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What are the external symptoms of perfection?
nayanam galad ashru dharaya
vadanam gadgada ruddhaya gira
pulakair nicitam vapuh kada
tava nama grahane bhavishyati
(O my Lord!) tava nama grahane—at the time of chanting Your holy name; mama—my; nayanam galad ashru dharaya—my eyes by streams of tears; vadanam gadgada ruddhaya gira—my mouth by a choked voice; vapuh pulakaih nicitam—and all the limbs of my body by rows of hair standing erect due to ecstacy; kada bhavishyati—when will be pervaded?
O Lord! When will my eyes be filled with a stream of tears? When will my voice choke up? And when will the hairs of my body stand erect in ecstacy as I chant Your holy name.
Shri Sanmodana Bhashyam
In the five previous shlokas the systematic development of param dharma has been described. Param dharma refers to the unfolding of the eternal constitutional identity of the jiva, which takes place through the medium of devotional service predominated by the hladini potency of the Lord. This systematic development (as referred to in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.4.15-16) begins with shraddha (faith).
Faith leads one to associate with saintly persons (sadhu sanga). In their association one begins to practice the nine-fold path of devotional service consisting of shravana (hearing), kirtana (chanting), smarana (remembering), pada sevana (serving the lotus feet of the Lord), arcana (worship of the Lord in the temple), vandana (offering prayers), dasya (servitude), sakhya (friendhip), and atma nivedana (full surrender of the self). By execution of these items, one attains self-realization (atma svarupa), as a result of which, all unwanted things (anarthas) in the form of ignorance are destroyed. Thereafter, one attains nishtha (steadiness), ruci (taste), asakti (attachment for the Lord), and finally bhava arises.
Upon the attainment of bhava, devotional service attains to its pure identity which is now unbreakable. Bhava is also called rati. It is regarded as the sprout (ankura) of prema. Prema is the fully blossomed state of bhakti. Of the various items of devotional service, such as shravana, kirtana, etc., practiced in the stage of sadhana bhakti, chanting of the holy name of Shri Krishna in particular becomes intensified in the stage of bhava bhakti.
Nine characteristics of bhava:
In the stage of bhava, the following nine symptoms (anubhavas) become manifest (as described in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.3.25-26): (1) kshanti—even though a cause for agitation may be present, the devotee's heart remains unagitated, (2) avyartha kalatva—a devotee does not waste time in activities that are not directed toward the cultivation of bhakti, (3) virakti—detachment from the objects of sense enjoyment, (4) mana shunyata— pridelessness, (5) asha bandha—a firm hope of attaining the Supreme Lord, (6) utkantha—intense longing for the Lord, (7) nama gane sada ruci—ever relishing a strong taste to chant the holy name, (8) asaktis tad gunakhyane— attachment for hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, and (9) pritis tad vasati sthale—love for the places of Lord Krishna's pastimes.
Constitutional nature of bhava:
In the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.3.1) it is stated: "Shuddha sattva visheshatma prema suryamshu samyabhak rucibhish citta mashrinya krid asau bhava ucyate." When the heart becomes melted by ruci, or in other words, an intense longing to attain the Lord, then what was previously sadhana bhakti, is called bhava bhakti. The primary characteristic of bhava is that it is a phenomena constituted entirely of vishuddha sattva (unalloyed goodness), and as such it is compared to a ray (kirana) of the sun of prema bhakti. The conclusion established by this verse is that bhava bhakti or rati is the sprout (ankura) of prema and an atom (paramanu) of prema.
In its initial stage, prema is called bhava. In that stage, various transformations of ecstacy arising from vishuddha sattva (sattvika bhavas) such as tears, standing of the hairs of the body on end, etc., are observed to a very slight extent. In the status of bhava, while meditating on the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, tears begin to flow from the eyes. According to the statements of the Tantra and Padma Purana (as quoted in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.3.2–3), the anubhavas and sattvika bhavas, which manifest very powerfully in the stage of prema, are visible to a slight extent in the stage of bhava.
Anubhavas of bhava bhakti:
The external transformations or symptoms which illustrate the emotions that are experienced within the heart are called anubhavas. The anubhavas are thirteen in number as described in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (2.2.2): (1) nrityam (dancing), (2) viluthitam (rolling on the ground), (3) gitam (singing), (4) kroshanam (loud crying), (5) tanu motanam (writhing of the body), (6) hunkaro (roaring), (7) jrimbhanam (yawning), (8) shvasa bhuma (breathing heavily), (9) lokanapekshita (neglecting others), (10) lalashrava (drooling), (11) attahasa (loud laughter), (12) ghurna (staggering about), and (13) hikka (a fit of hiccups).
