Thursday, August 24, 2017

Kāntā-bhāva Bhajana by Gadādhara Prāṇa Dās (Part II)

Gadai Gauranga Kunj, Ishodyana, Mayapur

Now let's return to the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi story about Mani Manjari. But this time we will put a sakhi named Surangini in Mani Manjari's place. In other words, Radha has just sent a sakhi to arrange Surangini's first private meeting with Krishna.

[First private meeting: Although Surangini is Krishna's eternal consort, Yogamaya has arranged that she forget all of her past affairs so that today's adventure appears like her first milana with Krishna. This is to heighten the rasa's pleasure.]

Let's enter the scene and see what happens next:

The sakhi exclaims, "Hey Surangini! Just hear the message that Radha has sent for you. She is saying that since the pleasure of Krishna's rati-saṅga is incomparable, why don't you try it once? You may consider that just as the sakhis share both friendship with Me and loving pastimes with Krishna, you may also take up this mood. Why should you remain behind the others?"

Hearing Radha's wonderful proposal brings tears of joy to Surangini. As she enters samādhi, "O my!" she thinks, "During the madhu-pāna līlā just a moment ago, I was pouring the refreshing madhu that Vrinda Devi brought into Shyam's glass. But Srimati was noticing then how my shapely figure was also intoxicating Him! So as She left with Shyamasundar to enjoy prema-keli in the padma-mandira, She gave me a wink and smiled! Now I can understand what she meant."

[When a sādhaka or a sādhikā perform līlā-smaraṇa and mānasī sevā while envisioning their mentally conceived gopī-svarūpa, this is called svārasikī bhajana. The story will illustrate the author's desire to serve in this way. The upcoming sequences correspond to Krishnadas Kaviraj's madhyāhna-līlā narration in Govinda-līlāmrita.]

Hearing the news, Surangini almost faints! For she has taken birth in Vraja simply to offer her exquisite beauty to Govinda. And now the greatest moment in her life has come, the moment when all of her desires will be fulfilled!

Arriving at the vilāsa-kuñja, the sakhi shows Surangini how the keli-mandira has been skillfully decorated. "O Surangini," she says, "Won't this be the ideal place to take up your first love encounter with Krishna?" Though while steeped in such thought, Surangini becomes a bit dizzy and goes to lie down on the flower bed.

Meanwhile, back at the padma-mandira, Radha is resting after enjoying kandarpa-keli with Krishna. But then She speaks with a smile:

sākūta-sa-smita-dṛśā priyam īrayantī
kāntābravīt priya na śarma labhe vinā yāḥ |
kuñjeṣu kuñja-vadanā mada-vihvalāṅgyaḥ
sakhyaḥ svapanti ramaṇānaya tāḥ prabodhya ||
Hey Priyatama! I'm unhappy without My lotus-faced sakhis. But now they are sleeping in their kuñjas to recover from the madhu's intoxicating effects. So, hey Ramana, why don't You go wake them up and bring them here? (GLA 15.32)
Radhika is sakhīra sukha-sukhinī, happy when Her sakhis are happy. So after enjoying rati-keli with Shyamasundara, She desires that He enjoy with them too. But because the manjaris are present, Srimati doesn't directly say this. Rather she talks in a roundabout way and hints at it with a wink! Thus Shyam realizes, "Aha, it is for Radha's happiness that I shall make the sakhis happy." Thus He saunters off to greet them.

Govinda-līlāmṛta goes on:

kṛṣṇaś cakre manasi lalitāṁ yāmi kiṁ vā viśākhām
ādau citrām iti sa nikhilā bhāvayaṁs tāḥ priyālīḥ |
gacchan harṣād yugapad akhile prāviśat kuñja-vṛnde
ātmānaṁ te nija-viracite jīva-dehe yathaikaḥ ||
When leaving Radha's kuñja Krishna contemplates, "Who shall I visit first? Lalita? Vishakha? How about Citra? While thus meditating, Krishna joyfully expands into many forms to enter each of the sakhi's kuñjas, just as the Paramātmā accompanies every jīva. (Govinda-līlāmṛta 15.34)
Here is a noteworthy siddhānta: For just as the Paramātmā is aware of every jīva's nature, mood and desires, Krishna also knows the nature, mood and desires of every one of His consorts because the Paramātmā is His plenary portion. Therefore Krishna can truly be the ideal soulmate of every gopi.
Meanwhile, Krishna arrives at Surangini's kuñja and the sakhi exclaims, "Hey Surangini! Look, your prāṇa-ramaṇa has come and He appears very anxious to meet you. So please go and welcome Him."
Surangini takes one look at Krishna and becomes stunned. And as her eyes roam up and down His universally enchanting form, her captivation increases! "Oh my gosh!" she contemplates. "I never knew that Krishna could be so powerfully attractive! Every limb of His glamorous body appears like an ocean of amorous love! Now an irrepressible desire is awakening in me to make love with Him. Oh my, surely He is sākṣāt manmatha-manmatha!

[Sākṣāt manmatha-manmatha: Gaudiya Vaishnavas traditionally receive the kāma-bīja and kāma-gāyatrī at the time of dīkṣā. For those with the good fortune to attain siddhi, the mantra's devatā Sri Madanamohana directly appears to them. Caitanya-caritāmṛta says:

vṛndāvane aprākṛta navīna madana
kāma-gāyatrī kāma-bīje jāṅra upāsana
puruṣa yoṣit kibā sthāvara jaṅgama
sarva cittākarṣaka sākṣāt manmatha madana
In Vrindavan there is a transcendental Cupid who is worshiped by the kāma-bīja and the kāma-gāyatrī. This form of Krishna forcefully attracts not only females but men too. He can ever lure every moving and non-moving object because He is Madanamohana!" (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.8.137-138)]
Seeing Shyam's zeal to enjoy her, Surangini becomes eager to control Him and considers, "Since Radha prefers to resist Krishna's advances and plays hard to get. I shall be dakṣiṇā and pragalbhā instead to conquer Him today!"

Thus coming over the flower bed, Surangini raises her arms in an enticing pose to exclaim, "Hey Priyatama! Look, can You help me reach these lovely flowers? You may decorate my hair with them."

Krishna is charmed, but instead of looking to the flowers, He runs right up to hold Surangini's slender waist! But then she scurries before a full-length mirror, takes one look at herself and says, "Hey Prana-vallabha! Wait a minute, I forgot to mention that my sakhis neglected to properly fasten my kanchuli, so can You fasten it for me?" Thus directing Shyam's attention to her amazing assets, Surangini becomes more captivating because as she clasps her two lotus hands behind her head, her very large and shapely breasts press forward to steal Krishna's mind.

But when Madhava tries to adjust her kanchuli, Surangini quickly scurries back to the flower bed and starts removing all of her clothes. And wow! Being eager to show off, she displays her stunning body so enticingly that even Cupid would get knocked out! Then with confidence she informs Krishna, "Hey Nagarendra! Do You know that I performed great austerity and prayed to the creator for a very sensuous body just to give You tremendous pleasure? Now feast Your eyes and see how He has molded me. Then if You can tell me which place on my body fascinates You the most, I will let You kiss me there."

Surangini isn't mistaken, for her fantastic body is truly a festival for the eyes, thus Krishna ecstatically horripilates upon viewing it. But then He is startled to realize, "Oh my, if I hope to win in today's kandarpa-keli battle, she is going to be My greatest opponent!"

Thus succumbing to her spell, Krishna requests that Surangini become His prema guru and feelingly prays, "Upon viewing your incomparable beauty, O Surangini, I can understand that your talent in Cupid's martial arts must be matchless. So I surrender! Now if you have accepted Me as your loving disciple, then please instruct Me which places on your body I may kiss."
Rasa Analysis

Let's stop to discuss what is going on here since some of those who desire to take up Krishna's madhura rasa upāsanā might consider Surangini's madhura sevā mood overly sensuous and bold. To answer them, we will certainly acknowledge their standpoint, but to bring more light into this discussion, let us examine Rupa Goswami's following siddhānta in the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi.

bhāvaḥ syād uttamādīnāṁ yasyā yāvān priye harau |
tasyāpi tasyāṁ tāvān syād iti sarvatra yujyate ||
As Krishna's gopi consorts each serve Him in their own personal way, Krishna reciprocates their love accordingly. (Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi 5.97)
Here is something that only Krishna can do because He is Svayam Bhagavān. In other words, since every gopis is special and unique, Krishna's loving behavior is unique and personal with each one of them. Hence every gopi can factually believe that Krishna loves her the most, as it is her superlative beauty and expertise in prema-sevā that attracts and pleases Him the most. This is something that deserves meditation.

In Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Rupa Goswami presents a basic outline of 360 different kinds of nāyikā or heroine, and hints that there are countless more types. So on one end of the spectrum we can find the pragalbhā heroines such as Surangini, who are exceptionally sensuous and bold. On the other end, we can find the opposite – the mugdhā heroines who are novice, naïve and shy when it comes to taking up rati-keli with Krishna. In between these two extremes there are limitless other Krishna-vallabhas who each have their own personalities, traits and moods.

So now let us take, for example, the madhyā or mid-range heroines, since Srimati Radharani herself belongs to this category. Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi describes them as follows:

samāna-lajjā-madanā prodyat-tāruṇya-śālinī |
kiñcit-pragalbhā-vacanā mohānta-surata-kṣamā |
madhyā syāt komalā kvāpi māne kutrāpi karkaśā ||
The heroine who is both shy and erotically fascinating, whose figure blossoms with new youth, whose colorful word play is slightly bold, who can last up to the point of fainting during rati-keli, and who can be either passive or fiery when defending her pride, is called a madhyā nāyikā. (Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi 5.27)
Now a good question arises: Why did Rupa Goswami, our sampradāya ācārya, make such a thorough endeavor to list and classify so many different kinds of nāyikā in Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi? Though before attempting to answer, we should mention that as Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi is the consummation of Rupa's bhakti-rasa exposition begun in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, it also represents the last word in Sri Caitanya's prema-bhakti dharma, because both the former and the latter culminate in the madhura-prema-sevā of the Vraja gopis.

