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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Jaiva Dharma > Chapter-30

Chapter Thirty


The Rasas



     Today, after honoring kichari prasadam, Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha saw the samadhi of Haridasa Thakura. Then they saw the temple of Shri Tota-Gopinatha, and then they went to the temple of Shri Radha-kanta. There they offered dandavat obiesances to Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami and then sat down. They discussed many things with Shri Dhyanacandra Gosvami. Meanwhile, Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami honored prasadam and then also sat down on his seat. Vrajanatha humbly asked him about vatsala-bhakti-rasa. Shri Goplala-guru Gosvami said, “In vatsalya-rasa, Krishna is the vishaya, and His elder relatives and superiors are the ashraya. Krishna's body is dark and handsome. He has all virtues. He is gentle, a pleasing speaker, honest, sincere, shy, humble, respectful, and generous. The king and queen of Vraja, Rohini, the elder gopis, Debaki, Kunti, Vasudeva, and Sandipani Muni are included among the devotees in Vatsalya-rasa. Nanda and Yashoda are the best among them. The uddipanas include Krishna's kaumara age and other ages and His form, garments, childhood, restlessness, talking, joking, and pastimes.


     Vrajanatha: What are the anubhavas in this rasa?

     Gosvami: The anubhavas include smelling Krishna's head, massaging His limbs, offering blessings to Him, giving orders to Him, caressing Him, protecting Him, and giving good advice to Him. Kissing Krishna, hugging Him, and calling His name are also included among these activities.

     Vrajanatha: What are the sattvika ecstatic symptoms in this rasa?

     Gosvami: The sattvika ecstatic symptoms in this rasa include milk flowing from the breasts and the eight ecstatic symptoms that begin with becoming stunned.

     Vrajanatha: What are the vyabhicari-hbavas in this rasa?

     Gosvami: The vyabhicaris in vatsalya-rasa are like those in prita-rasa (dasya-rasa).

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

     Gosvami: The sthayi-bhavas are mercy and love that is free from awe and veneration. The parental love felt by Yashoda and other great devotees is naturally very strong. The sthayi-bhava in this rasa proceeds from prema, to sneha, to raga. Lord Balarama's rasa is a mixture of dasya-rasa and vatsalya-rasa. King Yudhishthira's rasa is a mixture of vatsalya, dasya, and sakhya. King Ugrasena's rasa is a mixture of vatsalya and sakhya. The rasa of Nakula, Sahadeva, Narada Muni, and many others is a mixture of sakhya and dasya. The rasa of Shiva, Garuda, Uddhava, and many others is a mixture of dasya and sakhya.

     Vrajanatha: O master, now we have heard your description of vatsalya-rasa. Please be merciful now and describe madhura-rasa, the most exalted of the rasas. By hearing your description we will become fortunate.

     Gosvami: Madhura-rasa is said to be the most important of the bhakti-rasas. A living entity who has taken shelter of the material rasas may become devoted to the Supreme Lord and may thus gradually turn from the things of the material world and thus attain renunciation. A person who is not renounced in this way is not qualified to understand the spiritual rasas. Therefore the people in general are not qualified to understand the madhura-rasa. Madhura-rasa is very difficult to understand. It is not easy to find a person qualified to understand it. This rasa is very confidential. Therefore it is appropriate to keep it hidden from general view. Therefore, even though many things could be said about madhura-rasa, I will describe it only briefly.

     Vrajanatha: O master, I am a follower of the cowherd boy Shri Subala. Please consider what I am qualified to hear, and tell me only that much.

     Gosvami: The priya-narma-sakha friends of Krishna are to a certain extent aware of the activities of madhura-rasa. Taking this into consideration, I will tell you what is right for you to hear, and I will not tell you what is not appropriate for you to hear.

     Vrajanatha: What are the alambanas of this rasa?

     Gosvami: In this rasa the vishaya is Shri Krishna, the hero whose handsomeness has no equal. The transcendental ashraya is the devotees who relish pastimes with Him. Therefore the vraja-gopis are the ashraya in this rasa. Of all the dear gopis, Shri Radha is the best. Of the many uddipanas in this rasa, the sound of Krishna's flute is the first. The anubhavas of this rasa include sidelong glances and smiles. All the sattvika-bhavas are gloriously present in this rasa. All the vyabhicaris, except for laziness and ferociousness, are also present in this rasa. 

     Vrajanatha: What are the sthayi-bhavas of this rasa?

