Another Side of Bhaktivinoda 24: A Few Words About Raganuga Bhakti Sadhana

Gadadhar Pran speaking with Vaishnava Pada Dasji, wirthy discipe of Radha Kund Mahanta Ananta Das Babaji..

After a long hiatus, we are continuing with this great insightful series from Sri Gadadhar Pran Das, who is sharing this very personal document about his long relation with rāgānugā bhakti that began with his initiation by Srila Lalita Prasad Thakur, the son and direct disciple of Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur. For other articles in this series, click here.

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Chapter 24

A Few Words about Rāgānugā Bhakti Sadhana

How can we attain the privilege to serve in Sri Gauranga and Sri Krishna’s nitya līlā? In this chapter we will discuss the sādhana which leads to this supreme goal in Gaudiya Vaishnava dharma.

To help understand the process, the svārasikī līlā that was presented in the last two chapters will be analysed in context with our Vraja Goswamis’ teachings. So to begin, let us examine Rupa Goswami’s following Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu verse, as it sets the standard for rāga mārga sādhana:

kṛṣṇaṁ smaran janaṁ cāsya preṣṭhaṁ nija-samīhitam
tat-tat-kathā-rataś cäsau kuryäd vāsaṁ vraje sadā

Rāgānugā bhaktas should perform smaran of Krishna in the company of His Vraja associates whom they hanker to associate with and eternally serve in the līlā. Such līlā kathā should always be discussed while permanently residing in Vrindavan.

Rasa Analysis

Although this verse imbibes the very essence of Sri Rupa’s teachings, we may wonder, why is this process so rarely taken up by Vaishnavas today? And where can we find the Rūpānugā bhaktas who truly yearn to uncover their eternal relationship with Krishna in the līlā? Rupa advises rāgānugā sādhakas and sādhikās that they always reside in Vrindavan, as this transcendental environment is the most conducive for bhajan. And because the Lord performs His madhura pastimes here, this is also the ideal place to attain His sākṣāt darśana.

By saying Krishna smaraṇa, Rupa indicates that smaraṇa is the main activity in rāgānugā sādhana. Līlā smaraṇa should combine with our nama japa as we meditate on Krishna in the company of His Vraja associates who attract us the most.

Here the question of our personal ruci comes into the picture. Because to attain the Lord’s nitya sevā in the līlā, Rupa stresses that we meditate according to our adopted mood. Thakur Bhaktivinoda says something very wonderful about this:

smaraṇe vicāra eka āche ta sundara |
āpanera yogyasmṛti kara nirantara ||80||
āpanera ayogya smaraṇa yadi haya |
bahu yuga sādhileo siddhi kabhu naya ||81||

In smaraṇa there is a beautiful consideration: You need only to contemplate the līlā scenes and the seva moods that you enjoy meditating upon. Because if you perform smaran that you don’t prefer, siddhi can never be attained. (HNC 15.80-81)

Rasa Analysis

Concerning Sri Rupa’s teachings in this verse, a sensitive matter has come up that needs to be addressed: In a few places in this essay, intimate rati keli scenes have been depicted that some readers may not appreciate. On the other hand, however, there are others who like to read them.

After hearing one devotee’s suggestion to remove these narrations from the book, we did think about it for a while, weighing the pros and cons of following their advice. But after due consideration we just had to let them stay for a few good reasons: First of all Gaudiya Vaishnava literature (in English) that features divine erotic scenes (such as these) hardly exists. Thus we feel that this intimate side of our Vaishnava tradition needs some exposure.

And secondly, if we hear these srngara rasamaya narrations in a mature way from their transcendental point of view (and can appreciate the rasa contained therein) we stand to gain a lot from hearing them.

Let us explain why:

Elsewhere in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Rupa Goswami offers madhura-rasāśrita bhaktas a choice: they can take up either the sambhogecchāmayī process, where one desires to serve Krishna as His consort, or we can choose the tad-bhāvecchātmikā method to serve in mañjarī bhāva. Although Rupa presents both processes neutrally, and lets us choose which method suits our personal ruci, the trend in our current Vaishnava samaja today has become so onesided that bhaktas will be made to feel very uncomfortable if they do not choose manjari bhāva. [We can testify that during our Radhakund tenure if we had ever uttered just once our hidden desire for kanta bhāva our siksa guru would have certainly clobbered us!] We should not be afraid to mention, however, that there is another side of the coin – a side which is very beautiful indeed. And without sampling a few drops of its nectar, how can we ever come to know about this?

