Friday, June 19, 2015

The four essential verses of the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu

We already know very well that there are four seed verses from which the entire Bhagavatam is said to have grown. The Gita also has its four essential verses, or seven essential verses. I posted those, but did not make much commentary. On the other hand, I thought this series on the five principal verses of Gita Govinda was very important. Prior to that, I had already pointed out somewhere that there are four key verses to the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, but somehow I had never posted or commented on these on this blog.

The four verses come in the beginning of the second sector of the BRS, where Rupa Goswamipad is going to explain the various ingredients of rasa, using the categories of the rasa-śāstra. There are five chapters in all, on the vibhāvas, anubhāvas, sāttvikas, vyabhicāris and sthāyi-bhāvas. But before doing so, Rupa Goswami gives his own expanded version of the rasa-sūtra.

bhakti-nirdhūta-doṣāṇāṁ prasannojjvala-cetasām
śrī-bhāgavata-raktānāṁ rasikāsaṅga-raṅgiṇām
premāntaraṅga-bhūtāni kṛtyāny evānutiṣṭhatām
bhaktānāṁ hṛdi rājantī saṁskāra-yugalojjvalā
ratir ānanda-rūpaiva nīyamānā tu rasyatām
kṛṣṇādibhir vibhāvādyair gatair anubhavādhvani |
prauḍhānanda-camatkāra-kāṣṭhām āpadyate parām ||
For those whose faults have been entirely removed by the performance of devotional practices and whose minds are peaceful [making them suitable for the appearance of pure goodness’s special features] and effulgent [and thus equipped with full knowledge], who are attached to hearing the Bhāgavata-purāṇa, who find happiness in the company of rasika devotees, for whom the joy of service to Govinda has become the raison-d’être of their existence, and who are always engaged in the most confidential process of developing love for Krishna, namely hearing and chanting about his qualities and pastimes, have a love (rati) for Krishna which is effulgently manifest due to the conditioning of both the past and present lives. This love, which is an embodiment of the divine joy, is led to the state of being relished, and when combined with the direct experience of the vibhāvas like Krishna and the other ingredients, attains the very limits of mature bliss and wonder. (2.1.7-9)
The rasa-sūtra is a famous passage in Bharata's Nāṭya-śāstra, tatra vibhāvānubhāva-vyabhicāri-saṁyogād rasa-niṣpattiḥ: "Rasa is effectuated when the vibhāva, anubhāva and vyabhicāris are combined." Out of this he then develops his theory, clarifying that the rasa is produced by combining all these ingredients with the sthāyi bhāva of the qualified audience member.

After Bharata, nearly everyone who wrote on rasa gave their own version of the rasa-sūtra. I particularly like one written by Vishwanath Kaviraj in Sāhitya-darpaṇa:

sattvodrekād akhaṇḍa-sva-prakāśānanda-cin-mayaḥ |
vedyāntara-sparśa-śūnyo brahmāsvāda-sahodaraḥ ||2||
lokottara-camatkāra-prāṇaḥ kaiścit pramātṛbhiḥ |
svākāravad abhinnatvenāyam āsvādyate rasaḥ ||3||
This rasa, which was earlier described as being the transformation of sthāyi-bhāvas when they are activated by the other ingredients of rasa, the stimulants and so on, is relished by some rare cultured auditors who, when brought to a high level of sattva (pure awareness) [through the culture of refined sentiment], being experienced as not different from their own form, as something that is of the character of pure consciousness and bliss, self-effulgent and uninterrupted, where there is no touch of any external percept, which is the twin experience to the knowledge of Brahman, and the life air of which is an astonishment that is out of the ordinary customary life experiences. (3.2-3)
Now, as Bharata has made clear in his work, Vishwanath is also talking about the experience of watching a play, although by Vishwanath's time, literature is also considered to independently have the object of producing rasa. For Bharata, literature is the spoken word in the play, which incorporates all the art forms--music, song, dance, etc.

I have talked a bit about sthāyi-bhāvas before. Suffice it to say here that they can be divided into primary and secondary. The secondary ones are naturally occurring emotional states, of which there are the eight original ones taught by Bharata, along with the tagalong nirveda, which leads to śānta-rasa. What we call the five primary rasas includes this śānta, along with rati. Actually, Rupa Goswami says that in bhakti-rasa there is only one sthāyi-bhāva and that is love for Krishna. This love for Krishna has five different principal flavors.

At any rate, even this small description indicates how Rupa differs from the earlier writers on rasa. The principal difference is in the sthāyi-bhāva. Rupa basically says that the naturally occurring emotions that lead to sentimental appreciation of literary works are, by their very nature, mundane, i.e., within the scope of worldly experience. Even though Vishwanath Kaviraj has indicated that there is a sophisticated appreciation of "high" art that requires assiduous culture before one can rise to the level of refined taste that makes one a true connoisseur, for Rupa Goswami he is still operating within the mundane realm and it is a mundane refinement, because it is not directly connected to God, specifically not God in his form as Krishna.

Rasa is Krishna, according to the Upanishads. So Vishwanath can truly say that the experience of rasa is brahmāsvāda-sahodaraḥ and, as we shall see from Madhusudan's Bhakti-rasāyana, this understanding is important for getting the fullest experience of rasa (since Krishna is in fact engaged in human pastimes (nara-līlā) without which there would be no way for a human being to access it.