Now for those who are sincere to reach this goal, Caitanya-caritāmṛta presents a wonderful guideline:
nijendriya sukha vāñchā nāhi gopikāra
kṛṣṇe sukha dite kare saṅgama vihāra
sei gopī bhāvāmṛte jāṅra lobha haya
veda dharma loka tyaji se kṛṣṇe bhajaya
rāgānuga mārge tāṅre bhaje jei jana
sei jana pāya vraje vrajendra nandana
The gopis overlook their personal pleasure to make love with Krishna for His pleasure alone. Yet only those having lobha for attaining their prema-sevā can discard the unrelated teachings in Vedic dharma and the useless opinions of disinterested people. Then by adopting the rāgānugā-bhakti process, they will attain Krishna in Vraja. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.8.217-220)
From this instruction we can understand why Rupa has presented such a long list of heroines in Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi so that those hankering to become Krishna's consort can select the nāyikā-bhāva that is befitting their own gopī-svarūpa. Because on the rāga-mārga, one's constant absorption on their gopi siddha-deha forms the basis of this sādhanā. Thus we can test to see if we have lobha because if we do, to meditate on our gopī-svarūpa while performing mānasī sevā within Radha Krishna's pastimes won't be difficult.

Before we return to Surangini, however, let us ask: If the Vraja gopis' madhura upāsanā is the highest goal of Gaudiya Vaishnava dharma according to Sri Caitanya's teachings, then why do so few have the lobha to seriously take it up?

To answer frankly, it certainly appears that a ku-saṁskāra has crept in to deprive us from something very wonderful; because if we stop to consider what a spectacular and rewarding experience it would be to make love with Bhagavān and be His eternal consort, it is astonishing that practically no one ever thinks about this! So to find someone who actually nurtures the desire to attain such a treasure is even more rare.

A ku-saṁskāra means a bad impression that we pick up over a period of time and ku-saṁskāras are very hard to get rid of because what we experience around us and the things we hear people say often make them even stronger.

Now what are we getting at? In our world religion and erotic love are generally taken to be existing on two opposite poles of a sphere. So when thinking about religion we equate this with purity, self-control, selfless sevā and renunciation. But when we think about erotic love, don't we usually equate it with the opposite: impurity, sense-gratification, self-indulgence and material attachment?

So what often happens to those taking to Vaishnava dharma? Don't we hold on to this negative material conception about erotic love and wish to drop it altogether when visualizing Krishna līlā? We may discuss or meditate on a variety of Krishna's pastimes, but we will omit His madhura pastimes with the gopis. Or else, if we advance to the stage of visualizing Radha-Krishna's līlā, the only option will be mañjarī-bhāva, since the manjaris don't directly enjoy conjugal union with Krishna. Therefore, the question remains, could we be choosing mañjarī-bhāva instead of kāntā bhāva for the subtle, psychological reason that we still consider erotic love in Krishna līlā to be impure, unwholesome or improper?

Although our Six Goswamis present kāntā bhāva and mañjarī-bhāva upāsanā with equal emphasis and allow their followers to choose either path according to their personal ruci, today mañjarī-bhāva is being promoted exclusively. Thus it is important to mention that in Svayam Bhagavān's highest abodes of Goloka Navadvipa and Vrindavan, every jīva is eligible to perform both forms of worship, for it is natural that we have an eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord in both of these moods. From Caitanya-caritāmṛta we can learn about the gopis' high standard of purity and renunciation as follows:

loka-dharma, veda-dharma, deha-dharma, karma |
lajjā, dhairya, deha-sukha, ātma-sukha-marma ||
dustyaja ārya-patha, nija parijana |
sva-jane karaye yata tāḍana-bhartsana ||
sarva-tyāga kari' kare kṛṣṇera bhajana |
kṛṣṇa-sukha-hetu kare prema-sevana ||
ihāke kahiye kṛṣṇe dṛḍha anurāga |
svaccha dhauta-vastre yaiche nāhi kona dāga ||
Throwing their social reputation to the wind and sidestepping the Vedic injunctions, Krishna's gopi consorts don't care about their bodily comforts, household duties, shyness, patience or mental satisfaction. They have discarded the righteous path of virtuous women, which is very hard to abandon, and they even forsake their own family members to tolerate punishment and rebuke! Thus accepting Krishna's bhajana as their only aim, they secretly go to offer their bodies to him in prema-sevā for His pleasure alone. This is called dṛḍha anurāga, the gopis' overpowering attraction for Krishna that makes their love pure, like a spotlessly clean white sheet. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 1.4.167-171)
Because Krishna can never abandon His mother, father or friends or make so many sacrifices as the gopis do, He admits His defeat to them in the Bhāgavata as follows:

na pāraye'haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ
sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṁ vibudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ |
yā mābhajan durjara-geha-śṛṅkhalāḥ
saṁvṛścya tad vaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā ||
Hey beautiful ones! Your great endeavor to secretly meet me in this forest is pure and faultless. Because after breaking the shackles of material life, you have come to fully surrender unto Me. Hence I am unable to repay the debt of your spotlessly pure love for Me, even within a lifetime of Brahmā. (Bhāgavata 10.32.22; Caitanya-caritāmṛta 1.4.180)

Part II of this essay begins from here, though because the topic is intimate and confidential, we hope that only sincere, interested bhaktas desiring to know about Krishna's kāntā-bhāva bhajana read this. For such readers Part II can be obtained by writing to the author at

{ gadadhar_das000 AT }.

We humbly wish to protect Krishna's most intimate conjugal loving pastimes with His bhaktas from those who might find fault or criticize them.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Kāntā-bhāva Bhajana by Gadādhara Prāṇa Dās (Part I)

Gadadhar Pran has written this essay in two parts, the second being more confidential than the first. For the sake of this blog, I have split the first part into two, and will post the other part tomorrow. Please be sure to read the Praveshika.

Kāntā-bhāva Bhajana by Gadādhara Prāṇa Dās (Part I)

yuvatīnāṁ yathā yūni yūnāṁ ca yuvatau yathā |
mano'bhiramate tadvan mano'bhiramatāṁ tvayi ||
Hey Bhagavān! I pray that as pretty girls and handsome boys are naturally attracted to each other, may I always be attracted to You. (Sri Rupa Goswami, (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.153, Padma Purāṇa 6.128.258)
Who isn't romantically inclined? After all, during youth, when one's body becomes developed and glamorous -- wouldn't it be natural for him or her to desire to fall in love? For this basic instinct is found in every human being. But what often happens then? Let's briefly analyze the matter.

When a boy and a girl first fall in love, don't so many euphoric thoughts start streaming through their minds? Coming under Cupid's spell, they are transported to another realm where nothing else in the whole world seems to matter. And during such blissful times, won't the new couple begin to fantasize how they will live happily ever after?

No wonder romantic love is deemed by countless millions of people worldwide to be the greatest pleasure that life has to offer. But just consider the following: Since man was created in God's image, wouldn't the greatest joy on earth also be the highest pleasure in His spiritual kingdom? And if so, then won't Svayam Bhagavān be the topmost romantic of all?

For this reason, Rupa Goswami's opening prayer is very instructive as he hints that since young people are easily lured into romance, why can't we dovetail this inborn loving propensity to Sri Bhagavān. And in the Vaishnava śāstra there is a wonderful prescription for such worship called kāntā bhāva bhajana.

Now if we stop to think about it, wouldn't it be far wiser for anyone to fall in love with Sri Bhagavān – rather than a mere mortal of our world? Let us examine some of the reasons in the context of Krishna's madhura-līlā:
  1. Krishna's exceptional bodily splendor is matchless, in fact, millions of times more alluring than the form of any human. Yet Krishna's gopi consorts are all His equal match and hence trailokya-sundarī, the most beautiful women in the three worlds.
  2. Lovers in our world are subject to the human imperfections of selfishness, anger, greed, pride, jealousy, and illusion, etc. So their mutual love can never be pure. In contrast, the Supreme Lord Krishna possesses divine substance, completely free from material contamination. Yet the Vraja gopis can fully subjugate Him since they embody mahā-bhāva, the highest form of divine love.
  3. Now, isn't it true that the romantic feelings in couples in our world often wane or become boring after a while? And even if their love does last a lifetime, won't everything be over at the time of death? So, isn't the fantasy that young lovers often nurture to live happily ever after simply an illusion?
  4. In madhura Vrindavan, however, Krishna and the gopis never grow old, and their prema is nava-navāyamāna (ever fresh and new) because their mutual anurāga (intense attraction) ever increases. At every moment therefore the gopis are discovering a new Krishna—as they appear ever new and intriguing to Him. And because such love is eternal, real happiness can flourish between the gopis and Krishna.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta praises such prema as follows:

taṭastha haiyā mane vicāra yadi kari
saba rasa haite śṛṅgāre adhika mādhurī
paripūrṇa kṛṣṇa prāpti ei prema haite
e premera vaśa kṛṣṇa kahe bhāgavate 
When considering all the rasas neutrally, it is kāntā-prema (śṛṅgāra-rasa) that offers the most pleasure. This is called paripūrṇa kṛṣṇa prāpti, "the complete attainment of Krishna" as the Bhāgavatam declares that such love totally enslaves Krishna! (1.4.42, 2.8.88)
Here we can note Krishnadas Kaviraja's due admiration for Sri Krishna's most enjoyable rasa pleasure – the kāntā prema of His beloved gopis. But what makes their consorthood prema that we read about in the Bhāgavatam so complete and enjoyable? For those who are curious to know,

Caitanya-caritāmṛta goes on to answer:

kāntā bhāve nija aṅge karena sevana
In kāntā bhāva, the consort offers her own body in prema-sevā to the Lord. (2.19.231)
This is something worth contemplating. Doesn't every young woman desire a beautiful figure? And if she has one, doesn't it arouse her romantic feelings? So after attractively dressing herself and looking into the mirror, wouldn't it be natural for her to fantasize about how her stunning beauty will captivate the man of her dreams.

