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5. The Fifth Shower of Nectar
The golden jewel of bhakti becomes when warmed in the fire of abhyasa , repeated devotional service, and this abhyasa conceives the taste for bhakti in the heart. Ruci is defined as the taste or attraction that first helped the devotee to relish the process of hearing, and now ruci assists the devotee in the process of chanting. As the devotee's taste increases, the repetition of hearing and chanting seems not in the least exacting. Thereafter, ruci soon transforms into strong attachment for hearing and chanting. The devotee feels that any activities outside Krishna conscious ones are a waste of energy. For example, a young brahmana student has to study the scriptures daily by rote. Gradually he begins to understand the import of the scriptures; this creates fresh interest for him and his studies are no longer a burden.
Another example of the effect ruci has on one's devotional life is that of the man suffering from jaundice. The jaundiced patient finds the sweetness of sugarcandy unpalatable, but he is ignorant of the fact that sugarcandy can cure his disease, as a more well-informed person would know. By constantly eating sugarcandy the patient recovers his normal taste; he begins to relish the sweetness which indicates that he has recovered from his illness. In the same way, when the living entity's normal consciousness is aberrated by ignorance, his only recourse is to repeatedly force himself to do devotional service, beginning with hearing about Krishna. Nescience is thus destroyed, and he develops a taste (ruci) for devotional service.
The Two Types of Ruci
The taste for devotional service is of two types: vastu vaisistya-apeksini (that which awaits specific requirements) and vastu vaisitya-anapeksini (that which does not await any requirements). (Vastu means the object of worship-the Supreme Godhead.) In the first type of ruci certain requirements are desirable for hearing about Lord Krishna and chanting His name, form, qualifies, pastimes, and so on in order for the devotee to develop a taste for them. For example, the devotee's attraction for kirtana and bhajana is very much dependent on accurate beat, rhythm, and sweet and appropriate melody; when listening to narrations of the Lord he is dependent on the sound of the voice; when he is worshipping the Deity he is dependent on such conditions as the sanctity of the place, punctuality, a sincere priest, and beautiful flower arrangements.
We may ask the question that if a man is truly starving does he care about the quality or variety of food he is offered to eat? If he does impose such conditions, then his appetite is lacking. The first type of ruci is similar in character to this seemingly hungry person, because even the slightest moral aberratious impel the devotee to dictate certain conditions for hearing and chanting the Lord's name. (Conditions such as the ones we discussed beforehand like the melody, the type of voice, and so on.) Therefore the type of ruci called vastu vaisistya-apeksini can be referred to as the mercury that measures a devotee's internal discrepancies.
The second type of ruci,
vastu vaisistya-anapeksini, is unlike the first type. A devotee who possesses
the second type of ruci hears and chants the Lord's name, qualities, pastimes,
and so on in a strong and steady way. When attractive embellishments are added
to practices such as hearing and chanting, ruci gains maturity and uproots the
last vestiges of bad qualities from the heart. (In the first type of ruci such
conditions as the kirtana or bhajana having a beautiful melody was an
The Type of Ruci Independent of Material Considerations
Some of the symptoms of vastu vaisistya-anapeksini ruci are that the devotee thinks, “Why have I foolishly exchanged the nectar of chanting Krishna's name for misfortune in the form of material life, hankering after what I do not possess and toiling to protect what I have gained. Despicable wretch that I am, I think of advising others! The causeless mercy of my spiritual master has delivered to me a priceless treasure, yet I could not value it. Instead, I chased after the mirage of material happiness. I wasted my life in a futile search for broken pieces of colored glass thinking them gems and so found myself in a fathomless ocean of materialism. I avoided all devotional activities and shamefully exhibited moral bankruptcy. Alas! I am bereft of any good character. My tast was such that I considered spurious talk valuable and tried in vain to relish it. Consequently I turned my back on the narrations of the transcendental qualities and names of the Supreme Lord. How great is my misfortune! Whenever I had the opportunity to hear about Krishna I fell asleep, but as soon as I heard any mundane ramblings I forgot my weariness and eagerly absorbed every word. In this way I endlessly insulted saintly persons and intruded on their assemblies. What abominable means had I not used to fill my belly. I am ignorant to the consequences of my actions; what hell will my behaviour force me to visit, and for how long?
Thus in this way a devotee must repent. And someday, by a streak of good fortune, he will come across the greatest of all literatures, the works that describe the transcendental glories of the Supreme Person ality of Godhead, Shri Gauranga This literature captures the essence of the Vedas, which is said to be a mystical flowering tree fulfilling all desires. The devotee should become like a honey-bee who constantly drinks the ambrosia from the flower blossoms. Let the devotees seek the company of saints and shun the common crowds of moneymongers. Residing in holy places, they must engage in serving the Supreme Lord with a pure heart.
After serving the Lord with a pure heart, ruci, the divine dancer, then attracts the devotee's attention, and he aspires to learn dancing. The devotee should then associate with the rasika-bhaktas (those who meditate on the Lord's pastimes of conjugal love) who are expert in the same art of dancing and learn it from them. For the first time the devotee thus experiences an ecstasy beyond description. With the passage of time, when the two perfect dancemasters, bhava and prema, appear and teach the devotee the sublime dances, who can describe the heights of divine bliss he will climb.