     Gosvami: the appropriate vibhavas act to increase the love present in madhura-rasa. No vijatiya or svajatiya bhavas can ever break the love that Shri Radha and Shri Madhava feel for each other.

     Vrajanatha: How many are the different varieties of madhura-rasa?

     Gosvami: Madhura-rasa is of two kinds: 1. vipralambha (separation), and sambhoga (meeting).

     Vrajanatha: What is vipralambha?

     Gosvami: Vipralambha is of many kinds, including purva-raga (the beginning of love), mana (jealous anger), and pravasa (the beloved goes far away).

     Vrajanatha: What is purva-raga?

     Gosvami: Purva-raga is said to be the situation before the lover's have met.

     Vrajanatha: What are mana and pravasa?

     Gosvami: Mana is well known. Pravasa is when the lover loses the association of the beloved.

     Vrajanatha: What is sambhoga?

     Gosvami: When the two lovers meet and enjoy (bhoga) together, that is called sambhoga. I will not say anything more about madhura-rasa. Persons qualified to understand madhura-rasa should study the confidential description of it in the book Shri Ujjvala-nilamani.

     Vrajanatha: Now please briefly describe the gauna-bhakti-rasa (the secondary rasas of devotional service).

     Gosvami: The seven gauna-rasas are: laughter, astonishment, chivalry, lamentation, anger, dread, and ghastliness. When one of these secondary rasas becomes very powerful, it occupies the place of the primary (mukhya) rasas. In this situation it seems to be independent of the primary rasas. Seemingly independent in this way, the secondary rasa then becomes nourished by its own sthayi-bhavas, vibhavas, and other bhavas. However, the truth is that the five rasas beginning with shanta-rasa are the only primary rasas. The seven secondary rasas, which begin with hasya (laughter), are considered vyabhicaris in relation to the five true primary rasas.

     Vrajanatha: From my study of rhetoric (alankara), I have learned all these things about the rasas. I know all this about the secondary rasas, which begin with hasya (laughter). I wish to know how these secondary rasas are related to the primary rasas of devotional service. Please be merciful and explain this.

     Gosvami: It is said that among the five rasas some are friends (compatible) and some are enemies (incompatible). The friends of shanta-rasa are dasya, ghastliness, dharma-vira (chivalry in performing pious deeds), and astonishment. The friends of astonishment are dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhura-rasa. The enemies of shanta-rasa are madhura-rasa, yuddha-vira (chivalry in battle), anger, and dread. The friends of dasya-rasa are ghastliness, shanta-rasa, dharma-vira (chivalry in performing pious deeds), and dana-vira (chivalry in giving charity). The enemies of dasya-rasa are madhura-rasa, yuddha-vira (chivalry in battle), and anger. The friends of sakhya-rasa are madhura-rasa, laughter, and yuddha-vira (chivalry in battle). The enemies of sakhya-rasa are vatsalya-rasa, ghastliness, anger, and dread. The friends of vatsalya-rasa are laughter, compassion, and dread. The enemies of vatsalya-rasa are madhura-rasa, yuddha-vira (chivalry in battle), dasya-rasa, and anger. The friends of madhura-rasa are laughter and sakhya-rasa. The enemies of madhura-rasa are vatsalya-rasa, ghastliness, shanta-rasa, anger, and dread. The friends of hasya-rasa (laughter) are ghastliness, madhura-rasa, and vatsalya-rasa. The enemies of hasya-rasa are compassion and dread. The friends of adbhuta-rasa (astonishment) are chivalry, shanta-rasa, dasya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vatsalya-rasa, and madhura-rasa. The enemies of adbhuta-rasa are anger and ghastliness. The friends of vira-rasa (chivalry) are astonishment, laughter, sakhya-rasa, and dasya-rasa. The enemy of vira-rasa is dread. Some think that shanta-rasa is also an enemy of vira-rasa. The friends of karuna-rasa (compassion) are anger and vatsalya-rasa. The enemies of karuna-rasa are chivalry, laughter, astonishment, and the sambhoga (meeting) part of madhura-rasa. The friends of raudra-rasa (anger) are compassion and chivalry. The enemies of raudra-rasa are laughter, madhura-rasa, and dread. The friends of bhayanaka-rasa (dread) are ghastliness and compassion. The enemies of bhayanaka-rasa are chivalry, madhura-rasa, laughter, and anger. The friends of bibhatsa-rasa (ghastliness) are shanta-rasa, laughter, and dasya-rasa. The enemies of bibhatsa-rasa are madhura-rasa and sakhya-rasa. All the other rasas are closely related.

     Vrajanatha: Please explain the result of these rasas meeting with each other.

