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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 26. Introduction to Rasa-Tattva


C H A P T E R 2 6

Introduction to Rasa-Tattva


Vijaya Kumara was absent for about a month. During this time,

Vrajanatha's grandmother, who understood the dispositions

of both Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara, arranged for a suitable

bride through a brahmana mediator. When Vijaya Kumara was

informed, he sent his younger brother to Bilva-puskarini to organize

the wedding ceremony, which was duly performed at an

astrologically auspicious time on an auspicious day.


Vijaya Kumara arrived some time later, when all the marriage

proceedings had been completed. He sat without much interest

in the situation around him, and did not discuss worldly affairs

such as health and prosperity, for his heart was deeply absorbed

in spiritual matters. Vrajanatha detected his indifference, and

said, "Uncle, your heart appears to be uncertain these days. Why

is that? It is simply by your order that I am bound in the shackles

of worldly life. What have you decided to do yourself?"


Vijaya Kumara said, "I have decided to finally go to Shridhama

Puri to have the darsana of Shri Purusottama (Shri Jagannathadeva).

Some pilgrims are setting out for Puri in a few days, and I will also

go with them. I shall go and take permission from Shri Gurudeva."


After taking lunch that afternoon, Vrajanatha and Vijaya

Kumara went to Mayapura, where they offered dandavat-pranama

at Shri Raghunatha dasa Babaji's feet and begged his permission

to make a pilgrimage to Puri. Babaji Mahasaya was delighted to

hear their plea. His heart melted with affection and he said, "It is

very good that you are going to Puri to take darsana of Shri

Jagannathadeva. Shriman Mahaprabhu's sitting place is in Kasi

Misra's house in Puri, and Shri Gopala Guru Gosvami, the disciple

of Shri Vakresvara Pandita, is present there now in all his glory. Be

sure to have his darsana and accept his instructions with devotion.

Nowadays, it is only in that mahatma's throat that the splendor

of Shri Svarupa Gosvami's teachings is fully manifest."


Having received Shri Gurudeva's permission, Vrajanatha and

Vijaya Kumara joyfully returned home. On the way, at Vrajanatha's

eager request, Vijaya Kumara agreed to also take him to Puri. When

they arrived home, they disclosed their plans for the pilgrimage

to everyone. Vrajanatha's grandmother was also ready to go with

them, so finally it was decided that all three would go to Puri



The famous Ratha-yatra of Shri Jagannatha, Shri Baladeva and

Shri Subhadra-devi is held in Puri in the month of Asarha (June-

July). At that time, those who are dedicated to dharma flood in

from all corners of India and descend on Puri en masse. For this

reason, pilgrims from distant places set out from their homes many

days beforehand in order to arrive in good time. The month of

Jyestha (May-June) had scarcely begun when these three also set

out for Puri, along with the other pilgrims. After walking for some

days, they passed Dantana and arrived in Jalesvara. Gradually

moving on, they took darsana of Ksiracora Gopinatha, and came

to Shri Viraja-ksetra, where they performed nabhigaya-kriya and

took bath in the Vaitarani. Later, they had darsana of Shri Saksi

Gopala in Kataka, and Shri Lingaraja in Ekamra-kanana, and finally

arrived in Shri Ksetra, Puri-dhama.


All the pilgrims were accommodated in various places as

directed by their respective pandas (guardian priests). Vijaya

Kumara, Vrajanatha, and Vrajanatha's grandmother found lodgings

at Haracandi Sahi. In accordance with the regulative

principles, they took bath in the sea, and then went for darsana

of Shri Jagannatha. They began to take darsana, perform parikrama,

and honor the prasada of the various tirthas of that dhama. After

three or four days, Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha had darsana of

the shri-vigraha of Shriman Mahaprabhu as well as His footprints,

and also His fingerprints impressed on the Garuda stambha (column

of Garuda) in the temple of Shri Jagannathadeva. When

Shriman Mahaprabhu took darsana of Shri Jagannathadeva, He

would become overwhelmed with prema and streams of tears would

flow from His eyes. At such times, the stones beneath His feet

melted from His touch and were marked with His footprints. At

the same time, His prema also melted the Garuda stambha, which

He used to support Himself, and the marks of His fingers became

imprinted there. When Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha saw these

impressions, they became overwhelmed with prema.


That same day they went to Kasi Misra Bhavan. In that great

house constructed from stone is Shri Gambhira, the small room in

which Shriman Mahaprabhu would reside in His state of prema.

