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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Jaiva Dharma > Chapter-27

Chapter Twenty-seven


The Rasas



     After the next day's noon-arati, the two devotees thirsting to understand about rasa honored prasadam and then went to the Shri Radha-kanta temple. Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami honored maha-prasadam and waited for the two inquisitive devotees. Nearby Shri Dhyanacandra Gosvami was writing a book about the path of devotional service. The features of Gopala-guru Gosvami were very wonderful. He was dressed as a sannyasi. He wore Vaishnava tilaka. The holy name of Lord Hari was written on the various limbs of His body. On his neck were four strands of tulasi beads. His hands were always on His japa beads. he was rapt in meditation, his two eyes half closed. From time to time he was decorated with a stream of tears. From time to time he would call out, “O Gauranga! O Nityananda!" His body was a little large. His complexion was dark and splendid. He sat on a banana-bark seat. At a little distance were wooden sandals and a coconut-shell pitcher of water. Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha were both learned in many scriptures, were sincere Vaishnavas and were residents of Shri Navadvipa. For these three reasons everyone at the temple carefully honored them. Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha offered dandavat obeisances to Gopala-guru Gosvami, and he respectfully embraced them. In the course of time Vrajanatha humbly introduced the topic of rasas. The Gosvami carefully said, "Today I will teach you about anubhava and other topics related to the rasas. The four samagris (ingredients of rasa) are vibhava (special symptoms or causes of ecstasy), anubhava (subsequent ecstasy), sattvika-bhava (constitutional or existential ecstasy), and vyabhicari-bhava (aggressive ecstasy). Yesterday I explained about vibhava. Today I will begin the explanation of anubhava. Please listen. When one is attracted (rati) to Krishna, that is called vibhava. When, as a result of that attraction, ecstatic love (bhava) appears in the heart, the result is called “udbhasvara". The bodily symptoms manifested by a devotee in expressing that ecstatic love for Krishna are called anubhava. Practical examples of anubhava are as follows: dancing, rolling on the ground, singing very loudly, stretching the body, crying loudly, yawning, breathing very heavily, neglecting the presence of others, drooling, laughing like a madman, wheeling the head, and belching.


     Vrajanatha: How is it possible that these unusual external symptoms can increase the sweet taste of the rasas of sthayi-bhava? When the devotee relishes the rasas in his heart, that taste is manifested externally as these anubhavas. Why, then, should these anubhavas be considered a samagri separate and distinct from the taste of rasas in the heart?

     Gosvami: Baba, you have learned the nyaya-shastra very well. Till this day I have not seen anyone raise such a subtle point of logic. When I studied the rasas I also asked this question of Shrila Pandita Gosvami. By my spiritual master's mercy my doubt was thrown far away. The secret is this: When the heart is agitated by the ecstatic feelings of vibhava, many extraordinary and wonderful feels (vaicitrya) are manifested. These feelings blossom in many different ways in the heart. When these feelings blossom in the heart, they eventually bear fruits of ecstatic symptoms that are manifested in the external body. These fruits are called "udbhasvara". The fruits of ecstatic symptoms are manifested as dancing and in many other ways also. Thus, when the heart dances,then the body dances also. When the heart sings, then the tongue sings also. In this way you should understand it. Thus the ecstatic symptoms called udbhasvara" are the root from which all this comes. However, the anubhavas do increase the vibhavas within the heart. In this way the udbhasvaras are manifest in the body. Thus the sthayi-bhava and vibhava in the heart manifests the anubhavas, and the anubhavas in turn also have an effect upon the heart. Because the anubhavas have this effect they are considered separate samagris (ingredients of rasa). When there are singing, yawning, and other like activities, the symptoms are called "shita", and when there is dancing and other like activities they are called “kshepana". there are other ecstatic symptoms, such as blossoming of the body, the flowing of blood, and expansion and contraction of the body's joints. However, because these symptoms are very rare, I will not describe them further. However, when he assumed the form of a tortoise and manifested other unusual activities, these symptoms were present on the body of our master, Lord Nimai Pandita. Still, these symptoms are not seen on the body of a sadhaka devotee.

     After hearing these confidential explanations from Gopala-guru Gosvami, the two inquiring devotees were silent for a long time. then, touching the dust of his feet, they asked, "O master, what are the "sattvika-bhavas"?


     Gosvami: When a devotee is always intensely affected by love for Krishna in a direct relationship with Himor even a little apart from Himhis status is called sattvika-bhava" (existential ecstatic love). The symptoms originating from such existential ecstatic love are divided into three headingsnamely moist (snigdha), burnt (digdha), and dried-up (ruksha).

     Vrajanatha: What is moist sattvika-bhava?

