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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Jaiva Dharma > Chapter-29

Chapter Twenty-nine


The Rasas



     Vrajanatha and Vijaya-kumara decided to stay in Jagannatha-puri for caturmasya. After hearing about the rasas from the mouth of Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami, they both decided to follow the path of worshiping the Lord according to the rasas. Hearing from him the glories of observing caturmasya, Vrajanatha's grandmother accepted his suggestion to stay in Jagannatha-puri. Every morning and evening they would all see Lord Jagannatha. They bathed in Narendra-sarovara, and they saw all there was to see in Jagannatha-puri. With devotion they saw Lord Jagannatha as He was being served. When he learned of their decision, Shri Gopala-guru was very happy. He said, "O Vrajanatha, O Vijaya-kumara, I love you as a father loves his sons. I am not happy to be separated from you. If you stay here for many days, then I will be happy. It is easy to find a sincere spiritual master, but it is not so easy to find a sincere disciple."

     Vrajanatha humbly asked, "O master, please explain the features of the different rasas. We will consider ourselves fortunate to hear about them from you.

     Gosvami: Your proposal is excellent. Please hear the words Lord Gaurachandra will place in my mouth. First is shanta-rasa (neutrality). In this rasa the sthayi-bhava is shanta-rati. The happiness the yogis find in the impersonal Brahman is very slight. The happiness attained in a relationship with the Supreme Person is much greater than that impersonal happiness. The cause of that personal happiness is the direct perception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead's spiritual form. The alambana (object of worship) in shanta-rasa is the four-armed form of Lord Narayana. This form of the Lord manifests qualities like supreme power and opulence. In this way the vishaya and anubhava are manifested in alambana. Peaceful persons situated in shanta-rasa are the ashraya of shanta-rati. Atmaramas and persons who have faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead are qualified for shanta-rasa. The four sages headed by Sanaka and Sanandana are prominent among the atmaramas. These four sages are boy sannyasis. At first they were attached to the impersonal Brahman. Later they became attracted to the sweetness of the form of the Supreme Person. Then they began to worship the Lord's spiritual form. Persons who are austere and renounced, but who have not yet thrown far away the desire for impersonal liberation, are eligible for shanta-rasa. Hearing the important Upanishads, living in a secluded place, meditating, searching for the truth, study, seeing the universal form, associating with persons engaged in devotional service mixed with impersonal speculation (jnana-mishra-bhakti), and studying the Upanishads with others of equal scholarship are the uddipanas that inspire this rasa. The fragrance of tulasi offered to the Supreme Lord's lotus feet, the sound of the conchshell, sacred mountains, sacred forests, sacred places, the Ganges, being free of material desires, and the awareness that time will eventual destroy everything material, are also uddipanas that inspire shanta-rasa.

     Vrajanatha: What are the anubhavas of this rasa?

     Gosvami: Staring at the tip of the nose, acting like an avadhuta, looking for a distance of four hands as one walks, assuming the jnana-mudra (joining the forefinger and thumb), not hating the enemies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, being slightly inclined to the devotees dear to the Lord, being attracted to the soul's librartionliberation and the end of his residence in the material world, being neutral and aloof, being free of false ego, material possessiveness, and material pride, and feeling a sort of cool-tempered love for the Supreme are included among the anubhavas of shanta-rasa. Yawning, swelling of the limbs, teaching about devotional service, bowing down before Lord Hari, and offering prayers to Lord Hari are also included among these anubhavas.

     Vrajanatha: What are the sattvika ecstatic symptoms in shanta-rasa? 

     Gosvami: Devastation (except the aspect of falling to the ground) and being stunned are included among the many ecstatic symptoms in this rasa. There are no passionate (dipta) ecstatic symptoms in this rasa.

     Vrajanatha: What are the sancari-bhavas in this rasa?

     Gosvami: Lamentation, patience, joy, thoughtfulness, remembrance, melancholy, eagnerness, anxiety, and argumentativeness are seen among the sancari-bhavas of shanta-rasa.

     Vrajanatha: How many are the different kinds of shanta-rati?

     Gosvami: Sthayi-bhava shanta-rati is of two kinds: 1. sama (equipoised) and 2. sandra (intense). In sama shanta-rati is manifested asmprajnata-samadhi, where the activities of the body are filled with awareness of the Supreme Lord's presence. In sandra shanta-rati is manifested nirvikalpa-samadhi, where all ignorance is destroyed and the direct manifestation of the Supreme Lord's form brings intense bliss. On the basis of these two kinds of shanta-rati, there may also be divisions of parikshya (indirect) and sakshat-kara-rupa (direct) shanta-rati.Shukadeva Gosvami and Bilvamangala T.akura are examples of two persons who renounced shanta-rasa and became expert in tasting the bliss of the rasas of direct devotional service. The great scholar Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya is also an example of that.

