Dear Prabhus, please accept my dandavat pranams. All glories to Sri Guru and Gouranga.

Often the Internet is used for political agendas and discussion of " hot topics of the day." While such discussions may grab our attention we should still try not to be diverted from the eternal truths, propounded by the Six Goswamis of Vrndavana. Their books will help us to better understand and execute our devotional service. In that spirit I am offering the preface and introduction to a translation of a valuable, but out of print, English version of the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindu done by my gurudeva’s god brother, Srila Hrydaya Bon Maharaja.

Although there may have been some dispute between Srila Swami Maharaja and Srila Bon Maharaja at one time, such events took place long in the past. In the latter days of Srila Bon Maharaja, he praised the work that Srila Swami Maharaja had done. Srila Prabhupada also expressed concern over strong remarks he had made about his god brothers during his last days. Such transcendental dealings between God brothers by their disciples are not fully understandable, but all disciples should be ready to accept a graceful change of heart by anyone. They should not be too eager to enter into such higher disputes with overzealous pride or fanatical misunderstanding.. Srila Sridhara Maharaja used to say, "To err is human, to forgive is divine." The latter part of this proverb has been sorely neglected. In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, one is quick to condemn but slow to forgive.

The acompanying photo was taken at the Howra Station in Calcutta. The scene was an arrival reception for Srila Hrydaya Bon Maharaj (seated with danda) accompanied by two German devotees, one who later became Srila Bhaktisiddhanta's disciple.

He was the first Gaudiya Matha devotee to travel West on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s order, in the early l930’s. His preaching reached the upper echelons of European society, including the King of England.

You can see Abhay Charan De (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami as a householder) seated to the right (with mustache). Srila Sridhar Deva Goswami is cut out of the photo, but his foot and cane can be seen as he was seated next to him to his left.

Srila Narahari Sakara Thakura has declared in his Sri Krsna Bhajanamrta:

Verse 16

At the outset of this work my humble prayer is that all pure, non-envious devotees of Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead may listen to these authorized words as I have heard them from the great Vaisnava authorities of the disciplic succession.

Verse 18

Amongst all of the assembled Vaisnavas there is the initiating guru and the instructing guru. In regard to them what type of behavior is authorized.?

Verse 28

Now listen to the authorized conclusions of the previous authorities.

Verse 38

One should never engage in criticizing a Vaisnava or neglecting a Vaisnava even in joking. For Vaisnavas are so glorious that there is nothing to regret even if one sacrifices ones life for their benefit.

Verse 39

No one should find fault with a Vaisnava for his activities or behavior. What person is free from the influence of Kali Yuga or has perfect pure behavior and action?

Verse 42

All Vaisnavas are considered as guru or spiritual master.

Verse 43

Amongst all of the Vaisnavas the initiating guru (diksa-guru) and instructing guru (siksa-guru) are special.

Verse 44

It is proper to offer these two special respect.

Verse 45

Amongst all of the other spiritual masters these two (diksa-guru and siksa-guru) spiritual masters' orders are to be followed.

Verse 52

Kindly understand this example:

Just as one respects one's father as a guru, his (the father's) older and younger brothers are also similarly respected, but nonetheless, the father is worthy of the most respect. Not withstanding the above, if the father's guru, even if he is family related, comes, one should double the respect, as he is the spiritual father of the father, or the guru of the guru. He is offered twice the puja or respect.

This behavior is recognized as appropriate by all authorities.

For those who are concerned, Srila Prabhupada at one time authorized his disciples to read this translation in a letter to Yamuna dasi in l968. The Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library is happy to present, in two parts, the preface and introduction of this wonderful book, originally written by our rasacarya Srila Rupa Goswami, no nicely translated by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s disciple Tridani Swami Bhakti Hridaya Bon Maharaj. We should always be careful not to imitate the spiritual master and appreciate the god brothers of the guru with equal respect.

