Gosvami: Please consider what Srila Rupa Gosvami has said (Ujjvala-nilamani, Gauna-sambhoga-prakarana) about the great wonder of the rasas manifested in the Lord's asta-kaliya pastimes:
"Because it is shoreless, peerless and unfathomable, I merely stand on the shore of the ocean of rasa and touch only one drop of its sweetness."
Why should this not be so? The ocean of rasa is spiritual, wonderful, all-pervading and shoreless. If one tries to describe that spiritual ocean of rasa with words, his words will inevitably be both impure and incomplete. Even if the Supreme Lord Himself describes it, the hearers and readers, still bearing the faults that the material world impresses on them, will not be able to understand it perfectly. Therefore because the ocean of rasa cannot be fathomed, one can merely stand at its shore and understand only a single drop of it.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, if this is so, then how can I have any conception at all of the spiritual rasas?
Gosvami: The madhura rasa is shoreless, peerless, and unfathomable. Lord Krishna's pastimes are like that. However, Lord Krishna has two transcendental qualities that give us hope: He is all powerful and He can do whatever He likes. Therefore, even though the ocean of rasa is peerless, shoreless and unfathomable, Lord Krishna can shrink it so that it fits within the material world.
The material world is indeed a very small place. Still, if Krishna wishes He can bring His supremely glorious rasas to the small and insignificant material world. In this way He mercifully descends to the material world and He takes His spiritual and eternal rasas and pastimes with Him. When He descends to the material world, he brings with Him His own spiritual world of Mathura-mandala, which is beyond the touch of matter.
One cannot ask how the Lord does all this. Why not? All this is done by His inconceivable potency. Even the demigods and other exalted beings are not intelligent enough to understand how it is done. In this way the Lord manifested His Vraja pastimes, which are the best of all pastimes, and which are beyond the touch of matter. I do not lament merely because I cannot understand them perfectly or completely.
Vijaya-kumara: If the Lord's prakrata (manifested) and aprakata (unmanifested) pastimes are the same pastimes, then why are the aprakata pastimes considered superior?
Gosvami: These two kinds of pastimes are identical. Of this there is no doubt. They are both perfect, complete, glorious and beyond the touch of matter. However, the prakrata pastimes can be seen and remembered by conditioned souls imprisoned in the material world, but the aprakata pastimes can be seen only by purified souls who are in mature devotional service and who have attained the stage of bhavapana-dasa.
O Vijaya-kumara, to you I can disclose this secret. And why not? You are qualified to hear it. By practicing smarana-dasa for a long time, one eventually becomes qualified for bhavapana-dasa. During smarana-dasa one begins to become cleansed of material contamination, but that cleansing is not complete until one attains bhavapana-dasa.
By following smarana-dasa one attains pure sadhana-bhakti. In this way by the Lord's mercy, pure devotional service is manifested in the devotee's heart. That pure devotion attracts Krishna. In this way, by Lord Krishna's mercy, the devotee advances beyond smarana-dasa. This is described by the Supreme Lord Himself in these words (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.14.26):
"When a diseased eye is treated with medicinal ointment it gradually recovers its power to see. Similarly, as a conscious living entity cleanses himself of material contamination by hearing and chanting the pious narrations of My glories, he regains his ability to see Me, the Absolute Truth, in My subtle spiritual form."
This is also described in the following words of Brahman-samhita (5.38):
"I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Syamasundara, situated within the heart of the devotee."
A person who has attained the stage of bhavapana-dasa attains spiritual vision and thus can see his spiritual master as a sakhi and yuthesvari. He can also see Lord Krishna, the master of Goloka. Still, until his linga-sarira (subtle material body) is at last dissolved, he does not attain sampatti-dasa (the greatest good fortune) and he does not see Krishna at every moment. When he attains bhavapana-dasa, the pure soul has complete control over his gross and subtle material bodies.
However, only when he attains Lord Krishna's complete and full mercy will the soul attain the final spiritual goal, where the soul completely breaks of all relationship with the material world of five elements. Bhavapana-dasa is also called 'svarupa-siddhi', and sampatti-dasa is also called 'vastu-siddhi'.
Vijaya-kumara: When one attains vastu-siddhi, in what way will he see Lord Krishna's name, form, qualities, pastimes and abode?
Gosvami: I cannot answer. When I myself attain vastu-siddhi, I will be able to see and tell. When you attain sampatti-siddhi you will certainly be able to understand. You will understand without any struggle. And why not? You will see it all before your eyes. You will not need to ask questions. Even what the soul sees at the stage of svarupa-siddhi or bhavapana-dasa an ordinary person cannot understand. And why not? Even if he hears a person in bhavapana-dasa describe what he sees, an ordinary person will not understand the description.
The nature of a soul situated in svarupa-siddhi is described by Srila Rupa Gosvami in these words (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.3.29 and 1.4.12):
"If a person is completely detached from material enjoyment and has developed pure ecstatic devotion, even if he is sometimes accidentally found not living up to the standard of devotional service, one should not be envious of him."
"Only the most fortunate persons can achieve such success in life. Those who are simply academic students of the Vedic scriptures cannot appreciate how such a development takes place."
Vijaya-kumara: If this is so, then why do the Brahma-samhita and other scriptures try to describe the world of Goloka?
Gosvami: When by the Lord's mercy they attain the stage of svarupa-siddhi, Brahma and the demigods speak many prayers to describe what they have seen. However, ordinary persons who are less spiritually advanced cannot understand these prayers very well.
Still, there is no need for the devotees to understand all these points. By Lord Krishna's mercy His prakata pastimes are manifested, and you can worship Him. By doing that you will attain all perfection.
Within a short time you will attain great spiritual faith, and then the spiritual world of Goloka will be manifested before you.
Gokula is the same as Goloka. And why not? Gokula and Goloka are not different places.
That spiritual realm is not seen by the eyes of materialists. Materialists do not attain the stage of svarupa-siddhi. Only persons who are qualified can see these spiritual truths. Please Krishna by engaging in His devotional service. Follow Krishna's commands. By following Krishna's commands, you will gradually attain His mercy. Then your vision will be pure and perfect.