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Monday, December 25, 2006

Compassion - astonishing bliss

I recently found another very noteworthy commentary on Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, that I forgot to include in the blog reviewing its section. Verse 2.5.105 describes the incomparible bliss the devotee feels when he perceives the happiness of others. Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments: sva-para bhedenānirṇaye'pi sati yadā parakīya duhkādayaḥ svīyatiyā sphuranto'pi te prauḍhānanda camatkāra carvanām eva tanvate prakāśayanti : "Two verses (105-6) describe another facet of rati's incomprehensibility. When the suffering of other persons become the devotee's own suffering by not distinguishing himself from the character in the drama or poetic work, that suffering also produces a taste of astonishing bliss."

Then he quotes SB 2.2.27: "In that planet Satyaloka, there is neither bereavement, nor old age nor death. There is no pain of any kind, and therefore there are no anxieties, save that sometimes, due to consciousness, there is a feeling of compassion for those unaware of the process of devotional service, and who are subjected to unsurpassable miseries in the material world."

Visvanātha: "There is no fear or suffering except for suffering from the heart, because there is a feeling of compassion for the endless suffering of saṁsāra of those who do not know about bhakti. But that display of suffering, which arises in the hearts of the śānta bhaktas in Lord Brahmā's assembly in Satyaloka, for those caught in samsāra, also reveals deep bliss."

Then he quotes Prahlāda (SB 7.9.44): 'My dear Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone....."

Later, Viśvanātha continues: "As well in the Ninth Canto, Rantideva is famous for his desire to deliver others from suffering. Therefore the appearance of unhappiness in the hearts of these devotees is actually a form of the highest bliss, not a direct experience of suffering, because it is an established fact that the cause of material suffering is previous and present commission of sin. Where is the question of sin for these devotees, by remembrance of whom others become free from sin?" To illustrate, he quotes SB 1.19.33 "Simply by remembering you, our houses become instantly sanctified......"

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.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Primary Bhakti Rasas


Turning to the second volume of Bhānu Swāmī's Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu translation we come to the western section, that describes the 5 main sthāyi bhāvas, starting with śānta rati.

In the śānta rati chapter is an interesting ṭīkā of Jīva Gosvāmī's to verse 3.1.44, where he mentions mauṇḍya (shaving the head) as a rejectable item of advaita-vādī-practise. Funny that now nearly all Vaiṣṇava ascetics and even gṛhasthas have adopted this shaven head practise...

Chapter 2: Prīti bhakti rasa (dāsya rasa)

Analysing the word 'dāsa' in his ṭīkā to verse 3.2.16, Jīva Gosvāmī reminds us that there is a verb called dās (also mentioned in Vilāpa Kusumānjali) which means 'to give'. The dāsas are those to whom desired results are given by the mercy of the Lord....

Verse 3.2.62 is the famous verse that describes how Dāruka condemned the bliss he felt when he fanned Kṛṣṇa. Jīva Gosvāmī comments "He did not welcome the increase of paralysis in his limbs due to prema." Prema has two qualities: stambha and other symptoms, and the desire to please the Lord. The servants cherish the desire to please the Lord, because this fulfills their goal of serving the Lord. They are not attached to the symptoms of paralysis because this can become an obstacle to service. Thus Dāruka did not welcome prema in its portion which causes paralysis, but he did welcome that part of prema which causes pleasure to the Lord.....

In BRS 3.2.160-161 Jīva Gosvāmī says about the servants: "It is not absolutely forbidden that they do not hear Kṛṣṇa's private talks, but they are checked from understanding the sentiments present in those conversations."

Chapter 3, Preyo bhakti rasa (sakhya rasa):

Both Jīva and Viśvanātha have written long ṭīkās to verse 3.3.128, which deals with prakaṭa and aprakaṭa līlā. Jīva Gosvāmī writes: "In the earthly pastimes however occasionally the Lord leaves Vraja and goes to other places. Thus the various bhāvas of the Lord along with His associates exhibited during His earthly pastimes, associated with the particular earthly pastimes, will also be occasional (and different from those in the eternal pastimes). Because of the differences in manifestation of these earthly pastimes from the eternal pastimes, Kṛṣṇa and His devotees during the earthly pastimes will take up identities different from their identities in the eternal pastimes, by the arrangement of the līlā-śakti. It is similar to Kṛṣṇa manifesting different identities for each Queen when He married sixteen thousand maidens."

