Book excerpts Śrī Bhakti rasāmṛta sindhu bindu Verse 16: Gradation in the Manifestation of Bhāvas

Verse 16: Gradation in the Manifestation of Bhāvas

kiṁ ca bhaktānāṁ cittānusāreṇa bhāvānāṁ prākaṭya-tāratamyaṁ bhavati. tatra kvacit samudravad gambhīra-citte ’pi aprākaṭyam svalpa-prākaṭyaṁ vā. alpa-khātavat tarala-citte atiśaya-prākaṭyaṁ ca bhavatīti nāyam ātyantika niyama iti prapañco na likhitaḥ.
Śrī Bindu-vikāśinī-vṛtti

There is a gradation in the manifestation of bhāvas in accordance with the mental disposition or the heart of the devotee. In devotees whose hearts are very grave (gambhīra) or deep like the ocean, the manifestation of these bhāvas is not seen or their manifestation may be perceived only to a slight extent. In devotees whose hearts are very flickering and shallow like a small pond, these bhāvas are sometimes seen to manifest very powerfully. Because there is no special rule that governs the manifestation of such bhāvas, this subject has not been elaborately described.

Comment

In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.4.250–70) this topic has been discussed more elaborately. The essential points from that section are presented as follows.

In a devotee in whom rati for Kṛṣṇa in one of the five primary relationships is manifest, there are forty-one bhāvas that may arise and interact. The thirty-three vyabhicāri-bhāvas together with the seven secondary forms of rati (laughter, wonder and so on) and one among the five primary forms of rati, make a total of forty-one bhāvas. These are known as mukhya-bhāvas. The mental disposition (citta-vṛtti) that arises from the manifestation of all these bhāvas is said to bring about various transformations in the body and senses.

Among the bhāvas or emotions such as fierceness, restlessness, fortitude, shyness and so on, some are innate (svabhāvika) in particular devotees and some are incidental (āgantuka). Those bhāvas which are innate pervade both the external and internal being of the devotee. The innate bhāvas are compared to mañjiṣṭha, an Indian plant which is a source of red dye. In this plant the quality of redness is an inherent and enduring feature that pervades throughout. The bhāvas or emotions that are innate within particular devotees are very easily activated by even slight stimulation.

The innate bhāvas follow in the wake of kṛṣṇa-rati. In other words it is the permanent emotion of rati that determines which emotions are svabhāvika. Although rati is ordinarily of one type (in other words it is constituted of nothing other than affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa), it manifests in different varieties as śānta, dāsya and so on, in accordance with different inclinations to serve Kṛṣṇa in a particular way.

The āgantuka or incidental emotions are like the temporary application of red dye to a cloth that is inherently white. They are manifested in the devotee by the innate bhāvas. Therefore they are called anubhāvas, or effects of the innate emotions.

Variegatedness is observed in all the emotions due to the differences in the devotees and due to alteration of the components of rasa such as vibhāva, anubhāva, vyabhicāri-bhāva and so on, which come into play in different circumstances. Because of the difference in the characteristic qualities of various devotees, their minds are of different types. Therefore there is a gradation in the external and internal manifestation of all these bhāvas in accordance with the disposition of the mind or heart.

A devotee whose mental disposition is karkaśa or hard is of three varieties:

  1. gariṣṭha (heavy) – the heavy heart is compared to gold in terms of its weight;
  2. gambhīra (grave) – the grave heart is compared to the ocean in depth and;
  3. mahiṣṭha (big) – the big heart is compared to a great city in size.

These are all characteristics of a heart that is said to be karkaśa. Even though ecstatic emotions may arise very strongly in devotees possessing such characteristics, they are not visibly manifest and therefore cannot be detected by others.

A devotee whose mental disposition is komala or soft is also of three varieties:

  1. laghiṣṭha (light) – the light heart is compared to cotton in terms of its lightness,
  2. uttāna (shallow) – the shallow heart is compared to a small pond in depth and
  3. kṣodiṣṭha (tiny) – the tiny heart is compared to a small cottage in size.

These are all characteristics of a heart that is said to be komala. Even a slight uprise of emotion in devotees possessing such characteristics is clearly visible in the body and thus easily detected by others.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has written that the heart which is heavy (gariṣṭha) is like a lump of gold and the heart which is light (laghiṣṭha) is like a ball of cotton. Emotion that arises in the heart of these two varieties is like the wind. A ball of cotton is sent flying by the wind whereas a lump of gold remains fixed. Similarly, even when there is a very powerful upsurge of emotion, no external transformations are visible in a devotee whose heart is very heavy. In a devotee whose heart is light, however, transformations are observed even upon a slight rise of emotion.

