Snippets of Bhava

These are some notes on the word bhāva as it appears in the BRS and UN, compiled while I was working on Mādhurya-kādambinī. They were originally posted a few years ago on Gaudiya Discussions and the now defunct Wise Wisdoms site. Somewhat modified and updated here.

prāyo dvividha evāyaṁ bhāvo dvividhānāṁ bhaktānāṁ dvividha-cid-vāsanā-sanātheṣu hṛdayeṣu sphuran dvividhāsvādyatvaṁ bhajate, ghana-rasa iva rasāla-panasekṣu-drākṣādiṣu praviṣṭaḥ pṛthak-pṛthaṅ-mādhuryavattvaṁ bhajate
When this bhāva, which is usually of these two types, enters into the hearts of the two kinds of devotees (vaidha and rāgānugā), which are ruled by two different kinds of transcendental desire, it is relished in two different ways. It can be compared to the water (ghana-rasa) that enters various kinds of fruit—mangoes, jackfruit, sugarcane or grapes—but takes on a different flavor in each of them. (Mādhurya-kādambinī 7.4)
The point being: Vishwanath seems to be saying, nay emphasizing, that bhāva, being of the śuddha-sattva, is like water--without color or flavor--but that it takes on its particular color or flavor in the heart of the devotee according to the types of desires, etc., that he has.

atha tasyā eva bhakti-kalpa-vallyāḥ sādhanābhikhye ye pūrvaṁ dve patrike lakṣite, idānīṁ tato’ticikkaṇāni tādṛśa-śravaṇa-kīrtanādi-mayāni bhāva-kusuma-saṁlagnāni anubhāvābhidhānāni bahūni patrāṇi sahasaivāvirbhūya kṣaṇe kṣaṇe dyotayanti. yāny eva bhāva-kusumaṁ pariṇāmaṁ prāpayya punas tadaiva premābhidhāna-phalatvam ānayanti.

Previously [in the second chapter of MK], the two leaves known as sādhana were observed growing from the desire creeper of bhakti. Now, from that creeper many other leaves known as anubhāvas suddenly manifest. These are the same kinds of devotional activities like hearing and chanting found in sādhana-bhakti, but are smoother and more brilliant. Surrounding the flower o bhāva, they shine brilliantly and cause a transformation in it, turning it at that very moment into the fruit of prema. (Mādhurya-kādambinī 8.1)

What was missed in the earlier translations was the comparative in tato'ticikkaṇāni "smoother and shinier" and the understanding that anubhāvas are spontaneous actions that follow (anu) emotional states (bhāva). Thus, in the Mādhurya-kādambinī, we started with hearing and chanting that was done as a practice, i.e., governed by the intelligence and geared towards achieving an inner result (bhāva). Now, we have external actions that are impelled by emotion. Though the active intelligence is still involved (distinguishing anubhāvas from sāttvikas), at this stage it is completely spontaneous. According to Vishwanath, it is the combination of bhāva (as in the previous chapter) with the other ingredients of rasa that leads to prema.

samyaṅ masṛṇita-svānto mamatvātiśayāṅkitaḥ
bhāvaḥ sa eva sāndrātmā budhaiḥ premā nigadyate

When bhāva becomes very intense and completely softens the heart through being endowed with a great sense of intimacy with Krishna, the learned call it prema. (BRS 1.4.1)

ananya-mamatā viṣṇau mamatā prema-saṅgatā
bhaktir ity ucyate bhīṣma-prahlādoddhava-nāradaiḥ
That which reverts the feeling of intimacy towards the body and home into feelings of intimacy towards Sri Vishnu, has been called prema by great saints like Bhishma, Prahlada, Uddhava and Narada. (BRS 1.4.2)
A note about the word mamatā. It is a hard word to translate. Literally, it means "mine-ness." It is used frequently in association with the word ahaṁtā or ahaṅkāra as a quality of material consciousness. It is identification with objects outside of oneself, through which one seeks self-value. Just as identity or ego is purified through understanding that one's true self is servant of God, so too is a devotee's sense of external value established through Krishna.

In other words, aham is about me in relation to the world and God; mama is about God and the world in relation to me.

The word madīyatā, though it has the same meaning, in the context of bhakti-rasa appears to have a stronger sense. Why is madīyatā considered stronger than tadīyatā? Because in the latter, one is still thinking somewhat in terms of one's self.

