Him… Thus, some of Your sakhī-snehādhika kinkarīs [mañjarīs, who are primarily concerned with serving Śrī Rādhā] will certainly, under special conditions prearranged by You, sometimes agree to meet with Your beloved when wholly convinced of Your absolute delight… The amplified ānanda within your heart spontaneously inundates their intensely absorbed tad-bhāvecchātmikā consciousness. This makes it possible for them, in all circumstances, to relish a pleasure ten million times that which they could ever access by direct sambhogecchāmayī association with the Lord.
I hope it is now clear that the aspirations expressed and illustrated in Aindra’s book are beautifully harmonious with the most cherished objectives of the followers of Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī. In so clarifying, perhaps the objectives themselves have somehow also come into clearer focus.
Reading through the third division of his book with this more clearly understood, one will find delightful reinforcement after delightful reinforcement of the conclusion we have arrived at here.