     Vrajanatha: The books of material rhetoric (alankara) do not accept shanta-rasa. Why is that?

     Gosvami: Peacefulness is far away from all materialistic activities. When spiritual activities are performed, then the peacefulness of shanta-rasa gradually become manifested. In this way the spiritual rasas become manifested. The Supreme Lord Himself declared, "Faith in Me brings peacefulness." Look, how can one attain faith in the Lord without first being situated in shanta-rati? Therefore, at the beginning of spiritual life one must first accept shanta-rasa.

     Vrajanatha: Now I understand shanta-bhakti-rasa. Now please explain, one by one, the vibhavas and other aspects of dasya-rasa (servitorship). Dasya-rasa is also called prita-bhakti-rasa by the panditas. Dasya-rasa is of thwo kinds: 1. anugrahya-patra-dasya (the object of mercy) and 2. lalya-patra-dasya (the object of affection). Prita-rasa is also divided int these two kinds: 1. sambhrama-prita (with pride) and 2. gaurava-prita (with submission).

     Gosvami: What is sambhrama-prita?

     Vrajanatha: Persons who are proud to be servants of Krishna have sambhrama-prita for Krishna, the son of Nanda. When this rasa develops it is called sambhrama-prita. In this rasa Krishna and Krishna's servants are both the alambanas.

     Gosvami: What form does Krishna manifest in this rasa?

     Vrajanatha: In Gokula sambhrama-prita, Krishna has two arms. In the other parts of this rasa He sometimes has two arms and sometimes four arms. In Gokula Krishna is a cowherd boy, has two arms, holds the flute, and is decorated with a peacock-feather and other ornaments. When He is manifested outside of Gokula, Krishna is decorated with jewels and His feature is that of aishvarya (power and opulence). Shrila Rupa Gosvami (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 3.2.11-15) explains:










ishvarah paramaradhyah

     sarvajnah su-dridha-vratah


samriddhiman kshama-shilah


dakshinah satya-vacano

     dakshah sarva-shubhankarah


pratapi dharmikah shastra-

     cakshur bhakta-suhrittamah

vadanyas tejasayuktah

     kritajnah kirti-samshrayah


variyan balavan prema-

     vashya ity adibhir gunaih

yutash catur-vidheshv esha

     daseshv alambano harih



     "Krishna posseses the following qualities: 1. Many millions of universes come the pores of His body, 2. He is an ocean of mercy, 3. He has inconceivable potencies, 4. He is served by all mystic powers. 5. He is the seed from which all incarnations have come. 6. His transcendental qualities attract the hearts of the liberated souls. 7. He is the supreme controller. 8. He is the supreme object of worship. 9. He knows everything. 10. He is determined. 11. He has all wealth. 12. He is tolerant and forgiving. 13. He protects the surrendered souls. 14. He is happy. 15. He is truthful. 16. He is expert. 17. He brings all auspiciousness. 18. He is powerful. 19. He is religious. 20. He sees through the eyes of the scriptures. 21. He is the best friend of the devotee. 22. He is generous. 23. He is glorious. 24. He is grateful. 25. He is the resting place of fame. 26. He is the best. 27. He is powerful. 28. He is controlled by love. In this way Lord Hari is the alambana (the object of love) for His four kinds of servants."


     Vrajanatha: What are these four kinds of servants?

     Gosvami: The devotees who have taken shelter of dasya-rasa are of four kinds: 1. prashrita (who humbly look down when they stand before their master), 2. ajnanuvarti (who humbly carry out their master's orders), 3. vishvasta (who have full faith in their master), and 4. prabhu jnane namra-buddhi (who are humble and very conscious of their master's superiority). These four are also called: 1. adhikrita (they who are qualified), 2. ashrita (they who have taken shelter), 3. parishada (associates), and 4. anugata (followers).

     Vrajanatha: Who are the adhikrita servants?

     Gosvami: Brahma, Shiva, Indra, and the other demigods and demigoddesses are adhikrita servants and maidservants. By fulfilling various duties in the material world, they eventually become qualified (adhikrita) to serve the Supreme Lord directly.

     Vrajanatha: Who are the ashrita servants?