I was thinking about this the other day: Love means identifying so closely with someone else that you no longer even have a place for the consciousness that "I am yours." We talk about Krishna being the viṣaya and the devotee being the āśraya. Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi says, "You are to identify with the devotee and not with Krishna," likely in order to forestall Krishna imitators "engaging in the Rasa Lila." But in fact, to serve, one has to identify closely with the object of service. Radha says, "I know what Krishna likes, and I will do it for him -- no matter what he says." Chandravali has not achieved that same level of intimacy or identification, so she still responds to Krishna's words rather than to his inner desires.

We do and indeed must identify with Krishna, though not in the sense of ahaṅgrahopāsanā. We identify with Krishna as a part of the process of sādhāraṇī-karaṇa, as explained in the rasa shastra. Observe yourself when you watch a film or TV program. How are your emotions being manipulated? Does it matter really which character is an object of pity or affection for you to be moved? Certainly--to some extent--but ultimately, the potential is there to identify with any character to experience some sentiment--even the bad guys.

In terms of bhakti-rasa, the intimacy with Krishna develops to the extent that we are capable of empathizing with the pleasure or pain of the Other.

In his commentary, Mukunda Das picks up on something that Ananta Dasji follows. Prema is the intensification of bhāva. Mukunda says that whereas rucis (rucibhiś citta-māsṛṇya-kṛt) are the source of ecstasy (i.e., the "melting of the heart") in bhāva, in prema it is the mamatā. The rucis are defined in Jiva's commentary as desires. He further defines them: rucibhiḥ prāpty-abhilāṣa-sva-kartṛkānukūlyābhilāṣa-sauhārdābhilāṣaiś cittārdratā-kṛt -- "the desires to attain the Lord, to be able to act in a way favorable to him, and to achieve intimacy (sauhārda) with him."

So, it seems that the special characteristic of prema is that one becomes ecstatic directly as a result of Krishna's pleasure itself, through intense identification with him. Whereas on the level o bhāva, there is still an element of self, whereby one is moved by one's own desire.

Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi 14.155, the definition of [mahā-]bhāva.

anurāgaḥ sva-saṁvedya-daśāṁ prāpya prakāśitaḥ
yāvad-āśraya-vṛttiś ced bhāva ity abhidhīyate

This verse is interpreted differently by Jiva Goswami and Vishwanath.

Rāga is the shelter of anurāga, and when it has arisen as far as it can, it is called yāvad-āśraya-vṛtti, in other words, permeated every mental and physical function of the lover. When this anurāga has attained the condition of sva-saṁvedya it is known as mahābhāva. And sva-saṁvedya means that only those Vrajadevīs who have attained this yāvad-āśraya-vṛtti anurāga or mahābhāva can know it.

No other type of devotee has mahābhāva. Indeed, it cannot be attained even by Rukmini, Satyabhama or Krishna’s other queens. In it are manifestations of uddīpta and sūddīpta-sāttvika-bhāvas. There are also many other astonishing manifestations of mahābhāva, and it also contains all the features o sneha, māna and praṇaya, etc.

I originally found this verse to be somewhat opaque in its meaning. Jiva and Vishwanath have taken quite different views of it. I will attempt to clarify its meaning with the help of the three commentaries.

The Caitanya-caritāmṛta makes a distinction between bhāva and mahābhāva as follows.

hlādinīra sāra prema, prema-sāra bhāva
bhāvera parama-kāṣṭhā, nāma mahā-bhāva
The essence of the hlādinī potency is love of ṅod; the essence of love of ṅod is feeling (bhāva), and the ultimate development of feeling is mahā-bhāva. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, 1.4.68)

First a look back at bhāva in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, 1.3.4-5. This pair of verses is refered to by Jiva in the commentary to UN above, and it contains some parallels with the verse in question. Also useful for understanding aspects of Mādhurya-kādambinī.

This verse follows a quote from the Padma Purana (BRS 1.3.3) with that famous Chandrakanti--"Meditating constantly on Krishna's lotus feet, she felt herself change slightly and her eyes filled with tears." So the question is about bhāva's appearance in a devotee within the material world.

