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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Shikshashtaka with Commentaties > 6. Ecstatic Symptoms > Sri Sanmodana Bhasyam


Shri Sanmodana Bhashyam

The previous five shlokas have examined the following topics: Spiritual life begins with Sraddha, or sincere faith, followed by sadhu-sanga, the ninefold process of devotional service starting with hearing, chanting, remembering, and so on. The next topic was the science of self-realization, which destroys ignorance and all unwanted impediments. In due course nistha (steadiness), ruci (taste), asaki (attachment), and bhava (spiritual emotions) were also highlighted. It has thus been shown how with the assistance of pure bhakti, which is the essence of the Lord's hladini-shakti, the living entity regains, his svarupa, or original spiritual form, by a gradual process. By the time the jiva reaches the stage of bhava, his pure devotional service has reached its pinnacle because it has become a continuous and unbroken process. Bhava is often referred to as rati, or attraction, and it is described as the bud that later flowers into full bloom as prema-bhakti, or pure loving devotion. Of chanting, hearing and the other limbs of devotional service, begun in the stage of sadhana-bhakti, chanting Krishna's name especially becomes intensified in the stage of bhava.

Nine symptoms of bhäva

aaaaThis particular spiritual platform is marked by nine symptoms: 1) The devotee is tolerant and unperturbed even when faced with a very distressing situation. 2) He is averse to wasting time, and 3) utilizes all his time in the Lord's service. 4) He is prideless, and 5) has complete conviction that he will attain the Lord's lotus feet. 6) Extremely eager and anxious to attain perfection, he has acquired a taste for chanting the holy name and 7) a strong attachment for hearing and speaking about the pastimes and attributes of Lord Krishna, 8) He has no interest in anything that has no direct link to Krishna, and 9) has developed love for the places of Lord Krishna's pastimes. Scripture says that one who has developed these symptoms is on the threshold of entering the stage of full bhäva.


When sadhana-bhakti is suffused with ruci, or the intense desire to attain the Lord's lotus feet, which softens and melts the heart, it is called bavha-bhakti. The spiritual emotions of bhäva are both the rays of the sun of prema and the rays of the sun of Krishna unmatched beauty, which embodies pure transcendence. The conclusion is that bhäva-bhakti, or rati, is prema, love, of God, in its budding stage. In this stage the asta-sattvika-vikara, or eight ecstatic symptoms, such as crying, goosebumps, etc., begin to manifest slightly on his person. So when the devotee meditates on the Lord's lotus feet, his heart melts, and tears stream from his eyes spontaneously and profusely. Descriptions found in the Tantras and Puränas state that these ecstatic symptoms make a shy but firm beginning in the stage of bhäva, and later they deepen and intensify in prema. Activities accompanying and correlating these ecstatic emotions of the heart are known as anubhäva. They include dancing, rolling on the ground, singing, loud outbursts, bodily spasms, prolonged yawning, long sighs, seeking solitude, drooling saliva, uproarious laughter, swooning, hiccupping, and so on.

Eight primary ecstatic symptoms

There are eight primary ecstatic symptoms, or the asta-sattvika-vikara: paralysis, perspiration, goosebumps, pallor, loss of voice, trembling, weeping and swooning. Dancing, singing, crying, goosebumps, and loss of voice are particularly prominent in the stage of bhäva, and in this shloka, the supreme teacher Lord Shri Chaitanya gives them special mention. He prays, “O Krishna, O son of Mahäräja Nanda, when will My eyes be decorated with tears of love when I chant Your holy name? When will My voice choke up with ecstatic emotions? When will My body be filled with horripilantion? O Lord, be merciful, that these ecstatic symptoms may decorate My body when I chant Your names!”


In Chaitanya-caritämrita [Antya-lila 20.37], Lord Chaitanya says:

“Without love of Godhead, My life is useless. Therefore I pray that You accept Me as Your servant and give Me the salary of ecstatic love of God.”