chittvā durjara-śṛṅkhalaṁ guru-girā te moha-mātroditam |
vṛndāraṇyam upetya śīghram akhilānandaika-sāmrājya-sat-
kandaṁ kanda-phalādi-vṛttir aniśaṁ tan-nātha-līlāṁ smara ||
O friend! Don’t waste time thinking you are the doer or possessor of things like body, home and family. Take the words of your guru and cut off all these powerful chains that arise out of bewilderment alone and go quickly to Vrindavan, the eternal root of the lone empire of unlimited joy. And there, living on fruits and roots, constantly remember the pastimes of the Lord and Lady of the Dham. (1.69)
Each one of Prabodhananda Saraswati’s verses is a miniature summary of the essence of all instructions as given by Rupa Goswami (See Verse 1.30). In this verse, we see the verb chid being used again, along with the words guru-girā, “the words of the guru” just as in the previous verse, the words guru-nigama-girā were used, “the words of the guru and the holy scriptures.” These were compared to Krishna’s telling Arjuna to cut doubts born of ignorance with the sword of knowledge. In these two verses, “born of ignorance” are conveyed by moha-mātroditam and svīya-mohaika-siddha, “arising out of bewilderment,” “nothing more than the product of illusion.” And the object, the thing that is to be cut? In the previous verse it was material bonds (sva-pāśān), and here it is stated more clearly, “powerful chains” (durjara-śṛṅkhalaṁ).
Anyone familiar with the Bhagavatam will immediately recognize these last words, durjara-śṛṅkhalaṁ, which are found at a crucial point in the account of the Rasa Lila. There, in perhaps the greatest glorification of bhakti anywhere, Krishna says to the gopis,
sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṁ vibudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ |
yā mābhajan durjara-geha-śṛṅkhalāḥ
saṁvṛścya tad vaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā ||
I am left powerless, for even if were given the lifetime of the gods to repay you your good deeds, I would be unable, for you have dedicated yourselves to me completely, breaking off the powerful chains (durjara-geha-śṛṅkhalāḥ) that kept you bound to home and family to worship me. You must therefore be satisfied with your good deeds alone. (10.32.22)
The grand teaching here is that Krishna, God Himself, finds himself powerless to give anything to the gopis as a compensation for their love, for they want nothing from him. For although Krishna promises to respond to his devotees according to their desire (ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham), with the gopis, he fails to fulfill his promise. How can you repay love except with love? When the gopis asked him for his rule in reciprocating love, Krishna said that he does not follow the normal rules,
bhajāmy amīṣām anuvṛtti-vṛttaye
yathādhano labdha-dhane vinaṣṭe
tac-cintayānyan nibhṛto na veda
My beloved friends, I do not reciprocate those who love me in a strictly equivalent exchange. [These devotees are] just like a poor man who loses the wealth he has gained, and alone, thinks of nothing else. (10.32.20)
In other words, since those who love God selflessly want nothing in return, they must be satisfied with the Love itself. Indeed, the love itself is more important than Krishna. So Krishna acts in ways only so that their love grows stronger. That is how he reciprocates. Indeed, from one angle of vision, that is how he reciprocates with everyone.