     Gosvami: When the friendly rasas meet, the result is very palatable. It is good when and anga-rasa (part) meets with an angi-rasa (whole). The rasas may be primary or secondary, an angi-rasa should meet with a friendly anga-rasa.

     Vrajanatha: Please explain the difference been angi (whole) and anga (part).

     Gosvami: Whether it is a primary rasa or a secondary rasa, when one rasa dominates another, the dominating rasa is called angi. The anga-rasa (dominated rasa) then becomes a sancari-bhava that nourishes the angi-rasa. In the Vishnu-dharmottara Purana is said:



rasanam samavetanam

     yasya rupam bhaved bahu

sa mantavyo rasah sthayi

     sheshah sancarino matah



     "When rasas meet, the dominating rasa becomes the sthayi-bhava and the others become the sancari-bhavas."


     Vrajanatha: How is it possible for one of the secondary (gauna) rasas to become an angi-rasa (a dominating rasa)?

     Gosvami: Shrila Rupa Gosvami explains (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 4.8.45):



prodyan vibhavanotkarshat

     pushtim mukhyena lambhitah

kuncata nija-nathena

     gauno 'py angitvam ashnute


mukhyas tv angatvam asadya

     pushnann indram upendravat

gaunam evanginam kritva




     vasite bhakta-cetasi

bhaty eva na tu linah syad

     esa sancari-gaunavat


angi mukhyah sva-matrangair

     bhavais tair abhivardhayan

svajatiyair vijatiyaih

     svatantrah san virajate


yasya mukhyasya yo bhakto

     bhaven nitya-nijashrayah

angi sa eva tatra syan

     mukhyo 'py anyo 'ngatam vrajet



     "Lord Vamanadeva is actually teh Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He appeared to have been `born' as one of the brothers of Indra. Although Vamanadeva is sometimes taken as a less important demigod, He is actyually the maintainer of Indra, the king of the demigods. Thus, although sometimes Vamanadeva is considered to be a subordinate demigod, His actual position is that of the supreme whole, the source of the entire demigod system. In the same way, a rasa which is actually prominent may sometimes appear to be manifested in a subordinate way, although its actual position is as the main or prominent loving feeling of a devotee."*


     Vrajanatha: What happens when two enimical rasas meet?

     Gosvami: It becomes like sweet nectar when something salty or sour is mixed in. This mixing of incompatible rasas is called "rasabhasa".

     Vrajanatha: Is the mixing of incompatible rasas never good in any situation?

     Gosvami: Shrila Rupa Gosvami explains (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 4.8.63-64):



dvayor ekatarasyeha


smaryamanatarapy uktau

     samyena vacane 'pi ca


rasantarena vyavadhau

     tatasthena priyena va

vishayashraya-bhede ca

     gaunena dvishatasaha

ity adishu na vairasyam

     vairino janayed yutih



     "When an opposing argument is to be refuted, or when remembering something, or when speaking impartially, or in a favorable way one stands between two rasas, or when there is a difference of the lover (ashraya) and beloved (vishaya), then the meeting of incompatible rasas does not produced an unpalatable result."


     In this way it is seen that even though dasya-rasa and vatsalya rasa are enemies, when they are present, at different times, in the relationship of King Yudhishthira with Lord Krishna, there is no incompatibility. Although these two rasas are enemies, they are not present simultaneously. Sometimes, when the ecstasy of bhava is very intense, there is no incompatibility when incompatible rasas meet. Shrila Rupa Gosvami explains (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 4.8.83):



kvapy acintya-maha-shaktau






     "Sometimes, when they are present in very exalted and powerful personalities, many different incompatible rasas join to become compatible."


     Vrajanatha: I heard from the Vaishnavas that Lord Mahaprabhu was not very happy to hear words contaminated with rasabhasa, and he would not agree to hear songs contaminated with that defect. Now I understand the fault of rasabhasa. Now please kindly explain the different kinds of rasabhasa.

     Gosvami: Rasabhasa, or incompatible mixtures of mellows, may be classified as uparasa (false expression), anurasa (imitation), and aparasa (perverted or misrepresented mellows). In this way there is great, intermediate, or lesser expression of rasabhasa.

     Vrajanatha: What is uparasa?

     Gosvami: Pushed by sthayi-bhava, vibhava, anubhava, and the other bhavas, the twelve rasas may become uparasas. When sthayi-bhava, vibhava, or anubhava are manifested in a distorted way, then uparasa is manifested.

     Vrajanatha: What is anurasa?