There, in order to console Him when He was immersed in feelings

of separation from Krishna, His dear associates, Shri Svarupa

Damodara and Raya Ramananda, would recite slokas and sing

bhajanas about the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Vijaya Kumara

and Vrajanatha took darsana of that place, and of Shriman

Mahaprabhu's paraphernalia, such as His wooden sandals, that

are gloriously present there. On one side, within, is the mandira

of Shri Radha-Kanta, and on the other side was the seat of Shri

Gopala Guru Gosvami.


Vijaya and Vrajanatha fell at Shri Gopala Guru Gosvami's feet.

They were carried away in the happiness of prema and began to

shed tears. Shri Guru Gosvami was very pleased to see their ecstatic

sentiments and embraced them. He made them sit down close to

him and immediately asked, "I wish to know who you are." When

Vijaya and Vrajanatha introduced themselves, Guru Gosvami's

eyes began to stream with tears of love. Hearing the name of Shri

Navadvipa, he said, "Today I have become blessed by seeing the

residents of Shridhama Navadvipa. Tell me, how are the Vaishnavas

in Mayapura, such as Shri Raghunatha dasa and Goracanda dasa?

Are they well? Aho! When I remember Raghunatha dasa, the

memories of my siksa-guru Shri Dasa Gosvami come to my mind."


Guru Gosvami called his disciple, Shri Dhyanacandra, and said,

"These two mahatmas will take prasada here today." Shri Dhyanacandra

took them both to his room and offered them shri-mahaprasada.

Afterwards the three of them discussed many subjects.

Dhyanacandra Gosvami was overjoyed when he saw Vijaya Kumara's

vast erudition in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and recognized Vrajanatha

as a fine scholar of all the sastras. He related all their discussions to

Shri Guru Gosvami, who was also delighted to hear of their

expertise in sastra. Shri Gopala Guru Gosvami called them near to

him, and said, "You are both very dear to me. Kindly allow me to

see you every day, as long as you stay in Shri Purusottama Dhama."


Vijaya Kumara humbly replied, "O Prabhu! Shri Raghunatha dasa

Babaji of Shri Mayapura has bestowed great mercy upon us. He has

given us so much siksa, and he ordered us to accept instructions

at your divine feet."


Guru Gosvami said, "Raghunatha dasa Babaji is a highly learned

scholar, and you should follow his instructions thoroughly. If you

want to know anything further, you may come here tomorrow

afternoon and present your inquiries. You may honor mahaprasada

here tomorrow." They conversed for some time, and then

Vijaya and Vrajanatha took permission from Shri Guru Gosvami

and returned to Haracandi Sahi.


The next day, Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha returned to Shri

Radha-Kanta Matha at the appointed time. They honored prasada,

and then approached Shri Gopala Guru Gosvami. When they had

offered their respectful pranama to him, they said, "Prabhu, we

want to know about rasa-tattva. Our lives will become successful

when we hear about krishna-bhakti-rasa from your lotus mouth. You

are the pre-eminent holy master of the Nimananda-sampradaya

and you are reigning as jagad-guru on the seat of Shriman

Mahaprabhu's successor, Shri Svarupa Gosvami. We desire to hear

rasa-tattva from your divine lips, so that our scholarship may become



Shri Gopala Guru Gosvami was overjoyed, and taking these

worthy disciples, to a solitary place, he spoke to them. "Shachinandana€````@P@``€``PP@P€°`° `@```š`@°°`°°  @@P` ` P@ °P`0@````@`` P`€@ `P€PP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@€p€€€€€€€pppp````````` P````    ```````€````````_›8œȰ_Ȱ_粜娈粜が粞〼粞

Nimai Pandita appeared in Shri Navadvipa-Mayapura, and

He is the very life-breath of the bhaktas of Shri Gauda-mandala, Shri

Ksetra-mandala and Shri Vraja-mandala. May that Shachinandana€````@P@``€``PP@P€°`° `@```š`@°°`°°  @@P` ` P@ °P`0@````@`` P`€@ `P€PP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@€p€€€€€€€pppp````````` P````    ```````€````````_›8œȰ_Ȱ_粜娈粜が粞〼粞

give us joy. May Shri Svarupa Gosvami, whose madhura-rasa-seva

always fills Shri Mahaprabhu with elation, be manifest in the core

of our hearts. Shri Vakresvara Pandita thoroughly captivated Nimai

Pandita with his dancing. He also showered his mercy on

Devananda Pandita by purifying him and making him Krishna's

bhakta. May that Shri Vakresvara Pandita confer all auspiciousness

upon you.