After examining Sri Rupa’s Krishnam smaran janan rasija verse, isn’t this what he advises: to always discuss the līlā topics which directly relate to our adopted mood? In the Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Goswami tells how Krishna’s gopi kantas worship Him with their kama, and mentions that this is the best way to attain Him. Then he goes on to say that hearing or reciting such transcendental pastimes our hṛd-roga, or heart disease of material lust, can be destroyed.

So let us consider: Since these loving pastimes are with Svayam Bhagavan, can we dare to say that something impure, unwholesome or wrong is contained within them? Or to speak positively, can we not rightly say that instead of being gross, these narrations are very beautiful, and rather than being despicable they are supremely attractive, and rather than being dirty they are the most pure? I find it ironic that so many Vaishnavas stand opposed to accepting the very process which will lead to our attaining Gaura and Krishna in Their sweetest, most loving feature.

śravaṇera madhye jīvera kona śreśṭha śravaṇa
rādhā kṛṣṇa prema-keli karṇe rasāyana

What is the most rewarding topic to hear? Radha Krishna’s prema-keli is simply nectar for the ears. (CC 2.8.254)

As we continue to discuss Rupa’s Krishnam smaran janan casya verse, its meaning will apply to Gaura līlā as well – since our Gaudiya Mahajanas unanimously agree that Gaura and Krishna are non different. So Rupa’s instruction may be interpreted in this way as well:

Rāgānugā bhaktas should perform smaran of Gauranga in the company of His priya Nabadwip bhaktas whom they hanker to associate with and serve in the līlā. Such līlā katha should always be discussed while residing permanently in Nabadwip.

Now it looks like we are ready to analyse the previous svārasikī meditation. And the priya Gaura bhaktas whom we wish to follow are Vishnupriya, Jahnava and Vamsivadan – who are the leading members of Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s guru parampara in Nabadwip. The story centers around a mahotsava that takes place in our home, and the main event is the Bhagavat Patha that Vamsivadan delivers to Gauranga and His bhakta assembly.

The Setting

To enter this līlā a residence will be required from where everything can begin. And the Gutika provides some interesting maps that show the overall layout of Goloka Nabadwip – where the bhaktas' homes are located – and how the Ganga and Her tributary surround the entire dhama, etc.

Our home is located within Gadadhara’s vast garden abode in the dhama’s south west side, and the Alakananda Ganga’s tributary flows nearby. As Rupa Goswami advises that we follow the Lord’s nitya parshadas to whom we are most attracted, we wish to be closest to Gadadhar Pandit.

And if we stop to think about it, what kind of a home will be an ideal venue for Gaurasundar and His bhaktas to perform His pastimes? Won’t some attractive gardens, a lovely sarovara, and a large family of bhaktas all be required to serve them appropriately?

But in our world, where can we find such a bhakta family? Because if the wife is devoted, the husband may not be so – or it may be the other way around. Then, even if the husband and wife happen to be great devotees, very often their children don’t wish to follow their example. This is when manasi seva can work wonders. Because when meditating on the līlā if we nurture the desire to live in a premika bhakta family, where each of the members is qualified to serve the Lord and His nitya siddha parshadas, Narottam das assures us:

sādhane bhāvibo yāhā, siddha dehe pābo tāhā
rāga pathera ei se upāya

Whatever you contemplate in your sādhana you will attain in your siddha-deha. For this is the process on the rāga mārga. Prema-bhakti-candrikā

Although it is not possible to associate with Gauranga and His līlā associates in our world, it can be done in the mind. So when our mind travels to the unseen world of Gaura līlā and performs service in our mentally conceived siddha deha, this is called mānasī sevā. In his Bhakti Sandarbha, Jiva Goswami reveals what kind of fortune mānasī sevā can bring:

sākṣāt prādurbhūya ātmānaṁ smartur vaśīkarotīty arthaḥ |

For the bhakta who always serves the Lord within the mind (during līlā-smaraṇa) Sri Bhagavan will directly appear, offer Himself, and even remain subjugated by such love!