     Gosvami: When the twelve secondary rasas are manifested, but they have no relation to Krishna, then they are anurasa. When chivalry and other like rasas only approach the borderline of having a relationship with Krishna, they are also considered anurasa.

     Vrajanatha: If these sentiments have no relationship with Krishna, then they are not rasas at all. They are only material. What is the distinguishing feature of anurasas that makes them different from material feelings?

     Gosvami: Anurasas do not have a direct relationship with Krishna. Some examples of anurasas are the gopis' laughing (hasya-rasa) when they saw a monkey dance, and Narada's astonishement (adbhuta-rasa) when he heard two parrots debating Vedanta in Bhandiravana. In these examples one can see a relationship with Krishna, but it is distant. One cannot see a direct relationship with Krishna. In such a situation there is anurasa.

     Vrajanatha: What is aparasa?

     Gosvami: If Krishna becomes the object of His enemy's laughter or other unfavorable sentiment, that is called aparasa. When he saw Krishna flee from the battlefield, Jarasandha laughed again and again. That is an example of aparasa. Shrila Rupa Gosvami explains (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu):



bhavah sarve tad-abhasah

     rasabhasash ca kecana

ami prokta rasabhijnaih

     sarve 'pi rasanad rasah



     "Some call these incompatible mellows `tad-abhasa' and other call them `rasabhasa'. But persons who know the truth about the rasas use the word `rasa' to refer to the compatible, pleasing rasas only."


     After hearing these words, Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha, tears in their eyes and their words choked up, at once fell before the lotus feet of their spiritual master and said:





cakshur unmilitam yena

     tasmai shri-gurave namah



     "I offer my respectful obeisances

unto my spiritual master, who with the torchlight of knowledge has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance."*


     Filled with the bliss of spiritual love, Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami embraced the two disciples. With a sincere heart he blessed them, "May the truth of the rasas be manifest before you."


     Every day Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha discussed the spiritual truth with Shri Dhyanacandra Gosvami. They would alos accept the caranamrita from Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami's feet and the nectar remnants of the prasadam foods that had touched his lips. Some days they stayed in their own bhajana-kutira. Other days they would visit Shri Haridasa Thakura's samadhi. Other days they would visit the temple of Shri Gopinatha. Other days they would see the many pure Vaishnavas performing devotional service under the siddha bakula tree. In these ways the two devotees became plunged in the nectar ocean of devotional service. Sometimes they would see the places where Lord Mahaprabhu was overcome with ecstatic love, places described in Shrila Rupa Gosvami's Stava-mala and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Stavavali. Sometimes they would join the pure Vaishnavas in chanting the holy names of Lord Hari. In this way Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha gradually became advanced in devotional service. Vijaya-kumara thought, "Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami briefly described madhura-rasa to us. I should hear a more detailed explanation of it from his mouth. Let Vrajanatha remain plunged in his mellows of sakhya-rasa. I will go alone and learn all the truths of madhura-rasa." By the kind help of Dhyanacandra Gosvami, Vijaya-kumara got a copy of Shri Ujjvala-nilamani. He studied that book. When any doubts arose, he placed his questions before Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami.

     One afternoon Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha were sitting by the seashore, looking at the waves, and observing how the wave-filled ocean was like life. Vijaya-kumara said, "No one could say what would happen next in life. We should learn about the patha of raga-marga (raganuga-bhakti) from Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami." Vrajanatha said, "Shri Dhyanacandra Gosvami has written a book about raga-marga. I have seen it. If our spiritual master teaches us that book we will gain a great result. Good. I will make a copy of that book." After coming to this conclusion, he approached Shri Dhyanacandra and requested a copy of the book. Shri Dhyanacandra replied, "I cannot give you a copy. You must first get permission from Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami.

     Then the two of them approached Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami and placed their request before him. He said, "Good. Get a copy and then return." With these words as their permission, Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha got a copy of the book. They thought that at appropriate times they would approach Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami and learn the book under his guidance.

     Shri Dhyanacandra Gosvami was learned in all the scriptures. Especially in the scriptures that describe devotional service to Lord Hari, he had no equal. He was the foremost of Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami's disciples. Thinking them good candidates for devotional service, he taught Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha everything about the path of devotional service. Again and again they approached Shri Gopala-guru Gosvami's holy feet, and again and again Vijaya-kumara and Vrajanatha had all their doubts answered. They learned about Lord Mahaprabhu's daily activities and Lord Krishna's daily pastimes. Following these pastimes, they worshiped the Lord during the eight portions of the day.