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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Śānta rati in Vraja

This discussion appeared in the comments-pages of a blog originally posted on May 11, 2010. The blog is deleted as obsolete, but this – unrelated - discussion is still very valuable, so it is now a blog on its own. May 12-15, 2010

Anonymous said...
Dear Advaita-ji,
If you permit, I would like to ask a question. We worship/call with different names based on rasas exhibited by the Lord. For example we worship Kṛṣṇa as Rādhā-Śyāmasundara in Mādhurya-rasa. Could you please tell the names for Kṛṣṇa in Sakhya, śānta, vātsalya and dāsya-rasa.  Thank you.
 Radha Kṛṣṇa

Advaitadās –
Anon, nice question -
Actually most of Kṛṣṇa's names are interchangeable, viz. they can be used in all sambandhas. Hari, Govinda and Kṛṣṇa are names of Nārāyan in Vaikuṇṭha, but they are also highly inciting for those in the extreme mādhurya of gopī bhāva. It all depends on the interpretation [dṛṣṭi-koṇa]. Of course names like Gopāl, Yaśoda Dulāl and Nanda Dulāl are predominantly vātsalya, but can be relished by the gopīs just as well. Balānuja, Aghadaman and Keśī-Nāśan are some names that feature in sakhya bhāva, but these too can be relished in vātsalya and mādhurya bhāva. Etc etc.  Śānta rati does not feature in Vraja-bhūmi.

Anonymous said...
Dear Advaita-ji,
Thank you for answering my question.
You mentioned that "Śānta rati does not feature in Vraja-bhumi". May be I am wrong, but I was informed that trees in Vṛndāvana have a Śānta relationship with the Lord. Please let me know whether this information is true or not.
  Radha Kṛṣṇa

That is not correct. Caitanya Caritāmṛta says - cāri bhāva diyā nācāimu tribhuvana "I will make the three worlds dance in 4 bhāvas" That is of course mādhurya, vātsalya, sakhya and dāsya. This is confirmed in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 22, 161:

  dāsa-sakhā-pitrādi-preyasīra gaṇa
  rāga-mārge nija-nija-bhāvera gaṇana

  dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya ār ye śṛṅgāra; cāri prema, caturvidha bhaktai ādhāra

  (Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 4.42)

The mountains like Girirāja are in dāsya rasa [hantāyam adrir abalā haridāsa varyo], and the cows are in vātsalya bhāva. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī says in his commentary on Śrīmad Bhāgavata (11.12.8) gavo vātsalya rasena. naga govardhanādi parvataḥ sakhya-rasena - that mountains like Girirāja are in sakhya rasa and Vraja's cows are in vātsalya rasa. He repeats that the cows are in vātsalya rasa in his comments on Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.14.30-31 (aho'ti-dhanya ityādibhirāmātmaka vātsalyādi ratimanta eva stoṣyanti (30) ye tu tvad bhakteṣv ati-prakṛṣṭas teṣāṁ tvayi śuddha vātsalyādi rati-bhājam padavīṁ prārthayitum ayogya... (31) “I am not qualified to pray for their vātsalya rasa”), Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.20.26 (prītyā is the cows’ motherly affection) Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.13 - “The cows (not the calves) are in vātsalya rasa- na ca tatrāpi vātsalya-bhāva eva mohane hetur astīti vācyam, and “The cows stand still as they take Govinda within their hearts through their tear-filled eyes and embrace Him out of vātsalya bhāva – sva manasaḥ kroḍe eva vātsalyāt sthāpayantyas tasthuḥ (Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī ’s commentary) and Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.16: The clouds are in sakhya rasa (sakhyur vyadhāt) – hanta hanta sakhya-bhāva-vanto’pyātmānāṁ   kṛtarthayantītyāhuḥ The gopīs lament about the clouds: “Alas! Alas! Even those who are in the mood of friendship with Kṛṣṇa (sakhya bhāva) have become blessed by serving Him.” svīya vidyud garjanābhyāṁ pīta-vastra veṇu-nādayoḥ sāmyaṁ dṛṣṭvā ca sakhībhāvam abhimānyamānaḥ “Seeing he is equal to Kṛṣṇa with the rumbling sounds he makes, with his lightning (in the form of Kṛṣṇa’s   yellow cloth) the cloud identifies himself in sakhya-rasa.” (Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s commentary) The statement vaṁśī priya sakhī from Brahma Samhita (5.56) shows that Kṛṣṇa’s flute is even in madhura rasa.
Radha Kṛṣṇa dasa -
Dear Advaita dasa Prabhu, dandavat pranams. It seems to me that the topic of whether or not śānta rasa exists in Braja is not so cut and dry as Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thakur's ṭīkā might indicate.  There are some differences in opinion amongst ācāryas on this topic. Madhavananda dasa in former "Gaudiya Discussions" blog brought this topic up. In that discussion Madhavananda  appeared to disagree with Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura's commentary (see Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya, 8.294), as quoted by Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada):