In the important verse 3.5.2 -
nivṛttānupayogitvād durūhatvād ayaṁ rasaḥ
rahasyatvāc ca saṅkṣipya vitatāṅgo vilikhyate 

Jiva Gosvami comments nivṛtteṣu prākṛta śṛṅgāra rasa sāmya dṛṣṭvyā bhāgavatād apy asmād rasād virakteṣv anupayogitvad ayogyatvāt - "nivṛttas (those who are unattached to mādhurya rasa) are unqualified because they cannot understand that the Lord has such amorous feelings as well. They see it as being the same." The three other, Bengali, translations, from Caitanya Maṭh and Kuñja-bihāri dās Bābājī, say that 'non-devotee ascetics cannot appreciate mādhurya rasa, thinking it is mundane' . Frankly speaking, the word ' ascetics' is not mentioned in either Jīva's or Viśvanātha's ṭīkā, and Bhānu Swāmī may well be correct in his translation of just 'unattached'. If anyone knows where the other three translators got the 'ascetics' -idea from, please react.

Here ends the review of the western section.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Xerox suspension


I am sorry to announce that distribution of non-published (spiral-bound, photocopied) books will be suspended with immediate effect, for an indefinite period. My regular copyshop has hiked the prices considerably, they want to charge per 250-page box instead of per 2500 page-batch, a price hike of 50-60% into a much higher price scale, and the only other copyshop in town has given up after processing one single batch, their hardware has a problem with the paper. Those who visit Radhakund may get their copies from Yugalkishor Das. Remember: 1. The published books will remain available from me as always, and 2. The xerox books can still be obtained from me, but at much higher prices. This was beyond my control, apologies.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas


Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu: sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas

In this final installment of the review of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu's first volume (the 2nd, southern sector), the last 3 chapters, dealing with sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas.

At this stage Bhānu Swāmi starts skipping ṭīkās but I am fairly confident that he has incorporated them into the flowing verse translation. I have not checked it, frankly. The ṭīkās he skips are very short. Jīva's  ṭīkā  to the verse on stambha (2.3.21) is interesting. Stambha, or ecstatic paralysis means: "There is inactivity of the action senses and there is also inaction of the functioning of knowledge-gathering senses as well. There is, however, operation of the mind. This state differs from pralaya or fainting, in which there is no operation even of the mind because of disappearance of all functions."

In his ṭīkā to verse 2.3.30, Jīva Goswāmī says of the gopīs' husbands (quoting SB 10.33.37 nāsūyan khalu kṛṣṇāya): māyā-nirmita-tat-pratikṛter eva patir  'According to this hint, it should be accepted that Abhimanyu was a creation of the Lord's māyā, in the likeness of a husband."

I always felt it a bit awkward to read descriptions of Abhimanyu actually playing any role at all in the direct līlā though such a description is there too in Rūpa Gosvāmī's Vidagdha Mādhava. A bit mysterious.

Verse 54 is also quoted in Caitanya Caritāmṛta, and describes Rukmiṇī condemning the bliss that caused her eyes to fill with tears so that she could not see Kṛṣṇa. Jīva Goswāmī comments: "Here, ānanda is criticised because of the flow of her tears arising from bliss. However, it should be understood that ānanda itself is not actually criticised."

Verse 89 is sometimes quoted to describe sahajiyās (cheap sentimentalists). I am used to the word picchila in the verse being translated as 'slippery', as in sentimental, and that is also how Monier-Williams and Capeller translate it, but Bhānu Swāmī translates it as 'hard'. Habermann calls it 'insensitive' and Jīva calls it upari ślatham antaḥ kaṭhinam picchilam.... 'picchila means externally soft or slimy but internally hard."A similar glossary-confusion exists over the word sañcārī, the subject of the following, fourth, chapter: Bhānu Swāmī says:"Since they set in motion (sañcārayanti) the course of the sthāyi bhāva, they are called sañcārī bhāva." Habermann says:"they cause Foundational Emotions to vary". Viśvanātha Cakravartī should, among them, get the final word. He writes in his ṭīkā:"...vi stands for viśeṣa (special), abhi for abhimukhya and cāra for caranti. Thus it means those bhāvas which move (caranti) against the sthāyi bhāva while nourishing it in a special way (viśeṣena abhimukhyena) and are known by words, bodily movements and qualities of the mind (sattva). These bhāvas are also called sañcārī bhāvas....."