Jata Rati (Attaining Bhava)

In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Rupa Goswami defines bhāva bhakti as follows:

śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā prema-sūryāṁśa-sāmya-bhāk |
rucibhiś citta-māsṛṇya-kṛd asau bhāva ucyate ||

When the Lord’s special śuddha sattva śakti appears in a bhakta, like the first ray of the prema sun, ruci causes his or her heart to moisten, and become soft. This is the stage called bhāva. (BRS 1.3.1)

Vishwanath Chakravarti comments on this verse in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-bindu as follows:

When bhāva’s main ingredient, the śuddha sattva, enters one’s heart and softens it, sāttvika emotions awaken, this is the sign that prema is beginning to blossom. The śuddha sattva is Sri Bhagavan’s sarva-prakāśinī svarūpa-śakti. Because it has no connection with the Māyā śakti of our world, it can manifest divine miracles and bring about the Lord’s saksat darshan. The term śuddha sattva viśeṣātmā refers to the śuddha sattva that contains the hlādinī śakti, the same śakti that is within Radha, Lalita, Visakha and Rupa Manjari. The only difference is: Bhava is prema’s first awakening which will later increase to the stages of sneha, māna, praṇaya, rāga, anurāga, bhāva and mahā-bhāva.”

Rupa next reminds us: “Bhāva isn’t possible by performing sādhana bhakti alone, it comes by the mercy of Krishna or His premika bhakta. Although sādhana-bhakti is necessary to prepare ourselves for bhāva, only Krishna or His premika bhakta can award it.”

To become eligible for bhāva, Rupa lists nine qualities that we will need to acquire:

1) kṣānti, tranquility, even during calamity;
2) avyarthakālatva, engaging in bhajan full time without wasting a second;
3) virakti, disinterest in worldly pleasure;
4) māna śūnyatā, the absence of pride;
5) āśā-bandha, strong faith that Bhagavan will reveal Himself;
6) samutkaṇṭhā, intense lobha for attaining one’s Ista devata;
7) nāmagāne sadā ruci, eagerness for nāma kīrtana;
8) tad-guṇākhyāne āśakti, zeal for Krishna kathā;
9) tad-vasati-sthale prīti, loving attachment to reside always in Vrindavan (or Nabadwip).

Rasa Analysis

After reading this list, I think to myself: “O my God! It’s not going to be easy to acquire these qualities!”

Yet after hearing about them, let us not think, “Now that we know about this topic, let us go on to the next.” Because, frankly speaking, these nine qualities are so important for all of us. Rupa herein advises us how to reach the goal, what it will take to get there – and he leaves no scope for our cheating whatsoever.

But what often happens to us devotees? After attaining a certain level of Krishna consciousness (or Gaura consciousness) don’t we think that we have made it? And that if we simply continue at this pace we will attain the Lord at the time of death.

This is a great illusion or trap that we often fall into. Because Rupa Goswami’s teachings in his śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā verse tell us what it will take.

We find in Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s guru-paramparā the Mahajana poet Premananda (Premadas Mishra), the author of Vamsi siksa, offering the following realization:

sādhana ekhāne, siddhi o ekhāne, bhāvera gocara sei
jadi tāo dekhite na pāo, marile dekhibe ke?

As sādhana and bhajan takes place in this world, our attaining bhāva and seeing the Lord face to face will happen here too. Otherwise, how will we see Him at the time of death?”

Bhaktivinoda Thakur concludes his Harināma-cintāmaṇi with this advice: Those determined to attain siddhi in a short time will require three things:

1) ideal Vaishnava saṅga
2) a firm vow, and
3) an ideal solitary place for bhajan.

Now someone might ask: Here we are in this temporary material world that is filled with so much illusory pleasure, strife and calamity. So how can conditioned souls such as ourselves become eligible to enter the nitya līlā and serve alongside the Lord’s eternal associates who are all premika bhaktas?

This is something we can practice right now by being there mentally. As the previous svārasikī meditation demonstrates a sādhaka’s personal desires for attaining siddhi, we can practice a svārasikī meditation of our own. And everyone’s meditation will naturally be unique and personal.

Now how is this done? It comes from our lobha. For when we strongly desire to serve in the līlā in a particular way, our svārasikī meditation will automatically come about.

Rupa Goswami labels rāga sādhanalobha pravartita dharma”, a religion that is impelled by hankering. Lobha is a very powerful vehicle, because if we have it, it can transport us to the līlā-rājya, the beautiful world where the Lord’s pastimes are taking place.

Before attempting to perform līlā-smaraṇa, however, Thakura Bhaktivinoda recommends that we complete two preliminary stages first: those of hearing (śravaṇa-daśā) and choosing (varaṇa-daśā).