Sattvika bhavas of bhava bhakti:
The transformations of ecstacy arising from sattva (sattvika bhavas) are eight in number as described in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (2.3.16): (1) stambha (becoming stunned), (2) sveda (perspiration), (3) romanca (standing of the hairs on end), (4) svarabheda (faltering of the voice), (5) kampa (trembling), (6) vaivarnya (loss of color), (7) ashru (tears), and (8) pralaya (all activity is arrested and one loses consciousness). Out of all these symptoms, dancing, singing, tears, standing of the hairs on end, and faltering of the voice are especially observed in the stage of bhava. The crest jewel of instructors, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, just to indicate this condition of bhava has said:
"Hey Krishna! Hey Nanda-nandana! When will streams of tears flow from my eyes while chanting Your holy name? When will my throat become choked up due to a faltering voice? And when will the hairs of my body stand on end due to ecstacy? O Lord! Please be merciful so that all these symptoms will arise in me as soon as possible while chanting Your holy name."
Shri Chaitanya Caritamrita (Antya Lila 20.37):
prema dhana bina vyartha daridra jivana
dasa kari vetana more deha prema dhana
"Without the wealth of love of God (prema-dhana), this wretched life is useless. O Lord! Please accept Me as Your servant and let my only remuneration be the development of love of God."
Shikshashtakam: Song 6 (Gitavali)
aparadha phale mama,
citta bhela vajra sama
tuya name na labhe vikara
hatasha haiya hari,
tava nama ucca kari
bada duhkhe daki bara bara
dina dayamaya karuna nidana
bhava bindu dei rakhaha parana
kabe tava nama uccarane mora
nayane jharaba dara dara lora
gadgada svara kanthe upajaba
mukhe bola adha adha bahiraba
pulake bharaba sharira hamara
sveda kampa stambha habe barabara
vivarna sharire harayaba jnana
nama samashraye dharabum parana
milaba hamara kiye aiche dina
rovaye bhaktivinoda matihina
"As a result of my offenses, my heart has become as hard as a thunderbolt. It does not melt even slightly, even while I chantYour holy name. O Lord! Now I am feeling very despondent. Being very aggrieved with distress, I am calling Your name again and again. You are very merciful. Kindly give me just a single drop of bhava and save my agitated life."
"When will that auspicious day arrive, when upon chanting Your holy name, a stream of tears will flow from my eyes? When will my throat become choked up, causing me to stammer over my words? When will the hairs of my body stand erect due to ecstacy? When will I become soaked with perspiration? When will the limbs of my body begin to tremble? O Lord! When will my body become stunned? Becoming overwhelmed with bhava, when will my color fade, and when at last will I lose all consciousness? Regaining my consciousness once again, I will maintain this life simply by taking shelter of Your holy name. Crying incessantly, this Bhaktivinoda, who is devoid of all intelligence, says,"Will there ever be such a day for this unfortunate soul?"
"Hey Gopijanavallabha (O beloved of the gopis)! When will a stream of tears lovingly flow from the eyes of this gopi while chanting Your holy name? When will my voice choke up, and when will the hairs of my body stand on end due to ecstacy? When will I be overtaken by such a condition?"
This prayer is an example of lalasamayi vijnapti. The word vijnapti means a kind of entreaty or submissive prayer. These have been described to be of three kinds: samprarthanatmika (a prayer with whole-hearted submission of mind, body and everything to the Lord. This is a prayer for the awakening of rati or bhava in one in whom it is not yet aroused), dainnyavodhika (making known one's insignificance and worthlessness), and lalasamayi (this kind of prayer applies only to one in whom rati has already been awakened. Lalasa means intense yearning. After rati manifests in the heart, an intense yearning will come to serve the Lord in a particular manner in accordance with one's sthayi bhava. This is a prayer to obtain that service for which one always hankers). Another example of lalasamayi vijnapti is given in the Bhakti-Rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.156):
kadaham yamuna-tire namani tava kirtayan
udvashpah pundarikaksha racayishyami tandavam
(Narada Muni addresses the Lord as follows) "Hey Pundarikaksha (O lotus-eyed Lord Krishna)! While chanting Your holy name on the bank of the Yamuna, when will my throat choke up and my voice stammer with ecstacy? When will I become absorbed in deep spiritual sentiment and dance just like a madman not caring for outsiders?"
In regards to the secondary names of the Lord (gauna nama), such as Brahma, Paramatma, Ishvara, Jagannatha, and so on, there is no possibility of chanting with any expression of prema (prema-nama). Only in the chanting of the principal names of the Lord (mukhya nama), such as Krishna, Govinda, Rama, etc. can expressions of prema be aroused. Therefore, Shri Gaurasundara has said: shrutamapyaupanishadam dure hari-kathamritat yanna santi dravac-citta-kampashru-pulakadayah-"The subject of the Upanishads is far removed from the nectarean topics of Lord Hari (Hari-kathamrita). Therefore, they are unable to melt the heart and cause one to experience ecstatic trembling, tears, and standing of the hairs of the body on end."