About moha, defined by Rūpa Gosvāmī in verse 2.4.98, Jīva comments: "When the devotees of the Lord develop moha they are still conscious of Kṛṣṇa, because without Him as their shelter, their various emotional states cannot exist." He then quotes SB 10.12.44: tat smāritānanta hṛtākhilendriyaḥ 'Śukadeva, immediately remembering subject matters about Kṛṣṇa within the core of his heart, externally lost contact with the actions of his senses." Jīva continues: "When the lack of external awareness becomes most prominent the state is called pralaya (sāttvika bhāva). When the lack of internal functions becomes prominent it is called moha. Thus in the definition of moha it was said hṛn-mūḍhatā, lack of awareness internally. mūḍha means a swoon or lack of consciousness. hṛt means internal. The meaning of this state of moha can be derived from the meaning of the roots."

A similar fascinating swap of consciousness is explained further on, in verse 2.4.176: "The state just previous to extinguishing of consciousness, in which there is the appearance of Kṛṣṇa without particular pastimes, is called nidrā for the devotees." Jīva Gosvāmī comments: "nidrā has been described as absence of external consciousness. This is normally the state of consciousness under the influence of the mode of ignorance, which is not possible for the highest devotees, since their consciousness is beyond the modes of nature. Why then do they have this state of nidrā? This verse answers. This state of nidrā is a state of concentration on the Lord found in the highest devotees of Kṛṣṇa (it reminds me of the phrase 'svapne rādhā-kṛṣṇa dekhe', in a Bengali song, "the Gosvāmīs saw Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa even in dreams.") It is not a material state of sleep. This is a state beyond the modes. The Garuda Purāna says:

jāgrat svapna suṣupteṣu yogasthasya ca yoginaḥ
yā kācin manaso vṛttiḥ sā bhaved acyutāśrayā 

"All the states of mind - waking, sleeping and dreaming - of the practising yogī take shelter of Acyuta."

Thus the state previous to extinguishing external consciousness in which there is a vision of Kṛṣṇa is called nidrā, not simply extinguishing consciousness....."

In the end of the chapter on vyābhicārī bhāvas (2.4), Rūpa Gosvāmī discusses receptiveness of the individual, saying: "Softness is of three degrees: like bee's wax, butter and nectar. In relation to these, bhāva is like the heat of the sun."The last paragraph of Jīva Gosvāmī's lengthy comment is fascinating: "Thunderbolt, gold and lac are used to explain the phenomenon of becoming liquid (receptive) to various degrees. The person hard like a thunderbolt is completely hostile to Kṛṣṇa. The person who is hard like gold has equal amounts of hostility and affection for the Lord. The person who is hard like lac is affectionate with a slight tinge of hostility. On the other hand, bee's wax, butter and nectar indicate three degrees of softness in affectionate devotees, who are respectively immature, moderate or advanced in their devotion....."

The fifth and last chapter of the first volume, and of the southern section, deals with sthāyi bhāva. In his commentary to verse 97, Jīva asks: "So, is there then no necessity of relishing poetic works for realising these bhāvas?" This verse answers. The taste will develop simply by a little hearing. Joy and sorrow arise invariably in people who are capable of experiencing joy and sorrow. Poetry and drama are easily appreciated by all. Spiritual taste with deep realisation can thus arise through poetry and drama. There are famous examples, such as Hanumān constantly hearing Rāmāyāna, Parīkṣit's testimony etc. Parīkṣit said: "Because of my vow on the verge of death, I have given up even drinking water, yet because I am drinking the nectar of topics about Kṛṣṇa, which is flowing from the lotus-mouth of your Lordship, my hunger and thirst, which are extremely difficult to bear, cannot hinder me." (SB 10.1.13) He also quotes the famous tava kathāmṛtam verse spoken by the gopīs in the Gopī Gīta (S.B. 10.31.9). One may rhetorically ask: "Then, without hearing poetic works, one cannot develop realization of the elements of rasa?" The answer is given. Among the causes, the strength of rati previously described is the real cause of attaining realization of vibhāva and other elements."