"Rasa is an unequalled tattva which can be compared to the

rising of the moon, whose radiance is the expanding lila of parabrahma

Shri Krishna. Bhakti-rasa is the function of krishna-bhakti when

it becomes absolutely pure."


Vrajanatha: Is rasa a principle that is predetermined?


Gosvami: I cannot answer that question in a single word, "Yes"

or "No." I will explain the subject elaborately so that you can

understand it clearly. The krishna-rati about which you have heard

from your Gurudeva is called sthayibhava. When the other components

(samagri) of rasa are combined with the sthayibhava, the

resultant manifestation is called krishna-bhakti-rasa.


Vrajanatha: Will you kindly explain in detail what is sthayibhava,

and what are the constituent ingredients (samagri) of rasa? We

have heard from our Gurudeva about bhava, but we have not heard

how bhavas combine with each other to form rasa.


Gosvami: Ordinarily, at the stage of bhava, bhakti is krishna-rati. This

rati arises in the heart of the bhakta from the samskaras of past

and present lives, and develops further to the stage of rasa, when

it becomes the very embodiment of ananda. It is made up of four

different ingredients: 1) vibhava, 2) anubhava, 3) sattvika and 4)

vyabhicari or sancari. I will first explain these ingredients.

Vibhava is the cause of tasting rati, and it has two divisions:

alambana (the support) and uddipana (the awakening stimulus).

Alambana also has two divisions, namely, the object (visaya) and

the abode (asraya). The asraya of rati is the person in whom rati

exists, while the visaya of rati is the person towards whom rati is

directed. Krishna's bhaktas are the asraya of rati because they have

rati in their hearts, whereas Krishna is the visaya of rati, because

rati is directed towards Him.


Vrajanatha: So far we have understood that vibhava is divided into

two parts: alambana and uddipana, and that alambana is also

divided into two categories, namely, asraya and visaya. Krishna is

visaya, and the bhaktas are asraya. Now we are inquisitive to know

whether Krishna is sometimes the asraya of rati.


Gosvami: Yes, He is. When bhaktas have rati towards Krishna, Krishna

is visaya and the bhaktas are alambana, and when Krishna has rati

towards the bhaktas, then Krishna is asraya and the bhaktas are visaya.


Vrajanatha: We have heard from our Gurudeva about Shri Krishna's

sixty-four qualities. If there is anything further to be described in

regard to Shri Krishna, please tell us.


Gosvami: Although all the qualities exist fully in Shri Krishna, His

manifestation is complete in Dvaraka, more complete in Mathura,

and most complete in Gokula. This is because of the degree to

which the qualities are manifested in the respective dhamas. Krishna

is one, but He plays the parts of four types of heroes (nayaka) according

to the differences in His lila. They are 1) dhirodatta, 2)

dhira-lalita, 3) dhira-santa and 4) dhiroddhata.


Vrajanatha: What type of nayaka (hero) is dhirodatta?


Gosvami: The symptoms of Krishna as dhirodatta-nayaka are gravity,

courtesy, forgiveness, compassion, modesty, and concealed



Vrajanatha: What kind of nayaka is called dhira-lalita?


Gosvami: Krishna falls under the control of His beloved gopis because

He is expert in relishing loving mellows (rasika); He is on

the threshold of youth (nava-yauvana); He is ingenious in joking

(parihasa-caturi); and He is free from anxiety (niscintata). That is

why He is called dhira-lalita-nayaka.


Vrajanatha: And what are the symptoms of dhira-santa?


Gosvami: Krishna is known as dhira-santa-nayaka when He is

decorated with the qualities of being naturally sedate, forbearing,

judicious and humble.


Vrajanatha: What is dhiroddhata?


Gosvami: Sometimes in His lila, Krishna is also seen to be jealous,

egotistical, deceitful, angry, fickle, and boastful. At that time, He

is known as dhiroddhata-nayaka.


Vrajanatha: The qualities that you have described are mutually

contradictory, so how can they possibly exist at the same time in

one Krishna?


Gosvami: Krishna is by nature fully independent, autocratic, and

supreme, and He has boundless opulence. It is by the action of

Krishna's acintya-sakti (inconceivable potency) that these contradictory

qualities exist in Him at the same time. For example, we

read in the Kurma Purana:


asthulas canus caiva / sthulo 'nus caiva sarvatah

avarnah sarvatah proktah / syamo raktantalocanah

aisvarya-yogad bhagavan / viruddhartho 'bhidhiyate

tathapi doso parame/ naivaharya kathancana

gunaviruddha apy ete / samaharyah samantatah


All contradictory qualities are splendidly and very beautifully

manifest in Bhagavan at the same time. Although

He is intangible and minute in every way, He is tangible

and all pervading in every way. He is devoid of mundane

color, but He has a transcendental syama hue, and the corners

of His eyes are reddish. This is how He has been described

in the sastras. Bhagavan is said to possess contradictory

virtues on account of His mystic opulence. Nevertheless,

no fault can be attributed to Paramesvara. Although

the aggregate of His qualities seems to be contradictory,

these qualities are certainly virtues in all respects.


