vibhāvānubhāva-sāttvika-bhāva-vyabhicāri-bhāva-milanena raso bhavati. yatra viṣaye bhāvo bhavati sa viṣayālambana-vibhāvaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ. yo bhāva yukto bhavati sa āśrayālambana-vibhāvo bhaktaḥ.
ye kṛṣṇaṁ smārayanti vastrālaṅkārādayas te-uddīpana-vibhāvaḥ. ye bhāvaṁ jñāpayanti te anubhāvā nṛtya-gīta-smitādayaḥ. ye cittaṁ tanuṁ ca kṣobhayanti te sāttvikāh. te aṣṭau – stambha-sveda-romāñca-svarabheda-vepathu-vaivarṇyāśru-pralayā iti. te dhūmāyitā jvalitā dīptā uddīptā sūddīptā iti pañca-vidhā yathottara-sukhadāḥ syuḥ. ete yadi nitya-siddhe tadā snigdhāḥ. yadi jātaratau tadā digdhāḥ. bhāva-śūnya-jane yadi jātās tadārukṣāḥ. mumukṣu-jane yadi jātās tadā ratyābhāsajāḥ. karmi-jane viṣayi-jane vā yadi jātās tadā sattvā-bhāsajāḥ. picchila-citta-jane tad-abhyāsa pare vā yadi jātās tadā niḥsattvāḥ. bhagavad-dveṣi jane yadi jātās tadā pratīpāḥ.
When kṛṣṇa-rati, or in other words the sthāyibhāva (the permanent emotion of the heart in one of the five primary relationships of śānta, dāsya, sakhya and so on), becomes exceedingly tasty for the devotee by virtue of the elements known as vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika-bhāva and vyabhicāri-bhāva, induced through the medium of śravaṇa, kīrtana and so on, it is called bhakti-rasa. In other words when the sthāyibhāva or kṛṣṇa-rati mixes with vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika-bhāva and vyabhicāri-bhāva and becomes fit to be tasted in the heart of the devotee, it is called bhakti-rasa.
Components of bhakti-rasa
Sthāyibhāva – The permanent sentiment in one of the five primary relationships of śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or mādhurya, which is known as mukhya-rati. This also refers to the dominant sentiment in the seven secondary mellows (gauṇa-rati) of laughter, wonder, chivalry, compassion, anger, fear and disgust.
Anubhāva – Visible actions that illustrate the spiritual emotions situated within the heart (dancing, singing and so on).
Sāttvika-bhāva – Eight symptoms of spiritual ecstasy arising exclusively from viśuddha-sattva, or in other words, when the heart is overwhelmed by emotions in connection with mukhya-rati or gauṇa-rati.
Vyabhicāri-bhāva – Thirty-three internal spiritual emotions, which emerge from the nectarean ocean of the sthāyibhāva, cause it to swell, and then merge back into that ocean.
The terms vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika-bhāva, sthāyibhāva and bhakti-rasa are defined in the following quotations from Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu:
vibhāvyate hi ratyādir
yatra yena vibhāvyate
vibhāvo nāma sa dvedhā-
That in which rati is tasted and that cause by which rati is tasted are called vibhāva. Vibhāva is of two varieties: (1) ālambana (the support or repository of rati) and (2) uddīpana (that which stimulates or excites rati).
anubhāvās tu cittastha-
te bahir-vikriyā prāyāḥ
The symptoms that reveal the spiritual emotions situated within the heart are called anubhāvas. When they manifest mostly as external actions they are known as udbhāsvara (that which gives light or makes apparent).
kiñcid vā vyavadhānataḥ
bhāvaiś cittam ihākrāntaṁ
sattvam ity ucyate budhaiḥ
When the heart is overwhelmed by any of the five primary sentiments (mukhya-rati) in relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa of dāsya, sakhya and so on, stimulated by direct contact with Him, or when the heart is overwhelmed by the seven secondary sentiments (gauṇa-rati) of laughter, sorrow and so on, induced by a circumstance in which Kṛṣṇa is somewhat apart, learned scholars call this condition sattva. The bhāvas or spiritual emotions arising strictly from sattva are known as sāttvika-bhāvas.
