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Thursday, December 07, 2006

vibhāva and anubhāva

Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, second, southern sector: 'Defining the components of rasa'

This sector is subdivided in five waves: vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas.

The first chapter is huge, 384 verses, but there are hardly any comments on it, probably because the points and their illustrations are simple and obvious. In this way the review of a lengthy chapter remains relatively short. In sharp contrast to the huge vibhāva chapter, the following chapter, dealing with anubhāva, is only 21 verses long and requires no separate review. This blog reviews chapters 1 and 2, but actually only really chapter 1.

Jīva interestingly comments on verse 2.1.5 that "rati is an inclusive term, indicating as well prema, praṇaya and other stages up to mahābhāva. That is because of rati's extraordinary form." That means we must read carefully what Rūpa Gosvāmī means each time he uses the word rati, and especially peruse Jīva Gosvāmī's ṭīkās to such verses. In the next verse Jīva comments: "Even though there are impressions in this life for giving rise to rasa from the presence of rati in this life, it is necessary to seek out impressions from previous lives as well to explain the occurrence of rasa. This distinction between past life experiences of rati and present life experiences applies to those persons subject to disappearance (and not the nitya siddhas). This is the rule for most cases discussed in the book. The import is that rati has to be intense for bhakti rasa to appear."

Verses 2.1.7-10 are often quoted as 'adhikāra for relishing bhakti rasa in a nutshell." Jīva Gosvāmī's commentary is interesting: "Four verses explain the role of sādhana, the assisting factors, and the way in which rasa appears. The description of sādhana ends with the eighth verse. The assisting factors are the two saṁskāras, past and present life impressions of bhakti, mentioned after that (saṁskāra yugalojjvalā). The way in which rasa develops is explained starting from the second half of verse nine (niyamānā tu rasyatām). After being purified of all faults, a person becomes eligible for the appearance of śuddha sattva viśeṣa (hlādinī), indicated by the word prasanna (joyous). By that, he becomes equipped with all knowledge (samvit), indicated by the word ujjvala (bright). gatair anubhavādhvani (within the path of spiritual realisation) means that the ingredients of rasa such as vibhāva are dependent only on spiritual realisation, not on being an expert poet, as is the case with material rasa.

In his comment to verse 160, Jīva says: kavi samayānusārena narma-mayam eva na tu vastutaḥ "This is a playful image according to poetic usage, rather than a description of actual events." Another reminder that śāstra can be either poetry or literalism. (We must of course take care to follow the ācāryas' comments to separate fact from poetry).

In verse 188, Jīva reveals that the famous five types of suffering we have learnt of in Mādhurya Kādambinī, namely avidyā, asmitā, rāga, dveṣa and abhiniveśa (which Bhānu Swāmī translates as 'clinging to life'), originate from the Yoga-sūtra of Patañjali (2.3).

In verse 246 Rūpa Gosvāmī quotes from the Vaiṣṇava Tantra that Kṛṣṇa is without the 18 faults, and lists these 18 faults in the following two verses, but Jīva Gosvāmī comments there: "These same bad qualities are considered good qualities in Kṛṣṇa in relation to the devotees' prema." Then he shows that Kṛṣṇa's moha takes place when He loses the calves and the boys in the Brahma vimohan lila (SB 10.13.16). Sleep is illustrated in 10.15.16 where Kṛṣṇa falls asleep after fighting with the boys, error (bhrama) takes place in S.B. 10.8.22 where Kṛṣṇa as a toddler follows other people instead of His mother, fickleness (lolatā) becomes a virtue described in 10.8.29 which gives a long list of Kṛṣṇa's fickle pranks, intoxication (mada) is shown in 10.35.24 where Kṛṣṇa's eyes 'roll slightly as if from intoxication while respectfully greeting His friends", envy (mātsarya) is illustrated in 10.25.16, in which Kṛṣṇa challenges the raingod Indra, Kṛṣṇa lies to his mother in 10.8.35, where he flatly denies having eaten clay, anger (krodha) is displayed in 10.9.4 where Kṛṣṇa stops mother Yaśodā from churning butter, worry (āśaṅkā) is displayed when Kṛṣṇa lost the calves and boys to Brahmā in S.B. 10.13.17, prejudice (cronyism or viṣamatvam) when Kṛṣṇa declared in Bhagavad Gītā 9.29 that, although he is equal to all, he still favors His devotees, and dependency on others (parāpekṣā) takes place when He declares in S.B. 9.4.63 ahaṁ bhaktāparādhīno, that he is controlled by His devotees. Therefore it is said in the Bhāgavata (10.77.31): 'How can lamentation, bewilderment, material affection or fear, all born out of ignorance, be ascribed to the infinite Supreme Lord, whose perception, knowledge and power are all similarly infinite?"

Verse 305 and comment are fascinating. The verse reads: 'Though these bodily qualities are included in Kṛṣṇa's svarūpa, accepting them as separate from the svarūpa,  they are called uddīpanas (incitements)." Jīva's commentary: "Because they are qualities of the svarūpa,  they are included in the svarūpa (gunāh svarūpam). But the qualities are also accepted as different. When one thinks that Kṛṣṇa has a beautiful body, then the beautiful body is the ālambana with the emphasis on Kṛṣṇa.  But when we think of the beauty of the body of Kṛṣṇa,  the emphasis is on the beauty, which becomes uddīpana." Another wonderful way to experience acintya bhedābheda.

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