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Krishna the Reservoir of Pleasure
The highest truth, the embodiment of supreme consciousness, is rasa. If a person cannot realize rasa, he cannot at all realize the supreme truth.
Thus the Taittiriya Upanishad says:
raso vai sah
rasam hy evayam labdhvanandi bhavati
ko hy evanyat kah pranyat
yad esha akasha anando na syat
esha hy evanandayati
The supreme truth is rasa. The jiva becomes blissful on attaining this rasa. Who would work with body and prana, if this blissful, complete form did not exist. He gives bliss to all.
Progressing through faith, steadiness, taste, and attachment, when the relationship with Krishna matures into rati, it is called sthayi bhava. When this sthayi bhava becomes mixed with the ingredients vibhava, anubhava, sattvika bhava and vyabhicari bhava, it attains a remarkable state called bhakti rasa. The workings of material rasa and spiritual rasa are similar. When there is a sthayi bhava directed towards Krishna, it becomes bhakti rasa. When the sthayi bhava is directed towards enjoyment of sense objects, it becomes the ephemeral material rasa. When the sthayi bhava is based on an inclination towards undifferentiated knowledge, it becomes impersonal brahma rasa. When the sthayi bhava is directed into yoga practice, it becomes paramatma rasa. When a person, before attaining genuine rati, attempts to experience rasa using vibhava, anubhava, sattvika and vyabhicari bhavas, it becomes imperfect, fragmented rasa. Material rasa is insignificant. Let material literature describe this, and let the materalistic enjoyers relish it. The devotee has no interest in this, and discusses the spiritual rasa alone. The differences from brahma rasa and paramatma rasa previously mentioned will be discussed later. Now rasa will be clarified by discussing the ingredients.
In the workings of rasa, rati, the sthayi bhava (permanent inclination), is the container. It transforms to rasa by combination with the ingredients. There are four ingredients: vibhava, anubhava, sattvika bhava and vyabhicari bhava. Vibhava (cause of emotion) has two categories: alambana and uddipana. Alambana (support in the form characters) has two divisions: ashraya and vishaya. The person possessing sthayi bhava is the ashraya or shelter. The person towards whom the sthayi bhava is directed is the vishaya or object. In spiritual rasa, the vishaya is the worshipable Lord, and the worshipper devotee is the ashraya. The innumerable qualities of the Lord are the uddipana (stimulus). Dancing, choking up, singing,, speaking loudly, stretching the body, hiccuping, yawning, sighing, disregard for others, drooling, laughing, wailing , grinding the teeth-such visible manifestations of emotion are called anubhava (external symptoms). Being stunned, sweating, standing of hairs, breaking of voice, shivering, chage of color, tears and fainting-these eight bodily changes due to disturbance of heart and pranas are called sattvika bhava (symptoms arising from internal disturbance). The thirty-three symptoms that appear suddenly in the ocean of sthayi bhava are called vyabhicari bhavas (transitory emotional symptoms). Appearing like waves in the ocean of sthayi bhava, these symptoms nourish the state of sthayi bhava.
Rasa is of two types: primary and secondary. Primary rasas are five: shanta, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhura. Secondary rasas are seven: comedy, wonder, bravery, lamentation, anger, fear and ghastliness.