The previously mentioned anubhāvas such as dancing, singing and so on, like the sāttvika-bhāvas, arise from emotion in relationship with Kṛṣṇa, or in other words, when the mind is overwhelmed by emotion in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. However, symptoms such as dancing and singing are done with conscious intention and therefore they are not counted as sāttvika-bhāvas. The sāttvika-bhāvas are also referred to as anubhāvas because they illustrate the emotions situated within the heart. Therefore, to distinguish between anubhāvas and sāttvika-bhāvas, the word udbhāsvara is used to refer to those anubhāvas which do not arise exclusively from sattva. The symptoms such as becoming stunned (stambha), standing of the hairs on end (pulaka) and so on arise spontaneously from sattva. Therefore they are known as sāttvika-bhāvas.
In his commentary on Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.1.5) Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī explains the nature of rasa.
vibhāvair iti. eṣā kṛṣṇa-ratir eva sthāyī bhāvaḥ saiva ca bhakti-raso bhavet. kīdṛśī satī tatrāha vibhāvair iti. śravaṇādibhiḥ karttṛbhir vibhāvādibhiḥ karaṇair bhaktānāṁ hṛdi svādyatvam ānītā samyak prāpitā. camatkāra viśeṣeṇa puṣṭety arthaḥ.
This kṛṣṇa-rati is the sthāyibhāva, and it is transformed into bhakti-rasa. How does it become bhakti-rasa? By combination with vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika-bhāva and vyabhicāri-bhāva. In other words, when kṛṣṇa-rati is aroused by the stimulating elements (vibhāvas) transmitted through the medium of śravaṇa, kīrtana and so on, and gives rise to various ensuing emotions (anubhāvas, sāttvika-bhāvas and vyabhicāri-bhāvas), the combination of all these elements produces an extraordinary taste within the heart which is referred to as bhakti-rasa.
The sthāyibhāva will be described elaborately further ahead. Here it is sufficient to know that when kṛṣṇa-rati is augmented, it attains to different levels such as sneha, māna, praṇaya, rāga, anurāga, bhāva and mahābhāva. All of these are known as sthāyibhāvas (permanent emotions) of kṛṣṇa-bhakti. When these various gradations of the sthāyibhāva combine with the appropriate vibhāvas, anubhāvas, sāttvika-bhāvas and vyabhicāri-bhāvas, bhakti-rasa is produced and yields an unprecedented taste.
Bhakti-rasa is of twelve varieties and each of these has its own sthāyibhāva. For example:
- the sthāyibhāva of śānta-rasa is śānta-rati (tranquillity);
- the sthāyibhāva of dāsya-rasa is dāsya-rati (affection in servitude);
- the sthāyibhāva of sakhya-rasa is sakhya-rati (friendship);
- the sthāyibhāva of vātsalya-rasa is vātsalya-rati (parental affection);
- the sthāyibhāva of mādhurya-rasa is madhura-rati (conjugal love);
- the sthāyibhāva of hāsya-rasa is hāsa-rati (laughter);
- the sthāyibhāva of adbhuta-rasa (wonder) is vismaya-rati (astonishment);
- the sthāyibhāva of vīra-rasa (heroism) is utsāha-rati (enthusiasm);
- the sthāyibhāva of karuṇa-rasa (compassion) is śoka-rati (sorrow or lamentation);
- the sthāyibhāva of raudra-rasa is krodha-rati (anger);
- the sthāyibhāva of bhayānaka-rasa is bhaya-rati (fear); and
- the sthāyibhāva of bībhatsa-rasa is jugupsā-rati (disgust). Although bhakti-rasa is accepted to be of twelve varieties, in the final analysis five rasas are predominant. The five sthāyibhāvas on which these are based will be discussed elaborately ahead.
