Yatha Vrajagopikanam. (21)
As the Shepherdess (cowherd)
As soon as we hear the story of romance of shepherdesses (cowherd) with Krishna, we should imagine ourselves as shepherdesses dreaming Krishna as our lover. Dreaming Krishna as our lover who has all Divine qualities take us to the spiritual heights. Anybody who dreams Krishna as his/her lover is a shepherdess in Gokulam.
Mira, Krishna Caitanya and Ramakrishna practiced it. Even before them Nammalvar of Tamilnadu practiced it. His beautiful verses in Tamil are perhaps the best examples of the spiritual ecstasy of Madhurabhava. These verses are perhaps more ancient than Bhagavatam itself.
Getting into spiritual heights through Madhurabhava is of two kinds. i) To enjoy the union of the Divine as a beloved enjoys the union of the lover. ii) To suffer the separation of the Divine as a beloved suffers.
Even in the conjugal love, separation intensifies the love more than the union as the beloved feels the significance of the lover more in separation. In the same way even in the spiritual love, feeling separated from the Divine intensifies the Divine love more than the union that leads more to spiritual heights. That is why the great saints like Nammalvar prefer to feel separation more and express it through the beautiful verses of separation are from Nammalvar's literary work in the whole world literature. Krishna Caitanya also prefers to feel the separation only for this reason.