The analysis of the above-mentioned five transcendental rasas is also made in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. It is said there that the transcendental rasas are experienced in five progressive ways. Yet at a certain point, one rasa is experienced as the sweetest of all.
A practical analysis has been made by Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami in the following example: “Ether, air, fire, water, and earth are five different elements. Sound is experienced in ether. Sound and touch are experienced in air. Sound, touch, and form are experienced in fire. Sound, touch, form, and taste are experienced in water. And sound, touch, form, taste, and smell are experienced in earth. Earth has the qualities of all the elements. The analysis is that each elemental quality is developed through the other by gradual development, but the last one, namely earth, possesses all the qualities.”
In the same way, the transcendental mellowness experienced in the stage of santa-prema is developed in the stage of dasya-prema and then sakhya-prema. It is further developed in vatsalya-prema, and lastly the complete development is manifested in the stage of madhurya-prema, for madhurya-prema includes all the rasas experienced in all the other devotional stages.
According to the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.82.45), the Personality of Godhead is completely obliged by the transcendental loving service rendered in the mood of madhurya-prema:
mayi bhaktir hi bhutanam
distya yad asin mat-sneho
The Personality of Godhead said, “Loving devotional service unto Me is itself the eternal life of the living entity. My dear cowherd girls, the affection that you have in your hearts for Me is the only cause of achieving My favor.”
In the Bhagavad-gita (4.11) it is said,
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
manusyah partha sarvasah
The Personality of Godhead declares that He is experienced in proportion to the degree of one’s surrender. The Lord reciprocates in His different manifestations with the particular feelings of His devotees.
[Excerpted from the Bhaktivedanta VedaBase 2011.1]