The Causes of Tasting Bhakti-rasa
Kṛṣṇa-rati is of five kinds: śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and madhura. That in and by which rati is stimulated and thus caused to be tasted is called vibhāva. Vibhāva is of two kinds: ālambana (the support) and uddīpana (the stimulus). That in which rati is stimulated is called ālambana (the support or shelter of rati). That by which rati is stimulated is called uddīpana (the stimulus for rati). Ālambana-vibhāva is also of two varieties: viṣayālambana and āśrayālambana. He for whom rati is aroused is called viṣayālambana (the object of rati) and one in whom rati is aroused is called āśrayālambana (the receptacle of rati). Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the viṣayālambana of kṛṣṇa-rati and the devotees are the āśrayālambana. That by which rati is stimulated is called uddīpana-vibhāva. Uddīpana-vibhāva refers to all those things which stimulate remembrance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa such as His dress and ornaments, the spring season, the banks of the Yamunā, forest groves, cows, peacocks and so on.
Kṛṣṇa’s qualities as viṣayālambana
The qualities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are sometimes classified as viṣayālambana and sometimes as uddīpana. Because Kṛṣṇa’s qualities are part and parcel of His form, they are included as viṣayālambana. When the principal meditation is upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa who possesses various qualities, those qualities are thought of as belonging to the object of love and are therefore classified as viṣayālambana. When, however, the principal meditation is upon the qualities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and that remembrance stimulates love for Kṛṣṇa, those qualities are considered as uddīpana. Śrī Kṛṣṇa has sixty-four principal qualities. Out of these the first fifty are present to a minute extent in great personalities who are recipients of the Lord’s mercy. The ordinary jīvas, however, display merely a shadow of a particle of such qualities.
(1) Suramyāṅga – The construction of His limbs is exceedingly beautiful.
(2) Sarva-sal-lakṣaṇa-yukta – His body is marked with all auspicious characteristics.
(3) Rucira – His beauty is a festival of bliss for the eyes.
(4) Tejasānvita – His body is radiant and He is extremely powerful and influential.
(5) Balīyān – He possesses great strength.
(6) Vayasānvita – He displays different ages and yet He is eternally situated in fresh youth.
7) Vividhādbhuta-bhāṣāvit – He is expert in different languages.
(8) Satyavākya – His words never prove false.
(9) Priyaṁvada – He speaks pleasantly even to offenders.
(10) Vāvadūka – His words are ambrosial and pleasing to the ears.
(11) Supaṇḍita – He is learned and conducts Himself appropriately with different kinds of persons.
(12) Buddhimān – His intelligence is sharp and subtle.
(13) Pratibhānvita – He is expert at improvising original conversation on the spur of the moment.
(14) Vidagdha – He is skilled in the sixty-four arts and in amorous pastimes.
(15) Catura – He can accomplish many actions at the same time.
(16) Dakṣa – He can perform difficult tasks with ease.
(17) Kṛtajña – He is grateful for services rendered by others.
(18) Sudṛḍha-vrata – His promises and vows always hold true.
(19) Deśa-kāla-supātrajña – He is an expert judge of time, place and person and works accordingly.
(20) Śāstra-cakṣu – He acts in accordance with the religious scriptures.
(21) Śuci – He is free from all sins and He purifies others from sins.
(22) Vaśī – He is in full control of His senses.
(23) Sthira – He perseveres until His work is completed.
(24) Dānta – He endures even intolerable distress.
(25) Kṣamāśīla – He excuses the offences of others.
(26) Gambhīra – It is very difficult to understand the import of His mind.
(27) Dhṛtimān – His desires are fulfilled and He remains calm even in the midst of great anxiety.
(28) Sama – He is devoid of attachment and aversion.
(29) Vadānya – He is chivalrous in giving charity.
(30) Dhārmika – He is religious and He incites others to adopt the path of religion.
(31) Śūra – He is enthusiastic to fight and expert in the use of weapons.
(32) Karuṇa – He is unable to tolerate the distress of others.
(33) Mānyamāna-kṛta – He is respectful to His guru, the brāhmaṇas and elders.
(34) Dakṣiṇa – Because of His excellent disposition His actions are very pleasing.
(35) Vinayī – He is devoid of pride.
(36) Hrīmān – He is bashful when He thinks that others have detected His amorous affairs and when glorified by others.
(37) Śaraṇāgata-pālaka – He protects those who take shelter of Him.
(38) Sukhī – He enjoys pleasure and is untouched by distress.