Your servant,

Puru Das Adhikari


The Preface and Introduction to

Sri Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh

Sanskrta Text with Devanagari Script

With transliteration in English


English Translation with Comments

Volume I


Translated by


Rector, Institute of Oriental Philosophy

Vrndavan, U.P., India



In 1924 I renounced all worldly association with my revered parents and affectionate blood-relations, and surrendered myself unconditionally and completely at the feet of my Spiritual Master Om Visnupad Bhakti Siddhanta Sarsvati Gosvami Prahupada and accepted the life of a Vaisnava Tridandi monk at the age of 23. In l927 by gurudeva, out of his infinite affection, asked me to unfold the esoteric supra-mundane Love-sports of the Transcendental Damsels of the all-conscious Spiritual Realm of Braja in Their eternal relation with the Supreme Lord. Sri Krsna, at a theistic exhibition that we organized at his ins(is)tance at Sri Mayapore, the birth place of Sri Krsna-caitanyadeva. By the blessings of my Spiritual Master I was able to please him by demonstrating Vrndavana-Radhakunda on the basis of Sri Govinda-lilamrtam. Thus pleased, my Gurudeva asked me to serve the spiritual cause of Brajadhama, and was also ver kind to place me in charge of conducting the ever well-organized circumabulation of Brajamandala that was also organized at his directions. This offered me ample opportunities to go deep in the correct conceptions of the Transcendental Pastimes of the Supreme Lord Krsna and His Associates in Braja. I, therefore, assured my Master that I would endeavor in my humble way to serve the cause of Brajadhama to please him and the Lord of Braja and also for my own spiritual unfoldment. But before I could engage myself in this much desired task, my Spiritual Master sent me to Europe early in l933 with the object of informing the intelligentsia of England, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and France about he supra-excellence of the message of Prema as was preached by Sri Caitanya. I returned to India early in l936, and my spiritual Master passed away at five in the morning of 1st January, l937. Soon after his demise, the Gaudiya Mission was split into factions due to internal dissensions. Gravely shocked at this most unfortunate turn of events of the institution to which I had dedicated my life from my very early youth. I went away to Burma, Japan and the USA on a lecture tour in order to keep myself aloof from the unpleasant and unhappy affairs of the Gaudiya Math, and returned to India in l941. I dissociated myself from all the factious parties of the Mission. Under all these unforeseen and adverse circumstances I could not take up the service that I promised my Master.

In l942 I finally decided to settle down in Vrndaban. But before I could do this, I went out on foot on a pilgrimage of 650 miles to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, and at last took my residence at Vrndaban and remained in exclusive seclusion observing silence for four years. In the meantime I had written a few books on the Vedas, the Gita and the Life and teachings of Sri Caitanya. But the main task, which my Spiritual Master had entrusted to me, remained unfulfilled all these years. In l946 I broke my self-imposed silence and began to study the present conditions of Vrindaban, which is one of the most important places of pilgrimage of the Hindus. My impression was that present-day Vrindaban was very backward socially, economically, educationally, cultural, and above all spiritually. I thus put my mind and energies to the establishment of an academic institution for advanced scholars for objective studies of the spiritual heritage of India in general and Vaisnavism in particular. I thought that advanced researches in Comparative Philosophy and Comparative Religion at a Research Centre here would enhance the glories of Vrndaban and of India in a lasting manner. The Spiritual Values of Krsna-Prema must stand on their own merit. This academic institution was started in l960 against terrible oppositions from various quarters for different reasons. It is now an affiliated Post-graduate Institute under Agra University.

But the uplift of the true cause of Braja, which is associated with the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna and Krsna-Prema, could be far better enhanced by translating into English the vasti Sanskrit Literature of the Six Goswamis of the Caitanya School, headed by Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana, who expounded the supra-mundane, transcendental and esoteric significance of the Realm-Associates-Pastimes of Lord Krsna. This could not so long be possible for want of a group of scholars with a proper frame of mind and heart, freed, as far as humanly possible from mundane sex thinking. The subject matter of Lord Krsna and Krsna Prema is most difficult and most misconceived because of the apparently earthly and essentially transcendental nature. To put the subject into English language is indeed no easy matter.

Any way, I was happy to secure the active co-operation of Dr. Susil Kumar Maitra, PhD., P.R.S., unfortunately he is not more in this world), and Pandit Krsnadaas Vyakaran-Gaudiyadarsana Tirtha, and thus I undertook to translate into English Sri Rupa Goswami’s classical work BHAKTI-RSAMRTA-SINDHUH with all the humbleness of my heart. Should I be able to complete it and see it through printing I shall have the satisfaction that hereby I am able, with all my limitations to serve the wishes of my Spiritual Master and also the cause of Spiritual Vrndavan as well as of Sri Rupa Goswami.

I apologize for mentioning all these my personal affairs in this PREFACE. I have purposely mentioned those personal factors because of the special background of my mind with which I undertook this translation of BHAKTI-RASAMRTA-SINDHU.

I am deeply grateful to dr. Susil Kumat Maitra, M.A., PhD.,P.R.S. who took great trouble in looking through my English rendering, polishing it here and there, and thereby encouraging me immensely.