In the Maha-Varaha Purana, it is stated:


sarve nityah sasvatas ca / dehas tasya paratmanah

hanopadana-rahita / naiva prakrti-jah kvacit

paramananda-sandoha / jnana-matras ca sarvatah

sarve sarva-gunaih purnah / sarva-dosa-vivarjitah


All the bodies of that Paramatma are nitya and free from

the two types of activities known as 'giving up' and 'accepting'.

His bodies are not born from material nature, but

are composed of consciousness and are the embodiment

of paramananda. Each and every limb of His body is filled

with all transcendental qualities and is free from all defects.


The Vaishnava-tantra states:


astadasa-mahadosaih / rahita bhagavat-tanuh

sarvaisvaryamayi satya-vijnanananda-rupini


Bhagavan is endowed with all kinds of superhuman power,

perfect knowledge and joy, and His body is free from the

eighteen types of general faults.


These eighteen general faults are:


mohas tandra bhramo ruksa-rasata kama ulbanah

lolata mada-matsaryau himsa kheda-parisramau

asatyam krodha akanksa asanka visva-vibhramah

visamatva parapeksa dosa astadasodita



1) illusion, 2) lethargy, 3) bewilderment, 4) dullness, 5)

intense lust, 6) fickleness, 7) pride, 8) envy, 9) violence,

10) remorse, 11) desire for excessive peace and comfort, 12)

untruthfulness, 13) anger, 14) hankering, 15) fear, 16)

hallucination, 17) contradiction, and 18) the tendency to

depend on others.


All these transcendental qualities are present in the forms of

the avataras, and they are expressed to the utmost extent in Shri

Krishna, who is avatari (the origin of all avataras). In addition to

these, Krishna possesses a further eight qualities which indicate His

manliness (purusatva). These are: 1) sobha (beauty), 2) vilasa (fascinating,

transcendental pastimes), 3) madhurya (sweetness), 4)

mangalya (auspiciousness), 5) sthirata (stability), 6) teja (brilliance),

7) lalita (playfulness), and 8) audarya (munificence). His

beauty is particularly noticeable in kindness towards the lowly,

rivalry towards His peers, valor, enthusiasm, dexterity and the

revelation of truth. Vilasa is characterized in Him by His profound

manner, calm glance and humorous words. His madhurya (sweetness)

is noticeable for pleasing loveliness is manifest in all His

activities. His auspiciousness is the abode of faith of the entire

world. His stability means that He is not deviated in any activity.

His brilliance means attracting the attention of everyone towards

Himself. He exhibits an abundance of amorous sentiments and

endeavors and is thus called lalita (playful). His mood of completely

offering Himself is called audarya. Shri Krishna is the crestjewel

of all heroes, and in His human-like pastimes, sages such as

Garga have been described as His assistants in matters of dharma,

ksatriyas such as Yuyudhana in matters of war, and ministers such

as Uddhava in matters of counseling.


Vrajanatha: I have fully understood how Krishna is the heroic personification

of mellows. Now please tell us about Krishna's bhaktas

who are fit to experience rasa, and who are included in the category

of vibhava.


Gosvami: Only those whose hearts are overwhelmed by loving

sentiments for Krishna can be bhaktas in rasa-tattva. All of the

twenty-nine qualities, from truthfulness to bashfulness (being

embarrassed by true statements), which have been described in

relation to Krishna, are also found in His bhaktas.


Vrajanatha: How many types of krishna-bhaktas are fit to experience



Gosvami: There are two types: the sadhaka and the siddha.


Vrajanatha: Who is a sadhaka?


Gosvami: Sadhakas are those in whom ruci for the topics of Krishna

has arisen, and who have acquired the qualification to have direct

darsana of Krishna, but who have not yet completely surpassed

all obstacles and difficulties. Madhyama-bhaktas adorned with the

symptoms described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.46), isvare tadadhinesu,

are in the category of sadhaka.


Vrajanatha: Prabhu, are the bhaktas described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam

(11. 2. 47), arcayam eva haraye not eligible to experience rasa?


Gosvami: They are not sadhakas until they become suddha-bhaktas

by the mercy of other suddha-bhaktas. Only personalities like

Bilvamangala are genuine sadhakas.