     Gosvami: Moist sattvika-bhava is divided into two: direct and indirect. When the heart is directly attracted to Lord Krishna, that is called "mukhya-snigdha-sattvika-bhava" (direct moistened existential ecstatic love). Being stunned and perspiring are some of the symptoms of mukhya-sattvika-bhava. When the heart is attracted to Lord Krishna indirectly, that is called “gauna-snigdha-sattvika-bhava" (indirect moistened existential ecstatic love). Changing of bodily colors and faltering of the voice are the two symptoms of gauna-snigdha-sattvika-bhava. Aside from direct and indirect moistened existential ecstatic love, digdha-sattvika-bhava (burnt existential ecstatic love) may also enter the heart. Trembling of the body is the symptom of digdha-sattvika-bhava. When a non-devotee is filled with wonder and bliss by hearing the description of the great wonder that is Lord Krishna's sweetness, the ecstatic symptoms are called "ruksha" (dried up). Standing of the hairs on the body is the symptom of ruksha-sattvika-bhava.

     Vrajanatha: How is sattvika-bhava created?

     Gosvami: When the sadhaka devotee's vital force of life is in contact with the various external elements, agitation and transformation result. From this agitation the various ecstatic symptoms, such as becoming stunned, are manifested.

     Vrajanatha: What are the different ecstatic symptoms manifested?

     Gosvami: There are eight symptoms of sattvika-bhava (existential ecstatic love): becoming stunned, perspiring, standing of the hairs on the body, faltering of the voice, trembling of the body, changing of bodily colors, shedding of tears, and devastation. When the vital forces is in contact with the five material elements, different kinds of ecstatic symptoms are manifested. When the vital force of life is in contact with the earth one is stunned. When the same force comes into contact with water, there is shedding of tears. When the same force comes into contact with fire, there is perspiration. When the force comes into contact with sky, there is complete devastation. And when the that force comes into contact with air, there is trembling, failing of the voice, and standing of the hairs on the body. In this way the different ecstatic symptoms are manifested. These symptoms are sometimes manifested internally and sometimes externally. Sometimes they are called "bhavas" and sometimes they are called "anubhavas". All the anubhavas are manifested externally only. This is not said of the sattvika-bhavas. For example, in dancing or other like activities, the bhava (ecstatic love) is not manifested directly. The bhava is rather manifested by the intelligence or the heart. Therefore the various external symptoms of ecstasy, such as becoming stunned, are considered anubhavas, and are not sattvika-bhavas. Therefore the anubhavas and sattvika-bhavas are different from each other.

     Vrajanatha: I desire to understand why the ecstatic symptoms, such as becoming stunned, are manifested.

     Gosvami: Joy, fear, wonder, lamentation, and hatred create an emptiness in the heart that manifests the ecstatic symptom of becoming stunned. Joy, fear, anger, and other emotions combine to moisten the body and thus manifest the ecstatic symptom of perspiration. Wonder, joy, eagerness, fear, and other emotions combine to manifest the ecstatic symptom of the body's hairs standing up. Lamentation, wonder, anger, joy, fear, and other emotions bring the ecstatic symptom of faltering of the voice. Fear, anger, joy, and other emotions bring the ecstatic symptom of trembling of the body. Lamentation, anger, fear, and other emotions bring the ecstatic symptom of changing of bodily colors. Joy, anger, lamentation, and other emotions bring the ecstatic symptom of shedding tears. When they are produced from joy, the tears are cold, and when the are produced from anger and other like emotions, the tears are hot. Happiness and unhappiness combine to make one fall unconscious and attain other like conditions of life, conditions that are the ecstatic symptom called devastation. These transcendental ecstatic symptoms gradually develop, and in the course of such development they are sometimes called smoky, sometimes called blazing, sometimes called shining. and sometimes called intensely shining. These are the four kinds. In dried-up sattvika-bhava the symptoms are smoky. In moistened sattvika-bhava the ecstatic love rises higher and higher. Real love (rati) for Lord Krishna produces all bliss and wonder. When there is only the semblance of love (raty-abhasa), the symptoms are dried-up. Then there is no wonder.

     Vrajanatha: O master, the ecstatic love of sattvika-bhava brings all good fortune. However, to attain material benefits many people may make a show of these ecstatic emotions, as if they were acting in a drama. What is the position of these people?

     Gosvami: Genuine sattvika-bhava is manifested from genuine pure devotional service. The ecstatic love (bhava) felt by true Vaishnavas is genuine. Aside from this genuine bhava, the other so-called bhavas are divided into four groups: raty-abhasa, sattvabhasa, nihsattva, and pratipa.

     Vrajanatha: What is raty-abhasa?

     Gosvami: When the hear the descriptions of Lord Krishna, the impersonalism, or the sannyasi followers of Shankaracarya, manifest raty-abhasa.