     Gosvami: The three kinds of ashrita servants are: 1. sharanagata (surrendered souls), 2. jnani (wise philosophers), and 3. seva-nishtha (intent on serving). Kaliya and the kings imprisoned by Jarasandha are counted among the sharanaagata servants. Shaunaka and the other sages who have rejected the desire for impersonal liberation and taken shelter of Lord Hari are counted among the jnani servants. Because they were attached to worshiping the Lord from the very beginning of their lives, Candradhvaja, Harihara, Bahulashva, Ikshvaku, and Pundarika are counted among both the seva-nishtha and sharanaagata servants.

     Vrajanatha: O master, who are the parishada servants?

     Gosvami: Uddhava, Daruka, Satyaki, Shrutadeva, Shatrajit, Nanda (this is another Nanda, not Lord Krishna's father), Upananda, and Bhadra are counted among the parishada servants. Although these persons give advice to Lord Krishna, at the appropriate times they also serve Him. Among the Kauravas, Bhishma, Parikshit, Vidura, and others are counted among the parishada servants. Among them all, Uddhava, who is filled with pure love (prema) is the best.

     Vrajanatha: Who are the anuga devotees?

     Gosvami: The anugata devotees, whose hearts are always eager to serve the Lord, are of two kinds: 1. the servants who stay in Dvaraka, and 2. the devotees who stay in Vraja. Sucabdra, Mandala, Stambha, and Sutamba are included among the anuga devotees in Dvaraka. Raktaka, Patraka, Patri, Madhukantha, Madhuvrata, Rasala, Suvilasa, Premakandha, Makarandaka, Ananda, Candrahasa, Payoda, Bakula, Rasada, and Sharada are included among the anuga servants in Vraja. Raktaka is the best of the anuga servants in Vraja. The parishada servants are of three kinds: 1. dhurya (leaders), 2. dhira (philosophers), and 3. vira (heroes). The ashrita servants are also of three kinds: 1. nitya-siddha (eternally perfect), 2. siddha (perfect), and 3. sadhaka (aspiring for perfection).

     Vrajanatha: What are the uddipanas of dasya-rasa?

     Gosvami: The sound of Krishna's flute, the sound of His buffalo-horn bugle, His smiling glance, hearing the narration of His glories, His lotus footprints, His bodily limbs splendid like a new monsoon cloud, and the fragrance of His transcendental body.

     Vrajanatha: What are the anubhavas of this rasa?

     Gosvami: To perform one's duties in every situation, to follow orders, to be free of envy, to make friendship with devotees sincerely surrendered to Lord Krishna, and to have faith in Lord Krishna are included among the extraordinary anubhavas of this rasa. Dancing, all the udbhasvaras, respect for Lord Krishna's personal friends, and renunciation of everything outside the realm of Krishna consciousness are also included among these anubhavas.

     Vrajanatha: What are the sattvika-vikaras (ecstatic symptoms) of these three aspects of of prita-rasa (dasya-rasa)?

     Gosvami: In this rasa are many sattvika-bhavas, among which being stunned is the most prominent.

     Vrajanatha: What are the vyabhicaris in this rasa?

     Gosvami: Joy, pride, determination, remorse, melancholy, humility, anxiety, remembrance, misgivings, thoughtfulness, eagerness, fickleness, argumentativeness, passion, shyness, being stunned, illusion, madness, concealment, awakening, dream, exhaustion, disease, and death are the vyabhicaris of this rasa. Arrogance, fatigue, fear, forgetfulness, ferocity, anger, envy, and sleep are not present among the vyabhicaris in this rasa. When he meets the Lord, the devotee manifests joy, pride, and peacefulness. When he is separated from the Lord, the devotee manifests withering away, disease, and death. The eighteen bhavas that begin with remorse are seen in all circumstances, whether the devotee meets the Lord or is separated from Him.

     Vrajanatha: I wish to know what are the sthayi-bhavas of prita-rasa.

