Hari-katha Articles Entering the Stage of Bhava

Entering the Stage of Bhava

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):

anārādhya rādhā-padāmbhoja-reṇum
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]

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Kṛṣṇa plays His flute everywhere around Girirāja Govardhana, and He meets with the Vraja-devīs in Govardhana’s kuñjas. Sometimes He goes to Candra-sarovara, to the kuñja of Candrāvalī. There she offers Him a garland of mallikā flowers.Later, Kṛṣṇa comes to Rādhā-kuṇḍa, still wearing that garland. But He sees that no one talks with Him, meets with Him, or even looks at Him. He then feels dry and despondent.“Oh, this garland is very wicked,” He says in disgust and casts aside the gift from Candrāvalī. He then bathes in Śyāma-kuṇḍa and Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and feels a little better. He then comes before the gopīs and prays at their feet for mercy and for Rādhārānī’s darśana. Feeling a breeze that has touched Rādhārānī and come to Him, He experiences great bliss and His heart is cooled.In his Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi, Śrīla Prabhodānanda Sarasvatī glorifies Śrīmatī Rādhārānī as follows:yasyāḥ kadāpī vasanāṣcala-khelanottha-      dhanyāti-dhanya-pavanena kṛtārtha-mānīyogīndra-durgama-gatir madhusūdano ‘pi      tasyā namo ‘stu vṛṣabhānu-bhuvo diśe ‘pi Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 2Obeisances to the direction that faces Śrī Vṛṣabhānu’s daughter. When the breeze, coming from that direction, playfully moves the edge of Her garment, Madhusūdana, who cannot be attained by even the greatest yogīs, thinks that His life has become a great success.By some sly process, Candrāvalī’s followers brought Kṛṣṇa to their kuñja. There they offered Kṛṣṇa a nice outfit and decorated Him. He thought, “If I go like this to Rādhā-kuṇḍa everyone will be pleased with Me.” But when He reached Rādhā-kuṇḍa He found that no one was pleased at all. It seemed that even Girirāja Govardhana neglected Him. Why? Girirāja is Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s follower. Therefore he also ignored Kṛṣṇa. Every kuṇḍa and kuñja-kuṭīra at Govardhana is cold to Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa cannot find anyone there, not even any animals.He looked around and thought, “I must have done something quite wrong.”He looked down at His outfit and became saddened. “Because of these garments Rādhārānī’s gopīs have become angry and have hidden from Me? Where have they gone?” Then He prays deeply.Suddenly, from the north side of Rādhā-kuṇḍa, where Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is sitting with the sakhīs, a breeze touches Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s lotus feet and takes their fragrant message to the south side of Rādhā-kuṇḍa, where Kṛṣṇa is present. When Kṛṣṇa smells this, He comes to His senses.“This attire is not good for Me,” He thinks, and He takes off His outfit and ornaments. He purifies Himself by bathing in Śyāma-kuṇḍa and Rādhā-kuṇḍa. “Yes,” He says, “now I’m feeling better.”Then He sees some mañjarīs have approached. “Your body has a horrible smell,” they say, “clearly You have gone to the abode of many buffaloes. Perhaps You didn’t herd cows today and played with buffaloes instead. Has Brahmā come and stolen Your cows again? Has Viśvāmṛta given You buffaloes to herd in their place? Buffaloes are very dirty; they like to sleep in drains and bathe in foul water. But cows are always neat and clean. You have definitely been with buffaloes, for Your body has such a foul scent.”The mañjarīs bring candana, sugandhi, arbaṭa, and other fragrant substances and ask Kṛṣṇa, “Shall we clean You?”“This will not do,” Kṛṣṇa says, “only the dust of Vraja will suffice.”“Yes, Rādhārānī’s footdust will purify You,” the manjarīs respond. “You should beware of the other side. Your desire and nature will change if You go to the other side. If You interact with Candrāvalī’s party then Rādhika’s group will shun You.”“I was not happy with Candrāvalī,” Kṛṣṇa said, “so I came to drink the sweet honey of Rādhārānī’s affection. I left Candrāvalī and came to Rādhā-kuṇḍa and cleansed Myself in the pure nectar of the water that bathed Śrīmatījī. Now will She accept me?”samastād unmatta-bhramara-kula-jhaṅkāra-nikarair      lasat-padma-stomair api vihaga-rāvair api paramsakhī-vṛndaiḥ svīyaiḥ sarasi madhure prāṇa-patinā      kadā drakṣyāmas te śaśi-mukhi navaṁ keli-nivahamVilāpa-kusumāñjali 75O sweet, moon-faced one, when will I witness Your ever-fresh water-sports with the Lord of Your heart and Your friends in Your sweet lake, which is filled with a host of splendid lotuses and is surrounded by chirping birds and humming bees?Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is present at Rādhā-kuṇḍa, where atop splendid lotuses, there are many honeybees that hum sweetly and feast on nectar.There are also many birds in all directions that sing happily. Why are they so happy? Receiving Your darśana, the hearts of the sakhīs, mañjarīs, birds, and animals are filled with happiness.”Kṛṣṇa has left Candrāvalī’s kuñja and Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s victory is celebrated in bliss. The sakhīs sing, dance, and joke with Kṛṣṇa. Everyone waits for that darśana. How is that rasa? It is like when the full moon rises and everyone becomes naturally joyful. Kṛṣṇa, the lord of the Vraja-devīs’ hearts, has come and now the gopīs celebrate. There is a great assembly of birds singing. Bees are drinking nectar amidst the swirls of fragrant lotuses and their buzzing adds to the birds’ musical performance.Dāsa Gosvāmī prays to be present during that occasion, waiting to see what happens next. He is ready, “What orders will come to me? I will arrange everything needed. When inspiration comes, I will quickly perform my service for Rādhārānī.”This wonderful program on the bank of Rādhā-kuṇḍa starts in the morning. There are many types of flowers in the kuñja-kuṭīras surrounding Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and an ocean of bliss pervades the whole atmosphere. The sakhīs and mañjarīs are very busy there, decorating the kuñjas.When will that Rādhā-kuṇḍa give us Rādhikā’s darśana and admission into eternal service? Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “Without the mercy of Rādhā-kuṇḍa one will not be able to enter the camp of Rādhārānī and follow Her footsteps, nor will one understand the secrets of Kṛṣṇa’s service.”Rādhā-kuṇḍa is the place in Vraja-maṇḍala where all favorable things are present for Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s service.sarovara-lasat-taṭe madhupa-guñji-kuñjāntare      sphuṭat-kusuma-saṅkule vividha-puṣpa-saṅghair mudā ariṣṭa-jayinā kadā tava varoru bhūṣā-vidhīr      vidhāsyata iha priyaṁ mama sukhābdhim ātanvatāVilāpa-kusumāñjali 76O beautiful-thighed one, when will the ocean of my bliss expand to see Kṛṣṇa, the victor over Ariṣṭāsura, happily decorate You with many kinds of flowers in a kuñja, filled with blossoming flowers and humming bees, on the splendid bank of Your lake?In Rādhā-kuṇḍa, if anything contrary enters, Kṛṣṇa destroys it. Like when Ariṣṭāsura came to Vraja, Kṛṣṇa destroyed him. What does this mean? If a person comes to Rādhā-kuṇḍa and sits on Her bank, at the lotus feet of Rādhārānī, then any ariṣṭa, demonic mundane desire, will not be able to come and cheat that sādhaka, pulling him away from service to Śrīmatījī. Kṛṣṇa is present there with a strong mood, ready to destroy any opposition. Any anarthas or unwanted desires will be unable to disturb one. The sādhaka will have no further troubles. Kṛṣṇa will give him a sweet nature and good desires.At Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the sakhīs are busy serving Rādhārānī. Some are painting designs on Her hands and feet, and some are combing Her hair, which they decorate with small flowers.The mañjarīs say, “Collect peacock feathers here. Kṛṣṇa likes them so much.” Then they collect peacock feathers and make crowns with them and give these to the sakhīs. Then they make dresses. After Kṛṣṇa bathes, they will decorate a nd dress Him. The sakhīs and mañjarīs are ready to perform this service.On the other side, the sādhakas see that the gopīs are busily engaged in serving Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. Kṛṣṇa has come Himself and is waiting for a chance to serve Rādhārānī. He prays to the sakhīs and mañjarīs, “When will you give Me chance to comb Rādhārānī’s hair? I will separate Her hairs and will gently braid them. How will I make a sweet relation with Her hair? I will massage oil into Her hair, made fragrant with kastūrī, and then I will place flowers and pollen in Her charming locks.”Kṛṣṇa prays to the gopīs and waits with trembling hands. He cannot control Himself. It is as if all His strength has left and He is filled with fear, feeling within, “What will happen if I do something wrong?”Kṛṣṇa sees Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s form in the water of Rādhā-kuṇḍa. He sits on the bank of Rādhā-kuṇḍa and watches Her pastimes and interaction with the sakhīs and mañjarīs in the reflection of the water.“How can I serve Her? How can I get permission?” Kṛṣṇa prays to the sakhīs and mañjarīs in a choked voice, with hairs standing on end and tears gently falling from His cheeks. The sakhīs come from another side and offer Kṛṣṇa peacock feathers and guñjā-mālā. Kṛṣṇa had fallen into an internal state of meditation. At the sound of the gopīs’ words, His external sense returns and He feels, “I am very lucky today. Certainly they will give Me permission to serve and they will teach Me the proper process.”At this Radha-kunda, all special training, power, and taste is given to serve Rādhārānī. (click on the Title to see more)

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