Śravaṇa-daśā means the stage of hearing. Because to enter the līlā in the right way, which will not be imagination or mental concoction, we need to carefully study all the related līlās and rasa-tattva from our Vraja Goswamis' shastras. And if we are fortunate enoughto learn these topics from an advanced līlā-smaraṇaānandī Vaishnava, that is best.

When the guru awards his qualified disciple’s siddha svarūpa for contemplation in the līlā, this is the stage of accepting, called varaṇa daśā. It is recommended that we receive our siddha svarūpa from a guru who belongs to an unbroken siddha mañjarī paramparā.

Rasa Analysis

When I read how Bhaktivinoda Thakur explained the way the guru awards his disciple’s ekādaśa-bhāva (the eleven items that form his manjari svarupa) in Harināma-cintāmaṇi, I thought to myself: “This is what I have been searching for; this is what I really want!” And this first awakening of lobha led me to the lotus feet of Thakur Bhaktivinoda’s son and disciple, Lalita Prasad Thakur in 1980. Prabhu was merciful and he fulfilled my heart’s ambition.

But in most cases, what usually happens after that? Bhaktas will have no other choice but to leave behind the institution that they previously belonged to. And Caitanya-caritāmṛta predicts exactly such a fate:

sei gopī-bhävämṛte jäìra lobha haya
veda dharma loka tyaji se kṛṣṇere bhajaya
rägänuga-märge täìre bhaje jei jana
sei jana päya vraje vrajendra-nandana

When one’s lobha awakens for the gopis’ bhāvāmṛta sevā, they will naturally have to sidestep other paths of dharma and those who oppose such bhajan. Then by worshiping Krishna on the rāga mārga (in gopī bhāva) they will attain Him in Vraja.

Performing Smaraṇa Sādhana

Now how can we get started? Let’s combine all of the ingredients that we have discussed so far. Just imagine that we have taken shelter of Vrindavan or Nabadwip Dham and have a secluded place where we can come to sit down and peacefully meditate every day. (Those whose bhajan is more focused on Radha Krishna will want to take shelter of Sri Vrindavan, and those who fall in love with Gaura will naturally prefer Nabadwip Dham.

*Here we feel compelled to convey our gratitude to Sriman Mahaprabhu’s ahaitukī kṛpā. Because after wandering aimlessly for many births, He has at last arranged in Sri Mayapura’s Ishodhyan area a secluded kunj where we can take up this ekānta bhajana. In the garden there is a large banyan tree that has a raised vedi around it. When one sits under the shade of this kalpa vṛkṣa, and looks out over the Ganga’s holy stream, one’s mind cannot help but go to Sri Gaurasundar’s madhura līlā.]

In his Navadvīpa-bhāva-taraṅga, Thakura Bhaktivinoda describes Ishodyan:

māyāpura dakṣiṇāṁśe jāhnabīra taṭe
sarasbatī saṅgamera atība nikaṭe
īśodyāna nāma upabana subistāra
sarbadā bhajana sthāna hauka āmāra

ye bane āmāra prabhu śrī śacīnandana
madhyāhna karena līlā laye bhakta gaṇa
bana śobhā heri rādhā kṛṣṇa paḍe mane
se saba sphuruk sadā āmāra nayane

On the Ganga’s bank in Sri Mayapur’s southern section (near the confluence of the Saraswati River) there is a vast garden abode called Ishodyan – let this sacred tirtha be my eternal place of bhajan. My Prabhu Sri Sachinandan comes daily to this picturesque forest with His bhaktas and performs midday pastimes. In seeing these beautiful gardens, Prabhu is reminded of Radha Krishna’s Radhakund līlā. Hence my eyes always crave to see these pastimes.” (NBT 26-27)

Dṛḍha pratijñā (having a firm vow).

If one is fortunate and has lots of sukṛti a time will come in their life when he or she will wish to put everything aside to fully concentrate on attaining the Lord’s saksat darshan. Siddha Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja was an example of this, for he once performed an intense nama vrata and attained this goal. Such strong determination is called dṛḍha pratijñā.

Those who take up such a vow will no longer wish to move about – to go on parikramā, to attend festivals or to visit various holy places. Narottama Das Thakur supports such a stand when he advises:

tīrtha yātrā pariśrama kebala manera bhrama
sarba siddhi gobindera caraṇa

The painstaking trouble to visit holy tirthas arises from a restless mind. Because by fixing our mind on Sri Govinda’s lotus feet (when sitting down to perform resolute bhajan) sarva siddhi (all perfection) can be attained. (Prema-bhakti-candrikā)

Rasa Analysis

Here someone could argue: “Going on parikrama, visiting temples, and attending Vaishnava festivals, etc, will all increase our bhakti, so why should these things be omitted?” Yes, this is true, but only up to a certain stage. For there is a saying in Bengal:

bahire ghurile bāro, ghare basile tero

By wandering about here and there you can gain a lot -- 12 points. But if you just sit down at home – you’ll get 13.