Though we have mentioned this because it is in the same way that one may contemplate how their gopī-svarūpa will captivate Krishna's mind. For just as Krishna eagerly pines to see the gopis' curvaceous figures, why shouldn't one desire to attain an enticingly beautiful gopī-svarūpa for the chance to ideally serve Him? Then she may contemplate, "Oh my! Krishna has become impatient to enjoy me!"

This is a process of worship that Rupa Goswami teaches in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu:

kāmānugā bhavet tṛṣṇā kāma-rūpānugāminī |
sambhogecchāmayī tat-tad-bhāvecchātmeti sā dvidhā ||
keli-tātparya-vaty eva sambhogecchāmayī bhavet |
tad-bhāvecchātmikā tāsāṁ bhāva-mādhurya-kāmitā ||
The bhakti of a sādhaka or a sādhikā that follows after the Vraja gopis' kāma can be in the sambhogecchāmayī or in the tad-bhāvecchātmikā mood. Those desiring to relish prema-keli follow the sambhogecchāmayī path, and the tad-bhāvecchātmikā process is for those hankering to relish the bhāvas of Radha and Krishna's loving affairs. (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.153-154)
The terms sambhogecchāmayī and tad-bhāvecchātmikā refer specifically to kāntā-bhāva and mañjarī-bhāva respectively. The first is the direct (pratakṣa) method where Krishna's gopi consorts serve Him in a direct one-to-one loving relationship. The second path, also called gopī-anugata bhajana, is for the aspiring manjaris who wish to serve Radha and Krishna under the leading sakhis' and manjaris' direction.

Now how can we know which path is the best for us? Well, why not make a test? After we read the following story from Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, let's see in which direction our attraction will go?
One day Radhika sent a sakhi to Mani Manjari with the request that she arrange Mani Manjari's private meeting with Krishna. But that sakhi soon returned to report the following news: "O Radhe! I went to Mani Manjari as you instructed, and said, "Hey sakhi ! Do you know how incomparable is the pleasure of Sri Krishna's rati-saṅga? Why not try it once? You may consider that the sakhis enjoy loving affairs with Krishna and friendship with Radha. Now you may take up this mood. Why should you remain behind the others?"

But then Mani Manjari said, "O sakhi, when I see Radha's happiness in Krishna's loving union, I become the most happy. So please allow me to serve in this way." "O Radhe!" the sakhi went on, "I can now understand how chaste Mani Manjari has become, for Krishna's rati pleasure doesn't interest her at all."
From this story we can observe how the sakhis' and the manjaris' moods differ. Yet because both of these sevā bhāvas are highly exalted and pleasing to Sri Yugal Kishora, Rupa Goswami has offered the bhaktas a choice: one can take up either the sambhogecchāmayī kāntā-bhāva or the tad-bhāvecchātmikā mañjarī-bhāva. In other words, Rupa wishes that the bhaktas choose the path that fits their individual ruci.

After reading the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi story, we may wonder: How can the manjaris renounce Krishna's rati-saṅga so easily? Could there be another pleasure which they consider much greater?

To answer, it must be said that transcendental bliss is measured in proportion to its āśraya, the person who shelters the love. For example, since Radha is the source of Krishna prema, her capacity to love Krishna is deep like an ocean. Hence the manjaris are clever because they focus on Radha to experience the full spectrum of Her loving emotions and bliss. But as Radha's love goes to Krishna, the manjaris next focus on Radha and Krishna together. In other words, as Radha relishes Krishna, the source of all pleasure, the manjaris relish Him along with Radha, the source of all prema. Therefore when uniting Prema (Radha) with Ananda (Krishna), the manjaris relish the topmost premānanda, right at their fingertips.

In his Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta, Prabodhananda Saraswati says,

rādhā-nāgara-keli-sāgara-nimagnāli-dṛśāṁ yat sukhaṁ
no tal-leśa-lavāyate bhagavataḥ sarvo'pi saukhyotsavaḥ |
If Krishna's sṛṅgāra pleasure with Radha could be measured, it would prove trivial in comparison to the manjaris' festival of bliss when submerging in Radha's prema-keli-sāgara with her Nikuñja-nāgara Krishna. (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta 1.54)
Wow! This is something really fantastic, no doubt. But we should also examine the coin's other side. Because the pleasure that Radha's sakhis experience when surrendering themselves to Krishna in conjugal love is also very spectacular. Though before this discussion begins, we need to ask where Srimati Radharani's greatest pleasure is found. That is answered in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

yadyapi sakhīra kṛṣṇa śṛṅgāre nāhi mora
tathāpi rādhikā yatne karaye saṅgama
nānā chale kṛṣṇa preri śṛṅgāra karāya
ātmā sukha saṅga haite koṭi sukha pāya
anyonye viśuddha prema kare rasa puṣṭa
tā sabāra prema dekhe kṛṣṇa haya tuṣṭa
Although the sakhis don't endeavor to enjoy Krishna, Radhika will carefully arrange that they have Krishna's saṅgama. In fact, Radha will make sure by various means that Krishna gets to enjoy with them. Then Radha's joy becomes a million times greater than when She enjoys with Krishna Herself. Sharing Her love with Krishna makes Radha's love more pure. This in turn nourishes all of the sakhis' prema, and seeing such magnanimous behavior, Krishna becomes exceedingly happy. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.8.211-213)
This is a great lesson indeed, that Radha experiences millions of times more happiness when uniting Her sakhis with Krishna. Yet in our world, this is something that we never get to hear about or see. For where is the beautiful woman who so eagerly wishes to share her beloved's love with so many others? But in the case of Radha, what is the outcome of Her charity? Well, first of all, Krishna becomes the benefactor, so He gets to enjoy with all of the sakhis. Secondly, everyone's prema is maintained and nourished by Radha's incredible magnanimity. Moreover, when seeing that such pure and unselfish love makes everyone happy, Krishna's joy becomes boundless.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Praveśikā to Kāntā-bhāva bhajana

A praveśikā is an introduction, in this case an introduction to an article that I will publish tomorrow by Gadadhar Pran Das called Kāntā-bhāva bhajana. As many of you may know, my Godbrother Gadadhar Pran Das is a longtime sādhaka of the rāgānugā mārga, who has written numerous books on various aspects of this rāgānugā bhajana. He has lived for over 35 years continuously in Gadai Gauranga Kunj, serving his Gaura-Gadadhar deities and practicing svārasikī līlā-smaraṇa.

In this essay, he will discuss in a forthright manner the sambhogecchātmikā branch of kāmānugā bhakti practice. Although most Gaudiya rāgānugā sādhakas today emphasize mañjarī-bhāva to almost absolute exclusivity, even going so far as to blaspheme the kāntā mood, anyone who studies the principal descriptions of madhura-rasa as found in texts like Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi will immediately recognize that they deal primarily with the kāntā. In fact, it was not until the 20th century that Kunja Bihari Dasji of Radha Kund compiled a book of texts specifically relevant to the mañjarī-bhāva sādhakas.

Gadadhar Pran Dasji points out that a discomfort with the erotic in general is a big part of this resistance to the kāntā-bhāva, without which madhura-rasa actually has no standing. In fact, without an unabashed recognition of the explicitly erotic nature of this sādhana, rāgānugā bhajana in mañjarī-bhāva has no foundation. This short essay approaches this issue in a direct, straightforward manner.

Gadadhar boldly says that it is a kusaṁskāra, or negative conditioning that makes it impossible to understand the spiritual nature of Vrindavan's divine Eros. The same thing is stated by Rupa Goswami at the beginning of the madhura-rasa section of the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.

Sri Rupa there explains why his chapter is so short. Being only 37 verses long it is the shortest of the five chapters on the five primary rasas, or kinds of love relationships. This is especially curious since he has already indicated (in BRS 2.5.38) that the madhura-rasa is the tastiest of all the rasas.
There are three reasons for it, which Sri Rupa says are:

nivṛttānupayogitvād durūhatvād ayaṁ rasaḥ |
rahasyatvāc ca saṁkṣipya vitatāṅgo vilikhyate ||
This rasa is presented here in abbreviated form, despite being extremely extensive in its parts, because it is (1) unsuitable for those who are not engaged in it (nivṛtta); (2) it is difficult to comprehend (durūha) and (3) is esoteric (rahasya). (BRS 3.5.2)
These three reasons that the madhura-rasa is not to be spoken of in detail is that there are three kinds of anadhikārī for this rasa, and for them it is too much of a mystery (atirahasya). In other words, it is not easily accessible to their intelligence and so they will not be interested in it, or worse yet they will be actively inimical to it.

The verse is discussed again at the beginning of UN, where Rupa Goswami begins by explaining why he is making this separate extensive description of the śṛṅgāra-rasa. Jiva Goswami Prabhu explains:

purā saṅkṣepeṇoditatve hetur atirahasyatvād iti nivṛttānāṁ laukikād ujjvalākhya-rasāt tat-sāmyam, anena tu bhāgavatād api tasmāt parāṅ-mukhānāṁ śānta-prīti-vātsalyānyatara-bhāvatvena vā tat-parāṅmukhānām anupayuktatvāt tebhyo gopya evāyaṁ rasaḥ. |

The first anadhikārī, according to Jiva Goswami, is the nivṛtta, or the inactive. That means those who are turned off to the spiritual ujjvala-rasa of the Bhāgavata because they think it is the same as its material version. Because they are inimical to the material śṛṅgāra-rasa they also are inimical to the spiritual version.

They will consider it dangerous for their spiritual life. They will be afraid and will make others afraid that it is dangerous for their spiritual life. "It will lead to fall-down," is the typical warning that they give and is also the reason they themselves are blocked from entering into a proper understanding of the Bhāgavata's śṛṅgāra-rasa.

