Book excerpts Śrī Bhakti rasāmṛta sindhu bindu Verse 17: General Description of Sthāyibhāva

Verse 17: General Description of Sthāyibhāva

sāmānya-rūpaḥ svaccha-rūpaś ca śāntādi-pañca-vidha-rūpaś ca. ekaika-rasa-niṣṭha-bhakta-saṅga-rahitasya sāmānya-janasya sāmānya-bhajana-paripākeṇa sāmānya-rati-rūpaś ca sthāyī bhāvo yo bhavati sa sāmānya-rūpaḥ. śantādi-pañca-vidha-bhakteṣv api aviśeṣeṇa kṛta-saṅgasya tat-tad bhajana-paripākeṇa pañca-vidhā ratis tat-tad bhakta-saṅga-vasati-kāla-bhedena yodayate yathā kadācit śāntiḥ kadācit dāsyaṁ, kadācit sakhyaṁ, kadācit vāt-salyaṁ, kadācit kāntā-bhāvaś ca, na tv ekatra niṣṭhatvaṁ tadā svaccha-rati-rūpaḥ. atha pṛthak-pṛthak rasaika-niṣṭheṣu bhakteṣu śāntyādi-pañca-vidha-rūpaḥ. śānta-bhaktānāṁ śāntiḥ. dāsya-bhaktānāṁ dāsya-ratiḥ. sakhya-bhaktānāṁ sakhyam. vātsalya-bhaktānāṁ vātsalyam. ujjvala-bhaktānāṁ priyatā. evaṁ śānta-dāsya-sakhya-vātsalyojjvalāś ca pañca-mukhya-rasā yathottaraṁ śreṣṭhāḥ. śānte śrī-kṛṣṇa-niṣṭha-buddhi-vṛttitā, dāsye sevā, sakhye niḥsambhramatā, vātsalye snehaḥ, ujjvale saṅgi-saṅga-dānena sukham utpādyam. evaṁ pūrva-pūrva-guṇād uttarottarasthāḥ śreṣṭhāḥ syuḥ.


In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.5.1) sthāyibhāva is defined in the following way:

aviruddhān viruddhāṁś ca
bhāvān yo vaśatāṁ nayan
surājeva virājeta
sthāyī bhāva ucyate


That bhāva which is resplendent like the best of kings, keeping under its control the aviruddha or compatible emotions, such as laughter and so on, and the viruddha or incompatible emotions, such as anger and so on, is known as the sthāyibhāva.

Rati for Kṛṣṇa is known as sthāyibhāva. This rati is of two types: mukhya (primary) and gauṇa (secondary). Rati that is the essence of the combination of the hlādinī and saṁvit potencies and thus purely composed of śuddha-sattva is known as mukhya-rati. Mukhya-rati is of two types: svārthā (self-nourishing) and parārthā (nourishment-giving). The term svārthā means that when a devotee situated in one of the five primary relationships with Kṛṣṇa experiences different emotions, those emotions will act on the sthāyibhāva to nourish it, in the case of favourable emotions, or to cause unbearable despondency, in the case of unfavourable emotions. Because this type of rati nourishes its own sthāyibhāva, it is called svārthā or self-nourishing.

When rati, instead of nourishing its own sthāyibhāva, recedes into the background and nourishes one of the seven secondary emotions, it is called parārthā, nourishment-giving. These seven secondary emotions of laughter and so on are different from svārtha-rati, which is purely composed of śuddha-sattva. But because they are connected with mukhya-parārtha-rati, the word rati has been used for them. Only when parārtha-rati in one of the five primary dominant emotions recedes into the background and nourishes the seven secondary emotions do those secondary emotions attain to the status of gauṇa-rati.
Both svārthā- and parārthā-mukhya-rati are further divided into five categories: śuddhā (unmixed), dāsya (affection in servitude), sakhya (friendship), vātsalya (parental affection) and madhura (conjugal love). Śuddha-rati is divided into three types: sāmānya (general), svaccha (transparent) and śānta (tranquillity). This topic has been summarised as follows by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.

Śrī Bindu-vikāśinī-vṛtti

Sthāyibhāva is being described here. Sthāyibhāva is of three varieties: sāmānya (general), svaccha (transparent) and one among the five varieties of śānta, dāsya and so on.


A person who has never taken the association of even a single devotee firmly situated in his particular perfectional relationship in one of the five transcendental rasas may, nevertheless, awaken a general (sāmānya) type of rati by the maturing of his routine practice of bhajana. This non-specific type of rati of a general person is known as sāmānya sthāyibhāva. It is said to be general because it is devoid of the specific characteristics of śānta, dāsya and so on.


