Lord Caitanya approved of this advance and asked Ramananda to go still further in the development of transcendental relationships. Sakhya-prema is an advance in transcendental mellowness over dasya-prema, but vatsalya-prema, parental affection, is still more advanced than sakhya-prema. Ramananda Raya thus described a stanza from Srimad-Bhagavatam wherein the excellence of vatsalya-prema is described.
nandah kim akarod brahman
sreya evam mahodayam
yasoda va maha-bhaga
papau yasyah stanam harih
“O brahmana, it is puzzling to try to understand what virtuous acts Nanda Maharaja performed that he could have Hari (Sri Krsna) as his son. It is also puzzling to try to understand about Yasodadevi, who was addressed by the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna as ‘Mother’ and whose breast He sucked in filial affection.”
Here is another quote from the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.9.20):
nemam virinco na bhavo
na srir apy anga-samsraya
prasadam lebhire gopi
yat tat prapa vimuktidat
“Thus the blessing of the Personality of Godhead Srî Krsna, which was gained by the cowherd lady Yasodadevi, was never expected by the demigods like Brahma or Siva or even by Laksmidevi, who is the constant consort of the Personality of Godhead Narayana.”
This means that Srimati Yasodadevi and Nanda Maharaja worshiped the Personality of Godhead with the conception of the ‘sonhood of Godhead.’ In Christianity the ‘fatherhood of Godhead’ is accepted, and in Hinduism there is worship of Sakti, the external energy of Godhead, the ‘motherhood of Godhead.’ Both of these shadows of vatsalya-prema are material or a product of the external energy. They are a sort of perverted representation of the real vatsalya-prema, because by such a material conception of ‘fatherhood’ or ‘motherhood’ of Godhead, the worshiper’s aim is to extract service from the Almighty.
The spirit of enjoyment and the spirit of renunciation are the predominant factors of material existence. The enjoying spirit is cultivated by the karmis, people engaged in fruitive activities, and the spirit of renunciation is cultivated by the jnanis, empiric philosophers, who have become baffled by their engagement in fruitive activities. Both the karmis and jnanis are therefore materialists because both of them maintain the spirit of being served by the Absolute Truth. To satisfy their own conceptions, both of them demand something from the Absolute Truth.
The Absolute Truth is meant to be served by all living entities. He is not meant to serve the living entities. The living entities are mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita as the parts and parcels of the Absolute Truth. The parts and parcels are meant to render service to the whole. It is absurd for the parts and parcels to think of becoming one with the whole or to extract service from the whole. The part and parcel living entity, when unfit to render service, is detached from the whole. Therefore, the spirit of demanding service from the Absolute Whole is a symptom of being detached from the Absolute Whole, or, in other words, of being in the domain of the external energy of Godhead. Such a demanding policy of the materialists, through the conception of the ‘fatherhood’ or ‘motherhood’ of Godhead, is a slight attempt to revive their eternal relationships with Godhead; however, these conceptions are far from the conception of the ‘sonhood of Godhead’ as shown by Nanda and Yasoda.
The conception of the ‘sonhood of Godhead’ is a cent percent spiritually pure transcendental rasa. There was no demand made by Nanda and Yasoda on the Personality of Godhead. They offered pure and simple service to the Personality of Godhead by nursing Him as a baby. Under the influence of yogamaya, the internal energy of Godhead, they thought of Sri Krsna as nothing more or less than their affectionate and dependent son. The service of parents for a dependent son is always spontaneous and unalloyed.
[Excerpted from the Bhaktivedanta VedaBase 2011.1]