In his Śrī Sanmodana-bhāṣya of this verse, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura comments:
Is it proper for the sādhaka who has taken up the process of harināma-saṅkīrtana to reflect upon the miseries of material existence? To dispel this doubt, Śrī Gaurasundara has presented us this verse.
O Nanda-nandana, in reality, I am Your eternal servant. But now I have fallen into this dreadful ocean of material existence as a result of my own misdeeds. Lust, anger, envy and other contaminations are like crocodiles with ferocious gaping mouths ready to swallow me up. Drifting here and there in the waves of wicked hopes and misplaced anxieties, I am severely oppressed. The powerful blasts of wind in the form of corrupt association have scattered my wits. In such a condition, I have no shelter other than You.
Fruitive activity, impersonal knowledge, mystic yoga, austerity and so on are like bunches of straw that are seen floating here and there. But has anyone succeeded in crossing the ocean of material existence by taking shelter of them? Sometimes persons drowning in the ocean of material existence grab hold of these bunches of straw and pull them down along with them.
Now there is no refuge other than Your mercy. Your holy name alone is the only sturdy boat, taking shelter of which, the jīva can easily cross the ocean of material existence. Considering all this, I have taken shelter of the very firm boat of Your holy name by the causeless mercy of the lotus feet of the spiritual master. You are very affectionate to the surrendered souls. Please forgive all my faults, because I am without any other shelter, and consider me as a particle of dust at Your lotus feet. Then I shall never be separate from Your lotus feet.”
In his comments upon this verse, Śrīla Gurudeva states:
Those who taste rasa are called rasika, and those who taste bhāva are called bhāvuka. The gopīs and Kṛṣṇa are both rasika and bhāvuka. When viśuddha-sattva, or in other words bhāva, descends from the gopīs upon those who are in the stage of sādhana, they attain svarūpa-siddhi, or perception of their permanent devotional sentiment (sthāyibhāva), but they have not yet attained their perfected spiritual body.
At that stage they are known as bhāvuka-bhaktas. When, by further advancement, the sthāyibhāva mixes with the elements of vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika-bhāva and vyabhicāri-bhāva and one is able to taste bhakti-rasa, instigated by hearing the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, then one is called a rasika.
Just like in the rāsa-līlā, Kṛṣṇa is dancing and all the gopīs are dancing. Kṛṣṇa is continuously taking cups of rasa and giving them to the gopīs – they are rasika, and those hearing all these things, who are drinking unlimited cups of that rasa within their hearts – they are also rasika and bhāvuka. Those who meditate upon and remember the bhāva exchanged between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, or that which is found in the gopīs, the sakhās, or in vātsalya-rasa, are called bhāvuka. Bhāva is the spiritual emotion of the soul; it is not of this bodily heart.
For example, Kṛṣṇa addressed Śrīmatī Rādhikā: “Who are You? How have You come here (at Govardhana or Rādhā-kuṇḍa)? Why are You stealing all My flowers and breaking all My creepers, which are very dear to Me?” Then Śrīmatī stopped, turned towards Kṛṣṇa, and without saying a word, She glared at Him with an angry mood. What does this mean? Although She said nothing, Her look expressed everything. This is bhāva. What bhāva? “Are You a thief, or am I a thief? You are a thief, so don’t accuse Me in this way.” She did not say this, but everything was expressed in Her gaze.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura writes about this verse in his Bhajana-rahasya as follows:
Practising and following means to take exclusive shelter of Śrī Bhagavān’s devotees; to remember and follow Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s associates is more beneficial than to remember and follow Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. It is more useful for the bhakti-sādhaka to follow the process of devotion shown by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, who themselves follow the gopīs, than it is to follow Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu directly.
The method to awaken transcendental greed (lobha ) is to remember, pray and weep for the sentiments of elevated devotees. Sādhana means to practise bhakti through the senses and with the aim of attaining svarūpa-siddhi. When bhāva appears, one’s practice is no longer sādhana-bhakti but bhāva-bhakti, and when one achieves vastu-siddhi he will attain transcendental loving service (prema-sevā).