These people are not just not interested, but are actively against hearing or attempting to properly understand the nature of divine erotics. Moreover, it has the effect of their committing offenses to the pure and spotless madhura rasa of Vrindavan and the devotees who are practicing rāgānugā bhakti in this mood, whom they call Sahajiyas.

This category also includes those who are committed to one of the four other rasas.

tathā bhāgavate ye kecit tasmin bahu-mānino’pi tat-paryālocanāyāṁ na caturās tair api durūho’yaṁ rasa iti tebhyo’pi gopya eva kāryaḥ, kim uta viṣayibhya iti rahasyatvam evātra mukhyo hetur iti bhāvaḥ |

The second anadhikārī is the one who has a bit of respect for the madhura rasa of the Bhāgavatam but lacks a rasika saṁskāra and are therefore not particularly equipped to discuss these topics. It is too difficult and it should therefore be kept hidden from them.

And of course, the third anadhikārī is the materialistic person, who is certainly incapable of recognizing the spiritual nature of this bhakti-rasa and sādhana. Clearly the pearls of this rasa should not be cast before such swine.

atra tu vistareṇa vacane hetuḥ—rahasyatvād ity eva | kāla-deśa-pātra-viśeṣa-sambandhena rahasyatvaṁ prāpyety arthaḥ |

Since the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi is being spoken to the adhikārī student, these conditions do not apply. When the time, place and student are right, an extensive study of the subject can be made.

tathā śānta-dāsya-vātsalyeṣu bhakti-buddhyā unmukhānām ujjvale tu sthūla-dṛṣṭyā kāma-buddhyā evārucimatāṁ nivṛttānāṁ prākṛta-nivṛtta-mārga-para-lokānām atrānupayuktatvam ||

Vishwanath Chakravarti is brief, and only speaks to the first of the above three rationales: "Those who recognize bhakti in the first four rasas, but have a gross understanding of ujjvala-rasa. Taking it as the same as material lust, they have no taste for it. This refers especially to those who are renounced, i.e., who follow the path of renunciation from material sex life. Discussion of this rasa is inappropriate for them.

nivṛttānupayogitvāt nivṛttā etad-rasāśraya-bhaktetara-śānta-bhaktādayas teṣām anupayogitvāt anarhatvāt |

Krishnadas Kaviraj disciple Vishnudas's commentary on the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi approaches the matter in a somewhat different way: He takes nivṛtta to only mean that the erotic mood is not suitable for those who are in one of the other moods of bhakti, such as śānta.

…madhura-rasa-bhaktāś ca subahutarāḥ virājanta eva ? tatrāha—teṣv api saṁskārābhāvād rasāsvādāpaṭavo ye teṣāṁ durūhatvād dustarkyatvāt |

Someone may object that there are still many devotees who do follow the madhura rasa, surely you can speak to them? In answer, the author says, they don't have the education or culture (saṁskāra) for it. Being inexpert in the matter of tasting such things, it is too difficult for them to figure it out.

bhavatu, tatrāpi rasa-carvaṇa-caturāś ca bahavo dṛśyante ? tatrāha—rahasyatvāt | vakṣyamāṇa-rāga-mārgaika-prādhānyānanusāreṇāvāntarānanta-svabhāvatvān nānā-vidha-vāsanā-vāsita-citteṣu teṣv apy aparicita-rāga-vartma-sandarbhatvena vaidhī-mārga eva gāḍha-baddhāśayeṣu prakāśanāyogyatvenātiguhyatvāt | ye punā rāga-mārgaika-jīvanā madhura-rasa-bhaktās te tu viralā eva |

So be it. But surely there are many others who are capable of relishing this rasa, no? In answer he says, It is a secret, esoteric teaching. Because the path that will primarily be taught here is for those who are exclusively committed to the rāga-mārga; those who do not follow it have many different kinds of nature and proclivity, and countless other desires and moods in their hearts, and furthermore are unfamiliar with the teachings of rāga-mārga. As a result they remain deeply committed to the vaidhī path. It should not be taught to such people, but kept well hidden.

In other words, even an understanding of the rasa texts, if one follows the vaidhī path, one is ineligible for the extended teachings of madhura-rasa. Those who are genuine devotees in madhura rasa, who make the path of the rāga-mārga their life and soul, are indeed very rare.

tatra rasāmṛta-sindhau nānā-jātīya-bhaktānām anuśīlanīyatvāt tan-madhye’tisaṅkṣepatas tad uktam | atra tu rāga-mārgaika-baddha-vratā rasa-carvaṇaika-jīvanāś ca ye madhura-rasa-bhaktās teṣām evāsvādanīyatvād vistareṇa pṛthag evocyate |

The Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu is meant as a general study for devotees of various types, but madhura-rasa, being of a specialized kind, must be dealt with separately, in the intimate surroundings of specialists only. Those specialists are the madhura-rasa-bhaktas who are completely committed to the rāga-mārga and whose lives are devoted entirely to relishing this rasa.

In today's world, information is easily shared and distributed and therefore it is difficult to keep a secret. The danger is always there that those who are unqualified will come into contact with such esoteric practices and will in one or another of the ways above misunderstand and come to incorrect conclusions about the powerful transformative nature of this kind of bhakti-sādhana (Cf. BhP 10.33.40); though the most powerful of all, few are those who are fortunate enough to take it up. The transcendental Cupid charms the mundane Cupid and turns him into a servant of the eternal pastimes of Vraja.

It is nevertheless with some trepidation that we make this material available. For if those who are against it are the only ones whose voices are heard, rāgānugā bhajana in kāntā-bhāva will never be made available to those who might wish to take it up.

In the beginning of Rupa Goswami's Vidagdha-mādhava, the actor (naṭa) gives assurance to the author and director of the play (the sūtradhara), who worries that non-rasikas [which really means all the above anadhikārīs] will be averse to his composition. The naṭa says:

udāsatāṁ nāma rasānabhijñāḥ
kṛtau tavāmī rasikāḥ sphuranti |
kramelakaiḥ kāmam upekṣite’pi
pikāḥ sukhaṁ yānti paraṁ rasāle ||
So be it! Let those who are ignorant and inexperienced in rasa be indifferent to your dramatic composition, in which the true rasikas take delight. Kokils take the greatest pleasure in the mango bud, which is completely ignored by camels. [VM 1.9]

[I have written about BRS 3.5.2 elsewhere.]

Friday, August 18, 2017

A big beautiful wall!

This gives a partial view of the property that was occupied. The area was cleared of underbrush and two tin shacks put up, which were dismantled. Being next to the pukkur, it will perhaps make a nice spot for a bhajan kutir or two.

Good news! Those who are interested in the situation at the Bhaktivinoda Thakur Janma Sthan in Birnagar will be happy to know that on Janmashtami, the boundary wall around the Dwadash Mandir property was completed and the encroachers evicted from the disputed section.

Sri Hari Gopal Das Babaji Maharaj.

Last week, Harigopal Dasji and a group of about twenty important members of the Birnagar community approached the new municipal vice-chairman, Govinda Poddar, about the situation. He gave a favorable response and a decision was taken to repossess the disputed portion of the land and to build the wall, despite the fact that the court has yet to make a decision.

The next day, the Member of the Legislative Assembly and Superintendent of Police sat down with Harigopal Dasji and Shri Poddar to discuss the situation. When they were convinced that the legal rights belonged to Dwadash Mandir, they said that they would not intervene. The case may be in the court, but the longer the encroachers are squatting there, the more they have a de facto case. They had occupied the land without any court decision, so we could reoccupy it in the same way, they said.

The big, beautiful wall. Babaji Maharaj wants to put a footpath around the perimeter of the property for people to take their morning walk, doing parikrama of the temple and birthsite shrine.
Another view of the property.

On Monday, a group of about 25 citizens and a number of workers walked in and started the work, to the accompaniment of Harinam, and the wall was completed on Nandotsav.

Harigopal Dasji has led this fight with great determination and it is to his credit that so many members of the local community have given their support to Dwadash Mandir. They recognize that it is a great treasure for the town and its continued existence is a great positive for everyone here. Bhaktivinoda Thakur's name and his writings are being spread around the world. As such, he is one of the most distinguished citizens to have taken birth here. Every resident of Birnagar can take pride in this piece of heritage.

Harigopal Dasji says that he was perfectly happy living in Radha Kund, doing bhajan and daily Govardhan Parikrama for the last 35 years. But when members of the Bhaktivinoda Goshthi approached him to tell him that situation here had become troublesome: the management was falling apart and starting to sell off some of the temple land in order to keep Radha Madhava and Gaur Gadadhar's seva going, he came out of a sense of duty to Sri Guru.

He clearly is the man for the job and everyone is very eager that he stays on, some saying that he achieved the impossible with this latest challenge.

Many improvements are being made around the temple -- the ten Shiva temples are being fixed up, painted and given new functions -- such as housing a Shadbhuja murti of Mahaprabhu, etc. The goal is to get the work done so it will be completed by August 28, when the annual festival in commemoration of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthday takes place. The main day is celebrated on Bengali Bhadra 18 = Sept. 4, 2017. Everyone is welcome, of course.

Pujari Banshi Das Babaji in front of the only remaining Shiva linga in the ten Shiva temples.

The Shiva temples are getting painted and a bit of plastering for the first time in 250 years. The steps and insides are also getting marble covering and inside tile and paint.
The idea is to put different murtis in all of them. This is Lakshmi-Nrisingha.

Harigopal Dasji has asked me to join him here permanently and give him support by preaching and that is what I have been doing for the last couple of months -- giving classes here at the temple and in the surrounding area. People are showing an interest and I have already given numerous lectures in Birnagar and the surrounding towns, with good response.

This area has a fairly strong Vaishnava presence and so there is good reason to be optimistic. What we need to do is start publishing books so that people will have a better idea of the glories of this site.

