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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 30. Rasa-Tattva: Anubhavas of Vatsalya & Madhurya Rasas


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Rasa-Tattva: Anubhavas of Vatsalya

& Madhurya Rasas


One day, Vijaya and Vrajanatha, after honoring bhagavatprasada

went to take darsana of Shri Haridasa Thakura's

samadhi and Shri Gopinatha at Shri Gopinatha-tota. They then proceeded

to the Shri Radha-Kanta Matha. After offering their pranama

at Shri Guru Gosvami's lotus feet, they sat down and began to discuss

a variety of subjects with Shri Dhyanacandra Gosvami. In the

meantime, Shri Guru Gosvami after honoring mahaprasada, gracefully

came out and sat on his asana. Vrajanatha then humbly inquired

about vatsalya-bhakti-rasa, and Shri Guru Gosvami replied, "In

vatsalya-rasa, Shri Krishna is visaya-alambana and His elders (guru-jana)

are asraya-alambana. Krishna is beautiful with His dark-complexioned

limbs. He is endowed with all auspicious symptoms, His behavior is

mild, His speech is sweet, and He is simple and bashful. He is modest,

He is respectful towards His elders, and He is charitable. Among

His elders, Vrajesvari Yasoda and Vrajesvara Nanda Maharaja are

the most prominent. Others are Rohini and the other elderly gopis

who are Krishna's worshipable superiors, also Devaki, Kunti,

Vasudeva, Sandipani and so on. In this rasa, the uddipanas are Krishna's

ages, such as kaumara, His beauty, His dress, His childhood, His restlessness,

His sweet words and laughter, and His pastimes.


Vrajanatha: Please tell me about the anubhavas of this rasa.


Gosvami: The anubhavas are smelling Krishna's head, cleansing His

limbs with the hands, offering blessings, giving Him orders,

nurturing Him and caring for Him, and giving beneficial instructions.

The general (sadharana) anubhavas of this rasa are kissing

Krishna, embracing Him, calling Him loudly by name, and restraining

and scolding Him at the appropriate times.


Vrajanatha: Which sattvika transformations arise in this rasa?


Gosvami: There are the eight symptoms, such as shedding tears,

trembling, perspiration and becoming stunned. There is also the

unique symptom of milk flowing from the breast, so altogether there

are nine sattvika-vikaras in this rasa.


Vrajanatha: Kindly also tell me about the vyabhicari-bhavas.


Gosvami: In vatsalya-rasa, the vyabhicari-bhavas are the same as

those I explained previously in connection with prita-rasa (dasyarasa).

In addition to all the others, there is apasmara (fainting).


Vrajanatha: What is the sthayibhava of this rasa?


Gosvami: The sthayibhava is the rati of the benevolent superior

for the object of his kindness, which is utterly devoid of reverence.

The vatsalya-rati of elders like Yasoda is naturally mature. The

sthayibhava of this rasa progresses through prema and sneha to raga.

Baladeva Prabhu's bhava is a mixture of prita (dasya) and vatsalya;

Yudhisthira's bhava is combined with vatsalya, prita (dasya) and

sakhya; Ugrasena's priti-dasya-rasa is a combination of vatsalya, and

sakhya-rasa; while Nakula, Sahadeva, and Narada have a mixture of

sakhya and dasya-rasa, as is the bhava of Rudra, Garuda, and Uddhava.

Vrajanatha: Prabhu, I have understood vatsalya-rasa. Now kindly

explain the ultimate mellow, madhura-rasa, for we shall become

blessed simply by hearing about it.


Gosvami: Madhura-bhakti-rasa has been called mukhya-bhakti-rasa.

The conditioned jiva has taken shelter of mundane rasa, but when

his intelligence becomes dedicated to Isvara, he naturally attains

the path of detachment. Even then, he cannot be inclined for

madhura-rasa until he becomes eligible for cid-rasa. Such people

have no qualification for this rasa. The very nature of madhurarasa

makes it difficult to understand, and candidates for madhuraRASA-

rasa are rarely found. This is the reason why this rasa is extremely

secret. Madhura-rasa is naturally an extensive subject, but I will

only give a brief summary now.