The Superiority of Parakīya-bhāva
In his Bhajana-rahasya, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura next glorifies parakīya-bhāva, on the authority of the Bhāgavatam, as follows:
The superiority of paramour love (parakīya-bhāva ) is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.29.33):
kurvanti hi tvayi ratiṁ kuśalāḥ sva ātman
nitya-priye pati-sutādibhir ārti-daiḥ kim
tan naḥ prasīda parameśvara mā sma chindyā
āśāṁ dhṛtāṁ tvayi cirād aravinda-netra
[The gopīs said:] O Paramātmā, the great personalities, who are the well-wishers of everyone’s soul, direct their love to You because You are the soul of all souls. What is the use of loving or serving husbands, sons and other relations, who are temporary and sources of misery? Be pleased with us and give us Your mercy. O lotus-eyed one, please do not cut the flourishing creeper of our desire to serve You, which we have nourished for such a long time.
tumi priya ātmā, nitya ratira bhājana
ārti-dātā pati-putre rati akāraṇa
baḍa āśā kari’ āinu tomāra caraṇe
kamala-nayana, hera prasanna-vadane
The living entity’s material relationships, such as those with his wife and children, do not endure after he attains self-realization. He understands the futility of material existence and naturally becomes immersed in deep attachment to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. At this stage, the jīva is no longer under the jurisdiction of rules and regulations. Engaged in rāgamārga-bhakti, he performs exclusive bhajana of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
At this point in the conversation between the Vraja-devīs and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the gopīs say to Him, “We have forevermore given up our relationships with husbands and everyone else, and have now come here before You. The love that appeared in our hearts as a sprout has since become a vine of desire that has grown very large. We have been attached to You since childhood and have sincere love and affection for You. Please do not cut down this creeper of affection.”
Or the gopīs say, “Our hearts have become naturally delighted by seeing Your reddish lotus eyes, and we have already become Your unpaid maidservants.”
The Vraja-devīs say rebukingly, “O lotus-eyed one, as lotus f lowers close at night, Your eyes are also half-closed, and You are therefore deprived of the darśana of our youth and bodily beauty. Your having eyes is thus useless.”
Or they say, “We have understood Your inner heart’s desire. It is right for us to desist from taking part in Your improper activities, so we will not stay here long. Please give up whatever desire is in Your heart.”
The necessity of taking shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā is expressed by Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī in his Sva-saṅkalpa-prakāśa-stotra (1):
anāśritya vṛndāṭavīṁ tat-padāṅkām
kutaḥ śyāma-sindho rasasyāvagāhaḥ
How can a person become immersed in the ocean of ecstatic mellows of Śyāma (śyāma-rasa-sindhu) if he has never worshipped the dust of Śrī Rādhā’s lotus feet; if he has never taken shelter of Her pastime place, Śrī Vṛndāvana, which is marked with the impressions of Her lotus feet; and if he has never served the devotees whose hearts are already submerged in Her profound sentiments? It will never be possible.
rādhā-padāmbhoja-reṇu nāhi ārādhile
tāṅhāra padāṅka-pūta-vraja nā bhajile
nā sevile rādhikā-gambhīra-bhāva-bhakta
śyāma-sindhu-rase kise habe anurakta?
While remembering this stotra, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura yearns to attain the wonderful and astonishing service of Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava.
In order to be submerged in the ocean of śyāma-rasa (śṛṅgāra-rasa, or the amorous mellow), it is absolutely essential to worship the dust of the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, who is the personification of hlādinī (the pleasure-giving potency); to worship Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma, Her place of playful, amorous pastimes (keli-vilāsa) ; and to worship Her dear most devotees. Besides this method there is no way to attain the service of Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava. Considering there to be another way is only a vain and useless hope. Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi (80) confirms this:
rādhā-dāsyam apāsya yaḥ prayatate govinda-saṅgāśayā
so ’yaṁ pūrṇa-sudhā-ruceḥ paricayaṁ rākāṁ vinā kāṅkṣati
Those who endeavor to attain the association of Śrī Kṛṣṇa but reject rādhā-dāsya are like people who endeavor to see the full moon when it is not a full moon night.
Stavāvalī (Sva-niyama-daśakam 6) states:
ya ekaṁ govindaṁ bhajati kapaṭī dāmbhikatayā
tad abhyarṇe śīrṇe kṣaṇam api na yāmi vratam idam
I will never go near a hypocrite who worships Govinda alone [without Rādhā]. This is my vow.
If Śyāma is directly the emperor of all transcendental mellows (rasarāja) and the embodiment of the amorous mellow (śṛṅgāra-rasa ), then Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the form of madanākhya-mahābhāva . Śrīmatī Rādhikā, with Her śṛṅgāra-rasa, feeds Śyāma honey in the form of Kandarpa (Cupid):
kṛṣṇake karāya śyāma-rasa-madhu pāna
nirantara pūrṇa kare kṛṣṇera sarva-kāma
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 8.180)
Śrīmatī Rādhikā makes Śrī Kṛṣṇa drink the honey of the amorous mellow (śyāma-rasa). She is therefore engaged in satisfying all of Kṛṣṇa’s lust (kāma).
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]