 "Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura points out that in Vrajabhūmi there is the Yamunā River with its sandy banks. There are kadamba trees, cows, Kṛṣṇa's sticks with which He herds cows, and Kṛṣṇa's flute. All of these belong to śānta-rasa, the mellow of neutrality in devotional service. There are also the direct servants of Kṛṣṇa, such as Citraka, Patraka and Raktaka, and these are the embodiments of service in the mellow of servitude. There are also friends like Śrīdāmā and Sudāmā, who embody service   in fraternity. Nanda Mahārāja and mother Yaśodā are the embodiments of   parental love. Above all of these are Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Her assistants,   the gopīs Lalitā, Viśākhā and others, who embody conjugal love. In this way all five mellows — śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya — exist   eternally in Vrajabhūmi. They are also compared, respectively, to copper, bell metal, silver, gold and touchstone, the basis of all metals. Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī therefore refers to a mine eternally existing in Vṛndāvana, Vrajabhūmi."

The above appears to be in some conflict with Bhaktivinoda's statement in Jaiva Dharma (Ch 39) and Viśvanātha Cakravartī's commentary of various verses on Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as well texts in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, and Caitanya-caritāmṛta. I have gone through all of the pertinent texts in Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Caitanya Bhāgavat where Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī indicates that cows, sticks, flute etc. are in śānta rasa in Vraja, and Bhaktivinoda's Jaiva Dharma, wherein it is stated that in Vraja, śānta rasa in almost/practically absent in Vraja. In an e-mail exchange 5 years ago, I asked Śrīpada Tripurari Swami to harmonize these apparently contradictory statements. In particular I also asked him: "Is it simply that there are no "humans" in śānta rasa in Vraja, but śānta "rasa" is possible for personalities in "animal", "plant" and "inanimate" spiritual forms?"

  Here was Maharaja's response:
  "Śrī Kṛṣṇa is known as Rasaraja. This name implies that he tastes all rasas,  and it refers to him in his Vraja-lila. From this it should be clear that he tastes śānta rasa in Vraja. This is also confirmed in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 4.8.85. There Śrī Rupa writes that Kṛṣṇa tasted śānta rasa along with all   other expressions of sacred aesthetic rapture while lifting Govardhana hill. In this example Śrī Kṛṣṇa tastes śānta rasa from the vantage point of the shelter (āśraya ālambana) of śānta rasa. Later in Mathurā he tasted śānta rasa from the vantage point of the object (viṣaya ālambana) of love when he was wrestling in Kamsa's arena, Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.43.17. Therein it is clearly stated that the sages present experienced śānta rasa in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Such sages may very well include persons like Durvasa, who also resides in Vraja proper. So śānta rasa is expressed in his Vraja-līlā within Mathurā maṇḍala.  At the same time, Kṛṣṇa's Vraja-līlā is primarily characterized by love that  is devoid of reverence, and thus it is often said to begin with sakhya rasa. Brahmaji described all of Vṛndāvana as being permeated by sakhya rasa when he told Śrī Kṛṣṇa-

aho bhāgyam, aho bhāgyam
nanda gopa vrajaukasam
yan mitraṁ paramānandam
pūrṇaṁ brahma sanātanam