Vrajanatha: Prabhu, I am a follower of Subala. I know that you will

consider my eligibility to hear about madhura-rasa and instruct me



Gosvami: The priya-narma-sakhas are eligible for srngara-rasa to

some extent. I will keep your qualification in mind and speak

whatever is appropriate for you, and I will say nothing unsuitable.


Vrajanatha: Who are the alambana of this rasa?


Gosvami: Shri Krishna is the visaya-alambana of this rasa. As a gallant

lover, He is the supreme abode of expertise in relishing pastimes

of unequalled and unsurpassed beauty. The asraya-alambana

of this rasa are the gopis of Vraja, and Shrimati Radhaji is the best

of all Krishna's beloved consorts. The sound of Krishna's murali is the

uddipana of this rasa, and the anubhavas are casting sidelong

glances and smiling. All the sattvika-bhavas manifest completely

in madhura-rasa, and so do all the vyabhicari-bhavas, with the exceptions

of laziness and fierceness.


Vrajanatha: What is the nature of the sthayibhava of this rasa?


Gosvami: Madhura-rati becomes madhura-bhakti-rasa when it has

been nourished by the appropriate vibhavas and so on of one's atma.

Such rati for Radha-Madhava is not subject to any type of obstruction

(viccheda) through the influence of compatible (svajatiya) or

incompatible (vijatiya) bhavas.


Vrajanatha: How many types of madhura-rasa are there?


Gosvami: There are two divisions of madhura-rasa: vipralambha

(separation) and sambhoga (meeting).


Vrajanatha: What is vipralambha?


Gosvami: There are many types of vipralambha, such as purva-raga,

mana, and pravasa.


Vrajanatha: What is purva-raga?


Gosvami: Purva-raga is the bhava that exists before meeting one's



Vrajanatha: What are mana and pravasa?


Gosvami: I don't need to explain mana, because everyone understands

it. Pravasa means being away from each other, or separation



Vrajanatha: What is sambhoga?


Gosvami: Sambhoga is the bhoga (ananda) that occurs when lovers

meet. I will say no more about madhura-rasa. Those sadhakas qualified

for madhura-rasa should learn its confidential mysteries by

studying Shri Ujjvala-nilamani.


Vrajanatha: Kindly tell me something about the position of the



Gosvami: There are seven gauna-rasas: hasya (comedy), adbhuta

(wonder), vira (chivalry), karuna (compassion), raudra (anger),

bhayanaka (fear) and bibhatsa (disgust). When they become powerful

and take the place of the mukhya-rasa, they appear as separate,

individual rasas. When they act as independent rasas in

this way, they become the sthayibhava, and when they are nourished

by appropriate vibhavas and so on, they become rasa. Actually,

only the five mukhya-rasas - santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya,

and madhurya - are rasa; the seven gauna-rasas beginning with

hasya are generally included within the category of vyabhicaribhavas.


Vrajanatha: I am fully acquainted with hasya and so on from my

studies of rasa-vicara in alankara-sastra, so please tell me about their

relationship with the mukhya-rasas.


Gosvami: Now I will explain how the various rasas, such as santa,

are mutually compatible or incompatible.


Dasya, bibhatsa, dharma-vira (chivalry in performing religious

rites) and adbhuta are all compatible with santa.


Adbhuta is also compatible with dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and



Santa is incompatible with madhura, yuddha-vira, raudra and



Dasya is compatible with bibhatsa, santa, dharma-vira and danavira,

and incompatible with madhura, yuddha-vira and raudra.


Sakhya is compatible with madhura, hasya and yuddha-vira, and

incompatible with vatsalya, bibhatsa, raudra, and bhayanaka.


Vatsalya is compatible with hasya, karuna and bhayanaka and

incompatible with madhura, yuddha-vira, dasya and raudra.


Madhura is compatible with hasya and sakhya, and incompatible

with vatsalya, bibhatsa, santa, raudra and bhayanaka.


Hasya is compatible with bibhatsa, madhura and vatsalya, and

incompatible with karuna and bhayanaka.