The heart which is deep (gambhīra) is like the ocean and the heart which is shallow (uttāna) is like a small pond. Emotion that arises in the heart of these two varieties is compared to a great mountain peak. Even if a huge boulder or a mountain peak falls in the ocean, no disturbance is seen in the ocean. But if a pebble is thrown in a small pond, all the water is agitated. Similarly, even if many bhāvas appear in a devotee whose heart is very deep, he remains steady; no transformations appear in his body. But when a slight appearance of bhāvas manifest in a devotee whose heart is shallow, he becomes agitated and ecstatic transformations become visible in his body.

The heart which is large (mahiṣṭha) is like a great city and the heart which is small (kṣodiṣṭha) is like a cottage. Emotion that arises in the heart of these two varieties is compared to a lamp and an elephant. In a great city, lamps and elephants are not noticed. But before a cottage, lamps and elephants are clearly seen.

Similarly, in the heart which is mahiṣṭha, no transformations are seen on the rise of emotion. But in the heart which is kṣodiṣṭha, transformations resulting from the rise of emotion are immediately seen.

Heaviness (gariṣṭhatva) and lightness (laghiṣṭhatva) of the heart have been described in order to illustrate the perplexity (vikṣepa) and non-perplexity (avikṣepa) of the heart that arises upon being exposed to the influence of the vyabhicāri-bhāvas. Similarly the heart is said to be karkaśa or komala according to its degree of meltability or non-meltability by the vyabhicāri-bhāvas. The heart which is unmoved by a slight contact with the vyabhicāri-bhāvas is said to be heavy or gariṣṭha, and the heart which is easily moved is said to be light or laghiṣṭha. In reality the heart is neither heavy nor light nor hard. Only according to the degree of emotional frenzy experienced by the heart on contact with the vyabhicāri-bhāvas is the heart said to be hard or soft.

Various Conditions of the Heart

A wide variety of emotions are found to arise due to differences in the devotees and due to alteration of the components of rasa (vibhāva, anubhāva, etc.), which come into play in different circumstances. Because of the unique characteristics that are found to exist amongst devotees of different rasas, their minds are of different varieties. The gradation of ensuing emotions is in accordance with the mental disposition of the devotee. In order to illustrate the relationship between the emotions and the mental disposition of the devotees, varieties of conditions of the heart are here described. The words hard and soft refer to the extent to which emotions are displayed through external transformations. In devotees whose hearts are said to be hard, even very powerful emotions are not detectable through external bodily transformations. In devotees whose hearts are said to be soft, even a slight uprise of emotion is visible through external symptoms.

Corresponding emotions

According to the varieties of hard or soft hearts, there are corresponding emotions. The conditions of the heart are here grouped in pairs according to heaviness, depth and size. In each case there is a corresponding description of the perplexity or non-perplexity of the heart in contact with emotions according to the condition of hardness or softness.

Meltability of the heart

Described below is the progressive scale of meltability of the heart from diamond to nectar. In a hard heart very intense emotion is required to melt the heart and therefore emotion that arises in the hard heart is compared to fire. In a soft heart very little emotion is required to melt the heart and therefore emotion that arises in the soft heart is compared to sunlight.

Karkaśa (hard)
Emotion is compared to fire

Vajra (diamond or a thunderbolt)
A diamond is extremely hard. It cannot be made soft by any means. Similarly the hearts of the tāpasa-śanta-bhaktas are equally hard.

Svarṇa (gold)
Gold melts when exposed to a very high temperature. Similarly the heart which is hard like gold can be melted by very powerful emotions.

Jatu (shellac)
Shellac is completely melted by a slight temperature. Similarly the heart which is like shellac is melted even by a slight appearance of emotions.

Komala (soft)
Emotion is compared to sunlight

Madana (wax)

Navanīta (butter)
Wax and butter are easily melted by the heat of the sun. Devotees’ hearts of a similar nature are melted by a slight trace of emotion.

Amṛta (nectar)
Nectar is by nature always liquid. Similarly the hearts of the sun. Devotees’ hearts of a similar nature are melted by a slight trace of emotion.

[CC-by-ND GVP]

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