(39) Bhakta-suhṛta – He is a friend to His devotees and is easily pleased.
(40) Prema-vaśya – He is controlled only by love.
(41) Sarva-śubhaṅkara – He is a well-wisher to everyone.
(42) Pratāpī – He torments and terrifies His enemies.
(43) Kīrtimān – He is famous by dint of His sterling qualities.
(44) Rakta-loka – He is the object of love and attachment for everyone.
(45) Sadhu-samāśraya – He is partial to the sādhus.
(46) Nārīgaṇa-manohārī – He is attractive to all women.
(47) Sarvārādhya – He is worshipable to everyone.
(48) Samṛddhimān – He possesses great opulence.
(49) Varīyān – He is superior to all.
(50) Īśvara – He is independent and His order cannot be transgressed.
The next five qualities are partially present in Śrī Śiva
(51) Sadā-svarūpa-samprāpta – He is never controlled by the dictates of māyā.
(52) Sarvajña – He knows the heart of everyone, and He knows all things even though there may be an intervention of time, place and so on.
(53) Nitya-nutana – Even though His beauty is always experienced, it is new at every moment and so astonishing that it appears as if it were never previously experienced.
(54) Sac-cid-ānanda-sāndrāṅga – He is the concentrated embodiment of existence, consciousness and bliss. The word sat means that He pervades all time and space, the word cit means that He is self-manifested, the word ānanda means that He is the abode of unadulterated prema and the word sāndra means that His form is so densely composed of sat, cit and ānanda that it is untouched by anything else.
(55) Sarva-siddhi-niṣevita – All mystic powers are under His control.
The next five qualities are present in Śrī Nārāyaṇa and Mahāviṣṇu
(56) Avicintya-mahāśakti – He possesses inconceivable potencies by which He creates the universes and manifests even the indwelling antaryāmī of those universes, by which He bewilders even Brahmā and Rudra and by which He destroys the prārabdha-karma of His devotees.
(57) Koṭi-brahmāṇḍa-vigraha – Unlimited universes are situated within His body.
(58) Avatārāvalī-bīja – He is the source of all incarnations.
(59) Hatāri-gati-dāyaka – He awards mukti to the enemies killed by Him.
(60) Ātmārāma-gaṇākarṣī – He attracts the liberated souls who rejoice in the self.
The next four qualities are unique to Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone
(61) Līlā-mādhurya – He is an undulating ocean of astonishing pastimes out of which rāsa-līlā is supremely captivating.
(62) Prema-mādhurya – He is surrounded by devotees who possess incomparable madhura-prema, which develops up to the stage of mahābhāva.
(63) Veṇu-mādhurya – The sweet and mellow sound of His flute attracts the minds of everyone within the three worlds.
(64) Rūpa-mādhurya – His extraordinary beauty astonishes all moving and non-moving entities.
Four kinds of nāyakas or heroes
Because Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the reservoir of all qualities and activities He manifests the characteristics of all four different heroes at different times in accordance with specific pastimes. These four varieties of heroes are described below.
The hero who is grave, humble, forgiving, compassionate, fixed in vow, unboastful, extremely powerful and who thwarts the pride of heroic fighters is known as dhīrodātta. Previous ācāryas have described Bhagavān Śrī Rāma as possessing the qualities of a dhīrodātta nāyaka. These qualities are also observed in Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
The hero who is expert in the sixty-four arts and in amorous sports, always situated in fresh youth, expert at joking, devoid of anxiety and controlled by the prema of his beloveds is known as dhīra-lalita. Śrī Kṛṣṇa clearly manifests the features of a dhīra-lalita nāyaka. In the nāṭya-śāstra these qualities are also said to be found in Kandarpa (Cupid).
The hero who is peaceful, tolerant of miseries, judicious and humble is known as dhīra-śānta. Learned scholars of the nāṭya-śāstra have declared Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira to be a dhīra-śānta nāyaka.
One who is malicious, proud, deceitful, angry, fickle and boastful is known as dhīroddhata. Learned scholars have accepted Bhīmasena as a dhīroddhata nāyaka. Although these characteristics appear to be faults, they are accepted as qualities in Śrī Kṛṣṇa because they are appropriate in specific pastimes in which He chastises the wicked to protect His devotees.