Further on in the chapter we find the fascinating description of sādhāranīkaraṇa, identification of the audience with the players of a drama. Verse 2.5.101 says: "Since the activities of rasa are by nature non-material, they are difficult to understand. The various ratis and other elements create a complete identity between the emotions of the contemporary devotee with previous devotees depicted in scripture." Śrī Jīva quotes Sāhitya darpan-verses in his comment to illustrate this point: "The actions of the elements such as vibhāva create total identity of the present devotee with the ancient devotee. By that identification the devotee plunges into the ocean experienced by previous devotees and there is an awakening of utsāha and other bhāvas with an experience identical to that of the ancient devotees. No man at all is condemned for entering that ocean. rati and other elements appear identical to those of the previous devotees. In tasting rati there is no distinction of vibhāva and the other elements of the previous persons and persons of the present time." The example of plunging in the ocean is given to show, from the normal perspective, that there should be no fear or shame at accruing for oneself rati and the other elements, and there should be no joy in identifiying with others' material emotions."

Viśvanātha Cakravartī's comment to this verse is famous: "Hearing during a recitation of Rāmāyana how Hanumān jumped over the ocean, sometimes a sympathetic devotee, absorbed in that mood, giving up all shyness, jumps up amidst the hearers in order to cross the ocean. Or in a drama, sometimes an actor taking the role of Daśaratha, on hearing that Rāma went to the forest, absorbed in the mood of Daśaratha, also gave up his life."

Verse 2.5.107: "However, it is correct when the literary experts say that rati depicted in characters through literary works will not in itself produce rasa, since mundane aspects are involved." Jīva Gosvāmī writes a long tīkā to this, saying that rasa is caused by the audience. the end of the tīkā is interesting: kintu lokātītānanta gunāḥ śrī rāma-sītādayo'pi yan nijānukāryādiṣu praveśyante tattva-yuktam eveti bhāvaḥ. tayoḥ kartṛ vaktrer yadi savāsanatvam syāt tadā teṣāṁ vā kathaṁ na syād... "This does not apply however to depicting characters such as Rāma and Sītā, who are full of unlimited qualities and who enter into the depicted characters. If the actors or reciters also have full sympathy with the portrayed character, they can also cause rasa."

This does hint that a good Rāsa-līlā performance, like the ones they perform in Vṛndāvan in Phālgun and Śrāvaṇa, should create rasa.

Sanātan Gosvāmī's point of separation being a higher bliss than union is also found in BRS 2.5.109 - "In separation, this rati develops its full form of rasa in astonishing bliss, and since it does not give up this form at all, any sufferings is an appearance only."

Jīva Gosvāmī comments: But how will these devotees experience rasa in the pain of separation, since rasa should be most blissful? This verse answers. It is a transformation of astonishing bliss because it is the essence of the highest bliss, and because it has its cause in Bhagavān who is the source of all bliss. It is called only an appearance of the greatest suffering because there is a superimposition of suffering on rati, caused by awareness of separation from the Lord. This suffering acts as a cause for further rati. As well, it disappears with the hope of attaining Kṛṣṇa permanently. vivarta (transformation) here means that the rasa develops its full form.The cause of rati not giving up its nature is mentioned: it is ūrjitā (strong). Because the rati (attraction for the Lord) is strong, it does not give up hope of attaining Kṛṣṇa. It is not possible for it to do so." Jīva then quotes SB 11.8.44 and 10.47.47 to illustrate his point.

Verse 2.5.118 gives a fascinating list of colours that match with the twelve rasas, especially Bhānu Swāmī's translations of the colours: śyāma colour he translates as 'indigo'. That I could never think of that in all the books I have translated!! Indigo by the way is almost the same word as Indīvara, a lotus flower with the same śyāma-colour as Kṛṣṇa. Coincidence? śyāma is the colour of madhura rasa. aruṇa is translated as 'orange', which also sounds similar to aruṇa. Problem is that no dictionary gives such a translation of aruṇa. It is mostly translated as tawny, red or brown. Jīva Gosvāmī comments: "In this verse the colours are assigned according to poetic conventions such as assigning the colour white to fame."

The following verse then ascribes different avatāras to the 12 rasas, of which surprisingly Narasiṁha is not the deity of bhayānaka (fear) but of vātsalya (parental love).

Then finally there is the famous verse about bhāvollāsa rati, 2.5.128, on which Jīva Gosvāmī comments that, despite it all, rati directed towards Rādhā is still a sañcārī bhāva. To my knowledge Kunjabihāri dās Bābājī came to the conclusion in his 'Manjari svarūpa nirupana' that mañjarī bhāva is actually a sthāyi bhāva.... Jīva in Bhanu's words: "This statement has been written here at the end of the topic of sañcārī bhāvas or vyabhicārī bhāvas, since it belongs to the same topic." ....tatrāpi puṣyamānā santatābhiniveśena saṁvarddhamānā syāt tadā sañcāritve'pivaiśiṣṭyāpekṣayā bhāvollāsākhyo bhāva īrṣyata iti; tad idam tvatrānusmṛtya likhitam api sañcārinām ante yojanīyaṁ tatraiva sajātīyatvāt


Thus ends the review of chapters 3, 4 and 5 of the southern sector of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, dealing with sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas.