I express my sincere gratefulness to Pandit Krsnadas Vyakarana Gaudiyadarsana-Tirtha but for whose help I would not have been able to translate the three commentaries. Panditji helped me in following the Sanskrit Tikas and explained to me wherever I found the grammar complex and difficult. In fact I have been able to complete this translation of the Text and the Commentaries in collaboration with Sri Krsna dasaji.

Professor Tapodhira Krisnadas Dastidar, M.A., B.I. has corrected all the proofs of the First Volume with great devotion. May the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna bless him profusely.

I acknowledge with thanks the promptness with which the Navana Printing Works (Pvt.) Ltd,. Calcutta, has completed printing of the First Volume. I feel confident that they will pay equal attention to the printing of the next two Volumes. The Book will be completed in Three Volumes.

As the Founder-Rector of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, I beg to express our sense of deep gratitude to the Government of India, Ministry of Education, for granting 50% of the total expenditure of this FIRST VOLUME of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhuh.

And the most pleasant thing that I have to mention here is that my dear friend Dr. SYDNEY ASHTON HILL, of England voluntarily came forward to contribute the balance of the total expenditure for publication of this First Volume of the book when he came to know that the Government of India had sanctioned only half the amount of the cost of publishing this volume. I felt extremely shy when my friend sent me a Cheque without informing me beforehand, and I wrote him back that in this world money often disturbs the relations between father and sons, husband and wife, brother and brother, and friend and friend! I would value his selfless friendship and affection more than any financial gift. He felt pained, and wrote back that this gift was a token of his genuine friendship for me! I could not any longer refuse his affectionate gift for the publication of this important and authentic Book of Philosophy of Bhakti. If my friend Mr. Sydney Ashton Hill benefits by reading this Book of unalloyed devotion to the Supreme Lord of all, I shall be happy. His noble name shall ever remain associated with this publication.

Vrindaban B/H. BON

The 30th October, l964



I humbly bow at the feet of my Spiritual Master Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaj whose inordinate affection for me is the most Precious gem of my heart. I know how dearest he is, --the apple of the eye, to Sri Sri Radha and Srila Govindadeva, and so I seek his limitless blessings.

Sri Rupa Goswami, who is Sri Rupa-Manjari in Braja-lila, is the personification of the supra-mundane Beauty of Sri Radha, and is the best blooming Blossom in the Garden of Prema, who a very strongly attracts the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, the Bee, by his incomparable fragrance. May he inspire me to undertake the serious task of serving all genuine devotees, known and unknown, by translating his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhuh into English so that they may dive into the Ocean of Bhakti-rasa and forever drink the nectar thereof!

May Sri Krsna-caitanyadeva, Who is Lord Sri Krsna with the feelings of Mahabhava of Sri Radha, ever shine in my heart like the Vernal Moon and madden me with the elixir of Krnsa-rema, so that my soul may dance in ecstasy before the smiling eyes of my most Beloved Lord!

Vrindaban Bhakti Hrdaya Bon

The 30th October, l964



Srila Rupa Gosvami was the younger brother of Sri Sanatana Gosvami and was elder to Sri Vallabha, who was father of Sri Jiva Goswami. Sri Vallabh was subsequently known as Anupama. They were Karnata-Brahmanas by birth. Sri Jiva Gosvami, nephew of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana, gives a genealogical tree of their family at the end of his book Laghutosani.

It will, therefore, be worth while to explain here in a nutshell the transcendental significance of Mahabhava, which is identified with Sri Radha alone. The conception of Sri Radha is completely misconceived by most people. From the present state of utter self-forgetfulness of an individual soul, engrossed in the physical and mental tabernacles till its final freedom and attainment of Prema-Bhakti, there are different stages of gradual unfolding of the innate dormant nature of the soul, which it must undergo by way of spiritual practices before it can aspire to understand and relish the super -excellence of Sri Radha-Krsna-Prema.


Sri Rupa Goswami deals in this book, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu with the subject matter of PREMA starting form its lowest step of SRADDHA. From (I) Sraddha to (IV) Anartha nivrrti are steps of spiritual sadhana (practices) from utter bondage to the souls freedom from the clutches of the threefold deviating influences of Maya, the Deluding Energy of God. After self-realization, the soul develops in his or her spiritual practices from (V) Nistha to (IX) Prema, which is attainable even while the soul in not separated from his or her physical and mental, subtle, coverings.