I would be amiss if I did not solicit for donations. There are a lot of projects that were started and never finished that need to be completed for the temple complex to look presentable and not a jumble of bricks to nowhere. A couple of guest rooms have been built and will need to be completed, along with bathrooms, etc. At festival time, a lot of people come and have to sleep on the verandah, or any other place they can find some shelter. There are few actual rooms where they can stay.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace Ula Birnagar ki jaya !!

This shows the inside of the veranda area, which as you can see has nice arches. The marble floor, tiles and painting are complete. Only the wiring needs to be redone. Probably hadn't been done in fifty years, except for the ad hoc upgrades dangling everywhere and gathering cobwebs. Pictures will also be hung. No picture here, but Prabhu's room has also been painted along with tile and marble flooring.
This gives another view from the front. The very ill-conceived addition on the left covers a part of the old design. This used to be the Durga temple. Now that it is being fixed up it seems a shame that this is not being used as a temple.
Here you can see more of that very ill-conceived addition that was made, covering the old temple arches. Real strip-mall architecture. Very unfortunate. It will cost a lot to repair.
More Birnagar links:

Update from Birnagar.
Status of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace Part I
Status of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace Part II

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Index to Hari-nama-cintamani related posts

For some reason I got it into my head to post all this stuff from my Hari-nama-cintamani translation. Now I forget why... I will tell you when I remember.

How Much Power is there in the Holy Name?

Harinama-Chintamani, Chapter-15 Part-I.

Harinama-Chintamani, Chapter-15 Part-II.

Harinama-Chintamani, Chapter-15 Part-III.

Siddhi Lalasa, Part I

Siddhi Lalasa, Part I (Songs 4-6)

Siddhi Lalasa, Part III (Songs 7-10)

Explanations of the Maha Mantra


This is my introduction to the translation, which is intended for readers who are in the Gaudiya Math.

One comment: Although I don't have too much complaint about what I wrote in this intro, the "first deserve, then desire" statement with which I ended is something I have never been very comfortable with. It can be parsed in various ways. I mention in this article that desiring is what makes you deserving. But of course, desire cannot arise unless you have some qualification. The desire itself can be said to be the sign of qualification, which then requires you to up your game. The Bhagavata itself says that jnana and vairagya are the byproducts of bhakti, i.e., the desire to attain Krishna.

At any rate, the article is worth reading for the Gaudiya Math perspective on raganuga bhajan.

Somewhat reduced glossary from HNC.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Getting to asana siddhi

When working on the Yoga taraṅgiṇī, one of the things I realized early on was that the Gorakṣa-paddhati is a streamlined or simplified but comprehensive haṭha-yoga-sādhana, containing the essential practices as preserved in a particular tradition. The compendia like Haṭha-yoga-pradīpikā and Gheraṇḍa-saṁhitā, among others, encourage a wide knowledge of different useful practices, coming from numerous such traditions, all of which would ultimately become subsidiary to a principal set of practices. When one follows a particular guru in a particular tradition, it is natural that instructions will be simplified and streamlined for maximum benefit, especially at the beginner level.

In Gorakṣa-paddhati it is stated that there are really only two āsanas that need to be mastered, padmāsana and siddhāsana. The other āsanas are auxiliary to the purpose of sitting in meditation for long periods of time without being disturbed by the body. Thus āsana-siddhi really only comes with samādhi-siddhi.

Actually āsana-siddhi takes place on four levels. The first is that of the physical āsana itself. The second comes with the practice of prāṇāyāma. The third comes with pratyāhāra, whereby one withdraws the senses into the mind. The fourth is when one is liberated from the body and free to enter deeper levels of meditation. In all these levels there are different achievements and one comes closer to real āsana- siddhi, which is to be solid (sthira) for long periods of time, while sukham, feeling comfortable and undisturbed by the body. In a very real sense, yoga sādhanā really only begins after āsana-siddhi.

At this stage the body itself becomes a source of sāttvika bliss that could even become a source of bondage; if it is channeled towards God, it becomes an instrument of bhakti.

In other words, āsana is the most external of the six aṅgas of haṭha-yoga sādhanas. To progress to the three most internal practices, it is more or less necessary to have āsana-siddhi.

Āsana practice includes the five basic bandhas and mudrās, as well as śakti cālana, which also has a physical aspect, a breath aspect and a mind aspect.

By a sitting practice, I mean attempting to sit in one āsana for increasing periods of time. In the beginning, because of physical discomfort and distraction caused by the body (kṣipta) or drowsiness (mūḍha), one needs to break up the practice with others that are anukūla to it.

Bandhas and mudrās

One can do most of the joints and glands series while sitting in either of the two abovementioned āsanas. Those parts that require coming out of the sitting pose are also done with the intent of supporting a return to the sitting position. Of all the joints and glands exercise, the most important is the mahā-mudrā.

In its anna-maya koṣa stage, this mudrā is great for stretching and loosing the tightened muscles of the leg that are starting to protest after a long period of sitting.

This can be ameliorated by going the level of breath, i.e., prāṇamaya koṣa.

In general, breath should be mastered through nāḍi-śodhana so that one has a minimum imbalance in the right and left nostrils. Mastery of nāḍi-śodhana means to be able to control the nasal passages by the mind alone. This can be cultivated throughout one's asana practice whenever there are left- and right- side versions of a particular pose.

The action of the nostrils is coordinated with the movement: inhalation through the nostril on the same side as the stretch, exhalation on the side that relaxes.

On the manomaya stage one experiences activation of the prāṇa energies moving through the meridiens and they themselves become an object of meditation. Through each of these steps, the position itself is enhanced and a total awareness of the gross body is attained.

The mahā-mudrā includes stimulation of the perineal area (the yoni-sthāna) with the heel, as in siddhāsana. This is an important center from which the kuṇḍalinī starts its journey skyward. Therefore accompanying this mudrā with mūla-bandha, etc., is also a way of entering into the meaning of the posture.

The spinal column and the principle nāḍī in the stretched out leg are aligned and approach one another. The energies are aligned and becoming increasingly charged by their proximity. This becomes a way of energizing the back also, which is the second great place of work in āsana.

For Gorakshanath, padmāsana means baddha-padmāsana, which includes grasping the feet by the hands, the arms being criss-crossed behind the back. This posture is only moderately useful as a meditational pose, but it has definite usage for the performance of the principal bandhas, or bandha- traya.

The fifth of the mudrās, khecarī, or rolling the tongue inward to the roof of the mouth (if one is not game for the whole cutting the ligament thing) should be considered an essential companion of the yogi. You do it all the time, except when you speak or eat or have some other use for the tongue. The spot where the tip of the tongue touches the roof of the palate is also a great dhāraṇā.

The siddhāsana, then, is the meditation posture par excellence, but you can also use it for mudrās, etc. Padmāsana without the binding is also an excellent posture for meditation, but it is best for some of the mudrā practices and śakti-cālana.


In my practice, śakti-cālana is very much based on a combination of physical and breath work.

The cycle consists of

1. Kapālabhāti
2. Bhastrikā
3. Recaka and kumbhaka on the recaka, with uḍḍīyana and jālandhara-mudrā.
4. Inhalation slowly and completely, first bending the head back until the chest is also full, then returning to bandha-traya kumbhaka on the pūraka.
5. One breathes normally with focus on the ājñā-cakra.

The haṭha-yoga and rāja-yoga practices delineated by Patanjali are the hardware, bhakti is the software. By this I mean that the internal means – mantras, dhyānas, etc. – should always be in line with your particular iṣṭadeva, which in my case means Vaishnavism.

All movements are accompanied by mantra. I use one mantra for long inhalations, a different one for long exhalations. Short bursts like in kapālabhāti and bhastrikā, I use Radhe on the exhale, Shyama on the inhale. One has to learn to coordinate these, but when one manages that, it adds great strength to the practice. It also gradually gives an increasing mental focus.

One should not be afraid of recognizing that the entire exercise of śakti-cālana is one that engages the sexual organs. The entire yogic practice, but particularly that of haṭha-yoga, can be seen as a redirecting of the sexual and other energies – the sexual principle being dominant over all others like an emperor over satraps. In this way, pratyahara has a physical dimension.

The exercise known as vajroli, though often dramatized, means pulling the muscles in the genital upward. This gives a certain sexual stimulation, but one that is experienced inwardly. When this has been mastered in slow motion, it can be increased in tempo followed by same cycle of recaka, kumbhaka, pūraka and kumbhaka. This is tremendously forceful in energizing the spinal column.

The spinal column

The spinal column is, as stated, the other place that has to be observed. All the other 84 lakhs of āsanas are perhaps most concerned with the strength and flexibility of the spine. For the kuṇḍalinī to rise, the spine must be free of blockages, by which I mean irregular alignment. The basic alignment in Gītā is said to be back, neck and head. This can be said to correspond to the lower back, upper back and neck, which are the loci of the granthis.

The back gets tired when we sit for long times because of incorrect alignments. The first of these is the most important, as it is situated at the kanda-sthāna.

The kanda-sthāna is in the lower back where the spine curves forward before turning upwards. It moves away from the mūlādhāra and towards the svādhiṣṭhāna, passing over the yoni sthāna, which is the seat of the kuṇḍalinī.

The kanda is also named by Goraksha as a site of the kuṇḍalinī, which I call the second stage in its rising, where it gets boosterized. When the kuṇḍalinī is awakened at the kanda-sthāna it explodes with energy and shoots upwards, but this only happens after a fairly long practice. What needs to be watched by the practitioner is that the curve of the lower back is pressed down as far as possible and can be sustained. Bhujaṅgāsana, śalabhāsana, setubandhāsana and many others are essential for working the lower back.

This then is the first place the kuṇḍalinī gets blocked (granthi). Once the posture has been corrected in the lower back, the other action of the bandhas will allow that energy impulse to carry upward.