The five major rasas appear in different persons according to their rati. Shanta rati makes brahman and paramatma the vishaya in a state of peace. In a more intense state, the Lord of Vaikuntha becomes the vishaya. Dasya rati accepts the Lord of Vaikuntha as vishaya with admiration of the Lord's power. When the attraction becomes more intense, Krishna alone becomes the object in sakhya, vatsalya and madhura rati. Chaitanya Caritamrita says:
sadhana bhakti haite haya ratira udaya
rati gadha haile ta'ra prema nama kaya
prema vriddhi krame nama -sneha, mana, pranaya
raga, anuraga, bhava, mahabhava haya
yaiche bija, ikshu, rasa, guda khanda sara
sharkara, sita-michari, uttama michari ara
ei saba krishna bhakti rase sthayibhava
sthayibhave mile yadi vibhava anubhava
sattvika, vyabhicari bhavera milane
krishna bhakti rasa haya amrita asvadane
bhakti bhede rati bheda panca parakara
shanta rati, dasya rati, sakhya rati ara
vatsalya rati, madhura rati e panca vibheda
rati bhede krishna bhakti rase panca bheda
By regularly rendering devotional service, one gradually becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When that attachment is intensified, it becomes love of Godhead. The basic aspects of prema, when gradually increasing to different states, are affection, abhorrence, love attachment, further attachment, ecstasy and great ecstasy. The gradual development of love may be compared to different states of sugar. First there is the seed of the sugarcane, then sugarcane and then the juice extracted from the cane. When this juice is boiled, it forms a liquid molasses, then a solid molasses, then sugar, candy, rock candy and finally lozenges. All these stages combined are called sthayi bhava, or continuous love of Godhead in devotional service. In addition to these stages, there are vibhava and anubhava. When the higher standard of ecstatic love is mixed with the symptoms of sattvika and vyabhicari, the devotee relishes the transcendental bliss of loving Krishna in a variety of nectarean tastes. Thse tastes are like a combination of yogurt, sugar candy, ghee, black pepper and camphor and are as palatable as sweet nectar. According to the devotee, attachment falls within the five categories of shanta rati, dasya rati, sakhya rati, vatsalya rati and madhura rati. These five categories arise from the devotees' different attachments to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The transcendental mellows derived from devotional service are also of five varieties.
C.C.Madhya 19, 177-183
Those who desire to understand about rasa may study Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, south, west and north parts, and its supplement Ujjvala Nila Mani, under the guidance of a guru. These subjects are summarized in the teachings to Rupa and Sanatana in the Chaitanya Caritamrita.
In this chapter, Krishna will be shown as the reservoir of all rasa. Krishna has already been show as the supreme entity in Chapter Two. Krishna has also been show to be the possessor of all powers. By examining the verses written by Rupa Gosvami, one will understand all about Krishna.
siddhantatas tv abhede'pi shrisha-krishna-svarupayoh
rasenotkrishyate krishna-rupam esa rasa-sthitih
Ontologically, there is no difference between Narayana and Krishna. However, the form of Krishna holds a special attraction due to the rasa, especially invoked by conjugal sentiments. This is the nature of rasa.
B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga 32
Though brahman and paramatma are particular realizations of the absolute truth, they are devoid of unique, personal form (svarupa). Realization of the Lord's personal form (bhagavan) is the perfection in God realization. The Supreme Person appears in two forms; one is endowed with majesty and the other is endowed with sweetness. The shanta rasa available through brahman or paramatma realization is extremely meager. With realization of the lord's form in a majestic mood, dasya rasa (servitorship) arises in the worshipper. The extreme difference between the great powers of the Lord and the minute qualities of the jiva make reverence inevitable. But because of this state of reverence, the jiva is barred from higher rasa. Therefore by his mercy, the Lord reveals his real form as Krishna to the jiva.
Therefore, Chaitanya Caritamrita says:
aishvarya-jnanete saba jagat mishrita
aishvarya shithila preme hani mora prita
amare ishvara mane apanake hina
ta'ra preme vasha ami, na hai adhina
amake ta' ye ye bhakta bhaje yei bhave
tare se se bhave bhaji-e mora svabhave
mora putra, mora sakha, mora prana pati
ei bhave yei mora kare shuddha bhakti
apanake bada mane, amare sama hina
sei bhave hai ami tahara adhina
mata more putra bhave karena bandana
ati hina jnane kare lalana palana
sakha shuddha sakhye kare skandhe arohana
tumi kon bada loka, tumi ami sama
priya yadi mana kari' karaye bhartsana
veda stuti haite hare sei mora mana
ei shuddha bhakti lana karimu avatara
kariba vividha vidha abdhuta vihara
The universe is filled with the conception of My majesty, but love weakened by that sense of majesty does not satisfy Me. If one regards me as the Supreme Lord and himself as a subordinate, I do not become subservient to his love, nor can it control Me. In whatever transcendental mellow My devotee worships Me, I reciprocate with him. That is my natural behavior. If one cherishes pure loving devotion to Me, thinking of Me as his son, his friend or his beloved, regarding himself as great and considering me his equal or inferior, I become subordinate to him.