PREMA can develop in the siddha-deha, alone, i.e. the supra mundane and eternally spiritual body of the pure soul or the finite self otherwise called Jiva-atma, as categorically different from the physical and mental associations into: (X) SNEHA, (XI) MANA, (XII) PRANAYA, (XIII) RAGA, (XIV) ANU-RAGA, (XV) BHAVA, and (XVI) MAHABHAVA (XV) Bhava is distinct from (VIII) Bhava-rati in the earlier stages of

Bhakti and spiritual practices till Prema is attained. The individual finite self or the Jiva-atma cannot, as stated above, attain Mahabhava. The conceptions about (I) Sraddha to (IX) Prema have been dealt with the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu by Srila Rupa Goswami, while Sri Rupa has elaborately explained the stages from (X) Sneha to (XVI) Mahabhava in his famous Ujjvala-Nilamani.

As there has been a lot of confused thinking amongst scholars both eastern and western, about the true nature of Bhakti in general, Prema in particular, and much more about Mahabhava, i.e. the supra-mundane Love-Sports of the Counter-Whole (Sri Radha) with the Predominating Original Whole (Sri Krsna)--the Absolute-Whole having projected Itself out into the second or Counter-Whole without losing the Original Whole

(Cf. Upanisad), and as these technical transcendental aspects of the unalloyed soul's eternal and ever progressive relations with the Supreme Being Sri Krsna have been wrongly identified in certain quarters with mundane and sensual love-dalliance, we propose to give here a sort explanatory note on each of the above mentioned sixteen stages of the souls progress to self-realization and God realization and the reciprocal

relationships that exist between God (Param-Atma) and the individual soul or finite self (Jiv-atma). In the glossary at the end of the book, these technical terms in Rasa-Sastra Literature will be explained and in the Text we shall retain the original Sanskrta expressions which cannot conveniently be rendered into English equivalents. For example, it is absolutely wrong to translate Prema as "love" or Mahabhava as "great sentiment". By such 'easy' translation, the whole purpose of the Works of Sri Rupa Goswami will be lost. (Tridandi Swami Bhakti Hridaya Bon Maharaj introduction to Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu)


(I) SRADDHA: Faith in the Supreme Being Sri Krsna, i.e. the faith that by serving Him alone everything else is served wholly and completely, as by pouring water at the root of a plant all its branches twigs and leaves are fed. Sraddha is aroused in the heart of an individual in bondage, but his association with saints and by listening to the injunctions of the Scriptures. Sraddha is of two kinds viz. (a) mundane, and (b) spiritual.

The spiritual Sraddha or firm faith is the seed of Bhakti (Cf. Bhakti Sandarbha)


(II) SADHU SANGA: Company of Sadhus or Saints. This means an individuals eager desire to be in the company of a Sadhu in order to learn the methods of spiritual practices for God realization alone and for no other purpose. But who is a Sadhu?

According to Bhagavatam, Canto XI, Chap. 11, Slokas 29 to 31, the following are the qualities of a genuine Sadhu or Saint: A Sadhu is kind; he cherishes animosity toward none; he smilingly endures even the bitterest miseries; he loves Truth as the vein-blood of his life; he never allows any evil thought to pollute his mind; he looks upon all with equal love and compassion; he does not entertain any kind of mundane desires to darken his mental quantum; he is self-controlled, amiable and pure in character; he remains farthest from any attempt to accumulate for his future subsistence and does not beg anything form anybody; he is abstentious and peaceful; he is steady in his mind; he depends absolutely on the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, and remains in constant remembrance of the Lord; he is patient, solemn, magnanimous and undisturbed even by utmost provocations and turmoils; he has control over hunger, thirst, lamentations ,infatuation, birth and death; he does never aspire after respect for himself, but is always respectful to others; he is friendly to all; his heart is full of compassion for others; he is fully conversant with the real nature of God; and he is erudite. To keep company with such a one in person, thought and through discussions is Sadhu-sanga.


(III) BHAJANA-KRIYA: Spiritual practices (in the stage of bondage). This Bhajana-Kriya is twofold viz.

(a)Nistha i.e. rigid following of listening to and singing the glories of the Supreme Lord and (b) Anistha, i.e. slackness in spiritual practices. This slackness in spiritual practices may be due to six different circumstances, viz.