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.

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.

Friday, December 01, 2006

bhāva bhakti


Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu review, chapter 3, pūrva bhāga: bhāva bhakti.

In his lengthy tīkā to the first verse, Jīva Gosvāmī repeats his explanation of ceṣṭā rūpa (action) bhakti and bhāva rūpa (feeling). ceṣṭā rūpa bhakti has two types: sādhana rūpa for attaining bhāva bhakti, (actions as practise for attaining bhāva) and kārya rūpa (actions after attaining bhāva-the goal of practise). kārya rūpa bhakti takes the form of anubhāvas when one experiences rasa. sādhana rūpa has just been described. The anubhāvas of kārya rūpa bhakti will be shown in relation to rasa in the second wave of the southern section.
"bhāva rūpa bhakti has two types: sthāyi rūpa (permanent emotion) and sañcārī rūpa (transitory emotion). sthāyi rūpa has two types: 1. prema, which also indicates higher states such as praṇaya, and 2) bhāva, also called rati, which is the preliminary stage of the bud of prema. sañcārī rūpa bhakti will be discussed later in relation to rasa, in the fourth wave of the southern section."

Comments on the different components of verse 1.3.1 run as follows:

asau bhāva ucyate
...."in the present definition it is mentioned that bhāva creates a softening of the heart. The vyābhicārī bhāvas do not soften the heart but rather act upon those devotees whose hearts have already been softened....."

rucibhiś citta māsṛṇya-kṛd
"Furthermore, this bhāva softens the heart (mind) with its desires (rucibhiḥ) for meeting the Lord, serving the Lord favorably,and attaining the friendship of the Lord. This bhāva is also the sprout which will become prema and which will be described later."

prema sūryāṁśu sāmya-bhāk
"Though this bhāva is seen in the eternal associates of the Lord, the mental conditions of the devotees within this world become similar, by the mercy of the Lord and his devotees."

Jīva Gosvāmī's comment on verse 4 (āvirbhūya manovṛttau vrajantī tat svarūpatām) quoted to me by the Vṛndāvana-mahātma in September (see blog September 26): "Since this rati is self-revealing....since it reveals Kṛṣṇa and everything else it manifests within the functioning of the mind of the Lord's dear devotees in this world, and then becomes one with their minds - it becomes their minds and their emotions (tat-svarūpatām vrajanti). It appears (bhāsamānā) in the mind as if by the actions of the mind (prakāśyavat).....by its own arrangement (svayam) bhāva acts as previous and later states - as both cause and effect. Factually, bhāva is taste or delight itself, by its portion which experiences the sweetness of Kṛṣṇa  Still, rati or bhāva by another portion becomes the cause of tasting Kṛṣṇa s many forms and activities, which are most desired by the experiencer. Its samvit (awareness-) portion accomplishes this effectively. However, by the hlādini portion, rati, simply, remains as a blissful state - it is the experience of bliss (effect)." Bhānu Swāmi adds in a footnote: "By bhāva, one is able to perceive Kṛṣṇa  But in perceiving Kṛṣṇa one experiences bhāva, blissful love of Kṛṣṇa."

In his comment on the famous verse 1.3.6 sādhanābhiniveśena, Jīva Gosvāmī stresses the importance of the devotees' association and mercy in attaining bhāva, and Viśvanātha says that sādhanābhiniveśena means 'by bhakti at the stage of niṣṭhā, after anartha nivṛtti." In his tīkā to the following verse Visvanātha states that bhāva may arise by vaidhi sādhana or rāgānugā sādhana (they are parallel practises). tatra sādhanābhiniveśaja iti vaidhī mārgabhedena rāgānugā-mārga bhedena ca jāto yo dvividhaḥ sādhanābhiniveśastenajāto yo dvividho bhāvaḥ...."Without developing ruci and then āsakti, how will bhāva arise?"

In his comment to 1.3.9, a Bhāgavata 1.5.26 quotation, the verse where Nārada heard Kṛṣṇa kathā from the Vedantists, which swiftly brought him through the stages of ruci (manoharaḥ) and āsakti (anupadam viśṛṇvataḥ) to rati (mamābhavad ratiā), Viśvanātha points out that "though one should mention that faith, as the starting point of all stages, is the cause of rati, the description is given in this way to show the quick appearance of rati from absorption in the stages arising after anartha nivṛtti."