āvirbhūya mano-vṛttau vrajantī tat-svarūpatāṁ
svayaṁ-prakāśa-rūpāpi bhāsamānā prākāśyavat
vastutaḥ svayam āsvāda-svarūpaiva ratis tv asau
kṛṣṇādi-karmakāsvāda-hetutvaṁ pratipadyate

Rati/bhāva (though being a property of the internal potency or suddha-sattva) descends into mental processes (mano-vṛttau) of the devotee and becomes identical with them. Even though it is self-manifest, it appears to be something that has been made to appear (by external activities like sādhanas). Though in fact rati is of the nature of relish itself, the actions of Krishna (his energies and his devotees) take on the causality of the relishing.

Here are a few more Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi verses before I get back to the subject at hand. First are Rupa Goswami's three examples of rūḍha-mahābhāva, selected for their relevence to the idea of yāvad-āśraya-vṛtti.


Making even the lower animals cry. This verse is spoken by either Vrinda (according to Vishnu Das) or Nandimukhi (Vishwanath ) to Paurnamasi :

yāte dvāravatī-puraṁ muraripau tad-vastra-saṁvyānayā
kālindī-taṭa-kuñja-vañjula-latām ālāmbya sotkaṇṭhayā
udgītaṁ guru-bāṣpa-gadgada-galat-tāra-svaraṁ rādhayā
yenāntar-jala-cāribhir jala-carair apy utkam utkūjitam

When Krishna, the enemy of Mura, had gone to Dvaraka,
Radha stood by the Yamuna, holding fast onto a hibiscus bush,
hugging Krishna’s upper cloth so as to grasp his fragrance.
Loudly and with a voice full of lamentation,
she sang a piteous song, her voice broken by the rush of tears,
causing even the fish, dolphins and crocodiles
deep beneath the water to wail in harmony.
(UN 14.188, Padyāvalī 373 (Aparajita), SKM 1.58.4 (anonymous); Dhvanyāloka, Vak 2.59; etc.)


This verse is an example of being ready to accept even death if it is someone of service to Krishna.

pañcatvaṁ tanur etu bhūta-nivahāḥ svāṁśe viśantu sphuṭaṁ
dhātāraṁ praṇipatya hanta śirasā tatrāpi yāce varam
tad-vāpīṣu payas tadīya-mukure jyotis tadīyāṅgana-
vyomni vyoma tadīya-vartmani dharā tat-tāla-vṛnte’nilaḥ
O Master of my Destiny, I fall down and place my head at your feet,
praying to you to give me this benediction:
Let this body die and all its elements be mixed with the cosmic elements;
let the water of my body mix with the lake where Krishna bathes,
its light enter his mirror, to serve him when he beholds his reflection,
its ether merge with his courtyard, to surround him when he walks, talks or yawns,
may the earth in my body enter the ground upon which he walks
and the life air itself enter the palm-leaf fan used to relieve him from the heat.
(UN 14.189, Padyāvalī 336 (Shanmasika), Spd 3428; Smv 43.32; Sbhv 1355)


This is the characteristic of rūḍha-bhāva, that it perturbs the hearts of everyone who comes in contact with it (āsanna-janatā-hṛd-viloḍanaṁ). This verse is spoken either by Rukmini or one of her friends, speaking in glorification of the gopis’s extraordinary love. It's a double entendre, so I just combined the two readings of the verse--one refering to this world, the other stretching to the Vaikuntha worlds.

sakhyaḥ prokṣya kurūn guru-kṣiti-bhṛtām āghūrṇayantī śiraḥ
svasthā viślathayanty aśeṣa-ramaṇīr āplāvya sarvaṁ janam
gopīnām anurāga-sindhu-laharī satyāntaraṁ vikramair
ākramya stimitāṁ vyadhād api parāṁ vaikuṇṭha-kaṇṭha-śriyam
O friends, the gopis’ love for Krishna is like the sea,
whose waves wash over the land and people of Kuru,
it topples the peaks of the great mountains,
just as it makes the heads of kings like Yudhishtir spin.
It disturbs the countless goddesses in heaven,
as it does everyone who is calm of mind.
and then inundates all Janaloka realm,
as it does everyone in this world.
Its waves over Satyaloka,
just as it overwhelms Satyabhama,
and even extends as far as Vaikuntha,
where it paralyzes the opulences of the goddess of fortune.
... as it does all of us goddesses of fortune. (UN 14.164)
A couple more verses before I get back to the promised commentaries. This first one is an example of "the power to make Krishna faint, even when he is in the arms of another lover." This is actually very relevant to the definition of mahābhāva given. Vishwanath's tika is brilliant, but I am already far enough off base to be able to translate that too. This verse is really great. What is amazing is that it is by the competitor to Jayadeva, Umapati Dhara. I think this verse is one of the most brilliant pre-Chaitanya verses for describing the mood in question.