That which stimulates rati
Things which stimulate the devotees’ rati or love for the Lord are known as uddīpana-vibhāva. The fourteen principal uddīpanas are described below. A detailed outline of Kṛṣṇa’s qualities, dress and ornaments, and flute are found on the following pages.
(1) Guṇa (qualities)
(2) Ceṣṭā (activities) — Kṛṣṇa’s activities include rāsa-līlā, killing the wicked and so on.
(3) Prasādhana (dress and ornaments)
(4) Smita (smile)
(5) Aṅga-saurabha (bodily fragrance)
(6) Vaṁśa (flute)
(7) Śṛṅga (buffalo horn) — Kṛṣṇa’s wild female buffalo horn is mounted with gold on both ends, studded with jewels in the middle and known as mandraghoṣa.
(8) Nūpura (anklets)
(9) Kambu (conchshell) — Kṛṣṇa’s conchshell, which opens to the right, is called Pāñcajanya.
(10) Padāṅka (footprints)
(11) Kṣetra (holy places)
(13) Bhakta (devotees)
(14) Bhagavad-vāsara (holy days) — Janmāṣṭamī, Ekādaśī, etc.
Kṛṣṇa’s qualities as uddīpana-vibhāva
Kṛṣṇa’s dress and ornaments as uddīpana-vibhāva
Kṛṣṇa’s flutes as uddīpana-vibhāva
External Symptoms of Ecstasy
The symptoms that reveal the spiritual emotions situated within the heart are called anubhāvas. When they manifest mostly as external actions they are known as udbhāsvara. Sāttvika-bhāvas are also known as anubhāvas because they also reveal the emotions of the heart. The term udbhāsvara is used, therefore, to distinguish between anubhāvas arising spontaneously from sattva and those which manifest as external actions involving some conscious intention. These are described to be of two types as follows:
Symptoms of Ecstasy Arising from Sattva
When the heart of a bhāva- or prema-bhakta is overwhelmed with emotions in relationship with Kṛṣṇa, this condition is called sattva (pure goodness). The bhāva or emotion that arises from that sattva is called sāttvika-bhāva. The sāttvika-bhāvas arise spontaneously from sattva without any conscious intention. They are distinguished, therefore, from the anubhāvas known as udbhāsvara, such as singing and dancing, which also arise from sattva but with some application of the will.
Eight external symptoms of ecstasy arising from viśuddha-sattva
The sāttvika-bhāvas are of eight kinds:
- Stambha (becoming stunned): The characteristics of stambha are loss of voice and suspension of the function of both the working and knowledge-acquiring senses. Stambha arises from jubilation, fear, astonishment, despondency and anger.
- Sveda (perspiration): Sveda arises from jubilation, fear and anger.
- Romāñca (horripilation): Standing of the hairs on end and a sense of thrill or shudder in the body. Romāñca arises from fear, astonishment, jubilation and enthusiasm.
- Svarabheda (faltering of the voice): In this symptom stammering is also observed. Svarabheda arises from despondency, wonder, anger, jubilation and fear.
- Vepathu (trembling): Vepathu, also known as kampa, arises from fear, anger and jubilation.
- Vaivarṇya (change of colour): In this symptom gloominess and emaciation are also observed. Vaivarṇya arises from despondency, anger and fear.
- Aśru (tears): Cold tears arise from jubilation and hot tears from anger. In both there are redness, restlessness and rubbing of the eyes. Aśru arises from jubilation, anger and despondency.
- Pralaya (loss of consciousness): Cessation of the function of the working and knowledge-acquiring senses and merging of the mind into the object of love. In this symptom fainting is also observed. Pralaya arises from happiness and distress.