  1. Utsahamayi-early zeal in Bhakti like a child's first attempt at reading the First Primer, thinking that it has become a great scholar, which slowly declines;
  2. Ghana-tarala- or thickened liquidity, i.e. sometimes progressive and sometimes retrogressive processes of spiritual practices of Bhakti like the intensity and slackness of a student in his studies.
  3. Vyudha-Vikalpa-this is like a married man, vacillating between resolutions and doubts. At times such a sadhaka resolved to remain in his householder’s life in the company of his wife and children, relatives and friends, and devote himself to spiritual practices of service to God, i.e. Bhakti, and again the next moment he resolves to cut off all ties with his blood relations in order to devote himself completely to a spiritual life. Such a vacillating state of mind of a devotee is called Vyuha-Vikalpa Anisthita Bhajana-kriya, which means a vacillating state resulting in slackness in Spiritual practices.
  4. Visaya-Sangara-i.e.fight against the temptations of wroldly enjoyments. In this state of slackness, the devotee sometimes overcomes allurements of worldly pleasures and sometimes he is duped by them. Of worldly pleasures and sometimes he is duped by them;
  5. Niyama-Aksama-unstability in determination. In this state of slackened Bhakti the Sadhaka fails to stick even to his strong determinations;
  6. Tranga-Rangini- Even when a Sakhaka (one in his bondage engaged in spiritual practices) is over whelmed by a desire for spiritual advancement and is engaged in spiritual practices, he is drifted away by the powerful forces of the tide or worldly gains, name and fame, etc. Such a state is called Taranga-Rangini.

IV) ANARTHA-NIVRTTI: Cessation of the obstacles and the defects that cloud Bhakti. These obstacles are four:---

(1) Obstacles arising out of impious thinking and wrong doings, as wel as fivefold miseries, which are---

  1. Avidya-to mistake a changeable and transitory object for an eternal entity.
  2. Asmita--to misidrntify one's own self with one's gross physical body and one's subtle body (mind, intelligences and ego);
  3. Raga--attachment to objects of sense-experiences viz. form,(rupa),taste (rasa), smell (gandha),touch (sparsa) and sound (sabda) corresponding to fire, water earth, air and ether;
  4. Dvesa-anger against opposition to the enjoyment of the senses;
  5. Abhinivesa-to misconceive one as dead when the physical body and the phenomenal objects of physical enjoyments are destroyed.

(2) Obstacles arising out of pious actions done either in this life or in previous births, which offers enjoyment here inthis world or hereafter in heaven (svarga). Enjoyment in this world or in heaven as a result of pious deeds are obstacles to the attainment of Bhakti--they are like deep clouds that cover the Moon of Bhakti.

(3) Obstacles arising out of ten offences done to the Name of Krsna and thirty-two offences comitted in the services of Arcana i.e. worship of the Deities in the temple. One should know them in detail so that spiritual practices of Bhakti might no be overclouded.

(4) Obstacles arising out of Bhakti itself, that is, from a non-rigid state of sadhana Bahkti. It is possible that one is carried away by the desires for Bukti, i.e. for enjoyment of pleasures of heaven as a minor god, or desire for Mukti (Sayujya-Mukti), i.e. self-annihilation by way of a desire to merge into the Absolute Brahman, or be desires for worldly gains, name and fame, etc. One has got to be very careful about these subtle temptations that may lead one astray from unalloyed Bhakti. After there is a complete cessation of the above-mentioned fourfold possible obstacles, there are five impediments to the practices of elementary Bhakti for a Sadhaka-a devotee in bondage, viz.

  1. Laya-to feel ever increasing drowsiness while singing listening to and remembering the glories of the Godhead;
  2. Viksepa-to maintain mundane associations while practising even the external forms of Bhakti;
  3. Apratipatti-disinclination fo rBhajana or spiritual endeavors even when realising one's Laya and Viksepa
  4. Kasaya-instinctively prone to anger, avarice, vanity, etc;
  5. Rasasvada- to think of sensual enjoyments and worldly pleasure while negaged in Bhajana practices of Bhakti.

To be compeltely freed from all the above-stated obstacles, which overcloud unalloyed Bhakti is Anartha-Nivrtti.


(V) NISTHA: Firmness in the striving for the unfolding of Bhakti. When the obstacles of Laya, Viksepa, Kasaya, etc. are almost removed form the path of Bhakti of such a Sadhaka, the stediness that he then arrains is called Nistha. This Nistha or firmness in Bhakti can be of two different forms:---

(1) Steadfastness that directly concerns Bhakti which is again of three forms, viz.

  1. Physical, such as worship in the temple, listening to the Scriptures, prostrated obeisances befvore the Deities in the temple and before the Guru or Spiritual Master, circumabulation of the Temple of God and the sacred places of pilgrimage associated with His Divine Descents in his world;
  2. Verbal,such as chanting the Name of God, telling beads and reading aloud His glories;
  3. Mental, such as remembrance of and meditationon the Divine Name, Transcendental Form and Beauty, supra mundane limitless Qualities, spiritual Realm, Associates and Entourage, and Eternal Pastimes of the Lord.

(2) Steadiness in relation to things which are favorable to Bhakti. No dsire for one's own respect, being respectful to tohers, freindliness, compassion, gratitude, self-control, mental tranquility, tolerance, and such other qualities as are helpful to the development of constancy in Bhakti.