ratna-cchāyā-cchurita-jaladhau mandire dvārakāyā
rukmiṇyāpi prabala-pulakodbhedam āliṅgitasya |
viśvaṁ pāyān masṛṇa-yamunā-tīra-vānīra-kuñje
rādhā-kelī-parimala-bhara-dhyāna-mūrcchā murāreḥ
In the Dvaraka palace standing
on the shores of the ocean, sprinkled with sparkling gems,
Krishna's body hairs stood on end
in Queen Rukmini's ecstatic embrace.

But suddenly recalling the fragrance
of dalliances joyfully exchanged with Radha
in the reeds by the banks of the black Yamuna waters,
he fainted. May that faint protect you always.
(SKM 1.61.1; UN 14.184; JIva and Vishwanath to BRS 2.4.178)


Rupa next gives two examples of brahmāṇḍa-kṣobha-kāritvaṁ

nāraṁ cukrośa cakraṁ phaṇi-kulam abhavad vyākulaṁ svedam ūhe
vṛndaṁ vṛndārakāṇāṁ pracuram udamucann aśru vaikuṇṭha-bhājaḥ |
rādhāyāś citram īśa bhramati diśi diśi prema-niḥśvāsa-dhūme
pūrṇānande’py uṣitvā bahir idam abahiś cārtam āsīd ajāṇḍam ||

Vishwanath: This is about something that happens from time to time, not always, as indicated by the use of the past rather than present tense. So when Krishna was in Mathura, Radha was feeling his absence so intently that from time to time her sthayi bhava would rise to the mohana level. At this stage, the whole universe would be affected. Once Nandimukhi saw this going on and immediately ran to Krishna in Mathura to tell him what she had seen, to tell him of Radha’s misery.
All the human race began to wail;
the nagas and creatures of the lower worlds trembled;
the assembled denizens of heaven broke into a sweat,
and the residents of Vaikuntha shed a flood of tears.

O Lord! These are the amazing consequences
of the smoke from Radha’s loving breath
as it spread in every direction:
though they were enjoying full bliss,
both the inner and outer universes felt disturbed.
Krishna answered, "You are quite right Nandimukhi. I too was affected, for I was in bed with Rukmini at the time, and yet I fainted; and she too was deeply affected."

This example thus shows that the phrase yāvad-āśraya-vṛttiḥ in the definition of mahābhāva must be extended to include every last creature in the universe, since the potential for devotion is present in them all.

Vishwanath asks himself the question: "I have heard that Krishna’s pastimes are going on constantly. Radha is no doubt experiencing these periods of mohana-mahābhāva, and yet we don’t see the entire universe being affected in this way. Why is that?" His answer is that it only takes place in the universe where Krishna is having his prakata-līlā. (14.186)

My personal feeling though is that the intention here is that since every creature is constitutionally, by nature, an āśraya of bhāva, that every mood, every manifestation of rasa or potential for rasa, is an expansion of that original love that exists in the first act of creation, when the One determines to become Two, and then many.


Second example. In the previous verse, the fiery nature of mohana-mahābhāva was insinuated by the words "smoke from Radha’s loving breath." This same theme is further developed here. Radha says to Vishakha,

aurva-stomāt kaṭur api kathaṁ durbalenorasā me
tāpaḥ prauḍho hari-virahajaḥ sahyate tan na jāne
niṣkrāntā ced bhavati hṛdayād yasya dhūma-cchaṭāpi
brahmāṇḍānāṁ sakhi kulam api jvālayā jājvalīti
How I will be able to bear
the heat of Krishna’s absence,
which is sharper than molten lava,
within my feeble breast, I do not know.