     Gosvami: The sthayi-bhava of this rasa is the love (priti) that appears in the heart when the heart is filled with awe and trembles at the thought of master. In shanta-rasa, attraction to the Supreme is the only sthayi-bhava. In dasya-rasa, affection combined with the possessive idea that "the Lord is mine " is the sthayi-bhava. This respectful affection gradually grows stronger and stronger until it becomes pure affection (prema), love (sneha) and intense love (raga). When it is free from fear and awe, and when it is deep-rooted, this respectful affection (sambhrama-priti) becomes pure affection (prema). When that pure affection becomes intense, the heart melts and the pure affection (prema) is called love (sneha). In this condition of sneha, the devotee cannot bear even a moment's separation from the Lord. When this love (sneha) increases to the point where the devotee finds that even his sorrows bring happiness, the love becomes intense love (raga). At this point the devotee wishes to do whatever pleases Krishna, even if the devotee loses his own life in the process. Adhikrta and ashrita servants experience love up to the stage of prema. The parisada servants experience love up to the stage of sneha. Pariksit, Daruka, Uddhava, and the anuga servants in Vraja experience love up to the stage of raga. When raga is manifested, then a small portion of sakhya-rasa (friendship) inevitably comes with it. Panditas say that in this rasa meeting with Krishna is called "yoga" and separation from Krishna is called “ayoga". Ayoga is of two kinds: 1. utkanthita (filled with longings), and 2. viyoga (tragic). Yoga is of three kinds: 1. siddhi (perfection), 2. tushti (happiness), and 3. sthiti (residence). Siddhi is to see Krishna after longing to meet Him. Tushti is to see Krishna after a long separation. Sthiti is to live in the same place with Krishna.

     Vrajanatha: I understand sambhrama-priti (respectful affection). Now please explain gaurava-priti (love mixed with pride).

     Gosvami: When he is proud to be able to embrace Krishna, the devotee's affection is called gaurava-priti. When the affection present in this rasa is increased by the vibhavas and other bhavas, it becomes gaurava-priti. Lord Hari and the servants Lord Hari loves are the alambanas of this love. In gaurava-priti the devotee thinks that Krishna is more important, more famous, more intelligent, and more strong than than the devotee. The devotee thinks Krishna is his protector and affectionate parent. In this way Krishna becomes the object (vishaya) of the devotee's love. The affectionate devotees are of two kinds: 1. the devotees proud to be younger associates of Krishna, and 2. the devotees proud to be Krishna's sons. Sarana, Gada, and Subhadra are among the devotees proud to be younger associates of Krishna. Pradyumna, Carudeshna, and Samba are among the devotees proud to be Krishna's sons. Shri Krishna's parental affection, gentle smiles, and other activities are the uddipanas of this love. These affectionate devotees sit on a seat below that of Krishna. The respectfully follow behind Krishna. They renoucne their own wishes and fulfill Krishna's wishes. These are the anubhavas of this relationship. The sancaris and vyabhicaris of this relationship are like those already explained.

     Vrajanatha: What does the word "gaurava" mean?

     Gosvami: The word "gaurava", means "the situation where the devotee is proud to have Krishna as his father or superior (guru)." Love that is mixed with pride to have such a relationship with Krishna is called "gaurava-priti". That is the sthayi-bhava of this rasa.

     Vrajanatha: O master, now I understand the prita-rasa (dasya-rasa). Now please explain the rasa that is called “preya-bhakta-rasa" or "sakhya-rasa".

     Gosvami: In this rasa Krishna and His friends are the alambanas. Krishna, who is the prince of Vraja, and who holds the flute in His two hands, is the vishaya. Krishna's friends are the ashraya.

     Vrajanatha: I wish to understand the different kinds of friends Krishna's has and their qualities and features.

     Gosvami: Their forms, qualities, and garments are like those of Krishna's servants. However, Krishna's friends are confident to approach Krishna as equals. They are not filled with awe and veneration like Krishna's servants. These friends are of two kind: 1. friends in Dvaraka, and 2. friends in Vraja. Arjuna, Bhimasena, Draupadi, and Shridama Vipra are among the friends in Dvaraka and the other cities. Among them, Arjuna is the best. The friends in Vraja are always eager to see Krishna. Krishna is their very life. They are the best of Krishna's friends. In Vraja, Krishna has four kinds of friends: 1. suhrit (well-wishers), 2. sakha (friends), 3. priya-sakha (confidential friends), and 4. priya-narma-vayasya (intimate friends). Krishna's well-wisher friends are a little bit older than Krishna, and they have some parental affection for Him. Because of their being older than Krishna, they always try to protect Him from any harm. As such, they sometimes bear weapons so that they can chastise any mischievous persons who want to do harm to Krishna. Counted among the well-wisher friends are Subhadra, Mandalibhadra, Bhadravardhana, Gobhata, Yaksha, Indrabhata, Bhadranga, Virabhadra, Mahaguna, Vijaya, and Balabhadra.* Among these friends Balabhadra and Mandalibhadra are the best. Friends who are younger than Krishna, who are always attached to Him, and who give Him all kinds of service are called ordinary friends, or simply friends. Such ordinary friends are called sakhas, and the names of some sakhas are Vishala, Vrishabha, Ojasvi, Devaprastha, Varuthapa, Maranda, Kusumapida, Manibandha, and Karandhama.* Among them Devaprastha is the best. The more confidential friends are called priya-sakhas and are almost Krishna's age. Because of their very confidential friendship, their behavior is only on the basis of pure friendship. Some confidential friends are as follows: Shridama, Sudama, Dama, Vasudama, Kinkini, Stoka-krishna, Amshu, Bhadrasena, Vilasi, Pundarika, Vitanka, and Kalavinka. There are other friends who are more confidential than the suhrit, sakha, and priya-sakha friends. They are called priya-narma, or intimate friends. Counted among the priya-narma friends are Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta, and Ujjvala.* Among them, Ujjvala, who is always eager to speak joking words, is the best. Among these friends some are nitya-siddha (eternally perfect), others are suracara (demigods who eventually attained this rasa), and others are sadhaka (human beings who by performing devotional service eventually attained this rasa). The friends serve Krishna in many different ways. Thus they perform a wonderful variety of different activities.