All these sāttvika-bhāvas are manifested in five stages of intensity:
(1) dhūmāyita (smouldering – when a sāttvika-bhāva mani- fests in a very small quantity by itself or combined with another symptom and is capable of being hidden);
(2) jvalita (flaming – when two or three symptoms manifest prominently at the same time and can be concealed only with difficulty);
(3) dīpta (burning – when three, four or five sāttvika-bhāvas manifest very powerfully and when it is not possible to suppress such expressions);
(4) uddīpta (brightly burning – when five, six or even all eight of the sāttvika-bhāvas manifest simultaneously and attain supreme exultation); and
(5) sūddīpta (blazing – when all the sāttvika-bhāvas reach the summit of expression, being extremely bright in their radiance. This condition is observed only in the gopīs of Vraja in the state of mahābhāva).
Each of these stages yields greater happiness than the one preceding it.
How the sāttvika-bhāvas manifest visibly in the body
When the mind is overpowered by spiritual emotions in relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa, it submits unto the vital air (prāṇa). The vital air then also experiences transformations causing the body to become excessively agitated. At that time the sāttvika-bhāvas manifest on the body of the devotee. As the vital air moves throughout the body it comes in contact with the five elements of the body and thus produces different sāttvika-bhāvas as described below.
Three further types of sāttvika-bhāva
Snigdha sāttvika-bhāvas are manifest only in the eternally perfected devotees. Sāttvika-bhāvas that arise in jāta-rati-bhaktas (those in whom rati has made its appearance) are called digdha sāttvika-bhāvas. When these symptoms are seen in persons in whom rati has not been aroused they are called rukṣa sāttvika-bhāvas. In actuality sāttvika-bhāvas can occur only in persons in whom rati has been aroused. When symptoms resembling the sāttvika-bhāvas are manifest in persons who are devoid of rati they are known as sāttvikābhāsa (a semblance of sāttvika-bhāva). Therefore rukṣa sāttvika-bhāvas are also said to be an ābhāsa.
Sāttvikābhāsa is of four types: (1) ratyābhāsa, (2) sattvābhāsa, (3) niḥsattva and (4) pratīpa.
Ratyābhāsa literally means an ābhāsa or semblance of rati, and sāttvikābhāsa means a semblance of the symptoms known as sāttvika-bhāvas. Ratyābhāsa sāttvikābhāsa, therefore, refers to those symptoms which resemble sāttvika-bhāvas arising due to a semblance of rati. This ratyābhāsa refers to pratibimba- and chāyā-ratyābhāsa previously described in the section on bhāva-bhakti. Persons who are desirous of liberation may adopt the limbs of bhakti not for the purpose of obtaining bhakti or kṛṣṇa-rati but simply to attain mukti. When such persons chant the holy name in the association of bhāva-bhaktas, they may manifest tears, horripilation and other symptoms. Because these symptoms arise from a reflection of the rati situated in the hearts of genuine bhāva-bhaktas, they are known as ratyābhāsa sāttvikābhāsa. When symptoms resembling sāttvika-bhāvas are seen in mumukṣus (those desirous of liberation) they are said to arise from ratyābhāsa.
Sattvābhāsa refers to those symptoms which arise from an ābhāsa of sattva. Sattva refers to the condition wherein the heart possessed of rati is overwhelmed by spiritual emotions such as jubilation, wonder and despondency. When a person who is devoid of rati hears or chants about the Lord’s pastimes in the association of pure devotees, he may become overwhelmed with some emotion which resembles those originating from sattva. In this case the symptoms he displays such as crying do not arise from a reflection of rati but merely from some emotion which resembles those arising from sattva. Therefore they are known as sattvābhāsa sāttvikābhāsa. These emotions generally arise in persons whose hearts are naturally soft. When symptoms resembling sāttvika-bhāvas are seen in karmīs or viṣayīs (sensualists) they are said to arise from sattvābhāsa.
Niḥsattva refers to those symptoms which do not arise from sattva. The hearts of such persons are described as picchila (slippery). Externally they appear to be soft-hearted but internally they are hard-hearted. They exhibit symptoms merely by forced practice. Because the symptoms observed in such persons are devoid of even an ābhāsa of sattva, they are known as niḥsattva sāttvikābhāsa.
The word pratīpa literally means adverse, contrary or displeasing. When the enemies of Kṛṣṇa display symptoms that resemble sāttvika-bhāvas, they are called pratīpa sāttvikābhāsa.