QUESTION: I once read somewhere, but I cannot remember where, that Kubja was attracted by Krishna in a selfish way of sensual satisfaction, and still Krishna fulfilled her desire. And then it is said that this intimate contact with Krishna purified her, so that her love later transformed into pure prema, as that of the gopis. Do you perhaps know where is this described?
Her love became like the prema of the gopīs but is actually not on the same level of quality.
In Bhakti Rasamṛta Sindhu, First Division, Second wave, in the section about Rāgātmikās of the Kāmarūpa type, Śrī Rūpa goswami specifies that Kubjā is not a Kāmarūpa Rāgātmikā. Her love is “kāmaprāya” (almost kāmarūpa prema). It has a semblance of the gopī’s love because it is also passionate and sexual (kāmarūpa rāga), but the purity of what Śrī Rūpa calls Krishna-śukhārtha (the intention to make Krishna happy) is not clear enough in her case to qualify her as being similar to the pristinely clear and pure motivations and intentions of the Vraja gopīs.
As such Kubjā doesn’t quite exist within Vṛndāvana with the gopīs, but close by in Mathura with the women of that city.
In describing the divisions of rāgānuga-sādhana, Sri Rupa and Sri Jiva (the commentator) explain that those who aspire for romantic love with too much focus on the external physical details (“sambhoga-icchāmāyī”) actually wind up emulating kāma-prāya persons, like Kubjā. Those who focus primarily on the pure sentiment of selfless love at the core of that sexual passion (“tad-bhāva-icchāmāyī”) are the better examples of kāmānuga-rāgānuga-sādhakas (those who aspire to love Krishna like the gopīs do).
Kubjā was extremely, extremely blessed, but still there is an experience that is higher and more intensely blissful than what she attains. That is the mood of the Vraja gopīs, whose best is Śrī Rādhā.