Now for a bhakta, what does this mean?

By visiting holy places, attending festivals, going on parikramā and so on, one will benefit no doubt, but only after taking up ekānta bhajana can one attain siddhi.

Avyartha-kālatva, Engaging full time in bhajan

As our desire gets stronger to attain the goal, this stage will come automatically when ruci awakens in the heart. Because like an addiction one will hanker to always perform līlā-smaraṇa with japa. And it will be the Lord’s mercy which will allow smaran to flow like a current of nectar, as one becomes more and more enlivened. This is the sign that an even greater fortune soon awaits.

Svarūpa āveśa bhajanera mūla: Deep absorption in our siddha-svarūpa is the basis of bhajan.

It is not that we will simply observe the līlā in our meditation like a spectator – rather, we are to take part in it as an active participant. So the art to remember always who we want to become in Gaura and Krishna līlā (and the deep absorption in that svarupa) is the very foundation of rāga mārga sādhana. For what does it mean to be self realized? Wouldn’t one then have a clear understanding of what he would like, what he will do, where he will live, and with whom he will associate in the spiritual world? And all of these things can be known for those who perform smaran sādhana on a daily basis with lobha.

Māna śūnyatā, to be free from pride

After becoming advanced in bhajan one will naturally gain lots of realization. But if this leads to pride, everything will become spoilt. It is said, ahaṅkāra patanera mūla, “Pride is the main cause of fall down.”

Let us try to imbibe Srila Kaviraja Goswami’s following śikśā:

uttama haïā vaiṣṇava habe nirabhimāna
jībe sammāna dibe jāni kṛṣṇa adhiṣṭhāna
ei mata haïā yei kṛṣṇa nāma laya
śrī kṛṣṇa caraṇe tāṅra prema upajaya

As a Vaishnava becomes uttama (exemplary) he should become prideless and give all respect to others – knowing that Krishna resides in everyone’s heart. Those who chant Krishna’s names in this way will attain prema for Him. (CC Antya 20.25,26)

Of the nine qualities that Rupa Goswami says we will need to acquire to become eligible for bhāva, āśā-bandha, a strong conviction that the Lord will reveal Himself, and samutkaṇṭhā, intense lobha for attaining our iṣṭa-devatā can prove to be the greatest factors which will bring about the Lord’s sākṣāt darśana. So let us see how they can work together. Two Examples

The first example centers around an utkaṇṭhitā nāyikā, whom Rupa Goswami describes as follows:

“When Krishna is late to arrive at the scheduled meeting place, the heroine who starts to feel viraha, although she strongly yearns to unite with Him, is called utkanthita by the rasa panditas. Her symptoms include trembling, feelings of doubt, heart pain, and tears – as she repeatedly inquires from her sakhis into the reason for Krishna’s delay.” (Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Nāyikā-bheda, 43)

Just try and picture the scene: Radha is waiting for Krishna in the kunja, but He hasn’t shown up on time. So as Her impatience mounts, what happens next?

pare pātera opare pata bhuji ailena prāṇanātha

“A leaf falls and Radha suddenly horripilates – thinking that Krishna has arrived!”

But when looking to the path, no one is there! Then She inquires: “O Lalite, have you brought the camphorized rose water for washing Krishna’s lotus feet?”

“Yes sakhi, it is here”, she answers. As time passes, Radha’s impatience increases. She goes to check the path and inquires: “O Visakhe! Why is Krishna so late? Can you go and see if He is coming?”

After checking, Vishakha returns to reply, “O sakhi, be patient, Krishna will be arriving at any moment.”

Radha then goes to lie down – but She instantly gets up again to exclaim: “O sakhi, I can’t relax! What shall I do?”

Nothing can relieve Radha’s tension. While breathing heavily She pouts in a soft indistinct voice: Uhu mori! “O sakhi. I’m dying for want of Shyam!”

Rasa Analysis

Let us examine this scene from the manjaris’ standpoint. And as we do so just imagine for a moment that we are meditating on this līlā while chanting japa in a secluded place.

