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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
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)
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
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-
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
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.
THUS ENDS THE THIRTIETH CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,
"RASA-TATTVA: ANUBHAVAS OF VATSALYA & MADHURA RASAS"