Such a fire is it, my friend,
that should even a puff of smoke
find its way out of my heart,
all the universes would burn to a crisp
from its heat.
Again, Vishwanath reiterates that this mohana-mahābhāva is not a constant state but only occasional, pointing to the phrase "should even a puff of smoke find its way out of my heart."

anurāgaḥ sva-saṁvedya-daśāṁ prāpya prakāśitaḥ
yāvad-āśraya-vṛttiś cet tadā bhāva ity abhidhīyate

My basic problem with this verse stems from the fact that Jiva and Vishwanath (and Vishnudas) have quite divergent interpretations. As I said above, I am not convinced that Vishwanath had Vishnudas’s commentary in front of him when he wrote his commentary. Similarly, it is hard to say whether Vishnudas had ever seen Jiva’s tika. He does not refute, copy, follow, or seem to engage with Jiva's ideas in any way (though I may have missed something). The situation is quite different from the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu where the relations between the different commentaries are very clear. On the other hand, Vishwanath often refutes Jiva’s positions in UN, especially on the parakiya-svakiya question. Here is one case in which they are in clear disagreement.

In general, I assume that Jiva knew Rupa Goswami’s mind fairly well. However, Vishwanath is pretty brilliant and may well have sussed something that Jiva didn’t. This is why it has been necessary to read all the verses and commentaries from the subsequent section of verses in UN, which describe the characteristics of mahābhāva. It must be said, of course, that mahābhāva has subcategories itself, but each of these subcategories and their characteristics must somehow fit the basic general definition of mahābhāva given in this verse.

Here is where the shloka’s anvaya becomes all important. Jiva reads the verse like this : anurāgo yāvad-āśraya-vṛttiś cet, tarhi sva-saṁvedya-daśāṁ prāpya prakāśitaḥ bhāva ity abhidhīyate.

Vishwanath reads it more straightforwardly, changing almost nothing: anurāgo sva-saṁvedya-daśāṁ prāpya prakāśitaḥ, [ata eva] yāvad-āśraya-vṛttiś [syāt], tadā bhāva ity abhidhīyate.

Though Vishwanath does drop the word "if" (cet) from this anvaya, he accommodates it in his next sentence. I’ll come back to this. First, a word-by-word:

1. anurāgaḥ. Each stage of the sthāyi-bhāva develops out of the preceding one, or at least has some relation to it. The definition of anurāga was given as follows:

svānubhūtam api yaḥ kuryān nava-navaṁ priyam
rāgo bhavan nava-navaḥ so’nurāga itīryate
When rāga is renewed at every moment, and one experiences the beloved in an entirely fresh way each time one sees him, this is called anurāga. (UN 14.146)

2. sva. This is a reflexive pronoun, "itself, himself, or herself." The trouble here is that the antecedent is not clear. For Jiva it is the "person who already has anurāga, but is headed towards mahābhāva, in other words, only some special individuals from amongst Krishna’s mistresses" (svasya bhāvonmukhatā-prāptānurāgavatas tat-preyasī-jana-viśeṣasyaiva).

Vishwanath says that it refers back to anurāga, which is grammatically more reasonable—a reflexive pronoun usually refers to the nearest reasonably credible noun. The problem of course is "How does anurāga itself perceive anything?" i.e. Can we say, "When love reaches the stage of only being understood by love"? And if we do, what does that mean?

3. saṁvedya. "to be felt, perceived emotionally." saṁvedanam generally is used to mean intuition, empathy or sympathetic feeling. Of course, this is derived from the same root as saṁvit, so "to be known, understood, or be conscious of" seem a reasonable assumption.

However, the dictionary provides an interesting synonym derived from another verb root, which none of the three commentaries touches on but fits the example in UN 14.156 very well—"joining, uniting, or fusing." Unfortunately, this only compounds the problems surrounding the word sva mentioned above.

4. daśāṁ. "state, stage, condition."

5. prāpya. "reaching, attaining." So the first part of the verse is literally this: "When anurāga reaches a state where it is only understandable to itself."

6. prakāśitaḥ. "revealed." Shri Jiva explains this as "manifests externally through the uddiptādi-sāttvikas, i.e., the most inflamed ecstatic displays."

7. yāvat. "up to, as far as, to the extreme limit."

8. āśraya. "the container, receptacle, refuge, resort, foundational basis." ḥere again we are faced with a little ambiguity. Jiva and Vishwanath have very different understandings. For Jiva, the āśraya here is the āśraya of anurāga, or its foundational basis, which is rAga. (From the definition of anurāga, we know that rāga, become ever newer, reveals the object of love as ever newer, even when constantly being dwelled upon. The definition of rāga is given as follows:

duḥkham apy adhikaṁ citte sukhatvenaiva rajyate
yatas tu praṇayotkarṣāt sa rāga iti kīrtyate

When pranaya becomes very strong, one considers even the greatest suffering in love to be happiness. This is called rāga. (UN 14.126)
For Vishwanath, however, the āśraya here follows the definition of the rasa shastra, i.e., the receptacle of devotion, as in "the devotee is the āśraya, Krishna the viṣaya."