Mother sometimes binds Me as her son. She nourishes and protects Me, thinking Me utterly helpless. My friends climb on My shoulders in pure friendship, saying, "What kind of big man are You? You and I are equal." If my beloved consort reproaches Me in a sulky mood, that steals My mind from the reverent hymns of the Vedas. Taking these pure devotees with Me, I shall descend and sport in various wonderful ways, unknown even in Vaikuntha.
CC. Adi 4. 17-27
If Krishna had not appeared in his original form, the jiva would not have access to the higher rasas, namely, sakhya, vatsalya and madhura. Bhava (emotion ) is actually the primary pursuit in the world. The jiva's knowledge of the supreme is limited. By pursuing the path of knowledge, the jiva does not receive any trace of love of God. By pursuing that path, a person does not realize the form of God, and instead concludes that God is formless and without qualities. The path of knowledge does not lead to realization of God's form. There is no process to realize the Lord except by the path of devotion (bhava). As a jiva advances, proportionately his attraction (bhava) to the Lord increases and gives satisfaction. Advancement due to education or intelligence is not spiritual advancement. One can gain spiritual advancement only by increasing development of pure bhava. Thus an illiterate fool can attain a high degree of the Lord's mercy, and a learned scholar, being atheistic, on the level of an animal, an be completely devoid of the Lord's mercy. To attain the Lord's mercy, birth, education, wealth, strength, beauty or skills are ineffective. The great scholar and warrior, full of pride, gradually proceed to hell, while the fool and weakling worship the Lord in devotion and attains supreme peace. Thus the root of all spiritual attainment is bhava (emotion, ecstasy). This bhava takes the form of shanta or dasya in many cases, suitable to the qualification of the person. In rare cases, the devotee achieves the highest goal of sakhya, vatsalya and madhura. The pure devotee who attains madhura bhava is the chief of all the devotees tasting rasa.
Chaitanya Caritamrita says:
shantera guna, dasyera sevana-sakhya dui haya
dasye sambhrama gaurava seva, sakhye vishvasa maya
apanake palaka jnana krishne palya jnana
cari rasera gune vatsalya amrita samana
kanta bhave nijanga diya karena sevana
ata eva madhura rasa haya panca guna
akashadi guna yena para para bhute
eka dui tina krama panca prithivite
The qualities of shanta rasa and the service of dasya rasa are both present on the platform of sakhya rasa. On the platform of fraternity, the qualities of dasya rasa are mixed with the confidence of fraternity instead of awe and veneration.
On the platform of paternal love, the devotee considers himself the Lord's maintainer. Thus the Lord is the object of maintenance, like a son, and therefore this mellow is full of the four qualities of shanta rasa, dasya rasa, fraternity, and parental love. This is more transcendental nectar.
On the platform of conjugal love, the devotee offers his body in the service of the Lord. Thus, on this platform all five transcendental qualities are present. All the material qualities evolve one after another in the material elements, beginning from ether. By gradual evolution, first one quality develops, then two qualities develop, the three and four, until all five qualities are in earth.
When devotees with meager rasa hear about madhura rasa, they cannot believe it, and moreover, they fear that it is offensive. The common spiritual practices take shelter of dasya rasa. Persons of this mentality, when they hear about worshipping the Lord in madhura rasa, reject it because of dread or fear of falldown. Some even think that this rasa is a perverse concoction. Those of lower qualification mistake the actions of those of superior qualification. Only when they attain that higher qualification by good fortune, they will realize, " Oh, I was such a fool! I have criticized elevated souls!" Therefore, we humbly request those following other paths to understand that this topic is very deep. Without special deliberation on this topic, one should not come to some erroneous conclusion.
A person should give a seat to the Lord of the heart within the core of his heart, and try worshipping Him in the madhura mood. If he appreciates it, then he should take shelter of a guru competent in rasa and attempt to taste this rasa. If he does not appreciate it, then he may reject it as contrary to his nature-but in any case he should not denounce it.