But for Rupa Goswami, the special nature of Krishna's activities, as opposed to those of any other man or hero of any other entertainment product, is that he is God. And to get to that position, an observer has to go through a more extensive program of "brainwashing."

Madhusudan talks about this "brainwashing" process in his book:

tataś cādruta-cittasya nirveda-pūrvakaṁ tattva-jñānam | 

druta-cittasya tu bhagavat-kathā-śravaṇādi-bhāgavata-dharma-
śraddhā-pūrvikā bhaktir ity avadhitvena dvayam apy upāttam | 
tato'ntaḥ-karaṇa-śuddhyāṣṭāṅga-yogam anuṣṭhāya 
taila-dhārāvad avicchinna-bhagavad-ekākāra-pratyaya-
paramparātmakaikāgratā-yogyaṁ manaḥ sampādayet |
The next step for someone whose mind has not been melted (the jñāna-mārgi) is to attain knowledge of metaphysical truths preceded by nirveda. But one whose mind has been melted by hearing Bhagavat-kathā and engaging in the practices of Bhāgavata-dharma with faith attains bhakti, which is the upper limit for both karma- and jñāna-yoga. Then in order to purify the mind further, [evehe should practice aṣṭāṅga-yoga until the mind becomes fully fit through a single-pointedness that develops through a succession of percepts in which it becomes one in form with the Lord, in the manner of a single stream of oil.
So I am more in tune with this way of thinking, which is also closer to the Sahajiya way of seeing progress in bhakti beyond the purely literal approach. I suppose some may call my approach jñāna-miśra, yoga-miśra, or even mixed with worse stuff than that, but I am sticking to my plan here.

citta-dravyaṁ hi jatuvat svabhāvāt kaṭhinātmakam |
tāpakair viṣayair yoge dravatvaṁ pratipadyate ||4||
kāma-krodha-bhaya-sneha-harṣa-śoka-dayādayaḥ |
tāpakāś citta-jatunaś tac-chāntau kaṭhinaṁ tu tat ||5||
drute citte vinikṣipta-svākāro yas tu vastunā |
saṁskāra-vāsanā-bhāva-bhāvanā-śabda-bhāg asau ||6||
śithilī-bhāva-mātraṁ tu mano gacchaty atāpakaiḥ |
na tatra vastu viśati vāsanātvena kiṁcana ||7||
dravatāyāṁ praviṣṭaṁ sad yat kāṭhinya-daśāṁ gatam |
cetaḥ punar drutau satyām api tan naiva muñcati ||8||
The material of the mind is like lacquer: by nature it is hard, but when in contact with something hot, it melts.The heating agents of the mind-lacquer are desire, anger, fear, affection, excitement, grief, compassion and so on. When they are removed, the mind again becomes hard. 
In the melted mind, the sameness of form that has been imprinted there by some
substances is given the names saṁskāra, vāsanā, bhāva, or bhāvanā. When the mind has merely been softened by heating elements, then the substance does not enter it nor remain as a vāsanā. That which enters the mind when it is melted and then becomes hard again, will not go away even when the mind is melted again.
So even in these four verses from BRS, the emphasis is on the imprinting of that image of God on the mind. According to the yoga concept, whatever you use as an ālambana is not particularly important, because the goal is to abandon that ālambana and to enter a state of consciousness-in-itself. But the bhakti path does not. Without that solid imprint through the Bhāgavata-dharmas, which is the sthāyi-bhāva according to Madhusudan Saraswati, rasa cannot happen.

A great deal more can be said about these verses, but for the time being I am just posting them here for availability and future cross posting.


Anonymous said...

See pages 122-123, and page 132 of:

The Energy of the Depths

A Comprehensive Study Based on the Scriptures of Nondualistic Kaśmir Śaivism

By Lillian Silburn (Translated from French to English by Jaques Gontier)

Anonymous said...

In regard to Pages 122 - 123, adamantine (adamant) alludes to magnetic lodestone.

When (repeatedly) fired in the light of Samadhi, the Yogi (just like loadstone) takes on the magnetic field of its environment in the heated state and becomes naturally permanently magnetised when cooled (with the same magnetic field of the source).


Anonymous said...

Ancient mariners used to set a piece of loadstone into wood shaped like a fish, which when floated on water acted as a compass pointing North towards Polaris...


Anonymous said...

keep in mind the adjective suffix (-ine) of adamant(ine), which is pertaining to the nature of loadstone.

N < S

As a Sahajani, over time and practice one will begin to feel the rush of dawn and dusk, the movement of water, and other natural phenomenon, etc., etc..

Anonymous said...

See 174a:

yoga-dīkṣāṃ vinā kurvan vāta-granthim labhate dhruvam │

Anonymous said...

The root word 'adamo' is from ad (“near, at; towards, to”) + amō (“love”).

The Yogi thus cleansed and transfigured in the light of Samadhi becomes aligned purely to Prema (refer again to page 122).

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jagadananda Das,

Sri Sri Lalita Prasad Thakur spoke true, "bring joy to the world", Prema Prayojana.

When one teaches, two learn.

Thank you brother.

M. N.