In verse 1.3.10, preceding a quotation of S.B 1.5.28, just following the aforementioned 1.5.26, Jīva comments that the word 'bhakti' in the last line refers to prema. Thus, in the context, rati, in this verse, means bhāva, since it is the preliminary state, and bhakti means prema because it is the superior state........bhāva is like the ray of the sun of prema (see 1.3.1)."

1.3.11 - As, according to Jīva Goswāmī in the previous verse, bhakti means prema, also in this verse, it means that prema is following directly after the dissipation of rajas and tamas - rajas tamopahā.

In his comment on verse 1.3.14 Jīva quotes evidence from Padma Purāna that Rādhikā is Kṛṣṇa's dearmost, dearer than the girl mentioned in this verse. He explains that the girl must be an expansion of Rādhikā.

In verse 1.3.49 one of the semblances of rati is being discussed, chāyā ratyābhāsa. Normally chāyā means 'shadow', but here Jīva calls it 'resemblance to beauty'. 'Little interest (kṣudra kautuhala) means that though the Lord and bhakti are spiritual, the person has interest in them only as material objects. Because there is curiosity relating to the Lord, even though material, there is an appearance of a little splendor (kānti). That is the meaning of chāyā here. Because of the slight attraction to the Lord there will be slight symptoms similar to those of real rati. However, because of its nature as chāyā, it is also unsteady (cañcala) unlike the pratibimba-ratyābhāsa. In pratibimba ratyābhāsa the attraction to material enjoyment and liberation is very strong, but in chāyā ratyābhāsa the material curiosity about the Lord is transient. Still, because of the influence of the Lord in chāyā ratyābhāsa there is gradually a destruction of the suffering of material existence." I suppose this is closest to what is called 'sahajiya' by some groups nowadays, though Rūpa and Jīva clearly distinguish different gradations of the symptom.

Verse 51 says: "Even this chāyā-ratyābhāsa which eventually bestows auspiciousness to those people, appears only with great good fortune."

The ṭīkās to the famous verses (1.3.52-4) which say that offences cause the moon of rati to wane are interesting: Jīva says: "By two types of grave offences - to the Vaiṣṇava and to Kṛṣṇa - even real bhāva is destroyed. By medium offence bhāva becomes bhāvābhāsa. By slight offence the bhāva degrades in category. Becoming an inferior type means that there will be degradation in terms of the five rasas and the eight stages from mahābhāva to rati."

Viśvanātha adds: "If the aparādha is slight, the bhāva changes type. madhura rati becomes dāsya rati. dāsya rati becomes śānta rati." Bhānu Swāmi adds an interesting footnote here: "sādhya rūpa or hārda rūpa bhakti has five types: bhāva, prema, praṇaya, sneha and rāga. In Ujjvala Nīlamani three more types are mentioned: māna, anurāga and mahābhāva. Thus there are eight types of sādhya bhakti. This is explained in Jīva Gosvāmī's commentary on BRS 1.2.1. However, since the topic is bhāva-bhakti, the lowest of the eight types, that bhāva could simply decrease in intensity. Furthermore, those at the level of bhāva still have impurities, and could make mistakes because of anarthas, whereas those at the level of prema are pure and could never commit real offence."

Verse 1.3.59 states that if some apparent fault is seen in a person who has developed real bhāva one should not be hostile to him, because he has accomplished the goal in all respects. Bhānu Swāmi writes in a footnote that the bhāva bhakta still has anarthas and could commit sin or aparādha. This distinguishes him from the prema bhakta. However, even if he makes mistakes, because of his level of advancement, Kṛṣṇa takes care of him. Jīva quotes the famous verse 'apavitra pavitro vā' in his comment.

Verse 1.3.60 continues on this theme and Jīva Gosvāmī comments here: "A person may show serious contamination. This means that it is seen externally that he performs forbidden activities. However, he shines with internal bhakti, which cannot be defeated by anyone......in the Harivaṁśa it is said: loke cchāyāmayam lakṣma tavāṅke śaśa saṁjñitam "The dark spot on the moon is called a rabbit. Though there is a fault in the beauty of the moon, that fault is only superficial."

Thus ends the review of chapter 3 of the purva vibhāga, named bhāva bhakti.