(VI) RUCI: Liking or Taste. When a strong taste for listening to the glories of the Lord becomes much more agreeable than talks on mundane things, then such a mental taste of the devotee is called Ruci. This Ruci or taste for the singing of the glories of God is of two forms, viz.

a)to pay equal attention to all aspects of Bhakti without paying any particular attention to the less important aspects of Bhakti and

b)to feel agreeably affected for the various traits of Bhakti, keeping in view the more important and the less important aspects thereof.


(VII) ASAKTI: Attachment. When taste for services of the Supreme Lord develops into full-grown maturity and the Lord alone becomes the sole object of life, then such an intensity fo spiritual practices by a devotee creates a clue-like attachment for the Lord in his heart. This attachment for the Lord is like the foliage of the all-wish-yielding Creeper of Bhakti in the form of loving service of the Supreme Lord, the Godhead, which very soon brings forth the Flower of Bhava and the Fruit of Prema.

This Asakti cleanses the heart of the devotee and makes is so transparent that the Lord's Reflection appears therein in such a way as if the Lord has appeared before the devotee in person. In the beginning the Sadhaka, i.e. a devotee in the early stages of spiritual practices purposely turns his mind towards the Supreme Person and soon his mind is spontaneously and constantly fixed on Him. In this stage of Asakti, if the devotee be in the midst of even worldly gossip, his mind will turn unawares to the Lord and be attached to thinking about Him. His soul now begins to relish the supreme sweetness of the incomparable Beauties of Sri Krsna, the Lord. All worldly talks and worldly affairs become boring and unbearable to him.


(VIII) BHAVA: When the above-explained Asakti or attachment along with Ruci or spontaneous taste softens the heart, mind and ego, and all reasoning faculties reach a point of melting, it is called BHAVA. This BHAVA is the innate nature of the self-same Potency (Svarupa-Sakti) or Internal Potency (Antaranga-Sakti) of the All-powerful Supreme Lord and is like the Aurora immediately preceding the rise of the sun of Prema.

(1) Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, East Wave 3, Sloka 1.

When a devotee attains to the stage of Bhava-Rati, the following nine traits are fully developed in him.2

(2) ibid sloka, East, Wave 3 12-13

  1. He wastes not his time even for the twinkling of an eye without being constantly engaged in his bhajana, i.e. intense spiritual practices.

  2. The mental equilibrium of such a devotee remains perfectly calm and composed even if there be causes of extreme excitement.

  3. He develops a natural apathy for worldly objects;

  4. He is unassuming even though possessing all noble qualities.

  5. He has a firm faith in the realization of God in this very life and meeting with His Beloved Lord.

  6. He develops an intense longing for his Beloved Lord;

  7. He constantly sings the Name of his Beloved Lord;

  8. His attachment for singing the glories of the Lord remains steady;

  9. He passionately loves Vrndavan-the Eternal Realm of the Transcendental Pastimes of the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna.

The Madhurya-kadambini describes the following further characteristics of Bhava-Bhakti.

  1. This Bhava is also called Rati;

  2. The fragrance of the Flower of Bhava-Bhakti of a devotee forcibly attracts Sri Krsna the Lord, like a bee;

  3. When the devotee reaches the stage of Bhava,he anoints the Lord with Bhava-scented Oil of Affection, squeezed out of the Sesame of his mental Quantum. The Lord is also overwhelmed by enjoying the Bhava-Bhakti of his devotee.

  4. Such a devotee in Bhava-Bhakti is adored even by the gods however lowly in a society in which he might have been born;

  5. When Bhava is awakened in the heart of a devotee, his soul is drenched by showers of tears of Prema, being overfilled with emotions of inexplicable joy due to his experiencing and realising the supplenes of the dark-blue Body of Sri Krsna, the ruddines of the Corners of His Eyes and the Ends of His Lips, the silveriness of His gentle Smile and the yellowness of His Robes;

  6. He feels at intervals to have listened to the soothing music of His Flute, the sweet jingling of the tinkling Anklets of His Feet; and the Lord's Own charming and fascinating Voice; and he remains ever eager to taste Them again and again.