When anyone chants the gauna nama there will be no expression of prema because they have no lila. But when one chants the mukhya nama and remembers Krishna's pastimes with the gopis, a special kind of prema comes. Then he automatically forgets his body and everything. Sometimes he rolls on the ground, sometimes cries, sometimes, laughs, dances, or sings. This can not take place when one chants gauna nama because there is no lila and no mercy expression. When you chant Yashoda-nandana, "Hasi Yashoda tanaya prasidha," so many expressions are coming. But, when you chant "Ishvara." Nothing will come. ·
The subject of Brahman which has been described in the Upanishads is far removed from the nectarean topics of Lord Hari. When there is a discussion of Hari-katha, the heart may become melted giving rise to the eight sattvika bhavas such as shedding of tears, trembling of the bodily limbs, standing of the hairs on end, etc. This verse does not refer to those who shed tears very easily due to natural unsteadiness of the heart such as is appropriate for women, nor does it apply to those who make a show of such symptoms without actually being situated in rati or bhava. Such a display is known as bhavabhasa; it is not shuddha bhakti.
But when the pure jivatma becomes spontaneously inclined to the service of the Lord, unfavorable attitudes (pratikula bhava) no longer arise in his anukula mind and body. At such a time, the heart naturally melts and the sattvika bhavas and bodily transformations of ecstacy are displayed in pure devotees who are liberated from all anarthas.
Those of weak faith (komal shraddha) deceive others by imitating the behaviour of maha-bhagavatas and pretentiously displaying so-called symptoms of ecstacy. The emotion displayed by such imitative and deceptive practice is thoroughly opposed to the awakening of shuddha bhakti. By following in the footsteps of pure devotees and by continuous engagement in bhakti, all these spiritual emotions will arise automatically in the pure devotee in whom rati has been awakened.
Shri Bhajana Rahasya Verses
The following references from Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.3.30-31) show the necessity of performing ardent practice of nama bhajana and kirtana in the association of pure devotees in order to develop bhakti which is possessed of the characteristics of rati:
smarantah smarayantash ca
mitho 'ghaugha haram harim
bhaktya sanjataya bhaktya
"In the association of pure devotees, there is constant chanting and discussion of the glories of the Lord's transcendental pastimes (lila-katha), which are by nature purifying and productive of the highest virtue. By such association there will be three effects: the feelings of mutual affection and love between devotees will be increased, mutual happiness will be experienced, and devotees will help each other to become free from all material attachments and distress. All this is learnt in the association of devotees."
"In this way devotees constantly remember Lord Hari, who destroys all sins. They also cause the remembrance of the Lord to appear within each others hearts. Thus by prema bhakti awakened through sadhana bhakti (bhaktya sanjataya bhaktya), they always remain engaged in thinking about the Lord and exhibit transcendental symptoms of ecstacy in their bodies such as standing of the hairs on end."
In this connection, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has composed the following verse:
bhakta-gana paraspara krishna katha gaya
tahe rati, tushti, sukha paraspara paya
hari smriti nije kare, anyere karaya
sadhane ukila bhave pulakashru paya
"Devotees constantly hear and chant the topics concerning Lord Krishna among themselves. They become intently absorbed in such discussions, and derive mutual satisfaction and happiness. They themselves remember the pastimes of the Lord and cause others to do the same. At the time of performing such sadhana, the eight sattvika bhavas, such as tears, and standing of the hairs on end, as well as the vyabhicari bhavas all become manifest." This is confirmed in Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.3.32):
kvacid-rudanty acyuta cintaya kvacid-
vasanti nandanti vadanty alaukikah
nrityanti gayanty anushilayanty ajam
bhavanti tushnim parametya nirvritah
"Thereafter, having obtained freedom from the misconception of identifying the self with the body, they are distinguished from ordinary worldly persons by their deep absorption in constant remembrance of the Lord in the stage characterised by consummated endeavours (ceshta-shila) for bhakti (in other words, in the stage of bhava). In this condition, they sometimes cry, sometimes laugh, sometimes become delighted, sometimes speak out to the Lord, sometimes dance, sometimes sing, and sometimes enact the transcendental pastimes of Lord Hari. Thereafter, having obtained the personal audience of the Lord they become peaceful and silent."
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says in this connection:
bhavodaye kabhu kande krishna cinta phale
hase anandita haya, alaukika-bole
nace gaya, krishna-alocane sukha paya
lila-anubhave haya, tushnimbhuta praya
"After the awakening of bhava within the heart, when one becomes deeply absorbed in thinking of Krishna, sometimes tears come to the eyes, sometimes one laughs, sometimes one becomes overjoyed with deep ecstacy, sometimes one speaks in an extraordinary manner unrelated to this world, sometimes one dances or sings, sometimes one experiences great happiness by a direct perception of Krishna, and sometimes one becomes silent at heart by witnessing the pastimes of the Lord."
At that time their love toward the places which are dear to Shri Krishna is observed. This is stated in the following verse from Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.156):
kadaham yamuna-tire namani tava kirtayan
udvashpah pundarikaksha racayishyami tandavam
(Narada Muni addresses the Lord as follows) "Hey Pundarikaksha (O lotus-eyed Lord Krishna)! When, on the bank of the Yamuna, will my throat become choked up with ecstacy as I chant Your holy names, and when will I dance just like a madman not caring for outsiders?"