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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, the northern section.


In the fourth and final quarter of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda discusses the 7 secondary rasas, like pity, anger, disgust and so. There are very few purports, Viśvanātha Cakravartī's ones have already ceased for some time by now. His last ṭīkā was at 3.3.128.

In the fifth wave of the northern sector the sub-rasa of anger, raudra-rasa, is discussed. Some interesting verses here: 4.5.7: "Except for the strong Govardhana Malla (husband of Candravalī) all the inhabitants of Vraja possess the highest stage of rati for Govinda." Jīva Gosvāmī comments: "Govardhana was only the apparent husband of Candrāvalī. He was somewhat notorious as a cowherd of Kamsa, who came to live in Vraja as a stranger. Therefore, he is excluded from being a devotee in this verse....." As far as I remember this is also the only verse which was excluded in the Nectar of Devotion.

Another odd one comes just two verses later: "Those who are responsible for protecting Kṛṣṇa but, because of being absorbed in some service, become careless in their duties are called anavahita (inattentive)." Jīva Gosvāmī comments: "In protecting Kṛṣṇa,  sometimes a devotee becomes inattentive by mental confusion, caused by his absorption in a bhāva relating to Kṛṣṇa.  The devotee cannot put aside that state even though it is extremely detrimental for himself and Kṛṣṇa. This person is called inattentive."

Chapter 8 of the northern section distinguishes friendly from inimical rasas.
Verse 4.8.48 says: "However, the primary rasa for a particular devotee, which manifests in the heart of a devotee by the power of beginningless previous experiences, does not disappear, as the vyabhicārī bhāvas or secondary rasas do." In his ṭīkā, Jīva Gosvāmī writes: anādīty upalakṣaṇaṁ pūrva-siddhatve tātparyam. sañcāri gauṇavad iti vyatireke dṛṣṭāntaḥ yathā sañcāri-gauṇo līno bhavati tathā na mukhyo līno bhavatītyarthaḥ sañcārīvad gauṇavacca netyarthaḥ
Bhānu Swāmī translates: "The word anādi (without beginning) is indicatory only (the Monier Williams dictionary says for the word upalakṣaṇa: "The act of implying something that has not been expressed, implying any analogous object where only one is specified; using a term metaphorically or elliptically or in a generic sense. Jīva often uses the word upalakṣaṇa to indicate the presence of non-literalism, Advaitadas).
Bhānu Swāmī adds, between brackets, "It represents the condition of the eternal associates, but the principle should also apply to those who have achieved a primary rasa by sādhana as well." Bhānu Swāmī then continues the official ṭīkā-translation:"Thus anādi indicates only that the primary rasa has been previously firmly established. It is not like the vyābhicārī bhāvas or secondary rasas. This comparison is used to indicate the difference of the main rasa in the devotee from the others. Though the vyābhicārī bhāvas and secondary rasas disappear, the main primary rasa does not."

The last chapter, 9, deals with rasābhāsa, a semblance of rasa, or just plain 'bad taste'.

In his commentary to verse 18 Jīva Gosvāmī shows that a pratiloma love (high-class girl with low-class boy) is considered bad taste even in the transcendental kingdom of rasa. It is for this reason that the wives of the sacrificing brahmins ultimately failed to get intimate with Kṛṣṇa. vaidagdhyādivirahaityupalakṣaṇaṁ gurutvādīnām, yathā yajñapatnyādiṣu vairūpyam matam.

Concluding: Bhānu Swāmī's translation of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu is the first and only comprehensive English translation because, apart from all the exact verse-translations it also contains all the commentaries and is very accurately and sincerely done. It is also a very honest translation and will make clear, more than any of its English predecessors, perhaps along with Bon Mahārāja's edition, what Rūpa Gosvāmī's purpose was for writing the book.

Thus ends the review of the northern section and thereby of the entire Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu. Edited December 21, 2006 22.10 CET.

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