The next spot where there is a granthi is between the shoulder blades. Without this, the neck will not be straight. Those who hunch forward are likely to feel discomfort quickly when sitting in meditation. Āsanas that work this area are shoulder and arm rotations, gomukhāsana, i.e., grabbing the two hands behind the back, one arm elbow up over the shoulder and the other coming around the lower back, and matsyāsana, i.e., lying on the back and lifting the shoulders up resting on the elbows, while curving the neck back so that the crown of the head lightly touches the floor; cobra is also good. Most of these are also very good for the neck.

The neck also has the tendency to bend forward which can cause it to get sore after a long period of sitting. One should practice the joints and glands movements for the neck, and never do jālandhara-bandha without doing the counter pose of bending the neck back and the chin up stretch which taking a deep breath.

So these are basically all exercises that you can do without getting up from your āsana. Which is precisely the point. If you want āsana-siddhi, you have to map out the time period of four hours in which to remain fixed in your āsana without getting up. Then as you master the techniques, as the back muscles and spine become both strong and flexible, the body will (a) feel so good you can't stand it (when you pay attention) and will leave your mind completely free to pursue its own activities without creating a disturbance.

The Yoga-sūtra has the following,
47: Āsana is accomplished] through relaxation of effort and coalescence with the Infinite. 48 When āsana is accomplished [all other aṅgas follow], then one is no longer impeded by pairs of opposites.
The two above properties of relaxation of effort and fixing one's attention on the Infinite are related to exhalation and inhalation.

Really, āsana can only be mastered through samādhi. So whatever else one does in one's āsana practice, one has to build up the micromoments where the self is fixed in the Self.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

100 Useful Terms from Hari-nama-cintamani

abhidheya—Literally “what is to be defined.” The second of three aspects of Gaudiya Vaishnava theology: what must be done. One who understands the principles of sambandha (q.v.) experiences a moral imperative to act on that knowledge. This is devotional service in all its aspects, or as in HNC 3.18, nāmānuśīlana, “the cultivation of the Holy Name.” (ch. 2)

adhikāra—(1) aptitude, inclination or tendency; (2) qualification; (3) rights, ownership, entitlement; (4) authority (HNC 15). The adhikāra for devotional service is explained in Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.14-15.

adhikārī—(1) One qualified for a particular spiritual path. (2) A person authorized to act on behalf of someone else.

ājñā—“order, permission”; The seventh of the eleven aspects of the spiritual identity. From Jaiva Dharma, p. 592: “Orders are of two kinds: nitya (regular) and naimittika (occasional). The merciful sakhi orders you to engage in a certain regular (nitya) service, which you must execute without fail whenever needed throughout the day. Sometimes, the sakhi may tell you to perform some other service according to needs that may arise at the moment. These are naimittika orders. These too should be carefully carried out.”

ālambana—Literally “prop, support.” One of the fundamental ingredients for rasa; a subcategory of the vibhāvas. In traditional Sanskrit poetics, it refers to the persons in the play or poem who are the beloved object (viṣaya) and the character whose love is the principal subject of description (āśraya). In devotional rasa, it refers to Krishna as the object, and the devotee as subject.

anartha—“contamination, obstacle”. The term derives from artha “value”, i.e., a “non-value.” I have often left this word untranslated. On the fourth stage of devotional advancement, the various obstacles to spiritual progress, such as one’s past karma, other desires, etc., manifest. These are fully explained in Bhajana-rahasya 2.7ff.

anusmṛti—constant recollection; also elsewhere called dhruvānusmṛti. Jiva Goswami refers to Ramanuja’s commentary on Vs. 1.1.1. HNC 15.93.

āpana-daśā—The stage of appropriation. The stage in bhāva-sādhana where one makes the spiritual identity one’s own. Also called bhāvāpana-daśā and svarūpa-siddhi. From Jaiva Dharma (602): “First chant the Holy Name with enthusiasm. Then add a feeling of ownership to this enthusiasm. Then add a feeling of intimacy to this sense of ownership. Then, as your attitude becomes purified, you will come to the stage where you fully appropriate the eleven aspects of your spiritual identity, or bhāvāpana-daśā. Throughout the stage of remembering, one has only superimposed the spiritual identity on himself. At the stage of appropriation, however, pure identification with the spiritual body is attained.”

artha-pravṛtti—A term used by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur to mean a positive engagement in meditation on Krishna, in distinction to anartha-nivṛtti, which is the work one does on eliminating the obstacles and negative elements of one’s character in devotional practice.

asat-tṛṣṇā—“hankering for the impermanent.” One of the anarthas described in HNC 3.13 and Bhajana-rahasya 2.9: “Inauspicious desires for this-worldly or next-worldly pleasures, mystic powers and liberation are the four kinds of asat-tṛṣṇā.”

āśraya-tattva— An eternal associate of the Lord who is the divine shelter principle for the conditioned souls. The jiva must take shelter of a rāgānugā devotee in his specific rasa to enter the eternal pastimes of the Lord.

āśraya-vigraha—Radharani, the ultimate source of all devotion and therefore the original “reservoir of love” for Krishna.

aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā—“pastimes in the eight parts of the day; the Lord’s daily cycle of pastimes; or circadian pastimes.” According to Bhaktivinoda Thakur, this is one of the aspects of bhāva-tattva. Outlines of this līlā can be found in the Sanat-kumāra-saṁhitā, which is quoted in full in Jaiva Dharma and Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta, and in the Smaraṇa-maṅgala-stotra, which is given as the last verse of each chapter of Bhajana-rahasya, and in Saṅkalpa-kalpa-druma.

audāsīnya—“indifference, apathy” The first of the three kinds of carelessness in chanting. See HNC 12.

bahirmukha—Literally, “face outside.” Used for one who is “facing away from” or has “turned his back” on Krishna. Other translations: disinterested, estranged, excluded, worldly minded, extroverted, etc. Synonym, vimukha. The opposite is antarmukha (“introverted”) or –unmukha (“turned towards”), as in kṛṣṇonmukha, bhajanonmukha, sevonmukha, etc.

bhajana—This is often translated as “worship,” but this translation is fairly inadequate. It in fact indicates direct devotional service, but particularly as manifest through meditative chanting of the Holy Names.

bhajana-naipuṇya— “Expertise in bhajan means quickly removing anarthas by diligent practice and through the blessings of the spiritual master.” (sādhana-yogenācārya-prasādena ca tūrṇaṁ tad-apanayanam eva bhajana-naipuṇyam, Āmnāya-sūtra 75).

bhakti—Devotion; the affective path to realizing the Supreme Truth; the constitutional function of the living being to serve Krishna. Bhakti is of three types: sādhanā-bhakti, bhāva-bhakti and prema-bhakti (q.v.).

bhāva—(1) state, condition; (2) emotion, feeling, mood; (3) the first level of spiritual perfection, at which stage one’s relation with Krishna is firmly established (bhāva-bhakti); (4) the different attitudes in relation with Krishna (sthāyi-bhāvas, q.v.) as well as some of the other ingredients in the makeup of rasa (vyabhicāri-bhāvas, sāttvika-bhāvas, q.v.) (HNC 15.28); (5) the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha (ekādaśa-bhāva, q.v.). (6) “thought” = bhāvanā.

The word bhāva derives from the verb “to be or become”; its basic meaning is thus “state.” Since this can be a state of being or a state of emotions, the word can also be translated as “feeling” or “emotion.” This is the usual understanding when we talk about reaching the spiritual level called bhāva (Bhajana-rahasya 1.3.1), at which stage one is said to first experience involuntary ecstatic symptoms (sāttvikas). Thus some translate bhāva as ecstasy. However, when Bhaktivinoda Thakur speaks about the bhāva-mārga (q.v.) or bhāvāpana-daśā or bhāva-sādhanā, or nija-bhāva (“one’s own bhāva”), he is refering to the eternal spiritual identity. There is a clear connection between these two:

The stage of bhāva is clearly identified with rati by Rupa Goswami. Thus, attaining one’s spiritual identity in svarūpa-siddhi is (i.e. āpana-daśā is simultaneously bhāva.). Thus bhāva-sādhanā means the specific cultivation of one’s spiritual identity.

bhāva-mārga—“the path of cultivating one’s spiritual identity” (Others have translated as “the path of ecstasy, or ecstatic love”). In Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta (p.314), Bhaktivinoda also uses the term bhāvanā-mārga, “the path of contemplation” where he defines bhāvanā as siddha-deha-bhāvanā: “While still in this body, the practitioner serves in Krishna’s daily pastimes in his mind and, upon arriving at the point of svarūpa-siddhi, identifies completely with this spiritual identity.” He then goes on to explain how to think of that body. Synonym: bhāva-sādhanā, “cultivating the spiritual identity.”

bhāvāpana-daśā—See āpana-daśā.

bhāva-sevā—“mental service.” HNC chapter 14.

bhāva-tattva—Bhaktivinoda Thakur divides into two categories : the sādhaka’s ekādaśa-bhāva and kṛṣṇa-līlā. The first of these is related to the process, the latter to the goal.

dhāraṇā—(1) The sixth of the eight parts of the Patanjali yoga system. (2) The second of the stages of smaraṇa on the bhāva-mārga. “self-reminding.” On this stage one works at attaining steadiness in remembering. HNC 15.93.

dhruvānusmṛti—See anusmṛti.

dhyāna—“meditation.” The sixth of the eight parts of the Patanjali yoga system and third of the five stages of smaraṇa on the bhāva-mārga. See HNC 15.93.

ekādaśa-bhāva—The eleven aspects of the devotee’s spiritual form, in which she performs mental service to the Divine Couple. These are described in chapter 15, and are originally found in a verse in Gopal Guru Goswami’s Paddhati. For supplementary descriptions, one can look to Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta, p. 315ff.