Adbhuta is compatible with vira, santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and

madhura, and incompatible with hasya, sakhya, dasya, raudra and



Vira-rasa is compatible with adbhuta-rasa and incompatible with

bhayanaka. According to some opinions, vira is also incompatible

with santa.


Karuna is compatible with raudra and vatsalya and incompatible

with vira, hasya, the sambhoga aspect of srngara, and adbhuta.


Raudra is compatible with karuna and vira, and incompatible

with hasya, srngara and bhayanaka.


Bhayanaka is compatible with bibhatsa and karuna, and incompatible

with vira, srngara, hasya and raudra.


Bibhatsa is compatible with santa, hasya, and dasya, and incompatible

with srngara and sakhya.


The remaining combinations are all mutually neutral (tatastha).


Vrajanatha: Please describe the result of the combinations.


Gosvami: The tasting of rasa is increased by the combination of

compatible rasas. The combination of anga (supplementary) with

angi (principal) rasas is good. Whether the compatible rasa is

mukhya or gauna, it is appropriate to make it the complement (mitra)

of angi-rasa.


Vrajanatha: Please tell me about the difference between anga and



Gosvami: When any rasa, either mukhya or gauna, dominates the

other rasas and becomes prominent, it is called angi, and the rasa

that nourishes the angi-rasa plays the role of a sancari-bhava as an

anga. As stated in Vishnu-dharmottara:


rasanam samavetanam yasya rupam bhaved bahu

sa mantavyo rasah sthayi sesah sancarino matah


When rasas combine, one should understand that the rasa

whose nature is particularly prominent is the sthayi-rasa,

and the other rasas are sancari-bhavas.


Vrajanatha: How can gauna-rasa be angi?


Gosvami: Shri Rupa Gosvami has said:


prodyan vibhavanotkarsat pustim mukhyena lambhitah

kuncata nija-nathena gauno ' py angitvam asnute


mukhyas tv angatvam asadya pusnann indram upendravat

gaunam evanginam krtva nigudha-nija-vaibhavah


anadi-vasanodbhasa vasite bhakta-cetasi

bhaty eva na tu linah syad eva sancari-gaunavat


angi-mukhyah svam atrangair bhavais tair abhivarddhayan

svajatiyair vijatiyaih svatantrah sann virajate


yasya mukhyasya yo bhakto bhaven nitya-nijasrayah

angi sa eva tatra syan mukhyo py anyo ngatam vrajet



(Northern Division, 8th Wave, 46-50)


Sometimes even a gauna-rasa achieves the position of angi

when it is inspired by an abundance of vibhava, and has also

been nourished by the mukhya-rasa that usually predominates

it but has now developed a contracted condition

(gauna-bhava). At that time, the former mukhya-rasa becomes

anga, hides its own splendor, and nourishes the gauna-rasa

that has become angi, just as Upendra Bhagavan, Vamanadeva,

maintained Devaraja Indra. Unlike the gauna-sancari-bhavas,

this mukhya-rasa does not merge into the land of the bhakta's

heart, which is endowed with sublime fragrance in the form

of the beginningless tendency for transcendental service.

In other words, the mukhya-rasa does not disappear, as the

gauna-rasas do when they become vyabhicari and disappear

into the mukhya-rasas. Rather the mukhya-rasa remains independently

manifest, nourishing itself by the aggregate of

the compatible bhavas, which take the position of angas.


Those who relish a particular rasa are eternally sheltered in that

one specific rasa, which for them remains radiant as angi-rasa.

Other rasas, even though they may be mukhya, function in the

capacity of angas of this prevailing angi-rasa.


You should also note that anga-rasa is only accepted when it

combines with angi-rasa to increase the relish of rasa; otherwise,

its combination with another anga-rasa will be fruitless.


Vrajanatha: What happens when incompatible rasas are combined?


Gosvami: If you mix a sweet juice with sour, salty, or pungent substances,

the taste becomes distasteful; similarly, when one rasa is

combined with another that is incompatible, the result is without

rasa or tasteless (virasata). This defective combination of opposite

rasas can be called rasabhasa.


Vrajanatha: Is the combination of incompatible rasas invariably bad?