  "O how fortunate, O how fortunate are the Vrajavāsīs of Nanda gopa, for the supreme bliss and complete, eternal Brahman is their friend." Thus everything and everyone in Vraja is touched by friendship. Everything and everyone is also touched by the influence of romantic love that Kṛṣṇa's Vraja-līlā is centered on. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur acknowledges that śānta rati is present to some extent in the Vraja-lila when he writes in Jaiva Dharma "At first I thought that there was no śānta rati in the devotees of Vraja, but now I see that it is present in them to a limited extent." Whereas in the same book he also writes that "Śānta-rasa is absent in Vraja." Perhaps Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakura   sought to clarify Bhaktivinoda Thakura's statements by attributing śānta rati to the non human species and apparently inanimate objects of Vraja, such as Kṛṣṇa's flute, rivers, hills, and Vraja's cows when he wrote about this in his commentary to Upadeśāmṛta and in his commentary on Caitanya Caritāmṛta. However, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has attributed sakhya rasa to the hills of Vraja and vātsalya rati to Śrī Kṛṣṇa's cows. So there are different opinions among ācāryas, and human reasoning renders any of these opinions problematic.
  For example, while there is reason to believe that Vraja's cows are in vātsalya rasa, their relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa is also one of being protected by Gopala. Anyone who raises cows knows that they are as much children in need of protection and constant care as they are mothers, and at   least in Dvārakā, Kṛṣṇa's children are considered to be in dāsya rasa. His cows are also his iṣṭa-devatā and thus worshipable by him. Furthermore, why do we find that Rādhā and Govinda are not inhibited in front of Vraja's bovines as they are before human elders relishing vātsalya rati. After all, vātsayla   and mādhurya rasa are not compatible. Neither are śānta and mādhurya rasas compatible for that matter. Mahādeva and Brahmā are said to have taken birth in Varasānā and Nandagrāma as hills, are they in sakhya rasa? Sakhya rasa is exchanged between equals. The gopis attribute a male gender to Kṛṣṇa's flute at one time and a female gender at another time. Is it male, female, neither of these, or both? Sometimes the creepers of Vraja are thought to be tasting mādhurya rati as well as the rivers, but what is the nature of this mādhurya rati and how can it compare to that of the gopis themselves?
  Great devotees view the world through the lens of their bhāva, and this may afford them different angles of vision at different times. Furthermore some of Śrī Kṛṣṇa's devotees experience the suddha rati known as svaccha (transparent), in which they taste the rati of those with whom they associate,   moving between śānta, dasya, sakhya, and mādhurya. Thus it is best to respect the opinions of great souls on issues that lie beyond our present realization   even when we cannot fully understand them.
  I hope this is helpful."

advaitadas -
Radha Kṛṣṇa das,
You are certainly entitled to your beliefs. However, you fail to come up with evidence to counter the evidence that I produced on the matter from universally accepted ācāryas like Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartī. Your reply consists partially of quotes by recent Vaiṣṇava   teachers, which have been shown to deviate from the previous ācāryas on a large number of issues, as well as on mundane logic, which does not apply to śāstra.
  Concretely, about the mountains, I did not say they are in sakhya rati but in dāsya rati and have proved that from Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.18. You might also like to peruse my blog of June 19, 2008 and the comments pages of my blog of August 8, 2007, for more evidence of there being no śānta rasa in Vraja.....