As Radha become utkaṇṭhitā and greatly yearns for Shyam’s darshan, that yearning can be felt to some extent by those who become one in consciousness with Her. And because the manjaris love Radha more than their very life, it is only natural that they experience Her feelings and emotions – in the same way and with the same intensity She does.

But at last Shyam appears; He comes out from behind the bushes to surprise Radha! Then as He tightly embraces Her and softly kisses Her cheek – the mañjarī bhāva sādhaka and sādhikās who envision this līlā can also horripilate – just as Radha does! But what is more, if intense feelings of āśā-bandha and samutkaṇṭhā awaken during this meditation, rati can even be invoked (the Lord’s śuddha sattva) which will bring about the madhura darśa a of this līlā!

In the second example, to add some contrast to the rasa, let us now focus on kāntā bhāva. The following scene is a simple meditation that often comes to mind when we sit under the shade of “Kailasa” (the banyan kalpa-vṛkṣa that rests beside the Ganga in our kunj). Since many Mahajanas describe in their padāvali that our Gauranga nāgara is a rasa-sāgara (ocean of romantic love), and a great rasika, what will it take to attract His mind? Wouldn’t we need to become a sundarī kiśorī vallabhā of Nabadwip who has a deep fascination for His beauty?

In the rasa śāstra it is said: rūpa ākarṣaṇa madhura rasera utpatti. “Madhura rasa is born from our stirring attraction for Sri Bhagavan’s beautiful form.”

So why should we not wish to meditate on our siddha deha as being very sensuous and attractive, as Srila Kaviraj Goswami gives assurance in Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

kāntā bhāve nijāṅga diyā karena sevana

“In kāntā bhāva the consort offers her beautiful body in sevā to the Lord.” (CC Madhya 19.231)

To begin the meditation, let us envision the setting: In Ishodhyan’s vast garden abode there is a kadamba forest where the trees’ branches are so overloaded with fragrant flowers that they bow to the ground. Hence intoxicated honey bees are buzzing hither and thither as they extract the flowers’ madhu.

While heading for a secluded bathing ghat in a corner of this forest we carry a golden water jug over our hip. And upon arriving at the Ganga’s shore, we enter a jewelled pavilion to change into our thin white snāna vastra. The pavilion is amazing inside. The walls, the ceiling and the floor are all fitted with golden mirrors. So it’s elating to see our glamorous bodily splendor cast in every direction!

As we descend down the gem steps to the water’s edge, we get the feeling that someone must be watching us. But as we look here and there and see no one in sight. After taking our bath and returning to the pavilion, we shut the door and start removing our wet bathing clothes. But when we look up – there is Gaurasundara!

Now we could describe our rati līlā that is about to begin with the Rasaraja. But instead, let us try something different: If there are some readers who might wish to, let them place themselves in this scene. What we suggest is not for the disinclined, but for those who might have a rasika heart and who would yearn to serve the Jagat pati with their incredible beauty – a kind of seva that He enjoys the most. And this is an activity that Caitanya-caritāmṛta highly praises:

paripūrṇa kṛṣṇa prāpti ei prema haite
ei preme baśa kṛṣṇa kahe bhāgavate

To serve the Lord in kanta bhāva is the most complete way to attain Krishna (or Gauranga). For the Lord becomes subjugated by such love as it is described in the Bhagavatam. (CC Madhya 8)

Rupa Goswami has specifically written Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi for bhaktas who wish to unite with Sri Bhagavan – as the chance is being provided here. He tells about 360 different kinds of heroines. And at this instance which nāyikā bhāva would be appropriate to choose? There are two basic categories, the vāmā and dakṣiṇā nāyikās. If we are bama, we will try to resist the Lord and play hard to get. If we choose to be dakṣiṇā, we will submissively surrender, and let Him enjoy us according to His wish.

Then there are two different extremes among the 360 types of heroines: If we are pragalbhā, we will control the situation on our own terms, and even be in a position to give Him prema siksa! But on the other end of the spectrum, there are the mr̥dvī nāyikās, who are younger, shy and very novice concerning the art of rati krīḍā.

Readers, at this instance, we wish you a happy and pleasurable meditation.

Returning to the topic of āśā-bandha and samutkaṇṭhā, it is scenes like this one that give us an excellent opportunity to pray with all our might for the Lord’s darshan. For if one is very determined and has an overriding strong faith that He will reciprocate – then why wouldn’t He?

For other articles in this series, click here.