     Vrajanatha: What are the uddipanas of this rasa?

     Gosvami: Krishna's age, His beauty, His bugle, His flute, His conchshell, His pleasing attitude, His exceptional joking abilities, His great power, and His playful activities all provoke (uddipana) love in friendship for Him. When Krishna is spending His days as a cowherd boy, he is in the kaumara and pauganda ages. In the kaishora age, when Krishna appeared in Gokula, He acted as a cowherd boy, and then, when He was sixteen, He went to Mathura.

     Vrajanatha: I request that you explain to me the anubhavas of Krishna's friends.

     Gosvami: Krishna played with His intimate friends sometimes by fighting or wrestling with their arms, sometimes by playing ball, and sometimes by playing chess. Sometimes they carried one another on their shoulders, and sometimes they exhibited their expertness at whirling logs. And the cowherd friends used to please Krishna by sitting together with Him on couches or on swings, by lying together on their beds, by joking together, and by swimming in the pool,* by playing with the monkeys and other animals, and by dancing, singing, and other activities. All these activities are called anubhava. The suhrit friends used to sit together and advise one another what to do, sometimes inducing one another to be engaged in welfare work. The sakha friends would offer betelnuts to one another, decorate one another's faces with tilaka, or smear pulp of candana on one another's bodies. The priya-sakha friends wanted to defeat Krishna. Sometimes they used to snatch His clothing or snatch away the flowers from His hands. Sometimes they would try to induce one another to decorate His body for Him, and failing this, they were always ready to fight, challenging one another to combat in wrestling. The priya-narma-sakha friends would make arrangements for Krishna's madhura-lila. Like the servants, these friends also decorated Krishna with forest flowers and fanned Him.

     Vrajanatha: What are the sattvika-bhavas and sancari-bhavas of this rasa?

     Gosvami: They are like those for dasya-rasa, only a little more.

     Vrajanatha: What is the sthayi-bhava for this rasa?

     Gosvami: Shrila Rupa Gosvami explains (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 3.3.105):



vimukta-sambhrama ya syad

     vishrambhatma ratir dvayoh

prayah samanayor atra

     sa sakhyam sthayi-shabda-bhak



     "When there are dealings between Krishna and His friends, which are completely devoid of any feelings of respect and they all treat one another on an equal level, such ecstatic love in friendship is called sthayi."*


     Vrajanatha: What does the word "vishrambha" mean here?

     Gosvami: It is said (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 3.3.106):



vishrambho gadha-vishvasa-

     vishesho yantranojjhitah



     " `Vishrambha' means firm confidence that one is equal to his friend."


     Vrajanatha: How does this kind of friendship develop?

     Gosvami: The stages of sakhya-rasa are: prema, sneha, raga, and pranaya.

     Vrajanatha: What are the qualities of pranaya?

     Gosvami: In this kind of love awe and veneration are completely absent, even in situations where they might be appropriate. Sakhya-rasa is very wonderful and unprecedented. Sakhya-rasa is very different from either dasya-rasa or vatsalya-rasa. Among all the rasas, sakhya-rasa is especially dear to Krishna. And why not? Krishna and His friends have a very close relationship. In some ways the spiritual ecstasy of sakhya-rasa is almost similar to the ecstasy of madhurya-rasa.