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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Prema Bhakti

Prema bhakti

Fourth and final chapter of the eastern sector of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu

This may well be the shortest chapter in the whole book (21 verses only), though it describes the highest goal of life. Of course, there are three more sectors in the book coming up, so no lack of explanation of prema prayojana.

Viśvanātha Cakravartī makes an impressive opening comment to the chapter, 1.4.1, which I will quote (almost) in its entirety: "A doubt now arises: If bhāva is the cause of prema, and if it transforms itself into prema, it is called the material cause of prema according to Sankhya philosophy. Then bhāva must give up its previous state and transform into prema. The effect cannot exist independently of the cause. It is similar to raw liquid sugar, which gives up its first state and becomes solid raw sugar. When the solid raw sugar appears, the raw liquid sugar no longer has a separate existence. The solid raw sugar then becomes white sugar, and then refined sugar. When the refined sugar exists, then liquid raw sugar, solid raw sugar and white sugar no longer exist. In this case also, bhāva becomes prema, and thus bhāva should no longer exist. When prema becomes sneha and sneha becomes rāga, then prema and sneha should both disappear, and only rāga should remain. Moreover, if the highest state of mahā-bhāva appears in Rādhā and others, then all the previous states should disappear. This is not true. bhāva becomes prema without giving up its previous state, because of the acintya śakti present in rati, prema, sneha, rāga, māna, pranaya, anurāga and mahābhāva, which are the supreme transformations of the hlādinī śakti. Thus, bhāva exists separately from prema. An example is given: The bālya body of Kṛṣṇa attains a little more sweetness and attains the paugaṇḍa state, but without giving up the bālya state. The paugaṇḍa body then attains more excellence and becomes the kaiśora body, without giving up the previous condition...... This is because all the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa during all His ages with all His bodies are eternal. When Kṛṣṇa enters His paugaṇḍa body, the bālya body disappears, and then appears in the universe in which His bālya pastimes are about to begin. The bālya body appears wherever the bālya pastimes begin, in the Vṛndāvana within a particular universe......among those who have bhāva prema and sthāyi bhāvas, when a particular sthāyi bhāva appears in a devotee under particular conditions or causes, one should understand that the older bhāvas are present in the devotee, but in unmanifest forms (they are not destroyed). Similarly, among material persons who have anger, lust and other emotions, when one emotion among them surfaces, the others still exist, but in the form of impressions.

Verses 6 and 7-8 then again patiently show that bhāva occurs in a parallel manner in both vaidhi (verse 6, the famous Bhāgavat verse evam vratah sva priya nāma kīrtya), and in verse 7-8,about the celibate girl Candrakānti. Jīva Gosvāmī comments on verse 6: "By following the rules of vaidhi sādhana bhakti, vaidha bhāva appears. From that vaidha bhāva appears a corresponding prema."

The end of Jīva Gosvāmī's ṭīkā to the famous 'ādau śraddhā' verses (1.4.15-16) is interesting too. He calls niṣṭhā 'continuous bhakti without confusion', ruci 'desire for the Lord, but with direction by the intellect', and āsakti 'desire which is natural or spontaneous (without intellectual direction)."

Thus ends the review of the fourth chapter of the Eastern sector of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, and with it of the entire eastern sector, describing the types of bhakti.

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