Bhava-rasa in RRSN 147 (continued)

Now HLV gives a short analysis of this verse, in particular looking at the meaning of the word tāratamya, listing a number of items that have been analyzed in the Radha-vallabhi doctrine in the comparative or graded approach.
  • With regard to Radha and Krishna, the mutual distinction of who is object and who is subject (rati-viṣayāśraya-bheda) and thus who is the attached (āsakta) and who is the object of attachment (āsajya). This latter is a favored terminology of HLV and used throughout his commentary. Though Radha and Krishna are mutually object and subject, in the end HLV stresses the superiority of seeing Krishna as the lover of Radha and Radha as the object of his love. At
  • In the sakhis, there is a gradation of independence and dependence depending on the distinctions between rasa and bhāva.
  • Where Vrindavan is concerned, in the matter of the Braj and the nikuñja, and so on, there is a gradation of externality and internal, i.e., degrees of confidentiality and intimacy of the pastimes.
So in Prabodhananda's verse, "may my mind seize these distinctions, and only then will it become a unique or supreme source of astonishment." The word anya here should be taken to mean "different from the customary understanding of rasa." Therefore those full of passion and feeling, who have a taste for poetry and literature (bhāvuka), whose eyes and hearts have been moistened by this flavor (rasa) alone will be the worshipers on this path of devotion, and not others. Completely forgeting the four kinds of dependent awareness – on public opinion, scriptural injunction, family requirements and saintly custom, they are established in the bhajana of the intimate (rahaḥ) understanding of Radha and Krishna as rasa and bhāva respectively. The conclusion (sva-mārga-siddhānta) is that this way of devotion is incomprehensible to ordinary people or devotees.

The word vraja-maṇi illuminates the complete relationship of Vrishabhanu and Nanda Maharaj, because the dasi is given by the father of the bride and so she naturally has rasa for her mistress and bhava for the husband of her mistress.

Moreover, it is said that love for gods, kings and so on (devādi-viṣaya-ratiḥ) is called bhāva. This means that where love has as its object a person who is distant or unobtainable, that is called bhāva. This is because the love is one-sided and not reciprocated. Rasa arises when love is mutual (ubhayor mithaḥ prītau raso bhavati).

Moreover, rasa is at first indifferent to the object that is being relished. Then, according to the difference of its containers, it takes on the specific characteristics of vatsalya and so on. In this instance, the sadhaka's mood is that of laughter and friendship, which means that she lovingly thinks of Radha as her swamini or as her friend, Radhe accepts her as an intimate friend and so there is a mutual relationship of friendship and service. As a by-product of that love, she also has love for Krishna. Nevertheless, the object of her love is always the rasa of service to Radha. She serves Krishna, the dearmost of her swamini out of a desire to please her, but her principal sense of belonging is invested in Radha. So the means to the end is service to her beloved; it is not the end in itself. This was previously discussed in connection with the verse:

yad govinda-kathā-sudhā-rasa-hrade ceto mayā jṛmbhitaṁ
yad vā tad-guṇa-kīrtanārcana-vibhūṣādyair dinaṁ prāpitam |
yad yat prītir akāri tat-priya-janeṣv ātyantikī tena me
gopendrātmaja-jīvana-praṇayinī śrī-rādhikā tuṣyatu ||
I pray that Sri Radha, who loves the son of Nanda more than life itself may be pleased with my mentality, which grew and expanded in the nectar lake of descriptions of Govinda, or the days that I passed engaged in singing his virtues and engaging in the other angas of devotion like puja, and all the feelings of deep affection and love that I felt for his devotees. (RRSN 115).
So, since this feeling is secondary, it is a bhāva, not rasa.

The position of a person who worships Radha, though in this way inexperienced in the ways of the society, etc., is not understood by ordinary people who have no experience of such a thing. Only some rare souls have an idea of the external behavior, so what can they understand of the inner emotions. Even the avataras act like conventional human beings are are hard to understand, so what of the ways of their inner mind.

evaṁ līlā-nara -vapur nṛ-lokam anuśīlayan |
reme go-gopa-gopīnāṁ ramayan rūpa-vāk-kṛtaiḥ ||
Thus the Lord, appearing like a human being to perform his pastimes, following the ways of men, enjoying himself and bringing pleasure to the cows, cowherds and milkmaid with his beauty, words and actions. (10.23.36)
Or the word sthiti "situation" can mean their conviction with relation to their sthāyi bhāva. This is also beyond the ability of common people to understand. In other words, if they had the chance to meet Krishna in private and received his mercy, then they would not be able to maintain their determination to maintain the sakhi-bhāva for Radha. Evidence for this is in the munis and Shrutis, etc., who became gopis. Therefore this unwavering certainty in sakhi-bhava is not understood by others.

This has been stated elsewhere in RRSN:

yadi snehād rādhe diśasi rati-lāmpaṭya-padavīṁ
gataṁ me sva-preṣṭhaṁ tad api mama niṣṭhāṁ śṛṇu yathā |
kaṭākṣair āloke smita-sahacarair jāta-pulakaṁ
samāśliṣyāmy uccair atha ca rasaye tvat-pada-rasam ||

O Radha, if out of affectionate you direct me to be with your beloved when he is acting up to his untrammeled playboy ways, then listen to me and let me tell me of my determination. I will look at him with smiling sidelong glances and I will tightly embrace him, causing his hairs to stand up on end. But despite this, I will be taking pleasure in serving your lotus feet. (RRSN 87)
Furthermore there is another similar verse,

nija-prāṇeśvaryā yad api dayanīyeyam iti māṁ
muhuś cumbaty āliṅgati surata-mādhvyā madayati |
vicitrāṁ sneha-rddhiṁ racayati tathāpy adbhuta-gates
tavaiva śrī-rādhe pada-rasa-vilāse mama manaḥ ||
Even though Krishna again and again kisses me, embraces me and maddens me with the nectar of amorous pleasures, and behaves in a wonderfully rich and affectionate manner, all because I am your object of mercy and you are the queen of his life, O Radhe my mind will always remain fixed in the taste of service to your feet alone. (RRSN 55)
And so it is said here that this is "in secret" (rahasye).

What is more, for them such a certainty of attitude is difficult to maintain in front of Krishna, who is the enchanter with beauty greater than that of a million Cupids because they do not have that power of service to Radha.

The word api here should be read in conjunction with na.

api sambhāvanā-praśna-śaṅkā-garhā-samuccaye |
tathā yukta-padārthe ca kāmācāra-kriyāsu ca ||

According to the Viśva-koṣa the word api is used in the sense of possibility, questioning, doubt, accusation, as a conjunction, appropriate object or in wanton activities. In this case, however, it should be taken to mean an appropriate object (yukta-padārtha). In other words, it is quite appropriate that such sentiments should be outside the purview of the common folk.


The important point that should be taken from this is that unreciprocated love, or love that cannot be reciprocated, remains on the level of a bhāva, more specifically a sañcārī-bhāva and not a sthāyi as such. An understanding of this point seems relevant to the understanding of bhāvollāsā, also.


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