Here, there is no space for elaborate discussion of this topic. It is enough to say that those who are qualified for madhura rasa are not attracted to any form other than Krishna's. Krishna is the sole object of the highest rasa. If a person impartially judges after giving up all contamination of ideas due to various philosophies, he must conclude that the form of Krishna is the best and purest of all. But because Krishna displays the quality of being on an equal level with his devotee, one should not consider that his form is less than other forms of God. Rather than being less, this form is in all ways greater than other forms. Krishna has whatever spiritual, complete qualities the other forms of God possess, but He has the additional unique quality of revealing his complete spiritual pastimes to all the material senses through His cit shakti. When he appears in the material world, he is endowed with all powers, though carrying out seemingly material activities.
When he acts like a boy with dear friends, when he acts like a baby under the protection of his parents, when he is the lover of those devotees in madhura rasa, he still exhibits his supreme control. Even while performing his pastimes like a human being among human beings, .he astonished the most learned persons by acting as the master of all the elevated devatas. If Krishna had not mercifully revealed his intoxicating pastimes as a cowherd to the world, who would be able to realize that the Supreme Lord is the reservoir of madhura rasa? The pastimes of Krishna are not the creations of human imagination, nor are they based on the blind faith of bewildered, foolish people. However, only knowledgeable persons can understand this.
Among all Krishna's pastimes, the pastimes in Vraja are supreme, because in those pastimes can be seen the highest attainment in rasa possible for the jiva. Argumentative or logical intelligence cannot touch the glory of Krishna's pastimes. Only those devotees who can taste the rasa of the Vraja pastimes can understand their sweetness. Understanding the Vraja pastimes is the greatest good fortune. Logic, ethics, scholarship yoga and knowledge of right and wrong become insignificant in front of the great shining lamp of Vraja pastimes, which illumine the hearts of the spiritually intelligent people.
Concerning this there is a karika:
vibhavadyair jadodbhutair raso'yam vyavaharikah
aprakritair vibhavadyair raso'yam paramarthikah
paramartha rasah krishnas tanmaya chayaya prithak
jadoditam rasam vishve vitanoti bahir mukhe
bhagyavams tam parityajya brahmanandadikam svakam
cid vishesham samashritya krishna rasabdhim apnuyat
tam tv aopanishadam saksat purusham krishnam eva hi
atma shabdena vedanta vadanti priti purvakam
Where rati is nourished by material vibhava, anubhava, sattvika bhava and vyabhicari bhava, the rasa is material. Where the ingredients are spiritual, the rasa is spiritual. The object of spiritual rasa is Krishna. The degraded reflection of this rasa appears in the material world, a shadow of the spiritual realm. It is distinct from the spiritual rasa, pervading only the material world. When a fortunate person gives up the quest of happiness in the material world or in impersonal brahman and takes shelter of spiritual variety, he attains the ocean of Krishna's prema rasa. The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad says, tam tv aupanishadam purusham pricchami (I inquire after the person spoken of in the Upanishads.) That person is none other than Krishna. When the Vedanta sutras speak of atma or self, they are describing Krishna with affection.
There are two types of rasa: material and spiritual. When material anubhava, vibhava, sattvika and vyabhicari bhavas bring material rati to the state of rasa, it is only rasa between material male and female bodies. This rasa is insignificant, ephemeral and perverse. It is but a disgusting reflection of the spiritual rasa. The pure jiva liberated from his relation to the material gross and subtle bodies is spiritual. His natural rati is also spiritual. This rati, when it becomes fixed as sthayi bhava, mixes with the ingredients of spiritual anubhava, vibhava, sattvika, and vyabhicari bhava, and attains a relishable nature; it becomes spiritual rasa. And when the spiritual form of Krishna becomes the object of that rasa, Krishna bhakti rasa arises. Krishna is supreme rasa. Krishna's maya shakti distributes material rasa, a shadow of the real rasa, to the jivas adverse to Krishna in the material world. The fortunate person gives up this lower rasa and surpasses even the insignificant rasa of bliss in brahmanwithin himself; and taking support of the variegated, pure rasa belonging to the spiritual world, he attains the ocean of rasa, in the form of Krishna.
For those who dismiss the rasa of Krishna as insignificant, Ujjvala Nila Mani says:
laghutvam atra yat proktam tat tu prakrita nayake
na krishne rasa niryasa svadartham avatarini
When shrintgara rasa becomes material, it is extremely insignificant and condemned, but when it is spiritual, it is most significant and the most worshipable in the spiritual world.