   Radha Kṛṣṇa dasa -
This verse is in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 4.8.85. Translation (by H.H. Bhanu Swami): "Kṛṣṇa as the āśraya of all rasas:

  Though lifting up Govardhana, He remained without pride in Himself (śānta). When the small children became eager to hold up the mountain, He smiled (hasya, vatsala. He spat some bad-smelling yogurt (bībhatsa). He showed off his great strength in lifting the mountain for the benefit of His dear friends (sakhya, vīra). He displayed red eyes in looking at Indra (raudra). He shed   tears on seeing the suffering of the inhabitants of Vraja from rain and wind (karuna). He trembled in fear before the elders, having destroyed the sacrifice to Indra (dāsya, bhayānaka). His eyes opened wide with astonishment on seeing the great torrents of rain (adbhuta). His hairs stood on end when He   saw the young girls (madhura). May this master, the lifter of Govardhana, protect you!”

Jīva Gosvāmī's Commentary: Amāni (prideless) means that Kṛṣṇa exhibited  śānta-rasa in being devoid of pride in lifting Govardhana. Trembling in front of His elders on interrupting the sacrifice to Indra (hari-makham prasya) indicates bhayankara-rasa. Other rasas can similarly be understood in   this verse".

The above verse is an example of Kṛṣṇa tasting śānta rasa along with all other   expressions of sacred aesthetic rapture while lifting Govardhana hill.

advaitadas -
Radha-Kṛṣṇa das,
That is granted, and thank you for the tip. However, the three verses I quoted from Caitanya Caritāmṛta remain evidence that, even if śānta rati would exist in Vraja/Goloka, this is still not given by Mahaprabhu to us in this age. The explanation of the cows, clouds, mountains etc. not being in śānta rati remain too. In this case the answer to about the names of Kṛṣṇa would be Param Atma and Param Brahma, because that is what Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu says about the conception of the śānta bhakta.

1 comment:

  1. There was a discussion on the topic of śānta rasa in Vraja on my blog in August 2007. That part of that blog is now deleted, so I will transplant the discussion of that old comments' page to this comments page -

    Jagat zei...
    BRS 2.5.11 is a description of "samanya bhakti", not "shanta." It fits into a category of unstable sthayi bhavas.
    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 8:47:00 PM CEST

    advaitadas zei...
    The chapter is called 'sthayi bhava' and verse 11 is in the subdivision suddha, which seems to be śānta rasa to me, as the others are priti (dasya), sakhya, vatsalya and priyata (madhura). Of this, there is again the subdivision samanya. If this samanya is not a subdivision of śānta rati, of what is it?
    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 9:32:00 PM CEST

    Madhavananda zei...
    This (as in Jagat's post) is also how I've understood this. The five developed sthayi-bhavas are separate from the undeveloped ones.

    The little girl would obviously eventually grow up and develop some kinds of feelings towards Krishna, her actual sthayi-bhava.
    Tuesday, August 14, 2007 6:42:00 PM CEST

    advaitadas zei...
    Krishnadas Slovakia agrees with me. He mailed me:
    "Dear Advaita,
    I have no clue what Jagat's point might be. Your reply gives sense to me.
    Actually, I can't imagine that the structure of the text could allow a different interpretation."

    Jagat never answered my question "If this samanya is not a subdivision of shanta rati, of what is it?"
    Tuesday, August 14, 2007 7:03:00 PM CEST

    Jagat zei...
    Shanta is a subdivision of shuddha, not the other way around. Samanya and svaccha do not appear in BRS 3.1, basically because, as their definitions show, they are not _mature_ rati states: samanya because of the unfixed identity of the ashraya, svaccha because the rati is not fixed in the identity of the ashraya.
    Monday, August 27, 2007 12:13:00 AM CEST

    advaitadas zei...
    So would you conclude then, that there is no shanta rasa in Goloka? The C.C. does say repeatedly that Mahaprabhu gives 4 rasas, and the visaya of the shanta-bhaktas is Paramatma, Parambrahma and at best the four-armed form. But what about mannistha, which is also mentioned as the qualification for shanta rati? Is that nistha for the four-armed form only?
    Monday, August 27, 2007 11:14:00 AM CEST