guṇa—“quality”; (1) the three qualities or modes of material nature: passion (rajas), goodness (sattva) and ignorance (tamas). (2) the virtues or qualities of the Lord, which are progressively revealed to the sadhaka through the Holy Name. (3) In Jaiva Dharma (p. 592), Bhaktivinoda Thakur gives this as an alternative to the sixth bhāva of the ekādaśa bhāva: “In order to perform your specific service, you will need expertise in various skills and talents, as well as appropriate personal qualities and garments. The spiritual master will indicate to you what these are.”

hṛdaya-daurbalya—“weakness of heart.” One of the four kinds of anartha mentioned in HNC 3.13 and Bhajana-rahasya 2.11. Includes trivial attachments, fault-finding, envy, and the desire for personal aggrandizement.

jāḍya—“lethargy, sloth.” One of the three categories of inattentiveness. See HNC 12.

jāta rati = bhāva daśā. I have translated as stage of ecstasies. Prema as stage of ecstatic love. Stage of spiritual emotion.

jīve dayā—Compassion for all living beings. Bhaktivinoda wrote about his initiation. “When my spiritual master came and performed the initiation rituals, I became cheerful. From that day on the sin of meat eating vanished from my heart and I began to feel a little compassion toward all beings.”

kaivalya—“aloneness, perfect isolation; absolute unity.” The name given by the Jains and yogis to the state of liberation (see Yoga-sūtra 2.25, 3.50, 3.55). It refers to the state of the individual soul when separated from all material conditioning and situated in perfect isolation (svarūpa-pratiṣṭhā—Yoga-sūtra 4.34).

kāma—(1) “desire, lust”; (2) Eros, Cupid, the god of love; (3) sensual pleasure, i.e. the third of the four goals of human life (See puruṣārtha.). This term is usually limited to material sensual or sexual desire, but is also used to refer to the transcendental erotic love manifested in Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes, where love only takes the appearance of lusty desire. (See Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.285.)

kaniṣṭha adhikārī—A person on the lowest level of eligibility for devotional service; “one whose faith is weak” (Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.19).

kaniṣṭha vaiṣṇava—A neophyte on the devotional path. One who has a purely sectarian mentality, whose accepts the need to serve Krishna, but is unable to recognize His devotees or discriminate between them and non-devotees. See SB 11.2.47 and HNC 4, note 19.

krama—step, in the sense of a step-by-step program. “procedure, gradual path” krame krame means “gradually.”

laukikī śraddhā—“conventional faith.” i.e. faith that is grounded in social convention rather than knowledge of the scriptures, etc. See HNC 3.57.

līlā-smaraṇa—the practice of remembering Krishna’s pastimes, especially in their aṣṭa-kālīya form.

liṅga-deha—“The subtle body.” Liṅga literally means “characteristic sign.” The subtle body contains the subtle aspects of the individual being—his desires and conditioning as well as his accumulated karma. It undergoes changes and evolves, and does not dissipate with the death of the gross body, only coming to an end when the soul’s material condition comes to an end.

lobha—“greed, intense longing, yearning.” This, rather than intellectual conviction or sense of obligation, is the qualification for engaging in rāgānugā bhakti. Jaiva Dharma (599): “When one reaches this particular stage of spiritual advancement, it is absolutely necessary to listen to Hari katha in the proper sequence, hearing the nitya-līlā separately from the naimittika. By so doing, the beauty of Krishna’s pastimes becomes evident and the tendency to engage in rāgānugā bhakti arises in the heart of the hearer. The hearer then thinks, ‘Oh! How wonderful is Subala’s mood of friendship! I would like to serve Krishna in the same mood as he!’ Such a tendency is called lobha.”

madhyama adhikārī—One with the intermediate qualifications for devotional practice, i.e. “one who has limited knowledge of the scriptures, but nevertheless possesses faith.” (Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.18).

madhyama-vaiṣṇava—“the intermediate Vaishnava” described in SB 11.2.44: characterized by four behaviors: love for God, friendship with devotees, compassion for the suffering innocent, and indifference to the atheistic. See HNC chapter 4. Note 20.

mañjarī—lit. “flowerbud.” The name given to a class of Radharani’s friends or sakhis, whose affection for Radha exceeds their devotion to even Krishna, who pride themselves in serving Radharani and organizing and elaborating the loving pastimes of the Divine Couple. They are somewhat younger than Radharani’s other friends, usually between 10 and 12 years old. Rupa Manjari is chief amongst them.

mantra-dhyāna-mayī—Krishna’s pastimes when manifested as a “still picture,” where Krishna and His intimate associates assemble. See HNC 15.45.

markaṭa-vairāgya—“monkey renunciation”; the false renunciation of someone who adopts the dress of a monk while still harboring desires to enjoy sense gratification. The monkey wears no clothes, has no home and eats only fruits and roots, yet it seizes any chance to engage in sexual activity or other sense gratificatory activity. This is the source of the term. See HNC 4.28 and 9.35. From CC 2.16.278.

nāma—Lit. “name.” (1) The Holy Name; (2) One’s name in the siddha-deha, i.e. the third of the eleven aspects of that identity. In Jaiva Dharma, Gopal Guru Goswami states: “After hearing about the activities of the gopis, you develop an attraction for a particular service. The name of the maidservant who is perfectly suited to that service is your name. The name your spiritual master gives you after examining your tendencies is your name eternally. The beautiful girls of Vraja will delight in addressing you by that name.”

nāmābhāsa—Namabhasa. “the semblance”facsimile of the Holy Name” An ābhāsa is like a blurred image. Other translations include “shadow” and “reflection” of the Holy Name. These two words, however, have closer corresponding words in Bengali, chāyā and pratibimba, both of which are used to describe particular kinds of nāmābhāsa. Therefore “semblance” is the best translation. Sarvabhavana has also translated as “the unclarified name.” It is of four kinds, saṅketa, parihāsa, stobha and helā (q.v.), which progressively weaken the effects of the Holy Name. See HNC 3.38 and Jaiva Dharma, chapter 25.

pālya-dāsī—The last of the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha. According to Dhyana Chandra, this refers to the sense of complete surrender to Lalita or another of the intimate friends of Radharani. In Jaiva Dharma (p. 594), Bhaktivinoda Thakur cites Vraja-vilāsa-stava (29) as an example of this bhāva: “May Lalita Devi, who is flooded with the juices of intense love, who has developed a mood of boldness and confidence out of deep affection, who daily assists her beloved Radha and Krishna, who are dearer to her than life itself, in meeting at their place of rendez-vous, and who with great expertise always teaches her girlfriend Radha the art of loving pique, accept me within her own group.”

pañcarātra—“five nights.” One of the two principal approaches to worshiping Vishnu or Krishna, based on ritual and Deity worship.

parākāṣṭhā—“highest aspiration.” The tenth of the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha. It refers to the dream of the manjari to receive a particular special grace from the Divine Couple. In Jaiva Dharma, Bhaktivinoda refers to Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 100 and 102 as examples of parākāṣṭhāśvāsa, e.g.: “O Lord! O nectar moon of Gokula! Your cheerful face is like a blooming lotus flower, O sweetly smiling one, melting with compassion! Please lead me to the place where You and Your beloved enjoy Your delightful loving pastimes.” (100)

parihāsa—jokingly, jest or ridicule. One of the four kinds of nāmābhāsa (q.v.). See HNC 3.38.

pratibimba-nāmābhāsaPratibimba means reflection. Bhaktivinoda Thakur uses this term to signify a chanting of the Holy Name that is rooted in a false or distorted faith, i.e. an understanding of God as an impersonal truth. See HNC 3.56ff.

rāgānugā bhakti—Devotion that is impelled by natural desire rather than by logical argument or external pressure. Such devotion is usually characterized by the desire to follow specific eternal associates of the Lord.

rāgānuga-krama—In the smaraṇa-daśā (q.v.), meditation on the circadian pastimes of the Divine Couple impelled by desire rather than out of a lesser motivation. Not to be confused with rāgānugā bhakti itself, as smaraṇa of the type being discussed there is an anga of rāgānugā bhakti.

rasa—Lit. “juice, sap, nectar” or “taste, flavor,” this word has a long history in Sanskrit poetics. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur innovated “mellows” as a translation and this usage has become current through the widespread publications of Bhaktivedanta Swami. It has usefulness as a totally new usage of the word “mellow” and as such there can be no objection to its use. Scholars often translate the word as “sentiment” or “aesthetic experience.” Some other devotees use “sacred rapture.” All of uses are possible according to the context, but I have prefered to use the original word rasa where the specific devotional experience specific to a particular relationship with Krishna is concerned. The word is not to be confused with rāsa, as in Krishna’s rāsa dance. As a technical term, rasa means the aesthetic or spiritual experience that develops out of a combination of various ingredients, the basis of which is a feeling of love for Krishna. See HNC 15.7 with footnote.

rasika—One who seeks and relishes rasa. The term is used of both the mundane and the transcendental rasas.

rati—Lit. “love”; especially erotic love. The term has specific meaning in aesthetics, however, meaning the same as sthāyi-bhāva (q.v.).

ruci—“taste or inclination,” as in “to have a taste for something” (not like rasa, which means the flavor itself.) (1) Bhaktivinoda defines this as “the tendency that arises out of the merit one has accumulated in the present and previous lives.” In modern terms this would mean the tendencies coming out of one’s religious actions, both through nature and nurture. (2) This is also the name of a state of spiritual advancement, following dedication and preceding attachment, when one starts to experience spontaneous enthusiasm for devotional activities. According to Jiva Goswami (Bhakti-sandarbha 312-314), rāgānugā bhaktas who have not attained the stage of ruci are advised to practice a mixture of rāgānugā (q.v.) and vaidhi bhakti (q.v.), i.e., devotion that is motivated by the positive desire to attain direct service in a particular rasa, or devotion that is motivated by scriptural injunctions and logical arguments.

sahaja—“easy or natural.” See Bhajana-rahasya, Chapter 6.