If one has associated in a routine manner with the five different types of devotees, all situated in their respective perfectional relationships of śānta, dāsya and so on, then upon the maturing of his bhajana, five different types of rati may be exhibited in him at different times in accordance with the association he keeps. When he associates with śānta-bhaktas he exhibits śānta-rati; with dāsya-bhaktas he exhibits dāsya-rati; with sakhya-bhaktas, sakhya-rati; with vātsalya-bhaktas, vātsalya-rati; and with devotees in the conjugal mood (kānta-bhāva) he exhibits madhura-rati. Nevertheless he has no firmly fixed adherence to any one designated bhāva. This type of rati is called svaccha sthāyibhāva.

Five types of sthāyibhāva

The different types of rati of devotees firmly established in their specific moods of śānta-bhāva and so forth, are known as the five types of sthāyibhāva. By the influence of associating with a devotee who is situated in one specific rasa, only one type of rati among the five is awakened in a devotee upon the maturing of his bhajana. In the śānta-bhaktas, śānta-rati is awakened; in the dāsya-bhaktas, dāsya-rati; in the sakhya-bhaktas, sakhya; in the vātsalya-bhaktas, vātsalya; and in the mādhurya-bhaktas, madhura sthāyibhāva. Thus śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya are the five primary rasas. They are successively superior in quality.

The characteristic of śānta is that one’s intellect is fixed in Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-niṣṭhā-buddhi). The characteristic of dāsya is that one is attached to the service of the Lord (sevā). The characteristic of sakhya is that one is devoid of any reverential feelings towards Kṛṣṇa (niḥsambhramatā). The characteristic of vātsalya is that one is imbued with affection or sneha for Kṛṣṇa. The characteristic of those in mādhurya is that they please Kṛṣṇa by awarding Him the association of their bodies (saṅgi-saṅga-dānena). Thus each quality should be considered as superior to the one preceding it.


In śānta-rati there is only one quality, kṛṣṇa-niṣṭhā. In dāsya-rati there is kṛṣṇa-niṣṭhā and the quality of dāsya, kṛṣṇa-sevā. Similarly in sakhya-rati the qualities of kṛṣṇa-niṣṭhā and kṛṣṇa-sevā are present along with the quality of sakhya, niḥsambhramatā (absence of reverence). In vātsalya the three previous qualities are present along with the quality of sneha or affection in rearing and taking care of Kṛṣṇa. In madhura the four previous qualities exist in addition to the quality of madhura, nijāṅga-saṅga-dāna (awarding the association of one’s limbs).

This is exactly like the development of qualities that are found in the universal elements. In the sky or ether there is only one quality, sound. In the air there are two qualities, sound and touch. In fire there are three qualities, sound, touch and form. In water there are four qualities, sound, touch, form and taste. And in the earth, sound, touch, form, taste and smell are present. Thus in śānta one quality is present, in dāsya two, in sakhya three, in vātsalya four and in madhura all five qualities are present.

The twelve forms of rati will now be defined:

  • Mukhya-rati
    1. Śānta-rati
      Resoluteness or steadiness of mind is known as śama or equanimity. Previous authorities have declared that the mental disposition by which one renounces the inclination for material sense enjoyment and becomes established in the bliss of the self (nijānanda) is called śama. The rati of persons who are predominated by this equanimity and who, due to seeing Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the Paramātmā, are devoid of mamatā or a sense of possessiveness in relation to Kṛṣṇa, is called śānta-rati. Mamatā refers to a deep sense of attachment to Kṛṣṇa by which one thinks, “Kṛṣṇa is my master. Kṛṣṇa is my friend,” and so on.
    2. Dāsya-rati
      That rati by which a devotee considers himself inferior to Kṛṣṇa and therefore fit to receive the Lord’s favour and which is possessed of a worshipful attitude towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa is called dāsya-rati (also known as prīti-rati). This dāsya-rati produces attachment for Śrī Kṛṣṇa and destroys attachment for all other things.
    3. Sakhya-rati
      One who possesses a particular type of rati by which he considers himself to be equal to Kṛṣṇa in all respects is called a sakhā or friend of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Because it induces the sense of equality with Kṛṣṇa, this rati is characterised by viśrambha, a deep feeling of intimacy that is devoid of all restraint. This viśrambha-rati is known as sakhya-rati. Because of this absence of restraint there is joking and humorous behaviour. Unlike the servants, Kṛṣṇa’s friends are devoid of the conception that they are subordinate to Him.
    4. Vātsalya-rati
      Those who are possessed of rati by which they consider themselves as elders of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are honourable to Him. Their rati, which is imbued with kindness and favour towards Kṛṣṇa, is called vātsalya-rati. In vātsalya-rati the activities of nurturing Kṛṣṇa, offering blessings, touching the chin and so on are anubhāvas.
    5. Madhura-rati
      The rati of the gopīs, which is the original cause of the eight types of conjugal enjoyment (sambhoga) such as remembrance, beholding the beloved and so on exchanged between Śrī Hari and the deer-eyed gopīs, is called madhura-rati. This is also known as priyatā-rati. In madhura-rati sidelong glances, movement of the eyebrows, intimate words and sweet smiles are manifested as anubhāvas.
  • Gauṇa-rati
    1. Hāsa-rati
      The cheerfulness of the heart that is experienced upon witnessing unusual alterations of speech, dress, activities and so on is called hāsa or laughter. In hāsa there is expansion of the eyes and vibration of the nose, lips and cheeks. When laughter arises from speech, dress and activities that are related to Kṛṣṇa and receives nourishment from a primary, nourishment-giving emotion (mukhya-parārtha-rati) which then recedes into the background, it is transformed into hāsa-rati.
    2. Vismaya-rati
      The expansion of the heart that takes place upon witnessing extraordinary objects is called vismaya or astonishment. In vismaya there is widening of the eyes, appreciative exclamations and horripilation. When astonishment arises from seeing the uncommon pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and receives nourishment from one of the primary, nourishment-giving emotions (mukhya-parārtha-rati) which then recedes into the background, it is transformed into vismaya-rati.
    3. Utsāha-rati
      A firm attachment and urgency to carry out one’s aspired-for activity of fighting, giving charity, displaying mercy or performing religious duties, the fruit of which is praised by sādhus, is called utsāha, enthusiasm. In utsāha there is tremendous exertion or diligence, an absence of patience and no dependence upon time. When enthusiasm arises in relation to Kṛṣṇa and receives nourishment from mukhya-parārtha-rati which recedes into the background, it is transformed into utsāha-rati.
    4. Śoka-rati
      The sorrow and grief that one experiences in the heart due to separation from one’s beloved or upon perceiving that some calamity has befallen the beloved is called śoka. In śoka there is lamentation, falling on the ground, sighing, drying of the mouth and delusion. When that sorrow arises in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and is nourished by mukhya-parārtha-rati, it is transformed into śoka-rati.
    5. Krodha-rati
      The inflammation of the heart that takes place when confronted with hostility is called krodha or anger. In krodha there is harshness, frowning and redness of the eyes. When anger arises in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and is nourished by mukhya-parārtha-rati, it is transformed into krodha-rati. Krodha-rati is of two types: kṛṣṇa-vibhāvā (having Kṛṣṇa as its object) and kṛṣṇa-vairi-vibhāvā (having Kṛṣṇa’s enemy as its object).
    6. Bhaya-rati
      The extreme agitation and restlessness of the heart that is experienced upon committing some offence or seeing a dreadful object is called bhaya or fear. In bhaya there is hiding oneself, drying of the heart, running away and delusion. When this fear arises in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and is nourished by mukhya-parārtha-rati, it is transformed into bhaya-rati. Like krodha, bhaya-rati is of two types: kṛṣṇa-vibhāvā (having Kṛṣṇa as its object) and duṣṭa-vibhāvā (having a wicked person as its object).
    7. Jugupsā-rati
      The contraction or shutting of the heart that takes place upon experiencing detestable things is called jugupsā or disgust. In jugupsā there is spitting, contraction of the mouth and expressions of condemnation. When this feeling of disgust is nourished by mukhya-parārtha-rati, it is transformed into jugupsā-rati.

Divisions of the sthāyibhāva

The sthāyibhāva is the permanent and dominant emotion, which brings under its control both compatible (aviruddha) and incompatible (viruddha) emotions. The divisions of the sthāyibhāva are described below.

Presiding deities and colours of bhakti-rasa

When mukhya-rati or gauṇa-rati combine with their corresponding components of vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika-bhāva and vyabhicāri-bhāva in the heart of a bhāva- or prema-bhakta, they produce an extraordinary taste known as bhakti-rasa. As kṛṣṇa-rati or the sthāyibhāva is of two kinds, bhakti-rasa is also of two kinds: mukhya-rasa and gauṇa-rasa. Each of the rasas is characterised by a particular colour and presiding deity. These are described below.

Bhakti-rasa tasted in five ways

The twelve rasas react on the mind in five different ways and thus bhakti-rasa is tasted in five varieties. These are described below.

  1. Pūrti (fulfilment): In śānta-rasa there is satisfaction or fulfilment of the heart.
  2. Vikāśa (opening): In dāsya-, sakhya-, vātsalya-, mādhurya- and hāsya-rasas there is cheerfulness or opening of the heart.
  3. Vistāra (expansion): In vīra- and adbhuta-rasas there is expansion of the heart.
  4. Vikṣepa (distraction): In karuṇa- and raudra-rasas the heart becomes distracted.
  5. Kṣobha (disturbance): In bhayānaka- and bībhatsa-rasas the heart becomes disturbed.

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