  7. He feels an immensely delightful sensations of occasional touch of the tender Hands and the Feet of the Lord, and he is thrilled to smell the gladenning Odour of His Body;

  8. He sometimes feels His Presence, and is drowned in the stream of ecstasy; again, he feels that the Lord has forsaken him, and he is thrown into the depth of the pang of separation;

  9. The devotee in Bhava-Bhakti experiences the above-mentioned conditions not only when wide awake, but also in deep sleep as also in dreams;

  10. IN the stage of Bhava, the devotee strongly identifies himself with his siddha-deha or eternal cit body, i.e. a supramundane all spiritual and eternal body, (which is encaged in the gross and subtle physical bodies in the state of bondage of an individual), and forgets his wrong, "I"-ism or egoism of the physical body; he has now attained the stage of absolute freedom form the bondage of the gross physical body and the subtle mind and perverse egoism;

  11. Though such a devotee tries to hide his spiritual experiences from worldly-minded folks, they become manifest in the company of genuine, freed and passionate devotees; to the ordinary people, expressions of such supra-mundane experiences appear like madness.

This Bhava, which is otherwise called "Sthayi-Bhava" , i.e. permanent trait of relation between the individual atma and the Parama-Atma or Godhead, are FIVE primary, and SEVEN secondary. The Five primary Sthayi-Bhavas are:---

  1. Santa-rati: or indifference, i.e. when the individual self in the Eternal Realm, such as, the Cow, or the stick, the Flute, etc. does not take the reciprocal initiative but is accepted by the Lord Himself out of His Own prerogative. In the Realm of the Lord, nothing is inanimate–everything is cit or animate. But the Objects of Santa-rati appear as inanimate as They allow themselves to be utilized or not by the Lord.

  2. Dasya-rati: or servanthood. The Servants like Citraka, Patraka and others are the eternal Servants of the Lord, and they serve the Lord as their Beloved Master.

  3. Sakhya-rati: or friendship. The friends of Sri Krsna, like Sridam, Sudama, Vasudama, Suvala, Madhumangala, Ujjvala, and others always serve the Lord as their Most Intimate Friend.

  4. Vatsalya rati: parenthood. The Parents of Sri Krsna, like Nanda, Upananda, Sunanda, Yasoda, Rohini, Devaki and others eternally serve Lord Sri Krsna as their Most Affectionate Child.

  5. Madhura-rati: Consorthood. The Queens of Dwaraka, such as Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, and others, eternally serve the Lord as their Most Beloved Husband, while the Gopis of Vraja (the Vraja-Gopis) eternally serve the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna as Their Most Intimate Beloved with an unrestricted and supremely intense dedication to the all-out satisfaction and absolute delight of the Lord--there is absolute self-effacement of the Vraja-Gopis in Their Sthayi or permanent Madhura-rati for the Lord, for the Lord’s absolute and unrestricted Enjoyment.

The Sthayi-bhava combined with the four ingredients of Vibhava , Anu-Bhava, Satvika and Sancari, develops into an inconceivable Concrete Form out of the transcendental and absolutely spiritual mellow-sweetness which is called Rasa. The Supreme Lord SRIKRSNA IS RASA (Cf..Sruti: Raso vai sah). All this will be explained in the text of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.


(IX) PREMA When Bhava develops to such a ptich that is completely softens the mental quantum of the most advanced devotee and creates a sense ofintense "my-ness" for the Beloved Lord and gladdens the heart beyond all measure, it is called Prema. 3:

(3) Bahkti-rasamrta-sindhu, Easst, Wave 4, Sloka 1.

This Prema may manifest itself in a devotee in two different ways, viz. (a) as a development of Bhava, and (b) as arising from the Grace of the Lord.

(4) Bhagavatam, Canto XI, Chap 2, Sloka 40.

(b) PREMA arising from GRACE OF THE LORD: The damsels of Vraja read not the Vedas, served not the saints, undertook no religious vows, performed no austere penances, and yet they achieved Prema for the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, because of His causeless Grace only. 5

(5) IBID, Catjno XI, Chap 12 Sloka 7.

PREMA is again of two different natures according to the two different Aspects of the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna Himself, viz. (I)His All-majestic Aspect,and (ii)His All-beauteous Aspect.

PREMA for the All-majestic Aspect of Lord Sri Krsna (as in Vaikuntha), which is called "Aisvaraya", and for the All-majestic-All beauteous Aspect of the Lord Sri Krsna. (as in Dwaraka and Mathura) which is called "Aisvarya-Madhurya" is restrictd by a conscious knowledge of awe and reverence, and it is called Vaidhi-Bhakti; while a spontaneous attachment and and fond liking for the All-beauteous, All-attractive Aspect of Lord Sri Krsna in Vraja alone, which is called Madhurya, is without any restriction whatsoever on the Supra-mundane Love-dalliance, and is called Ruci-Bhakti.