sahajīyā—(1) A heterodox sect that considers Tantric sexual practices to be the real purport of the Vaishnava scriptures describing the activities of the Divine Couple. Sometimes called Prakrita Sahajiyas. (2) A term used more widely to include all those who have a mundane concept of Krishna’s divine romantic pastimes, or who think that they can attain them without the requisite moral purification.

sahṛdaya—“one who has heart”; the appreciative audience of Sanskrit poetry or dramatic works. The sahṛdaya is a person who has the education and culture to appreciate the subtleties of such works and is also situated in the mode of goodness and thus able to concentrate on what is being said, thus allowing the full force of rasa to manifest in him. (See HNC 15.32 fn.)

sambandha—Literally “relation.” (1) A more accurate translation would be “theology,” “dogma,” or “orthodox doctrine.” Since these words all have strong connotations related to Christianity and its history, we prefer to leave it untranslated. The word is used in a special way by Gaudiya Vaishnavas to include all aspects of metaphysics and general theology and anthropology; i.e. the nature of God, creation and man. In Gaudiya Vaishnavism, sambandha is the first of the three divisions of devotional theology, the other two being abhidheya and prayojana (q.v.). According to Jaiva Dharma (590), “Sambandha is the foundation of all spiritual attainment. One attains a specific final goal based on the relationship one establishes with Krishna.” (2) The first of the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha.

sampatti-daśā—“stage of full possession or fulfilment.” Also called vastu-siddhi. Sampatti means possession, prosperity, welfare, good fortune, success, accomplishment, fulfilment, etc. In Jaiva Dharma (p. 598), prema-sampatti-daśā.

saṅketa—as a name, signal. “when one utters Vishnu’s name but has a material concept of the Lord, or when one uses Vishnu’s name to indicate some other person or thing” (HNC 3.39-42); One of the four kinds of Namabhasa (q.v.). Other translations given are “hint” and “unintentionally.” The latter is erroneous. Saṅketa happens when one uses Krishna’s name to indicate something else, like another person, as happened when Ajamila named his son Narayan.

sevā—“Service.” This is the ninth of the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha. See also bhāva-sevā. “You are a follower of Srimati Radharani. Your service is to serve Her. If she sends you to a secluded place where you meet Krishna, and if He proposes making love to you, you should refuse His proposal. You are Radha’s maidservant, and without Her permission you cannot serve Krishna on your own. Though you love both Radha and Krishna, your love and service to Radha are more important to you than your love and service to Krishna. That is the meaning of the word seva. Serving Sri Radha through the eight periods of the day is your service.” (Jaiva Dharma, 592-3).

śraddhā—faith. The point of entry into devotional life. Divided into pāramarthika and laukika (q.v.).

śikṣā guru—The spiritual teacher in more general terms. There are different kinds of instructing spiritual masters, including those who first show the aspirant the way (vartma-pradarśaka) and those who give more advanced instruction to one who has already been initiated and has embarked on the way (bhajana-śikṣā-guru).

smaraṇa— “remembering, meditation.” (1) One of the nine principles activities of devotional practice. (2) One of the five modes of the smaraṇa-daśā (q.v.), which are described in Bhakti-sandarbha 278. Jiva says “even the briefest seeking out of the object of meditation.” See HNC 15.93: “Simple remembering is the stage where one recalls his spiritual identity in its eleven aspects and its relationship to his service in the circadian pastimes of the Divine Couple. At this point, there is still no constancy in such remembrance, as sometimes one remembers, while at others is distracted.”

smaraṇa-daśā—The third stage of bhāva-sādhanā. This is the essential stage where the practitioner cultivates his identification with spiritual form by meditating on it and his service to the Divine Couple in that form. According to Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta (306): “There are five modes of remembering: smaraṇa, dhyāna, dhāraṇā, dhruvānusmṛti and samādhi [q.v.]. At the stage of remembering, one progresses from Krishna’s name to His form; at the meditational stage (dhyāna), at the dhāraṇā stage one progresses to Krishna’s qualities; at the stage of firm and constant recollection, one remembers Krishna’s pastimes. Then at the stage of trance one enters Krishna’s pastimes and is completely immersed in rasa. This is the stage of āpana-daśā.” Narottam Das Thakur writes in Prema-bhakti-candrikā: smaraṇe bhābibe jāha siddha-dehe pāibe tāhā—“You will achieve at the time of perfection whatever you have been thinking of during your meditation.” Bhaktivinoda Thakur divides remembering into the vaidha-krama and rāgānuga-krama (q.v.).

sphūrti—This word should literally be translated as “hallucination” or “vision.” Other possible translations are “theophany” or “epiphany.” It refers to the sudden appearance or experience of the object of worship to the worshiper. (See HNC 15.37 fn).

śraddhā-nāma—The Holy Name chanted with faith, even by someone who is afflicted by anarthas. HNC 3.47.

śravaṇa-daśā—The first stage of the bhāva-mārga, where one hears the bhāva-tattva from a qualified guru. In Jaiva Dharma (599-600), Bhaktivinoda Thakur gives a wider understanding of the hearing stage as starting with hearing about Krishna. In Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta (305-6): “The joyful stage that comes about when one hears about the spiritual practices and their goal from a qualified teacher is called śravaṇa-daśā. On this stage, one hears all about how to chant the Holy Name without offenses, the process for chanting (praṇālī) and the qualifications to practice it.”

stobha—One of the four kinds of nāmābhāsa (q.v.). Bhaktivinoda explains as “mocking” use of the Holy Name. Vishwanath glosses as meaningless uttering of the Holy Name, i.e., as in making sounds in a song. See HNC 3.37. Sometimes incorrectly given as stoma.

svārasikī līlā—Lit. “coming out of one’s personal taste.” Used as a term to refer to the “moving picture” or “flowing” pastimes of the Lord as they change over the course of the day.

svarūpa-siddhi—“identity perfection,” i.e. full identification with the spiritual body given by the spiritual master. Jaiva Dharma (606): “A person who has attained the stage of bhāvāpana-daśā attains spiritual sight and has a vision of both his sakhi (Lalita) and his yūtheśvarī (Radha). Even though he may also have a vision of Lord Krishna, the master of Goloka, until his subtle material body is at last dissolved and he attains the sampatti-daśā (“the stage of full possession”) he does not experience Him at every moment. When he attains bhāvāpana-daśā, the pure soul has complete control over his gross and subtle material bodies. However, only when he attains Lord Krishna’s complete and full mercy will the soul attain the final spiritual goal, where he completely breaks off all relationship with the material world of five elements.” (HNC 15; Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta, 317)

tattva-bhrama—The first of the four anarthas, “erroneous understanding.” It is of four kinds: of one’s own true identity, that of the supreme, of the means and end of spiritual life, and of what opposes spiritual attainment. (Bhajana-rahasya 2.8)

tattva-vyavadhāna—a “discontinuity of understanding,” i.e., between what the object is and what one thinks it is.

uttama adhikārī. One who knowns the scriptures well, has firm faith and clear determination to practice devotional service. (Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.17).

vaidha-krama—The process leading to perfection followed by a devotee not entirely motivated by spontaneous desire.

vaiṣṇavābhāsa or vaiṣṇava-prāya—“almost a Vaishnava” or “not quite a Vaishnava.” Spoken a little disparagingly of the neophyte devotee. (See kaniṣṭha-vaiṣṇava)

varaṇa-daśā—“The accepting stage.” The second stage of bhāva-sādhana, when after hearing about the spiritual body, one accepts it. See Jaiva Dharma (600-601). In Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta (306): “When one has become worthy, he receives a japa mala that has been imbued with the Holy Name and ecstatic love from the spiritual master; in other words, the stage where the disciple with great satisfaction accepts the pure method of chanting from the spiritual master and is empowered by him to follow it is called varaṇa-daśā.”

vāsa-sthāna—“place of residence.” One of the eleven aspects of the siddha form. It usually refers to a particular kunj by Radha Kund, such as Svananda-sukhada Kunj in the case of Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself. In Jaiva Dharma, p. 592, Goswami says, “Eternal residence in Vraja is called vāsa. You will take birth as a certain gopi in a certain village within the land of Vraja and be married to a certain gopa in another village. Nevertheless, you will be attracted by the sound of Krishna’s flute and go off to follow one of the sakhis to Radha Kund, where you will have a cottage in her personal forest grove. The residence which is established by your spiritual ego-consciousness is your eternal residence.”

vastu-siddhi—“concrete perfection” (Cś 318) After the material body has passed away while one is at the stage of āpana-daśā. Also called sampatti-daśā. The expression sampatti-siddhi is also found in Jaiva Dharma. Ref. to Bhajana-rahasya 1.3.29 and 1.4.12.

vayas—age. The second of the eleven bhāvas or aspects of the siddha-deha. In Jaiva Dharma (p. 591), Gopal Guru Goswami says, “As your relationship with Krishna awakens, a wonderful spiritual form also manifests. In your case it is that of a beautiful girl in Vraja, which will be of an age appropriate to your service. This means adolescence or kaiśora, which is the age between ten and sixteen. It is also known as vayaḥ-sandhi, or the juncture between childhood and adulthood. Thus as you advance in service, your age will increase from ten up to sixteen. Infancy, childhood and old age do not exist for the beautiful girls of Vraja. Therefore you should think of yourself in a spiritual form in the kaiśora age.”

veṣa—apparel, clothing. One of the eleven bhāvas or aspects of the siddha-deha.

yoga-pīṭha—Lit. “The seat of union.” The place where Radha and Krishna meet in Vrindavan and are united with all their friends. The site of the Govindaji temple in Vrindavan.

yūtha—“group, cohort.” See yūtheśvarī. This is one of the eleven aspects of the spiritual identity.

yūtheśvarī (yūtheśvarī)—The different gopis who compete for Krishna’s affection, each of whom have a yūtha, or coterie of sakhis. Of all the yūtheśvarīs, Radharani is the most important. Lalita, Visakha and the other sakhis belong to her group, even though they have the qualities that make them capable of acting as competitors for Krishna’s love.