     Vrajanatha: What is sattvabhasa?

     Gosvami: When they hear about Lord Krishna, persons who are naturally soft-hearted may manifest the semblance of joy, wonder, and other ecstatic emotions. The mimamsaka philosophers and ordinary women many manifest this when they hear about Lord Krishna.

     Vrajanatha: What is nihsattva-bhavabhasa?

     Gosvami: Some wicked-hearted persons exhibit artificial ecstatic symptoms as a sort of dramatic show. In this way they shed tears and perform other actions. These actions are called nihsattva. In this way some hard-hearted persons put on an artificial show of crying in ecstatic love. These persons are wicked at heart.

     Vrajanatha: What is pratipa?

     Gosvami: One who acts as Krishna's enemy manifests the semblance of the ecstatic emotions like anger and fear. This is called pratipa-bhavabhasa.

     Vrajanatha: O master, now I have understood vibhava, anubhava, and sattvika-bhava, and I have also understood the difference between sattvika-bhava and anubhava. Now please explain vyabhicari-bhava.

     Gosvami: There are 33 vyabhicaris. These 33 bhavas work to increase the sthayi-bhavas. That is why they are called "vyabhicari". They are manifested in the words, limbs, and thoughts. They are also called "sancari-bhava". They are like waves in the nectar ocean of sthayi-bhava, waves that rise from, and then again disappear into the ocean of sthayi-bhava. The 33 vyabhicari-bhavas are: disappointment, lamentation, humility, guilt, fatigue, intoxication, pride, doubt, apprehension, intense emotion, madness, forgetfulness, disease, confusion, death, laziness, inertness, bashfulness, concealment, remembrance, argumentativeness, anxiety, thoughtfulness, endurance, happiness, eagerness, violence, haughtiness, envy, impudence, dizziness, sleepiness, and alertness. Some of the sa{.sy 242}cari-bhavas are independent (sva-tantra) and others are dependent on something else (para-tantra). The para-tantra sancari-bhavas are of two kinds: superior and inferior. The superior sancari-bhavas are themselves of two kinds: direct and indirect. The sva-tantra sancari-bhavas are of three kinds: rati-shunya (without attachment to Krishna), raty-asparsha (with a touch of attachment to Krishna), and rati-gandha (with the scent of attachment to Krishna). If these bhavas are directed to the wrong object  they are of two kinds: pratikulya (unfavorable) and anaucitya (improper). All these bhavas are manifested in four different conditions: 1. utpatti (growth), 2. sandhi (union), 3. shavalya (variety), and 3. shanti (peace).

     Vrajanatha: Bhava-utpatti is easy to understand. What is bhava-sandhi?

     Gosvami: When two like or unlike emotions meet, that is called "sandhi". Desirable laziness and undesirable laziness may both appear simultaneously. This is an example of the meeting of like emotions. Joy and fear may also appear simultaneously. That is an example of the meeting of unlike emotions.

     Vrajanatha: What is bhava-shavalya?

     Gosvami: When two emotions clash, that is called “bhava-shavalya". When he heard about Krishna, Kamsa became simultaneously angry and fearful. That is an example of bhava-shavalya.

     Vrajanatha: What is bhava-shanti?

     Gosvami: When an intense emotion suddenly disappears, that is called "shanti". When they could not see Krishna, the boys of Vraja became anxious, but when they heard the sound of Krishna's flute from afar, their anxiety was at once pacified. This is an example of the pacification of happiness.

     Vrajanatha: If anything else remains to be known about this topic, then please explain it.

     Gosvami: To these 33 vyabhicari-bhavas may be added the one primary (mukhya) sthayi-bhava and the seven secondary (gauna) sthayi-bhavas. In this way there are 41 bhavas that produce ecstatic symptoms on the body and the senses. The activities of the mind are the origin of these bhavas.

     Vrajanatha: What are the various bhavas produced in this way?

     Gosvami: They produce the eight sattvika-bhavas, the vibhavas, and the anubhavas.

     Vrajanatha: Are all these part of the original nature?

     Gosvami: No. Some are part of the original nature and others come from outside the original nature. The sthayi-bhava is part of the devotee's original nature, but the vyabhicari-bhavas mostly come from outside the original nature.

     Vrajanatha: Do all devotees possess the same bhavas?

     Gosvami: No. The devotees have different natures. That is because the nature of the mind and heart is different in each devotee. According to the condition of the heart, the bhava is more or less exalted. The heart may be exalted, lowly, or in an intermediate state. The bhavas are manifested according to the condition of the heart. However, nectar is always liquid, and therefore a devotee's heart is naturally soft and liquid, for it is like nectar. Today we will end here. Tomorrow I will describe sthayi-bhava.


     Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha offered dandavat obeisances and took their leave.