Ujjvala Nilamani, Nayaka bheda, 16
This rasa is not at all material. Its vibhavas (subject and object, Krishna and devotee) have nothing to do with the material gross or subtle bodies. The anubhavas, sattvika bhavas and vyabhicari bhavas (ecstatic symptoms) have a slight appearance in the material world. In order to taste the nectar of rasa, Krishna appeared in the material world, but He is not even an avatara, but avatari, the source of the avataras. Therefore the spiritual parakiya relationships that occur in spiritual shringara rasa with the avatari cannot be criticized.
One will be able to judge these topics correctly according to the degree of detachment from material energy. When the hatred that the moralist displays towards material rasa is carried to the spiritual rasa, it brings about a prejudiced response. Unfortunate people detest the spiritual rasa embodied in the rasa lila between spiritual Krishna and the jivas with spiritual bodies. Such people are only cheating themselves.
Krishna is the only male, as mentioned in the Upanishads. The Vedanta speaks of him affectionately by addressing him as atma.1
atmaivedam sarvam iti sa va esha evam
pashyann evam manvan evam vijanan
atma ratir atma krida atma mithuna
atmanandah sa svarad bhavati
Krishna (the atma, self) is all in all. Seeing this form, meditating on this form, knowing this form, the jiva develops attachment, pastimes, sexual relationships and bliss with the Lord.
Chandogya Upanishad 7.2.52
sarvam hy etad brahmayam atma
brahma so'yam atma catushpat
Everything in the universe is inferior brahman, a product of the energy of brahman. The real atma of this brahman is Krishna, the supreme brahman. Though he is one, through his inconceivable energy, he appears eternally in four forms for relishing rasa.
Mundaka Upanishad 1.2
The four forms are mentioned by Shri Jiva Gosvami in Bhagavat Sandarbha.
ekam eva tat paramam tattvam svabhavikacintya-shaktya
rupena caturdhavatishthate suryantara-mandala-sthita-tejo iva
The supreme truth is one. He is equipped with his natural inconceivable energies. Through this energy he exists in four forms: his own form, his expansion in the spiritual world, the jiva and the material world. These may be compared to the sun, its internal effulgence, its external rays and its distant reflection.
Bhagavat Sandarbha 16
Krishna's form, his spiritual expansions, and the jiva absorbed in pastimes of spiritual rasa are all superior elements.
There is a verse:
vedartha brimhanam yatra tatra sarve mahajanah
anveshayanti shastreshu shuddham krishnashritam rasam
shastreshu varnayanti sma krishna lilatmakam rasam
labdham samadhina saksat krishna-kripoditam shubham
aprakritam ca jive hi jada-bhava-vivarjite
According to the scriptures which elucidate the meaning of the Vedas (Bhagavatam and others), all the great devotees are searching for the pure rasa directed to Krishna. Sages such as Sanaka, Shiva Vyasa and Narada have described in their various works the spiritual rasa of Krishna's pastimes. These pastimes can be realized by Krishna's mercy, by the pure jivas devoid of material sentiments.2
It is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, guru of the universe, who has brought Krishna's sweet rasa to the material world. No one had done so before his appearance. To substantiate this, there is a verse by Shrila Prabhodananda Sarasvati:
prema-namadbhutarthah shravana-patha- gatah kasya namnam mahimnah
ko vetta kasya vrindavana-vipina-maha madhurishu praveshah
ko va janati radham parama-rasa-camatkara-madhurya-simam
ekash chaitanya-candrah parama-karunaya sarvam avishcakara
O brother! Who had heard of the supreme objective of human life called prema? Who knew the glories of the name of Hari? Who was able to enter the sweetness of Vrindavan? Who knew about the supreme energy, Radhika, the perfection of the wonderful madhurya rasa? Only the most merciful Chaitanya has uncovered all of these topics for the jivas.
Chaitanya Candramrita 130
1 In this next section Bhaktivinoda shows how the Upanishads reveal intense attraction and rasa for the supreme male.
2 Bhaktivinoda concludes by saying that rasa can be know only by the mercy of Krishna, and by the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.