Vrajanatha: Who are the siddha-bhaktas?


Gosvami: Siddha-bhaktas are those who do not experience any

suffering, whose activities are all performed under the shelter of

Shri Krishna, and who always taste the happiness of prema. There

are two types of siddha-bhaktas: those who have gained perfection

(samprapta-siddha) and those who are eternally perfect (nityasiddha).


Vrajanatha: Who are the bhaktas who have gained perfection



Gosvami: They are also of two types: those who attained perfection

through sadhana (sadhana-siddha), and those who achieved

perfection by mercy (krpa-siddha).


Vrajanatha: Who are the nitya-siddhas?


Gosvami: Shri Rupa Gosvami has said:


atma-koti-gunam krsne / premanam paramam gatah

nityananda-gunah sarve / nitya-siddha mukundavat


The nitya-siddhas are those who, like Mukunda, are the

embodiment of ananda, and whose qualities are eternal.

Their main symptom is that they are endowed with a prema

for Krishna that is ten million times more than they have

even for themselves.


It is said in the Uttara-Khanda of the Padma Purana:


yatha saumitra-bharatau / yatha sankarsanadayah

tatha tenaiva jayante / nija-lokad yadrcchaya

punas tenaiva gacchanti / tat-padam sasvatam param

na karma-bandhanam janma / vaishnavanan ca vidyate


Vaishnavas are not bound by karma, nor do they take birth

like mundane human beings. Rather, they appear as

Laksmana and Bharata, the sons of Sumitra, appeared with

Shri Ramacandra; as Balarama and others appear in this

material world with Bhagavan Shri Krishna by His will, and

then return again to the eternal transcendental abode

along with Him; or as the members of the Yadu dynasty

also appear in Bhagavan's manifest pastimes, and then

return with Him to the supreme abode (parama-dhama)

when His pastimes become unmanifest.


Vrajanatha: Prabhu, I have understood the alambana aspect of

vibhava. Now kindly explain what is referred to as uddipana.


Gosvami: Uddipana is that which causes bhava to be excited or

stimulated. Krishna's qualities, His activities, laughter, and the

fragrance of His bodily limbs, His flute, bugle-horn, ankle-bells,

conch-shell and footprints, the places of His pastimes, Tulasi, His

bhaktas, the auspicious times such as Ekadashi (hari-vasara), and

so on - these are all uddipana. Krishna's qualities (guna) are of three

types, related to His body, mind and speech, respectively (kayika,

manasika and vacika).


Age (vayasa) is prominent among the qualities relating to His

body. There are three divisions of Krishna's age: kaumara, pauganda

and kaisora:


kaumaram pancamabdantam / paugandam dasamavadhi

asodasac ca kaisoram / yauvanam syat tatah param

Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.1.306)


The kaumara period lasts until the age of five. The pauganda

period lasts from this point until the age of ten, and the

kaisora stage begins at the age of ten and continues until

the age of sixteen. The age after that is called yauvana.


The kaisora stage also has three divisions, which are called the

beginning, middle and end (adya, madhya and sesa). Among the

bodily qualities, the consideration of beauty is predominant.

Beauty is present when the bodily limbs are in proper proportion

to each other. Clothing, decoration and the arrangement of

articles, including the hair and so on, is called prasadhana.


Krishna has three kinds of flute: vamsi, venu and murali. The venu

is twelve fingers long and as thick as a thumb, and it has six holes.

The murali is two hands in length and has four finger-holes, besides

the hole in the mouthpiece. The vamsi is 17 fingers long. Of

this, there is a clear space of three finger-widths at the tail end.

At the head end of the flute is another space of four finger-widths,

which is also clear, except for the hole for blowing, which is half

a finger's width from the end. In the middle is a space containing

eight finger-holes separated from each other by a gap of half a

finger's width. The vamsi therefore has a total of nine holes.


The conch-shell that turns to the right and rests radiantly in

Krishna's hand is called Pancajanya.


Through these uddipanas, the rati of the bhaktas awakens, and

when it is directed towards Krishna, the object of rati, it becomes

the very embodiment of ananda. Rati is sthayibhava, and it alone

transforms into rasa.


Come here tomorrow at the same time; I will tell you about rasa,

and I will also explain anubhava and so on.


Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha offered dandavat at Shrila Gopala

Guru Gosvami's lotus feet and took their leave. Absorbed in

contemplation on the subject of rasa, they went to have darsana

of Siddha-bakula. From there, they went to take darsana of Shri

Jagannathadeva and then returned to their quarters.