9. vṛttiḥ. This word has basically two meanings, "a state or condition" or "function (activity, work, things it does)." The latter is the more common usage (like in citta- vṛttiḥ) and Jiva accepts it here in this context.

This compound as a whole would mean either "fully possesses all the possible functions of its āśraya (rāga)" (Jiva) and "its functions (or effects) extend to all āśrayas" (Vishwanath)

10. cet. "if" or perhaps "when." Vishwanath limits its application to yāvad-āśraya-vṛtti, as does Jiva in his anvaya. In his commentary, however, he seems to apply it to prakāśitaH.

11. tadā bhāva ity abhidhīyate. "Then it is known as bhāva."

So: Translation according to Jiva :
If anurāga [in its technical sense described in 14.146] reaches the fullest extent of the functions of its own fundamental basis (i.e. rāga, described in 14.123), then it attains a state comprehensible only to Krishna’s dearest lovers, a state which when revealed through the most extreme ecstatic symptoms is known as [mahā-]bhāva.

Translation according to Vishwanath:
If anurāga attains a state comprehensible only to itself, is then revealed externally and transmitted to all receptacles of love for Krishna, then it is known as [mahā-]bhāva.

Here now is a fuller translation of the commentaries:

Jiva: The word order here should be taken in the following way: ānurāga, which has been defined and discussed earlier, if it possesses the functions to the fullest extent of its basis, then it attains a state where it is perceptible to itself, is revealed externally and is known as bhāva. The meaning of bhāva here is the extreme semantic limit of the word, just as "Sri Krishna" is the extreme semantic limit of the word bhagavān. Thus, in order to make this distinction, the word "mahābhāva" is sometimes used, just as we sometimes say svayaM bhagavān to be clear about what we mean.

The purport here is this: The compound word yāvad-āśraya functions as an adverb of quantity or extent. Just like we might use it in an adverbial phrase, such as "invite as many Brahmins as there are bowls." [English and Sanskrit grammatical categories don’t seem to quite mesh.] The word āśraya can only refer to rāga, for anurāga takes on the nature of bhāva by building further on the characteristics of rāga. Evidence of this can be found in the example that follows, where it is written, "To make a wondrous picture, [Love] himself added color to it [caused anurāga in the lovers] with the vermilion of new pigments (ever-new rāga)." (nava-rāga-hiṅgula-bharaiś citrāya svayam anvarañjayat).

Later in this chapter it will be said,

rāgānurāgatām ādau snehaḥ prāpyaiva satvaram |
mānatvaṁ praṇayatvaṁ ca kvacit paścāt prapadyate ||
ata eva prabandheṣu śrūyate rādhikādiṣu |
pūrva-rāga-prasaṅge’pi prakaṭaṁ rāga-lakṣaṇam ||
The sthāyi-bhāva known as sneha sometimes first becomes rāga or anurāga, and only afterwards mana or pranaya. This is why in certain works of literature, Radha shows the signs of these higher states even when in the first throes of love (pūrva-rāga). (14.228-9)
So the compound yāvad-āśraya-vṛtti is an adjectival compound with an adverb contained within it, meaning "that which has attained all the possible functions found in rāga."

The word sva-saṁvedya-daśā means the condition that is comprehensible to those who already have anurāga, but are headed towards mahābhāva, in other words, only some special individuals from amongst Krishna’s mistresses. Having attained this condition, if on occasion it is revealed through the most extreme sāttvikas (uddīpta), the sthāyi is known as bhāva.

The intent here is this. Rāga has been defined as seeing distressful conditions in love as sources of joy. The most extreme manifestation of distress for married women of good repute from respectable families is to lose their reputation for chastity and to be ostracized by their family and society. Neither fire nor death are as painful for them as this. However, when the relationship with Krishna makes them abandon their religious principles and the loving ties of their families and society, then even these seem to be a source of happiness. This then is the ultimate limit of rāga.