Gosvami: In Shri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Shri Rupa Gosvami has said:


dvayor ekatarasyeha badhyatvenopavarnane

smaryyamanatayapy uktau samyena vacane 'pi ca

rasantarena vyavadhau tatasthena priyena va

visayasraya-bhede ca gaunena dvisata saha

ity adisu na vairasyam vairino janayed yutih

(Northern Division 8th Wave 63-64)


The combination of two incompatible rasas does not result

in virasata under the following circumstances: when

one establishes the excellence of one rasa by making logical

statements, and by describing the obstructions or inferiority

of another rasa that is incompatible with the first;

when one describes the remembrance of an incompatible

rasa; when one establishes a similarity; when there is the

intervention of a neutral or compatible rasa; or when there

is a difference between the visaya or asraya of a gauna-rasa

and mukhya-rasa that are incompatible with each other.


Furthermore, consider this point. In bhaktas such as Yudhisthira,

dasya and vatsalya are manifest separately at different times. Mutually

incompatible rasas do not arise together at the same time.

However, in the stage of adhirudha-mahabhava, if all the incompatible

bhavas arise together simultaneously, they will not generate



Shrila Rupa Gosvami has said (Shri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 80.57):


kvapy acintya-mahasaktau mahapurusa-sekhare

rasavali-samavesah svadayaivopajayate


When many contradictory rasas combine at once in a personality

who is the crest-jewel of the maha-purusas and who

is imbued with inconceivable maha-sakti, this only enhances

the wondrous nature of the taste.


Vrajanatha: I have heard from learned and rasika Vaishnavas that

Shriman Mahaprabhu had a low opinion of rasabhasa, and that He

would never hear bhajanas, kirtanas or poetry that contained it.

Now kindly tell me how many types of rasabhasa there are?


Gosvami: Rasa, when it is devoid of an angi, is called rasabhasa.

There are three gradations of rasabhasa: major (uttama), intermediate

(madhyama) and minor (kanistha). They are called uparasa,

anurasa and aparasa respectively.


Vrajanatha: What is uparasa?


Gosvami: If any of the twelve rasas, beginning with santa, has an

ingredient such as the sthayibhava, vibhava, or anubhava that has

become disfigured (virupita), they can be called uparasa. Uparasa

is caused by the disfigurement of the sthayibhava, vibhava, or



Vrajanatha: What is anurasa?


Gosvami: The secondary rasas, beginning with hasya, if not related

to Krishna‚ are called anurasa. If vira-rasa and so on are manifest in

neutrally disposed personalities, this is also anurasa.


Vrajanatha: But if they arise in the heart of someone who has no

relation to Krishna, they are not rasa at all. In that case, they will be

mere mundane rasa. Why then have such symptoms of anurasa been



Gosvami: Rasa is anurasa only when it has no direct relationship

with Krishna. For example, the gopis laughed when they saw the nose

of Shrimati Radha's pet female monkey, Kakkhati. Another example

is Devarsi Narada seeing some parrots sitting on the branch of a

tree in Bhandiravana, discussing Vedanta. When he saw this, great

astonishment (adbhuta-rasa) arose in his heart. The gopis' laughter,

and the adbhuta-rasa arising in Narada's heart have no direct

relationship with Krishna, but there is still some distant relationship

with Him. Consequently, both are examples of anurasa.


Vrajanatha: What is aparasa?


Gosvami: When Krishna's opponents are the asraya of any of the

gauna-rasas beginning with hasya-rasa, and the visaya is Krishna

Himself, the result is aparasa. For instance, Jarasandha's repeated

laughter when he saw Krishna running away on the battlefield is an

example of aparasa. Shrila Rupa Gosvami has written in Bhaktirasamrta-

sindhu (9.21):


bhava sarve tad-abhasa rasabhasas ca kecana

ami prokta rasabhijnaih sarve'pi rasanad rasah


Some persons refer to bhava in terms of tad-abhasa (a dim

reflection of the Supreme Absolute Truth) and others

rasabhasa. However, learned scholars who have realized rasa

only use the word bhava to denote rasa that is derived from

relishing transcendental ananda.


When Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha heard this rasika, charming

and poignant appraisal of rasa-tattva, they fell at Shri Guru

Gosvami's lotus feet weeping profusely, and spoke in voices choked

with emotion:


ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya

caksur unmilitam yena tasmai shri-guruve namah


I offer my respectful obeisances to Shri Gurudeva, who has

applied the ointment of divya-jnana, and has thus dispelled

the dense darkness of the desires for dharma, artha, kama and

moksa, which arise from the five types of ignorance.1 In this

way, he has opened my transcendental eyes, which have become

inclined to the service of Hari.




1 The five kinds of ignorance are: (1) ignorance of one's svarupa;

(2) misidentifying with the inert material body as the atma; (3)

possessiveness toward mundane sense objects, or the self-conception

of being an enjoyer; (4) absorption in duality, or attachment

to substances other than Krishna; (5) fear and distorted perception






Lovingly lifting them up, Shri Guru Gosvami embraced them. He

blessed them, saying, "May this rasa-tattva manifest within your



Every day Vijaya and Vrajanatha would discuss spiritual topics

with Shri Dhyanacandra Gosvami, and accept caranamrta and Shri

Guru Gosvami's prasada remnants. At various times they observed

that many suddha Vaishnavas were engaged in bhajana - sometimes

in their bhajana-kutira, sometimes at the samadhi of Shri Haridasa

Thakura, sometimes at the temple of Shri Gopinatha, and sometimes

at Siddha-Bakula. Thus, through the example of the

Vaishnavas they also became immersed in bhavas favorable for their

bhajana. They also had darsana of the places mentioned in Stavavali

and Stavamala, where Shriman Mahaprabhu experienced complete

absorption in bhava. Wherever suddha Vaishnavas performed namakirtana,

they would join them. In this way, they both increasingly

matured in their bhajana.


Vijaya pondered deeply, "Shri Guru Gosvami has given us siksa

about madhura-rasa, but it was just a very brief summary. Let

Vrajanatha remain submerged in sakhya-rasa. At an appropriate time

I will come alone to Shri Guru Gosvami and hear his elaborate appreciation

of madhura-rasa." Thinking in this way, through

Dhyanacandra Gosvami's mercy, he acquired a copy of Shri Ujjvalanilamani,

and began to study it. Any doubts that arose in his mind,

Shri Guru Gosvami would mercifully reconcile.


Once‚ at dusk, while Vijaya and Vrajanatha were strolling, they

arrived at the shore of the ocean. Sitting on the beach they gazed

at the waves. There was no end to the incessant waves. Observing

this, they considered, "This life is also full of an incessant and

unending flow of waves. Thus no one can know what will happen

next, or when it will happen. Therefore, we should immediately

learn the method of raga-marga bhajana."


Vrajanatha said, "I have seen the bhajana-paddhati composed by

Shri Dhyanacandra Gosvami. It seems to me that if one studied it

under the guidance of Gurudeva, one could attain a beautiful result.

I will make a copy!"


Having made this resolution, he requested Shri Dhyanacandra

Gosvami's permission to copy his sacred manual, but Shri

Dhyanacandra refused to give it unless Guru Gosvami gave his

permission to do so. Accordingly, they approached Shri Guru

Gosvami, begging him to allow Dhyanacandra Gosvami to give the

paddhati. Shri Guru Gosvami gave his consent, and when Vijaya and

Vrajanatha obtained it, they made separate copies. They considered

that they should wait for an opportune moment to approach

Shri Guru Gosvami in order to understand this paddhati thoroughly.


Shri Dhyanacandra Gosvami was a learned scholar with a broad

and comprehensive vision of all sastra. Especially in regard to the

procedures for hari-bhajana (hari-bhajana-tantra), no other scholar

could match the depth of his experience, and he was the most

prominent among all of Shri Gopala Guru's disciples. Understanding

that Vijaya and Vrajanatha were qualified for bhajana, he instructed

them both thoroughly. Occasionally, they approached Shri

Guru Gosvami's lotus feet to clear all types of doubts about their

practice of bhajana. Gradually through their studies, they came to

comprehend the daily pastimes of Shriman Mahaprabhu and Shri

Krishna. Thus becoming engaged in asta-kaliya bhajana, they rendered

service within their hearts throughout the eight time-divisions

of the day.