The Majestic Divnity of Sri Krsna (Aisvarya) always consists of–(1) All-majesty, (2) All-attracting, (3) All-beauty, (4)All-dominance, (5) All skillfulness and craftiness, and (6) All-desirous, Sri Krsna’s Associates in Vraja had this Madhurya-Prema for Him in the form either of the devoted Servant, or of the intimate Friend , or as the affectionate Son, or as the Divine consort with the feelings of intimacy, filial affection and conjugal love or consortship without restrictions,social or any other, resepctively.

PREMA has two more important aspects as mentioned in Madhurya kadmbini, viz.

    1. PREMA in its intrinsic nature is itself a dense, consolidated and Ecstatic bliss or Ananda. PREMA once awakened never ceases even if there be strong grounds of a break or cessation:
    2. PREMA possesses the supreme power to attract even Sri Krsna, Who is the All-attractor.

When the Sun of Prema dawns in the perfectly cleansed and transparent heart of the Prema-bhakta ( a devotee who has attained Prema), the following characteristics become natural and normal with him:---

    1. All forms of "my-ness’ and attachment of a Prema-bhakta for his body-mind-soul and those related to the body-mind are completely directed to Sri Krsna alone. His "my-ness{ is attracted by Sri Krsna like a magnet drawing a clean piece of iron.
    2. As a greedy and hungry man’s desire for palatable dishes never ends even if he has eaten much of them, so also a Prema-bhakta’s burning desire and solicitude for Sri Krsna have no end when once he has attained Him, rather the longing increases all the more. To a Prema-bhakta in his pangs of separation from his beloved Lord, his own dear friend appear like a dry well without water; his own home pricks him like a house of thorns; food tastes like severe beating; praise seems like the venom of a snake-bite; the different limbs and organs of his body become a heavy burden to him; the solacing words of friends sound platitudinous and even bitter; sleep is death to him; existence of the body seems to him as God’s punishment; what more, even meditation on the Beloved by such a Prema-bhakta in the agonies of separation, cuts asunder, as it were, his very soul;
    3. Like a covetous thief, the Prema-bhakta loses all powers of distinguishing between good and evil;
    4. As the soothing rays of the moon cool the scorching heat of a thousand suns, so also the union with Sri Krsna removes all the pangs of separation from the heart of a Prema-bhakta who has acquired this wealth of Prema;
    5. Overpowered by these anxieties of Prema of His devotee, Sri Krsna reveals to him His matchless Beauty, extraordinary Loveliness, incomprehensible Adolescence, soul attracting handsomeness, limitless magananimity, and fathomless Compassion and such other Divine Qualities. The devotee who as ascended the ladder of Prema and has thus been blessed by the Lord experiences such a divinely wondrous and luminous pleasure as far outweighs the pleasures that a tired traveller experiences at midday in the scorching rays of the summer-sun in the midst of hot sands of a vast desert when he suddenly finds a densely shaded banyan tree full of thick foliage with all its branches and twigs, or the pleasure that a wild elephant enjoys being drenched in a cool water-fall after it has escaped half burnt form the huge forest fire;
    6. After an individual souls has attained Prema by his or her spiritual practices, he or she now beholds the Lord face-to-face with the sarsana-rati or attachment of vision, and realises that this luinous expereience fare excels all the experiences he or she had at a the stage of Bhava-Bhakti;

      This experience is of the following order:--

    7. First: With the eyes (soul’s organ of visual perception);
      Second: With the nose (soul’s perception through the organ of Smelling);
      Third: With the ears (soul’s perception through the organ of hearing);
      Fourth: With the tactile sense (soul’s perception though the organ of touch);
      Fifth: With the tongue (soul’s faculty of tasting).
    8. Out of His magnanimity Sri Krsna occasionally makes the devotee experience in his Prema the beatitude of His Beauteous Sweetness all at once with all his supra-mundane and transcendental senses;
    9. At the time of revealing His Person before His devotee in the stage of Prema, the Lord responds favorably to the devotee’s nature of sadhana or spiritual practices.

So far the different stages in the gradual development of PREMA starting from SRADDHA to PREMA, have been dealt with by Sri Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and we have given here just a summary of the same. It will however, be necessary to explain here in a nutshell how Prema further unfolds itself into SNEHA, MANA, PANAYA, RAGA, ANU-RAGA, BHAVA and MAHABHAVA in relation to the transcendental Love-Pastimes in Madhura-rati, i.e. supra-mundane wifehood and mistresshood of the freed soul (which is no more misidentified with the physical and mental bodies) in relation to the Supreme Godhead in His Husbandhood and Paramourhood respectively, there being absolutely nothing mundane and physical in it, though it may sound so.

Continue to Part II

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