This attitude is seen in the Vraja gopis from the very beginning of their love for Krishna, whereas it cannot even be conceived of in the Dwaraka queens. In order to show that this manifests in the very beginnings of their love, the word "new" in the above-cited phrase from the example verse will be given. ["To make a wondrous picture, [Love] himself added color to it [caused anurāga in the lovers] with the vermilion of new pigments (ever-new rāga)." (nava-rāga-hiṅgula-bharaiś citrāya svayam anvarañjayat).]

It is as a testimony to the marvel of this love that Uddhava praised the gopis with the words,

āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ
vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṁ sva-janam ārya-pathaṁ ca hitvā
bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām

Ah, but that I could become one of Vrindavan's herbs and plants which are regularly sprinkled with the dust of the gopis’ feet, for the gopis abandoned both their families and their religious principles, both of which are extremely difficult to give up, in order to worship Mukunda, the ultimate goal of all the Vedic literatures. (SB 10.47.61)
This statement indicates that though it was impossible for them to give up these things, they still did so. Thus this proves the degree of their concern for family and religious principles.



atha bhāva iti | anurāga iti svasyātmanaḥ saṁvedya-daśām anubhavāvasthāṁ prāpya prakāśitaḥ san yāvantaḥ āśrayāḥ sajātīya-bhaktāḥ siddha-sādhaka-bhedena dvidhās teṣu vṛttir vyāptir yasya saḥ | yad-anubhavataḥ sarve te’nurāga-vivaśā bhavantīty arthaḥ ||154||

When anurāga reaches a state where it is only understandable to itself, is revealed, and pervades all the receptacles of bhakti in the same genre, devotees on either the stage of sadhana or siddhi, then that is bhava. īn other words, bhava, the experience of which makes everyone helpless with anurāga.


Jiva Goswami’s interpretation of mahābhāva is confirmed in his reading of Rupa Goswami’s example:

rādhāyā bhavataś ca citta-jatunī svedair vilāpya kramāt
yuñjann adri-nikuñja-kuñjara-pate nirdhūta-bheda-bhramam |
citrāya svayam anvarañjayad iha brahmāṇḍa-harmyodare
bhūyobhir nava-rāga-hiṅgula-bharaiḥ śṛṅgāra-kāruḥ kṛtī ||
The God of Love is a great craftsman:
he has taken the lac of Radha's soul and yours,
and melted them together with his perspiring heat.
O king of the elephants in the groves of Govardhan!
He has joined your souls together and washed away
any sense you had of difference between you.
Then, in order to paint the inner chambers
of the universal mansion, he added
yet more vermilion color to the mix. (UN 14.155)
There's a double meaning to this verse that is very difficult to convey. This will just be a first draft. The idea is that the God of Love is an artist who has joined Radha and Krishna's souls. The metaphor is that the artist is mixing paints in lac, adding vermilion to it so that he can paint the inside of the mansion of the universe. He has to melt the hard lac before he can add color to it. Similarly, Radha and Krishna's hearts are like lac. Placing them in the fire of love (sveda means perspiration, which evokes erotic connotations), and melts them together. Then he adds the red color (anu√rañj is the same verb that anurāga is derived from) with the "new vermilion colored dye" (nava-rāga-hiṅgula-bharaiḥ).

This brings the ideas of both rāga and anurāga into the picture, as Jiva did with his interpretation of mahābhāva. Still, the idea of yāvad-āśraya-vṛtti, that this love of Radha and Krishna extends into the universe is found in the words harmyodare -- painting inside the belly of the universe. This is the way Vishwanath interpreted the mahābhāva definition--that this love expands to envelop everyone within the three worlds.


Mat said…
Dear Jagat,
I've just found your blog and I remember that your scholarship has been from time to time mentioned in one of the forums I participate.

I can't find any email contact to you, so I'm writing in comments seciont. I would like to kindly ask you to clarify some terminology.

During my Iskcon days, when I was studying Prabhupad's books, I was trying to figure out the exact meanings of: atma, jiva, cita, and hrda. It was difficult and I didn't find any support in my pursuit.

I left Iskcon quite a few years ago and flowed to European mystics, like Rudolf Steiner and recently Bert Hellinger.

Still, I remember my confusion about these terms (cita, hrda, jiva and atma) and if you would find some time to clarify them and satisfy my intellectual deficit, I'd be obliged.

If you so kind, please write to me to: matmajer[at]
Thank you.

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